Unemployment Diaries: Week 1

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Day 2:

Last night, I applied for unemployment. It was both relieving and a little painful (and pretty confusing). Even though I had to read everything twice, it wasn’t actually as difficult as I thought it would be.

Today, I went to therapy and tried to make sense of my thoughts. I’m still conflicted about whether I should push myself to find a job right away or let myself have some time to recover. After therapy, I decided it was time for some retail therapy, so I wandered around Manhattan (only allowing myself into stores I had old gift cards for). I bought nothing, but felt a little better.

Finally, Matt met me for dinner and the two of us went for a “final hurrah” meal at Eataly. Of everything I did today, the food definitely put me in the best mood.

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Day 3:

As soon as I processed the fact that I no longer had a job, I immediately reached out to some of my old LittleThings coworkers, asking for their help and advice. One of my former fellow writers immediately offered to meet me for coffee, so today we met up at her office first thing in the morning.

As someone who had previously been laid off, she had some really helpful thoughts for me. Most people go to the classics when you lose your job, like, “maybe it’ll actually be a blessing in disguise” or “you’ll come out of this even stronger than before.” Fortunately, my old coworker knew just how overwhelming and frustrating it can feel to lose a job. Instead of telling me everything would work out, she told me that it’s okay to take a breather and give yourself time to adjust. It was exactly what I needed to hear.

After I left, I decided it was time for a trip to Goodwill, so I hopped on a train back to Queens. Of course, once I arrived at my location, I found out that there wasn’t in fact a Goodwill there at all. I trudged through the rain and snow searching for the store before giving up to go home.

In the evening, I packed Bella into her doggy carrier and made my way down to my parents’ house in Brooklyn. My cousin and her friends are in town from Montreal, so we all got together for a tasty home-cooked meal.

Day 4:

This morning I was supposed to go to a ballet event with a teenager I mentor, but she was sick. “Great,” I thought, “I’ll just go see my cousin and her friends early!” Wrong. I showered, sat down on my bed, and the next thing I knew I was waking up two hours later.

I finally dragged my lazy butt out of bed and made my way into Manhattan for lunch, shopping, an improv show, cocktails, and a drag show.

Today was by far the most cathartic as far as dealing with the LittleThing closure is concerned. At the improv show, the comedians asked if anything interesting had happened recently to anyone in the audience. After someone told an entirely uninteresting story about the subway, I yelled out, “I lost my job on Tuesday!” The entire crowd cheered. I explained what happened, and the actors recreated the layoff later in the show. It was eerily accurate.

When I finally made it home (at 2 a.m.), Matt and I got into a stupid argument. Although it was no big deal, it set off the waterworks. I hadn’t really cried since the shutdown, but suddenly it all came crashing down on me. So I cried — and not the cute, one tear dripping down the cheek crying, no, this was the full on lips-swelling, snot-dripping, eyes-reddening kind of crying. By the time I fell asleep, I finally felt like I’d dealt with some of my bottled up emotions.

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Day 5:

Just a few hours after falling into a tear-induced sleep, my alarm started blaring, sounding for brunch.

The rest of the day, my cousin and her friend and I wandered around ChinaTown, stopped into the Ripley’s Believe It Or Not museum, and finally made our way back to my parents’ place to eat some good NYC pizza and watch the Oscars.

Day 6:

Ah, Monday. The first day of a fully-unemployed week. I (once again) struggled to get out of bed before making my way to a LittleThings meet-up at Panera. It was a great idea, and some people were really productive, but the overall vibe amongst former-LT employees was stressed. We were all at very different stages of dealing with the unemployment process, which made for a somewhat hectic environment.

I knew I wouldn’t be at the meet-up very long, so I used my time to catch up with old coworkers and get an idea of everyone’s emotional state (not great).

When I left, I met my cousin and her friend for an NBC studio tour. Visiting news studios and the set of SNL reminded me that there’s more to life than LittleThings, and the opportunities for employment are endless. To round out the day, the three of us stood outside in the cold for two hours to get into a taping of The Daily Show with Trevor Noah. It was more than amazing.

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Day 7:

Well, it has officially been one week since I lost my job. LittleThings hasn’t had a new article posted in a week.

Although I’ve definitely come to terms with the shutdown now, I still feel like I’ve just been on vacation. I’m not yet convinced that I couldn’t just walk back into the office, grab a snack, and sit down at my desk.

Today, a group of LT-ers came to my apartment for a “Java and Job Applications” get-together. I didn’t apply for any jobs, but I did drink some java.

It’s been wonderful to be around other people going through the same thing as me, but it’s also a little stressful to see people who are “ahead” of me in the job hunt. A number of people listed how many jobs they’d applied to today, and I’m still at a big old zero.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve done a lot of work — saving old articles, creating my website, working on a portfolio, etc. — but I haven’t gotten to the actual applying stage yet. I keep having to remind myself that it’s okay to go slowly and to work at my own pace. It’s not a race. We’re all on different paths, and we’ll all get there eventually.

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One thought on “Unemployment Diaries: Week 1

  1. robert.redford says:

    This is honestly one of the most entitled, privileged things I think I’ve ever read. You chose to do fun stuff instead of buckling down and applying to new jobs. You have the luxury because of family and friends to just chill – maybe your coworkers who’ve already applied actually need the money to pay rent or buy groceries? You literally are in control of this entire situation, but you’re acting like the victim the entire time. Sucks that you lost your job, but you were able to (as you said) just take a vacation while many others would have to rush to find anything to pay the bills. Doesn’t seem like you have much to complain about here.

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