It’s hard to believe that we’ve been living in a pandemic for over half a year, and with no end in sight, companies continue to restructure, scale back and, simply put, downsize. While some of us have struggled to find remote work-life balance, many of us have struggled with the loss of work and the question of how we’ll continue to structure our days without it.
Losing your job is similar to experiencing a breakup. Even if you didn’t love what you do, having it gone brings up emotions similar to rejection and discomfort of what’s next. Even if it ends on good terms, you can’t help but wonder what you could have done to make it work.
Whether you were laid off due to Covid-19 or lost your job due to circumstances beyond the pandemic, you’ll experience a mix bag of emotions; some of them all at once, some of them in stages and even some of them in varying intensities. All of them are normal and valid. Here are some natural thoughts you might have, and some tips on how to be kinder to yourself and not lose hope on your career aspirations.
“How will I fill my days?”
Initially, your days will feel long without any work tasks to fill the time, but changing your mindset will do wonders to your productivity. Being able to see being let go from your job as a thing that happened for you instead of something that happened to you. There is a chance that when you re-enter the workforce, you’ll never have this much free time again, so make the most of it!
Try attending webinars and take courses on topics you’ve always wanted to learn more about, or updating your portfolio and resume.
Another proactive way to spend your time is reaching out to former colleagues that you look up to and asking them to meet for coffee or have a Zoom chat to pick their brain. It’s a great opportunity to reconnect with peers in your industry to help you determine and reassess your career objectives.
Recognize that productivity looks different when you’re not on the clock. While multi-tasking is necessary while working, being unemployed gives you the luxury of focusing on one task at a time. Learning to savour your downtime as an opportunity is a way to actually recharge.
“How will I brush up on my skills before finding a new job? Especially in comparison to other applicants who have been working?”
As discussed, this time can still be productive. Online learning is available through platforms like Skillshare and Masterclass, and for those of us on a budget, YouTube and Instagram are great places to find free webinars and panels. Especially in the new Zoom age, more resources are available virtually now.
With job hunting being more competitive than ever, it’s important to be receptive to upgrading up your skills and gaining new ones to better suit your career goals.
“Am I still attractive to potential employers?”
Definitely! Being let go from your job often has more to do with the company’s financial circumstances that are beyond your control than your worth as an employee. Especially during a pandemic, a gap in work history is common for many of us. By ending your time at any company – laid off or otherwise – you’ll learn about what you want and don’t want at your next position.
If you are qualified, eager and the best suited for the position, future employers will see you as an asset, especially if you can demonstrate that you’ve used this time to rise up, upgrade your skills and keep your career a priority.
Now is the time to get your resume in tip-top shape. Style Nine to Five’s Founder, Christie Lohr, is here when you need help updating your application package. From a LinkedIn refresh to a variety of templates for cover letter and resumes, Style Nine to Five can help you really stand out to potential employers when you’re ready to get back to work.
Feature image: Adobe Stock
By: Vicki Duong – Vicki has written for multiple publications, including NUVO and Vita Daily and has also worked in the fashion industry for close to a decade.