03/29/2013 04:29 pm ET Updated May 29, 2013

The Five Stages of Getting Over Being Fired While Living in an Expensive City

Yes. It happened. You were fired/let go/dropped from the team/released from duties/(dis)honorably discharged. Maybe you knew it was coming. Maybe, like myself, it seemed to drop into your inbox from a blue, blue sky on a sunny day to completely atomic bomb your self-esteem and enjoyment of the soy chai latte you were drinking to get you through a play rehearsal.

Yes, long, convoluted, run-on sentences may have been a reason I was let go. I write them now everywhere just to make a point.

In solidarity with my fellow disenchanted, disillusioned compatriots who, in this terrible and depressing economy were so cruelly released into the wilds of urban unemployment by heartless, heartless superiors, here are the five stages of being fired you will go through before you continue on your path to being AWESOME.


What? WHAT?! WHAAAAAT?!!!! Noooooo! How will I buy that new dress on Modcloth that has been on my wish-list for forever? How will I afford my morning caffeine boost at Coffe Bean and Tea Leaf and flirt with that cute barista who knows my name? How will I go on?????? And oh yeah, how will I pay rent... wait, when did I last pay it...?

There was no warning. There was no cushion to fall upon as I swooned from of horror. What the heck is this "we just weren't fitting/trial period/it's not you it's me" bullcrap? If I wasn't doing things correctly, why didn't you WARN ME? This is the 21st century: YOU CAN EMAIL ME WHEN YOU THINK I'M DOING SOMETHING BADLY AND I WILL CORRECT IT!!!!!

AHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!! (Note* if you do scream, you may want to do it in a private place, perhaps your bedroom, and not oh, say, on the sidewalk where you scare two pigeons and a gaggle of nursery school kids out with their supervisors on their afternoon walk).

2. ANGER expressed via Karaoke

Here is your playlist:

We're Not Going To Take It by Twisted Sister
Love The Way You Lie by Eminem, Featuring Rihanna (and every time the lyrics talk about setting the girl on fire, replace girl with [insert company name here] ).
Don't You (Forget About Me) by Simple Minds -- and then, afterwards, do a drunken yet wholly moving mashup of Judd Nelson's Breakfast Club lines.
I Can't Make You Love Me by Bon Iver
Just Fine by Mary J. Blige
Bye Bye Bye by NSYNC
Dance Little Liar by the Arctic Monkeys
I Will Survive by Gloria Gaynor

Helpful Hint: Make your friends sign a contract that they will record NOTHING you perform, do, or say during this karaoke-fest.

3. BARGAINING in which you are banned from using the Internet for a week

DO NOT send a slew of emails to your former company/boss that start as "hey, so, just for my own purposes, what were the reasons/can I get feedback," transition into "so I heard you were starting this new project, and I have some ideas, I can get paid... or not" then completely devolves to, "I AM POOR AND I LIVE IN NYC. PLEASE TAKE ME BACK... PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE. YOU NEEEED MEEEEEE."

Trust me, this does no good for anyone, and besides, your emails will start bouncing back because certain addresses will be changed. And no Internet stalking to find the new email will help you in your quest for re-employment because then you start bordering on restraining order territory (and that will not help you when you finally start your job search).


This will require a survival kit.

First, you will need an appropriate Spotify playlist that you play over and over and over to the annoyance of all your neighbors and/or significant other and/or dogs that start to how the 99th time you hit replay. For this, I recommend Adele's 21 album. That girl just GETS IT.

Second, you should stock up on multiple comfort foods. Don't just eat rocky road ice cream. Branch out into candy (it's around Easter right now, so chocolate bunnies you can savagely dismember with your teeth abound). Definitely carb-load, from pancakes, to chips, to popcorn, to waffles, to enormous multi-layer sandwiches. Also, don't forget to wash it down with milkshakes, soda, fancy lattes, etc, etc (and spike 'em all with Jack Daniels).

Third, you need pajamas or sweats, since comfort is key to effectively execute angry apartment rants and crying jags.

Fourth, keep friends and/or a significant other around who will listen to you. And listen to you. And continue to listen and not block you from any of their social networking accounts/inbox/cellphone contacts.

Fifth your mother to tell you during a Skype convo that "you're perfect sweetheart, and gosh, you could just be a model," even though you know your eyes are red, your hair hasn't been washed in three days, and your shirt bears multiple food stains.

Sixth, your father to tell you his stories of being fired, which are much worse than yours.

Seventh, crappy reality television marathons.

Eighth, Netflix Up in the Air and ask for the thousandth time, why, if you had to be fired, why couldn't it have been by gorgeous George? Then pretend you were fired by George and he falls in love with you while he does it.

Ninth, a good drunk in a bar with friends who boost your confidence, pay for (the majority) of your drinks, and hold your hair back when you throw up in the street outside the bar.

Tenth, and finally, something warm and fuzzy to cuddle. Perhaps this is your childhood teddy bear. Perhaps it is your dog or cat. Perhaps it is a blanket, or your friend's baby who you hold while you visit them just to get you out of the house, and the baby makes you cry more because not only are you unemployed, but your biological clock is ticking and you're not even married but she has a baby and then the baby starts to cry... and you remember why you don't want kids now.

5. ACCEPTANCE into job searching again

Hey, being fired isn't the worst thing in the world. There are many calamities that top it, like plagues, pollution, global warming, murder, starvation, and people who refuse to move on the subway even though they're blocking that free seat THEY'RE NOT SITTING IN.

You will get through this. You are better than this. It's their problem, not yours. And though it was TOTALLY PERSONAL (despite what everyone else/the company said), look at it as the best thing that happened to you, not the worst. Because honestly, if they don't want you, you don't NEED them. Take whatever lessons you may learn from the experience and run with 'em into a fantastic job/new career path/money-making cottage industry. So get on, Monster, or Etsy. Pitch your ideas to someone who can fund them. Research grad schools so you can study in Florence like you always dreamed, but never had the guts or time to make come true.

You will become brilliant and successful and laugh again and, in whatever Lifetime Achievement Award Speech you give 20 years later, you will nobly, wittily, and eloquently CALL THOSE DUMBHEADS OUT on ever firing you. And people will laugh and marvel at how stupid your company was to toss away the gem you ARE and always will be.

Either that or make a mocking yet pointed video on your blog that is enough to make you feel better, but not enough to get you sued.

Whichever path you take, you can be sure: you will leap over this sinkhole of unwanted unemployment into the awesomeness that is your life!