Here We Go Again!

Photo by Zdeněk Macháček on Unsplash

First things first: Hi! It's been a while. If you've made your way here, chances are you may be at a career crossroads (or you're related to me). Either way, welcome, thank you, and I truly hope you're doing okay in spite of everything 2020 has thrown our way. 

For a while back in March, which seems like a whole other millennium, I thought my husband and I might make it through this relatively unscathed work-wise. But if history has taught us anything it's that if you suspect you may lose your job, you probably will. 

Still, I mused, what were the odds that my husband could be laid off three times in less than seven years? Turns out, they were pretty damn good. 

In the weeks leading up to his most-recent dismissal, my husband had been busier than ever. I viewed this as a good sign—even as I noticed him bracing for the worst. After meals, I spotted him making lists of monthly expenses while frowning the way my mother does when my brother tells her he doesn't believe in coupons. 

Seeing him skulk from room to room with his debt vs. assets grids scribbled on napkins, I realized either he was preparing to leave me due to my inability to kick a Real Housewives of New York addiction or he assumed he was about to be let go.

Though I knew jobless claims were rising faster than demand for sourdough starter, I assured myself, "No, no, this can't happen again!"

When he told me emails he'd sent to colleagues bounced back because those employees had been let go without management notifying anyone, I still thought, "Yeah, but not you!" 

With his boss on maternity leave, he was working right up until the phone rang that mid-April afternoon letting him know his two-plus years at this healthcare startup had come to an abrupt end.

Of course, on some level, I knew it was only a matter of time. My own writing gigs were dominated by unnerving COVID-19-related pieces such as:

Initially, I had a lot of work coming my way. Most of it was virus-related, which was sad and sobering, reminding me that health and safety proved a far more urgent worry than unemployment. (Though coughing up wads of cash for healthcare for a family of five is also alarming.) 

Over time, my assignments have slowed. One client suspended production, another folded, a few have slashed their budgets.

And so ... here we are again! Many like to point out that we're not alone. We certainly aren't. Dozens of job openings we've found on LinkedIn have hundreds of applicants within the first hours, reminding us that competition for these coveted slots is fierce.  

In the past, I've attempted to use humor to diffuse the multiple pain points caused by unemployment and all its terrible bedfellows: anxiety, insomnia, financial ruin, loss of identity, and dignity, etc. But amid a pandemic, it's hard to find levity.

If there's a bright spot in all this it's that, should we garner interviews in the future, hopefully the answer to the dreaded resume gap question will be self-evident, and something as straightforward as "I was trying to survive" will suffice.

I've had a few opportunities come my way over the past few weeks and they span the gamut between hilarious and horrifying. 

More on that next time. Until then, be well.

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