Mid-Life Reality Bites

On March 31st I was laid off from my job at a China-based online learning company. It wasn’t a shock, layoffs were happening every week. I was just hoping to stay on a few more months to finish some projects for my portfolio. This isn’t like when I switched positions every few years in my twenties and thirties, I can feel the spectre “overqualified” or “too expensive” floating around me as I look for jobs. I’m searching for the right path. Here’s a few things that have helped me in my “discovery phase”.

  1. Meet people and network. There are tons of free or low-cost networking and training events in my city. I go to Eventbrite every week and search for things that interest me. I set a goal to attend at least one event per week.
  2. Take advantage of free courses and certifications. Since I’m interested in digital marketing, I went ahead and got certified from Hubspot for Content Marketing and Inbound Marketing. I’m also finishing training on Google Analytics.
  3. Get inspiration. I’m a sucker for self-help articles and books. It’s why I use Medium. These articles have led me to books and podcasts that make me think about my passions and skills. I find all of it valuable (even when I don’t agree with the content).
  4. Make something. It doesn’t matter if it’s good, just do it. Since my layoff, I’ve spent a lot of time with my artist friends. I helped fold zines, created rubber stamps, and colored from my grown-up coloring books. I’m updating my website and working on a new YouTube channel. I think of it as my “job” to make stuff consistently. (That’s why I’m writing this post.)
  5. Work out. A little sweat really does help you get rid of that “what the hell am I doing with my life?” funk — even if it’s only for an hour or so. I used to think this was the dumbest thing ever, but it really does work. I even got a lead for a job from one of my classmates.

Right now, I’m doing a little freelance work and still looking for a full-time staff position. I’m lucky that my husband has a full-time job, and I have a small window of time to figure this out. I feel a little silly giving advice, but maybe my ideas will inspire someone to something even better.