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Anyone Need a Copywriter?

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Illustration: Chelsea Beck
Sick DaysSick DaysWelcome to Sick Days, a collection of stories from readers on how the current covid-19 health crisis is changing the way they work and the futures they can expect in these uncertain times.

Have you been laid off or furloughed? Are you a frontline worker dealing with new stresses or irresponsible management? Is working (or not working) from home starting to take a psychological toll? Submit a story using this Google form or send me an email with the subject line “My Covid Story” and provide as much detail as you’re comfortable with.

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Gizmodo has verified the authors’ identities, and submissions have been edited for length, grammar, and clarity.


Brett, university fundraising, Colorado

As a major gift fundraising professional (gifts $25k+) 75 percent of my job is meeting with people in person, so it has had a significant impact.

I travel at least once a month for work, going to the East Coast to meet with potential donors or close gifts that will significantly impact our educational mission. I am also held to a very high standard in terms of how many people I meet with, how much money I raise, and even steward past donors. By being on lockdown, I can’t get out to visit anyone until my state’s restrictions are lifted, paired with the university policy banning travel through July 31. [It will be a while before we can] even consider travel to a hard-hit area like New York City once those restrictions are lifted.

It is very challenging to have a meaningful conversation with someone over the phone or video call since a lot of what I need to do is read and assess the whole situation and conversation from all angles. Much of what I am doing instead is researching new leads so that when I am able to get back on the road, I can make informed choices and reach out to people I think have the right capacity and affinity to consider making a gift.

The economic downturn is also a significant factor to deal with. Prior to the pandemic, I had been in early conversations with a potential donor to name a department on campus ($15 million). This, of course, is put on hold as a significant portion of their assets are in the market and even attempting to have this large of a conversation over a Zoom call would be highly shortsighted.

Another thing to note, as I am sure many other businesses are doing the same, is that our budget could take a significant hit as it is tied to enrollment numbers. Even if our enrollment numbers drop by 1%, we stand to lose about $6-7 million in revenue for the upcoming year—so the effects are going to be felt across campus through furloughs, the continued hiring freeze, and our inability to meet with our constituents.

For the time being, I am pretty much in a holding pattern with my job. I have been instructed to not push forward with solicitations except when the donors ask to move forward. I am fortunate that I still have a job and benefits.

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Kurt Brown, substitute teacher, Texas

I am a substitute teacher while I get my degree to become a fully certified teacher. The district I work for and do my internship in has closed [for the remained of the school year]. No school means no need for subs. It also means I can’t be in the classroom for my internship.

I am still in the process of getting my degree and will graduate in December. Luckily, I took and passed all my state certification exams before everything got really crazy. Remote learning is not ideal for my degree but I have passed all my classes. Some were done through Zoom-like meetings while others were just videos and writing assignments.

I am still drawing unemployment and it has been unexpectedly good for me. There are no jobs in my field at the moment because they don’t need substitutes and I am not looking for a retail job where I have to work an insane amount of hours for relatively low pay. I don’t want to risk my health. We have managed to remain healthy both physically and financially, and thanks to the boost in unemployment rates because of the $600 extra from the federal government I have been able to sock away money in savings to survive the summer. The biggest stress I have right now is that I am a very extroverted person and I no longer get daily interaction through work or going to class. This has put me into a slight depression but I know this will end and I just have to hang in until then.

Anonymous, copywriter, Washington, D.C.

After two months of unemployment last summer, I found what seemed to be a perfect job for me. I worked at an agency writing and editing content for their unique tapestry of clients on a variety of different topics. Each job turned me into a researcher and (semi)-expert in another field. It was heaven. When we were given orders to work from home due to the pandemic, that was heaven to the next level. I have a lot of social anxiety and home is my happy place with my emotional support person (my wife/best friend) and our sheltie.

Shortly after our work-from-home orders, my hours were reduced. I didn’t like less pay, but I certainly did like more time with my family. And yet, there was always a level of fear when I saw an email arrive from work. I knew somewhere deep down that my job wouldn’t survive. And, when I got a message from the president asking to talk (right after a pay period had closed), I knew it was the end.

So now, like many others all across the world, I shelter at home wondering. Wondering if another job in my field will ever present itself; wondering if anyone I love will get sick or worse; wondering when our stimulus check and my unemployment will arrive; and wondering if our society will ever be smart enough as a whole to trust facts and science, while tossing aside speculation, hearsay, and stupidity.

I venture out of our house once a week to restock our provisions. I try to stay motivated to work on my own writing (weird fiction, poems, and plays). I apply to jobs. I get form-letter rejections. And on this, the longest day that stretches over months, I wait. I push down my fear with hope, and my sadness with the strange calm of being forced to spend every moment with my two favorite beings. Anyone need a copywriter?

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Michael, live event production, California

It has devastated my industry as a whole. As a company that does events, when the events are canceled there is nothing we can do. There is an entire sector of the economy that centers around meetings, events, conventions, and expos that right now is completely destroyed.

Millions of people around the country and globe are in various stages of layoffs, furloughs, or just flat out of work. A good portion of the industry is freelance, so they work without any guarantees or fallbacks, which for most of them is fine and they can map out their year and work accordingly. But historically this period of Q1/Q2 is some of the busiest of the year. Generally folks can work now and float through the quieter periods of July/August.

My company was shut down entirely today. All employees have their salaries or hours slashed by 50 percent, they are honoring their commitments to healthcare and are not laying anyone off, but this is going to hurt us all.

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If you would like to be included in a future edition of Sick Days, please use this Google form or send me an email with the subject line “My Covid Story.” Stay healthy and safe.

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Senior reporter. Tech + labor /// bgmwrites@gmail.com Keybase: keybase.io/bryangm Securedrop: http://gmg7jl25ony5g7ws.onion/

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DISCUSSION

Anonymous, copywriter, Washington, D.C.

Anyone need a copywriter?

Could use an editor in the DC area. Work-from-home with bonus points if you know anything about the Army. All our applicants have been from the other side of the country, but we need someone who can pop in to the office every now and then.