On September 23rd, I was laid off from my position at YP. I’d been there for two years: six months as a contractor and a year and a half as an employee. Though I was feeling like it was time for me to move on from my position as a Sr. Search Fulfillment Specialist, I was still gobsmacked when my senior manager told me that my position had been eliminated. While my official last day wasn’t until the 30th, I had plenty of paid time off left (I was saving it for a trip to visit my family for Christmas). I took the rest of the day off, and I only went in to the office the next day to pack my desk. I said goodbye to my coworkers and left YP.
That night my friends took me out for margarita(s). I won’t lie and say I didn’t sob and get drunk and pass out wondering what my next move would be.
You see, no matter how much you may dislike your job, loosing your primary source of income can feel like the end of the world. The idea of schlepping to the unemployment office is daunting, and in the end you’ll probably want to burrow under your blankets and never adult again.
Below are some tips that helped me get through my period of unemployment.
- Give Yourself Some Time: Whether that’s grabbing some drinks with loved ones or binge watching House of Cards, you deserve time to heal. Your head will be swimming with questions such as: What did I do wrong? Why did this happen to me? What will I do now? I set a deadline for myself. I took about four days to do what I wanted and I didn’t let myself think about or talk about applying for jobs or insurance or bills. When Monday came around, I was ready to tackle the job of finding a new job.
- Set Realistic Goals: When I was ready to jump back into the job market, I set a goal for the number of job applications I wanted to complete. If you feel like that’s the perfect marker for success, then go for it. If you want to complete less or even more job applications, that’s up to you. No matter the number, be sure your goal is attainable. If you set a goal for 50 applications a day, and you can only ever complete half of that, you’ll feel unaccomplished. Know that your goals should be flexible, and as long as you’re putting in the work, you’ll see results.
- Keep Track Of Applications: I’m a compulsive list maker, and I’ve got a notebook I write nearly everything in. This came in handy when applying for jobs, as I was able to write down the name of the company and the position. Not only did this make me feel more accomplished because I could see the number of jobs I was actually applying for, but I was able to find the information quickly when it came time for follow up emails.
- Do A Little Something You Love: Let’s be real, applying for jobs is both an exciting and daunting process. Each position is an exciting opportunity, but the process of filling out form after form isn’t easy. While you may feel the urge to consume yourself with job applications, you still deserve time to relax and do things you enjoy. It’s okay to apply for jobs in the morning then take a break midday and read or workout or give yourself some spa time. Treat yo’self, then get back to work.
- Be Positive, Be Patient: This is perhaps the most important bit of advice I can give. I ruminated over every application that went without a reply and every interview that resulted in not being chosen. What’s wrong with me, I wondered. Why can’t I get a job? These feelings will eat at you if you let them. I’m happy to have a good support system of people who dispelled all my doubts and helped me stay on the bright side. Ultimately it comes down to you, though. You have to tell yourself that everything will be alright, and that if you persist and if you’re patient, something good will happen.
Loosing a job is one of the most stressful life events. While you’re looking for a new job it’s important to remember to be kind to yourself and the people around you. This could be an opportunity to change careers, advance in your current one, or simply find a company you love working for. I know this is tough, but with patience, persistence, a support system, and ice cream/ wine/pizza/all of the above, you will make it to the other side.