I could not have been more excited about landing my first full-time marketing job.
My study habits in college were borderline Herculean. I poured time and energy into classes and internships. When that first job finally came along, I was ecstatic. I was going to get a return on my investment.
That is, until my company unexpectedly downsized. It’s analogous to a breakup. You thought you had something going, and then it’s over. When the rug is pulled out from under you, you’re undoubtedly left with some bruises.
Here’s how to overcome that job breakup if it ever happens to you:
As with any breakup, it’s important to cry. Let it all out. Cry on the couch. Cry in the bathroom. Cry in the kitchen. This is a major change in your life, and you shouldn’t be afraid to let your emotions run wild for a while. I cried to my mom and boyfriend for an entire day (bless them).
Maintain a semi-normal schedule.
I can’t stress this enough: Don’t let yourself go. Even though you’re not getting up at 6 am for work, try to rise with the sun. I got into a solid routine of waking up, making coffee, checking email, researching jobs, working out and following up with employers. Make a list of things to do each day and stick to it. You’ll feel productive.
Network until you can’t network anymore.
Remember that LinkedIn page you made years ago? Log back on and network. Check out professional events in your area. Also, spread the word to friends and contacts about your situation. Many jobs are filled offline, through mutual connections. The sky is the limit. Plus, networking events usually mean some kind of complimentary drink, which is great for you in your penny-pinching state.
Get out and live.
Even though you’re maintaining a semi-regular schedule, you can still live it up. Go to the movies in the middle of the day. Go to the zoo or explore a nature reserve. At some point, you will find a job and you won’t have the time to take those adventures. For me, it was going to Mexico with my mom for five nights. I ate pizza at 3 am, read on the beach all day and went snorkeling. Do something wild, if you can.
Eat a pint of ice cream.
Remember that “Gilmore Girls” episode when Rory finally wallows after Dean breaks up with her? Your employer just broke up with you, so put on your comfiest pajamas and indulge in your favorite comfort foods. Just don’t do this every night.
Talk with anyone and everyone.
All too often we say yes to hanging out and never follow through. Call up old friends and solidify those plans. Talk to new people at the gym. Visit with your parents.
It’s important to maintain contact with the outside world. Also, don’t be afraid to tell people about your job search. If you make those connections, you never know when an exciting opportunity may come along.
Consider different industries and companies.
I went to school for marketing and English, but I ended up in software and advertising. Research the best companies to work for in your city. There’s nowhere to go but up when you’re unemployed.
In the meantime, you’ll be able to perfect your interview skills at different organizations until you land at the right one. I discovered some amazing businesses in my area when I did my homework, so get out there and find your next career.