What Being Laid Off From Work Twice In One Year Taught Me About Life
In your twenties, there are a few things you might expect to happen. You might get a job. You might move into your own apartment. You might even meet the love of your life and get married a few years later.
One thing you might not expect to happen in your twenties? Getting laid off from work. Twice. In one year.
That’s what happened to me in 2017. The first time was in February, leaving me shocked and unsure of what I would do next.
After a few months on unemployment, I went on to work as the editor of a new female, personal finance website. I was thankful for a salary, benefits and a company mission that spoke to me. I put my heart and soul into this new position and was excited to grow and learn at the company for years to come. Little did I know, it wouldn’t last long.
Just a few months later, I was out of a job again. The company was acquired, and the leadership team no longer felt that the female, personal finance website was a part of their future. In the middle of that November day, I packed up my desk and headed home to New Jersey. I felt like I ended up right back where I started nine months earlier.
Luckily, I bounced back. I worked as a freelance editor for two months before landing a job at a new company in January. I was back on my feet and looking forward to the future.
Regardless of where I go in my career, I will never forget what happened that year. It really took a toll on me. It shook my confidence, put a strain on my finances, and tested my ambition and motivation. But at the same time, it taught me life lessons that I will take with me, and that I now want to pass on to you.
Work-life balance is necessary.
Getting laid off from work the first time made me realize just how focused I was on my job — and how much me-time I was giving up. I was going into work early, doing even more work from home in the evenings, plus a few more hours of work every Sunday. The “Sunday Scaries” were a weekly occurrence and I was stressed beyond belief.
We all need to take care of ourselves. We need to take the time to go to the gym, read a book and catch up on our favorite shows. We need time to rejuvenate outside of work so we can really thrive in the work we do. That’s work-life balance.
Personal relationships will always be there, but work won’t.
I’ve always considered myself a career woman, but when I was unemployed, my boyfriend shared how my career had been affecting our relationship. I was putting in so much effort at work that I didn’t realize I’d stopped putting in effort in our relationship. It was the wake-up call I needed to understand how important my relationship is to me.
Your career is important, and when you love your job, it can be difficult to think about anything else. But don’t ever let your relationships with your SO, friends or family suffer. Because work might not always be there for you, but your loved ones will.
Surround yourself with a supportive squad.
I’ve always loved going to networking events and building my list of contacts. I love meeting new people and seeing how I can help them thrive in their careers. So when I was laid off, the first thing I did was let everyone know via social media. It was amazing how quickly my network of friends and old colleagues responded with positive affirmations that I would be just fine. They even offered to pass along my resume to the right people or make introductions when needed. I felt supported like never before, and I’d do the same for them in a heartbeat.
Build your network of friends, family, colleagues, mentors and more. Go to events, talk to new people and help others in their careers. It will benefit you one day when you need it the most.
I hope you haven’t already learned these lessons the same way I did — getting laid off from work. But if you did, I want my story to help you better navigate your career so that you always land on your feet.
Unfortunately, I’m sure I’ll experience being laid off from work again in the future — I work in journalism; I think it’s inevitable. If it does happen, I’ll be prepared. And if it happens to you, I’m sure you’ll be ready, too. We’ll embrace the new-found time with our loved ones and spend time with the people in our networks. We will also look at it as the chance to continue to grow and learn in life.