Never – especially at 24 – did I ever think I would be laid off. But I guess that's what can happen in the land of freelance work with a company that isn't succeeding.
Although, realistically, it can happen anywhere.
One week after my birthday – happy birthday to me – I was laid off, out of the blue.
And the worst part? I was miserable with the job, but was making it work until something better came along.
I wanted to be the one to walk away, to tell them I didn't need them anymore. And yet, I was the one sitting on my couch crying... a lot.
I was absolutely mortified. I live in New York City: How would I pay for literally anything? I had a plan, and now, this was happening to me. What would I tell everyone?
I was embarrassed, very angry and simply put... lost. I felt completely disconnected from everyone around me because in my eyes, they could never understand what I was going through.
Everyone felt sorry for me, and I hated every minute of the pity. Then, I grew so far into my unemployment, I too felt sorry for myself. I played the victim, cried a lot and didn't understand why this was happening to me when I had worked so hard.
I cringe as I write this because I guess I'm still embarrassed by this period in my life. But I know there are others out there who either have experienced, or are experiencing this right now too.
And apparently, there's even a website with tons of recent stories from people of every walk of life about their experiences getting laid off. (But this may make you more depressed, so just stay away for now.)
If you're experiencing a recent layoff or period of unemployment, you're probably in a constant state of worry. You spend hours on the computer, job searching.
But of course, you don't get a reply right away. It pains you to see the looks on your family and friends' faces when you tell them you haven't landed a new job yet.
You may feel a bit worthless. You may be jealous of what others have, and you can't stop thinking, "Why me?"
This is all probably mixed with a day here or there when you just give up and binge watch anything and everything on Netflix... with a bottle of wine to drown your sorrows into.
But if I could give you any advice in the world, it would be for you to not ONCE give up on yourself.
Just because you were laid off, that does not mean you're not deserving of a great job... with a great paycheck to match.
Keep searching. Talk to as many recruiters as possible, and career coaches don't hurt either. Getting that outside perspective on what you may be doing wrong – like how awful your messages to people on LinkedIn sound – as well as possible leads is worth it.
There is a world of competition out there, especially in big cities like NYC. So, dust yourself off and write the best damn cover letter anyone has ever seen.
Most importantly, find something to keep yourself busy that can bring some money in. I dog walked, translated audio clips into written documents for $20 a clip, and did some small social media projects.
It got me out of the house, and it put extra money in my bank account. If you don't find that full-time dream job right away, it's OK to take something just for a paycheck.
Don't let your pride get in your way.
And as hard as it is, stop caring about what anyone else thinks.
These people don't know what they would feel like if they got laid off tomorrow, so don't let them judge you. And forgive your loved ones who feel overbearing.
You're going to hear a lot of "Are you OK?" and "You'll find something soon!" over and over again.
It will drive you insane, but remember: Most people don't understand what you're going through. They are just trying to help.
It won't be a walk in the park by any means, but eventually (and hopefully quickly) you'll find a better job. You're strong enough to get through all of the emotions that come with being laid off, so keep hustling to find the next best thing.