What do I do now?

Following up on my news about redundancy (LinkedIn) from my latest role at Edvanza, I’ve been busy (as you would expect me to be), and have had a number of conversations and interviews on the back of some preliminary calls and applications I’ve made.

All in all, the future looks positive, but still very scary.

I’ve also had a number of queries and comments from people in a similar place, who have lost their job or are thinking of leaving an existing one. This post is a bit of a follow-up to those private conversations, but some general advice I give myself, which may help you if you’re ever in a similar position.

Here are some links to previous posts which I will build on for this post:

Now I have all the time in the world to do anything I want (within reason), I’ve been asked what I actually do or think about the situation I find myself in (mainly by family, but also as part of the preliminary conversations I’ve been having as part of the application process). Here are some notes that keep me focused and, hopefully, are helpful if you ever find yourself in this situation

  • Breathe – First things first, remember to breathe. Whether you’ve just been told about losing your job or this happened weeks or even months ago, you still need to breathe. Absorb the news and the situation you’re in. You don’t have to like it, but you do have to accept it and work within the new (financial and emotional) constraints you’re in.

  • Set a routine – It is impossible to be looking for a new job all day, every day. I have to give myself permission to step away from the computer, the job boards, applications, emails, social media, etc and have some downtime. Yes, it’s incredibly stressful stepping away and doing something ‘unproductive’, in the sense of job hunting, but it’s essential for peace of mind and wellbeing.

    If you think how often or how long you spend in an average day on the same task you’d probably find it’s only about an hour or two, maybe in one long session but more often or not split among other tasks. That’s how you should approach job hunting. Set your day so it mimics a typical working day, your start/stop time, and anything else you’d do as part of that when you were working (exercise, calls, friends, cafes, etc) and make this your new day – it’s familiar, it’s achievable, and it becomes a manageable event.

  • Keep track of applications, phone calls, visits, messages, etc. It may be a bind and an annoyance, but after a while, the applications will, sadly, start to look like each other, and you’ll lose track of who, what, when, where, and why you applied. A simple Excel spreadsheet is all you need, the columns with the important information. Back this up with a folder on your personal computer (don’t do this on a company-provided one) with copies of job descriptions and covering letters you’ve sent off. This way, when you’re called in, you can quickly and easily find the specifics and get up to speed on what you’ve said you can do.

  • Whatever you use, keep a diary/calendar up to date with important dates for the roles you’ve been applying to. Set reminders and alarms for interviews (in-person or remote/online) to be sure you arrive in time and with a little set aside to gather yourself together after the travel, or to test the equipment. The calendar is also a good way to look back and see progress and/or expectations on when you’ve been told you’ll hear something. Don’t worry if it looks a bit empty at times, that’s the way it goes and you have to stop worrying about it.

  • Reach out to friends and family – friends and family can be a source of balance and calmness at this time of heightened stress and anxiety. You may not want to unburden everything on them, but the simplicity of being around others and talking about something other than job and job hunting can be a benefit to your mental and physical health.

  • Networking – reach out to your network and don’t be afraid to ask for their help. My LinkedIn post has resulted in a couple of offers of support and offers to connect me with colleagues or recruiters people know. I want to send a big hug of thanks to everyone who has been in touch with me about anything related to this, you have been a big help. Thank you.

  • Stay active and relevant in your field – you can use the time you’re not trawling the job boards to keep up to date with developments in your field, meet friends and colleagues and ask what’s new they’re working on, or participate in online training, courses, webinars, etc. There’s no excuse to isolate yourself any more than you may already feel so try and stay active, physically and mentally.

  • Never get complacent that your resumé and cover letter are good enough to be used time and time again. More often than not the roles you’ll be applying for will have differences in terminology and/or requirements of the role, and your resumé and cover letter (or application form) will need to reflect the job description. So, remain flexible in your attitude and both these important documents will serve you well.

  • HR portals are a nightmare, even the HR team will often (quietly) agree with you, but they are a necessary evil when applying for jobs online. Rarely have I come across an application process that is purely a CV and cover letter – more often than not there are fields to fill in, pages of different aspects of experiences, references, work history, profile, etc. to fill in. Get used to it, this is your world now. Don’t fight it, embrace it.

  • Prepare – prepare for the job hunt, the application, the interview, and (hopefully) the offer. Prepare to be disappointed. Prepare to feel dismayed and stressed as application after application goes unacknowledged, unanswered, and ignored. Prepare for the long haul and hope for the best.

If anything above resonates with you or helps you in any way handle the same kind of situation you find yourself in, then I’m glad. Even if you’re happy in your work and have a secure role, it’s still good to be aware of what could happen in the future and, maybe not be prepared for it, but certainly have an idea of what you may need to do.

“Every setback is an opportunity in disguise”, so says the motivational memes and tropes. Whether you feel as positive as this doesn’t matter, just try and believe that the future is going to be better than the present, even if you don’t yet know when. Stay relevant, focused, and resilient throughout your job search – the right opportunity will present itself soon and you’ll find yourself in a fulfilling and exciting new chapter of your career.

If you are also looking for your new/next opportunity, then please reach out to me on any of the following platforms – LinkedIn / Twitter / Mastodon – and I’d do what I can to introduce you to my network or to roles I’ve seen that may be suitable to you, but not me. I am not in this alone, and nor are you.

Photo by Maryna Yazbeck on Unsplash