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From Ellen Gamerman at the Wall Street Journal:

The holiday parade featuring children from Our Community School in North Hills, Calif., made Nikki Maxwell so nervous that she told her children she couldn’t ride on a float with them.

Ms. Maxwell, who had worked at the charter school as a grant writer before she was laid off in September, dreaded small talk with parents and faculty that would inevitably lead to the subject of her job search.

“Their eyes will dart and they will say, ‘Ummm, have you found anything yet?’ And I’ll say, ‘No, not yet.’ And they’ll come up with some cockamamie idea about what I should do, and then I have to defend why I shouldn’t do that. It just gets very uncomfortable.”

One of the biggest strains for people who’ve been laid off in recent months is explaining — with Christmas music playing in the background — what happened to the old job. Bad layoff jokes, uneven gift exchanges and tense small talk with the in-laws are just a few of the social challenges facing the jobless.

Click here to learn more about how to cope.

Have you been laid-off recently? Share your story in the comments.

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