Just Some Ramblings About What It's Really Like Being Laid Off in NYC......

I feel like I haven't addressed being laid off since I announced it here. But, it's something that friends and associates ask me about all the time and although I'm not saying that I don't want to talk about it, I am saying that it's something that I feel like I should talk about; just maybe not right then. I'm enjoying life. (Exhibit A: Yes, that's me twirling around a subway pole on the train. Although it's not too sanitary (I used hand sanitizer after doing so!), it was fun and something I've always wanted to do but was too afraid to do so.) So, here are just some recent ramblings that I've had rolling around in my head over the past couple of weeks in regards to the Laid Off Life:

"When I’d rush to get on the train every morning for the past couple of years, I’d always be sure to grab an AM New York or a Metro just so I’d know what’s going on in the world before I got to the office. I’d notice the huge headlines splashed on the front page immediately “Unemployment Rates At A Record High” or “[INSERT NAME OF COMPANY HERE] Lays Off 50% Of Company.” I’d read the stories and do a silent “tsk, tsk” in my head; because after all, my job was pretty safe, right? There was no way that I was going to be laid off. Then, I’d go home later to devour the latest issue of my NYMagazine only to see several features about people here in the city that had been laid off. These jobs ranged from rather prominent to somewhat ludicrous but all that was irrelevant. They had a job and now it was gone. And here I was working in one of the most unsteady job markets of all time: the media. Not only was I working in the media, I was working at a women’s magazine.

At work, you could tell that everyone else was reading these stories of unemployed New Yorkers as well. Some would talk (ie the office gossips) that they heard the company was laying off at least 800 people by the end of the month or speculate as to which magazines were shutting down. Hearing these conversations at the office would fill my heart with dread, but I consider myself to be a very positive person, so I’d ignore them and continue organizing crates of products in the hopes of finding something cool to write about. (Yes, I worked in the beauty department, it was pretty awesome and I do miss it.) There was no way that I was going to get laid off….or was I?

Fast forward to a couple of months later after having these thoughts and there I was, sitting in front of my boss at The Magazine receiving the news that there was simply no money in the budget to pay me and clutching one of those dreaded white envelopes with my name plastered on the front along with a bold CONFIDENTIAL stamp. Just like that it did become me. I immediately began to think of myself not as Ferocia but as a statistic. And then the anger sets in. Why lay off me? What about all these other people that sit around doing nothing?! I mean, it wasn’t like I was making millions of dollars and the people that are making the most money and doing nothing are still here! This is bullsh*t!

After that, the sadness sets in; then the confusion and then the panic. All of these emotions center around one common question: What am I going to do now?

All of this happened to me in November 2009. Now it’s April 2010 and I’m doing ok. In fact, I’m doing better than ok. I'm learning to really enjoy all the little things in life. Including this old couch that was sitting outside a friends' house during a recent trip to Los Angeles, C.A. (ie Exhibit B) Life is great!

I remember being backstage at Fashion Week Fall 2010 and chatting with some beauty editor friends who started talking about how they didn’t know what they’d do if they got laid off. “I mean, I have no real skill set,” one said laughing while the other nodded her head in agreement. Then they asked me what I would do if I got laid off and I said the same thing that I did before I got laid off. I then told them that I’d been laid off for months and none of them believed me saying “But, we’ve seen you everywhere!” as if I were supposed to crawl into a cave and never come out again. Yes, there are some days that I feel like doing that especially when I see people going to work in the mornings while I’m going for a jog, but you can’t let thoughts like that bog you down otherwise you’ll never get anything done. You might be reading this and thinking, God! I'd love to be able to go for a jog in the morning or work from a grassy knoll in Central Park! (Yes, this is what I've been doing since the weather has finally warmed up! Insert smiley face here and please note that I'm not bragging. Just stating.)

