My Layoff Recovery in the Time of COVID-19

My Layoff Recovery in the Time of COVID-19

Well so far 2020 has been … a year.

Along with personal losses and global turmoil, I experienced my first professional layoff. I feel oddly fortunate that my first time being laid off occurred with ~40 million others. I was knocked off course but certainly not alone!

Connection to others is the hero of my career journey the past few months. It’s a story that I conveniently captured in a series of LinkedIn posts.

The end of the before times

My company (at the time) transitioned to fully remote by March 15. It was a bit sooner than other companies, but it was obvious where things were heading and the major remote transitions happened soon after.

Although we all had a lot to be uncertain about in the world, my job security seemed intact!

Aww look at me beaming with naive confidence before I knew better. It didn’t last long.

Have you ever seen a more fitting use of the torn edge effect on a screenshot? Perhaps my naive confidence hasn’t dissipated entirely because that’s clearly a rhetorical question.

A different kind of work continued

I admit that I was stunned. It may seem surprising, now, that I was surprised. But this happened at the end of March when layoffs still seemed like an avoidable tidal wave rather than an all-encompassing tsunami.

After I briefly processed my shock, I dusted myself off and got after it. What is it? I can’t say that I had a particularly detailed job search plan. But I knew I wanted inertia to work in my favor and that network connections helped me score new jobs in the past. So I kept myself engaged in professional endeavors and sought to diversify my energy, not knowing exactly what would happen next.

I kept plugging away. Behind the scenes, I had many conversations and some interviews for potential jobs. I stayed active on LinkedIn with frequent posts and comments about my professional interests as well as some adjacent topics.

It’s amazing what you have a chance to observe when you have a little extra free time.

The pandemic struck again when my Nana passed away from COVID-19 on April 15.

I added Zoom Funeral to my list of new experiences in 2020.

My network was working overtime

I cannot begin to quantify the value I received from others. I’m still in awe of how professional connections showed up in my life. My network, mostly unaware of my personal losses, graced me with messages, recommendations, complimentary access to paid resources, collaboration opportunities, and referrals.

A successful rebound

I was laid off on March 24. Thanks to a fitting referral, I signed my new offer letter on May 19 for a better version of the job I had before and with a growing company.

I am lucky and grateful and I want to be transparent that I HUSTLED during those 2 months. While I’m not in favor of how hustle culture has been glamorized in recent years, searching for a new job during a global recession calls for hustle.

To celebrate my new (non-state-sponsored) paycheck, I invited goats to join a virtual happy hour!

The pendulum keeps swinging

No 2020 story should be told without acknowledging the tipping point against systemic racism.

I started my new job on May 26, one day after George Floyd was murdered by a Minneapolis Police Officer. As I ramped up at work, so did the protests across the country and around the world.

I was raised to not be racist. Now I’m learning how to be antiracist.

I’m fortunate to have a job that’s a step up in my career and with a company that actively encourages us to be better citizens.

On June 8, we celebrated my Mom’s birthday without her for the first time. I cannot overstate her positive influence. It is extra gutting that all of this has occurred during my first 6 months without her and it is extra apparent how lucky I am because of her.

What’s next? It would be foolish to try to guess at this point. In the meantime, we must work together to progress through the pandemic, eradicate systemic racism, and seek balance with gratitude.

For a lighthearted escape, I recommend Floor is Lava on Netflix. As long as you ignore how the concept is an uncanny metaphor for 2020, it’s quite fun to watch!

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