Sunday, February 7, 2010

Guest Post

This guest post comes from Jennifer at I Know, Right?  Since meeting her last Fall Jen's become a very close friend of mine, she's one of the kindest people I've ever met and I'm very proud to have her in my life. 

 Jennifer was recently laid off from her job as a reporter and has been struggling to come to terms with this new chapter in her life. She's written a guest post, which I'm happy to feature here...

I packed my things today.

Dozens of shriveled notepads with yellowed pages shredded at the edges. Colorful postcards sent over the years from a friend in China. A bright blue corporate mug showcasing that I am a reporter. Well, was a reporter.

When my desk was nearly empty, I glanced down at my box. One little grocery store cardboard box filled with three years of my career. Was that really all I had to show for three whole years of hard work? What a shame.

Just a week before, I had been laid off. Let go. Terminated.

I shouldn’t have been shocked last week when the News Editor and HR representative guided me into the conference room—the same place where I had been hired right out of college in May of 2006. After all, I had witnessed six lay offs at my newspaper in the past three years. Hundreds of people left without a trace. I even went through three editors, watching them all pack their things year after year. The recession was very real to me.

It was always a chilling feeling, watching those people pack their things. There they were one day, trying to figure out what stories they would work on later that week; the next day they were terminated without a warning. One week to pack up. For most, it only took half an hour. They never looked us in the eyes. When they left, we never saw them again.

I always felt uneasy seeing someone—who sat at that desk for 20 years—leave. So many years given to a career that wouldn’t even see them to retirement. And in the news industry, your life revolves around your job. The result of your hard work is in the newspaper every day. Everyone in town knows you. Now what?

Some of the lucky ones go on to find decent jobs within a few months. Most are not as fortunate. A once-glorified editor I know now serves hot dogs at the local baseball stadium. A once hot-shot reporter I know is still collecting unemployment after being let go six months ago.

It’s my turn now, I realized, as I stood by my old desk with a stuffed box, avoiding the sympathetic stares from former coworkers.

But where do I go? I apply for jobs every day, online. Every time I click enter I can feel the application drift off into cyber space, never to be seen or heard from again. It doesn’t exist.

Is there room in this recession for a young unemployed journalist?

As I left the newsroom, juggling my box and mumbling goodbyes to people, it occurred to me that it doesn’t matter.

Its 2010, the economy is still shit, and I’m out of a job.

All I have left is myself.

Thanks for this Jen. Hang in there sweetie, I know it'll get better.  You're an amazing friend. ♥



  1. "All I have left is myself."

    You are not alone....

  2. wow. this hits close to home. I work in media (radio), part-time right now because 1. i can't find a full-time job and 2. a part-time job is less likely to be cut. I too have watched the boxes packed, heard the echo grow as fewer and fewer people inhabit a once teeming building. I have many dear friends, and even a roommate that have been victim to the indiscriminate ax of a dying news medium. hang in there girl. You're definitely not alone.

  3. Jen, we are here for you. There is always sunshine after the rains remember? Hang in there! xoxo

  4. Thanks for posting this, Barry. And thanks for all the sweet things you said. I really love the photo! :)

  5. It's just never easy is it? Or maybe it is sometimes, and that's why times like these really seem to kick the breath out of us. I guess a stranger telling you to take it "one day at a time" isn't exactly earth shattering, but it's all you can do. I'll add you to my prayer list, Jen. You'll be easy to remember, my sister's name is Jennifer. ^_^

  6. I feel your pain. I know it must be horrible. But this is also a time to reflect on who you really are and how valuable your skills are. Hang in there and continue to do what you are doing, applying and planning the future, someone will eventually find what they are looking for in you.


  7. This made me feel really sad. I'm so sorry for you Jen. Keep calm and carry on. You'll find something, be sure of that.

    Thank you for your writing Barry, it's an amazing blog!



  8. I'm sorry to hear that..been there last year!
    But guess what, this might by far be the best thing that has happened to will get the chance to see things from a different perspective, rediscover yourself and those around you and maybe you were destined to do something much bigger than being a reporter and this is just the end of this chapter for u.
    Wishing you all the best in whatever you do:)

  9. This was so good. I love the descriptions and imagery. We're all here for you! It's so sweet of Barry to post this!


  10. Jennifer is an incredible writer. I know something even better is just around the corner for her!

  11. Hang in there Jen! <3 You are so talented, you will be snapped up soon :)

  12. Jennifer is an amazing writer, and I truly believe she will find employment again soon. She is so inspiring and always so encouraging...hang in there Jen! :)

  13. so beautifully written.. my heart goes out to her.

  14. I really agree with Quenn of Shibah. Sometimes, trials like these can turn out blessings. They just require patience and perseverance. And yes, perhaps this happened for a reason, for a much bigger reason.

    On the other hand, this post kind of hit me. I am here earning a very decent salary yet sucking and complaining for all the imperfections of the institution. This calls for me to reflect and be thankful with what I have.

    Thanks jen for sharing. As you know, I have always admired you. :)

  15. Jen is amazing. I know there are opportunities just waiting for her. I'd personally love to see her write a novel. I think she's perfect for it. And it'd sell like hotcakes.
    Thanks for featuring her!