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Let me paint a picture for you..
Imagine you’re having an uncharacteristically good week. Your boss had to come on Monday to ride with you, but it ain’t no thang because you’re great at your job and know how to put on the charm.
Tuesday and Wednesday were long, busy days – but it was totally worth it because you were absolutely slaying your business goals.
Now it’s Thursday, and the vice president of your company has requested that the entire sales team to stay home to discuss a “restructure” of the company.
For those of you (like myself), who haven’t been an adult long enough to go through this, it basically means – “sit around and wait to find out if you’re jobless and fucked.”
We’d only officially learned about the possibility of unemployment and sudden upheaval of our lives on Monday. But in true naïveté fashion – I was sure it wouldn’t happen to me. How could it?
Sure enough, one third of the sales team was laid off – including myself, and most of the friends I worked with.
My first instinct was complete panic – like, sobbing uncontrollably with snot running down my face, panic – what was I going to do now?
Until a few days ago, I felt like I really had it together for a 25 year old. Great job, with a nice company car, and the most flexible work schedule I could ever hope for while working for someone else. I LOVED MY JOB. How could I possibly do better than this?
After hours alternating between wallowing in self pity, and panicking about the future, my boyfriend, Tim, finally provided some much needed perspective for me.
Getting laid off was a blessing in disguise.
Last month, we bought an RV with the idea that someday soon we would hit the road for an extended period of time. However, weren’t sure how to execute the plan, since we both had great jobs here in Connecticut.
But, as if the universe had planned it, last week when I was laid off, Tim also found out that his current job would likely no longer exist, come spring. (How’s that for a sign?)
So here we are, with a real opportunity to follow our dream. Which is REALLY COOL.
However, being the worrier I am – the idea of preparing for long term travel, without two sources of income stresses me the fuck out.
Also, since I am only human, and not the super enlightened person I would like to be – my ego took a huge blow from getting laid off.
Since I know that I am not the first person to get laid off, and will certainly not be the last – I’m going to share with you a few steps I took to turn my frown upside down!
Don’t Succumb to Your Quarter Life Crisis, Yet – I’m Here to Help!
Step 1: Take a Deep Breath…and DON’T. FREAK. OUT
This part was really hard for me because I literally could not stop crying for at least 48 hours. While I sincerely hope that most people out there are not as dramatic as I am, I know that there’s at least a few fellow drama queens who will lose their shit.
And if that person happens to be you – don’t worry. It will get easier.
While this may FEEL like a personal attack, getting laid off is not personal. Don’t let this affect the way that you feel about yourself.
Companies are in business to make money. If paying your salary is not conducive to generating the most profit – you may be on the chopping block, and that’s okay.
Everything happens for a reason… including things that seem reaaalllllllyyy shitty at the time.
A better opportunity will come.
Trust the universe.
Step 2: Find the Silver Lining
Once I was done throwing my adult hissy fit, I decided that I needed to find the positives of being laid off. Regardless of what shit is hitting the fan in my life, this is ALWAYS an important step for me.
The major theme on my pro-unemployment list was the amount of TIME I’d have to pursue my interests and the things that feed my soul.
Have you ever thought about the amount of time that we spend working? If you work full time, (40 hours) that’s almost 25% of your entire week! Once you factor sleep in – more than half the week is gone.
Think about how crazy that is. Society has programmed us to not only accept, but embrace the idea of spending most of our time working hard to fulfill other people’s dreams.
While the concept of having no work or school to run off too everyday is very foreign to me – it feels pretty freakin’ good. For as long as I can remember, I’ve wished for the time to pursue passions of mine like music, art, and writing.
Now I have the time and freedom to explore those things.
A few other things I plan to accomplish while I’m laid off are: remodeling our kitchen and RV, learning to cook, and growing this blog!
Considering this made me feel infinitely better. And may have averted a quarter-life crisis.
Step 3: Money, Money, Money
Let’s talk about budget. This is obviously an important thing to think about after becoming laid off, because after all – this is why we voluntarily spend our lives doing hard work for too little money.
