Hi, hello, happy Monday! I miss this little corner of the Internet, and I’m excited to finally have time to return, nourish and grow it. Here’s why…
Four weeks ago, I found out that after just eight months of employment, I was getting laid off from my full-time job in public relations and social media. I had one month to try to figure my life out…and well, as of this past Friday at noon, I am officially unemployed.
The last four weeks have been confusing, sad, happy, bitter, embarrassing, exciting…all at once. For awhile (and even still currently as I type this), I was too ashamed to admit to the fact that I had been laid off and that I was feeling so many things at one time. But, I’m hoping that writing and connecting with others who have maybe gone through the same situation will bring some semblance of clarity into my life.
When I received the news that I was laid off, I was shocked (…and weepy). I hadn’t seen anything coming whatsoever. I had planned to stay at my job for at least three years to grow and develop my career and hone in on “what I wanted to do when I grew up.” My plans were ripped out from under me without any of my control (as life so frequently loves to do), and I was left in a place of total surprise and a lot of great big unknowns.
Honestly, I didn’t cry much the first few days because I think I couldn’t really wrap my mind around it. Total state of shock.
One of my first reactions to the news (which is hardly shocking if you know me at all) was stress. Job hunting anywhere is hard. Job hunting in San Diego is notoriously hard. Unless you’re in the biotech, tech or armed services sectors, career availability in San Diego can be pretty limited. On average, it took me about six months to find each of my previous jobs…and I immediately tried to fathom being unemployed for six months and trying to figure out how I would manage.
While I feel okay financially, it’s been impossible for me not to stress about money, especially as the holidays hit. Hello, Christmas shopping, fun, festive activities, travel, food, you name it. Goodbye non-existent income! And while, I’m proud that I have a few months saved up, it stresses me out to touch that account, especially when I was hoping I could add to it and use part of it for a larger trip in 2019. But, that’s what savings are for, right?
I’m also stressed about what this is going to look like to future employers. I know that I can explain the layoff during interviews, but what happens when my resume is tossed even before the interview stage because it looks like I’m job hopping? Will companies even begin to consider me as a viable candidate?
Finally, I am stressed about my mental state. I thrive - and keep my anxiety at bay - with routine. If I’m unemployed, how can I have a routine (that feels like I’m fulfilling a purpose)…and what’s going to happen with my anxiety levels?
I was sad when I got the news. Honestly, I’m still sad. I didn’t really foresee this chapter in my life happening again (I was unemployed for a few months following college graduation)…and it’s difficult to not feel totally dejected and rejected to an extent. And trust me…nothing is sadder than going to a wedding and seeing so many people from your past and explaining your current layoff situation.
I know hundreds of thousands of college grads are unemployed. I know I’m not the sole case, but I have a big sense of shame in admitting I’m a top-15-college-grad, and I was laid off. I’ve never once judged any friend or acquaintance on their layoff, but I’ve suddenly become so harsh to myself (read above: why is it sad for me to admit that to people at a wedding?!). I’m slowly working on practicing greater kindness with myself.
It’s not all tears and sad faces over here though - I promise. I fully believe everything happens for a reason and one door closes for a better to open…and that possibility (however far down the line) excites me.
I’m excited to not work with some particularly difficult individuals and to not feel attached and bound to my phone at all hours. I’m excited to have some time to pursue hiking, reading, writing, spending time with my cat Walt and projects around the house. I’m excited that I have the potential to maybe choose a new career if I wanted…maybe even break from the 9-to-5 (though, I truly am a rare one who likes working in an office).
There’s a lot of exciting possibilities out there…and that’s fun (and slightly overwhelming, if we’re being honest) to think about! As my dear friend Gretchen told me: “Don’t limit yourself. You’re 25. You can do anything you want with your life right now.”
I’m honestly not sure what I want to do next. I hadn’t really thought this far ahead…because I had a three-year plan.
So, for now, I’m trying to ask myself to stay curious. To keep asking: What do I want? What do I like to do? Where can I see myself?
I can’t say I have many answers yet, but being laid off has provided some solid time for self-inquiry and reflection that may have been needed all along.
So, here I write on my first day of unemployment - confused, sad, angry, excited, anxious, inspired and just about everything in between.
I don’t know what the next step is, but what I do know at this point is: I won’t settle. I’m not getting a job to get a job. It’s time to figure out what’s right for me…and just what that next door might be.