Navigating your first REAL job loss

I have had a lot of jobs and I have worn a lot of hats in my short time working, at age 18 I took my first real job as a Photopass Photographer at Walt Disney World during their College Program, from there it was cruise lines, airlines, even a photographer at Fenway park.

I’ve never been fired, I have always self terminated my jobs because sometimes they just weren’t a good fit for me or I had to move on somewhere else… I’d never been let go, till the fall of 2015.

I got my first real reporting job in July of 2015, I was a bright eyed bushy tailed community news reporter, in short I loved my job. I got to work from home, I was able to set my hours and I got to experience all these fun community events and mingle with people. Then in late November I get a call from my Editor in Chief, I knew it was coming though I could feel it in the air.

That’s the thing about getting laid off, you can kind of sense it coming, the air changes your work relationships change, and in my case? I got assigned less and less till it happened, and it’s a hard blow.

At first you don’t know what to do, I felt like it wasn’t real I was driving home after signing my termination, we were going to Thanksgiving dinner the next day and I just didn’t know what to feel. About a week after that I was crying about my boyfriend forgetting to buy a pizza for dinner, my emotions were everywhere I would get mad, I would get sad, I would laugh because it just couldn’t be happening.

We never think it’ll happen to us, we never think we’ll get pink slipped and for many we won’t because we have secure jobs but I took a risk, in a waning economy I wanted to be a news reporter I wanted to go out there with my notepad and report the news like many before me. That’s the thing about me, despite the piling school debt I am determined and I knew what I wanted to do, I wanted to be Lois Lane, I wanted to be the news reporter. So how did I get through it? Months and months without anything and then suddenly I was working in a small beach town 2 hours from my hometown and finally feeling like I was in control of my life.

1. Don’t Panic!

Yes I know, easier said than done but you have to hit the brakes and take a breath. I kept panicking about my situation and losing sleep, eating too much and gaining MORE weight, I kept pacing and feeling like I was falling apart.

It’s so hard to accept you lost your dream job, I know that, but if you keep breathing it makes it easier. I found that what helped me was writing, I would sit and just write and write, I took up more hobbies like knitting and taught myself a new skill, I started sewing more, it was just anything to clear my head of this misery.

I also found that if I was going to hunt for jobs, I would only spend an hour or several small bursts because I would feel so discouraged doing it. I would get so sad when I would apply and hear nothing back, but when I did and then nothing again I would just feel hopeless.

It’s so important to practice self care when it happens, you need to be willing to set time aside to job hunt but also do other things to remove that feeling of drowning. I spent so much time alone and just trying to shake the feeling, I should have turned to friends, family or my boyfriend and that’s the most important thing to remember.

2. Take another job 

Your severance package won’t last forever, they run out and bills will pile up. I have a lot of customer service skills so I was applying to jobs where I could use my previous skills anything with customer service or even photography. I got lucky I found a job taking photos at a legacy railroad and I was able to pull in some cash, because I wasn’t going to sit by.

I also with caution say to find a temp agency, I had a massive issue with a temp agency back when I was still between jobs but if it’s only between finding a permanent job, I think it’s alright just read the fine print.

Just whatever you do, don’t sit at home and mope keeping your skills fresh is important and vital to bounce back.

3. It takes time

While it may happen over night, chances are you may be unemployed for a bit of time, and it’s important to be patient.

When you become impatient all you do is hurt yourself, like I said self care is of the utmost important and if you’re feeling stressed on top of feeling sad you’ll end up destroying yourself and getting to a job interview like that will ruin you completely.

It also shows through when you’re nervous or feeling like you’re a failure, so just take it one day at a time and remember to breathe as much as you can.

It can be easier said than done, but it is possible. The main thing is patience, just remember Rome wasn’t built in a day and finding a job after losing your first dream job can seem impossible.

As for me?

I took a job in Southwest FL, I work at a daily and I continue to push because I am still in the infancy stages of this whole journey. Like anything in life it’s about learning and I continue to learn every day I get to work and set to work writing about my local town.

Just remember it isn’t the end of the world, it’s just the beginning especially if you’re in your 20s like me and still have so much to do. Just remember there are people who love you and will support you through all this and never be afraid to ask for advice or help, but continue to work hard it’ll be well worth it in the end.

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