It has been a little over two weeks since I was laid off and I have been fairly buzzing with energy. Relatively speaking, I’m doing great. I think it helps that right from the start I sized up the situation pragmatically, considered my options, made priorities and a game plan, focused on my successes and didn’t take getting laid off personally. I don’t mean to sound like Pollyanna or anything but seriously, by not sitting down and letting waves of desolation wash over me and think, “ah, woe is me!” but instead, maintaining an active state of “do something, and do it now!” I have been able to ride this dip in the road fairly well.
I’m lucky, I don’t have any debt other than a mortgage, which I just refinanced at a spectacular 3% for 15 years (yeah, that pretty much rocks) and fortunately was able to finesse that a month before I was laid off. I set about trimming even more fat off my budget and by living frugally I can live on severance and unemployment for a significant amount of time. I did some research and a strong candidate, in this market, can usually be assured of finding adequate employment in 3-6 months. My goal is by the end of July. I’m doing the job search full time, networking, using LinkedIn, other social media, job boards, referrals. I will be employed and expect to employed well.
I’ve even got a spin, a truthful one, on being laid off. As my former employer put it, it was a business decision. As a software sales executive, I covered NY, NJ, New England, and Canada, and any open territory in the rest of the United States. I did this all remotely from Western Pennsylvania. We did not have the budget to send me to meet clients face to face, go to networking events or conferences. This was a terrible handicap vs. our competitors. But now, the company is in the process of merging with a small software company in NYC that has 3 sales people in my former territory. One of those sales people will be taking over my territory.
And it makes sense. I’d make that decision if I was running the company. So no looking back and on to new opportunities, bigger and better ventures.
I’ve also turned my attention to my house and all those projects you never have time for when you are juggling a professional life, personal life, family, friends, and everything else that comes along. My garage has been completely organized and cleaned out, even had a company come and haul out the computer monitor, two televisions, printer, scanner, VHS player, window air-conditioner and other sundry items taking up half of my garage.
I also pulled out boxes of old files and went through filing cabinets and found documents, even taxes, credit card receipts, stuff dating back to 1986! Boxed it all up and took it off to be shredded by a professional, bonded company in town. Done!
Another priority I made was to focus on physical fitness. This is something I started over a year ago but, let’s face it, with no job to go to every day, you can really make time for some major workouts every day.
My girl friend, who is a local caterer, and I, meet three times a week to walk/run 4 miles and do 74 steps up a steep ridge where we live. We do them twice. I’m also doing Les Mills Pump (a barbell with weights-based workout) several times a week.
Diane, the caterer, and I just worked out an agreement, where I will provide sales/marketing services in exchange for physical fitness training a few times a week. A win-win situation so I can put something on my resume during my time “off”.
So what’s my point of telling you all of this? I know this post is a bit different than what I’ve written before but so many people have been in this situation, especially with this rollercoaster economy. Being unemployed can be one of the most devastating things to happen to someone, especially when you have a family to support. But I adamantly believe (and have written this before) that you define a situation by how you respond to it. Action brings results. Positive thinking, about yourself, what you have to offer and what the future will bring, opens the door to new opportunities.
So raising a glass to all of you that are in the same boat, good luck to you and give it your all. Persevere! I do think that things are looking up. I see more activity on job boards like The Ladders, Careerbuilder, Monster. But make sure you use LinkedIn and your professional and personal network.
This is also a great time to explore something you’ve always wanted to do, something you feel passionate about. I know once I get some of these projects completed that I am looking forward to spending more time writing and cultivating my creative Muse. This happened for a reason and I am embracing the moment.