Losing your job blows. There's really no better or less crass way to say it. Losing your job, either voluntarily or involuntarily, affects everything from your emotional well-being to your bank account. You become frantic, stressed-out, and desperate to find a job, any job, that will give you some semblance that your life isn't spinning wildly out of control.
Trust me, I know. I've been living it for two months now and, like I said, it blows. Unfortunately, curling up into a ball in bed and emerging only to use the bathroom and forage for sugary snacks is not a feasible option for coping.
So, what should you do?
I'm not here to tell you to put your nose to the grind, keep sending out resumes, network LinkedIn like you're lobbying for a four day work week, and pray to whatever deity you pray to that something will work out. You're already doing all of that and more, and certainly don't need to hear it from me.
However, I do have a short list of a few things you should start doing:
First, surround yourself with awesome people.
Last night I was feeling like rubbish, frustrated that, after two months, I still have yet to even interview for a single job. I found myself questioning whether I'm at all employable or if I should just call it a loss and run off with the circus. I really despise clowns, so it was an all time low. Then today I received this in the mail:
Long story short, that Star Wars card (which was given to me for my high school graduation from my best friend's awesome husband (then boyfriend)) has bounced back and forth between myself and my friend Amy (who admired it freshman year of college) for over ten years. I truly never know when he'll show up. Annakin and the uplifting message that I'm not alone in my struggles was exactly what I needed today.
I have other amazing friends too. No more than two or three days go by in which I haven't received some sort of encouragement or pick-me-up from a loved one. Even though a significant part of you may want to hide away from the world in shame, keep in contact with the ones you love - you'll be blessed by their support and someday, it may be up to you to return the favor. Also, it's important to keep things positive and remember to rejoice with your friends when good fortune comes their way, especially when comes in the form of a brand-new, shiny blue Prius (Kimmy, I'm super excited to go for a ride in your TARDIS ;-)). It can be hard to continually be so upbeat and happy for everyone else when you feel like you don't have much to celebrate yourself. Smile anyways. Friendship goes both ways and it's your job to support them as much as they support you.
Second, keep thinking long-term.
When it comes down to it, you may not end up at the job of your dreams. You may have to settle for a "It Pays The Bills" kind of job in the meanwhile. That doesn't mean you can't still end up with your dream job. Though it's nice to have plenty of time to catch up on your favorite TV shows (all ten seasons), take a couple hours a day to study for the LSAT. Or take a class at the community college in SEO or coding. Use your time wisely because later, you'll have to account for those 4 months between jobs. (Fingers crossed it doesn't take that long.)
Thirdly, do that thing you've always wanted to do.
You've always talked about how much you'd like to do a triathlon, but who has the time to train? You do. You've got shoe boxes full of photos and several scrapbooks just waiting for you. Run over to Michaels, buy some fun stickers and acid-free double sided tape, and get crackin'. Write that novel. Take up yoga. The point is, there's so much stress involved in job hunting, that you have to do what you can to stay sane. Do the things that make you happy.
I'm writing this post for myself as much as I am writing it for others in a similar position. I need to keep reminding myself that although I'm facing a major life hurdle, life hasn't stopped. I have a tendency to say, "When this thing gets sorted, then I'll do this..." But what if life never gets sorted? One thing may resolve, but another challenge is right around the corner. Life cannot be put on hold and rather than wallowing in self-misery (which gets very boring after ten minutes, anyways), I need to get up, get dressed, and live my life to its fullest.
It's the only life I'm going to get, after all.
And finally, eat that second cupcake.
Because, if we're being honest, you need it.