Updated: Aug 2, 2020
For many years since I left my country Ecuador, I have been changing paths, living in different countries, working in different areas, and reinventing myself all the time. And here I go again with the COVID19 crisis hitting me personally. I lost my job as many people all over the world, and I have to be honest, it is a little scary not to know what the future will be after it, but I am not afraid to start over again.
First thing to do is to accept the situation, I am not saying that it is easy because it took me a long time to do it, and that’s the main reason why I want to share my experience. When people told me, “everything happens for a reason”, I thought: “they don’t know what they’re saying, they are not in my shoes, they didn’t lose their jobs... it is easy for them to say that!” But when I finally accepted my situation, I realized that they were not wrong.
It is extremely difficult to start over, especially when you were in a company and had a position that satisfied your needs and expectations. The whole process of finding a new job, filling out applications, and being able to have at least an interview to have the chance to convince the future employer that you are worth it is very demanding, time consuming and frustrating. The journey doesn’t only take your time, but also your energy, and your mental health can be affected. On top of that, during this period of crisis, with stay at home orders in place, all businesses closed their doors and the job market became precarious. The competition is higher today, as many others are in the same condition after being furloughed or laid off.
The most difficult part for me was that I lost my confidence and my purpose in life. I started to let myself go into depression little by little, without even noticing it. One day, I woke up and said to myself that I couldn’t continue like this. If I succeeded in living in different countries, learning languages, changing careers, and working hard in many industries, how is it possible that I am not able to overtake this situation? At that very moment I realized that I started to accept what was happening to me.
Once passed the acceptance phase, it is time to find your own peace to maintain your mental health in good condition. Every person finds their own peace in different ways, mine was through dance and painting. So, I started to give more time to those activities to help me with my emotions, to lose anxiety and fear and to keep me not only active but happy and relieved. And it is not necessary to have money to do it. There are a lot of activities that are free today. Many people want to help others in this situation, so you just need to find the way to feel at peace again.
Now is the time to say to yourself, “It is not my fault” you did not do anything wrong. When we lose a job, it is common to feel this way, because we overthink our weaknesses, and we try to find what we did wrong. This is the moment to speak to a coach, therapist or even a mentor. Create an entourage with people who can help you to pass through this moment, who encourage you and cheer you up. You are not alone and you are not the only one. I know that when we start feeling bad and negative, it is common to try to stay alone and not say anything because we do not want to be judged and we don’t want people to look at us as losers, but the first step is to open up and welcome help.
I encourage you to write on a paper what you have done until today, everything, even the little things that you accomplished in your life, even those failures that you may have and how and what you did to beat them, because those are experiences and learnings. Believe me you will be surprised to discover all the abilities you have.
If it is possible, invest your money and your time to learn something in an area that you feel a need to improve, or something totally new. It is never too late to do it. I decided to take some online free classes in Digital Marketing, I spoke a little German in the past but started to lose that knowledge because of lack of use, so I decided to take classes again through online platforms to regain and improve this knowledge. I am also reading magazines and articles that keep my brain busy.
And the last and really important recommendation is to volunteer in something that you can feel will help you progress not only as a person but also professionally. I really encourage you to do it because this is a great way to find a new network, to discover and meet new people and to stay professionally active. I am doing this and I am sure that when the time to start a new job arrives, I won’t be lost or overwhelmed by events. There is always something that you can learn and improve that will help for your future.
Yes, I lost my job! And maybe you lost yours too, but our future is in our hands. Do not let this push you down, believe in yourself, because we are all wonderful.