It’s been a little while since I’ve posted, and I’m sorry to say this is not a beauty post!
I’m writing this for myself more than anything, because what is a blog if not a space for me to think and express myself?
It’s also a way for me to separate my logical thoughts from my depressive ones. I find when I’m writing, it distracts me enough from the part of my brain telling me the apocalypse is happening to write sensible advice, not only for myself but for anyone else who might find themselves in a similar position.
Great start to a post right? “I’m not entirely sure I’m of sound mind, but I think this is good advice” ha!
If you follow me on Twitter, you’ll be aware that as of Monday 5th of February, 3 months into my new job, I have been made redundant.
I was informed of my redundancy via text on the Sunday (I know), and only those who have lost jobs can know how it feels to be told you’re no longer needed. I spent about an hour in shock, telling my colleagues and seeing their replies of sympathy and surprise flood in.
Then, well, then I cried.
The reasons behind my redundancy were logical for the business, and I have absolutely no burned bridges with my ex-boss, and he is being very helpful in providing me with references and anything else I need to help me find a new position.
However, for me, this is the second time in 4 months I have lost my job.
The second time I have been thrust into the unknown world of unemployment.
The second time, in such a short time, where I have suddenly been forced to push all my natural instincts to have a mental breakdown aside, because if I don’t and don’t manage to find a job as soon as possible, well I may as well give up completely.
So, as this is the second time, I’m going to remind myself of the important things to remember when something like this happens. Starting with the number one priority: you.
Give yourself time to recover
It’s so important for your mental health that you give yourself a day or two to recover from the shock. Whether it was an expected redundancy that had been office gossip for months, or one little mistake that cost you your job, the shock of being made unemployed really takes its toll.
I know that my depression is slowly trying to take over, so I’ve taken the first two days of unemployment to rest, take naps, pamper myself a little and watch some feel-good movies. It’s still there, but it’s a little less aggressive than it was.
Taking time out also gives you a chance to let yourself be angry or upset. You need to express these emotions and not bottle them up. This also helps you to accept the situation and organise your thoughts as to what you plan to do next.
Find the Silver Lining
You all know the saying: “Every cloud has a silver lining” – and it’s true.
While there is plenty to be sad about, try to think of the things you won’t miss about your job. Things you might be relieved you never have to face again.
Maybe it’s an awful, rude customer you had to deal with on a weekly basis. Or maybe it’s a process you found outdated and frustrating. Or a colleague that drove you nuts.
For me, there was a lot of tension and stress in the office that at one point even sent me home with a migraine. I’m actually pretty relieved that I don’t have to deal with that on a daily basis anymore!
Update your CV and start applying for new jobs ASAP
Seems the most logical step, but I know when I first lost my job it took me nearly a week before I fully dedicated myself to finding something new.
This time, I updated my CV on job search sites and exported it to a PDF on my phone. I’ve been applying to jobs throughout the day since first thing on Monday morning. While this might seem stressful when I’ve just said to take a few days of self care, job hunting is done so easily from your phone nowadays that I can press a button and an application is sent.
Doing this not only increases your chances of finding a new position sooner, but also forces you to accept that this is what you have to do now.
Unless you have enough savings that you can spend time thinking about a career change or taking your time finding the perfect job!
Which brings me to my next point –
I realise that to have a savings account nowadays really is a luxury. With so many people living month to month, it’s not always possible to save anything at all.
However, for those who can afford to save at least a little bit, make sure you do.
I can not tell you how much I appreciate past me for making the effort to save. Savings buy you so much more than things – they buy you time.
The first time I lost my job, we had enough in savings that with my partner doing extra overtime, we were okay for three months. When I think about the fact it took 6 weeks for me to find a new job then, I really appreciate the luxury of being able to save.
This time around, past me did the smart thing of shoving as much into the savings account as she could. It means that now, we’re lucky enough to be in a similar sort of situation financially.
I realise that if you’re reading this having lost your job, then this isn’t helpful, so I apologise. However, please take my advice and save what you can as soon as you’re employed again. I promise you it’s worth every penny.
Find a hobby
As I’ve mentioned above, the first time I lost my job it took 6 weeks before I found a new position. During the first three weeks, I almost went insane with boredom.
(Isn’t it funny how when you’re working you want to be at home, yet when you’re home you realise everyone is working?)
When you’re stuck at home and you’ve done all your job hunting for the day, it becomes very difficult to occupy yourself. I ended up splitting up housework across days instead of doing it all at once, just so I had something I needed to do. It got ridiculous.
At around the end of the 4th week, I started this blog. It opened up a whole new world of opportunity and gave me a sense of purpose. I discovered the blogging community and gained a whole bunch of new friends.
That’s not to say blogging is the way forward for you if you don’t want it to be, choose something you thoroughly enjoy that gets you interacting with people. It feels less lonely that way.
Don’t pin your hopes on one job
I made this mistake the first time around. I was so desperate to get the job that nothing else received 100% of my effort.
Although I got that job, look where I am now! Sometimes the thing you want most in the world might not actually be the right thing for you.
Dedicate equal time to each position you apply for. Sure, you’ll have your preferences and be leaning for one more than the other for various reasons, but each application is an opportunity to show yourself as the best you can be.
Who knows, by putting equal effort in you might even have more than one job offer to choose from!
Interviews are good for experience, if nothing else
Most people hate interviews, and for good reason. They’re uncomfortable, you’re usually very nervous and acutely aware that every little thing you do is being judged.
Even if it’s for a job you don’t particularly want, go to the interview. The more interviews you do, the more experience you build. You’ll learn how to answer particular questions and how to present yourself, which may be invaluable at the interview you do want to attend.
Don’t be afraid to say no
While I firmly stand by my advice on putting equal effort into every application and attending every interview, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go with your instinct when it comes down to the offer.
When you’re offered a position, if you don’t want it, don’t be afraid to turn it down. If something doesn’t feel right, the culture, the pay, the people – then don’t accept. You’ll only be lying to yourself and putting yourself in a position where you’re going to be unhappy.
I realise that not everyone can afford the luxury of turning down a position during times of unemployment, and I appreciate that many people have to do jobs they hate in order to make ends meet. But make sure whatever the circumstances, you do what’s right for you.
When you get the job – Celebrate!
However you celebrate, do it. You’ll have been through a whirlwind of emotion during the time it’s taken you to find a position, so when you have one, treat yourself.
Whether that’s going out for a nice meal or a few drinks, or even going away for a weekend to finally relax, recognise that you’ve been through a stressful time and you’ve come through the other side.
Now, I know that so many people all over the world have it so much worse when it comes to unemployment, and I don’t want to come across as “woe is me” when I realise I’m very privileged despite my current circumstances.
I realise that I am incredibly lucky to have a roof over my head, food in my cupboards and a partner and family that will support me through thick and thin. I know so many people can lose their jobs through no fault of their own and almost immediately lose everything.
So for the fact I’m sat at my desk able to write this, I am so, so grateful.
However, my feelings and those of others in similar situations shouldn’t be disregarded, I’m still struggling with my mental health as a direct result of this and I know that my partner and I worked hard to get to where we are, to save so we’re okay. The fact that this hasn’t had an immediate impact on our lives doesn’t make it any less stressful.
I don’t know exactly what’s coming next, I don’t know if things will get worse before they get better, but I do know that by keeping strong and determined I will come out the other side.
I’ve done it before, and I’ll do it again. And you can do it too.
(Let’s just hope we don’t have to do it too often after that!)