So, this is unemployment.

Opening up the Candidness Can in 3…2…1…

In advertising, you have to know you’re stepping into a volatile industry. Sometimes, partings of ways have to happen.

So this is unemployment

I’m currently unemployed and there was nothing I could do to prevent it. It wasn’t a reflection of my work quality or my previous employer. It’s just an unfortunate truth of the advertising industry that these things happen.

(This would explain why I’ve been off the radar for over a week, as well.)

I mean, in the long run, I understand that this was a risk I signed myself up for. Advertising is a wonderful, awful, fickle, high-stress, volatile, and dynamic industry. And I still hold my previous employer in the utmost regards. It’s like a breakup — even if you end on truly good terms, it’s still a pretty major life change that brings on a lot of feelings, adjusting, and recovery.

I’ll be fine, I know I will. But my ego’s pretty shattered. A lot of my identity was rooted in my professional life; a big chunk of my sense of purpose was there.

My friends get up and go to work on Monday morning. I stay at home, drafting the next stage of “Operation: Get Job.” (There are Google Spreadsheets, I’m intense like that.) I also fill in some gaps with random freelance jobs. (Also, I’ve baked, done yoga, gone running, and trimmed my hair.)

And even if I knew I was facing this risk, you never fully expect it. And there are a million and one things no one warns you about:

  • For a job you love, you go through the stages of grief. Denial, anger, acceptance, all of it. And you may cycle through them a few times.
  • Job applications don’t yield instantaneous results, and that is hard for me to handle.
  • Your résumé will never feel “perfect.” Neither will any cover letter, ever.
  • Filing for unemployment can make the most stoic person feel tears come on.
  • Even if it’s not your fault you’re unemployed, you may still be horribly inadequate.
  • It’s okay to spend a few days wallowing in self-pity. In fact, you may set yourself back if you don’t take time to recover and process the feelings. (As a doer, I made this mistake and I think it made it harder to move on.)
  • Not having a job is actually exhausting. Job hunting, wondering about the future, and trying to find the “new normal” has left me feeling drained.
  • People committed to their career might feel a lack of purpose when they’re between jobs. I know I have. However, I’m blessed with several amazing loved ones who remind me how valuable I am for reasons OTHER than my job.
  • Knowing that it’s not your fault that you’re unemployed may not always be a comfort — it may just make you feel helpless, since you couldn’t prevent it.
  • When you’re bad at accepting other people’s support (I suck at feelings), letting your friends know about bad news is REALLY, REALLY hard.
  • And 70 bajillion other things.

So, here we are.

I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. This is all part of God’s greater plan on where I’m meant to be in life. I have faith that whatever comes next will lead me to a bigger, better chapter of my life. I’ve handled a lot of disappointment really well thus far in life, and 9 times out of 10, what comes afterward is way better than what I thought was fantastic before.

And to be fair, where I am now is still better than where I was two years ago. I’m still healthy, I’m still capable, I’m still surrounded by love and support and kind hearts seeking to lift me up during this time of uncertainty. I still have the friends I made during my stint at that agency. I still have Nightwolf (who is WONDERFUL), and I still have all the progress I’ve made as a person and professional. Most importantly, I still have my faith.

I lift up my eyes to the mountains—     where does my help come from?

Am I scared right now? Yes. At times, that’s a gross understatement. But, this will all work out. And until I start the next chapter, the one that comes after unemployment, I’m going to allow myself to feel what I need to, and then pull myself back up. I’m going to work my ass off proving what a damn amazing communicator I can be, send out some top-notch résumés, and spend some time thinking about what really, truly, actually matters.

I’ll do what Kelly Rivard always does: I’ll find the lesson in this hardship, I’ll turn it into an effort to be a better person, and I’ll come out with a stronger faith, a bit more confidence, and a lot more perspective on life.

Wish me luck, friends. I’m on the hunt for the next chapter.

If you’re interested in my résumé, a digital version is available here. My background is in social media marketing with topical emphasis on agriculture, food, and natural resources. I’m a fast learner and an amazingly-enthusiastic brand advocate. And I make awesome homemade baked goods.


17 thoughts on “So, this is unemployment.

  1. “For a job you love, you go through the stages of grief. Denial, anger, acceptance, all of it. And you may cycle through them a few times.”

    I know that one all too well. It’s hard to bounce back from losing a job that you love, but chica you are strong, even if you don’t feel like it right now, and I know you’ll find something amazing again. It might not be right away, but you will. 🙂

    • Thanks, Sherrie. It’s hard — you’re not just say goodbye to a job, it’s a lifestyle. I don’t cry much, I don’t like to cry, but I had a bit of a breakdown thinking about the fact that my next job will most likely NOT be dog-friendly. It’s little things like that that add up to a great job.

      I’m sure I’ll find myself in an amazing new chapter, but dang if this hasn’t been a roller coaster! Thanks for all your love and support, my friend.

