Originally published on LinkedIn.com
When we begin a new job, we walk in motivated and excited to make a difference. We’re ready to start fresh with a new role, and are ready to meet new people. We walk in ready to prove our skills and are eager to experience the great culture that we learned about during the interview. But, one thing that no one expects from a new job is to eventually be let go. Whether it is because of budget cuts, staff reorganization, or poor performance, the last thing we think about when we first walk through those doors is that we’ll eventually be walking out, without a backup plan.
I’ve been there before. In fact, I’ve been there four times.
The first time I was unemployed for a short three months before bouncing back into a great company, with a great position. The second and third times weren’t so lucky, leaving me unemployed for over a year before I was able to land even just a part-time position. By the fourth time, I was a pro at being without work. At one point, the only work that I could land was as a server in a local restaurant, and boy was that an eye opener!
Being unemployed can do quite a bit to a person and their self-esteem. There’s nothing worse than worrying about how bills are going to be paid or how employers are viewing you as a candidate when you’ve been out of work for so long. Add having to raise a child to the mix and you feel pretty inadequate. However, I knew that sitting there and sulking over my status wasn’t going to change anything. I was the only person responsible for myself and for making something happen—it wasn’t just going to be handed to me.
Therefore, when I wasn’t revamping my resume, applying for positions, and networking, I would take advantage of the time off to enjoy time with family and friends, and to travel. I would take the time to work on myself by really thinking about where my career was, where I wanted it to be, and to think about where my true passions lied and how I was going to achieve my short and long-term goals.
The overall experience resulted in me learning a few important things that I know will benefit me in the long run in both my personal life and in my career:
While being unemployed was a difficult experience that I wish on no one, I wouldn’t change a thing. Not only did it influence my career path and development, but more importantly, it influenced my development as a person. I learned quite a bit, and am happy to have gone through it. I now face every situation prepared for the worst, but ready to give my best. I face every situation ready to let my new colors shine, and ready to succeed, no matter what may be in store.