I didn't feel like writing about this until now, which was a struggle, since it was really the major event of my summer. But I have a part-time job now, and circumstances seem a little brighter, so I thought I'd share my layoff lessons. This was my first layoff, and I keep thinking it will officially grant me adult status or something.
- The first couple of weeks will be taken up writing awkward emails. I have been truly touched by the number of people who have helped me during this time. Every single person I've told about my layoff has been sympathetic. Many friends and colleagues have investigated leads and put in good words for me, and I have been very grateful. One way in which people have helped has been to give me people to contact about various leads. So, for the first couple of weeks, I wrote a lot of very awkward emails that I feared came off something like this: "Hi, You barely know me (or don't know me at all), but how would you like to review my resume/keep me in mind if a job opens up/hire me for a consultancy down the line?" But, having written a good number of these emails, I believe it is absolutely worth doing. Everyone I have contacted has been very kind. One of these emails even led to my current part-time job!
- Annoyances at home will become more annoying. Unless you are financially secure enough to take a vacation with no income, you will suddenly be spending a lot of time at home. Irritations that were once the domain of evenings and weekends will become the bane of your existence all day every day. Our broken toilet reached nearly apocalyptic proportions in my mind by the time it was fixed. Even more disturbingly, it was starting to seem like a metaphor for my life.
- You can never completely prepare yourself for how you'll feel. Even though the timing of my layoff was surprising, my job never seemed super stable. At some point, I decided that I was going to stay there as long as I could anyway, and that if I lost my job, I would deal with it then. But giving myself that pep talk ahead of time didn't spare me from feeling sad and disoriented in the aftermath.
- Always have a plan for the next thing. My job had some built-in instability that not every job has. But I'm not sure how many truly stable jobs there are anymore. I had decided while I was still working to explore some new career options, and I've written some about the evening classes I've been taking. I am so glad now that I started taking those classes because in the short term, they've given me something concrete to focus on, and in the long term, they're part of a plan to hopefully have more professional stability. But it was key that I started those classes while I was still working because I think it would have been much harder to switch focus and come up with a plan right after being laid off.
- People can help you, but nobody can make it "all better" for you. My first instinct, upon opening my layoff letter, was to start crying on the nearest person's shoulder. I think this would have seriously unnerved the person who was sitting closest to me at the time, so it's a good thing I didn't. But I realized later that what I really wanted was for someone to make everything better for me, but that nobody could. It's great to reach out to people for help (and to help your fellow laid off colleagues if you can), but in the end you have to make sure you keep moving forward and don't get too caught up in shock or sadness.
Wishing everyone stability in jobs they like!