Layoffs are devastating. 9 to 5 Hiker is a community to balance life at work with a better life outdoors, but what happens when that life at work is suddenly pulled out from under you? Yes, layoffs are devastating but they don’t have to devastate you.
The inevitable question after a layoff is, “what’s next?” Our fight or flight instinct kicks in and we feel the urge to do something, anything, right away. Some people blast out job applications in a panic, with no real target or strategy. Some spend hours updating resumes, portfolios, and LinkedIn profiles. Some go the other way and pull a spontaneous bender in Vegas, only to delay the reality of joblessness for a few more nights.
We do a lot when we lose “everything,” but step outside the four walls of your old corporate life and you may discover that “everything” was only “one thing” all along. So step out into the wild.
Transition Through the Woods
You’ll be thinking about your next job before you carry your personal belongings out the door, but the best move following a layoff is to do nothing. And, honestly, where is a better place to do nothing than in the middle of nowhere. This is your chance to do all of the cliche nonsense you see in movies to free your mind. Scream at the top of your lungs, run naked around a fire, talk to yourself, talk to tree. Sound crazy? That’s because it is. Go a little nuts before you come back home to sanity.
Find Your Values on the Trail
The outdoors has a way of forcing you to ponder what’s really important. I remember my first backpacking trip through the Grand Canyon in 2016. After nine miles through the heat of June, I sat for more than an hour with my legs in the chilly Bright Angel Creek, just letting everything run through my mind—work, relationships, goals, fears, you name it. Then, I wrote down what was important and moved on. Those concerns weren’t taking up rent in my head when I reached the South Rim the next morning.
Go Outside to Plan What’s Next
Companies host retreats for a reason. Getting away from the same old building presents an opportunity to think differently and plan for the future. I bring a red Moleskine notebook on every camping trip and write down everything, like I mentioned above, but I also use it to plan. I find that my goals have more clarity when I’m outside, as opposed to the clutter I allow in my life back home.
Get Lost and Appreciate Everything
There is real science behind the health benefits of gratitude, and spending a few nights away from people, lights, and noise pollution is the perfect way to reflect on what to appreciate in life. Back home can throw us into a feedback loop with no way to step outside the bubble and be grateful for what’s important. Go outside and write down three things for which you’re grateful, then do it again the next day, and the next.
You Define the Outdoors
Getting lost in nature isn’t necessarily a multi-day trek down the John Muir Trail. That adventure isn’t realistic for most people, but there is a place in the wild waiting for you. Maybe you work in New York City and the outdoors is just a short train ride upstate. Or you live in Florida and go canoeing in the gulf. Or maybe you’re in the flattest part of the Midwest and just find the nearest patch of woods—it’s all the outdoors.
Find yours, find peace, and catastrophe will soon turn into creation of a better life.