I was laid off this week. For all of you that have ever been there, I so feel you. As a teacher, I’ve been laid off countless times before, but this one was unexpected. So, what do you do when you find yourself unexpectedly unemployed? One of my friends told me I was funemployed (fun + unemployed = funemployed). She said I should use this time to find the fun in the every day that I was missing while at work and use that to try to craft my next steps.Obviously there’s a lot of privilege in being able to see unexpected time off work as a good thing, and I’m not blind to that, but if you find yourself in that situation, here are some ideas! So, here’s what I did:
Went to yoga.
After being laid off, there’s a million things racing through your mind (What did I do? Why is this happening? Will I ever find a job again?) and yoga is a nice, quiet place to calm down. I intentionally took a class that was physically exhausting, so that for those 75 minutes I could only focus on breathing and moving my body. It really helped pause the questions and it made me feel accomplished.
There’s nothing quite so restorative and curative as being in nature. Kayaking is a nice respite from the craziness of the city. You can paddle as hard as you want or float contemplatively. I found both to be a nice way to channel my feelings and allow myself, again, some space to breathe and move my body.
Met friends for coffee.
If you’re like me and you lose your job, you immediately start thinking of all the ways you can shore up money (we will sell this and this and I won’t replace this). However, I went to meet some friends for coffee and I compromised with myself by only drinking water. I got the social experience without the cash and it was much needed. They were able to provide me with many laughs, and a whole bunch of “down with the man” talk, and, the perhaps even healthier talk, “what can we do together from here?” Part of funemployment is finding the joy in your friends and realizing they love you and want to help you move forward.
Talked to everyone.
Arguably the hardest part of going from working long hours to crash landing and working zero is that you lose person-to-person interaction. Now, all of those feelings that you feel all day don’t have an outlet, so you end up taking the silliness and the frustration out on your partner or your roommate. Don’t be afraid to tell your friends what happened. They will have your back! Even more so, tap into your networks immediately. This is a different type of fun, but it will make you feel better. You have networks for a reason and this is one of those reasons. My mentors were incredibly helpful and supportive.
I spent many hours meditating on the idea of what I wanted to do next. I did this laying outside by myself, or walking with my husband, or talking to my cat. I thought long and hard about what I wanted to do next and started to think about what I really wanted to do next. Seize this opportunity because “when one door closes another one opens” and “everything happens for a reason” and “good things happen to good people.”
I know you’re feeling low right now. I was, and I still am. But I know things will be ok- they will be more than ok. You are strong. You are talented. You are beautiful. You got this!
P.S. In between writing and publishing this, I got a job! And it’s great! “Better things fall apart so better things can fall together.” YOU GOT THIS!