Why does something significant have to happen in order for us to realize what's in front of us? I've been un-employed for one week exactly and in the last week I've had the most eye opening experience - learning so much more about myself in the last 7 days than I've learned in the past 33 years. It's so cliche, but the saying is true - things happen for a reason and getting laid off...well there's a reason to it (even though it may not be totally apparent right now).
While my first reaction when I found out was to tear up in shock and immediately rush home to jump on every career site while applying at my neighboring boutiques for a part-time shop girl job to supplement my income, I only did part of it. Well actually everything but apply for part-time jobs. Within hours I updated my resume, signed up for every job board and slowly (non-chalantly) started telling people I had been out of a job. I didn't do it because I needed leads, but because I wanted them to know. A job is so much of who we are - It consumes more hours in a week than anything else and I wanted people to know before getting the question of, "How's work going?" What I experienced in the 24 hours after was completely overwhelming. Little did I know (actually, what I should say is little did I recognize) I was surrounded by this amazing village and it pushed me to be more motivated than I already was. At that moment, I knew it would be ok.
By day 3 I realized that there will never be another time to find clarity. A time to re-evaluate who I am, what I want to do and what I want to accomplish without a current job influencing these types of decisions. Now is now and I should embrace this moment to take it as an opportunity. An opportunity to be a better wife, mom, friend, employee...a better version of me. Afterall I have an amazing family, great friends and good health - what more could I ask for? Ok fine an income would be nice and is a necessity, but really - it could be worse. So in the few days of un-employment, I've learned (and in some cases re-learned) better ways to approach each day:
- Build relationships - not acquaintances. While I have always been known to preach this, and as much as I was trying my best to live this, I'm going to work harder because these relationships will help pick you up in these moments. Every text, email, call and morse code I received was so un-neccessary, but much appreciated.
- Turn off your mobile anything. I decided to take mini out of school one day to enjoy the moment and have a day full of adventures. While we did, I noticed myself rushing to my phone at every moment like I had some important email to respond to. I had nothing urgent waiting for me and all of a sudden I realized that this was a habit I picked up from my daily work life. This will be a hard habit to quit, and I'm sure I won't quit completely, but it's a good reminder to limit how frequently I check my phone when I'm with my family.
- Make as much time for yourself, as you do for anything (or anyone) else in your life. Indulge in me time. As much as I like to count running to the grocery store without a child as me time, that's a mandatory thing and not something I would choose to do. My idea of me time is coffee un-interrupted, yoga without guilt of rushing home and a self-applied fresh coat of nail polish (with time to dry). It doesn't have to be anything extravagant, just a small selfish something to do for myself.
- Pay it forward. If you've never seen the movie with Haley Joel Osment then I would say watch that to get the gist of how life works in the most wondrous ways. But really, as my friend Abby said, "Karma is a real thing" and it is. For everything good that happens to me, I should be giving back twice as much, if not more.
Un-employment is a very un-settling thing and while I'm very much pounding the pavement networking, sending resumes and researching leads until the wee hours of the night - I'm trying to enjoy this moment. This isn't my ideal situation, but I'm determined and working harder than ever to come out ahead of this. However, at this juncture I'm also re-learning the meaning of life and accepting that this too shall pass.