What You Can Gain From Being Laid Off

Remember back when you had that great job and the respect, camaraderie, and admiration of your co-workers? I say, “Remember back when…” instead of “Don’t you love…” because if you’re reading this, it’s most likely because you aren’t currently experiencing that respect, closeness, and admiration. I was recently laid off from an amazing job that I loved. To be honest, it was probably the most painful break-up I’ve personally experienced. HOWEVER, I’ve learned there’s more to being laid off than pain and applying for any job that will pay the bills.
The first and most important thing I gained from this experience is time with my children. As a working parent, there can be guilt from the struggle between putting in 110% on the job and trying to earn that #1 MOM coffee mug. Last week, while I searched the job boards, I also spent more time with my children (who were on spring break). We played board games, some Wii, read books together, and I had the opportunity to shower them with some extra attention. I don’t always have that luxury, so I enjoyed the time I had available.
Secondly, I have time to work on “work me”. I have time to reflect on my years of experience, the brands I’ve worked on, the teams, the offices, the commute…This way, I can have a much clearer picture of the types of company and jobs I want, and areas I may want to avoid altogether.
Next, I have time to sharpen my skills and learn more about my industry, outside of my job description. I’ve had time to take free Google AdWords courses online, take the tests, and engage with the course material. There is a massive amount of training and educational material on the amazing internet, and now is as good a time as any to use it and grow.
And finally, I’ve been using some the time to grow personally and emotionally. It’s hard to find the time to reflect on life and think about where you want to see yourself and your family 15 years from now. This is the best time to consider what makes you tick outside of a paycheck. I’m testing out new (and cheap) hobbies and doing more physical activity. Why not?
Now, I won’t downplay the negative aspects of being unemployed. I do think about the mortgage, the bills, tuition, food, and so on. Those concerns are inevitable. What I’m trying to do is find the most productive use of my time to make me better in the long-term. Lay-offs happen. Unemployment happens. But as Batman’s dad and butler both said (in “Batman Begins”), “Why do we fall, sir? So that we can learn to pick ourselves up.”