Recently unemployed? Take heart. You’re not alone. After three consecutive months of increases, Canada’s unemployment rate is starting to dip again, though it still remains lower than the unemployment rate in the United States. But losing a job can sometimes bring some surprising rewards. What follows are my Top 5 Fantastic Things About Losing A Job!
1. You are forced to take a hard, honest look at yourself – Anyone who finds themselves unemployed and doesn’t make this their number one, above all others, first step is doomed. You’re unemployed for a reason. Whether it was your choice or not. Company restructuring or company politics. End of a contract or end of a career. Your life has changed, and somehow, someway, somewhere, you played a role. Figure out the ‘why’ before thinking about the ‘what’s next’.
2. You discover who your industry friends are – You should already know who your ‘real life’ friends are. I certainly know mine. But if you work in the wonderful world of social media, it can sometimes feel like you have ‘thousands’ of friends. Trust me. You don’t. You simply can’t develop real relationships with ‘thousands’ of people. But consider this. In the hectic, day to day insanity of your past (working) life you might not have realized at a conscious level which of your online pals you were truly connecting with. Then the most amazing thing starts to happen. They surface. And they step up for you. Whether by passing your name around, going out of their way during busy speaking tours to give you invaluable advice (you know who you are), or sending freelance work your way, each one of these gestures reinforces the value inherent in building and nurturing online relationships, brings you one step closer to stability, and illustrates yet again the undeniable power of social media.
3. You receive the gift of time – Yeah, yeah, I know, I know, bills to pay and all that other nonsense that gets in the way of life. But if you can schedule yourself a few hours of worry free time a day, what you gain is immeasurable. You have time to read again. To catch up on all the articles and blogs you missed while you were busy working. You reconnect with people you haven’t chatted with in awhile (see above). And most importantly, you clear your mind, allow it to wander, and start to really think. The worst thing to do is jump blindly, because of fear and worry, into the first offer that comes your way. Think. About what you would like to change on a personal level. About ways to improve in your next position. And about what you want to do next.
4. You get out of your comfort zone – Were I not writing somewhat chronologically here, I might have put this as number one. Comfort zones are not necessarily bad places to be, if you’re content and happy. But most of us want to keep learning, doing and achieving more. When you’re working at a stressful job week after week, at times the comfort zone becomes your default button. Between work, kids, house and spouse it’s difficult to muster up the energy to tackle something new. I can’t help but refer you here to the coolest dude in the social media space, DJ Waldow. He faced down an employment shuffle and is now running his own company because of it. It is, to coin a Waldow phrase, an awesome story. Personally, I started this web site, and even >gasp< had the courage to do some rudimentary coding. It might sound small to most of you, but it’s a massive step outside my CZone, and has been hard, frustrating work. I’m proud of myself.
5. You get to be you again – Once you’ve had a few days/weeks to shake off the shock and get used to the idea of being unemployed, you realize something. If only for a short while, until that next gig comes along, you really get to be you. We all conform somewhat to the voice of the organization we are employed by, and depending on your role, you might have been conforming a lot! That’s normal, and is part of being a part of a team, and being loyal and respectful to your employer. But the freedom to shed that voice and let your personality really shine is as invigorating as a cold shower. Don’t forget, there is only one you. Maintain your standards (you *are* job hunting, need I remind you!), figure out who you are and where you want to end up, connect with people, get the heck out of that comfort zone, and most importantly, don’t focus on the negative. You’ll be back on the payroll in no time.
What do you think? Too ‘Pollyanna’ for you? Anything I’ve missed? Would love to hear your thoughts.