Last week, I joined 9 other coworkers in hearing the dreaded phrase: “Your position has been cut.”
I’ve heard this phrase before in 2014, 2018, and most notably, on April 1, 2020. I’m starting to think the Universe is trying to tell me something.
When I lost my job in 2020, things were not good. The world was suffering from COVID, and businesses were struggling to pivot. On a personal level, I had very little in my savings account, and any freelance clients I had soon disappeared thanks to the pandemic.
After losing a job I loved, I survived on small unemployment checks and random freelance gigs for more than a year. At times, I was just one gig away from being in severe financial trouble.
So, I started saying yes to every job out there. The crappy ones, the low-paying ones, the ones with awful clients. I needed money, and I needed it fast.
I got some money, sure. But, I also worked 80 hours a week, barely slept, had panic attacks, and generally thought I would die in my sleep due to my life.
I started applying for full-time jobs that sounded like a fit. When I was offered my last job, I couldn’t believe it. As someone who has always struggled to fit in at 9-5 positions, this one finally seemed right.
Once I started working full-time, I could let my freelance work go and have a schedule that wasn’t so stressful. It was almost weird for me to work 40 hours weekly, not 60 or 80.
And then, that call. It was happening again.
I know so many people — especially fellow tech employees — have gotten this same news over the last few months.
After that call, I let myself take a few days to rest and, admittedly, not think about what just happened.
Now, I’m trying to get organized, fill out the proper paperwork for exiting one job and entering unemployment, figuring out healthcare, and mailing back company-owned tech.
I’m trying to stay positive. I refuse to host a pity party.
On the one hand, I’ve been here before and made it out alive. But on the other hand, I’ve been here before, and it was a dark time.
I hate uncertainty.
But, as I have learned repeatedly, nothing is certain (except death and taxes, ha).
So, unemployment, we meet again. And hello, freelance job boards, I’m back. And, well, LinkedIn job applications will be seeing my name soon enough.
I can’t say I’m ready to jump back into a 9-5 job yet. I know the market isn’t great, and honestly, I am not in the mood to get laid off for a fifth time just yet.
So, I’ll be looking for freelance writing work. I have a different approach this time (like charging enough, so I don’t make myself physically ill) and am looking for gigs that genuinely fit my skills.
My freelance services are available on my “Hire Holly” page, which I’ll continue updating this week.
Maybe I’ll get a Substack or make a podcast or… who knows?!
What I do know is that I’ll continue to follow the same rules I set for myself when I was laid off in 2020:
Keep a routine. I currently have 0 clients. But, I’ll keep a loose schedule with what I can: writing, a workout, a webinar, a networking zoom hour, updating my resume, or applying for jobs.
Get rest. If I’ve learned anything in the last year, it’s about the importance of rest. Proper rest, not scrolling on your phone or whatever.
Stay positive. This is the most challenging part. It’s easy to see all the sad, awful things happening worldwide and wonder how anything will ever be better. A big part of me staying positive is consuming uplifting content and keeping in touch with people who will encourage me to keep going. I also write a lot in a journal and remind myself that I’m not alone and can get through this.
Create mini goals and conquer them. An excellent approach to all of this is to take it daily and maybe set a few small daily goals. For example, today, my goal was to clean out my inbox and wrap up paperwork for working early voting. Check and check, and I still have loads of the day left! Maybe some of those goals are related to bringing in money, but perhaps some of them are made to help you feel better.
Share your story. This blog has always been a place to spill my guts, and I always feel so much better. Sharing my story about job uncertainty has also always helped me find work! People aren’t going to know you need a job unless you tell them, so post it on your social media, share it on your podcast, put a sign on your front door, whatever. Spread the word, put it into the universe, and let it go.
Appreciate what you already have. Even before I lost my paycheck, I was in a regular habit of gratitude for what I have: my kitty Blanche, the food in my fridge, a safe neighborhood to take walks in, a car to get to essential places, encouraging friends, a comfy bed, a near-endless supply of skincare, and a stack of books to read.
Spend less and save a little more. Over the last year, I was in a financial position to put aside money for savings and was able to pay off more than half of my debt. Anytime I am uncertain about my income, I tighten up on my spending and see if I can’t put a little more into my savings. Since I work from home, that means spending less on gas, making a more significant effort to turn off things when not in use, and doing less shopping — at least for now.
Do not make decisions out of fear. This is one I have to remind myself of daily. But, it’s easy to take any job that comes my way — out of fear that not another one will come. It’s easy to turn down an invitation for a lunch meetup — out of fear that I will need that money for bills. This does not mean don’t look for work and spend willy-nilly, but it does mean that you must keep the faith that you can (and will) be able to provide for yourself in the days, weeks, and months ahead.
With those rules in mind, I guess, here I go… again on my own – ha!
To see more writing from me, be sure to subscribe to The Bitter Lemon by clicking “subscribe” on the right side of your screen. Want even more? Subscribe to my newsletter to get roundups, book recs and lifestyle tips.