From the articles I’ve read, getting laid off can be a surprisingly traumatic, depressing experience. However, when I received my termination papers, my emotions were far from that; more like relieved!
The entrepreneurial lifestyle had been on my radar since December of 2016. After a year and a half with the company, I was HATING where I was in my professional career. I could recall days when I would wake up, look in the mirror, and couldn’t recognize my own reflection. Even though I was vocal about my aspirations and desires, receiving those opportunities was not in the cards for me. It was only a matter of time before they let me go.
Some aren’t mentally and financially prepared to be laid off, but there are ways of avoiding a sense of lost identity and using this career change to your advantage.
Reflect & then move on
The day after I was laid off, I woke up and realized that I wasn’t getting on the bus to work anymore. No more logging into the company’s internal system, or sitting in market team meetings I didn’t care to attend. A stack of legal information was left for me to review and process. I pushed that stack to the side, & relaxed on the couch. No time for a pity party, this was my opportunity to reflect on the last 22 months, and plan for my next two months and more.
As counterintuitive as it may be, taking the time to reflect is essential in this time period. Answer those questions spinning in your head: “What did I learn professionally from the company? How do I envision the rest of my year? What can I do during this time period to better myself and refrain from being stagnant?”
Use this time period to prepare for the upcoming months. Whether you decide to start that business you’ve set aside or pick up that book you’ve heard great reviews about, make every minute worth your while. I was thrilled at the idea of making my goal of reading 12 books in a year, attending webinars of my interests, and dedicating my time to moving my clothing business forward.
Using your network to your advantage
Before writing this article, I hadn’t told everyone the real reason for me being unemployed. The feeling of failing and true embarrassment had taken over my entire being. Don’t be like me! This is the wrong way to approach the situation.
Explaining to your network your current career position allows them to inform you of possible job openings and positions that may be of interest to you. Your network can work to your benefit.
Discussing my current endeavors has allowed me to practice and perfect pitching my business plan to others as well as assisting me in finding other individuals that could help move my business forward. In addition, if anyone knew of full-time or part-time positions that could work within my schedule, I was first on their list to be notified.
Hold yourself accountable
With 40 unfilled hours, how do you plan to utilize them? Developing a well thought out plan can help with organizing your day to day tasks. For example, 15 hours of my week can be dedicated to job boards and job search, another 10 searching for fabrics, next 10 to sketching designs, and my final 5 hours for social media planning. This method leaves no empty hours and provides time restrictions and deadlines.
Get that unemployment check
Naturally, the bills for rent, electric, and phone haven’t and aren’t going to stop. That rainy day savings fund comes in handy, but won’t last forever. In my head, unemployment was charity or a handout; however it’s just insurance during this transitional phase. Swallow your pride and file for unemployment. You’re not weak, or less-than for filing. If that’s a thought in your head, REMOVE IT! The money is there to help you get back on my feet.
Attend free programs & events
Remember that entrepreneurial pitch meetup you could never make? Well, you now have the time! Using Meetup, you can find like-minded individuals gathering to talk about topics they care about. Explore any area from fashion and beauty, to movement, to pets. Likewise, many companies offer free programs to help enhance your skills. For example, Apple offers photography courses for your phone, and beginner lessons on coding for Macbook, as well. The optimal word here is FREE.
Even though walking out of my office building left me with a nostalgic feeling and lack of security, I was provided the time to recharge and build my dreams. There’s no timeline for how long this journey of unemployment will be or a blueprint to display how to maneuver through this phase. It’s best to focus on the things you can control, maintain a sense of humor, and always stay positive.
Have you ever been laid off? How did you make the best of it? Connect with me!