I was laid off the Friday before Thanksgiving of last year and immediately joined the ranks of the unemployed. One would think a period of unemployment would entice one to write millions of blog posts, but negative. I had no time. I finally secured a new position near the end of March, however I am intrigued by my approach following that event.
I am no stranger to job loss; my industry just works on a model of contract positions, layoffs and job-hoppers. This most recent event was the 4th time I have been laid off in less than 5 years, and I have developed a sense of hardiness and preparedness to make each event just a little bit easier . This particular round was rough, and I took measures to continue preparations in the event it happens again.
Although I (seem to) always crave change, innovation and constant forward mobility, a job loss always reminds me that way deep down, I want consistency, routine and security for myself so I can plan my future, create goals and actually reach them. My industry is difficult, but I am a member of Generation X, a generation that was raised by a generation where people worked at the same company their entire career and then retired. Moving around so much feels dirty, but it is the new norm. I don’t think I will ever get used to that, but in all of my career endeavors, I have sought out this nirvana; a company that will give me the freedom to innovate, change and evolve…but keep me for the duration (or quit making bad business decisions, such as providing ridiculous perks that only employees under 25 will appreciate).
For the past few months I took the financial hit and chose to be a bit more picky in my job search. I was on the edge of turning 40, and I was not looking to continue playing the job-hopping game. I probably portrayed myself as an uber-bitch at many of my interviews, asking annoyingly tough questions such as, “When was the last time you laid someone off” and “Why do all of your former employees show a tenure of less than a year on LinkedIN”. I wasn’t messing around this time. The company I ultimately ended up with was one I chose, over 3 years ago, but kept in touch with the owner on LinkedIN. Surprisingly, that networking shit works…although it takes a lot of time to nurture.
Now don’t get me wrong, the stress was real, especially at the turn of March. I literally had a hard deadline for putting my house on the market, which was April 4th (my 40th birthday). My unemployment benefits ended on the last week of March, my freelance work dried up and I was on the razors edge of f*cked. I was even considering moving out of state. Those last weeks, I felt my motivation wane by a significant percentage day over day and serious depression was starting to kick in. That being said, I received a job offer on March 19th, and the job offer I wanted on March 21st, in the literal “nick of time”.
Of course, due to the Law of all that is Murphy, I had over 10 requests for an interview and 2 other job offers come in immediately after I accepted that offer. Seriously. I literally sat here for months with nothing, and then it all comes in at once. Why? Hiring processes take months, for absolutely no reason. The only reason I got the job offer I wanted as quickly as I did, is because I got a job offer I had to accept. The previous job offer was for a great company, and one I was rather excited to work at, but the other offer offered the salary, title and home working environment I was looking for. I was well-aware that it was going to happen exactly like that, but the duration of time between the layoff and offer was a little longer than I would have liked. The irony is that I have been laid off before the holidays 90% of the time, and nobody is hiring around the end of the year. They need to reach Q2 before hiring is a priority.
So what the hell did I do during that time?
I helped my friend grow his business (for free…because through all that, he didn’t have any damned income either and I wanted him to be successful), I studied for a real-estate license because I wanted a backup for my backup and I love real estate (I will still take the license exam early summer for fun), I studied Python on Coursera, seriously considered going back to school for a Masters in some Data Science medium, I started and pulled a digital marketing business (because f*ck that…I didn’t want to own a dime-a-dozen digital marketing agency) and I picked up freelance work. Oh yeah, I also applied for jobs, which is a full-time job in itself. Basically, I focused on making life better and more secure going forward, in any and all ways possible.
So what now life? Shall we continue as planned? I think so.
Also published on Medium.