Hindsight is 20-20, right? If I knew when I was unemployed, what I know now about being unemployed, I might have enjoyed the time off a bit more.
A colleague of mine was recently, and quite unceremoniously, laid off from her job after a 37-year run. Yes, 37 years with the same organization; moving up in increasingly more demanding positions, raising money to keep the doors open and generally being a model employee. “Budget cuts” have been the excuse for lay-offs in both the public and private sector throughout the country, but in Rhode Island, where we continue to have the highest or second highest unemployment rate in the country; hearing about budget cuts is daily news. But when they happen in the non-profit sector, that’s just bad for the people most in need of the services we offer; I’m digressing from my original point.
When I was unemployed I found it helpful to have coffee meetings with colleagues to stay in touch with what was going on in the work, to get reassurance I had done nothing wrong, and to listen for potential job openings. These meetings also helped to keep me from eating everything in my cupboards and from binge-watching Gilligan’s Island or Laverne & Shirley reruns! I also had bought a pretty big package of personal training sessions before I was laid off, so I went–three times a week until they ran out.
Having a routine was my saving grace throughout 10 months of unemployment. It’s the advice I gave to my friend today. For her it’s been about 6 weeks since that fateful day. She’s beginning to reach out to her network for support. Today it was coffee with me at our local Starbuck’s. Tomorrow, something else. She will be okay!
Today I’d like to thank all those people in my network that had coffee with me, bought me lunch, gave me leads on jobs, gave me odd jobs to keep going, and served as references. Ten months seemed like an eternity at the time, but without all those folks who supported me along the way it could have been much longer!