What I Have Learned While Being Laid Off: Balance

What I Have Learned While Being Laid Off: Balance

It is all about having balance in your life, isn’t it? If you are the decision-maker at work, you would rather resign to someone else making the decisions at home; if home is crazy and hectic with small children, you like to have some focused time to think and quality conversation with adults at work. You get the picture. So what happens when you are laid off? Aside from the abrupt financial change, all other aspects of your life can become out-of-balance. So while you conduct your job searching, you need to also work on regaining your inner balance.

In the time since my layoff, I have found some ways for restoring my balance while including them as part of my job-searching endeavors. I hadn’t realized how much I depended on my daily dose of interesting conversation with my previous coworkers. We had been through so much together during past 15+ years that they had all become a special part of me and like family. Yes, we would periodically keep in touch through email, texting, meeting up for coffee or lunch, but it would not be the same as being around them and working with them every day. All the job searching resources say to spend the majority of your time engaged in networking. Having grown up my entire life being somewhat shy, this seemed like it was going to be painful for me but I have actually found it to be the contrary. Why? Because it fills that “being around people and having great conversation” void. Yes my current “coworker” Ella is sweet and we take naps together during the day but I don’t speak “meow” so we don’t converse very well. I have found some really great networking events in my area (with humans) and have been going regularly. I have met many new people and heard about some fascinating career paths and interesting life stories. I am getting to see them regularly now at these networking events and they are becoming friends. Balance restored.

In my previous position at work, I was in a service-type role, delivering extracted data, visualizations, experiment summaries, reports, etc. to my fellow scientists. I really enjoyed helping others and it quickly became apparent that I needed to fill that gap. The mission for these networking events I attend is to help your fellow job seekers with making contacts and finding new job leads. Knowing you made a positive difference in someone else’s job transition journey I have found to be so satisfying and uplifting. Balance restored.

Being a results-oriented person, it is really important for me to have some sense of accomplishment. As many of you know, or will find out soon enough, you can really put in a lot of time and effort in job searching and at the end of the day have nothing really tangible to show for it. In between my job searching tasks, I have started writing for fun, something that I had wished to do but never had the time. I have always engaged in scientific writing, getting the information across as clearly and with as few words as possible, but I am now having a blast writing non-scientifically, submitting articles to the NC Native Plant Society newsletter of which I am a member, and now this blog. It not only gives me a sense of accomplishment for the hours spent on my laptop, but also taps into my creative side, which is needed for balance to the scientist in me. Again, balance restored.

Reestablishing balance in your life will help tremendously in mitigating all that is missing in your life now that you find yourself not working. Take a little time to find out what voids are screaming at you to be filled, and work on filling them. Balance will keep you positive, motivated, and psychologically ready to tackle your employment pursuit.

Team Job Seekers: I hope sharing my stories has been helpful to our job searching community. Remember, you are not in this alone, we are a team and we will help each other through this transition time. I would like to invite you to share how you are restoring balance in your life. Anything you can share will be greatly appreciated.

Note: If you are searching for networking events in the Raleigh-Durham area, the Life Science Network event calendar is a great resource (http://lifesciencenetworking.net/upcoming-events/)

– Bettina Darveaux

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