Last week, three days in a row, I heard from three friends who have been laid off, from three different industries. Yesterday, I heard of another friend of a friend who was laid off. For the first time since I've been laid off, several of my friends are not working. But I don't think we'll be loitering in the mall every day. We'll have our occasional lunches, for sure, but I suspect we are each in our own way fighting the demons that can make us feel useless, helpless. We spend our days researching, revising and submitting our resumes, pouring over job search sites, reaching out to friends who may have leads, and doing whatever we can to fill up the day with something that can be counted - however loosely - as an accomplishment.
I am in a slightly different place since I am trying to figure out a new career direction, but I've learned that nothing depresses me more than the thought that I've wasted a whole day. It does not feel enough to plan a lunch with a friend, go to the gym, or run errands. I need to be able to point to something tangible that I have done, something I can count as another brick for the new path I'm trying to forge, whether it's working on a draft, researching for a possible interview lead, or reading some book that taught me something new. I've also learned that it is important to have human contact throughout the day, even if it's just a matter of working in a cafe instead of in my living room. Most importantly, I've learned that going about this process by myself does not work. I had always prided myself on being self-sufficient and knowing exactly what to do in times of need, but this time around, I wasted a lot of time trying to figure it out on my own. I've slowly come to realize that I need help, whether it's by taking a few classes, talking to others who've had similar experiences, or simply crying out when I feel lost.
If anyone out there reading this has suffered a lay off, please hang in there. Something will work out. Be patient with the economy - and with yourself. Don't give in to the sense of dejection or depression that can bury you. If you feel it lurking, reach out - to your family, friends, a random blog. And find a way to salvage the day because today leads to tomorrow, and with tomorrow comes possibilities.