This is the first edition of our "THIS IS A STORY OF" series, a collection of stories about people and their careers. It's also the first of three follow-up articles from our "Sit Down, Stay Humble While Marketing Yourself" workshop by marketing expert Sydney Stern Miller.
* Corona-conomy as dubbed by Robinhood Snacks
Don’t be a bagel, they said.
I got laid off on in April because of COVID-19. As a mom, I’ve been known to say that work is my vacation. I’m one of those crazy folks you hear say, “I love to work” and mean it – so it’s an understatement when I say my world was turned upside down.
In addition to allocating three to four hours a day to my job search and signing up for some free courses to keep me busy, I decided to make an active effort to start attending webinars and workshops because you know… networking. For perhaps the first time in our history, the entire world was available online, and for the first time in my personal history, I had time to participate without any excuses.
I remember loving the Creative Morning's monthly breakfast event, so that's one of the first things I signed up for. Within a few minutes, I received this email:
I remember laughing out loud. A bagel? Of course, I clicked it. The premise was, “Listen, we’re not just a site for webinars – we’re an online community. By taking a little bit of time to complete your profile and tell us about yourself, you will be able to actually connect with people who also attend events – heck, you may even find a job. Until you do, we’re putting a picture of a bagel as your profile photo. If you don’t complete your profile, nobody will find you. The choice is yours, make the right one.”
Don't be Chau.
And that, my friends, is the tweet. Don’t be a bagel. The online community is now the world. It’s now every recruiter, every job hunter, every hiring manager, every person who has an internship available or needs help. If you don’t take the time to build your profile, nobody will find you.
About me + the best piece of advice I’ve been given this year
I’m Sydney, I’ve been in the worlds of HR, Sales, and Marketing for 10+ years. All of which revolve around community and people. Like most people, I had no idea what I wanted to do when I was in college, or after college, or after I got my first job, or second job…. you’re getting the idea. I figured it out as I went. I have been exceedingly lucky in my personal and professional life to be surrounded by people who have turned into mentors, and friends who have been selfless with their time and fiercely generous with their knowledge. Ten years and so many lessons later I've finally found my home. One of my favorite things to do is to help other people by sharing my experiences.
Before we get into the good stuff I’m going to share some of the best advice I’ve been given by my own mentor, the queen herself Angie Lee, this year.
I called Angie when I got laid off to ask for advice. Before I could get two sentences out she cut me off and said:
“Before you go any further I need you to hear something – this is not a reflection of you, your value, your work ethic, or your ability. I need you to hear and understand that. I’m not saying this is going to happen to you, but sometimes experiences like these; fear, loss, change - they can manifest themselves into what resembles the five stages of grief. Give yourself permission to feel those feelings and to fall apart if you need to, to take a week before you dive headfirst into looking for a new job. I'm here for you and you'll get through this.”
She was right, about all of it. I went through every single stage – denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance, like a breakup. She was there for me, and I came out on the other side.
Whether you're new to the workforce and you're facing obstacles you never could've expected, you just got laid off or furloughed, or haven’t but are worried you might - know that your mental health is so incredibly important. Read Angie’s words again:
THIS IS NOT A REFLECTION OF YOU, YOUR VALUE, YOUR WORK ETHIC, OR YOUR ABILITY.
Capitalize on your high-efficiency days or weeks and give yourself grace on the ones that are not. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else. You reading this post is a great step - give yourself a pat on the back. Just don’t be a bagel, okay? 🍩
Stay tuned for my next article on how I rebranded myself (humbly) to get a job during COVID-19.
Sydney Stern Miller is an HR & Marketing professional with a sailor's mouth, unapologetic vulnerability, and an affinity for saying nice things about other people. She spills or knocks something over at least once a day, loves board games, speed reader, has a thing for sci-fi and superheroes.