Greetings CTWorkingMom Blog Followers:

This is my first blog posting as a mother-to-be. My due date is April 24, 2012 and since knowing I’ve been pregnant, my life has been nothing but full of surprises. From an earthquake, to a hurricane and a record-breaking snowstorm, to an unexpected lay-off (insert temporary sadness here), my life has been nothing close to boring. Sure all of these situations can wreak havoc on your life, but add in being pregnant to the mix and a whole other set of worries arise.

For the record, I am a positive and optimistic person and thought long and hard about what my first blog post would feature. Would I talk about my “goose chases” as my mother likes to call my thrifty consignment store shopping or something real, something close to home, that maybe others would find helpful. I chose the real story (with some underlying humor), the one that hits homes to thousands of Connecticut women.

This past fall, I was laid-off by my employer of almost five years. It was a shock, I was devastated, but somehow understood during these tough times, that expenses and staff had to be cut (accepting life’s unexpected challenges sooner rather than later, allows you to move on). Don’t get me wrong, it was one of the scariest times of my life, being laid-off from a job I enjoyed very much and pregnant and wondering how the heck I was going to find a job and if I had the strength to find one and go on interviews while being nauseous and tired, but listen – things happen, that’s life and what can you do other than to bust your tush and hustle!

Luckily, I found a wonderful job opportunity within weeks of being laid off and not only am I grateful, but looking forward to this new opportunity and chapter in my life.

During the weeks of being laid-off I came up with a list of “commandments”, which helped me cope and deal with being unemployed as well as to keep me focused on the prize – a job offer. I hope by sharing them with readers that it will help them as well.

Commandment #1: Thou shall remember that everything happens for a reason. I know this statement is so commercialized, but its true! Everything in your life happens for a reason, whether you want to believe this or not. Maybe now that you are unemployed you can find a job that actually allows you to be creative and take ownership, one that respects and appreciates you. Maybe now you can change your career path, go back to school or start-up your own business!

Commandment #2: Thou shall remember who you are. You didn’t come as far as you have by being a lazy person. You got as far as you have in life by your passion and love for the world. No matter what people may have said about you in life or what you have gone through, remember who you are and how far you’ve come.

Commandment #3: Thou shall find faith. If you are faith-based person, look to it and lean it on it as your major source of support. It will keep you grounded, focused and positive. If you are not a faith-based person, but want to become one – simply Google inspirational or biblical quotes, this will help get you focused.

Commandment #4: Thou shall use the TV for background noise only. Try to not watch TV when you are home. I know it will be hard, but just turn it on and go in another room to do your work. The TV tempts you too much. Refrain my friends, refrain!

Commandment #5: Thou shall not become a food loving couch potato. Find a spot in your house or even a local Starbucks where you can do your work of finding a job. The couch is for relaxing and should be used during breaks or when you are done for the day. It may sound harsh, but it will help you in the long run. Being on a couch, eating food all day will only make you feel that more depressed.

Commandment #6: Thou shall lean-to spouse or immediate family for humor and support. No one is happy being unemployed, so try to lean-on your spouse, mom, sister or close friend for emotional support and comic relief. Also, ladies – if you need a shoulder to cry on or someone to make you laugh, do not go to your friend who is in an even worse situation than you – seriously…it will do you no good!

Commandment #7: Thou shall keep a work routine. We are creatures of habit and we like routine. So why change things up even more than they already are. Get up the same time as you did for work, have lunch the same time , take breaks and put your computer and blackberry down at the end of the day. This was the hardest one for me, because I would work until late at night (remember your three “D’s” – see below). In the end, it didn’t do me any good – you need time to unwind at night.

Commandment #8: Thou shall not be affected by negative people. Don’t let negative people affect your way of thinking, your energy or persistence in finding a job. If they ask how your job search is doing, just tell them – its going well, I am working hard. If they ask for details, tell them you don’t have any, even if you do have details, such as a recent interview. You should not feel obligated to inform every one of your every move.

Commandment #9: Thou shall not get depressed. Stay strong and remember the three “D’s: You are dedicated, determined and driven and no one can get in your way of happiness and career fulfillment. If they do, it’s because you allowed them to.

Commandment #10: Thou shall be thy own advocate. No one knows more than you that you are totally qualified for the job. Your challenge, but biggest reward will be to educate your potential employer about your qualifications and to prove to them that you are the top pick.

What are some rules of thumb you’ve followed and practiced in the past to get through hard times? Did they work for you? Who told you about them?

Until next time, I will leave you with one of my favorite quotes: “Promise me you’ll always remember: You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. Christopher Robin to Pooh”.

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