At a time when people are losing their jobs (nearly 600,000 people lost their job in January 2009, according to the Employment Situation Summary released February 6 by the Bureau of Labor Statistics) or having their hours cut back, I say look for an opportunity.
Now before you start throwing virtual tomatoes at me, hear (or read) me out. Five years ago I was laid off from my magazine job and it was probably one of the best things that ever happened to me. And here’s why: It made me re-evaluate what I wanted to do as a career. I went to journalism school because I wanted to seek out stories and write for magazines. Working at a magazine wasn’t the initial goal, but I did it and the experience has been invaluable. (There are even times when I want to be on staff again, but that’s another post.) The result was that I started my writing and editing business.
I don’t think that I would have taken the leap into the freelance world unless I was pushed out into it. And boy, was it scary; especially not getting paid every two weeks or on a regular basis. But I adapted and sacrificed—just as anyone would do.
I’m not the only one who went through this reinvention when she found herself jobless. My friend, M. examined her professional life when she was let go last December. She discovered a niche in her industry that wasn’t being addressed and teamed up with someone to target it. She’s happier, less stressed (I can hear it in her voice when I talk to her) and doing something she really enjoys. If she hadn’t lost her job, she may have never realized her business idea and how enjoyable her life could be.
Yes, losing a job is horrible and I wouldn’t wish it upon anyone, especially in this climate. However, if you’re faced with this reality, don’t be afraid. It may take you on the best ride of your life.