On a day like any other, I walked into work only to find out it was my last day. A flurry of questions bombarded my mind:
- How will I support my family now without my job?
- What did I do wrong?
- What does this mean for my career?
- What do I do now?
Five months before my wedding, I found out that my entire office was being shut down. I was getting a severance package, but it was not going to last more than a month or two. I had no other jobs lined up, and my fiance’s job could not financially support our current lifestyles. Given that we were planning on paying for half of our wedding, this made matters worse. All of these questions and more pummeled me into submission.
In this article, I am going to go over all of these questions, the harsh realities, and the light at the end of the tunnel.
How will I support my family now without my job?
To put it bluntly, you won’t be able to support them. At least, not for the time being.
If you have no other worked lined up, it is unreasonable to assume that you will be working at a new job for the next week or so. If you do, more power to you, but it simply isn’t probable that you will have a new job for at least 30 days.
Do not force yourself into a job that does not fit your needs just for the sake of working. If you need to find work, there are plenty of other things you can do for money in the meantime.
For example, you can publish your services on a website like Craigslist so that you can make money here and there for doing the work that you already know. This can help keep your skills from growing dull as well.
File for unemployment as soon as you can. Speaking from experience, it can take a long time before you get your first unemployment check, and there tend to be a few hurdles you need to leap beforehand, so start soon.
Also, change your home budget. For the time being, unnecessary expenditures like eating out, going to movies, going to bars and seeing concerts will have to take a hiatus until you find work. If you simply cannot afford to pay essential bills like rent, you might want to temporarily move back home with your parents until you find a new job.
With all of these lifestyle changes, there is no shame involved. These are simply things that everyone has to do at some point in their life.
What did I do wrong?
First off, there is a big difference between being fired and being laid-off. If you were fired for your work output or for your personal behavior, this should be a time of self-reflection and growth. Just because you were not a good employee for this company does not mean that you won’t be a good employee in the future. There are plenty of videos on YouTube that can teach you about workplace sensitivity and tips on how to be a better employee.
If you are asked by an interviewer why you left the company, there is nothing wrong with saying that you were let go and that it simply wasn’t a good fit for you at the time. Getting fired is far from uncommon, and try to keep in good relations with your direct supervisor so that they can still be used as a reference. Even if you didn’t succeed in all facets of your job, your reference can acknowledge your best attributes from your time with their company.
If you were laid off by a company, remember that even though the company failed, that failure does not necessarily reflect on you. This can still be a period of personal growth for you, but remember that it was not your actions that led you to this point. Do not speak ill of your former company. Like you, many of the other employees are now out of work and are also looking for a new job. Keep in contact with everyone on the job search; if someone finds a job that still has openings, they can introduce you and give you a recommendation. If you can do the same for them, do so. Along with being the right thing to do, they might be able to help you down the line.
What does this mean for my career?
Let me give you a snapshot of what my resume looked like for awhile:
- Job A-One year
- Job B-Six Months
- Job C-Eight Months
- Job D-Six Months
I was beyond self-conscious about my resume. I thought that the fact that I did not stay at the same job for more than a year did not speak well of myself or my professional abilities.
Here’s the thing, there are a lot of resumes like this.
Employers are used to seeing resumes that look like this, or even worse. Although they might ask why you were there for a short amount of time, you have the answers, and they will help justify your resume. For me, Job B and Job D were both company-wide lay offs. Jobs A and C were both companies I left for better albeit riskier opportunities. For my career path, this was par for the course.
If it still worries you, there is nothing wrong with changing your resume to just include the years rather than the actual amount of time you were there. For example, my resume could also look like this:
- Job A- 2014-2015
- Job B- 2015-2016
- Job C- 2016-2017
- Job D- 2017
Doesn’t that look better?
Losing your job will only hurt your career if you let it. As long as you jump back into the job search, you’ll find work again and pick up where you left off.
What do I do now?
Depending on your financial situation, you have a few options. Not all of these options may be right for you, but it is important to make a plan on what you are going to do next.
Take a break
There is nothing wrong with taking some time from work to focus on yourself. If you are able to move back home for awhile or live off the income of your spouse or partner, you can leave the workforce for awhile to reflect and plan your next move. During this time you can get to some projects around your home, take up a hobby, grow your own business, travel or even just spend time with friends and family.
Go back to school
Have you just not been having luck in your career path? It could be that this line of work simply is not for you, and there is nothing wrong with that. It is not unheard of for a person to be in their 60s and change careers to something they would rather be doing.
If this is the case for you, consider going to school or back to school. Find a new passion that better fits what you want to be doing. Take into consideration what school will cost before going on this endeavor, and ask for the advice of your friends and family before making any decisions.
Get back on the horse
Losing your job is more than likely just a bump on the road in an otherwise wonderful journey. There are plenty of resources out in the world to help you find your next job, so go out and start looking.
Remember that finding a new job can take time. I was unemployed for four months until I finally found a job after being laid off. Quite often, companies wait to hire until the new year once September-October roll around. If you’re hired towards the end of the year, don’t panic if the jobs don’t start rolling in right away, but keep your resume out there while you’re looking.
Re-build your resume, cover letter and portfolio
Now that you are back on the job hunt, it’s time to polish your resume, cover letter and portfolio. You can build a strong online portfolio for next to nothing with a decent blogging site. As for your resume and cover letter, we can help with that.
Our job is to help make your resume and cover letter stand out above your competition. It will be professional and well-structured to reflect you and your journey.
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