If you’re very, very lucky, you’ll go your whole life without knowing what it’s like to get laid off from your job. For a lot of people, though, they will face the unfortunate obstacle of being downsized — not necessarily through any fault of their own, but it’s a scary and demoralizing process nonetheless. If (or when) this does happen to you, you’ll go through several stages of recovery before you re-enter the workplace. But don’t worry, you’re not alone.
You’ll be in shock
The first day or after you’ve been let go from a job don’t seem real. “I got fired?” you’ll think to yourself. “I got fired. I got fired. I got fired.” It will take a few hundred iterations of this before it really sinks in. Luckily, this means you have some time to go out with friends for a really cathartic bitch-fest about all the things you hated about your job (even if you actually loved it).
Once you realize that, yes, you were laid off, you will start to feel some panic rise. How will you pay for your bills? Is anyone even hiring? Do you want to stay on your current career path? Maybe you should learn to crochet! A lot of unnecessary, unproductive nonsense will bounce around inside your head. Take a moment to calm down, take a few deep breaths, and realize this panic is normal. But you’re a hardworking, kickass person who is just going through a difficult time — and you will make it through.
You’ll realize how easy it is to sleep 10 hours a night (or day)
Well, it’s easy when you don’t have a job to go to, anyway. Sure, it’s a bit of a bummer to be unemployed, but at least you’re really making headway on your binge-watching. So what if you’re staying up until 2 a.m. and waking up at noon? It’s not like you have anyone to impress right now.
You’ll find out how boring unemployment really is
Your employed friends will constantly ask you how much you’re enjoying your “funemployment.” They’ll say things like, “Wow, I wish I got to take some time off from my job.” But yeah, while your day is wide open, it’s not like any of your friends are around to do stuff with you. They’re busy. You know, at work. And after a week or two of total freedom, you’ll realize you miss having a bit of structure in your life.
You’ll apply for anything and everything
When you throw yourself into a job search, you’ll realize that even if you check every Internet job board, reach out to every professional contact and write dozens of cover letters, that will probably only take up a couple of hours a day. Even then, you’ll be applying for jobs you never even considered. Digital marketing? Sure! Head of internal communications? Why not? Senior accountant? I’ve used a calculator before! The search may seem tedious, but if applying for a lot of jobs helps you feel productive, apply away!
You’ll turn down a job that you know is wrong for you
The job offer may not pay enough. Maybe it’s too much like your old job, or you just get a bad vibe from the boss. Your reasons for turning it down will be perfectly valid, but you’ll still ask yourself if you’re crazy for rejecting guaranteed money for the possibility of something better. But trust yourself to know what’s best for you and your career — don’t undervalue your worth.
And finally, you’ll find your next job
If you’re fortunate, your next job will be your dream job. But, more likely, your next job will be just that: Your next job. It won’t be perfect, and it probably isn’t something you want to do forever, but that’s okay. The important thing is that you’re back at work, you’re reintroducing structure to your life, and you’ve got some breathing room to figure out what else you want to do. Congratulations! You survived.