My thoughts on coping with redundancy and moving forward despite uncertainty
In this solo episode I speak about how I have been coping with losing my dream job as a Family Lawyer due to COVID-19 and share my advice for moving forward despite the uncertainty that we are all facing. I hope that through sharing my honest feelings and thoughts, you may feel less alone during this time and realise that whatever you are feeling is perfectly okay.
Dealing with redundancy
For those of you who don’t already know, I was made redundant due to COVID-19 about a month ago. I was working as a Family Lawyer which was my dream job. I started my job in October last year and it was my first job in a law firm. Unlike a lot of people, I hadn’t worked in any legal roles in a law firm prior. I hit the ground running in my job, was learning lots, loved going to work and I felt really lucky. Last year was a difficult year and I had to face a few hurdles in my personal life. My long term relationship broke down and my Brother was in palliative care before he passed away. My Brother’s passing happened only two days before my Admissions ceremony. So, it was really tough. My relationship break down meant that I had to move out of an owned apartment and move home. Being 28, that was really difficult as I am really independent and moved out of home when I was quite young. As silly as it may sound, I felt like I had lost everything in my life. However, having finished my degree, PLT and being admitted, finding a job was my only way forward. So, when I got my job as a Family Lawyer it felt like the stars were aligning and I was getting some good karma back. For me, when I lost my job a month ago, I took it pretty hard because my job meant a lot to me and I know it isn’t easy finding your first job in law.
Processing the shock
While work had quietened down a little, I was really shocked when I lost my job as I didn’t think that was going to happen. For the first day or so I was in shock and it didn’t feel real. There were already a lot of external changes happening with the restrictions that were starting to come into place due to Coronavirus, so it was another big change to process on top of all the other changes that were also coming into effect.
It isn’t your fault
After I had time to process what had happened my next thoughts were how do I move forward and what am I going to do now. I suppose for me, losing my job due to something so serious that is a world-wide issue and the fact that I am not alone in being made redundant, helped me to accept that it wasn’t personal — I didn’t lose my job because I wasn’t doing a good job or there was someone better to take my place. Accepting that it isn’t your fault is an important part of moving forward. We don’t really have a choice but to accept what has happened — it has been forced upon us and dealing with this Pandemic is unprecedented. Everyone is still learning and working out the best way to deal with things. For me, knowing that it wasn’t my fault and that there was nothing I could do about it forced me into acceptance. Which I believe is a good thing because once I accepted what had happened I could start to move forward.
It took me a while to work out how to move forward. I am an avid note taker and list writer. So, in the notes on my phone I started to write a list of things that I wanted to get done. One of those things, which I had already been planning before I had lost my job, was ordering some gear from Amazon to take some new photos for my website. I felt like having some new photos taken after having made my health a focus and feeling more confident in myself would be a positive thing to do. I purchased a ring light with bluetooth remote, a photo backdrop (which didn’t end up being the best quality so I used Canva Pro to crop the background out of my photos anyway — I would highly recommend this tool) and a soft box light. Most importantly, doing taking some new photos and editing them gave me something to do for a couple of days and now I have some great photos to use on my website and for content creation. Outside of that, I have been keeping busy doing other tasks I had on my to-do list and things around the house. I would recommend writing a list of things that you want to get done or that you have been thinking about doing is a great way to start to move forward.
Self reflection and personal growth
With all the extra time I have had on my hands, subconsciously I have had a lot of time for self reflection and personal growth. I have my ups and downs and I have had many bad days where I just don’t feel great despite that I have been eating well, exercising and taking care of myself. On these days, I take the pressure off myself and I just do whatever I feel like doing and if that is nothing, then I don’t do a whole lot. I feel better on the days where I get up and I’m super productive, but some days I am just not feeling up to that and I think that is because I am dealing with quite a few things emotionally. For me, losing my job was not just what I did Monday to Friday, it was my way forward and the career I have worked so hard for. The goal of mine to save for my own house has been shifted and I don’t even know when that goal will be achieved now as everything is so uncertain and no one knows what the job market is going to look like after this.
Taking things day by day
Taking things one day at a time and focusing on what I can do each day has been a huge help. Listening to how I feel, if I am feeling great and productive then I create content, but on days where I feel anxious, upset or down then I take it easy and just do what I can manage. I am not afraid to share the moments where I don’t feel great with others as I believe it is really important to be honest and authentic. Especially in the legal profession, where we are all often perfectionists and high achievers, I think it is so important to share the struggles we face so that we can acknowledge that we all go through challenges and we are not alone and it is completely normal.
Preparing for your next job
While I haven’t seen any jobs around that are suitable and that I would want to apply for at this stage, I have taken some time to update my resume and I will be creating an updated video resume. That way, if something does come along that is suitable, I will be ready to apply for the job. I will share a future podcast on my experience creating a resume and video resume, in case that will be of any benefit to you. I know that my video resume helped me obtain my previous job.
Be as productive as you can
So, that’s how I am dealing with everything at the moment. I am acknowledging that I can’t control and it isn’t healthy to worry about what everything is going to look like after this and when things are going to change. Nobody knows. There is a lot of uncertainty that we can’t do anything about, but what we can do is do what we can each day, acknowledge that our feelings are completely relevant, that we aren’t all going to feel the same way and function in the same way, we are all facing different challenges — some people are working from home, some studying and working from home, some people have children that they are also having to home school and look after. So, whatever you are going through — know that you are not alone and to take the pressure off of yourself and give yourself a chance to process everything, take things day by day and use this time to get some things done, for some self-reflection and personal growth, read some books, listen to some podcasts, do some creating.
To the new graduates and newly admitted colleagues
If you are a law student or graduate at the moment and employment looks really uncertain — it is a good time for you to do what you can. While you can’t attend networking events, it is a fantastic time to create some content on social media and to connect with people. Use this time as productively as you can and put yourself out there so that when opportunities arise in the future, or at any stage, you are ready for them.
If you have recently graduated from your law degree or have been admitted. While it must be difficult not being able to celebrate those achievements in the usual ways, they are still huge achievements none the less and so you should post online about them and enjoy that success and the congratulations.
I hope that this has been insightful, helpful or at the very least if you are in a similar situation, you feel less alone and might have a couple of ideas moving forward.
Take care and stay safe everyone x
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