Surviving A Major Setback In Your Professional Life

Hello, friends. This is a post that's been a long time in the making, but on this cold and rainy evening, I thought I'd sit down with a huge cup of tea and check in. 

As we know, most people online only really write about their highlights, which can often lead to feelings of inadequacy. I have no problem with people sharing the good parts of their life, but sometimes I think it can be helpful to see the not so good parts. Everyone has their struggles, and today I thought I'd talk about mine.

2016 has been a strange one. I entered the year feeling incredibly unsure of myself and what I was doing with my life. In November of 2015, I was told that I was being made redundant from my dream job, at a company I had aspired to work for for most of my adult life. Getting a job in the film industry is not easy, particularly in Australia, and it almost felt too good to be true that I was working for one of my favourite film companies. It was an incredibly heartbreaking experience, particularly as, at that point, I'd been working there for less than a year. Many of my colleagues were also made redundant at the same time due to said company going through some tough times financially, so morale was incredibly low at my office. I was told I'd be able to stay in my role until the end of February, and that was that.

Needless to say, December, January, and February were some of the worst months of my life. I'd come home from work crying multiple times during this time, mainly because I felt completely ostracised and alone at work. It seemed like my colleagues felt so awkward about the situation that they just didn't talk to me, and as the weeks went on many of my day to day tasks were handed over to other people. I checked my job search app multiple times a day, but it seemed like every job that came up paled in comparison to what I was currently doing. My anxiety was through the roof, and as every week went by I became more nervous and stressed about my impending unemployment. New people I'd meet would ask me where I work, and when I told them they'd always have the same reaction: "[Company name]? That's amazing! That's such a cool job, it must be such a great place to work!" Not their fault of course, but it made me feel worse every time I heard it. It was truly, truly awful.

As the days and weeks ticked through February, I began to panic that I didn't have a new job yet. I'd applied for a few jobs here and there but nothing had stuck. I was offered an amazing job within the film industry at a different company, but it was only going to be part-time; not ideal when you're living in Melbourne.

A couple of weeks before my final day, I was offered the chance to stay on in my role for another five weeks. Not ideal, but I jumped at the chance to stay. So what if it was prolonging the inevitable, at least it gave me another five weeks to get another paycheck, right? I continued the job hunt to hopefully find something before the extra five weeks were up when something completely unexpected happened: I was offered a totally different role at my current workplace, that was, essentially, a promotion. This new role would involve working with new people on something completely different (don't want to get too specific as it will give away the name of the company!), but suffice it to say it is definitely an interest of mine. I couldn't believe this was happening. After months of stress, anxiety and spontaneous crying fits in the toilets at work, this job just falls into my lap? It seemed hard to believe. Although I was happy about this turn of events, I was honestly also quite upset that this role had been offered to me now, after the terrible few months I had just suffered through after being made redundant.

Needless to say, I accepted the role. Unfortunately, it is only a six-month contract role, which means if it's not extended I could very well be in the same position I was in February later on in the year. However, after a few weeks doing this role, I feel happy with my choice to accept it. I'm doing new and fun things every day, and although it's keeping me very busy I'm loving the challenge.

Looking back, this post has turned into an essay, hasn't it? I'm sure there are grammatical errors abound, but it was kind of cathartic to write this all down without going back and editing. I've written about the stress and general awfulness of job searching before, and nothing has really changed: surprise, it's still awful! It's honestly terrifying to think about where I would be now if I hadn't accepted the new role at work. Where would I be now? Would I be unemployed? It's also terrifying to think that I could be facing unemployment again in September when my contract will either be renewed or...not. 

To anyone who is going through employment issues at the moment, please know that I completely, truly empathise with you. It's such a terrible, shitty time that is only made all the more difficult that you're essentially competing against a bunch of other amazing people. Although I definitely suffered a huge setback this year, it ended up (somehow) working out in my favour. All I can say is this: please, please look after yourself. If you don't, you'll end up in a terrible headspace from which it can be hard to come back from. I know it's cheesy, but the phrase "this, too, shall pass" really helped me during this time. No matter how bad things get, it's reassuring to know that it's not a permanent problem.

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