by GABE MACALUSO
On March 18, 2019, I found myself walking into an office to start my work day like I had done for the past 5 months and was greeted with the most evident sign today was going to be my last, a for-hire security guard sitting awkwardly and wondering where everyone was.
We all knew it was coming when two weeks prior they had called an all company meeting and our new CEO proclaimed, “Companies are in existence to make money, not to employ people.” While this statement is 100% accurate, the delivery and sentiment of his statement was not received well. I also happen to be a bit direct, so when he shared that the company would be shifting directions, I raised my hand and asked if I should be proactive in my search for new employment. Without missing a beat, his response was simply, “Yeah, that would probably be a good idea for you and several of your colleagues”.
I felt I had mentally prepared, I was the last one hired so being one of the first out made sense. I had never been let go before in my career. I always switched jobs out of necessity or circumstance. (Well there was one time I was fired from a serving job in college because I was accused of not filling the ketchup bottles before I left for the night, but I still don’t believe it). I packed up the box I had proactively brought in that morning and made the long walk to my car.
That walk gave me time to think, and nothing can truly mentally prepare you for being laid off. There were tears, I questioned why and what now? I had left a company and a job I had really loved just 5 months before to live the start-up life again and here I was walking with my box of stuff back to my car and not knowing exactly what was next. If you know me, I tend to be what the professionals like to call Type A, so the idea of not having something structured to do the next day was terrifying.
So like all good Type A personalities, I sat down and made out a plan and have written it out for you to follow my Type A mental process.
Step 1 – Communication
- Communicate with your significant other and work together on the following plan. You are in this together and the only way this transition will be successful is if you communicate from Day 1.
Step 2 – Review the Budget
- This was sobering and it got real real fast.
- Review all of your costs. We had savings, but we went through line by line and established timelines of when things had to happen, including what items had to be cancelled – Hulu and Amazon Prime got cancelled Day 1 along with our subscriptions of vitamins and supplements.
- From there will built out a timeline of everything else. When would we need to cancel the gym membership for my wife, the sports for my kids and when would I need to find a part time job if something permanent did not come along?
- How long can we afford the house and the car payment? How can we adjust the heating and cooling settings, the lengths of showers, drying clothes so we can save on utilities? (My kids now know if its yellow, let it mellow…)
Step 3 – Leverage your Network
- LinkedIn, F3, or whatever other network of friends you have is your best chance to land a new job. One of the hardest things is being vulnerable, but your networks are willing to help, and they want to help.
- It is exhausting, it is a grind, it’s not what I would consider my idea of fun. Your job has become finding a new job, except you get met with a lot of rejection and flat out silence and you do not get paid for your efforts.
- However, keeping a positive attitude and being grateful for the opportunities will keep you encouraged. And the idea that so many acquaintances and friends will help you is a great way to keep you going.
Step 4 – Find Purpose
- There were days I was mentally drained after interviewing with recruiters, refreshing the resume, and talking to more people. I never thought I was going to embrace the dad nap on the couch. My brain just always seemed to be moving too fast, but after my wife and kids would get home and start working on dinner, I would find myself on the couch drifting off as I let my mind go clear.
- Become Mr. Dad – My wife had decided days before I found out I was getting laid off to go back into the classroom (divine intervention?) and so I found immense purpose in being Mr. Dad. I made lunches, made dinners, did the laundry, vacuumed the house and conquered the greatest challenge of all – the school carpool lines.
Step 5 – It’s all about Perspective
- My wife had spent the last eight years of her life as a stay-at-home mom and wife. It was something I always envied. I just imagined her watching TV and eating all day. I was kind of excited to get to live that life and then I realized there are just not enough hours in the day to get everything done. By the time you get both kids to school and then get home, it’s already 8:30 and then you have to leave by 2:15 to go get them back from school. With grocery shopping, calling whoever you need to call that day, doing the laundry, cleaning the house and thinking about prepping dinner for the night you are out of time. The fact that she did this for eight years is an amazing feat. There were parts I loved, and like all jobs it has its pros and cons, but the key is to embrace it as your purpose.
Parting words of advice. Be grateful for what you have and not bitter about what you don’t. I loved getting to spend time with my kids and understanding the work and time my wife put in for the last eight years. That viewpoint helped me with each interview I had because it defined what was important in my next job.
Within in a few weeks I found the opportunity I wanted and had the resolve to ask for the things that aligned with what was important to my life. When we mutually agreed, I accepted the job and rolled right back into a career I am excited about. ♦