  2. Thank you for always being so awesomely honest about life. I really appreciate it, and it is a part of what makes you such a great communicator. 🙂

  3. Hang in there, Kelly! Make sure that when you do find something that it’s “right” for you. Don’t just take the first low-hanging fruit—you’re better than that 😉 As always … if you need anything, I’m just a Text, Tweet or #Dogstagram away 😉

  4. So I don’t know exactly what happened to lead to your job situation – but you have no idea how similar this is to what I’m going through right now. I have a grant funded research job and while I went into it knowing it would end I never in a million years thought it would be so hard to find something else. But I’ve been looking and applying for months now with nothing. All this to say – you’re not alone! And I might be emailing you later for tips and tricks because you seem so positive and I’m getting pretty discouraged. Thanks for sharing!

    • I’m sorry to hear that — if it helps at all, this is all “fake it till you make it” optimism. Sometimes it feels real, like I’m not floating in limbo or stuck in a nightmare. If I had a dime for every time Nightwolf held me while I cried (because I feel helpless, or miss my colleagues, or feeling lost, or just hate being jobless), well, then I wouldn’t be so worried about money for a while.

      Shoot me an email (just in case you don’t have it, kelly.m.rivard AT gmail DOT com) and maybe we can swap stories about our weaker moments or even just cheer each other up now and then. I’m only a week and a half in and I’m already so ready for change…

      • Oh believe me I understand. Although I must say you’ve motivated me (as I sit here waiting for the words to come) to share as well. No shame for the crying – it happens a lot around here as well and I’m not even technically without a job yet!

  5. Hey Kelly! I hate to hear this, but as always, thanks for sharing these sorts of topics. They’re ones that no one wants to talk about, but they’re real and they’re something that we all need to have go through our minds from time to time.

    I also wanted to say, keep your head up! I know you will (as you stated at the end of your blog) but I do also know that unemployment is hard. My mom was unexpectedly unemployed after working for the same company for 25 years. That was a big blow for our family. But after a lot of soul searching and applying for jobs, she ended up deciding to follow her passion and become a photographer – something she LOVES and has turned out to be very good at! It was a little easier for her as she had a full career for most of her working years, but I am sharing this as my hope for you that you find something even better from this hardship and end up doing something that you love even more than your old job!

    And I have faith that that will come for you. Just from reading your blogs, I can see what a “damn amazing communicator” you are and there are many other people out there who would agree with me! I’m jealous of your writing skills, frankly – so keep writing my friend! And, I checked out your resume. With that thing, you can’t be unemployed for long! Especially with that last misc. skill.. I mean saying the alphabet backwards is a true talent.. one that would seal the deal for sure in our office! 🙂

    • Chelsea, thanks so much. I agree — there are things that aren’t talked about that we should. I try to challenge those subjects a bit, especially the ones that impact me directly. No one can accuse me of being a wimp about what I write about regarding my life on here!

      That said, it’s easy to write about matter-of-factly than actually discuss the feelings. I know in theory it’ll all work out, and I’m glad your mother experienced that too! Finding that new path will be rewarding, and I know people “start over” every day.

      Your encouragement and optimism are much appreciated. Here’s hoping I land the next gig soon so I can impress people with my alphabet skillz. With a Z.

  6. This post reminds me so much of myself about a year and a half ago when I found myself suddenly filing for unemployment just 9 months after starting my first post-college full-time job. Except, your post seems much more hopeful than my mine seemed at the time. I couldn’t even bring myself to write about it for a while, though I wasn’t a frequent blogger. 🙂

    I know it’s not easy at all to deal with, but your optimism is great. My own period of unemployement was a rollercoaster of emotions, but did it end up turning out for the best. You definitely will find something just as good, or even better, than what you had. Who knows where it may lead you.

    • That’s what I hear a lot, and try to tell myself: it sucks now, but this is meant to be and will pay off in the long run. And really, the optimism is totally a fake-it-till-you-make it survival mechanism.

      It seems like every day gets a little better, and now that I’ve got interviews to look forward to and prepare for, I feel better. It’s just so surreal. So much of my identity has been grounded in what I do for a living. Maybe this is the wakeup call I needed to realize what really matters?

      Thanks for the comment, Anna. I always appreciate your input on this stuff!

    • I’m hoping I’m one of those people who’s going to come out of this better on the other side. Right now I’m still looking forward to the next chapter. I spent a lot of time praying about where to go with my career, I kind of feel like maybe I didn’t “get” the signs clearly enough and this was the wake-up call from the Big Man Upstairs.

  7. Awesome. I would wish you luck, but you do not need it, you have talent, drive, enthusiasm and a very entertaining way with words. Too bad you are not interested in politics, I am working with a couple of campaigns who could use a good copy writer. =)

    Hang in there – I just went through this process five years ago after a very successful working career. I just KNEW that I would get every job that I interviewed for as that is how it had always gone for me. Well, not this last time around. Rather sobering actually. You are right about the stages through which one evolves into the realization that we actually survive the process. On a more selfish note I am very glad that you continue your blog entries. I love them.

    XOXO Aunt Jayne

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