Three Women On The Hidden Blessing In Losing Their Job
It’s one thing to be made redundant from a job you love. It’s another thing entirely to lose that job during a global pandemic; a time when the stressors of daily life suddenly seem small when stacked against the fresh anxieties surrounding your health, your loved ones, and your future.
But sometimes we need to be stretched in order to see how resilient we actually are. Sometimes we need to be forced out of one chapter in order to propel ourselves into the next.
Here’s Ruby, Morgan and Estelle on redundancy, resilience and revelations.
Ruby Hamilton, 23
“I know you’re not meant to try and plan your life out, or whatever, but sometimes opportunities are the result of pure hard work and perseverance, and that’s what the last few years of my life had looked like since graduating university. Towards the end of 2019, I was asked to join the epic team at Fashion Quarterly – essentially my dream role. I thought that 2020 was going to be another year of hard work but this time it would be different because that hard work would be for something greater than me. This year was going to be about creating in an entirely new way and finally feeling at home in a role I’d been gunning for, for years. But then the pandemic hit and suddenly the rug was ripped from under me, like so many others. My colleagues and I were told that Bauer Media would be closing effective immediately and that our roles and publications would not continue in any capacity.
I soon realised I had to figure out my next steps fast – I am in my early twenties and I live in Auckland, and, let’s be honest, that is expensive. So with a dwindling bank account I picked up my camera and started reaching out to friends, brands, and beautiful contacts that I have been fortunate enough to work with over the years, and they have all been so supportive. Having studied photography at university, the visual and creative aspect of my work has always been where I feel most at home, and my team at FQ always encouraged me to utilise those skills, giving me the space I needed to create content, style, shoot and direct.
I am now working for myself as a freelance digital content producer, working with brands to conceptualise, shoot and style content to publish across their various digital platforms.
What I’ve learnt during this time is that sometimes you have to be thrown in the deep-end to learn how to swim and discover that you can actually do the thing you’d been saying for years that you couldn’t. Self-doubt has this sneaky way of lacing its way through every little subconscious thought and detail of your life. So much so that it just becomes part of the process. I guess the biggest positive for me has been learning that my anxiety around failure is just that, an anxiety, and it shouldn’t take up as much headspace as I’ve let it. It’s comforting to know that even in times of crisis, you can pick yourself up, keep living, and start something really exciting.”
Morgan Croasdale, 27
“On the 9th of April I was made redundant from my marketing role which I had been in for seven weeks. It was my dream brand, my dream role, and I was just starting to sink my teeth in. What made my redundancy even tougher was that I had actually been poached to go work for the company as they were a client of mine at the advertising agency I’d worked for previously.
After being made redundant, I had a pity party for a couple of days and didn’t know what I would do. I’d had shoulder surgery in mid-December and had been on ACC for seven weeks, which meant my savings account was not looking too flash. But after a few days I pulled my head in, made a few phone calls, had some honest conversations with loved ones, and decided to use the lockdown to invest some love into my side hustle: Married By Morgan.
It was only a few months before the pandemic struck that I’d decided I was going to take the next wedding season off from my side-hustle as a celebrant as I wanted to spend more time with family, support my partner’s work (he’s a cricket player), and I was feeling fatigued from trying to juggle a full-time job during the week with weekends spent working as a celebrant. So basically the lockdown turned those plans on their head.
For the next two weeks, I spent nearly every hour of the day building a website, updating my brand design and expanding my services to include wedding day coordination alongside my original service as a celebrant. Two weeks later I launched the website and the support has been INCREDIBLE. Not only from my friends and family, but also from people I barely know; I’ve had girls from high school who I haven’t spoken to in years share my social media posts and send me such kind and encouraging messages. I’ve even had other celebrants reach out and say they will be referring me to new clients and some asking if I have availability to fill the dates that they’ve already booked! This would never have happened if I was still in my marketing role.
The support has been overwhelming and I am just so thankful for everyone who has shown me love during such a challenging time. It’s turned a really shitty and unsettling time into a season where I feel so proud of myself. I would never have taken this leap and invested this time into my side-hustle had it not been for my redundancy. I’ve had a heap of bookings and I’m now buzzing to see where Married By Morgan can take me.”
Estelle Dippie, 23
“I should probably start by saying, I still don’t know if this story has a happy ending – that’s something only time will tell. But what I do know, is that this is a story about making the best from a tough situation.
At the beginning of the year I moved to Auckland to begin my first grad job out of university. I was so excited to finally be starting this next chapter, which felt somewhat behind my peers in terms of timeline due to me changing from a design degree to a commerce degree at the end of first year.
I had settled into my new role in fashion PR and was absolutely loving it. It’s such a reassuring feeling when you’re on a path that just feels right. Fast forward several months and I received a call from my boss telling me that mine and several of my colleagues positions had been disenfranchised. All of a sudden, I had joined the thousands of other Kiwis who found themselves out of a job, and so the hunt began for a new place of employment.
After a couple of days of thinking, I decided to go freelance as a photographer/content producer/copywriter (my official title is still a work-in-progress but basically it’s a mix of all things digital haha). I have always been creative and was actually sitting on this huge bank of images I had taken mainly for fun over the past five years, most of which had never seen the light of day. A friend created a website for me and within a week I had an online portfolio of images that, up until that point, had no real purpose.
Creating content and taking photographs is what I have always loved to do more than anything else in the world, but I never considered it a viable career path (remember that first year degree change?). But it feels as though being thrown into a desperate situation by Covid has forced me to confront the imposter syndrome I’ve always had about the possibility of making a living as a “creative”. The funny thing is, I don’t even think I realised I felt this way – hence why I considered myself so content in my PR job.
There is so much security in following the path that seems to be laid out in front of us, it wasn’t until that path vanished that I was forced to look at what other options might still be out there for me. As I said, I still don’t know if this story has a positive outcome; I’m back at home living with my parents, I don’t have a steady income and I really have no idea what the future holds. But I’m glad that I have finally put my work out into the universe and I’m excited to see what could happen. It might sound like a simple series of events, but for me it’s been a period of pretty transformational change in mindset – who knew all it would take was a global pandemic to get there.”