I Lost My Dream Job — Now What?

got laid off

Last March, everything changed.

It was 10 a.m. when I got the email from my office manager: “Mandatory company meeting at 10:30.” A few minutes later, another email with a reminder. I joined the meeting via video from my home office with a sense of foreboding.

I watched our general manager, Alison Moore, deliver the bad news with sincere regret in her voice. I saw the New York editorial team — cherished friends whom I’d worked alongside to build a business — huddled together on a couch.

DailyCandy — my place of employment for nearly a decade — was shuttered.

This was not just a job to me: It was the core of my professional accomplishments, freedom from financial worries, the day-to-day scaffolding of my life, and the dearest friendships a woman could want. And now it was all gone.

What was I going to do?

I’d joined the company as a part-time copy editor in early 2005, when there were fewer than 25 employees and a room where we took naps. I’d watched it grow to a staff of more than 100, ridden waves of funding, weathered the sale to Comcast, celebrated the merger with NBCUniversal, and held on tightly during failed attempts at both Gilt-style sample sales and Groupon-style discounts. I’d seen things go from good to bad and back to good again.

I doubt anyone cried more than I did that day — or in the weeks and months that followed. The crying, however, was not about money. I’ve always been smart about money. Driven by the knowledge that more money equals power and control over my life, as well as the fact that I have neither a spouse nor a family who can provide a financial safety net, I had amassed the kind of savings that Suze Orman told me to in so many late-night CNBC appearances.

I had eight months’ salary in cash, and the severance package that NBCU offered me was a generous cushion to the blow.

No, my tears came from a place of deep heartbreak.

I was in denial for a while. Even after most employees had turned in their ID badges (things happened in waves; I stayed a couple of weeks longer than most of the staff), I held out hope.

The brand was intact! It made money, just not enough for a media giant! I couldn’t imagine that anyone who had ever been involved with DailyCandy wouldn’t want to get the band back together immediately — especially founder Dany Levy.

She was still rich, right? And her original backers, Pilot Group? They were still rich, right?

I guessed that there was probably a deal on the table even as I finished another box of Kleenex. Fantasies about having my daily routine restored to its previous position powered me for weeks.

Levy did attempt to buy her baby back. NBCU declined her offer. And I was left to figure out next steps.

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