Have you ever been laid off?

For most of us, being laid off is not what we want. We think it's scary. We think it's something completely outside of our control that can just happen to us. We think it means that the world is not a safe place to be because things could change at any moment. 

Things really can change at any moment. But spending time worrying or being afraid does not protect you or prepare you. In fact, it usually does the opposite. It emotionally exhausts you and then you are too tired and overwhelmed to deal with the situation.

Before I got laid off in 2015, I knew that the role I was in was not a good fit for me. I knew it would be wise to look for something else. And I also knew that it might look questionable to some people to have quit my first 9-5 job after being there for less than a year. 

So I did what I often did back then: I simply ignored the problem.

This is what so many of us do. There's something in our lives that's not quite working, but we're not sure what to do, so we just don't do anything. We get upset about the way things are, but we don't move past our feelings and decide what we'd like to do about it. 

It's not a logical approach, but so much of what the human brain does actually isn't logical. The brain just wants to keep you alive, and sometimes it thinks that a scary thought (like "this job isn't going to work for me") is the same kind of threat as a wild animal who might like to snack on you.

And this is what it was like for me in 2015. I knew there was a problem. I knew I "should" take action. But I didn't want to think about it. And yet, things still came to an end, the way they sometimes do. At the time, I thought the whole thing was quite terrifying. I told myself a bunch of scary stories about how I would never be able to get another job. 

If I'd known then that within six months of leaving that job, I'd have a new job I would love and that also paid $20k more a year, I could have skipped a lot of drama. 

But, of course, I didn't know. And I didn't have the mindset skills that I have now. So, what did I do? I stayed in a job I didn't like and felt sorry for myself, I got laid off and felt sorry for myself, and I spent four months job hunting (and yes, feeling sorry for myself).

One of the bonuses of having lived through that whole experience, including all that feeling sorry for myself, is that I learned a lot of things, and I can share them with you, so that you can skip all the worry and terror and drama (not to mention the judgment that we also so often layer onto the things we've done in the past).

1. If you've known you should do something, not done it, and experienced consequences, there is nothing wrong with you. Your brain was doing the best it could with what it knew at the time. Seriously. 

2. If you're deeply afraid of being laid off, and especially if you've been laid off before and are afraid it will happen again, it makes total sense that you're afraid. And it's still optional. You can learn to see what your brain is doing and you can teach it to think differently (and more effectively) about things it's afraid of. 

3. This is the really obvious one that still totally needs to be said. Sometimes things happen that seem bad, that feel bad, and yet, they open up space for something amazing. Something you couldn't have even hoped for or imagined. That doesn't mean you shouldn't let yourself feel the hard feelings, too. By all means, feel them. We spend a lot of time and energy avoiding our feelings, but they really aren't so bad when you don't resist them. So feel whatever you feel, and then, if you want to, if it feels good, allow your brain to consider the possibility that in a few years, you might feel differently about this situation, whatever it is.