By: Austen Tosone
I stood outside of NYLON’s office in SoHo with a bag of stuff from my desk in one hand and a severance package in the other, as one thought played over and over in my head: 'what the hell just happened?' NYLON, my favorite magazine growing up, had just folded in the middle of fashion week with no notice. And I was let go, along with some of the most hardworking, creative and passionate people I’ve ever met.
I first stepped foot in the NYLON offices my junior year of college when I interviewed for a position there as an editorial intern. I got it. I returned again right before graduation to interview for the editorial assistant position. I got it. My hard work paid off and at the beginning of this year, I got promoted to assistant editor. Uttering the words, “I’m an editor at NYLON” for the first time gave me goosebumps. I was on top of the freaking world. I had my dream job at my dream publication at age 22. And losing it all hurt like hell.
I felt like I’d been punched in the gut and betrayed by something I poured time and love into. The worst part was that I never saw it coming. We were planning on re-launching NYLON Guys as a quarterly publication in 2018. We’d recently hired on new, full-time print staffers. There were no red flags or signs of trouble until the day that the magazine shuttered. I felt dread when I realized I was locked out of my office email and that the work we’d begun for the November issue would never see the light of day.
I let myself feel shock, disappointment, anger and defeat for a few days. But it was still fashion week, and I still had my tickets. So even though all I wanted to do was drink wine, watch Netflix and not talk to anyone, I put on my pleated culottes and blush pink mules and got my butt to as many shows as I could to at least cover them for my blog. I even reached out to bloggers I knew and asked if I could attend any shows they couldn’t make. That often meant standing room and not a coveted seat, but I didn’t care. I just wanted to be there, to be a part of the fashion world and to forget for a second how awful I felt. I created extra videos for my YouTube channel and additional fashion week blog posts.
Throughout fashion week, I brought my laptop along to the shows, working out of cafes and editing my resume and cover letter. I reached out to former supervisors, the HR departments of publishers, people I used to intern with, and people who worked at publications that I liked to let as many people as I could know that I was looking for work—full-time, freelance, anything. During my month in between jobs, I felt like I worked harder than I did when I was working full-time because I was working on/thinking about job applications, networking and my blog from the moment I woke up until the moment I fell asleep. When you don’t go to an office every day, it can be hard to find where work begins and ends. And while I did work exceptionally hard during that time, I also got exceptionally lucky that a magazine I was super interested in working at happened to be hiring a position that aligned with what I had been doing before.
As soon as I heard about the opportunity, I sent over my resume and cover letter and was able to schedule a meeting with an editor at Interview, who then set up a meeting for me with the Editor-in-Chief. A few days later, exactly two weeks after NYLON folded, I got a call. I got it.
You can never predict what will happen in this industry, but you can prepare and protect yourself—save every word you write, backup your contacts, and keep that resume up-to-date. As tumultuous as the publishing world can be, what you can get out of it makes it all seem worth it somehow.
Let’s face it, as comebacks go, mine happened pretty quickly. I owe no small part of this outcome to incredibly lucky timing. What will take longer is accepting that something I love vanished right in front of me after words like “severance” and 'closing” were uttered, almost like a darker version of the “bippity boppity boo” spell. That crazy, quirky, perfect-in-its-own-way magazine meant the world to me. But I know I’ll find the same passion again, and use it to motivate me in my current job and whatever comes next.
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