Sing it with me, that’s what friends are forrrrrrrrrrrrrrr! And man, have my friends turned up yet again. So this letter’s for you.
Dear Friends Who’ve Helped Me Network,
A little over a month ago, I got laid off. I went through the usual stages of job-grief fairly quickly: shock (“But this is why I went in-house!”), anger (“You don’t dump me, I dump YOU!”), depression/cheese-eating (“I’m sorry I yelled at you when I couldn’t find my emergency cheese.”), the upward turn (“This is actually a good thing.”), working through (“Natasha O’Rourke has updated her LinkedIn bio.”), and acceptance/hope (“No, seriously, this is a good thing.”)
I’ve grown somewhat fond of the term “let go” as a euphemism for being laid off, because it sounds kind of like the mama bird pushing the baby bird out of the nest.
While I got to work on an incredible team and learned a lot at my last job, it was not the perfect fit for me long-term. In a way, it was a relief when they let me go. In accordance with my life philosophy known as Putting It Out There in the Universe, I did just that. I wrote a blog post about being laid off and shared it on Facebook and LinkedIn along with a note that I was looking for connections.
And then the coolest thing happened; I heard from all of you. Friends from all areas of my life: from the job I’d just left, my old agency jobs in Boston, my old agency job in NYC, my really old agency job in NYC, clients from those old agency jobs, my really, really old summer camp job. (Oh god, what I’d give to be back working in the Swim Shack having tanning contests with you, Scott, Heather, Lori and Eric, Lindsay.) Running friends, bootcamp friends, high school friends, college friends, a college friend’s little sister-turned-friend, my financial advisor, my old mentor. My 9-year old even got in on the game; he told me they’re hiring at Dunkin’.
You combed your contacts for me; you let me rifle through your LinkedIn connections the same way I shop at TJ Maxx, picking out the treasures among the racks. You and your friends and friends of your friends connected me with a cool beauty product development company, a cutting edge social marketing performance monitoring company, fantastic agencies in Boston, LA and New York, Facebook, Instagram, and a couple of my dream jobs that I’m still pursuing and don’t want to jinx by mentioning here. I got a message from a friend from college who had a loose connection with a company he thought I might be good for. My favorite part of his message was this, “I don’t know exactly what you do but give me a brief soundbite on what you are looking for and I’ll keep an eye out.” I met some incredibly cool people — a DEI specialist, a Strategy Director, a Global Chief People Officer — who were kind enough to spend time talking to some rando who knows their brother’s friend’s old coworker. My friend and mentor Tim did a Zoom coaching session with me to remind me to know my worth. My friend Leslie said she was gonna make her mission to get me into <dream job name redacted>.
Right around the cheese-eating stage of my job loss grief process (who am I kidding, they’re all cheese-eating stages), my friend Sarah gave me a really glowing recommendation at a fantastic agency in North Carolina where she used to work, called Wray Ward. She told them I was “as good as, if not a better, writer than her.” (High praise coming from someone who won OneUpMe with this analogy, “She’s like Alexa; the sound of my voice turns her on.”) So now I’m freelancing there as a copywriter and really enjoying their well-thought-out creative briefs, smart, friendly people and town halls with a live DJ on Zoom.
So, I don’t know exactly what comes next, besides some fun copywriting and even more fun cheese eating, but I’m grateful to know so many kind, generous, connected people who are willing to help me along the way. I started with a Dionne quote and I’ll end with an Andrew Gold one, “Thank you for being a friend.”