Your Job Has Just Been Eliminated, Now What?
By: T.K. Brady
This article originally appeared on the website, Ed2010.com.
This headline alone might make your heart race a little faster, but unfortunately, layoffs, budget cuts, and folds have become buzzwords in media these days. That said, losing your job doesn’t have to be the end of your magazine career goals. We asked two editors who survived it to spill their secrets for finding success after a layoff. (Spoiler alert: It’s going to be okay!)
Step 1: Digest the news.
It’s inevitable that you’ll feel a whirlwind of emotions when you hear the bad news. Was I not valuable enough to keep? Should I find a new career path? What am I going to do now? “It was such a strange feeling,” says Anna Maltby, the deputy editor of Health and Wellness at Refinery29. Maltby was the fitness editor at Fit Pregnancy when it was acquired by Meredith in 2015, and she was one of three people asked to stay on while the rest of the staff was let go. “I feel like there was some survivor’s guilt. All of my friends were now out of jobs and I still had one even though I wasn’t any more qualified,” she says.
On the other hand, Sarah Berger was not entirely surprised when her position as a breaking new reporter was eliminated at International Business Times last March. “I was somewhat emotionally prepared as layoffs are common in the industry, but financially, I was unprepared,” she says. “I had only been out of college for 10 months, so I hadn’t built up enough savings.” Berger is now a reporter at Bankrate.com who writes the blog The Cashlorette.
Step 2: Use your network.
Berger spent her month of unemployment reaching out to contacts, and she turned to LinkedIn. She had opted in to a free trial of the premium account, which opened her up to people outside her immediate network like the executive editor of Bankrate.com who reached out to her about a reporting position.
Step 3: Make a plan.
You’re looking for a new job, trying to calculate where your next rent check will come from, all while trying to maintain some level of sanity. It’s overwhelming. That’s why you need to make a plan ASAP. “I began actively searching for a job the very next day, reached out to all my contacts, and applied for pretty much every job I was qualified for on Indeed.com and Mediabistro,” says Berger. “I also applied for unemployment insurance that day, which helped me pay my rent while looking for a new job.”
If unemployment insurance and freelancing isn’t enough to supplement your lifestyle, there are several ways you can pick up some extra cash in your down time. Look to sites like Contently or Upwork where you can create a profile to match with companies who are looking for freelancers to do tasks like copywriting, copyediting, transcribing, writing, and researching. You can even head to Craigslist, where people will post their requests for writing tutors and help with college essay prep.
Step 4: Know what you want.
Even though Maltby was one of the lucky few who got to keep her job, her responsibilities and day-to-day work completely changed. “While [Meredith] seemed great in many ways and the team we were joining was welcoming, I quickly realized that the role they had available just wasn’t the right fit for me at that time,” she says. She gave her notice, left Meredith, and focused on her freelance writing full-time.
Berger also sidestepped positions that weren’t the right fit. “Don’t settle for a job that isn’t right for you because you’re scared,” she says. “There were opportunities that came my way for places that didn’t seem like a good fit — or were only offering part-time positions — but I chose to turn those down and kept applying to ones that I really wanted.”
Step 5: Remember, you will survive.
Overall, there’s no right way to handle losing your job, but it is important to keep in mind that it’s not permanent, and a lot of times, it’s not a reflection of your contribution to the company. With that in mind, here are a few more key takeaways from these two editors:
“No matter how upset you are, try to hold your head high and stay professional — you never know when you’ll cross paths with people again! It reflects well on you if you can stay strong and be courteous and gracious,” says Maltby.
“Start saving your money and building an emergency fund now,” says Berger. “That way, you can focus on finding the right job for you instead of stressing about how you’ll pay your rent for the next few months.”
“Almost everyone in the media world has been through something like this in the past,” says Maltby. “It sucks, but you are joining a great club of people who will be sympathetic to your situation!”
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