I landed a pretty incredible opportunity with a start-up snack company last September. It was new and fresh and best of all, they understood that family comes first. They were willing to let me work from 9 am to 2 pm every day, partially remote, so I could pick my daughter up from school.
I had done the crazy hours commuting to and from NYC—leaving early, coming home late, missing bedtime—and I knew I just couldn't continue life that way. This job was 12 minutes from my house and the owners of the company GOT IT, being that they were parents themselves.
All had been going great—it was a start-up, so it was chaotic, but I loved it. I loved the fast-paced environment and our team that was quickly being pieced together. And the company was doing well, too! We were in major national chains and had just landed a deal with a major airline. My team was growing, and so was I.
All that changed faster than I could have ever imagined.
Wednesday, March 11th, as President Trump gave his national address about the coronavirus, I was in the office discussing hiring two more people for my team and expanding our coverage. Thursday came and it seemed the United States was beginning to see how serious this might be. That night, the area I live in canceled school for at least two weeks.
I suddenly got a pit in my stomach.
People were rushing to stores to stock up on core supplies. And the stores were shorting their orders, only bringing in necessities. This thought kept repeating in my mind—our snack is not a necessity. I tried my best to push those negative thoughts to the back of my mind telling myself everything would be okay. We'd get through this.
Friday morning came and I called my boss to see what our game plan was. He said they had pretty much decided the company would work from home for the next two weeks. We spoke again 15 minutes before a conference call, had the call, and everything seemed normal. Until it wasn't.
Immediately following the call, my phone rang, and my boss asked if I could come into the office for a quick meeting. My stomach sank. I knew what was coming.
I arrived at the office feeling sick. He explained to me that our investors were getting nervous. Most of them were based in Europe so they were about three weeks ahead of us in dealing with COVID-19. Our is also made in Spain so they had used everything in order to get a four-month supply shipped over to the US quickly. They needed to scale back, and that meant making cuts.
I understood and thanked them for the opportunity they gave me, but it was still beyond hard to process. How had everything been going so well 48 hours ago? Even the morning I was let go I had no idea things would change so quickly.
When I got home, my daughter asked how my meeting went. It broke my heart. I had been so proud of myself for being able to find a job where I could make money, provide for my family and still make it home in time for school pickup. It was hard and finding balance was a struggle sometimes, but I was doing it and I was happy.
I was on the forefront of coronavirus-layoffs. In a matter of a few days, I've seen restaurants shutter, salons close and have heard thousands upon thousands of others are also out of work now, too. And I'm afraid there's more to come.
We don't know how this is going to play out but we do need to do our part to stop it from spreading so life can eventually get back to normal and our kids can go to the park again and go back to school. Until then, let's all practice patience.
If nothing else, we have a captive audience with our children. That's what I'm holding onto right now. Let's teach them how to react during difficult times and how to live their lives with more kindness than ever.