May 26, 2020

Guest Blog: I’ve Been Laid Off Before, But Never in a Global Pandemic

I don’t think Zach has ever written a guest post before, has he? I don’t know. I’ve been at this thing for five years and, after two kids and one global pandemic, I have ZERO memory left. Regardless, whether it’s his first or his second, it’s a damn good- and important- one. I cried reading it. One, because I’m so damn tired. Two, have we met? Three, I’m really proud of him. This is not within his wheelhouse or comfort zone. He’s a business guy, not a creative type. He abhors writing even though he’s good at it (okay, I may have made a few edits). And, most importantly, talking about his feelings isn’t necessarily his favorite thing. But, he’s been brainwashed by me. He knows how important vulnerability is. He accepts that helping others is our family mandate. And he’s aware how many are struggling with something similar right now. I wrote about his last layoff, but I wanted you to hear his side. We hope it helps, in some small way. So, ladies and ladies, my husband…

I was laid off and I’m not ashamed or embarrassed to admit it. The startup I was working for laid off 60 people in order to stay afloat after Covid19. I get it – sometimes tough decisions have to be made by business owners and I was on the wrong side of this one. It was out of my control and I can live with it.

Being laid off is a humbling feeling. I’ve gone from a daily routine that I know so well to no routine at all. Instead of looking forward to camaraderie with teammates, I’m dealing with the stress of finding a job during a global pandemic. Very few companies are hiring and many have laid off employees putting so many in competition for the few jobs out there.

If you’ve been unemployed before you know what it feels like: search LinkedIn daily for contacts, jobs, etc. Talk with recruiters who tell you what an amazing candidate you are, but then you hear nothing. Refresh your email to see if anyone has responded to the note you sent them yesterday. When you do get an email, the excitement quickly diminishes when you realize it’s spam. It’s a mental game and emotional rollercoaster that I don’t wish on anyone. And, while I know things will work out in the long run, it’s hard to stay positive with some much uncertainty.

I’ve tried to find some comfort on slower days. When I have no calls scheduled or interviews set up, I work in the yard, play with my kids and learn new recipes. I also take my aggression out on classic rock or country Peloton rides. I know it’s important to keep my mind busy so I don’t sit around watching TV all day.

I have somewhat of a unique perspective in that I’ve been through this before. It was actually a little over a year ago, when I was laid off for the first time. Before that, I’d been in long-term, stable jobs, one for twelve years. While it’s always unsettling and never ideal when it’s not your decision, I sincerely know, from experience, that there’s a great company out there waiting for me. I just have to find it.

So until I get a new boss (in the business world), I’ll go back to reporting in to my lifetime bosses – my wife, daughter and son. Their support during this time is paramount and I’m happy to say that they’re giving me the space and time that is needed in order to go through this process. Having a supportive partner right now is so important and I would not be able to do this without her. She is busy homeschooling our daughter while running her own business, which thankfully brings in money we can use to pay the bills! She has kept me positive and motivated and I am so appreciative.

If you’re going through unemployment with me, know you’re not alone. There are millions of us out of work and all for reasons beyond our control. As we remind ourselves daily in our house, there are always others that have it so much worse. We are fortunate and we are grateful. So stay positive, focus on the change you can create and let the rest fall as it may. There is a great company out there waiting for you, go find it. Happy hunting!

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Best of luck to Zach in his job search! What kind of industry is he in?

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