(as based on my most recent, tragic, and completely unfair experiences)
Part 1 (of hopefully a one part series)
Getting Over the Shock
So you’ve lost your job. “Lost” is a stupid word, it’s probably still there, just no longer in your possession. In my case I was “dismissed”. This is what they do when you haven’t done anything wrong but they don’t really like you.
“Not a good fit for the company.”
That’s legal in Canada. Awesome…
I’m not bitter. (that’s a lie *mini rant* I’m not saying I was a perfect fit, what kills me is there was no warning. I was there for 13 months with no verbal, written or smoke-signal indication that they were unhappy with, what? My work? My attitude? They never told me what part “didn’t fit” and they never gave me a chance to do better or explain why I might be a certain way which *further mini rant* makes me think it was because I wasn’t taking all the forced overtime they were expecting of everyone which I am well within my rights to refuse. I had started saying I couldn’t stay late for yet another Friday night and POOF no longer a good fit.) … (Asshats.)
Where was I? Oh yes – if, like me, this comes to you straight out of the big bright blue you’re going to need some sort of “adjustment period” to deal with your new-found lack of vocation and income. Not to mention the hit to your confidence*. Some suggestions for this:
- A girls/guys night where you enlist all your top mates to pump up your self-esteem, share some well-deserved pitchers and be sounding boards for your frustration and incredulity allowing you to blow off steam in perfectly healthy, dance-y ways.
- A weekend of meditation and soul searching in which you ask yourself the deep, hard, mature questions: perhaps you’re not in the right profession for your skill set? Has this freed you to pursue a dream you didn’t have time to commit to before? Is this somehow a blessing in disguise?
- Drink a 12 pack and sleep for 3 days only waking to marathon through Weeds and feed the cat.
…I opted for the latter.
And I encourage you to as well. Wallowing is good. Look, scientists have proved it! Turns out it’s not really “wallowing” it’s “ruminating”, your brain is actually shutting out the world to let you work out whatever big fat problem caused you to tumble into depression (the human brain is neat!) The trick with this one is to not let it go on very long, or, as in my case, break it up a bit. After the first three days I had a good kick of motivation and fixed up my resume, ate something that wasn’t a cookie and bathed. And the next day I cried into some Ben and Jerry’s and watched Titanic. But the day after THAT I handed out some of those resumes. So, you know… I’m getting there.
Tips on resumes: don’t print them until your English major sister proof reads them and sends back the completely revised and way better copy. I wasted $2.15 that I can no longer afford. Moral: get someone to look at it; if you can’t find someone with a professional writing degree, find a manager of something who has experience sifting through resumes. They know what looks good.
Now the next part will mostly apply to those seeking work in smaller businesses (…I guess most of this will only apply to same) but if you have a very specific job you would like, don’t wait for it to be listed. Cold call. It is very true in my line that employers often do not advertise. They find people through word of mouth and luck. Every job I’ve had has come from showing up, asking to speak to the owner directly and shaking their hand. First impressions all the way. It is therefore very important that you finish your wallowing before attempting this step. While you may be able to make yourself look put together, if you haven’t wrapped your head around why you are no longer at your most recent relevant experience and reference you run the risk of panicking and saying in the sketchiest way possible “Yeeaa…. I was laid off….” Like I did. To my biggest hope. (Tip: to be a total champ, throw in a shifty eye dart. …I fuckin nailed it…)
Always follow up. Even if you tank it. Write a non-sketchy email saying how nice it was to meet them and show them how non-sketchy you actually are. Include a reference from your most recent.. uh.. reference and some awesome pictures of your work (if that applies). Second impressions all the way.
*One thing I forgot to mention at the beginning. Right at the beginning, when you first get home from that last day you didn’t know was going to be your last day and you can let out those tears you were trying desperately to not let fall while walking down the street at 2 in the afternoon that would probably make people think you had just come from a matinee screening of Steel Magnolias or suffered some kind of mental collapse (which maybe you had), call your mom. Or your dad, sister, husband, best friend. Call the most biased person you know. Because you are going to feel like poop. Like lost and confused poop. And nothing cheers you up quite like hearing your own sweet mother say: “Fuck em. They don’t deserve you.”
And if all else fails hug a cat. They have toes like beans!
Stay tuned for Part 2: Surviving a Stalled Income When Your Cat Already Eats Better Than You.