“What Have You Been Doing Since You’ve Been Out of Work?”


“I try to take one day at a time, but sometimes several days attack me at once”. (Ashleigh Brilliant)

On October 30, 2009 “several days attacked me at once”. I left for my job just as I had every other day for the past 8 years (almost to the day).  My Outlook calendar was filled with meetings/phone calls/work tasks for several weeks out.
Of course, I knew when I went to work that morning, this was the day we were going to be told whether we would to be a part of the new organization.  So when my manager (of less than 2 weeks – explains a lot right there) sent me a meeting notice for that morning I accepted it, and showed up right on time.  And even though my teammates and I knew for many weeks, that because of the deep cuts being done, there was a possibility we might be let go, when I heard the words “your position is being eliminated” I was not prepared.  How could this be?  I was a model employee – volunteered for planning teams, received accolades from the groups I supported, met deadlines consistently, completed my performance reviews ahead of schedule, earned a graduate degree through the tuition reimbursement plan, participated in over 200 hours of company offered classes/seminars/training, maintained a positive attitude during the multiple changes the company experienced – and yet I had just become “downsized”.

After the shock wore off and I let all my co-workers and family know I had been let go, I began the process of getting on with my life “post-employment”.  Even though I am generally a positive and upbeat person, to say that this didn’t set me back would be a lie.
However, the thing is, it didn’t knock me down completely. And it has been both a learning experience and a growth experience for me.  Here’s a few things I’ve done while engaging in my job search:

  •  Researched multiple companies and learned there are LOTS of great companies in this area
  • Learned that I have so many strengths to contribute to an organization
  • Participated in multiple networking events (getting me out of my comfort zone)
  • Developed a relationship with some great people I wouldn’t have met if I hadn’t been “between opportunities”
  • Volunteered for some incredible organizations
  • Earned 9 more college credits
  • Climbed a mountain in South Dakota
  • Read numerous self-improvement books

There are so many more things I could add to the list, but I’ll save those for later.  Do you realize if I wasn’t in this situation it’s unlikely I would have done most of these?  By not letting this particular life event crush me, I’ve  learned new things and grown as a person and as a leader.  So the next time I get asked in an interview “You’ve been out of work for a while – what have you been doing?”  I think I have a pretty impressive answer!

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3 thoughts on ““What Have You Been Doing Since You’ve Been Out of Work?””

  1. Lillie,

    This blog is a great idea! I enjoyed reading this post and I encourage you to keep writing. You and I have traveled part of this journey together and I admire your character. You have such great drive, determination and are so professional in everything you do. And you do all of this with a servant’s heart.

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  2. Lillie, you are a woman of so many talents and gifts. You will be a wonderful part of any company who recognizes your abilities and signs you on!!

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