When the Elpha team reached out to me to write this Spotlight, it was one day after I found out I was being made redundant. I felt angry when I first received the email because it felt like the universe was mocking me.
But then I realized my experience of losing my job (two times this year) is perhaps helpful for other women here, so I decided to share my story.
I lost my first graduate job in a week
I had successfully secured a job as a recruitment consultant six months before I completed my Master's in Digital Innovation Management. Although I wasn’t particularly keen on recruitment, I was still excited by the fact that it was a startup. I figured that there would be opportunities to carve out new roles for myself in a startup. I was excited about that prospect because I saw myself contributing to the growth of the business in multiple ways.
The company's CEO, the same man who interviewed and employed me, was so nice and helpful through the application process. Before I finally started, he would call me every once in a while to ensure I was still interested in the job offer. I was, to the extent that I had stopped applying for other jobs. I felt so grateful that someone wanted to hire me before I was done with school.
So I finally started, and to be honest, nothing was as it seemed. On my first day, I already knew I wouldn’t last there, but thought it would be me to leave.
The first red flag was that what I had applied for was “Recruitment Consultant”, but then on my first day, the title of my role was “Delivery Consultant”. I thought it was strange, but I didn’t mention it because I was still new and didn’t want to make a wrong first impression. I was also not immediately comfortable in the all-white male environment. They were older than me, and we had nothing in common, so I didn’t talk much as I was still getting used to the environment. The other female employee was on leave when I joined the company, but I never got the chance to meet her.
On Fridays, we could work from home. That Friday, I woke up to find out I had been locked out of my company outlook account. I sent an email to the CEO, and only then was I invited to a performance review where I was told I wasn’t a good culture fit. I still interpret that to mean I wasn’t loud or boisterous enough. After that happened, I was shocked and even hurt, but I got over it quickly.
Six weeks later, I landed another job at a company I adored.
What happened with the second job
I received an offer from the second job three days after sending my application. Everything was perfect and felt too good to be true. I was finally working in an industry I cared about with a CEO who was committed to my development and a team that was so welcoming.
There were so many exciting opportunities for growth for the company, and I wanted to grow into leading one aspect of it.
I was at the second company five months longer than the first. Any insecurity I felt about losing the job had long been diminished – until the 14th of July when the rug was pulled out from under me again.
As I got told I was being made redundant due to structural changes in the company, it was disorienting. I couldn’t believe this was happening to me again. However, I’m grateful that things were done cordially, unlike last time, and I was allowed garden leave to search for another job.
How I’m making myself indispensable to jobs moving forward
The first time I lost my job, I was so ashamed I didn’t tell anybody about it. One day, I just said, “oh, I’m working at a different company,” to my friends and they all just assumed a natural transition. During that period, I started a niche job board to advertise Tier 2 (Skilled Worker) visa-sponsored jobs. My intention was to make it easier for international students in the UK to find companies willing to sponsor their visas. As a former international student, I know how frustrating it is to reach the interview stage only to find out the company isn’t a willing sponsor. I couldn’t pursue that entirely because I focused all my efforts on my second job.
Now that it has happened again, I’m more vocal about my situation with friends and family. I’ve also been able to get a few jobs on the site by reaching out to companies.
Then, in the evenings, I go to the park to try and learn how to roller-skate. It always looked fun, but I thought it would be too hard—I mean, it is, but I love challenging myself this way. I’m also upskilling by volunteering to help a small business owner with Google Analytics so that I can get a practical understanding of the tool. Finally, I’ve started a newsletter on LinkedIn called Marketing Reactions, where I use python programming to analyze the responses of social media users to marketing campaigns.
I’ve stopped panicking about my situation. I’m confident I’ll get another job. Meanwhile, I’ve been enjoying all the activities that keep me busy. I’m also grateful for the Elpha resource about how to bounce back from a layoff. It opened my eyes to the importance of building my network in this period. So now, I’d love to connect with other members of the Elpha community through here, LinkedIn, and otherwise. And feel free to subscribe to my LinkedIn newsletter. It promises to be insightful and fun!