After a layoff: Bob’s story

COMMENTARY

It took time to feel normal again

I’ll never forget what first entered my mind when I heard the words, “We’re eliminating your position.” Photo right: Bob Sandrick LinkedIn photo

I thought, “This is only part of life.” That was my first thought, because over the years I had seen friends lose jobs. And face life-threatening illnesses. And mourn deaths of loved ones. I wasn’t unique, unlucky or cursed. I was just experiencing life.

God had prepared me for this moment, this layoff, and when it came, he immediately gave me the right perspective. And he would give me tools to recover and find a new course.

For a while, I was staggered, badly hurt, a little lost, scared.

Bob Sandrick, freelance multimedia journalist

Sometimes I blamed myself, but I also fought feelings of bitterness toward others. It took weeks before I felt “normal” again.  

To reach that point, I had to put forth a little effort, and it wasn’t all about polishing up my resume and practicing job interviewing.

Yes, I did update my resume. I took full advantage of outplacement services my former company provided. I sat down with an old-fashioned pen and notepad and brainstormed ideas, thinking of ways I could improve my skills and possibly transfer those skills to another type of work. I wrote down networking contacts, people who might provide job or freelancing leads.

Finding support from peers

But dealing with the emotional gut-punch of job loss was just as important.

In my case, three of us were let go the same day. We buddied up, and I was on the phone with at least one of them daily. We vented, whined and wondered what happened. Why us?  God helped me realize that these phone sessions were part of my work day, for now. They were part of my grieving process.

We also encouraged each other. We signed up for a library course on job hunting. We attended panel discussions organized by local professional groups. We met for coffee and exchanged information.

We made each other laugh and helped each other heal and forgive.

We made each other laugh and helped each other heal and forgive.

Bob Sandrick

And I kept doing what I always did. I rose every morning, shaved, got dressed and went out. I drove to a local coffee shop, or the library, and worked on my job search there. I hurt the whole time, but I knew that isolating would only make things worse.

After a few weeks, I found a way out of the fog. I was happy again. And eventually, both of my former coworkers found new jobs.

Finding guidance and perseverance

Today, I’m an independent contractor and enjoying life. I attend a Monday night Bible study that has blessed me beyond my expectations. I volunteer for a library program that helps kids in danger of failing the third-grade state reading test. I wouldn’t have been able to participate in these rewarding activities if I was still working the job I had lost.

If you’ve lost a job recently, persevere. Reach out to a former coworker who was also laid off, or hook up with someone at a job group. They need you as much as you need them. Experience the pain; don’t run from it, but share it with others.

And if you haven’t sought divine guidance for a while, or never have, try prayer. To paraphrase a saying: God loves hearing new voices.

Bob Sandrick is a freelance multimedia journalist who provides photography, videos and social media placement for his clients. His expertise also expands into content marketing and trade publications. Sandrick’s former employer is Cleveland.com. For more information on Sandrick contact him at rsandrick@yahoo.com.

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