By Lauren | March 11, 2018 | 4 Comment
I’ve been trying to figure out a way to write this for a few weeks now. A way that I could put down on paper what’s been running through my head. Do you ever feel like you have so much to say but yet you just can’t say it? That’s basically how I’ve felt about writing this blog post over the last month.
On February 13th I got laid off from my job. Something that happens to hundreds of people every year across North America. However, it had never happened to me. And just like many things in life, if you haven’t experienced it first hand, it’s hard to fully understand what it would feel like.
When I walked into the office to a job that I had started six months prior, almost to the day, I walked in without any clue or idea that would be my last day there. I was in shock. I walked out of the building in a daze. What just happened? I cried my whole walk home. I was a mess. I got to my apartment and sat on my bed in disbelief. Had I done something wrong? Who else was being laid off? How was I going to afford to be in one of Canada’s most expensive cities, a city that I worked my butt off to get to and one that I had fallen madly in love with? I thought I had this aspect of my life figured out.
That whole week I was inches away from crying at just about everything. I was feeling a pile of emotions—anger, sadness, optimism. My “perfect” life that I thought I had so clearly figured out suddenly felt like it was pulled out from under me. I remember saying to my friend: “I honestly don’t know who I am without my career”. That had been my focus for seven years, my one constant, my fallback. I felt lost.
I worked my ass off straight out of college to get myself to where I was and am today. While others were focusing on relationships, buying houses, having kids, or just taking their time to figure out what they wanted to do with their life, I was focusing on my career. Partly because I didn’t have the other things in my life figured out yet, but also because when I want something I go after it head on.
My parents raised me to be a career-oriented person and when you see my named published in a newspaper or magazine, winning awards, having opportunities to speak at events as an “expert”, and travel all over the world on someone else’s dime, it’s because I worked my ass off to get those opportunities. I didn’t have it handed to me. When something rewarding happened in my career, I didn’t sit and soak in that glory, I asked myself: “What’s next?” So you can imagine when I suddenly found myself unemployed how lost and defeated I felt, and still kind of feel.
Within a day, even though I was still in shock and a daze, I was already editing my resume, reaching out to my network, openly talking about my lay off on social media, and looking for jobs. I realized that I had never been able to openly job search since I graduated school and this was my opportunity to feel out what is out there, and publicly talk about being laid off and looking for employment.
And you know what I quickly realized? The amount of people in my life who had been laid off before too. Wait. What? Why had they never talked about it? Why had I never known this about some of my closest friends? No wonder when you’re laid off for the first time you feel as if it’s the end of the world. Nobody talks about it. Why is there a stigma around being laid off when it has nothing to do with you? Companies and industries change. Sometimes that change doesn’t work in your favour. In my case I can thank Facebook’s algorithm changes for the loss of my job (the same one that killed Little Things completely and triggered layoffs at several other publishers like Thought Catalog).
As I started to open up about what had happened, what I soon realized was how hard I worked over the past seven years and it wasn’t for nothing. Emails, texts, phone calls, opportunities, and more started to pour in and that’s what picked me up through what seemed like a very dark time for me. My community and tribe was there to swoop in when I needed it the most. And shockingly enough, I realized that my life still went on with or without a job. It didn’t end. I still had my friends, my family, and other passions and things that were and are important to me. My job was just an aspect of who I was/am, but it most definitely wasn’t everything that I was.
Even though the wound of losing my job, not walking into the workplace that I loved and to the team that I looked at as family every single day has not healed completely, I have the optimism that I will find something bigger and better. I’ve also realized that in the meantime, it’s okay to have moments of sadness and moments of feeling like you want to give up amongst the positivity and optimism. I am mourning a loss after all, and even though I know I’ll come out a bigger and better person, it’s going to take time to get there.
“We must be willing to let go of the life so as to have the life that’s waiting for us.”
A quote my mom sent me that I think is a good reminder through any tough time in your life: “We must be willing to let go of the life so as to have the life that’s waiting for us.” I strongly believe that everything happens for a reason and in your darkest and most difficult times it can feel next to impossible to identify what that reason is, but I have faith that I will.
I just wanted to give a quick shout-out to everyone who has reached out to me, taken me for coffee, sent opportunities my way, drank endless glasses of wine with me, and truly made being laid off an opportunity to grow and learn about myself versus “the end of the world”.