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The 5 Stages of Unemployment

The economy continues to worsen. And, with it, anxiety about layoffs is on the rise. You'd like to see a therapist to explain the emotions you're feeling, but you never got health insurance. Instead, you're stuck perusing the web for approximate explanations of your whip-saw moods.

Until now.

Temp X has a track record of providing sound psychological and medical advice to the underserved. Think of me as "Doctors without Borders without Qualifications." I will now dispense more of this with the insight and understanding of a medical marijuana dealer … err … provider.

As you prepare for your inevitable layoff, be mindful that there are FIVE STAGES you're likely to experience. If you're prepared for each one of them, you can make it through them with minimal psychological damage …

DENIAL
The "this can't be happening to me because I'm way more qualified than the person they kept, even if she has 36 Cs and a butt you could bounce a dollar bill off of" stage. This is often accompanied by repeatedly gazing at your graduation photos on Facebook where you're in cap and gown and gleefully holding your now meaningless diploma from Tisch. You'll begin wondering if you should have spent that money on plastic surgery instead.

ANGER
The "why me?" stage. You'll spend a lot of time wanting to get even with your boss, so you print out of all his salacious emails to that aspiring starlet. You actively consider blackmail, calling his wife or (the more pedestrian idea) sabotaging his office chair. But you realize you have no desire to be cellmates with someone whose prison nickname is "Epidural." So you grind your teeth instead.

(Note: If you choose to get drunk during lunch the day you receive notice, make sure to go back and do your boss' expenses. He won't know that you screwed up until long after you're gone.)

BARGAINING
Bargaining often takes place just before your company publicly announces layoffs, but after they've been announced in needlessly graphic detail on the web. You beg, wish and pray to get your mind-numbingly dull job back because rent isn't free. This stage is often accompanied by showing up to work the following day wearing a top slightly tighter than a corset and a skirt that Tila Tequila might wear. Unfortunately it's too late, and the only person willing to take the bait is the FedEx delivery guy.

DEPRESSION
Overwhelming feelings of hopelessness, frustration, bitterness, self pity brought on by spending hours dialing in to the California Employment Development Department (1-800-300-5616) only to repeatedly receive the "Call back when we're less busy — we recommend mid-week" recording. You look at your watch and realize it's noon on a Wednesday, the definition of mid-week.

ACCEPTANCE
For the first time in months you smile as you realize you're getting paid to lay on your couch and play video games. Unemployment isn't all that bad.

BIO Temp X

Temp X is a writer, producer and a one-time stand-up comic toiling in underemployment. He is the self-anointed King of Hollywood and the mind behind the wildly popular (or so I'd like to think) blog, http://www.tempdiaries.com. The site chronicles his experiences as a temporary assistant in Hollywood. He makes $16/hr working for a CBS subsidiary, but that assignment ends in a week. He can be reached at tempx@tempdiaries.com.