This year is not going how I envisioned and I realized that writing and sharing my journey may help me feel less alone and encourage others who have no idea where their life is heading that it’s okay. Five days into 2023 I was laid off from my job with literally no warning. I got an email the day before asking if I could meet with my two bosses the next morning and got a bad feeling, but there had been no indication previously that I was going to lose my job so I was trying to convince myself that my gut must be wrong. But turns out my gut knows what’s up, unfortunately. I went through all the stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance) and have come out the other side almost three months later, still jobless but with the knowledge that the world is literally wide open to me at the moment. That thought is both exciting and terrifying but I figure laying it all out in words on this blog may also help me make some decisions.
Let’s take it all step by step in my job finding/path finding process:
Part 1- Depression and Desperation
For the first couple of weeks after being laid off, I was grieving the loss of the job that I loved and applying to literally any job that I saw completely out of fear that I would never work again. Turns out that is not the best reason to apply for things. Ideally, your job is at least somewhat enjoyable or interesting to you. I know that doesn’t always happen, but you should at least try to reach out to companies that you actually want to be a part of. But when you are blinded by the new reality of being unemployed, it is easy to lose sight of that. So I was stuck in a cycle of scrolling through job sites and clicking “apply” on anything that was even remotely associated with my skill set. The moment I started to reset and realize that might not be the best approach was when I got an interview for a company and realized mid-interview that none of me wanted to work there. So when they said they wanted a second interview, I said no. At that moment I realized that I needed to figure out what I wanted and actively give myself grace as I grieved the loss of my previous job.
Part 2- Therapy and Acceptance
The fun thing about losing my job was that it happened literally two days after my last session with my therapist, Susan. I only see her every two weeks so that means during that two-week depressive, anxiety-ridden spiral, my therapist had no idea what was going on and I really needed to talk to her. I could have emailed or texted her but my brain was not at full capacity so I didn’t think about that until after the fact (of course lol.) Susan has always been good at keeping a straight face and being calm whenever I tell her things, as therapists do, but I’ve never seen her as shocked as when I said I lost my job. But almost immediately after she said, “Well now the world is wide open and you’ll find the place you were meant to be.” Throughout our conversation, I realized that even though I felt without control, in some ways I was more in control than I have ever been because I get to decide what my next step is. Reframing the situation put things into a new perspective that calmed me down some and made me really look at what I wanted my life to look like.
Part 3- Applying When Inspired
This started my journey of only applying to jobs that excited me when I saw them come up. I want to make it clear that I acknowledge the privilege I have to have savings and get support from my parents right now which allows me the opportunity to have the time to make decisions like this. Part of this was scrolling through LinkedIn and Indeed and some of it was actually thinking of companies I might want to work for and going directly to their sites to see if they were hiring for any positions. I felt more in control because I was picking the things that actually inspired me. It also wasn’t all jobs in my previous field. I was branching out and really taking stock of what my skills were. I got some responses for interviews and there were two jobs during this time that I was really hoping for. I got to the second round on both and the job ultimately went elsewhere, which does set you back a little bit mentally. This is when it was helpful to talk to family and Susan and reframe my thoughts again knowing that all of these interviews are great experiences and it just means these jobs weren’t the right fit right now. The job I’m meant to have will come. But all of this applying, interviewing, waiting, and waiting some more gave me a chance to realize that there were other paths to think about taking as well.
Part 4- Realizing There are Other Routes
As I was talking to Susan about things that relieve my anxiety, I was realizing that it mostly revolved around storytelling: reading, watching movies, listening to great songs, and watching TV shows. Watching other people’s creativity inspires my own creativity and being unemployed is the perfect time to lean into that. So I figured I’d restart my blog. And work on my novel idea. Flex my creative muscles that I felt like I was too tired to work on after a full day of work. Get reinspired and get back to doing the things I am passionate about. And then one day I thought “What if I go back to school? Is there a way to further my career in the world of telling stories?” After some intense googling, I found two graduate programs for “digital storytelling” which basically means learning how to write and produce stories for movies, TV, or even just for marketing purposes. All things that interest me. Susan also brought up the fact that she thinks I could make a good therapist and asked if I had ever considered it. As a psychology minor, someone who has a blog about her own mental health journey, and someone who has benefitted greatly from therapy, I have had that thought. Then I was googling masters programs for counseling. Suddenly new paths that I never would have considered while moving along in my last job emerged and got me excited about what my future could look like.
Part 5- Choosing Where I Go Next
Now it just comes down to what I decide to do. But while I’m figuring it out, I am taking all the little steps along the way so that I can make the big decisions down the road. Still applying for jobs. Applying for freelance jobs. Submitting the FAFSA. Filling out grad school applications. Doing all those things in stages makes it seem less scary and overwhelming and allows me time to really consider what I want my life to look like in the coming years. I’m just having to take it day by day, be kind to myself, and be patient. All easier said than done, but I am excited to share my journey with you.
So what will the rest of my year look like? I don’t know. But I’m 25 and maybe that’s okay.
Anyone else feeling like they don’t know what’s next? Tell me about it in the comments and let’s commiserate together!
2 thoughts on “Losing My Job and Finding My Path”
I love this and no doubt many others will identify. Rachel it is calming just to read your blog . I like “listening” to your next steps to get to your next chapter. I know the right job hasn’t presented itself yet.
You should definitely consider the therapist route in my opinion!
LikeLiked by 1 person