As you may have noted via my previous tweet, having dinner with ex-coworkers when you do not have a job is a really special kind of awkward.
Here are some actual questions I have fielded in the past while accompanying my husband to office functions:
Q. So, what do you do all day?
A: Pop bon bons and watch my stories.
Q. What do you do with all the free time you have now?
A: Get mani/pedis/facials every day. My beauty routine takes up the time I would usually use to work.
Q. When are you putting your kid in preschool?
A. Never. My kid has the rest of her life from age 5 onward to try and distance herself from me. I will be using the first 5 years to convince her that she cannot live without me.
Q. When are you coming back to work?
A: Not with you. Not ever. I have better things to do with my time. See above answers #1, 2 and 3.
Actually, the truth is I try not to say too much because I can feel the judgement hurtling through the air at me at 200mph. Some may think that religious people are judgemental. I propose trying to explain why you are not going back to work for a very long time to the people that once saw you as an ambitious career woman. You get blank stares that are used to cover up scornful smirks. And then witness the awkward half-turn as they scan the room for someone "worthwhile" to talk to.
Because apparently my brain fell out via my uterus when I had kids.
Plop. Hoooly mackeral. My brain just done fell out my uterus, how 'bout that!
Aaaanyway, back to dinner. For all you former career women turned home makers, this advice on how to manage dinner with ex co-workers is for you.
1. Your cell phone slash iPhone slash Blackberry will be your lifeline for the evening. Use it to text your BFF about how no one is talking to you while the conversation about ROIs and RIFs flies around you. Appearing busy with something will help minimize the awkwardness when everyone realizes you have nothing to contribute to the conversation.
2. Uh oh. There is no phone reception in this restaurant. Bars are down to nothing. Emergency calls only. Unless you think 9-1-1 is going to have a sense of humor about it, put the phone down. A second/third/fourth glass of wine is now your lifeline. And your new BFF.
3. Order the most expensive thing on the menu. They owe you that much for the years of your life you gave them as they slowly crushed your will to live.
4. Try to draw the conversation towards things that happened while you were still working there. It will only be strange for a few minutes while they remember the good old days. Once they are in "reminisce mode" they will forget that this was 4 years ago and completely irrelevant to what is going on in the company now.
5. Try to appear interested in the conversation at hand. The wine should help with that. It will also make the evening go quicker if you participate rather than just sit there like a lump. If point #4 doesn't work too well you can also try steering the conversation towards current events.
6. Make at least 2 lengthy trips to the ladies room to primp in front of the mirror. Snap photos of the hideous bathroom wall art so you can make fun of it on your blog. Here are the ones I took.
|Shhh...my brain also fell out of my uterus. That's why I paired a pink hat with green gloves.|
|I still have my brain, but I hid it inside my kryptonite earrings to keep it safe from hungry zombies.|