When the unexpected happens

So the other day I went into work and got laid off. On the up side, I was home by noon. On the down side, it sucked as it was unexpected.

Looking for work can be both grueling and exhilarating. The possibilities can be endless! Where do I want to go next? What do I want to do now? Should I start up my own business again and look for consulting contracts? Should I stick to full time and target companies I’d love to work at? Maybe I should start something totally new. There can be excitement in the unknown. But then there are the days when the phone is silent and the inbox is still. That can be quite scary.

No one ever said that life was guaranteed to be predictable and it’s easy to get totally side swiped when something like a job loss comes your way. It can be tempting to slide into a rut of unproductive self-pitying Netflix bingeing when you don’t know how long the break will be. I haven’t figured out how to see into the future, so here are my tips for staying positive and productive when the rug gets pulled out from underneath you for an indeterminate period of time:

  1. Make a list. The afternoon I was laid off, I installed a To Do app on my phone called Any.do. On it I started listing things that I wanted to accomplish. Not all of them were job hunting related – some of them were things that I needed to do but hadn’t had the time to get around to doing, like get my passport renewed. It was helpful, especially in the first few days, to be able to cross off at least one or two things from my list every day.
  2. Call 5 people and set up coffee dates. Make at least 3 of them people you know in hiring positions at companies you might like to work for. They may not have a job that’s currently open but it’s a good opportunity to talk about what you’re looking for and what their biggest gaps/pains are to see if there are any possible connections to be made. You never know when a discussion over coffee will lead to a job down the road. One of the 5 should also be a good friend you can just unload to.
  3. Pick a project or a hobby to work on. It could be something new you’ve always wanted to do or something you’re in the middle of but never had the time to dedicate to. For me, I’m working on painting the roof of one of my boys’ bedroom ceiling. It’s painted the same colour as the wall except for the center where there is a big Minecraft-like hole through the roof and the sky with clouds can be seen. I love painting so this is a good relaxing, get-to-my-happy-place activity that keeps me grounded and sets my mind at ease.
  4. Organize something. It could be your office, your pantry, the playroom, your closet or all of the above. There is a certain satisfaction from creating organization from chaos that helps a person feel like they do have their life under a bit of control after all.

Do you have any other tips to share that I’ve missed here?

If you’re free for a coffee, I’ve got some time to spare these days. And if you know of anyone looking for help building their Microsoft practice, taking their relationship with Microsoft to the next level, evangelising their product or project internally or externally, or generating demand with current or new customers, please pass along my name. I’d love to connect with a Microsoft partner looking for help in any or all of these areas.

My LinkedIn profile can be found at https://ca.linkedin.com/in/rmorton.

4 Responses to When the unexpected happens
  1. Johanna Minckton Reply

    Yep, Oct 28th 2015, after 9 years in a lovely job with lovely people ( with the exception of the previous 12 months), a good pension and the 55 birthday looming on the horizon, I became unemployed. Within weeks my Dad passed away, at least not working gave me the gift if sitting with him for days until the end, also helped as he was in Ireland- the time was a complete gift. And that’s how I am taking it now. While I do not have small children to worry about now, there’s always the mortgage, my age, and the fact that I don’t have more than a high school education, I learned all I know at the University of Life. It’s all the uncertainty! I though I would retire in that job- but there you go. I live in Guelph also. My daughter shared your post with me. I believe we will be okay…

    • Ruth Reply

      Hi Johanna – I believe we will be okay too! Thanks for sharing your story. 🙂

  2. Carol Reply

    “You is kind. You is smart. You is important.”

    Sometimes we just need someone to whisper those thoughts into our ear when the unexpected happens and things that we thought would be, aren’t.

    I am looking forward to seeing what the next chapter holds for you!

    • Ruth Reply

      I like that mantra. Thanks Carol!!

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