Last Monday, Coco asked me to write a guest post on what it’s like to be a 20-something woman preparing to have a child in an unstable world. Two days later, I lost my job (as did about 60 of my talented co-workers) due to “restructuring.” This was a blow to my ego and to my three-year pregnancy plan.
I’d assumed that I’d stick it out with the company for at least another year or two, long enough to save for a down payment on a house, launch a freelance career and pop out a kid. The sudden shake-up could put my three-year plan on hold or it could kick it into high gear.
I’ve been up and down all week, feeling relieved (I had been unhappy for several months), angry (how could they do this to me?), worried (how long will it take me to find work?), hurt (I had committed almost two years to this company and for what?) and, finally, excited (now’s my chance to take on new and exciting projects!) — all normal sentiments, I’m told.
Looking for a new job is basically a full-time gig. And when you’re new to a job — as I’m new to the job hunt — you’re bound to learn a few things. Here are three key take-aways from my first week:
1. Loyalty is dead—maybe. “Never believe in the company. The company does not believe in you,” someone wrote last week on Valleywag, a tech industry gossip blog. That’s harsh, but it does ring true. I knew that the days of working for one company were long gone, but I believed in this particular start-up’s mission. And I felt that after devoting two years, I’d feel a little more love.
2. Diversify your skills. Be willing to adapt. But don’t lose sight of what you do best. “People who will succeed and excel over time will be dedicated to the prospect that what they do has value,” Alfred Edmund, editor-in-chief of Black Enterprise, recently told Folio: magazine. I hope he’s right.
3. Find and give support. Did you know that 65 percent of jobs are found through networking? Maybe you did. But this was news to me. Studies show that having strong social ties makes us healthier. And your friends, relatives and colleagues also can help you land your next job.
Women, in particular, need to stick together. So many of us struggle with balancing work and family life. (Yes, men do, too, but I’d argue that this is a bigger issue for us.) And family-friendly workplaces are few and far between these days. We can help one another. If you’re in a position to offer part-time work or job-share opportunities, do! There are a lot of long-hour jobs out there but so few professional part-time positions.
And if you’re hiring, let me know!
Lauren Gamber is a writer and editor living in Cleveland, Ohio. Check out her profile on LinkedIn.