This post is long overdue. Like, three months overdue. But I think I needed this time to focus on other things and now that I’m closing the Columbia, MO chapter of my life, I’m ready to share this.
If you’re new here, welcome! I’m glad to have you and I hope you’ll stay a while. If you want all the dirty details on what inspired this post, start here.
Anyway, have you noticed no one ever really talks about the bad stuff that happens to them? I get it, sharing that a relative has died or that you lost your job is not as exciting as sharing news about your engagement or the new house you just bought. But I’ve noticed because we tend to publicly share only the good things in our lives, we feel extra crappy when things don’t go our way. Even though setbacks are totally normal.
When I was laid off a few months ago, I felt like I had no choice, but to be public about it. I was living in a small college town that just couldn’t stay out of the news and I wanted family, friends and the few randos I’m still friends with on Facebook to know that I was actively looking for a job and looking to move. So, I wrote a status about it.
The outpouring of love was amazing. It made me wonder why people weren’t open about their struggles more often. Not necessarily on social media, but with friends and family. I’ve gotten better in my adult life, but I remember there was a time when I was embarrassed to admit anything negative about my life. I’d lie about how I did on a test, or if I’d been losing weight, just stupid stuff.
My theme for this season that I’m in right now has been honesty. I’m never going share everything, but I do want to be as open as possible about my struggles because I never know who I could be helping. At any given moment half a dozen friends on our Insta feeds are on the beach, brunching with their besties or getting engaged, it’s unrealistic to think that those same people aren’t also going through some pretty crappy times as well. But no one posts the video of them having a panic attack, no one uploads their denial letter from a really promising job, that’d be weird, but it’d also be incredibly humanizing. After all, everyone is going through something and it’s easy to forget that when our social feeds show us all good all the time.
So, now that I’ve had some time to sit with where I am in life, I’m ready to pay it forward. I do have a caveat though: advice is never one size fits all. What works for me, might not work for you. So try some of these, or all of them and let me know how it goes.
1. Go do something you love.
Question: What is your favorite thing to do? What brings you the most peace and reenergizes you in the best way? Whatever it is, do it as soon as you can after losing your job. I mean ASAP. If you love baking chocolate chip cookies, go to your favorite grocery store, get your favorite ingredients and go HAM in the kitchen. If you love pampering yourself and heard a new spa opened up, treat yourself to a facial (check for coupons and deals first!). Why? Because dammit you deserve it.
When I got laid off the first time and the second time, I could feel that it was about to happen. The writing was on the wall. It had nothing to do with me and was truly a situation of wrong place, wrong time. These type of work situations tend to come with an amazing amount of stress. So once you’re released from that stress, do something that physically releases you from it as well.
2. Count your coins.
I’m not sure there’s been a point in my adult life where I haven’t been worried about money, but being unemployed takes it to a whole different level. Take inventory of what you have, what’s due and how long your severance will cover the bills. If you live with roommates or an S.O., include them in the conversation, you don’t want the first time they’re hearing about it to be when a bill is past due.
3. Pick back up a project that you never finished.
Got an unfinished novel? Started a couch to 5K and quit halfway through? Time to start back up again. You’ve now got a lot of unexpected time on your hands. Looking for jobs eight hours a day, five days a week is not realistic. So spend some time with the project you’ve been putting off.
4. Say it with me, BLOCKED.
Maybe this is a little extreme, but I was devastated the first time I lost my job. So, I blocked the company and a lot of my former coworkers on social media. I didn’t want to relive the stress and that’s okay. You can always change your mind and undo it. If you aren’t sure you should go this route, pay attention to whose profile you start to creep on when you’re bored. If you find yourself in a rabbit hole of old office drama, time to block.
5. Lastly, keep a schedule.
It’s really tempting to sleep in until noon and eat ice cream for breakfast because no one is around to see (or is this just me?). But sticking with a schedule is key. It’ll be that much easier to fall back into work when you land your new job.
Losing a job is never easy and sometimes it makes you feel like the biggest failure, but know you aren’t alone. It’s all part of your journey and you will come out on the other side of it.