Thoughts on Living, Layoffs, and Self-Reinvention

By , Columnist

Typically, I prefer to relate my columns to current events reported by reputable national and international news sources. Unfortunately, today's springs from news of a personal nature: late last week, I unexpectedly lost my day job. While it was never my dream job, it was a position I enjoyed immensely and one from which I learned more important lessons that I can count.

So now, instead of marketing, I'm back in the business of inventing myself again, finding new ways to apply the skills I gained in school and the growth I attained through my first real endeavor in the "real world." This is a frustrating, frightening, and - I didn't expect to be saying this - surprisingly exciting place to be.

In many ways, though my future is uncertain, and uncertainty really sucks, I think I'm better equipped to deal with this calamitous turn of events than many members of generations past. For baby boomers, their jobs were their lives - the way they supported themselves, the way they made their families function, the thing that dictated their social lives - and once they retired or if they at some point lost their jobs, they withered away because they felt like part of their life was already gone.

I think this is why there's a new focus for grads on the finding of oneself and the subsequent shaping of a career around that self. In columns past I've addressed critics of this notion, but in having just re-entered the job market, myself, I find the need to reiterate my protest.

Though we continue to change and evolve as we're presented with new experiences, settings, and challenges, having an idea of who we are in the present allows us to be defined by who we are, not where we work, and makes us better able to adapt to even the most unexpected of change, change which is certain to come, particularly in an employment environment as volatile and uncertain as the one we're in now.

In this market, it's imperative that no potential job seeker get stuck in a single groove - all of us need to be able to jump the groove, so to speak, and find ways to apply the self we know we are in new, probably nerve-wracking, and hopefully exciting ways. So if you find yourself in the position I'm in now - and I really, truly hope you don't - don't panic. Eschew the depression, brush up the ol' résumé, and put your thinking cap on. You've got skills and smarts to offer in this world; now, your task is to find yourself a fresh way to do it.

Remember: when you don't define yourself by a job or a career field, losing your job doesn't mean losing yourself. You're still you - you're just changing venues.

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Emmie Scott is an English major-turned-marketing exec, with a passion for writing, humor, sharing knowledge, and "pink drinks." After hours, she started Are Toe Rings Professional Attire?, a blog for college grads and twenty-somethings looking to find their way through that daunting labyrinth called…

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