I view being unemployed as a mind challenge. I can easily sit and do nothing (ie sleep), collect unemployment and feel sorry for myself; and there are some days when I wake up and feel like doing just that. But I’m too much of a fighter to really follow through on that idea. I also don’t want you (or anyone else) to feel sorry for me, ask me if I’m ok in that fake tone of voice and inquire as to what I’m doing.

Don’t worry about what I’m doing. Just know that I’m making moves and soon enough you (along with everyone else in this room) will know exactly what it is that I’ve been doing for all of these months.

I view being laid off as a war wound that’s left a slight scar, but with just the right amount of cocoa butter on it daily will soon fade away from my pretty beige colored skin. I now consider myself to be an official New Yorker as it’s only taken me 5 years to work a job that I hated (hello Express!); complete internships to get to my dream job (yes, I worked for free for several years but the contacts I made while doing so were priceless); get evicted (had a roommate that was no longer able to pay rent and instead of saying something just stopped paying it); and now getting laid off.

We won’t even go into my dating life over the years! It takes a very special person to make it here in this city and I think it’s true when they say that if you can make it here, then you can make it anywhere.

And, in the words of the infamous Forrest Gump, that’s all I have to say about that (well, at least for now hahaha)."




lisa said...

Well, it looks to me that you're doing great, continue to be at the pulse of the beauty and fashion industries, and are simply enjoying life. Best of success and happiness to you!

VexintheCity said...

Bottom line, just do you (which is clearly what you're doing anyway)! I'm sure you'll be back better and harder than before. I wish you every success!

Oh and I swung myself around a subway pole during my first visit to NYC on the way back from Coney Island - the excitement of being in the best city in the world just took over!! LOL

MsTaMarie said...

You are my SHE-RO! I feel like everything you said is exactly how I've been feeling since I was laid off some months ago. You definitely go back and forth between good days and bad days, feeling kind of sad and lame when you see/hear everyone else going off to work, but realizing there is so much more to life out there. I love this:"Don't worry about what I'm doing. Just know I'm making moves and soon enough you'll know what I've been doing all these months." Exactly. I'm starting my own business (in the beauty biz) and it feels great to be doing it on my own terms. Good luck with everything girl. Can't wait to see what's coming to life for you.

Anonymous said...

I love you oh so much and have never met you a day in my life! I am at a time in my life where I am wanting to take those steps into chasing my dreams but im debating on leaving my job (that i hate so much) your words are so powering!! I mean NY is the most challenging city and you are conquering it one day at a time. kudos to you!!!! You make me want to quit tomorrow move to atl and enroll in beauty school!! I am glad your doing wonderfully. Keep it up! I am anxious to see what this chapter in your life will bring you in your future. xoxo - nadi


Anonymous said...

This was so uplifting! Great post :)

"Chatty Patty" said...

I feels so good to find another blogger in the same position as myself, unemployed and living life. I have been laid off since February and though it was depressing at first, I really learned to appreciate this time that I have to really make my dreams into a reality. I have so many projects that I'm starting and if I had a job, I wouldn't have been motivated to make it happen. Good luck with what you are doing. This is my first time reading your blog and I love it. I'm an official follower.

Anonymous said...

I've been laid off before, and now had my full time job reduced to part time.

Although my job sounds nothing as glamorous as you, embrace it, as a well deserved break for you to take time out and smell the roses.

Good luck!!!! (I just stumbled by your blog today)

Miss Yasmine said...

LOVE this post! and shouts out to my tacky ass roommates for having that couch on our front yard...

Brea Ellis said...

This was a great post. Honest, raw, and relevant. Thank you for sharing it.

Anonymous said...

Great Post sorry about your roomy situation. I had a friend in park slope who went through the same thing. Her room-mate just decided to stop paying the rent. I don't know what's up with that any ways. Glad to see that all is well.

-God bless

Asha said...

Hey, I've been reading your posts. I'm in the same boat. I thought the same way and although my lifestyle has somewhat shifted its not in the shams.

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