To navigate myself through the life-changing event of retrenchment, and survive the trauma which could disable me and derail any future success, I knew I had to come up with my own survival guide. I had no doubt I needed to be the architect of my own plan, because I know myself best. I know what I want and need and I know my positive attributes and my challenges.
So I set about designing my priorities. They are briefly listed below but I will elaborate further down.
- Maintaining my well-being – mental, physical, and emotional. This includes balancing work/ life – because that’s what I need to be able to achieve anything else.
- Looking for another job or career opportunity.
- Working towards achieving my goals and dreams which are not defined by work or career.
Every day, all three of these are getting a balance of my full time, attention, focus, energy and single-minded determination. Everything I do every day, many times a day, must be able to connect back to ticking these boxes, otherwise I am wasting time and not getting closer to my goals. Besides those priorities, I also fit in chores, errands, and sleep. This is where I use my time management strategy, as described in my article Serving my Time.
I ensure that I make time for things that make me happy, otherwise I could easily end up spending all my time doing chores or running errands, and then not have focused on the other important areas. This is especially important when I am home – everywhere I look I can think of another chore to do. So to counteract this, I build in some structure. Sure I can be flexible with my time, but I still have to account for it to serve my priorities. I find it works well to set myself time limits, especially when it comes to chores. I like to do the chores early before office hours when business people and companies are not yet available for calls or recruiters have not yet advertised new positions for the day. I also set limits on things I have to do and people I need to meet which may drain my energy. Then I refresh my emotional palate and spend some time re-setting my spirit – I try as often as possible to come back to a state of calm and internal peace. I avoid negative people and sentiments. If I don’t stay happy and positive, I risk losing my confidence. What then if I get an interview invite when I have fallen into a hole and am not motivated? How will I convince the recruiters that I am the person they need?
Looking for another job has it’s own routine, and is not limited to office hours. Often even when I am awake at 2:00 I look through advertised posts and apply. It’s an ongoing effort.
Working towards my other goals and dreams – that is mostly thinking of ideas and stubbornly trying again another time. And being OK with being disappointed, ignored or rejected. Even if no one thinks it can happen one day, what if it can? What if I keep at it and it happens? There are all sorts of success stories in the world which seem unlikely, what if I will one day be one? In any case, it’s a nice element of magic and wonder which I strive to keep believing in. Because life can’t be all serious and guaranteed.
I also have to carefully contemplate taking on other people’s responsibilities or projects, because if it dilutes my time, focus and energy away from my own goals – which I need to live, breathe and be -every waking moment – otherwise they will just be dreams and not evolve into reality. I need to put myself first before I can help anyone else. It requires being aware of my time and plans, and not being distracted by other people. I respect my time because it’s valuable in achieving my goals. If anyone thinks that because I am retrenched I have spare time to do their errands or work on their behalf just to keep busy, they are wrong. Time is not infinite – spending it on one area, means taking it away from another area. This I why I do not give it away without careful consideration. I also respect the value I have, so if anyone just wants me to do something for no reward, that is not likely to happen. Just because I am currently unemployed and not being paid for my time and skills, doesn’t mean that I’m worthless. Without an income, all I have is my time and skills – and if anyone can benefit from that, they should be fair.
I remain positive that I will survive. I have had to re-invent myself many times before, and while it may be painful, I believe I have inside me what it takes to break through and succeed. In a way I am excited to see where my new adventure will take me.