Friday, February 11, 2011

3 years

Three years ago today, my life changed completely.

With my degree in journalism tucked under my arm, I snagged an internship at The Daily News, one of two daily newspapers in Halifax. I slowly worked my way up the ladder from intern to part-time reporter, then from full-time copy editor to permanent special features editor. It was a dream job.

My career was still shiny and new ... my health plan hadn't even kicked yet ... when a last-minute staff meeting was called at 10 a.m. on February 11, 2008.

"Today's issue of The Daily News will be the last, ever."

Laid off.

As one of my journalism professors wrote, following The Daily News' closure ...

Don't it always seem to go,
that you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone?
They paved paradise,
and put up a parking lot.

The perfect world I'd worked so hard to achieve — the dream job, the amazing work friends, my future in journalism — was slipping from my grasp.

I was one of the first in line to walk into the editor's office, which had been taken over by an HR rep with a box full of severance packages. I was in survival mode — Could she get me a job elsewhere in the company? I need a job. Where do I go from here? And then it hit me. "I'm getting married!" I cried and burst into tears, realizing how hard it was going to be to pay for a wedding of 150 with no job.

More than 90 people lost their jobs, their careers, their livelihoods that day. A set of parents, both sent away jobless with a young baby at home; dozens of talented journalists who would have to leave town to find work; an editor who had his birthday thoroughly ruined that year. (Thankfully, the parents both got jobs at a new newspaper, the journalists all eventually found work in a variety of industries, and the birthday boy went on to write two books.)

I've always believed that everything happens for a reason. In this case, I'm not sure I've totally understood the greater purpose, but with each year, the sadness fades, making way for new optimism about my career. Since then, I worked freelance for nearly a year before getting a job at an advertising agency just a week before our wedding. I got married, started this blog, worked on some award-winning advertising campaigns and widely expanded my skill set, had a beautiful baby boy, and am considering the possibility of going back to school.

Losing a job I loved was an incredible learning experience. I know now to be prepared for every possibility, not to take anything for granted, and make the most of every opportunity, whether good or bad.


  1. A beautifully expressed description, Lindsey - of hardship and the gifts it can bring.

  2. hear hear! i think the reason was bastards knowing the price of everything and the value of nothing, as oscar wilde put it, but maybe i'm too cynical :).

    we certainly went out in style and the scattered seeds of the daily have grown into lots of strange and wonderful new plants.

  3. I too was laid off from a journalism job very early in my career, and like you, I freelanced for about a year and then got into the PR and ad world. Looking back now, it was a blessing in disguise, but at the time it was the worst news ever.

  4. I'm glad you took time to write this post. Your tenacity over the past three years has inspired me to keep on keepin' on in this crazy industry, so maybe just a little good came from that crappy day.

  5. i love your writing linds. i actually cried while reading this... i am so sorry you and the others at the daily news had to go through that traumatic experience. i am also very glad that things are looking up for most of you these days! big hugs xoxo