What happens when you lose a job you love?
Let me explain… For over a decade, I was a fashion editor at a woman’s lifestyle magazine and I loved my job.
A typical day looked something like this: A succession of appointments at different showrooms to preview the next seasons’ clothing and accessories. It was always fun to hear directly from the designer about their creative inspiration for the season and, of course, order some pieces for myself with a huge discount. Then back to the office for endless meetings and to call in the above mentioned clothing and accessories for all of our future fashion stories. The work was creative and fun, the hours long sometimes brutal and I was really happy with my career.
It wasn’t exactly a big surprise when I got laid off. Anyone that worked in media was painfully aware that magazines were slowly being killed by the internet and there had already been several rounds of layoffs that happened already at my company. While I might not have been surprised, I was in shock when the day actually came. I remember getting a call from the editor-in-chief to come into her office. I didn’t need to be a brain surgeon to figure out why. After the news was delivered to me, I went back to my office called my dad and left to have lunch with him. (If you consider an 11 A.M. martini lunch.)
Losing a job you care about is similar to having a guy you’re crazy about dump you. You feel heartbroken and sad. Your days were once filled, now the calendar is completely empty.
So how did I bounce back? I bought a meditation app (Headspace), yoga’d (vinyasa), started a journal (Allswell), broke down and cried (often). And when fear about my future became overwhelming, I leaned on my friends.
There have been many phone sessions and hanging out with my friends who kindly remind me over long dinners involving many empty wine glasses that it is all going to work out.
And it has. In the four years since I lost my job, I have reinvented myself and been very busy freelancing as a brand consultant and stylist, even working for the magazine that laid me off. I’ve learned to accept jobs that take me out of my comfort zone, jobs I formerly would’ve turned down (designing a trade show booth? Sure! Styling jewelry displays? No problem!)
The biggest challenge overall has been getting used to the uncertainty of work — sometimes there is a lot and sometimes not so much — but in the end something always happens. A random meeting turns into an assignment, or a friend forwards me an email and I end up writing a piece like this. It is still a challenge to get used to the down time that happens in the freelance world, but maybe that is my lesson for now. I’m just trying to go with the flow, and be open to whatever comes my way.