This is one of many True Story interviews in which we talk to people who have experienced interesting, challenging, amazing things. This is the story of Christina and what happened when she blogged about getting laid off from Living Social.
Tell us a bit about yourself!
Tell us a bit about yourself!
My name is Cristina and I live in Raleigh, North Carolina. I love cooking (gluten-free meals), yoga, tennis, volunteering, listening to NPR podcasts, speaking Spanish, and reading, as well as lounging around and going out like most 24-year-olds 🙂
I run CMR Strategies, where I provide business coaching and consulting to solo business owners. I am also the founder and editor of One Woman Shop, a resource hub and community for female solopreneurs and freelancers. I started my business after I was laid off at the end of 2012 and I launched One Woman Shop on September 10, 2013.
Who were you working for when you got laid off?
I was working with LivingSocial, a daily deals company, in the recruiting department. I had started with the company as an intern when I was in school in DC, but before graduation, I asked if I could work remotely from Raleigh, work 30 hours per week (so that I had time to pursue a little entrepreneurial venture), and switch departments (I had started out in the research department). Luckily, the company was very flexible and said yes to all of my demanding requests 🙂
Did you have any idea that a layoff was coming?
It wasn’t something that I had actively thought about, but in retrospect, I probably should have seen it coming because things were a bit rocky within the company and the daily deals industry in general. I do think that working remotely probably prevented me from seeing everything that was going on behind-the-scenes- gchat isn’t quite the same as old-fashioned water cooler gossip!
How were you informed that you were laid off?
I got on my weekly call with my boss and he told me that he had HR on the line with him. They let me know that they were laying off 400 people (10% of the workforce) and that it was effective immediately. I had until the end of the day to wrap up any projects.
Two of the hardest parts of the actual lay-off were hearing the news from my awesome boss (we’re still in touch though) and not being able to finish up exciting projects that I was working on- I definitely didn’t expect that I would be completely done by the end of the day.
Blogging about getting laid off is a pretty gutsy move. What made you decide to write about it?
Well, thank you 🙂 It was a tough decision- essentially, I had to decide between keeping the lay-off hush-hush or just telling anyone who would listen. Ultimately, I decided to put it all out there because I had spent so much cultivating a network online and maintaining an online presence; I figured I should put it to the test. For me, it was an experiment in the value of personal branding and online networking.
I was concerned that I would get in trouble but I didn’t say anything disparaging against the company, so I hoped it would be okay.
What happened once the Washington Business Journal ran the story?
Funny story: I scheduled my blog post to go out around 8am one morning but when I woke up- crickets. No one had said anything to me about the lay-off. My blog wasn’t huge, so I wasn’t shocked, but I was a bit disappointed. Turns out, I hadn’t actually hit publish, so the post hadn’t gone out!
Once I actually published the post and the Washington Business Journal linked to it, I just watched as my blog received the most hits I’d ever gotten.
Over the course of the day, I received about 50 calls, emails, tweets, texts, you name it, from friends, acquaintances, and strangers presenting me with both full-time and freelance opportunities. It was incredible to see how many people came out of the woodwork to lend a hand to me.
How did that story affect your career?
It put me in a position to be able to decide my next move from a place of opportunity, not fear or desperation. Had I not published the post and had it not gotten picked up by the WBJ, I would have had to invest a lot more time, energy, and resources in pursuing potential job leads.
It also gave me a chance to present myself as an individual who is proactive and “graceful” (the word many people used to describe my choice to broadcast my lay-off without bashing the company).
Eventually, I ended up taking on freelance clients and building my current business!
What advice would you give to other job hunters?
For those who are employed, I would recommend keeping your resume up-to-date (and keeping a Rainy Day file to track successes that you have on the job), utilizing social media and blogging to build your personal brand, networking at other companies you might consider working for, putting away money in an emergency account, and practicing side skills (coding, design, another language, etc) that you might be able to apply to a job in the future.
For job seekers, I suggest keeping your skills sharp through classes or pro-bono work, sticking to some kind of schedule, finding someone to hold you accountable as you job search, surrounding yourself with go-getters, and taking the time to get really clear about what you’re looking for in your next job (this workplace priorities worksheet might help!).
I also recommend keeping your networks updated on your job status and asking them to help you spread the word about your job search (Click to Tweet can be really helpful for this).Thanks so much for sharing, Christina? Have you guys ever been laid off? How did you deal?