7 Powerful Lessons from Unemployment

2 Jul

Taking a break from the job search process has allowed me to re-energize a bit and refocus myself. When I left my  job last year, I never dreamed that it would take this long to find another full-time career position. I have learned a lot along the way about the job search process, about my inner strength, and about life in general. Some of the lessons that I have learned are:

1) Patience 

Patience has never been my strong suit. If you are familiar with the insights work styles, my dominant color is red. This basically means that we “reds” like to get straight to the point and get things done. When I make a decision about doing something, whether it be studying abroad, moving to another state, running a marathon, or going to graduate school, I find out what is necessary to accomplish the goal, and figure out how to get it done.

So, this whole job search process which is admittedly more squishy in terms what is necessary to accomplish the goal of getting it done, has been challenging. I have a process that I am following, but there is no guarantee of what will work, or when the process may work. My patience is being tested in many ways, and I am learning (I hope) to be more patient, and trust that the process will work.

2) Letting Go

Similar to learning how to be more patient, I am also learning (I hope) to more easily let go of expectations. At times it is incredibly difficult to surrender to the process and let go of expectations. I am constantly reminding myself to that as long as I put the work in, it will lead to a good outcome. I have to let go of when it will happen, how it will happen, and what it will look like. I have to trust that I will find the right position at the right time.

3) It’s the Journey, Not the Destination

So often we catch ourselves in the trap of thinking things will be great when I have _____ (fill in the blank). Whether the blank for you is a job, a new home, a vacation, a spouse, a new car, kids, a new apartment, or a new dress size, the true richness of life is in the journey of getting there, not the destination. The richness is not always going to be enjoyable and in fact might be quite painful. But, if everything in your life is easy, serene, and peaceful, chances are you aren’t learning and growing. Don’t get me wrong, I could do with a little more easiness, and a little less “growth”, but the point is that we often miss out on how rich the journey really is.

4) Success is What You Make of It

As Americans, many of us are used to defining success in terms of material things or achieving certain milestones in your career or personal life. If you take a broader view of success,  you may find that you are successful in many ways although your bank account may be suffering, and you don’t meet the traditional definition of success in this country.

5) You Will be Better Prepared for the Future

Statistically speaking, as the economy moves toward more temporary and contract work, most workers will face some period of unemployment or “time off” between jobs. Because you have been through it, you will be better prepared for dealing with it in the future.

At a recent meeting for a job search group, many people commented that they have been through multiple layoffs. But, most of them also said that the second time that they were laid off, they were better prepared, and more quickly found jobs due to their improved job search and networking skills.

The world of work has changed, and we have to be prepared to change with it too.

6) You May More Broadly Define your Skills

Maybe this career transition has given you the opportunity to more broadly define the skills that you have. Maybe you’ve re-discovered your love for cooking, or maybe you’ve gotten deeper into crafty projects. Maybe you’ve spent more time writing, or honing your expert excel skills. Some of your skills may not translate to a full-time job right now, but you may have discovered a side hustle that will may the next career transition easier to manage.

7) Acceptance is Required Before you Can Put the Puzzle Back Together

Whether you have been laid off, left a position, or a recent graduate who hasn’t been able to land a career position yet, you must first accept where you are at. It doesn’t do any good to be angry or frustrated about the situation. Sure, you are allowed to have bad days, but don’t let that weigh you down. You’ve got to be honest with yourself about the situation that you are in, and what you need to do to dig yourself out of it.

If you got a degree that isn’t getting you hired, or if you are in a field that has stagnated, you’ve got to face the reality of the situation. You may need to get additional education or training, or pursue another career path.

I have started down the path of getting a technical writing certificate as an alternative to the types of jobs that I have been pursing. It is a tough market for the field that I am in right now, and I want to be sure that I am not in the same boat a year from now.

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2 Responses to “7 Powerful Lessons from Unemployment”

  1. Vishnu July 7, 2013 at 6:38 pm #

    I really enjoyed this post Lisa! and appreciate all the many lessons this experience has taught you. Maybe a future post or place you’re at is ‘how to lose your job and find your life!” 🙂 I think a big part of all these discoveries is perspective? I think perspective is the real game-changer. When we go from what we lost and what we don’t have to what we gain and how our lives have improved, we start operating from a place of abundance and wisdom. I know you’ve had enough wisdom (and probably enough to last a lifetime lol) but many of your discoveries take years of spiritual development to realize – which you’ve picked up in such a short time frame:)

  2. Savvy Career July 21, 2013 at 11:29 pm #

    Thanks for your comment Vishnu!

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