Losing your job hits you hard in so many ways, and from so many directions you feel like a hurricane came directly at you out of nowhere. I, together with 16 others from our now partly defunct company, were recently made redundant. It obviously came as a shock despite hearing rumors about it weeks ahead. I was part of a small group that was called in for a meeting a few days before the big announcement was made and we were assured that there was no truth to the rumors of the company closing down. A short software training followed — to improve how we’d run day-to-day operations, and as we know now — to help us forget about things we’d heard and gather strength for what would really hit us. While it’s true that the company is not closing down and has kept a few key employees on board, it doesn’t change the fact that the company’s decision to let a majority of us go has tremendously changed the course of our lives. Much similar to the fate of talents trying their luck in a popular singing contest, those chairs didn’t turn for us and have left us hanging, thinking, why not? Why us?
Shit has hit the fan. We can cry a little, rant a lot, but as the lyrics of a song goes, “Time asks no questions it goes on without you, leaving you behind if you can’t stand the pace…” Like most of my colleagues, I’m also a parent who needs to provide for our kids. If I could put voices to the silence that came after the announcement, it would be cries of fathers and mothers asking, but what about our kids? Or the younger members of the group saying, what now? Reality isn’t always a pretty thing to deal with. The company expressed the anticipated apology, while I slipped off my seat convincing myself to get a grip. Literally.
5 Things I’m Doing After Losing My Job
1. Doing Nothing. It seems counterintuitive, I know. There is no use, however, in acting up on the panic, the disappointment, the fear that you feel after losing your job. I am allowing myself to take it all in, accept my current situation and clear my mind (meditation works wonders), so I can make plans and take action soon enough with a clean slate — or in other words, a head that’s not muddled with decisions made out of fear and anger. I find this to be a great time to just be quiet and understand that we’re not always in control of the things that happen around us. I also remind myself that the redundancy had nothing to do with my ability to do my job well, and that there is always a good opportunity elsewhere.
It’s time to grow. The universe may have a mean way of sending messages sometimes, but we won’t grow sans the challenges and by staying on the same spot. ‘Doing nothing’ also means I’m taking myself away mentally, emotionally and psychologically from the work environment that just released me and focusing on things I enjoy doing. And yes, binge watching on Netflix passes off as doing nothing.
If you’re doing the same, make sure you give yourself a deadline. Don’t allow yourself to do nothing for more than three days because there is a chance you will spiral down, and that clearly is not part of the plan.
2. Reviewing the Family’s Finances. It’s something that some of us do often, moms especially. I don’t particularly enjoy it, but I have to if I don’t want my household running amok. With one income source shut down, I’m checking if there are extra expenses in my book that need to be slashed down. I’m making sure that there are no forgotten or overdue bills. The last thing I want is a mountain of bills avalanching on me at a time of financial insecurity. We’re not huge spenders, so it’s helping that we’ve stuck to basics in the last few years. We also have no loans, so for me it’s a big win in my current situation.
The advice of financial experts is to set aside three months worth of your salary in case the unexpected happens. But with, again, the mountain of bills that come knocking on your door very often, school fees and other household expenses, it’s just not feasible sometimes. If you haven’t done this, know that it’s okay and that you’re not alone. Maybe it’s time to do an audit of your stuff at home and see what you can let go through an auction or a garage sale. Trust me, some of the things that are just collecting dust at your home have buyers just waiting for you to sell them. Creating pockets of income, no matter how small, is never a bad idea.
3. Considering Freelancing. I see it as a blessing that we now have numerous freelancing opportunities in the Philippines. It’s something that was not available to us many years ago. To earn, we had to be on a nine to five job…in an office. Being between jobs is not as scary as it was in the past. I’m checking online and I see several freelancing opportunities that I may jump into now that I’m still trying to decide whether to get back on a full-time job or go freelancing all the way. The point is, there are jobs that can help tie people over while searching for a new job. Also, don’t discredit the joys of freelancing or remote work. You get to spend more time at home with your family or any place you fancy. I have been doing remote work for eight years now, so I’m able to say this with certainty.
4. Updating My CV. It’s time to put a dot on my tenure with this company. I thought I’d stay for many years because I was very happy with my job, but the decision was really not for me to make. There isn’t much to change in my curriculum vitae and my LinkedIn account, but this is one of the things I like paying attention to. It’s feels symbolic even, of a new phase in my life.
There are some people who need help with their CVs and don’t take offense if you’re one of them. If you check online, there are people and companies that offer resume/CV writing services because quite frankly, it takes some skill to put together a CV. Don’t hesitate to approach family, friends or experts. Remember that your CV showcases your strengths and there’s no harm in getting as much help as you can.
5. Exploring and Learning New Skills. Working a regular job meant sacrificing the time for some things I enjoyed doing, and learning was one of them. Now is the best time for me to pick up where I left off. This means finally finishing the Modern Poetry course and the health courses I started embarking on a couple years ago.
This is not the best time to spend money, so don’t pay for courses and trainings just yet. Given the rich resources we have online (yes, this way I adore you, dear internet), all you need to do is look for free trainings and courses online. There is no excuse not to learn anymore. Learning is a choice, not a privilege.
Being made redundant at work is a bitter pill to swallow. But then again, you can only give yourself a short time to sulk because time flies. The thing to keep in mind is you just lost a job, not the world, and as you may have proven to yourself time and again, there’s always something better out there waiting for you.
Also, isn’t it a relief to say goodbye to Monday, even just for a bit?
Feel free to share your experiences. I’m sure a lot of people would want to hear from you.