By: Kelli Latchem
The decision to join my company was influenced by the typical millennial trappings of a start-up culture – the ability to bring your dog to work (I don’t have a dog), ping pong tables and a barista onsite who would make you the perfect, frothy cappuccino. Once I was on the payroll I dogsat every Australian Shepherd in the building, played ping pong like my life depended on it and remained highly caffeinated throughout the work day.
Five months into my new gig and still in the throes of my honeymoon period I set out to tackle my inbox one Tuesday morning when my boss tapped me on the shoulder. A few minutes later I was sequestered in a small conference room and learned that my team would be eliminated effective immediately.
I fully dedicated the next 24 hours to bouts of crying, copious amounts of sauvignon blanc and phone calls to my Dad and best friend. With that raw emotion behind me, I set out to create a plan that I could put into action. Since I’m a rather impatient person, I focused on things that were within my immediate control and could result in a more purposeful job search.
1. FINE TUNE YOUR PERSONAL BRAND
Being laid off after only five months on the job was a huge blow to my ego. Although it wasn’t indicative of my performance it was important to craft a positive narrative surrounding my departure from the company and articulate what kind of position I was looking for next. That way, you have a cohesive pitch and can clearly relay that while networking and to potential employers. There are an infinite number of resources online that offer guided worksheets that help you formulate that narrative on paper. Career Contessa and The Prepary are two websites that I’ve recently leveraged.
2. FIGURE OUT YOUR JOB SEARCH ENVIRONMENT
For some (myself included) tackling your job search from home can be a bit of a distraction. I quickly realized after countless trips to the kitchen to mindlessly graze along with listening to the aspiring violinist living next door, that this wasn’t the best environment. An alternative is always your local coffee shop to settle into, but there are also co-working spaces to consider. WeWork just happened to be located a few blocks from my apartment and offers flexible monthly plans that best fit your needs. I chose the pay-as-you-go option, which allows you access to their network, job postings and most importantly, beer on tap if you feel like imbibing during the day.
3. ENROLL IN CLASSES OR CONTINUING EDUCATION
While employed I always wanted to participate in classes, but usually opted out because of being too exhausted from the work day. Now that I have time, I wanted to spend it constructively and fill in gaps in my skillset. Lynda.com and Skillshare offer a wide range of online classes along with General Assembly, which also has campuses across the country. I ended up enrolling in a General Assembly five-week circuit since I was so impressed with their nearby location and staff. Depending on your financial and time commitment they also have anywhere from weekend workshops to 13 week courses.
4. BUILD YOUR NETWORK
I had just recently moved from New York to Los Angeles and hadn’t built up a network in my new city when I found myself unemployed. To make up for lost time, I immediately signed up for events through Six Degrees Society (obviously!) as well as Create & Cultivate and my local chapter of Levo League. Although it might not be immediate that these connections will result in job leads it has the potential to develop friendships,which is especially valuable when you’re new to a city!
5. TAKE CARE OF YOUR PHYSICAL HEALTH
I’m being hyper-aware of my finances during this period and only allocating a budget towards my job search and an occasional Starbucks to keep my sanity. With my ClassPass indefinitely on ice, I’m still making physical activity a priority. Going for a run a few times a week is not only free, but allows me to clear my head and maintain my physical stamina during a stressful time. Also, keeping to a routine is paramount so you don’t feel completely off kilter and generally worn down. While I’m tempted to sleep until noon and wear the same pair of yoga pants throughout the week it’s been helpful to maintain the same schedule I had while working and (occasionally) get dressed.
Kelli Latchem is a born and raised Mid-Westerner, but has lived in New York City, Dallas and is currently based in Los Angeles. From an early age, she was always fashion-obsessed and turned that into a career in visual merchandising and marketing working for brands such as Tory Burch, Abercrombie & Fitch and most recently, TOMS. Outside of work, she’s adopted the California lifestyle and can be found either hiking or on the beach.