Lessons Learned While Being Unemployed

I got a phone call this morning from a dear friend of mine. She had been fired.

I know from first hand experience that she is very good at what she does. Not only that but she loves what she does. She has passion, enthusiasm, drive, and fantastic work ethic. But she was unfortunately in a toxic work environment where there was a revolving door of employee terminations. She’s a full time divorced single working mom with wonderful kids. She’s never been terminated from a job so this is a first for her and a big deal to wrap her head around.

She called me because she knows, I have been there done that. What I’m sharing here it what I shared with her.

Losing a job sux!

You suddenly have all the time in the world to do anything, but no $$ to spend, and are emotionally taxed. It’s very likely you’ll spend much of your time licking your wounds of shredded pride, while now doubting your value.

I have lost jobs, and at times it was more difficult than the other to pull myself through. Sometimes I bounced back in a week, sometimes it took years to recover emotionally. I’ve read that losing a job is much like a death. You go through a process of mourning. You question everything. It’s lonely and isolating. One day you were wishing you could throw your iphone into the depths of the ocean, and then the next day it’s eerily silent. You feel like you’ve been cut off from the world. Which in a way you have. Or at least the world you knew. It’s scary. You linger in a feeling of “Now what do I do??”

I warn people that it’s not the day of, or of the day after you feel it, but a few days in is when it hits you. The day of you’re probably livid and have an overdrive of adrenaline surging through you, are to stunned in shock to wrap you head around it, or maybe truly devastated and scared. The next day you are probably so emotionally raw you’ll sleep and be glad for it. You’ll celebrate the fact that you never had to set the alarm. But then a few days later you don’t really know what to do.  At some point in your life someone planted a seed a doubt and defeat in your head by telling you “it’s easier to get a job when you have a job, they won’t hire you if you’re not already working.” I’m hear to tell you that’s not true and assure you that you will get through this. You have to, it’s just the fact. And here is how.

If they say there is a lesson in everything here is what I have learned.

It taught me to hustle! When you need money you will find it. There are at least two or three dozen ways you could make a buck. Me, I chose dog sitting. Did I love picking up dog shit and having my furniture covered in dog hair, no, but that first month I paid my rent!  

It taught me I’m resilient and showed that I had tenacity. As the old adage says, that which does not kill you makes you stronger. I can look back and see times when I picked myself up and dusted myself off. I kept going. Even if I was in a funk, or at times, a black hole, I never gave up. I knew there was a way out of the whole and I had to find it. You will too.

Sometimes you can’t take if personally. Sometimes a boss is like a bad boyfriend. Sometimes they just don’t like you or you just don’t really work well together. And in that situation it is unfortunate that they have the power to cut you.  Maybe you have a ton of talent but where just in the a job that was a wrong fit for you. Maybe you thought to boldly for the job and it stirred things up.

You are still employable and have value.The first time I was fired from a job (and yes I have been fired), my dad had said to me that a headhunter he worked with loved working with people who had been fired. He found that most often this wrongfully branded group of people who were “fired,” were people willing to break glass ceilings, challenge boundaries and think outside the box.

Enjoy the blessing in disguise. My dad also told me to “…enjoy to this time off and make the best of it.” I give you that same advice. Take a deep breath. Keep yourself going. Have a routine. Set goals. Remember to exercise and take care of your physical health and mental health. Really take the time to figure out what is it you want to do in the long run. Think about the big picture.

Welcome to your new normal. After you have time to absorb the reality of what is, you have to pick yourself up by the bootstraps and go get a new job. For great inspiration and motivation, read my next blog Unemployment Survival Tips!

1 thought on “Lessons Learned While Being Unemployed”

  1. Thank you for sharing this! After losing my job recently (albeit with a glowing recommendation and ideas for other firms to send my C.V. to), I was broken, anxious, and questioning every decision I had ever made up until that point. My partner even had a dream that my ex-coworkers came to visit me and tell me that it wasn’t my fault, so clearly my anxiety was affecting more than just me. I had a couple of hypnotherapy sessions to help with the anxiety and get my head right, started to binge-consume personal development resources of all kinds, and have finally settled on going back to uni to start the postgraduate study that I always knew I would get around to. It has turned out to be a blessing in disguise as now I don’t feel like I have to conform to the conservative corporate image that is totally NOT me, and I still get to learn about and be involved in an industry I love ♥ All the best to your friend!

    Liked by 1 person

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