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“We’re Letting You Go” – What to Do Next

Patience worked out for George Clooney


e letting you go.”

For those of us who have heard these words,  just reading them in can make us wince.

The new George Clooney movie, Up in the Air, is about being let go. I recommend it to anyone who’s in transition. (Grab a friend and head to a matinee; you’ll be glad you did.) Up in the Air is just like hell in the hallway. You may not choose it, but once you’re there, you have choices to make. Action is necessary, patience is key.

When I was young, I was fired from a job. Here’s the story. For one of my first jobs, I worked part time selling shoes. The store manager kept telling me to ask every customer if they wanted a purse, stockings and other ‘stuff’ in addition to the shoes. The few times I tried it, the customer snorted at me. I didn’t like pushing items that people didn’t ask for.  I knew I wasn’t cut out for that kind of selling and so did my boss.  He gently “let me go” 2 weeks before Christmas.

Later in my career, when I was laid off from Eastman Kodak after 17 years; I was fortunate. I was offered several alternative positions but ultimately I took a package and left the company to start my own business.

Do you feel stuck or are you energized? Are you using your time wisely or are you worrying your days away? What are you teaching your children by your actions?

There are so many free interesting educational opportunities. Here is just one:  free video courses from Columbia, Yale, UCLA, Michigan and MIT.

Whether it’s continuing your education, upgrading your skills, finding a mentor, starting a business or deciding to change professions; you do not have to be afraid to hear those words. My favorite saying works at any time of the year:  change is good, timing is everything, patience is the key.

4 Responses
  • Doug Hitchcock
    January 4, 2010

    Hi Deb, good blog……
    After being “let go”, “downsized”, “rightsized”, “eliminated”……all of them have both the worker and their family (esp spouse, children, significant others) all truly become “up in the air”.

    So, don’t forget how the OTHERS also feel about the former employee’s change in life.

    Yes, I have been “let go” almost a year ago….Overall, a good thing as it wasn’t a great cultural fit. But take that event plus the “perfect storm” of the economy, job market, etc and the movie hits very close to home.

    So, I have a) upgraded my education, b) looked at re-engineered career paths, c) spent time with loved ones, and d) gone to more movies! Happy new year; may it be a better decade than the 2000’s… still looking.

  • Deborah
    January 5, 2010

    Hi Doug, glad you are hanging in there. Your time is coming. Perfect storms pass but not before there’s a fair amount of white water! See you soon, Deb

  • Michele Heine
    January 9, 2010


    I will definitely be sure to see the movie based on your recommendation.

    I also was downsized from Kodak and have moved on, gladly, to another opportunity after a prolonged search. I do feel good about what happened, as opposed to feeling resentful and angry. I would imagine you might feel similarly given where you are now.

    Thanks for sharing advice with those of us who have been stuck in the hallway.


  • Deborah
    January 10, 2010

    Hi Michele,
    Some folks have found the movie a bit tough and I certainly understand. I’ve been laid off a few times in my career and the first time was the toughest. The second time, I was easier to deal with and I moved on quickly. The hallway can be a springboard to all new things, things we might never had imagined. Thanks for the comment. Deb

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