I got laid off Tuesday, and am still experiencing a bit of numbness and shock. After finishing up an introductory session with a new Uprooting Grief client that morning, I noticed I had a missed call and unread voicemail. Turns out, the Human Resources manager at the company I worked for called to let me know that sadly, I was a part of the most recent group of personnel cuts. I felt a tightening in my gut and a pain in my chest as the words sunk in. I was, and still am, experiencing feelings of grief.
The company I worked for was Fanatics, the sports apparel warehouse located in North Las Vegas. My youngest brother is currently employed there full-time and recruited my brother, Mom, and I to work with him for the holiday peak season. As soon as I joined the Fanatics team, 4 out of five Hertberg’s worked there. On my second day, I met my current boyfriend and we immediately began pursuing a romantic relationship.
The first two weeks were a painful adjustment. Working four, very physically-active, 10-hour days in a row, shift starting at 6:30 in the morning, brought with it intense, full-body aches and pains as well as sleep deprivation and gastrointestinal issues. I had never pushed my wounded, healing body that hard before. It was immensely stressful.
Soon thereafter, peak season went into full-swing and I was required to work 50- and 60-hour weeks. Sustaining that pace of working and living for over two months pushed me beyond my physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual limits. On top of that, I arrived at work everyday before sunrise and left after sunset, had an abundance of holiday events going on outside of work, including a very important extended-family reunion, my gastrointestinal issues continued to get worse, and my budding new relationship needed nurturing. Now, looking at it all written-down, I am amazed I didn’t completely lose my mind!
Near the end of peak season, my family and I were shocked and devastated when my oldest brother got laid off. I really enjoyed working alongside my family, and he in particular was greatly loved and valued by all who worked there. The next day, my side-swept cumulative grief and exhaustion of the last few months and holiday season, on top of watching my brother get let go, lead to an overwhelming and intense emotional release. I would use the phrase “nervous breakdown” to paint a better picture of what was happening with me, but I hate using those words for the simple fact that grievers, myself included, are not broken and don’t need to be fixed.
The Grief Recovery Handbook® defines grief as the normal and natural reaction to loss. It is also the conflicting feelings caused by the end of or change in a familiar pattern of behavior. Death and divorce seem like the most obvious losses, but there are more than 40 life events that can produce feelings of grief. Unresolved grief is almost always about things we wish we’d said or done differently, better, or more. It is also about the unrealized hopes, dreams, and expectations we had for the relationship.
I believe it is very important for me to practice what I preach. Since first taking the Grief Recovery 8-Week Support Group Class back in 2014, I have the used The Grief Recovery Method® over a dozen times to work through various losses. For the next part of this blog, I’m not going to teach you how to use The Grief Recovery Method®, nor am I going to follow it completely, but I am going to use it as a guide to help me express some of what has been emotionally unresolved within me since being let go from Fanatics. I hope these expressions of my heart connect with yours in some way.
There are three main things I need to forgive Fanatics for:
- I need to forgive Fanatics for requiring me, my family, and friends to work a brutal schedule of overtime without sunlight for days on end. I felt sad that I had to participate in holiday events outside work exhausted and worn down. I felt angry so much was being asked of me and my family members. I felt embarrassed with how much I struggled to maintain a positive attitude and physical health. I felt scared of what might happen to me and my relationships as a result of working so hard.
- I need to forgive Fanatics for laying off my brother. I felt devastated when I heard he would no longer be working with us. He had worked incredibly hard and was so loved by all his coworkers. I felt angry that he was not valued more by the company and that once again, he would stress over looking for new work. I felt scared that my work wouldn’t be enough to keep me employed, especially since my brother was such a superstar employee.
- I need to forgive Fanatics for laying me off. I feel angry that I wasn’t valued enough to be kept on as a full-time employee. I feel scared wondering how long it will be until I have steady income again. I feel sad that I will no longer see my new friends every week. I feel embarrassed that I wasn’t able to measure up to the type of permanent worker they were looking for.
I also need to apologize for a few things:
- I wish I had done a better job taking care of myself outside of work, so I could perform at my best while at work.
- I need to apologize for resenting Fanatics when they decided to layoff my brother; even when he and I knew we both were hired as seasonal employees.
- I need to apologize to my coworkers and new friends for failing to show them my appreciation and love before it was too late.
Thirdly, I need to express my appreciation:
- I need to thank Fanatics for giving me the opportunity to make some very good money over the holiday season. I really appreciated the gifts they handed out, as well as the savings I was able to build because of the mandatory overtime I worked.
- I also need to thank Fanatics for the new family it gave me. I will always fondly remember and respect the friends I made and the coworkers who worked through the peak season trenches with me. Of those new friends and family, I am most thankful to Fanatics for introducing me to my wonderful boyfriend.
- Most importantly, I need to thank Fanatics for the great opportunity to work alongside my family. My bonds with them are stronger and deeper because of it.
Finally, I need to say goodbye to any hopes, dreams, and expectations I had for my future with Fanatics.
- I hoped to get hired on as a full-time employee, and dig deeper into building loving relationships with my coworkers and superiors.
- I dreamed of climbing the ladder of leadership with the company, building a career, and hopefully utilizing my MBA to serve sports fans around the country.
- If I were to be laid off from my seasonal position, I expected that I would have the dignity of being let go face-to-face, that I might have a chance to say goodbye to my friends and exchange contact information.
Moving forward from this loss, I have decided to work towards alleviating another source of grief in my life. Over the last few weeks, I’ve felt as though my decision to work hourly jobs has been based on fear. I feel like I haven’t given God the chance to provide for me by pursuing my Uprooting Grief practice full-time. In recent reflections, I found that if I didn’t step out boldly and give my Uprooting Grief practice the chance to succeed, I would greatly regret it. I believe I would disappoint and sadden the people who have loved and invested in me, wanting success for me and healing for those I will help.
So, as of now, I have decided to dedicate my efforts to building my Uprooting Grief practice and serving grievers in the Las Vegas community. I know there are many, many hurting people who desperately want to get their life back, and I want to be there for them when they want and need some guidance. I hope that you will partner with me to bring hope and healing to our community. There are a few small things you can do to help me get the word out:
- You can share this blog, or any of my other blogs on this website, on your social media pages, through email, etc.
- You can let your loved ones know that this 8-week support class is available to help them when times get rough, and that they can 100% expect to feel better after completing it.
- Finally, you can like my Facebook page and stay up-to-date on upcoming group classes and special events.
I would also love to hear how you think I can use Grief Recovery to bring healing to our community! I am only one, small person, and I can’t reach everyone. But if I can help one despairing person recover and find joy in their life again, all the hard work I’ve done to heal my pain will have been worth it.