Both of the times I’ve been laid off, it was a relief. I didn’t realize how much I needed it until it happened. The first time I was a Managing Editor for the Substitute Teaching Institute at USU. I was a full-time student working part time as a proofreader and the guy I helped out started handing everything over to me while he worked on his doctorate. The boss man caught on and let my boss go and told me to do his job since I was doing it anyway.
I loved it at first. I started publishing like crazy and it was exciting. I would get letters in the mail referring to me as Dr. and with a PhD next to my name. I should have saved those. But the pressure got to me. I was exhausted, I hated going into work, I hated my boss and his unwillingness to show appreciation for all his loyal employees, and I hated writing grant proposals.
And then I got laid off. It was thinly veiled under “we’re merging departments” but I knew it was because my boss didn’t like me either. I think I cried for about 10 minutes. And then felt total peace. Being laid off was the best thing that happened to me. I had time to do an internship for my senior year, I got to work at a fun job, and actually have a social life.
The second time around was just this past December when the dealership group I worked for, Legacy Auto Group, went under. This time I was really sad, but mostly for the loss of the whole place. I really respected the people I worked with and for and it’s hard to see an entire company disolve. But this too was a blessing. I now work from home doing marketing, PR, copy writing and advertising and get to be home with my son.
Being on the receiving end, I’ve always been able to see the silver lining of a job loss. But my husband was just laid off last Thursday (part of company cutbacks, etc.) and I’ll admit it took a little longer than 10 minutes to feel good about this one. The only thing worse than getting laid off is watching your lover and best friend get laid off. You feel helpless and unsure what to say or how to be useful to them. I immediately started giving him advice and tried to get a plan going.
But I’m learning that jumping into something right away might not be the best idea. Penelope Trunk’s blog is one of my favorites. She gives advice to 20-somethings about looking for a job, finding a career, etc. I take some of her posts with a grain of salt, but there is a lot of good information in there. She suggests recharging before jumping into another job, spending time thinking about what you love and what you can get paid for, and gives advice on what steps to take to figure out what to do next. My favorite post is about beating the system to find a job.
Reading these posts has helped me feel less anxious about it all. I think my husband needs to take time to figure out what it is he wants to do next without me constantly nagging him, notebook in hand, to brainstorm with me. And I am really grateful about a lot of things about him not working anymore:
- He doesn’t have to commute an hour each way to work anymore
- He’s around to help out with our kiddo and all the home improvement to-do lists that have been collecting dust
- I get more time with him and he can help me out with my White Rabbit clients – he’s an excellent graphic designer, writer and social media-ite.
In the meantime, White Rabbit Advertising is doing great – all clients are happy and having success. So we’ll just see how things go. I’m hoping he’ll decide to learn programming and web design so he can help me with that end of my business. I guess we’ll see!