For me (and probably every other person in this situation), this particular piece of the puzzle has been very stressful. One of my main goals in life was to be an independent woman that didn’t need to rely on anyone else to make ends meet. Making a good living and having great finances was something that I was always proud of. So when I found out that my paychecks would soon be non-existent, it sent me into a panic.
How can I afford to live the same life I’ve become accustomed to if I don’t have any income?
*Spoiler Alert*… I can’t. But it won’t be that bad.
Over the past week, I’ve spent hours crunching numbers and looking at where I actually spend my money. The majority of it goes to bills (student loans, rent, insurance, ect.), eating out, and live music (tickets, Uber, hotels, ect.)
I also realized that I pay wayyyy too much for monthly subscriptions to services I don’t need, and have a serious shopping problem.
It was surprising to see how much I was spending on stuff that I don’t need or even necessarily want, but made cutting down my expenses seem much more manageable.
After determining that my actual monthly overhead is pretty manageable, things started to seem a lot less dismal. Also, fortunately for us, my income was not the only one that we live on. Although this may not be the case for everyone, this is something that substantially impacts my situation, and something that I am incredibly grateful for.
Even though it’s hard for me to rely on someone else to help me financially, it’s great to know that I have an awesome partner.
Step 4: Make a Plan!
Once I made sense of my expenses and figured out how much I needed to bring in – it was time to figure out how I was going to do that.
First, I spruced up the old resume to show what I’ve spent the last 2 years doing.
This mostly involved putting a bunch of impressive buzz words into phrases that don’t really mean anything. You know, phrases like, “strategically targeted lead production and territory analysis.” (Well I guess that does mean something. But really, who talks like that???)
Then I posted that on my LinkedIn, and set my profile as “open to opportunities” so recruiters could consider me.Then I started scouring LinkedIn, Indeed, Monster, and every other job board for postings in my field – applying to everything that I am both overqualified and grossly under qualified for.
However, with our plan to leave home to travel full time, sooner rather than later – I’m I don’t want to limit myself to only jobs in medical sales. Since the goal is to save as much money as possible for travel, I’m opening up my job search to anything and everything available! And since the interview and hiring process for jobs takes time, I decided to revert back to my pre-college skill set: nannying and cleaning, and other odd jobs. While these aren’t the most lucrative professions, jobs are abundant and would provide me with some income until I find another full time job.
Something I would suggest for anyone in a similar situation, is to join Facebook groups for the town you live in, as well as those around you (typically named something like *your town* open forum, or *your town* message board). People frequently post looking for help, recommendations and other random stuff.
After only 2 days of searching these Facebook groups, and Care.com – I landed a temporary babysitting gig! (That way too easy!)
Step 5: Enjoy Sweet Freedom!! (Even if it’s Only for a Little While)
Since I’ve figured out an immediate plan about how to sustain life, I’ve been able to calm down and breathe a little better. Continuing to look at the positives in the situation has kept me feeling excited and optimistic about the future.
(Huge positive: No boss means I can dye my hair blue! No boss, no rules!!!!)
Another positive that came out of this is that I can really take time to reset and figure out exactly what I want to do.
I, like way too many others, have absolutely no idea what I really want to do with this life. I went from high school, straight to college, and into the workforce.
My first job out of college was a natural pick based on my major, and the second job was an attempt to make enough money to justify skipping the masters degree (clearly that worked out well for me, LOL).
I really loved both jobs, but they were still just that… jobs.
I’m hoping some time spent traveling, connecting with new people, and reconnecting with myself will give me some insight on where I want to go from here. Life is way too short to spend 40 hours of your week doing something you don’t LOVE.
If you find yourself in this very situation – don’t panic. While it may feel like you’re having a quarter life crisis, it may actually just be the beginning of something new and beautiful (which may be uncomfortable AF at first!).
If you’re been through this and have some words of wisdom – please share in the comments!