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Layoffs have become the dominant story as we near the end of 2008. After writing about the cold economic realities for companies that have had to cut staff, we wanted to find out what it was like for the people who are now unemployed. Just how […]

Layoffs have become the dominant story as we near the end of 2008. After writing about the cold economic realities for companies that have had to cut staff, we wanted to find out what it was like for the people who are now unemployed. Just how bad is it out there for new media folks looking for work? We talked with three people at different stages of their job search to see what, exactly, they’re up against.

sarahlaneSarah Lane was with Revision3 for a year and a half before being laid off at the end of October. While she did a lot at the company, she was best known as the host of popSiren. I spoke with her just a couple weeks after she had been let go.

“It’s great to be unemployed sit in my pajamas for like five minutes,” Lane said. The problem she encountered is that even though there are companies interested in her, there’s just a tremendous amount of uncertainty in the market right now. “Some people have said ‘If I could guarantee that you had a job in a year I’d hire you,’” said Lane. Problem is, those companies can’t guarantee anything right now.

In addition to the lack of jobs, there’s an increase in competition for those jobs. “It’s not just that I’m out of work, there’s a lot of me out of work,” said Lane. In the meantime, she’s taken some freelance work doing consulting and even some video hosting (she won’t say for whom) that will pay the bills and keep her busy through February.

rick_rey_photoThe geek culture web video series EPIC-FU suffered collateral damage as a result of Revision3′s belt-tightening at the end of October. Smashface Productions, which produced EPIC-FU, itself had to let go of an editor and two producers. Among them was Rick Rey, who emailed me his thoughts on looking for new media work a couple weeks ago.

“After I was laid off as Producer of EPIC-FU, I was fortunate enough to quickly pick up some freelance work – affording me the luxury of not rushing into another full-time gig,” he wrote. “It’s not what I want to be doing career-wise, but it pays the bills and it gives me the freedom to be picky about my next move in the new media space.” Some of that freelance work includes writing for EPIC-FU.

Rey said he was weighing his options, which include working for an established network, or even seeking funding for his own projects, but that the idea of going back to a smaller new media startup wasn’t too enticing. “There’s also a few funded new media houses in the LA area that could use an experienced hand, but given the state of the space I’m not confident a horizontal move like that is the most prudent course of action. I don’t want to end up in the same situation 6 months from now,” wrote Rey.

When we checked back in with Rey, he said he’s still freelancing and doesn’t anticipate any new opportunities until after the holidays. And as you’d expect, the time between now and the end of the year is a slow one for companies — a slowdown John Halecky was trying to beat.

johnhaleckyHalecky is in a bit of a different position than either Lane or Rey. He was laid off from his position as director of web content and editorial at ReelzChannel back in July. At the time, he figured he’d take his severance, take July and August off, and the start his job search in earnest in September — which is right when the economy went to pot.

Halecky has been actively looking for work since September, searching job board postings and networking through services like LinkedIn, but everywhere he applies, companies say they are on a hiring freeze. He’ll go in for interviews for jobs posted online only to be told that the position will be filled at some point — the company just doesn’t know when.

Thanksgiving was a big deadline for Halecky in his job search. “No one hires between Thanksgiving and the end of the year,” said Halecky. “Nothing will come about until the fiscal budget for 2009.” But when we spoke to him today, Halecky said that he’s still out looking for his next job.

Though it all sounds dire, the one thing all three people I spoke to had was optimism. No one wanted to just take a job to be employed — all three of them were willing to wait for the right opportunity and believed that opportunity would come.

Are you looking for work? What have you found in your search? Leave a comment and let us know.

  1. Nice Post………

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  2. I was laid off the week before Thanksgiving! Talk about bad timing! I don’t expect to be able to line up anything before the new year. I’ve been searching through Mandy.com, Craigslist and EntertainmentCareers.net. Does anyone else out there have some tips as to good places to look?

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  3. A similar scenario (laid of from one of the aforementioned companies) but on the IT side of things. There seemed to be little problem finding places that are looking for qualified IT professionals, but few (one) was able to say they were on solid footing for the next year. In the end, I took a job back in the educational/research sector (with a handsome pay increase to boot!). Honestly, new media can suck an egg. The demand on these companies’ (often intensely small) IT groups is rather insane and rarely appreciated.

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  4. Hey John! You’re absolutely right, at least in the case of our company… The IT structure was set up to constantly bottleneck and put undue strain on everyone (but mainly the IT department). I’m so glad you’re happy at your new gig. Handsome pay increase, huh? Do they need a research host/writer/producer? :) STOP LAUGHING!

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  5. AND I can’t get a date to boot!!

    @Chris that is bad timing. Sorry man. I would recommend going for a more personal approach by reconnecting with former colleagues and classmates – LinkedIn is a great place to start.

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  6. I’m not looking for work, but many people at my job got laid off today. The morale in the newsroom was low and the company’s cutbacks have little or nothing to do with the poor state of the economy. Newspapers have been in trouble for quite a bit longer than our economy. I would say you should count yourself lucky if you’re in the media and still have a job by the end of next month. I briefly touched on the recent layoffs on my website, if you feel like checking it out, http://www.politicallyobjective.wordpress.com. Thanks!

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  7. [...] 3, 2008 · No Comments The newsroom is a rather bleak place this week. Layoffs have been announced, but no one knows if the list has been completed yet. It is rumored that there [...]

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  8. [...] are finding jobs. Back in December, we spoke with three unemployed people about how tough it was looking for new media work. Today we are happy to report that two of those people have found full-time gigs (and no, they [...]

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