Career Health & Body & Mind

Unemployed, to Vice President, during the pandemic: the journey, my thoughts, and sincere advice

I was made redundant right before the pandemic struck, which made it even longer and harder to find a role. I managed to do it employing similar strategies I wrote about in this post – so for the how, head on over and take a look – but here, I wanted to share my personal thoughts on the whole process.

It’s been a time of trying new experiences, of exploring my passions and self-interests. Of pivoting, of finding myself – I can proudly say that I have been able to finally define, after so many years, what I truly want to do with my life. How many people are afforded such a blessing and opportunity to do this? To be able to afford – time and money-wise – finding themselves?…

A time of doubt, of uncertainty, of “mid-life crisis”-like symptoms, of anguish, despair, lack of traction, direction… of calling out, asking the cosmos for guidance, help, a sign, hoping for the supernatural, the cinematic, to intervene…

A time of arguments, family interventions (with the best of intentions! but ultimately futile… how can you help when there’s a global pandemic on?), of wavering, uncertainty, and doubt…

Amazing

…I know this is a word that sounds flush with entitlement, because I acknowledge that I now have retrospect. Because I’m through the uncertainty of it all.

Here is what I’ve learned in this last year

Be kind to your neighbours now, more than ever, because you don’t know who is really suffering more than others

It was a terrible time to be made redundant, in retrospect.

There are so many people out there who must have been timed out so poorly, so unfortunately, in this pandemic – I feel for you.

Being based in the UK – a country that had greater employment support and concern than the US – was a benefit that I didn’t get to experience because I was already unemployed.

The journey, though cloudy and dark at times, is VERY important

It will, in some shape or another, come to an end. Like every journey, long or short, the beginning will have a middle, and the middle will have an end.

And looking back – as I ask myself…

“How was I? Did I act well?

Was I the person I’d hoped I would be, in a situation like that? Was I with conviction, through uncertainty?

Was I kind, through anger?

Did I lead, or did I cower and follow?”

I’m very proud of myself, because I’ve seen who I am under pressure and life uncertainty. I staying true to my convictions and beliefs, even when surrounded by doubt and unrelenting pressure.

But I’m also proud of those moments when I was human, when I was alone, and fearful for my future. When I called out for help to god, or God, or anything out there to hear me. When I felt tearful and scared, in the dark, in the night, at 2 AM.

Cultivate your plan B’s and C’s NOW – think long term about career prospects, and pivots

This is your moment. Don’t let anyone take this away from you. You have been given a gift, even though it doesn’t seem like it.

When I was made redundant, I was actually elated. I went from having no time besides work, to suddenly all the time in the world.

I was able to use that time to think about what I wanted to do with my life, and really think about my passions and viable career opportunities.

As I’ve written in another post (unemployed, and time is running out) you’re now thinking in terms of 3 stages: money now, job soon, and career later. I mean first priority is money, so you can survive, and if you’ve got savings or alternative income, great; second is finding a job that can take care of paying the bills; and third is pivoting into the career that you really want. And it’s all feasible now, now that you’re forced to.

Being made redundant is like a band-aid being ripped off – you are suddenly doing things that you never thought you’d be doing – and it’s amazing.

But it’s never too early to start. In fact, when you start, after you figure your plan out, the only thing you’ll be thinking about is wishing you’d started way earlier. Like, 10 years earlier. Developing these plans, you’ll find, takes time, before you start to see fruition.

I realised I was very exposed to… having a career

This one is a personal choice, but when I was made redundant, and then also hit with a global, unforeseeable pandemic event, I realised that my whole personal business model wasn’t good enough.

I definitely needed to kick the development of my alternative income streams into overdrive because I didn’t want to be in a position ever again, where if fate strikes, I’d be at a loss.

We’ve been taught our whole lives to do it one way: get a job, build a pension, and then retire – but the truth is, we’re way underprepared for even our pensions at this rate.

Take the reigns and design your own financial outcome, and security!

Your networking needs to be deeper and better

More developed, more thoughtful, more humane, more people-oriented, and not self-oriented.

Networking ONLY works when you treat it as a two way street. How ineffectual is it, that you only call upon your network, or try to develop it, when you are in need?

And the value of networking is so underrated. In fact, I view it as the most important thing we can do for our careers, which we don’t do well.

This is also how I went from unemployed to both getting a new role at a firm, as well as becoming a Vice President.

(For more details on how to make a career “pivot” – read another post of mine here.)

Your relationships will be be tested – and you will need to be the bigger person

Uncertainty, and finances, can rear ugly heads.

There will be tunnels, long and dark.

You will need to be the torch light, the head lamp, that no one else can be.

Because no one can see, there will be interventions and doubt, tears, and pleas.

DO NOT FALL TO DESPAIR.

Your relationships can become stronger

If you’ve got a partner, speak to them. Involve them. Be firm, but also understanding. They will also have concerns, but if you keep up the dialogue, you can both get what you want, and your relationship can come out even stronger from this.

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