Sunday, February 7, 2010
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. ♥