We know it’s crazy out there right now. Some of us are old enough to have lived and worked through the 2008 recession and know this feeling all too well. The good news is that, even if it doesn’t feel like it right now, there’s always light at the end of the tunnel. And sometimes it’s even brighter than the light behind you.
If you’re finding yourself in this situation, here are a few steps you can take right now.
Or do, if that’s your thing. Have a drink if that’s your thing. Stare at the wall if that’s your thing. Listen to Radiohead if that’s your thing. Eat some chocolate. Call your mom. Take a nap. Take a run. Have an existential meltdown and scream into the void. If that’s your thing.
Just do whatever you need to do. I promise the initial shock will fade. And you will find yourself on the other side, in one piece, ready to go.
Apply for unemployment insurance. Do this now.
Seriously. Now. Do it now.
(The following information is specific to MN residents)
It’s quick and painless and takes about ten minutes to fill out the initial application. Then you go back each week to “request a benefit payment.” This takes literally one minute. See? Easy.
As of the time of this writing, the CARES Act adds $600 per week on top of whatever you get from the state. This benefit is set to expire on July 31st. Forbes has an extensive rundown if you want to learn more: https://www.forbes.com/sites/advisor/2020/03/25/what-you-need-to-know-about-expanded-unemployment-benefits-for-covid-19
Tons of FAQs for full-time employees and contractors can be found here: https://www.uimn.org/applicants/needtoknow/news-updates/covid-19.jsp
UIMN also has some great starting points to explore additional help – financial, food, housing, healthcare, transportation, etc. https://www.uimn.org/applicants/help-support/comm-organizations/index.jsp
Normally, this is where I would give you some resources to explore freelance, contract, or full-time work. But we all know these times ain’t normal. For reference, we usually see about one posting a day on the AdFed Job Board; we haven’t gotten a single one since the stay-at-home order.
The honest truth is that it’s going to be slim for a little while.
Get the basics out of the way. Update your resume. Update your book. Get everything online. Squarespace is idiot proof.
But the best thing we can do right now is stay in touch and stay active in the community. Human connection is not an expendable commodity. Check in with your friends and family. Follow a colleague on Instagram. Reach out to a former mentor and set up a virtual happy hour. Find a new influencer on Behance and get inspired by their work. Follow Adweek on LinkedIn and tune in for their livestreams. Start that passion project you’ve been putting off. Reach out to a non-profit and ask if you can donate a few hours of your professional talent. Do whatever you can to keep yourself sharp. Because…
Remind yourself that this, too, shall pass.
No one knows what this is going to look like on the other side. It probably won’t look the same. That’s probably a good thing. But we do know that we will bounce back. We always do. Take a minute to visualize yourself in that reality.
For our part, we know that promoting talented people and helping them connect with amazing opportunities is one of AdFed’s most essential roles. Whether it’s showcasing the best and brightest young talent with 32 Under 32, facilitating vital dialogue at the annual Women’s Leadership Panel, hosting industry happy hours, putting on The Show, or just maintaining the Job Board itself, we can’t wait to get back to our most critical work of supporting and strengthening our community.
For now, we’re doing what we can to translate our work into the virtual space. For example – check out https://32under32.org/ and join us on May 7th to help us celebrate this year’s winners. And keep an eye on this space and our social channels for more ways to connect with the community.
Until then – stay safe, stay sane, do what you can to help, and don’t hesitate to reach out if you have a great idea about what AdFed can do to help during this time. We’re all in this together.