I am unemployed. Those are three words I did not even think I would be saying at the start of the new year. (If anything I thought it would have been more along the lines of , “I got promoted.” ) The unfortunate reality is that the business world lacks humane decisions and when it comes to creating budgets for the upcoming new year they have no problem with making the staff “leaner” by vastly reducing its numbers regardless of the festive holiday season. I, like many others in the world, was a casualty of this practice, which brought on feelings and thoughts I was not anticipating. True, nothing lasts forever but when you have been working for approximately 2 years just get your foot in the door only to have it slam in your face, like I have, it makes you feel like you failed and stand no chance in actually starting a career. You blame yourself even though there was nothing you could do to change the decision, but through it all, here are some things you should remember:
If you’re like me and are just desperately trying to get your career started it can seem like outside forces are out to get you and all you want to do is curl up in a ball and cry, if not get some kind of semblance of kindness from friends and/or family. In many cases that won’t happen. If anything, people will respond with “Well that sucks,” but that’s it. Yes it hurts, yes it sucks, but you just may have to comfort yourself. Know you are allowed to cry it out or even disconnect from everyone and everything for a while, like I did. Do what you feel can help you get pass this and take as much time as you need to recharge your enthusiasm to try again. And though taking part in holiday festivities may be the last thing you want to do, I truly believe that it is when you feel that way is when you need it most. You begin to appreciate what you already have more and that helps to motivate you. Enjoy the lights, the decorations, the eggnog, food, music and games – they only come once a year. Sure, you probably will get those
annoying probing questions at the holiday dinner table (My personal favorites are “¿Y tu novio?/Where’s your boyfriend?” and “Did you get a real job yet?”) but you have the choice as to addressing that question or not.
With losing a job comes grief and that honestly intensifies when its around the holidays. You will go through ALL of the stages and maybe even more than once the closer you get to the “acceptance” stage. No matter what stage you are in (grieving-wise) you should consider your opinions. I’ve come to embrace the idea that this free time gives me a chance to catch up on what I was missing during that brief time that I was employed, including updating this blog. The best thing to do is make the best of this time. Take on new projects, evaluate yourself. Think about what talents you have and what it can lead to career-wise. Get productive, invest in yourself and this may be literally as you can enroll in certificate programs or even workshops that can help you gain a much better position than you had. Who knows, maybe its time to change fields, career goals or even go back to school. Also consider reaching out to those mentors you had or even the HR department at your former employer; they might have connections that can help you get back to work sooner than you think.
3.) You’re not alone (Its not weakness to accept help)
With adulthood comes great independence though that doesn’t mean that you can’t ask for advice/help or accept it if it is . One of the things I had difficulty after entering college (let alone leaving grad school) is asking for help, be it for money, tutoring, or even for a shoulder to cry on. Its just something I never did because it marked me as someone unable to handle certain situations. Since high school I have been very prone to anxiety attacks so it is no surprise that there are many times within a single day that I get overwhelmed with the financial implications of this new reality that I start panicking and I lash out on people or completely shut down. (When you’re born and raised in NYC you learn rather quickly that having no steady income is the equivalent to writing your own eviction notice.) It took a lot for me to ask for help figuring out my next move with my mentor and if I am completely honest, I only did so at the urging of a friend. In retrospect I should have reached out sooner, though the fact that I did so at all is proof of much needed growth on my part. If anything this has been a humbling experience as it proved to me that we never get anywhere on our own so we shouldn’t pretend that we have to.
Growing up we have been fed the myth that once you receive that college diploma you immediately enter into your chosen career with the job of your dreams; it is a very straightforward and effortless path to success. This may have actually been true in the past and in places that were not major cities like New York, but the truth is success is not so easily gained. With the start of this new year I have made a point to “look at the bright side.” The limited time spent at that company gave me experience that will now be listed on my resume, demonstrating that I have what it takes to enter my desired field. I gained professional contacts and even improved on some of my marketable skills. I expanded my LinkedIn network which has provided me with contacts that I wouldn’t have otherwise been introduced to. So while I may be back to “square one” its far from over. This is not to say that am content with the situation, quite the opposite actually. Just like with our individual body positive journeys, being unemployed is going to have its good days and bad. Today is a good day, and tomorrow brings endless possibilities.
When I was thinking about how to title each point of this post my mind kept going back to some song lyrics that have been played over and over since I got laid off . Each point is linked to videos of these songs, each of which are from different musical genres and artists, but I hope you enjoy them should you decide to take a listen.
*The World Won’t Hold Your Hand by Sarah Jezebel Deva
** You Got Spirit Kid by Coheed & Cambria
*** Not Alone by Darren Criss