By Amanda Reed
I’m not a huge baseball fan, but I would say I know how to catch a few curveballs considering how much I’ve gone through in the last eight months.
2020 started off on a high note. In January, I survived a round of layoffs at an endless-snacks-in the-kitchen startup where I was working on their marketing team. In February, after years of part-time gigs and hustling, I landed my first full time journalism job at a regional magazine in Pittsburgh as a social media coordinator. While other local media struggled during COVID-19 and teleworking, during my onboarding I remember a coworker saying: “We’ve all been at the magazine for years and years. It’s stable here, compared to other places.”
So, at the end of March, when we all were ushered into a last-minute company-wide video call and I heard phrases like “unprecedented times” and “skeleton crew,” I was caught off guard and out of a job. I was let go along with roughly half of the magazine staff.
This would start the Covid roller coaster ride that I was on with so many others in the publishing industry, and the country. Within three weeks, I was back. My employer had received a PPP loan and rehired everyone at the magazine. A second chance! I told my parents the happy news and let them know I didn’t need to go back on their health insurance after all.
I wish I could say “and that’s the end of that,” but at the beginning of June, I received another call: PPP funds have run out. They were returning to the skeleton crew; I laid off. Again.
For the rest of the summer I freelanced and went through all five stages of grief. But I kept plugging away, interviewing, networking and even some social media consulting. And by the end of August, I was hired again! And even with a higher salary! I’m now working for a trade publication as a staff editor and couldn’t be happier. (And I’m off my parents’ insurance again too!) Hooray stability!
Kylie Jenner may have said that 2016 was the year of “realizing stuff.” but I would disagree. 2020 definitely takes the prize. Would I like to go through all of this again? Absolutely not! However, I made it out okay. If you’re going through something similar, you’ll eventually get there, too. Here is some stuff I “realized” in 2020 after … all this *gestures wildly*.
1. Use your network.
Both times I was laid off — yes, both times— I announced it across my social channels and professional networks, including emailing my career coach (who is an absolute career goddess and provides comprehensive career guidance *cough* check out her services *cough*). Asking for help again after asking for help the first time can be demoralizing. But there are people — both strangers and trusted colleagues — who truly want to help. By asking for this help, I landed a few interviews and got freelance work until I landed my next full-time role.
2. Grant yourself some grace.
There were moments in my layoff journey where I got mad at myself for laying in my bed all day and not applying to a single job. Looking back, I wish I wouldn’t have been so hard on myself. After all, we are in a pandemic and a recession. A few days of loafing is valid self care! You’re not a failure, life isn’t easy all the time, give yourself a hug, dangit!
3. Your time will come.
While sorrowfully drinking wine, hand deep in a bag of potato chips, I often thought, Why does the universe keep kicking me when I’m down? I’m a believer in the universe working in mysterious ways, doors opening when others close, etc. However, this was a bit much. It’s hard to “trust the process” when the process thus far has not led to anything good! As cliche as it sounds, things happen when they happen. Case in point: I was eating breakfast at my dad’s kitchen table when I got the phone call that led to my now-job.
4. “You’ve done hard things before and you can do hard things again.”
After I landed the job, I wrote this on a sticky note and put it on my desk monitor. It’s a reminder of my resilience. Whenever I’m tackling a difficult project, feeling vulnerable, or unsure of myself, I glance over, look at it and get back to being a bad-ass b*tch.
Amanda Reed is a staff editor at SDM, a B2B brand delivering comprehensive business and technology information to the North American security channel through print and online media. Her work has appeared in Pittsburgh Magazine, Martha Stewart Weddings, Pittsburgh City Paper, Pittsburgh Current, StartNow PGH and The Riveter Magazine. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter: @reedkat_
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