I was laid off twice in two years, even though just before the second time I had completed an American Bar Association-approved paralegal certificate program. I had zero experience actually being a paralegal and could not find work. The only jobs I was considered for were administrative and receptionist positions. I signed on with a couple different temp agencies, hoping to have better luck and a second (and third) pair of eyes to assist with the job search process. I finally got a temp-to-hire paralegal position, but business was slow and the firm couldn't afford to hire the position after all.
So, there I was, a single mother and sole household breadwinner, batting zero for three in my job search. I felt horrible and was very upset with what life had thrown at me. After a while I decided I was tired of other people's circumstances controlling my household and finances, and I made a decision to lean in and take control of my own life.
I used all my extra money to become a legal document assistant, a non-lawyer who helps people fill out legal paperwork. I had nothing to begin with but a strong desire and a powerful will to succeed. With no clientele, I had to solicit my family and friends and promote my services on Facebook and LinkedIn.
I am now working on going into business with a fellow contract paralegal / legal document assistant. We are looking into renting office space and designing advertisements. I am lucky to have found someone else who shares the dream of being in control of our own lives and with whom I get along well. I also get to spend more time with my son, which is worth the sacrifice of heading off in a solo direction and facing the fear of an unknown future. I am happier in my life now more than ever, and I could not be more thankful for how things have worked out.
If you find yourself in a similar situation, my advice is to take a risk and never stop believing in yourself. You will never know what you are capable of until you are pushed to your limits. Don't give up, and always phone a friend when you feel like you're about to throw in the towel.