It took me longer to find a job than it did to hold one.
That was the first thought I had when I learned my company decided to shut down U.S. operations just six months after I started my first full-time position. I went through all five stages of the grieving process when it came to being laid off, including but not limited to bawling in front of my co-workers from utter disbelief and feeling extremely livid over the situation.
I was saddened by the fact that my parents had so generously helped me move to New York both through physical labor (six floor walk-ups aren't fun) and financial assistance, all for my job to come crumbling down. I felt like a failure because it seemed that all my peers were exactly where they wanted to be while I was sitting in my room figuring out how to file for unemployment benefits. I was confused -- and still am -- about the answer to "What now?" and had hoped that having my previous job would've stalled that period of my life.
Yet here I am again with my three amigos, Indeed, LinkedIn and Simply Hired. Although I still detest job hunting, updating my resume and writing cover letters, I've finally reached the acceptance stage of my grief after a much-needed, week-long pity party. After a little bit (or maybe a lot) of wine, a talk with my parents, and a great deal of reflection, I've learned this:
1. Things Could Be Worse... Way Worse
I'm lucky. I can't even tell you how fortunate I am really. I could be SOL right now without food, shelter and a warm bed, but I'm not. That sounds dramatic but some people, especially families, actually go through it every day. I'm not raising children or worrying about mouths to feed other than my own. I'm not paying off bills for a forever home or even for a car. I'm even able to go home to my parents to work things out until I find a new job. Things could be worse.
2. It's Not Your Fault
Even though being laid off isn't equivalent to being fired by any means, it's difficult not to blame yourself anyway. How did this happen? Well, you know how it happened, but wasn't there a way you could have prevented it? No, not really. It's far from ideal but just remember that you didn't do anything wrong.
3. When One Door Closes, Another Opens
Of all the clichés out there, this one might be the best. As my mom always says, "Your first job is always the hardest to find." And she's right. Though I only have what feels like a measly few months of work under my belt, future employers will see that I've had real world experience now. It stings a little to say this, but I'm not a "college grad" anymore. A young professional? Yes. But college has long been over and now companies see me as someone who has overcome obstacles, worked with a team, and taken on day-to-day assignments all in a work setting.
4. Don't Be Embarrassed About It
Being laid off will feel awful but after you've stopped eating your feelings away and crawl out of the fetal position, take advantage of your "free time" to connect with people. Don't feel awkward reaching out to your friends, friends of friends, family and old employers about job openings. They'll want to help.
5. You'll Find Something
It might take some time, but it'll happen. When you get that next job, it'll be bigger and better.