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I got laid off a week after my 30th birthday — and I learned who I am outside of work

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Being laid off is one of life’s biggest curve balls. At least, that’s what it felt like for me. It happened a couple of weeks after I took my first vacation during my entire time at the company — and one week after my 30th birthday.

Luckily, when I was laid off, it was done very gracefully. I was padded with so many compliments that, by the time they mentioned I was being let go, I almost felt numb. They made it clear that their decision was not performance-based, but due to realignment of budget. I was later told that monthly layoffs continued even after my departure.

Up until this point, I had never been laid off. But hey, what better way to kick off my third decade in life than with a life lesson, right?

Here are a few things I learned.

It’s not the end of the world.

While it does certainly feel like impending doom, getting laid off really isn’t the apocalypse. Of course, this is a hard concept to grasp amid the blinding panic that paralyzes you after being delivered that kind of news. When I was told that my company was letting me go, a flood of thoughts suffocated me.

Why is this happening? How will I pay my bills? What am I supposed to do now?

I’ll admit, I stewed in a victim mentality for the first few days (and still do a little every now and then). But once I absorbed the shock of losing my job, I processed the situation, and looked at things under a different light. Suddenly, layers of work-related stress began to peel off like decay. Oh, that detailed weekly analytic report I stress to get done every time? Gone! But what about those intense client meetings where I’m always expected to churn out golden nuggets of quotable wisdom every single session? Good riddance!

Instead of looking at it as a setback, I gradually adjusted my mentality to accept my lay off as a spontaneous yet well-deserved vacation. Ah, yes. Now there’s the light at the end of the tunnel.

Embrace the support.

Being laid off felt similarly to having someone break up with me. There were moments when self-doubt infiltrated my system. Even though my company thoroughly explained that the decision to let me go wasn’t performance-based, there was still that stubborn seed of doubt that sprouted itself regardless.

So, I welcomed words of wisdom from everyone in my life. From immediate family, to best friends, to everyone else in between. Even when I wasn’t looking for it, unsolicited advice found its way to me. I still appreciated it, though, because I understood that the words were coming from a good place. On days when my self-doubt was at its highest, I was grateful to know I had such a wonderful support system to help talk me out of my spells. I couldn’t have gotten through this phase without my dear family and friends.

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