Ask Elle--Surviving It

Monthly I share my advice to a reader's dilemma. This month's question comes from Shayla who asks, "You've mentioned before that you were unemployed. My husband was recently laid off and it's hit our family pretty hard. How did you cope? How did you get a job?" Shayla, my thoughts go out to you and your family. I originally posted the following for Maddy's Project Me & thought I'd share it here as well. I hope it helps & that he finds a job soon.

When I lost my job, I was devastated. I was never one to complain about my job and was always thankful to have one, given the economy and all. And then I became a statistic. I didn't tell anyone for a bit, as I was just too depressed and felt I let myself down. Here I was, the one with several college degrees and now no job to show for it. I never thought I'd be unemployed. Fast forward to a year later...I have a job (although it pays half of what I was making before) and I'm surviving it. Read below to see how I did just that:
  • Grieve it. Give yourself a day, a week, a month to be totally and unequivocally upset. And then realize that you need to get up, your hair needs to be brushed, and bills need to be paid. 
  • Go to work. I made finding a job my job. Everyday I got dressed (not a business suit or anything but def not sweats). I set up an "office" and spent my "workday" applying for jobs. Look online--there are so many places as well as the good ole local paper.
  • Make a schedule. I found that if I scheduled my day, it really helped and gave me a purpose. For example, I'd work out, shower, job hunt, go for a walk, vacuum, call a friend, etc.
  • Resume, resume, resume. I applied for a variety of jobs and tweaked my resume to fit each one. I went to a free workshop to further help my resume. I applied for jobs that I normally wouldn't have, just for the interview experience. 
  • Get out. I felt the strong urge to stay inside my house and just melt into a pool of mush. I forced myself to get up and get out. I would walk around the park, work out (I gained 40 lbs during my near-year of no job), or walk the malls/stores. Even if I couldn't buy anything, just being around people made me feel alive.
  • You've got the time. Remember how you never had time to clean out the closet? Dust the ceiling fan? Make that scrapbook? Read that pile of books beside the bed? Well, you have the time now. You aren't going to be unemployed forever, so use this time to do all of those random chores you never had time to before.
  • Try something new. Who knows? You might like it and meet new people. I scoured the local mags/papers for free or nearly free things. I took free ballroom lessons (way outta my comfort zone), I joined a church, I started a blog, and more.
  • Volunteer. Giving back to others really made me feel better about myself and that I was contributing something to society.
  • Blog. I started a blog last year, not to complain or rant (because who would wanna read that?), but to have my voice heard. It gave me a goal--just to create a post daily. And even if you don't want to start a blog, reading them is even better. I love the blogging community and the "friends" I've made.
  • Reach out. My pride kept me from telling people and I know that hurt me in the beginning. I could've used the support and I wouldn't have had to deal with it on my own. (You can reach out to me here).
  • You're lucky. You really are. You have family and friends who love and care about you. You're a great person. You have your health. You're lucky.
  • You will survive it. I learned I'm a helluva lot stronger than I thought I was. Even in moments of despair, I knew I'd get a job and I did. I truly believe this all happened for a reason.
Seeking advice on life/love/beauty/style/decor/etc? Email me or leave a comment below. I can't wait to hear from you!


  1. Thanks for your honest and inspiring post. I'm sure you will help lots of people by this frank view of being unemployed. So glad you are employed now and hope you will find the job/work you love the most. AND glad you decided to blog. You are VERY good at it.
    Have a great weekend.

  2. Thanks for writing this post, Elle. It'a a good read 'coz one never knows what can happen tomorrow.

  3. this is such a great post Elle. I loved how you really went into some serious detail with your advice. I loved reading this. My favorite parts were the motivating words, how you put your experience into the answers, and you made it relatable/ something to do even if you aren't unemployed such as starting something new.

  4. I am a fan of this post! So true and it doesn't just apply to losing your job. Last week I had another difficult situation to deal with it and I gave myself some time to "grieve" and it really helped!

  5. Amazing post. I love the variety in your writing. Some days I get fun DIYs and others I get encouraging and candid posts like this one. Keep up the good work!

  6. i'm only semi-working right now. it's been pretty rough but i definitely agree with a lot of these. hopefully i will see it paying off for me soon.

  7. Ah i do love your writing.


  8. such amazing advice! my partner and i are both unemployed right now and it's so easy to have those discouraging "i'm never going to get a job" days. but really, we just have to pull ourselves out of that and choose to do things that give us hope - network, keep sending resumes, and enjoy hobbies. i really need to find a place to volunteer though. i think that's the next step to fight the unemployment struggles. thanks for this!


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