Or, What Happened by Hillary Clinton. Amazon sells Hillary’s book. While I haven’t yet finished reading the book, I feel the same way about my life at this moment as she describes how the 2016 presidential election campaign went down. She was gobsmacked. Blindsided. T-boned. Ambushed. Bushwhacked. Thought she had it in the bag. Then she lost to Trump.

Job loss hurts

Friday, September 6, 2019, I lost my job. Again. Laid off for business reasons, along with a half-dozen other high-performing co-workers. Private enterprise is not so nice, sometimes, because there’s no job protection. You’re at the whim of the market and global trade.

I’ve been down this road before. Laid off in 2012, 2009 and somewhere around 2001, I’ve forgotten exactly when. Trouble is, I’m older now. Yes, my resume shows progressive skill development and experience, but the older you get, the more competition you have in the job market.

Temporary contract work

laptop with sticky notes

For the past seven years, I’ve moved around a lot among different companies while working contracts, averaging two T4s per year. The moves were for various reasons. Mostly, insufficient work kept me looking for better opportunities.

This last one was a mistake. If I had known I would be laid off one year later, I would never have taken the role. It was a small, unstable company in the software industry. Thinking my skills were in demand, I ignored some red flags and leveraged the North Shore location so I could set up home here.

Even though traffic congestion is hemmed by two bridges, I love living here. But it bites that there aren’t many jobs, and I will likely have to commute by public transit again, assuming I do find work.

Hiring is a slow process

In addition to the longer commute issue, it’s a bad time of year to be looking for full-time permanent work. Look what’s going on in the U.S. right now—they’re impeaching their president and the process seems long and drawn-out.

With the world’s strongest economy at the helm and in chaos, I’m definitely getting the impression that companies are hiring to fill critical positions only—not the roles that I seek.

In the last quarter of the year, budgets are spent. With the holiday season upon us, recruiting and hiring activity is quiet. I expect more action in the new year. A good time to take a vacation, you say? Only if I want to give up my Employment Insurance supplement.

While I’m actively looking for work, I’m not allowed to leave the country. If I do, I forfeit some benefits. The benefits already equal just half of my regular income, so giving that up would hurt financially. Dunno if I could relax on vacation while I still want a job.


statue of weeping woman

Guess what else? I lost my mother four months ago, too. She died of cancer, complicated by Parkinson’s Disease and dementia. The grief of losing her is lessened because she wasn’t doing well. I accept that she reached the end of her time on this planet and that her quality of life was negative. Hard to do, but it was her time to go.

The painful part is the dysfunction that showed up in our family. I’ve lost a sister whose outlook on life is toxic, which our mother’s death brought to light. The good news? I reconnected with my brother, whom I ignored for many years.

Job loss. Bereavement. After losing the election, Hillary hit the chardonnay variety of white wine; I’m indulging in more rosé than I should. I’m also taking the time, while knowing that it’s going to take time, to enjoy my personal time.

Getting outdoors regularly lifts my spirits. Doing new things like lane swimming. Working with a career coach. Maintaining relations with my friends and children. It’s on my bucket list to attend the North Shore Toastmasters club to meet people in my new neighbourhood, and perhaps regenerate some speaking and leadership skills.

Narcissism is negative and hurts people

Speaking of Trump, and back to my toxic sister—their behaviour is very similar. I can’t help but notice a connection. I know my baby sister well, and I realized, a few years ago, that she displayed very high narcissistic tendencies.

I hadn’t realized how controlling and mean-spirited she actually is. She is the one who suffers. She is the one who is angry inside, at how unjustly the world treats her. Just like Trump.

You see, I understand what’s in their head. If you see what Mayo Clinic has to say about Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) you would understand. I’ve watched and listened to my sister closely over the years. Her world is very small—it’s all about herself. She has zero empathy for others. She is manipulative—sweet when she wants something, and nasty when she’s uncertain or challenged.

I do believe that insecurity is at the heart of the condition. Yet, these are adults whose behaviour is difficult to correct or modify.

Feel productive and enhance your skills

laptop, book, mobile phone,

And then there’s listening and competition. I’m from the generation that grew up finding information in library encyclopedias—hardcover printed books. There are now at least three generations in most workplaces.

I’m at the senior level, and while the younger professionals may have more drive, I’m not ready to retire, and I feel that I can still contribute value. I just need to learn to speak their language and develop better listening skills.

They’re amazing. For example, LinkedIn Learning has educational videos on a plethora of relevant career development topics. Being old-school, I think it’s faster to read what I want to know. Watching the videos, in which there’s music in the background while a speaker presents a topic, means developing multi-tasking listening skills.

I have to learn to filter, which is a skill. I don’t normally listen to music while I work—it’s distracting for me—but younger people do it all the time, without being distracted.


woman with binoculars

So, the job hunt continues. If I had a crystal ball to see into my future, and could see that I would land a satisfying, well-paid job, I would take that tropical vacation while waiting for the hiring managers to move things along.

If my future panned out with my deepest fears manifested—no work for you, old lady—I would make another plan to semi-retire and do something else, right away. I’m no procrastinator. Just finding it hard to be patient.

It is insulting to be offered junior roles at much lower rates of pay. Really? Must I get over it? I think stats prove that it takes three to six months to find a new job. Getting laid off is a bummer. In the middle of the night, I fantasize about throwing raw eggs at my last CEO’s house, and alternately, at my sister’s house.

I would feel better, right? No, I’m not that kind of person. I could break some dishes and harm no one. Can we be done with Trump anytime soon? I need a job, and he’s messing things up for me and everyone else by cancelling trade agreements, effectively halting the global economy.

«RELATED READ» OFF TO WORK: Mindfully improve your job-seeking skills»

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