The Upsides of Getting Laid Off

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About two years ago, I was laid off from my job. And it was one of the best career moves I made… er, that was made for me.

At the time, I was about a year and a half into a job that I would best describe as “meh.” The pay was good. My supervisor was great. My co-workers were great. The job itself was… OK. Not particularly challenging. No clear route to promotion or the building of a career. Sort of had something to do with what I studied in school, but was rapidly changing, and the more it changed, the less it looked like something I wanted to do for a large chunk of my life.

While the day-to-day work of that job wasn’t stressful, the thought of how that job was shaping my career was incredibly stressful. I went through bouts of career confusion and anxiety. I felt like every moment I spent at that job was wasting time that could be spent working toward the career I wanted, which, at the time, was TBD.

In short, I was unhappy. But these thoughts that left me wondering if I should quit were always resolved with the thought of, “You have a job. You’re paying off your student loans. Be content with that.”

This is why a year and a half into that job, when I was told my position was part of a group of layoffs, I felt relieved. This was every non-decision maker’s dream: to have a life-altering decision made by circumstance.

Even though I wanted the opportunity to focus on something new, I was quickly reminded of how stressful and depressing being unemployed can be. It was a strange feeling… excitement and hopelessness crammed together in one.

But getting laid off, whether or not you liked your job, doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom. Let me fill your glass halfway with these hidden gems of getting laid off.

You Can Re-Evaluate Your Career

Are you content with what you’re doing? Do you ever have thoughts about doing something else? Is there something you think you could be great at that you’ve never tried? You might need to make a change. And this is the perfect opportunity.

You Can Work Toward What You Want

They say the best time to look for a new job is while you have one. I won’t deny the truth in that statement. But I will point out that they also say finding a job is a full-time job. And it’s pretty hard to have two full-time jobs. So take advantage of your new-found free time to really get after what you want.

You Can Apply for Financial Aid

Yes, I’m talking about unemployment, and no, I’m not talking about abusing the system. I actually lost money through unemployment, which shouldn’t be possible, but more on that later. If you do find yourself as part of a layoff situation, sign up for unemployment immediately and be grateful for it — even if it is far less than what you were making. At least it’s something.

You Have Unlimited Vacation Days!

It’s called funemployment for a reason, my friends. Although it’s usually more stressful than fun, I believe periods of unemployment should never be taken for granted. The situation might seem hopeless, but you will be working again sooner than you think. Which means you will have limited vacation days. If you can swing it during your bout of unemployment, take a vacation. Or at least spend some time doing things you find enjoyable.

. . . . . .

I wrote this nearly a year ago, before I knew I was being laid off again, this time from a job I liked. It’s strange going back through it and reminding myself of the positives that go along with losing a job. Want to see what my next move is? Head over the my new blog, Cairn Free, to find out.


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