05 Sep I lost my job and I have no idea what I am going to do
Two weeks ago, I signed in to my American job just as I have for the last 5 years. The day started out like any other Monday, except things took a turn and before I could even realize what was happening, it dawned on me… my boss had just given me my 6-weeks’ notice.
You might remember that I was really excited about my career change and especially loved that I got to work in an industry that I thrive in. I had given up a sales and marketing job I had been doing for 4 years to pursue a new career in digital marketing, where I would be managing SEO, social media and content writing for a new digital marketing company that specializes in transportation and logistics.
I will be honest; the industry we specialized in (trucking and logistics) wasn’t exactly thrilling and often, our customers just didn’t understand what digital marketing meant or how it worked. But the actual job is what I loved – I liked my team, I enjoyed getting lost in data, and I was passionate about learning how else we could utilize the latest trends in an industry as old as America, itself.
I have learnt so much in the last 2 years of working for this company and am quite proud that despite not really having an interest in trucks, I certainly enjoyed learning about how important the industry is, and the challenges it faces on an ongoing basis.
It is said that trucking is the backbone of America because everything that is consumed is often delivered by truck; think about a sports game like the NFL – everything right down to the rolls and sausages to make hotdogs is delivered by a truck, driven by an actual person. Valentine’s Day? All those roses, teddies and confectionaries are driven cross-country and delivered by truck. Christmas? Everything from our Christmas lunch, to the presents and sweet treats, are all delivered to the store by truck.
A truck driver’s life isn’t easy; the days are long, the roads are lonely and with a recent change in the law requiring electronic logging devices to be installed in all trucks, they are no longer able to get in as many miles as they once did, thus cutting down on their potential earnings. A bigger challenge the industry faces is that they’re running out of truck drivers. Nobody goes to school saying, “I want to be a truck driver.” And school programs certainly don’t encourage you to take the path to become a driver, so truck drivers are generally aged between 40 and 60 years old. With more of them being forced to retire because of old age, truck companies are having their multi-million-dollar fleets stand still because they just don’t have the drivers to fill them.
I liked my job.
It took me a few days to properly process what was happening; I wasn’t losing my job because I failed or because I wasn’t good at it. I was losing my job because they’ve decided to focus purely on offering websites instead of a full-house marketing service.
But here’s the thing… no matter how you paint the picture, I have lost my job and with it, a big portion of my income. I got my first US-based job straight out of high-school so I have never really experienced what it means to be unemployed and quite frankly, it scares the shit out of me.
I have lost confidence in myself and don’t really know who I am and what I am meant to be doing right now. In fact, I don’t even know where to begin with finding something new. Yes, I still have Dr. Design and am so proud of the work that we’re doing with our local clients, but it’s still weird (read: scary) not having the stability of my American-based job which provides consistent and regular income.
Weirdly, I am not completely freaking out.
I still have 3,5 weeks to figure something out and even then, I am not completely unemployed because I still have Dr. Design. I had applied for a writing gig – one that I really thought was meant for me – but when I got the call back to arrange an interview, they said they’d need me in Cape Town and well… I have JUST signed a new lease and Axl has JUST started school – there’s no way we can move right now.
I knew that I was being too hopeful, but I really wanted to be able to say, “this had to happen, so I could go on and make a dream career my reality.” But it didn’t quite work out that way, so I have to just trust that there’s something else out there for me and that one day, this WILL all make sense.
The advantage to losing my job is that it’s given me free time to spend with my kids. It meant that instead of stressing about reports or sending out the next newsletter, I can sit with them while they make bubble beards in the bath, I can chat to them about their day while they eat dinner, pack Axl’s school lunch and prepare him for the next day, read them a Bible story before bed, tuck them in and check on them without worrying about whether my boss was messaging me. It also means that the weekends are ours because I do all my Dr. Design work during the week while Axl is at school and Eli naps so that I can watch soccer on the weekend, braai with my family and maybe even read a book or take a nap. Losing my job has shifted my perspective on what is important; yes, an income is essential, but it’s not everything and maybe that’s what I needed to be reminded of.