Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Practicing what you preach

As easy as it is to dispense advice on dealing with being laid off, it is diametrically as hard to follow it yourself. So how am I doing? Pretty well, I think!

Advice # 1: Don't do anything at all for the first few days
I was lucky in that the weekend following my Friday lay-off was already booked full of fun activities that had absolutely nothing to do with work. So this was an easy one for me to follow. Friends and family were super-supportive too, and convinced me that this was the best thing that could have happened to me at this particular time in my life. So all I had to do was make a quick list of all the things related to being laid off that I needed to track (how much vacation pay will I get, when will my last check come in, what about the expenses that never got reimbursed, are there any people from work that I really want to keep in touch with ...) and then get on with having a good time.
When Monday morning rolled around, I was ready to face the prospect of not going to a job. I was able to have something productive to do because of my list, and the fact that family and friends knew and supported me kept me feeling upbeat!
What to do though if you don't have a support network? Be your own cheerleader! Talk yourself into a better state of mind, give yourself a treat (a good dinner with friends, the spa pedicure you've been wanting but didn't have time for, bake a cake and eat it all ...), and then look forward to the next week with the thought that it's all going to be OK.

Advice #2: Remove all the negativity before starting something new
I will be honest - I did spend some time on both Saturday, Sunday and a few days of the following week, cussing out the boss'es duplicity in being able to chat with me normally on Thursday evening when (s)he knew what was coming at me on Friday. I also spent a wee bit of time lamenting my fate, asking the heavens what I had done to deserve this and why had this happened to me. Fortunately for me, I realized that I had a lot more things going for me than not - the biggest and best of which is that I am going to be a brand new parent in less than 2 months. With something like that to look forward to, who would want to be in a negative frame of mind? Certainly not me!

Advice #3: Learn something new
This one is not something that I will be looking at from the point of view of a one-time deal. Along with my to-do list of layoff-related things, I also jotted down some things that I have always wanted to do/learn as a start to following my own advice. That said, I did try some new things and count that as a learning experience - grilled for the first time in my life, bought a sewing machine and made a baby blankie, baked some bread and just lazed around (which is a new thing to learn, believe me!). Some of the things I am planning for the future - learn a new langage or two, take some career-related courses, sew a whole lot more and just focus on being a calmer person and a good parent. It does pinch a little when you think about paying money when you know you won't be making any soon, but as I said before, ignore those feelings and go for it. You just might be opening a whole new life path for yourself!

Advice #4: Attitude really does matter
This one too is a keeper for life. I have met and heard of people who were completely crushed when life threw them a curveball, and met and heard of people who triumphed from the most dismal circumstances you could imagine. Putting your own situation in perspective with all the other things in your life really does help to boost you as I have found from personal experience. Viewing my layoff as a new beginning rather than a roadblock has already inspired me to do many things that I never had the time for (from being so exhausted by work) or never thought of doing at all (from being consumed by work).

On the whole, I am happy with having escaped from cubicle jail and enjoying the respite before I am tempted to jump back in. So keep on trucking my fellow escapees and of course let me know what you did/are doing to get through your own particular situations.

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