Losing a job, gaining perspective


On April 30, 2008, I wrote the last exam of my undergraduate career.

The sense of relief and accomplishment was certainly overwhelming. However, coupled with that new-found freedom was the stress of looking for employment.

Little did I know that my career in marketing wasn’t as distant in the future as I had anticipated.

One of my business professors, a COO at a small software company, opened a job posting at his organization to our class. I eagerly applied, expressed my interest to him in person and landed an interview.

Initially, it was an executive assistant position, but I met with and was interviewed by four of the company’s top executives, and the director of marketing offered me a post as the company’s sales and marketing co-ordinator.

I accepted the position with fervor. I was only three weeks out of university and my dream job had been handed to me with gift wrap and all.

Marketing had always been the one area of business that challenged and intrigued me, and the director at this organization saw my passion and acknowledged my potential. While working there, I loved being able to immerse myself in all facets of marketing, ultimately realizing that it was exactly what I wanted to pursue professionally.

But seven months later, I was laid off.

Along with nine other employees, I was a victim of the recession. It was an awful blow. And I found myself, like all other recent grads, facing an economy and job market with a less-than-promising outlook.

If you've put in lots of effort but still can't find a meaningful job, step back for a while to reevaluate your options. Ask family, friends, colleagues and mentors for advice to help you decide what you really want.

Taking time to reflect on my work – what I had accomplished and the relationships I had fostered – was integral to gaining some perspective. Even though I graduated in 2008, I’m now facing the same challenges as the class of 2009. I see more and more companies are feeling the effects of the recession and taking appropriate action, but I always remind myself there are many great organizations still hiring.

As tough as this situation is, we recent grads need to train ourselves to be even tougher.

Now, I am constantly trying to maintain a positive attitude – as difficult as that may be. I’ve found solace in and received a helping hand from my colleagues, peers and friends. From re-working my resumé to sourcing out possible employers, my support system keeps me afloat and can do the same for anyone else.

I stay on the lookout for promising job postings and I’ve worked on expanding my network, particularly online. My newest venture has been starting my own blog, which discusses my passion for marketing, what I have learned about it and what I still need to learn. Being honest and putting myself out there in novel and inventive ways keeps my spirits high and my reach wide.

For me, it has become just as much a mental challenge as a physical one. I remind myself what I have to offer as well as what I have to gain, and when it becomes too much to handle I fall back on those around me who willingly lend an ear.

I have leaned on my colleagues, now my friends, who I worked closely with and developed relationships with. They helped me gain perspective, offered their opinions and wisdom and, most importantly, reminded me that there are better things to come.

About the author

Simren Deogun recently graduated with high distinction from the management and English programs at the University of Toronto with a CGPA of 3.6. Her career goals include establishing herself within the field of marketing and communications, and engaging in writing or literature-related ventures in her free time. She enjoys dabbling in graphic design and is always finding new ways to enhance her skill set. She also developed and runs her own marketing blog.