In December 2018, just a few days after Christmas, the unexpected happened. I got laid off from my job after almost three years of being happily employed. This is something that I haven’t shared with many. Even the ones who knew didn’t know the extent of how being laid off truly affected me. Now, almost 3 years later, I finally have the courage to share my story.
If you’ve read any of my previous blog posts, then you know how much I truly value being transparent & vulnerable with my readers. I’ve shared things that most people wouldn’t dare tell others, let alone put on the internet for the entire world to see. Things like having an abortion, not wanting to be a mom & the internal struggle I faced when I chose to stop breastfeeding. But for some reason sharing the fact that I got laid off was so hard for me. I was ashamed. I didn’t want people to know. In hindsight, I think it was for a couple of reasons.
The journey I went on to achieve the career I had was not easy. It was one of my biggest accomplishments. It took me years to get out of the restaurant industry and to find my passion as a recruiter. Getting laid off made me feel like a failure. It felt like everything I worked so hard for was being taken away from me. I wasn’t sure how to internalize it.
I felt like I didn’t have anything valuable to bring my readers. If you look at some of the posts I mentioned above, I shared them AFTER I had already experienced them. When the hard shit was over. I wrote my posts this way because I’ve always wanted to be able to give my readers a happy ending. Every post concluded on a good note with tips & advice on how to get through what I’ve gone through. Never before had I shared a struggle WHILE I was currently dealing with it.
Side note: This is something I’m working on. It’s one thing to be vulnerable after you’ve come out on top… it’s another thing to be vulnerable when you’re being dragged through the mud. I’ve learned that it’s not always about being able to provide people with a good outcome. Sometimes, people just need someone they can relate to.
Being laid off was, without a doubt, one of the darkest times of my life. When I wasn’t frantically searching for a job, I was laying in bed, crying and worrying. In fact, I was so stressed I actually developed stress hives all over my body. It didn’t help that every time I thought I got close to landing a position – BAM! There came the rejection letter.
I was only unemployed for 1.5 months, but it felt like an eternity. As horrible as that time was, I wouldn’t take it back even if I could. Not only am I in a much better place in my career, but I learned so much during that time. I didn’t realize what was being taught to me, but if I ever got laid off again (knock on wood) I would handle it much differently.
Here are 8 things I learned from being laid off…
#1: It can happen to ANYONE
Layoffs are not personal; so don’t take it that way. Most companies lay people off when they are going out of business, restructuring or need to cut costs. It doesn’t mean you were any less valuable or that your performance was lacking. This was not your fault.
#2: Always have money in savings
Layoffs are unexpected (or come with very short notice) so make you are financially prepared. The last thing you want to worry about while looking for a new job is money. This was my biggest downfall. Christmas had just ended & I did not have enough money in savings to prepare me for this loss. Don’t be like me!
#3: Update your resume & LinkedIn frequently
You know that saying, stay ready so you don’t have to get ready? This applies! If you regularly update your resume and LinkedIn profile you won’t have to scramble at the last minute to get it done. You may have to add a few tweaks here & there, but it’s best to have the majority of it already completed. I recommend updating your resume at least once or twice per month, as needed.
#4: It doesn’t have to be a secret
Don’t be too embarrassed or ashamed to tell your family, friends & network. You never know who will be able to help.
#5: Surround yourself with supportive people
I can’t stress enough how important this is. During this time, I was in a very toxic relationship. The stress from losing my job plus the stress of an unsupportive partner really took a toll on my body & mental health.
#6: Keep in touch with your coworkers
Especially the ones who got laid off too. They can be a great support system and source of leads. What didn’t work out for them, might work out for you & vise versa. You guys can bounce ideas off each other, check in on one another and who knows, maybe even work together again!
#7: Enjoy the time off
Rediscover yourself, find a new hobby, spend more time with your kids, read books, sleep in, go on vacation, organize your closet. Do all the things you normally wouldn’t have time to do while you were working. FYI – it’s totally okay to still have fun. I cancelled my entire birthday plans because I felt guilty for celebrating when I didn’t even have a job. I wish I hadn’t done this as it put me in even more of a slump. Please know, it’s totally okay to still enjoy life while you are looking for your next career opportunity.
#8: Stay Positive!
Easier said than done right? Trust me… I know. But everything works out for the greater good. It may be hard to see it now, but believe me. It does. When one door closes, another opens.