I was laid off from my job earlier this year and have felt so lost ever since. How can I get back on track (and continue on the same career path, despite the advice from others)?

I’ve wondered if posting here might be a good way for me to get how I’m feeling about this off my chest. Either way, I think my issue here is that I know what I *want* to be doing about this — my options just sadly aren’t all lined up in a row.

Long story short, I relocated from my home country to another, bigger city in another country last year on a 2-year work visa. For once in my life, it felt like the cosmos aligned for me — within the first 2 weeks of relocating, I landed what felt like a dream job as a technology reporter. Mind you, the company that provided me this job was not at all stable — but the work I was doing was exactly what I wanted to be doing (and it was also work I wasn’t able to find in my home country). I absolutely loved this job and for the first time in my life, felt something akin to true happiness. I went to events, interviewed with thought leaders, grew both my professional network tremendously and was so proud of the work I was doing. I also worked with one of the most wonderful teams I’ve ever known, had an amazing, supportive manager and fit in so well with the company’s culture, which led to me making some good friends in the time I was there. I truly can’t put into words how much I was happy with my career and where it was at.

Of course, all was great until this summer — when my company’s CEO went off the rails, decided to change the direction of the company and laid 50% of it off (he’s now since laid even more people off). They decided they couldn’t afford to keep the news arm I was working for, so my entire team was made redundant. I tried my best to be positive after it happened, telling myself that prior to having this job, I didn’t have the great portfolio and network I now had. However, I’ve since had months of a genuine struggle that I’ll now outline here.

I posted about losing my job on LinkedIn after the mass layoff happened and did receive a ton of leads on new jobs. Basically, I got really scared about being unemployed in a foreign country (as unlike in my home country, I wasn’t eligible for unemployment benefits) and my feet got very cold, so I very hastily accepted a role with my former company’s PR firm. The manager of this firm basically lied to me about the role he was offering and tried to give me a completely different one once I joined. At this same time, another company that one of my former connections had referred me to asked to interview me and ended up offering me a job to work with them as a content writer. I truthfully wasn’t interested in either of these roles and didn’t think either of them were right for my career path, but the second one was offering a much higher salary and I again felt so desperate just to feel some sort of stability again. After 2 weeks of working at the PR firm, I nicely resigned and took the other company’s offer.

The role with company #2 was even worse. The culture was stiff, unwelcoming and I didn’t fit in at all. In the span of a month, my manager became one of the worst people I’d ever worked with in my entire career. He barely trained me on any of the materials and would rudely refer me to other people on the team whenever I asked for guidance (while also being super condescending about me asking for help). He was also the kind of manager who would give absolutely no direction on a project, but then twist things to make it seem like they were my fault if I didn’t do them the way he wanted. The content I was also being asked to write about was about stuff I realized I had no knowledge about (I really don’t know why they hired me?) and I felt like I was being set up to fail. Again, desperate to leave, I started seeking other roles.

This time, I tried so hard to find something that was in line with what I was doing before. My goal is to be a technology reporter/someone who works in an editorial field and that was the kind of work I was doing in my first job. Sadly, there was really nothing available at that time that fit that — what I was doing at my my first company was in a pretty niche field. Things got so bad at the company I was in and I could feel my mental health really deteriorating — I was so close to throwing in the towel and just moving back home. However, I finally applied to a marketing type role at a gaming company and figured that regardless of what happened, I needed to instantly get out of this role before I had a mental breakdown. I ended up getting that job and immediately left company #2 once I got the offer (the manager reacted so poorly and acted like a total douche when I delivered the news, so thank goodness I did).

Job #3 is much more manageable than the last one (and they have said they are able to sponsor me once my visa expires), but I still have this niggling feeling every day that I’m not doing the right thing with my career and that every role I’ve taken since being laid off has been chosen out of haste. I had worked so hard to get where I was as a reporter, I was so happy with the initial role I landed and I suppose if I hadn’t been a foreigner in another country that was worried about money, I would have taken my time more in searching. Fast-forward to now — I finally landed an interview with a news reporting company and they called me on Friday to tell me they want to offer me the position. This could finally result in me going back onto the path I wanted to be on, but I’m still awaiting details about whether they can sponsor me to stay in the country once my visa expires. If they can’t sponsor me, I don’t know if it’s right to take the role with them or not.

Comments I’ve received from family members and connections at this point are “you can’t keep bouncing around!” and “you need to just settle with something!” However, I feel like comments like these are really dismissive in these types of situations, as I never would have left my initial role and never planned on “bouncing around” or being put in this type of predicament. I just simply don’t want to give up on my career path and want the whole moving to another country thing to have actually been worth it. Also, because I’m on a visa in another country, I haven’t been eligible for benefits and that made me feel all the more pressured to take a job when it was being offered to me. Other people who were part of my company’s mass layoff (and who are citizens of the country I’m in) have taken their time with finding new roles, while this is a luxury I didn’t have as a foreigner. I’ve also, of course, had comments such as “people are being laid off everywhere — you should be grateful so many people want to offer you a job!” Like, what is that supposed to mean? What was the point of me moving to another country if I wasn’t going to try to leverage my career and make the most of my experience? Hearing these things are so discouraging and not helpful.

Any advice or solidarity would really be appreciated, as this situation has obviously taken a toll on my mental health. Am I wrong for “bouncing around” and continuing to search for a job that’s in line with what I want to be doing, when I had that job and lost it under no fault of my own? In the meantime, am I wrong for accepting work and not being unemployed? I know what I want to do in life, but some days it’s been really easy to feel lost in the midst of all of this.



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