Can Job Loss Be a Positive Experience?

Losing a job is not “usually” a joyous occasion, and the emotional and financial impact may be very difficult. However, unemployment is not about doom and gloom all the time. Unbelievably, many positives can come from a layoff. Stop for a moment and ponder over the following questions: Were you able to do something that you were not able to do while you were working? Were you able to take a trip, work on a hobby, reduce stress, spend more time with your family, volunteer or even reinvent yourself by starting your own business? While your emotions might be a bit mixed, many blessings may present themselves during unemployment.

The following comments are from real people expressing positive experiences that resulted after a job loss. These replies (some modified) are the result of one question that was asked in a networking group discussion – “What are some positives you have received from being laid off?” Perhaps you have experienced some of these as well:

Sparked Creativity, Confidence Builder, Training, Hobbies and Volunteer WorkLaura: “I think one of the most valuable things I discovered after I was laid off was that I could count on myself to pull through. I learned to think outside the box and be creative (stretch my mind and be open to new ideas). As scary as that was, there was something very liberating to learn I had many resources within myself that was waiting to surface.” Being out of work gave Laura a motivational push that might not have occurred if she was working.

Karen: “My garden looks fantastic! I have had time to do volunteer work that I might not have gotten involved with had I been working.” Karen volunteers in her field (training) and add her volunteer projects to her resume. Karen is currently working a few hours a week to bridge the gap in a different career field. She has also created a Facebook page to share career information.

Marleen: She learned the importance of professional/social networking. She was initially nervous about engaging people she was unfamiliar with, but now Marleen loves networking, and it’s a part of her daily routine. She taught herself how to create a website, had extra time to devote to volunteering in the community, and discovered that she liked writing. She also went back to school to enhance her skills and worked on short-term consulting projects while searching for full-time employment. When Marleen found employment, her new job was even better than the one she lost.

Less Traveling and More Time to Spend With FamilyDavis: He was not really ‘laid-off’ in terms of losing his job because he is self-employed. However, the economy resulted in 2 years of lost work and revenues (which felt like a layoff to Davis). Davis’ 7 year old daughter exclaimed, “daddy, you’ve been home with us for 2 years!” She was excited to have her father home because he often traveled nationally for his business. Reflecting on his situation, Davis said, “it is wonderful that I’ve had all this time to be more involved with my two children and wife, day to day…something I dearly missed when I was traveling so much.”

Heather: She is now working again, but Heather used her spare time to spend more time with her children. Heather said, “our evenings weren’t as busy and I was able to get errands completed during the day, instead of trying to rush through them on the weekend” She also had more time to work on craft projects that she had been putting off.

Meet New People, Additional Time for Soul Searching and Career ChangeTimothy: “I believe one of the best positives is the many people that I have met as a result of networking.” In addition, Timothy has done some serious soul searching as to what he wants to do with the rest of his career.

John: He said that he met new people as a result of networking in discussion groups, and he reconnected with old friends which led to job leads. He is now working again.

Joseph: “I did not see being laid off as a negative. I actually thanked them for laying me off because it afforded me a great opportunity to get focused and to go after what I wanted.” I understood that I had to take a firm grasp on Social Media as a tool to get me where I want to be.” As a result of Social Media, Joseph met a lot of great people. He also realized that he wanted to transfer his skills to a new industry and career. He is currently working on his career plan while awaiting a response from an employer about a job.

As you can see from the experiences shared in this article, unemployment has a way of giving individuals that needed push in a different direction. It helps many to start moving their “wish list” to their “to-do” list.

Now it’s your turn, what are you doing with your “time off?” Despite the hardships of unemployment, what positives have you experienced? If you feel that you have not received any positives, what can you do now to change that? Get a notebook and pen to write down some items on your wish list, and see if you can fulfill them.