“We Have To Let You Go,” Six Fiery Words No Young Adult Wants to Hear

scrabble pieces: "unemployment"

[Photo credit: Lendingmemo]

Being in your early 20s feels like being on top of the world. You’re young, energetic and looking to explore life. You think you’re first job is going great and then you learn about a little thing called, “Layoffs.” Your boss takes you to another room to tell you the expected truth, the job you had is gone and the world starts to crumble. Unemployment creeps into your vocabulary. You call your partner and even your parents to tell them the news through muddled sobs.

There are really only two roads you can take when something like this happens – feel sorry for yourself, or lift your chin up and take this as a learning opportunity.

I can give you this advice because I have been let go of a job in just this fashion. I was let go of my first job – a job I loved and saw myself growing into. But this was just not the happily ever after for me. I chose to feel sorry for myself for about 10 minutes and then I pondered the opportunities that were just given me and acted.

This leads me to my next advice. Find something to do with your extra time!

A List of Things to Do When You’re Unemployed

1. Travel Solo

Traveling can be a harrowing experience but one you will remember for the rest of your life. Whether you are wanderlust and go to exotic places or just travel across the country to visit a friend, traveling is a great way to think internally and, in the most cliché words, “find yourself.”

2. Become Civically Engaged

While interning at Engage! Cleveland, I have learned that the best way to network and find something you’re good at is to become civically engaged. This could mean joining a young professionals board, volunteering at a Food Bank near you, or going to networking events in your city.

3. Learn a New Skill

I have learned a lot from my partner and some of those things involved making beef jerky and building my own picnic table using a kreg jig. This is a great way to keep your mind sharp and feel productive at the same time.

4. Treat Yourself

This is a time where a lot of us would look at our budgets, crawl into a hole, and never go out again until finding a way of income. But sometimes, giving yourself a little TLC isn’t the worst thing you can do in this situation. Buy some new clothes for when you land an interview for that job you really want or throw down for some new headshots and an updated portfolio website. Do something to make you feel better and that will help you in your growth process.

5. Go Back to School

Once I finished wallowing in my self-pity after losing my job, I looked online for a new career. After not finding anything I could really see myself doing, I knew the right choice was to go back to school and learn another marketable skill. There are so many excellent graduate schools in the country or you could get another bachelor’s degree. Either way, choose wisely. Many graduate schools will give you free tuition and a stipend for becoming a graduate assistant to help out the professors.

6. Network

There are so many ways to network in every city you live; you just need to find your niche. In Cleveland alone there are over 80 young professionals groups that host events throughout the city. Research the groups in your area and go out to a networking event. They are usually much more than speed networking and actually a ton of fun.

7. Shamelessly Promote Yourself

I’m taking this right out of my favorite YouTuber, Tyler Oakley’s book. If you want to get that job, you will probably need to reevaluate your brand. Think about how you would like to focus your Tweets, Facebook posts, and LinkedIn profile towards getting a job in your desired field. If you do something spectacular on this borrowed time, be sure to flaunt it and shamelessly promote yourself.

8. Find a Career

This is the not so easy part, but I know that you will find the right place for yourself in society if you use at least some of the above advice to your benefit.

Notice that I put this list in order from most fun to least. This should almost look like a path to follow with some avenues you can skip and some that you just shouldn’t look over. For myself, I learned to use power tools, I treated myself to interview clothing, I travelled to Nashville to visit a friend, and I ended up going back to school.

From there I gained an internship where I get to network every day, I shamelessly promote myself and gain followers from all over the globe and I’m currently looking for a career with two interviews already lined up.

There is a light at the end of this jobless tunnel – you just have to keep rolling, tumbling, falling, picking yourself up and walking forward.

If you have any comments or opinions, please share below! I would love to hear about any stories you have of quitting or losing your first job in early adulthood. Follow me on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook as well. I’ll be posting all of my content on social media.