Okay, that’s a little bit hyperbolic seeing as last year was an all round incredible year. It’s been almost a year to the day since I got laid off for the first time in my life and what a year it has been.
In Finland laying off people isn’t as easy as just announcing that they’re fired. It takes a process that goes on for weeks of negotiating so when the year ended, I knew some people were getting fired. And by the time the negotiations ended, I was ready to start looking for another job no matter the outcome. So I was more or less relieved when my boss called me in to fire me when the choice was taken out of my hands.
What happened next was that I got to make a go of being a full time writer. I didn’t get anything published but then again I wasn’t really expecting to. What I did get was time. Lots and lots of time to work on becoming a better writer and I did. I had a lot of help but the time I got from being laid off was crucial. Of course I was sending out applications and going to job interviews all the while but you can hardly fill out a 9 to 5 all week with that stuff for more than a week or two, even if I had applied to every single job in the greater Helsinki area.
So I took a couple of writing courses, read a LOT of advice and a lot of fiction, and wrote more than I’ve ever written before. Combined. I learned about structure and sensory details and finished a few new stories and got going on a new outline for a novel. I know for certain that I would have done none of that if I hadn’t been unemployed.
Of course, if it had gone on for longer than eight months I’d probably be feeling a lot different about it all.