April 2, 2009
Dealing with the less tangible effects of a layoff
Sure, those who've been laid off may talk about how they feel anxious, angry, blue, frustrated, or betrayed by their former employer. But there are other side effects of getting pink-slipped that people aren't always comfortable sharing, even with those they're closest to.
Take the cabin fever that can stem from suddenly finding yourself without a place to go every day and no one but the cat to interact with 40+ hours a week.
Debra, a Nine to Thrive reader who was laid off last week, says that after the initial devastation of losing her job, she was hit by a wave of loneliness. Hard.
"Oh, it's possible to hang out with the friends that are still working, but not a good idea," Debra said in an email. "It just stirs up 'Why me?' feelings."
Then there's the blow your self-esteem can take when there's no reason to get up and get dressed by 7 a.m. each morning, no matter how much you grumbled and muttered and swore through your former morning commute. Not having an organization or community to contribute to can leave us feeling adrift, untethered, even detached from society.
And for those parents and adult caregivers who have a domestic life that's chaotic at best, losing a job sometimes means losing the place you could go five days a week to relax, as laid-off dad Paul Tullis writes at the end of this funny New York Daily News essay.
But you don't have to wait till you secure your next job to regain your sense of camaraderie and community or to find a quiet respite away from the chaos of your daily home life. You can start a job hunters' coffee klatch with other laid-off friends and colleagues. Or you can blog, volunteer, or take a class. Or meet unemployed pals for a weekly "let's take our mind off the job hunt for an hour" walk around Green Lake.
While it's true that none of these activities takes the place of paid full-time work, they can put you one step closer to finding your next gig. After all, the best networking often happens in informal settings.
At the very least, they'll give you a reason to put on your pants and get out of the house a couple times a week.
Karen Burns is the author of The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl, a career guide based on her 59 jobs over 40 years in 22 cities.
Lisa Quast is a certified career coach, mentor, business consultant, former corporate executive and author based in the Seattle area.
Randy Woods writes about job-search tools, networking techniques and other tips to help you land your dream job.
Matt Youngquist is the president of Career Horizons, a career counseling firm.
Natalie Singer is a Seattle writer, editor and small-business owner.
Michelle Goodman is the author of "My So-Called Freelance Life" and "The Anti 9-to-5 Guide."
Paul Anderson helps professionals in transition find their desired employment.
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