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."
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.