When you find out you're in danger of being laid off, it's no surprise when you start to feel stressed, snappish, anxious, even depressed. At least, it didn't surprise me when I started feeling all of those things. What got me was the creeping mental paralysis...the way I became unable to sort through my options regarding any decision that had anything to do with my continued employment.
Some of the indecision made sense. Should I bother putting in the paperwork to lower my deductions if I wasn't going to be getting a paycheck much longer? It would make sense to take more of my paycheck home with me, on the one hand; on the other hand, just imagine the potential for screwups during the cutting of my final, all-important severance check! Better to let things lie. Maybe. Or not.
Did I want to open a savings account with the credit union, only to end up closing it out a month later? Was it really worth my time?
So it would go. Endless back and forth with myself. A complete inability to make a final decision.
And then it started creeping into the smallest, stupidest corners of my life. I'd eat something for lunch that was a little garlicky, say, and think to myself, "I should really get a toothbrush and small tube of toothpaste to keep in my desk." But then I'd think, "Except I'm not going to go out and spend money on an extra tube of toothpaste and a toothbrush I'll then have to take home and have sitting on my bathroom counter, taunting me."
I'd go into the bathroom and realize my hair was sticking up in a weird way, and I'd think to myself, "I should really get an extra hairbush to keep in my desk." See above for the way the rest of that internal conversation went.
It went on and on and on.
To which library should I direct my interlibrary loans...the one near my house, or the one near my office? The office one is much more convenient, but it would totally suck to have to drive out here to pick up books if I got laid off.
I acquired enough points from one of those survey sites to redeem them for a $25 gift card to a book store...but which book store should I choose? The one nearest my office is a Borders, whereas the ones nearest my home and the synagogue are both Barnes & Noble. I hardly ever have the time to get to B&N while I'm working, but if I order the Borders card and then I'm no longer working around here, I'd have to drive out of my way to use it.
My hair is getting long, and my bangs are hanging in my face. Should I get a haircut? If I'm going back to working from home, it's not worth the money, since I can just put on a headband to pull it back. But if I'm coming into an office every day, it should look a little more professional than that.
I could go on and on and on and on like this. My days turned into a series of unanswerable (and unutterably stupid) questions: Do I need a new pair of black flats for work, or a new pair of walking shoes for home? Should I start picking up the Walgreens circular, or stick with the one from the Rite Aid near me? Should I buy a pint of half-and-half to keep in the office fridge, or a longer-lasting quart?
All of that ended last Wednesday, when I heard that my job is safe, at least for the time being. The Borders gift card is now ordered; I have three audiobooks on order for the near-my-office branch of the library; the Walgreens circular is on my desk; and the pint of half-and-half has been transfered to the office fridge. Plus, there is a new toothbrush and tube of toothpaste in my desk drawer, alongside a hairbrush, some hand cream, and a metal fork and spoon from the 99 Cent Store.
I am ready to work.
Except...I really do still need a hair cut.