Looking back at my journey, losing my job taught me so many valuable lessons. The first was that a bigger salary or a fancier title does not equate to feeling satisfied in a career. Don't get me wrong, having a decent paycheck was nice. But at the end of the day, it didn't matter. I remember feeling extremely undervalued at Calbright College (my previous employer). I gave it my all and advocated for students with disabilities and when it came down to it, I felt like my voice, and my knowledge was dismissed. I remember telling my mom how much satisfaction I had at my previous part-time job, compared to my current job at the time.
Second, I underestimated the power of using my voice to help others. After I left, I started to get a lot of phone calls and texts from people sharing their experiences working at the college. Their stories were very similar to mine and I decided to use my voice to advocate for those who couldn't. Never in a million years, would I have thought I would be connecting with California's legislators. I always imagined that was something that happens in movies but not in real life. Lo and behold, I was wrong. I actually just talked to an assembly member's office today, so don't ever think you can't make things happen, because I am here to tell you, that YOU CAN!
Third, I found that pursuing a new passion is very rewarding! How awesome is it that I get to create artwork of dogs? Not only that, I get to use my artwork to team up with rescues around Orange County like Pasadena Humane and Barks of Love to help animals in need get adopted. Best of all, I get to use my creativity. While working at Calbright, I wasn't able to fully tap into my creative side. I love creating posters, graphics, flyers, you name it, and that was something I missed. Now all I get to do is create!
Fourth, one of the most important lessons I realized was that I needed to prioritize my health. I honestly didn't realize how much stress I was under until I had taken time to reflect back. If someone were to ask me on a scale of 1 to 10, how stressful was your job, I would have said a 4. But I would have been very wrong. See, for me going to the beach is my grounding place. While I was working, I would go 2 to 4 times a week, not realizing why I needed to go but just that I had to. After discussing this with my therapist, we concluded I was using the beach as a way to destress without even realizing it. Now, I find myself visiting less often and when I do go it's to enjoy the ocean. Additionally, I was getting migraines and you know what, they stopped once I left. Our bodies are resilient, and they communicate with us in many ways, and for me, mine was saying that I was STRESSED.
Here are 3 additional tips I learned:
Don't ever depend on one income revenue. Losing my job taught me that it's pretty scary to depend on one uncontrollable variable (aka your job). I don't think anyone really thought 2020 was going to impact the workforce the way that it did. Now, I have my own business, where I control more of my income.
Try to always have 6 months to years worth of savings. My unemployment didn't kick in right away, but thankfully I have always been good at saving money.
It's okay to feel, and let out your emotions. I cried a lot and that's healthy. It is how we process our emotions. I cried because I was hurt. I cried because I could no longer afford to purchase my own home. I cried because my life changed overnight and that is a normal human reaction.
Last but not least, you are stronger than you think! If you found this post helpful, please share it with a friend. To know that someone else is going through exactly what you are currently facing brings comfort knowing you are not alone in this wild ride, we call life.