The week before Christmas I lost my job. Everyone at our startup did. I had been working full-time with en*theos, an online learning startup, since May and really loved it. It was a shock for all of us when things ended suddenly, but now that it’s been a few weeks I feel like there have been several important things that I’ve learned on bouncing back.
Here are five lessons I hope might help you if you lose your job or are making a transition in the job market.
1. Know You Aren’t Alone
The first thing I wanted to do when I found out my job was no more was to be alone. I could feel my emotions retreating back inside me, loneliness, fear, confusion, anger, and for some reason being alone felt right.
Ironically, at the time, I couldn’t be alone. I was surrounded by people that I was helping at the time and so I told one of my best friends immediately and another the next day. It turns out that was one of the best things I could have done. It was very emotional, but it helped me get out my feelings.
2. Talk to People You Love
I found myself wanting to tell certain people first, people I knew would be positive but also real. I didn’t want someone to say, “It’s all going to be okay.” I wanted someone to just hold the space and understand how I must be feeling. One of my very favorite things, looking back, that a friend told me was, “I’m proud of you.”
I was completely caught off guard by that statement, so much so that I couldn’t speak for almost a minute. I didn’t feel the same at the time. When she elaborated she said, “I’m proud of who you are. Who you are today is the same person you were yesterday, and I’m lucky to be your friend.” Wonderful friends know how to say things like that; call those people.
3. Ask for Advice from People You Admire
One of the best things I did the following week was reach out to people I admired. I started with people I was close to including mentors and friends, but I also reached out and was introduced to new people who could potentially play that role.
I was nervous at first. I didn’t know exactly what I wanted next and thought they would put me on the spot, but none of them did. They understood it was a confusing time and asked great questions like: What’s excites you? What are you considering? I also asked them questions like: Have you ever been in this position yourself? What did you do that really helped you the most?
4. Be Open to Possibilities
The more mentors I met, the more specific I tried to be about where I was and what I was thinking about doing next. This led one mentor to email me back the next day saying, “I just spoke to a client and I think there might be an opportunity you would like!”
I was on the phone with her that afternoon and had my first client by the next morning for several thousand dollars. I’m still pretty astonished by it honestly.
5. Get Excited About What’s Next
It’s tempting to retreat to security and what we’re used to when it comes to our careers, but the truth is that there is a world of possibilities out there. It’s fun to play in that space, even just a little bit, and imagine what new things could be next. Questions like What does your ideal day look like, or, what would you do if you had a million dollars can be a fun place to start. If you answer them honestly, you might be surprised where they lead you.
So where does that leave me?
If you’ve read this far (thank you for that), you might be wondering what’s next for me.
I’m very excited about two things and I could really use your help:
1. Crafting Your Purpose - I’m creating a new 4-week course starting February 2nd called Crafting Your Purpose and I’d love for you to sign up and share it with others. It’s available on a pay-what-you-want basis and then in March will be available for a standard price. You can read more about it here.
2. Consulting - I’m currently accepting clients who need solutions in organizational development, online content creation, website development and B Corps certification. If you know someone who you think would love working with me, I’d love to meet them. Please feel free to connect them with me anytime.
I really appreciate your love and support everyone, thank you for your help.
I hope this year is your best yet!