|CC via Irina Souiki|
The last 109 weeks of my life have been spent promoting cultural literacy, good grammar and civic engagement full-time via print media. I was hired as an editor for a weekly newspaper in spring 2013. I was laid off sans notice this past Monday morn. Sunday is traditionally a day of rest for me, and the transition feels easier on a weekend. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday were pretty normal—except for one thing. My life is the same; it is also radically different.
What I'll miss most about my former job is the opportunity to empower/promote other creatives. I'm incredibly proud of the formidable work we published in collaboration with local writers and artists. Eschewing purple prose and an audience-as-therapist model, scope shout-outs to some of the staffers and writers who made my tenure as managing editor of the Weekly Alibi time exceedingly well spent.
To colleague/comrade Ty Bannerman, for his guidance on how to make sense—to myself and others—and for rocking a concertina amid his chickens. Thank you.
To the strongest editor I know, Lisa Barrow, for her inspiring work ethic and, natch, for hipping me to the awesome that is Gilmore Girls. Thank you.
To film guru & grammar maven Devin D. O'Leary for his endless know-how and sage advice. Thank you.
To tender, authentic human Amelia Olson for her kindness and insight. Thank you.
To fellow ex-Texan Mark Lopez, for our endless film/TV convo and his hilarious stories about his grandmother and raccoon rescue. Thank you.
Other folks, including Jesse Schulz (Twerk Queen 2014), August March ("In case you wanna know ..."), M. Brianna Stallings (feminist superhero), Captain America (4EVA!), Mike Smith (dark genius), Steven Robert Allen (defender of democracy/half of BaBa), Holly von Winckel (The Ornatelier), David Correia (La Jicarita), Michael Henningsen (RIP, rock star) and Jim Phillips (RIP, Dawn Patrol Captain) kept me knee-deep in talent the whole time. If I forgot to list you—yes, I do mean you—please accept this ❤. Thank you.
So back to the present, as it were: I am unemployed. I have performed the appropriate rituals: filing for unemployment, registering with an agency, updating my résumé and revamping my virtual portfolio. I've danced widdershins 'round carefully arranged office supplies. Here in the now, I am nervous but also exhilarated. It's a pretty normal Sunday—except for one thing. But perhaps you landed on this entry owing to its clickbait headline—maybe you're in search of a real answer. If so, please read on.
So you've been fired, laid off, downsized or phased out. How can you move past the emotional and financial challenges of losing your job? When it comes to finances, take at least 42 deep, relaxing breaths. Realistically assess your finances, then sketch out a realistic budget and stick to it. It's as simple as that, which is not simple at all. Take stock of your resources. What can you do? Who and what entities need what you do? Do you even want to do what you did? Regardless of the tenor of your dismissal, you are not now what you were—professionally speaking. Personally, you are the same badass human you always were. So show yourself appreciation and love. Just because you're not currently employed as an editor, Fly Girl or rocket scientist, you still have the skills.
But what about the future? I know it's scary, but I assure you there is life after layoff. Reach out to organizations in your industry, and don't be timid about letting the world know what you have to offer. Over the past week, I've taken several meetings, and I'm optimistic about my future. Here's another valuable piece of advice: Don't assume that what you made at your last job is what you're worth. Chances are, you're worth a hell of a lot more. Finally, don't feel like you have to show everyone how "fine" you are. If you're an extrovert and being around people energizes you, that's great. If, like myself, you're a dyed-in-the-wool introvert, take advantage of your surplus time by spending more time with your loved ones. If you feel like giving back, offer your services pro bono to organizations that are close to your heart. Whatever you decide, do what you love, and love yourself.