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In One Year I Got Laid Off — Twice. Bring on 2018.

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I was laid off twice in one year, and I absolutely would not recommend it to anyone.

These bumps in the road were, of course, damaging to my confidence and motivation when it came to my career; but they were also devastating to me financially.

I think it's really important to be able to talk about money in general, but especially so if you're living in New York City. So many of us are in a situation where losing our source of income, even for a week, can be difficult to come back from.

I'm still coming back from the hit my layoffs took on my finances, and it's now seven months after the second time I lost my job.

Let's start from the beginning. The first layoff came about four months into my position as a staff writer for a digital media publisher. I did not see it coming whatsoever, evidenced by the fact that it took me about 10 minutes into the meeting to realize that I was being let go.

I had no savings to speak of, no backup plan, and absolutely no idea how to deal with what was happening to me.

I went on unemployment insurance (roughly $300 a week; not sustainable but enough to allow me to survive for the time being), borrowed money from my parents for the first and only time in my life (a few hundred to help me cover my upcoming rent payment), manically applied to jobs, and emailed every single work contact I had ever made.

After four months of pure anxiety and subsisting on peanut butter, I landed another staff writing gig at another media company. Seven months in, the company went under.

This time, my past made me a little wiser. I had purposefully stashed away a few months' rent (a difficult thing to do when you rely on every dollar of your paycheck) for this very reason. I knew going in that my company's stability was questionable, and saw the similarities to my last position. So I prepared.

Of course, it was impossible for me to save enough to be okay indefinitely, and after those few months, my stash was running out. I was on unemployment insurance again and freelancing as much as I could but it just wasn't cutting it.

I started getting really anxious about paying rent. My 26th birthday was fast approaching and I would have to start paying for my own insurance.

My sister had also just gotten engaged and I wanted so badly to shower her with gifts and travel to Boston to see her, but I just couldn't afford it.

I finally got a full-time web content management position, where I have been employed for about four months.

I work 40 hours a week and freelance on the side, whenever I can, and I can still barely keep my head above water.

The financial burden of living in New York City is a big reason for this, but it's also because I still haven't fully recovered from being laid off twice in one year.

This city kicks you when you're down, that's for sure.

But here's the thing: I'm still here. Maybe I don't have a 401k, but I pay rent. I make it work. I figure it out.

And in New York, that's honestly a feat.

(Photo by Hernan Sanchez on Unsplash)


#Levo Voices #Money And Finance
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Hi Catherine - I can sympathize with your layoff situation. I was laid off last month - 8 months into my director position and I didn't see it coming either. I knew the company was going through a reorganization, but I had been told my position was solid. However, as soon as I saw the HR rep at my door with a green folder, I knew I was doomed. While the company provided me a severance, it does not make up for a regular paycheck. Living in San Diego can also be rough on a tight budget. We've tightened our belts and stopped with the extra spending. It's been stressful and enlightening all at the same time. Knowing that we can cook a nice meal and drink some cocktails at home makes all the difference in the world.

And, while it is difficult to get my butt in front of the computer some days, I keep on moving forward because I know my next adventure awaits me somewhere - it just hasn't found me yet.

Thank you so much for sharing your story. I appreciate it.

Very inspiring article! Thank you for sharing!

Catherine, I'm so happy that you shared this story with the Levo community. I have lost my job in advertising every year since I graduated college in 2008 at the beginning of the economic crash. With every stint of unemployment, I become increasingly more fearful that I will never feel comfortable to buy a home, a new car, or even have kids, because I can barely support myself living well below my means because I know never know how long the next bout of incomeless-ness will be. I have cut out many non-necessities from my Miami lifestyle and now am looking to just sell things that can bring in income. At this point, I know it's not me, it's the industry, economy, poor management and ownership, and that maybe it's time to transition to a less passionate career in something more stable. I hope your next job lasts more than a year, not that I would know what that's like. #justkeepswimming I'm looking forward to 2018!

Tiffany Leong
Tiffany Leong

I hear you guys. I’m a marketing copywriter, and I’ve been laid off from seven jobs in the last seven years, since graduating college. This year it was twice: January and November. It’s happening so often that I never have a chance to recover financially. I’m also saddled with tens of thousands of dollars in private student loan debt from college, and I can barely keep on top of interest payments, much less pay down the debt. I’m married, and my husband and I want to get a house and start a family, but that dream gets further away with every layoff.

Sometimes all you can do is scrape by and keep surviving. I agree with you, Jessica, after a certain number of layoffs, you start to realize that it’s really not personal—it’s not because of anything you did or didn’t do.

My plan at this point is to create multiple income streams, like you, Catherine. I’m freelancing (looking for more clients right now), starting a blog I hope to monetize, and I’m seriously thinking about starting an Etsy shop (creating products to sell). Just like with investing, I’m trying to diversify.

Hang in there, guys. Keep at it—that’s all we can do. :)

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