After A Layoff, Colleagues Disappear

Touching story from Theodore Ross in the New York Times’ Opinionator about being laid off from Harper’s, and what happens to your social life afterward.

“I received no gold watch or commemorative plaque, and the $75 service fee to cash out of the profit-sharing program was higher than the amount owed me,” he writes, but at least there were some farewell cocktails involved. First, he went to a bar with his old editor and a writer he’d worked with for a few years. The second trip “included the full assembly of my friends and co-workers. I recall being thanked, with only minimal sarcasm, for my exemplary contributions and years of service. A few politely indifferent questions regarding the direction and progress of my book were asked, I believe; and while pledges to stay closely and eternally in contact weren’t stated explicitly, I feel confident that they were implied. The rest vanished mysteriously into the depths of a shot glass.”

Then there were the lunches, the coffees, and so on, “to preserve a connection, however tenuous, to my former life.” Yet ultimately, as anyone who’s changed jobs knows, it’s a futile effort…see how well it turns out by reading the rest of the piece.