This week, I was made redundant. Losing my job came as a total surprise. I sat in a room that had a weird smell and my boss told me that I was to be let go.
It’s a difficult thing to sit through and to then digest for the remainder of the day, especially with the knowledge that it’s your last day. Understandably, I was unable to concentrate or focus on my usual daily tasks; at the back of my mind all I could think was what is the point?
Instead, I decided to milk the office for all their free teabags and biscuits for the rest of the day; seriously, I don’t think I’ve ever drunk so much tea. I swear I didn’t even break into any of my own snacks or drinks that day.
Now, I’m not going to tell you to rob your employers of all their perks while you still can (although it may feel like payback at the time). I’m going to tell you how to turn a redundancy into a positive.
Losing your job and being out of work is almost certainly not a reflection of you or your ability. This is important to remember. The rejection may still sting, but please do not hold yourself to your own ridiculously high expectations; and certainly don’t torture yourself thinking back to things you could have done differently. The first step is to acknowledge and accept that what has happened has happened, and to be okay with that.
For me, I must admit I was shell-shocked at the time. But the more I mulled things over, the more excited I became for a new chapter. I finally have time to breathe, to read books, to check in with myself and to think about what I really want to do.
When I think about it, I didn’t love my job. I didn’t love sitting at an office all day and I didn’t love the type of work that I did. I hate telephone calls and I certainly hate uncomfortable office wear and working a strict 9-5. There are so many things I’m incredible at, and this just wasn’t one of them. But aren’t I glad I realised this now and not a couple of years down the line?! I believe this is a perfect example of a blessing in disguise. The fact I’m writing this piece just goes to show how much fun I’m having since losing my job, and what you yourself may be capable of accomplishing given the opportunity.
Now, you may have loved your job or you may have hated it. If you loved it, great! You have found your calling and you know what you want to do. Give yourself time to heal and take care of yourself. When you are ready to begin job hunting, you know what to look for, or perhaps have an idea of the industry you want to be in.
Don’t even think about letting this knock hold you back or make you question your capabilities. You are so amazing! But unfortunately, knocks and blows are a cruel and inevitable part of life, but it is how you respond that matters. You can choose to allow them to shrink you, or you can choose to come back angrier, stronger, and hungrier than ever before.
If you are reading this I’m guessing you are searching for a way to come back.
This is your sign that it is time to bounce back.
If you weren’t so lucky to love your previous employment, then you have landed in the perfect situation. You now have the freedom and space to dig deep, check in with yourself, and figure out your next step. This is not to say you have to decide on your dream career right now. Most don’t have the luxury of knowing this until it hits them in the face much later in life.
Instead, this is simply your time to have a think. Think about everything.
What did your job teach you? What did you hate about it? Did you enjoy any part of it?
Jot these ideas down and you’ll start to see your requirements.
Maybe instead of a 9-5, you need something more flexible? Maybe you prefer remote working? Or maybe you love being in an office space for the social interaction? Maybe you like travelling or being out and about and can’t stand the thought of being behind a desk all day?
These are all your requirements. Look for things that tick all your boxes. I know it’s easier said than done, but it’s a start and a step in the right direction toward your happiness; which is by far the most important factor to consider.
Obviously, I am not under the delusional impression that this is realistic for every single woman out there with rent to pay, mouths to feed, and bills piling up on the coffee table. Losing your job is daunting and resembles the feeling of freefalling. If this sounds familiar then I would say to you that there is no shame in tracking down a temporary job while you figure out yourself; to pay the bills or just to keep yourself busy. Drown out the thoughts and feelings of anyone else. Remember, breathe. The only pressure to be perfect that you feel has been put there by you.
There is equally no shame in just staying unemployed for a while. Use this free time as sick leave, use it for self-care and deep cleaning, meditation, reading, bingeing Netflix and all things that heal the mind.
Everyone will handle this situation differently, and you need to allow yourself to do so.
Personally, I was unashamedly excited to delve straight into my new life. I promised myself the weekend “off;” a weekend of processing my recent unemployment and some time to wallow. Although, this didn’t quite work out as I had initially planned.
I think my lack of adoration for my previous employment had something to do with my excitement, but for me a new chapter is always welcomed. I’ve been searching for jobs and broadening my horizons to roles outside of what my degree is in. I am not my qualifications and I am learning to be kind to myself.
I don’t wish to retire forty years from now with a heavy list of regrets, and so the thought of a new scenario is actually comforting. However, when I’m not being impressively resilient you can always catch me bingeing Netflix, reading a book, or taking myself out on walks for the simple pleasure of blasting good music through my headphones without interruption at home.
A close friend recently recited a quote to me that read, “don’t mistake a career for a life.” This simple quote resonated with me; and I don’t know about you, but I almost physically felt the weight lift off my shoulders. Losing my job was one of the best things that has happened to me.
I urge you to keep this in the back of your mind. Life trundles on through all the trials of life. You will carry on and you will be okay. Your priority is now your happiness. This is not a knock, it’s a learning curve.
I wish you the very best of luck.