I was fired a couple of years ago. It doesn’t matter if you call it fired, laid off, down sized, or asked to resign. It still feels like being fired. Recently most of my friends from my old job were laid off. Some were given a few months to finish out their jobs, others were escorted out of the building immediately. These next few articles are for them, and for me, and possibly for you. Over the next few posts, I’m going to talk about some of the things I’ve learned through my experience. I’ve come out the other side. It wasn’t luck, it was a process. I’m pretty extroverted, so some of what I did might strike fear in your heart. Use what you can. I’m not you.
The Personal Reboot
I needed a personal reboot when I shed my old job. I had taken on so many “survival skills,” I had lost sight of my own worth. I hold a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance, not a traditionally lucrative degree program. Many of my classmates wondered how I became such a tech. It was survival, pure and simple. Learning some of these skills gave me a sense of accomplishment while others felt a little like punishment. My former job was stressful, fast-paced, and heavy on triage training (learning what you have to learn while you’re troubleshooting an issue). That “do or die” environment forced me to develop very good troubleshooting skills. It also caused me to burn out.
My reboot involved critically looking at my skill set and job experience. I treated them as an occupational buffet. I had worked a lot of jobs out of necessity, and a few because they sounded interesting. Those work experiences yielded a varied list of skills. I ended up with three separate resumes, all with completely different skill sets — technology, writing-marketing, and music. I had very little to lose, so I picked the resume that appealed the most to me, and started networking.
One Step Back, Three Steps Forward
I ended up with a marketing job at a small company. If I look at it in terms of salary, it was a step back. If I look at it in every other way, it was leaps forward. I have honed my marketing skills. I have created content, built a social media campaign, created print ads for international publications, and done video editing. I was able to delve deeply into aspects of marketing that wouldn’t have been available to me in a larger company. Plus, I work with some of the kindest people I know. Win!
I know my path might not be the one for you, but consider it. Burn out can kill your spirit and weaken your body. My burn-out lifestyle was much more expensive than the way I’m living now. If you need a personal reboot, take one before you develop a serious illness, before your relationships fall apart, before you just can’t get out of bed anymore. Take it, because you don’t have to be shackled by your survival skills.
Set Your Own Buffet
Now, sit down with your list of skills and work experiences. Divide them into three groups:
- I LOVE using these!
- I feel comfortable using these.
- The thought of using these makes me physically ill.
Concentrate on the first two groups. What kind of a living could you make from those skills and experiences? Does using these skills mean you need to work for an unconventional company? Do you need to be an entrepreneur? Sit with these ideas for a while. Write them down. Talk through them with a transitional career counselor, your family, your friends. Your next job might simply act as a bridge to your new life. Let yourself take the step.
Career and Life Options