To clarify that I did not get fired, rather that I resigned from the corporate world because I had other career plans for myself. But, those plans didn’t happen on my timeline. As a consequence, I lived with my parents and had zero active income for nearly 1 year! So, here are the lessons my unemployment has taught me.
#1 – Whatever resources I need, will come to me exactly when I need them.
I’d heard a lot about the abundance mindset that is promoted in the spiritual community, but this became my first-hand experience.
The first concern people have is the loss of a security net. Though I lived with my parents, there were some financial expenses and assets that I continued to take care of independently.
There was a certain amount of money I needed to complete my pending investments in the upcoming years, but being unemployed, my savings were not fitting.
It might sound unbelievable, but the truth is, as soon as the next installment would come around the corner and my account was depleted, I received the financial support I needed through different means, such as a gift, an older investment maturing, or returns from tax.
This happened on several occasions and now I have a safety net big enough to even generate some savings, too. I also know that there are times when people fall through the net and there can be many more struggles than what I went through. So I don’t want to suggest that the way I did was fool-proof: it was actually NOT. But because one of my life lessons is to learn how to trust the process and take a leap of faith, I am grateful for the way the Universe showed up for me.
I became a first-hand witness of the Divine Law of Compensation up close. And boy, was it refreshing!
#2 – You get to choose your story.
I often got judged, hard.
At first, I used to try to invoke sympathy by saying that I was fed up with my job and that it wasn’t my thing, and this and that… but later I realized, I was only trying to seek approval and second-guessing myself every time gave me that look of disappointment.
My story is as simple as this, now. I’m transitioning into a more fulfilling role. And in the process, I’m building my presence as a writer.
#3 – Other people’s success does not mean I’m failing. Unemployment does not mean failure.
When I’m “acting against the norm” and have self-doubt, I like to remind myself of the basics: if children and pets are not expected to do something and can still be loved, it is possible that the idea I have to do something falls under the outdated societal conditioning.
Just like this case – unemployment does not make anyone unworthy, unloveable, or a “burden”. Yes, we are all responsible for how we show up in the world, but our birthright to be loved and cared for has nothing to do with what society sets as the standard. This prejudice runs deep and here is how I experienced a flavor:
I was always somewhat proud to say that I’ve never felt envious before. Until the day my best friend started getting back-to-back job offers and I sensed a tinge of envy.
He took it really well, held compassion and even admiration that we could be so honest with each other. This became the opportunity for me to see that my life is succeeding in other spaces: be it my ability to restore my physical and mental health or the dozens of articles I wrote as a consequence of following my passion with so much conviction.
And knowing that I do experience envy allowed me to feel more human!
#4 – Unemployment doesn’t equate to purposelessness (I spelled that right on the first shot, phew!).
I used to work 5 days a week, now I work 7 in running My Spiritual Shenanigans as a full-time thing.
Building a morning and evening routine for myself was the best decision I could have ever made, and I’m only sorry I waited 25 years! I am able to do EXACTLY what I want to do with my time. And this has improved my mental health in ways I cannot even begin to describe.
Here are some other tips to take into account, regarding self-care.
#5 – You learn how to “un-workaholic” yourself.
As I said, after leaving my job, I became occupied around the clock – sometimes it was writing an article that came through at 3 am, and at other times it was learning how to create SEO-friendly pins on Pinterest. There was always so much potential and I kept striving to reach the “next level”.
Even if these were all meaningful ventures, it took me a lot of effort (aka conscious living) to undo my need to work so much. I eventually realized that my workaholic tendencies had roots in the unconscious programming like “not worthy if not earning”, “not successful until you earn x amount”, etc. I had to reprogram all of this and more.
So in the process of picking up my passion and learning to overcome the hustle culture, I saw a whole other side of me that came to the surface, looking to be healed and met with compassion. I started balancing myself.
I focused on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs: where I prioritized my basics first and then worked my way up the ladder. So it meant not skipping meals, making sure I got some physical activity done, and that I connected with my family, friends, and peers outside of work.
This approach allowed more of my time to be distributed to all aspects of me: physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. I gradually learned how to NOT put all my eggs in one basket.
Related Read: My Tips to Overcome Workaholic Behaviour
#6 – Unemployment is lonely.
I love being alone, it’s my comfort zone, to be honest. But even to me, it became quite lonely. When I was working and constantly surrounded by people, I always craved solitude. I spent whatever time I had after work just soaking in my own energy and trying to experience ‘freedom’.
Now that I had it unbarred, it taught me so much about the need for companionship.
So I began to appreciate group meditation, workshops, and even collaborations with people for my blog. Heartfulness Meditation group sessions were one of such grounding activities that brought me greater peace. I continued to connect outside my original circle and develop connections with people that were on similar career transitioning trajectories as me, who would eventually make this journey a lot more steady.
Once I moved to Vancouver, I also began building my “care team” – therapists, coaches, acupuncturists, etc that were often covered under my insurance plan and allowed me to feel less lonely, more focused, and well-cared for.
A big lesson came forward – I am not meant to live life on Earth alone. I just need to figure out the balance by practicing detachment and compassion. As my husband puts it, learning to be inter-dependent versus co-dependent.
#7 – Balance is NOT effortless, at least not at first.
In the truest sense, my time unemployed taught me to balance myself in a way that no job can teach anyone. When you are fully accountable for yourself, it can be daunting. Full accountability means being able to make small choices at every awake moment.
Do you spend your day sleeping because you slept late at night?
Do you take a shower the first thing in the morning or skip a few days at a time? Or…Do you spend time reading a book, or in front of the TV?
These questions aren’t just for the unemployed or self-employed, they’re universal. They are an invitation to instill certain routines, to keep growing, educating yourself, and moving forward, so that no matter what type of work you do (or not), you’ve worked for YOU.
And most importantly, my unemployment taught me that my job doesn’t define who I am.
I define who I am.
And I am a little more awesome, every single day!
P.S. If you’re wondering how to find your life purpose, this post could help. These are the series of steps I followed to narrow down my options, and I have faith that it will bring you some clarity too!
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