Like millions of other Americans, the current global health crisis, has greatly impacted my industry and left me unemployed. I count my blessings that I have my health, a fantastic support system, access to unemployment financial aid, and a roof over my head.
It’s important to acknowledge all the things I do still have, despite losing my job. But, being laid off stings nonetheless, even though it’s no reflection of my talent, work ethic, or experience.
Being unemployed during a pandemic is a strange situation to be in. On the one hand, I am far from alone. I have many peers facing the same struggles as me and we’re all equally at a loss for what’s next since the country is still shut down and jobs are far and few between.
On the other hand, it’s incredibly challenging to try to plan for the future with so many unknown variables at stake. When will the economy thrive again? Which companies will be ready to welcome new talent and when? How long will it take to find the right fit, not just any?
As I contemplate these questions and reflect on my current state, I’ve been trying to make the best of unemployment in the following ways:
1. I’m catching up on “me time.”
It’s true – when you’re unemployed, you gain back 40+ hours of your week.
At first, it was strange not having a purpose each day. My partner works, we have no children, and at the moment I have no obligations.
Initially, it was difficult to get into a rhythm, but I’ve definitely adjusted. I’ve been spending my time catching up on shows I’ve been meaning to watch, reading books I’ve been intending to read, and even started a private, personal blog to journal my emotions.
I remind myself, this too shall pass, but it has helped to dabble in some of my favorite hobbies to pass the time and give myself some self-care.
2. I’m beefing up my LinkedIn profile.
LinkedIn is an incredible resource for professionals and it’s where I’ve been spending a lot of my time these days.
From networking with other professionals to taking skill quizzes on the platform to enhance my profile, LinkedIn has been a great space to keep my professional goals top of mind.
I even upgraded my profile to the premium plan to get as much out of it as possible while I hunt for my next career opportunity. Even if LinkedIn doesn’t directly land me a job, it’s an incredible use of my time these days to better my employment situation later.
3. I’m working on updating my certificates.
Google Analytics, Facebook for Business, and other platforms offer free training and certificates for users who pass the exams.
I’ve earned certificates in the past, but to keep my skills sharp in the industry I’m in, I’ve been taking some time to retake or take new free trainings.
The hope is that once this pandemic ends, my talent and skills will be as relevant as before COVID-19 changed our lives.
4. I’m being patient.
The entire world changed abruptly and the repercussions of this pandemic will undoubtedly have a lasting effect on us all. I am doing my best to take each day as it is, with patience and understanding.
Things are not going to return to normal, at least not for a while. And even then, none of us know what “normal” will look like.
Knowing that so much of what happens next for us all is out of our hands, I’m trying to focus on being as flexible, patient, and open-minded as possible. Who knows what my next job will look like, where it’ll be, and what my purpose will be. But I do know, patience will serve me during this next phase.
Unemployment is hard. It was unexpected and hit me in a raw and real way. I loved my job. I had a career I worked hard for and adored. And now, it’s gone.
It’s difficult to stay positive, but I know I am not unique. So many of us, too many, have lost our jobs to COVID-19. And while we may not know what’s next, we do know we need to stay hopeful and remain optimistic. Good things come to those who wait. Let’s be patient and see what the future holds for us all.