Laid Off: One Year Later


Everyone has a different event that for them marks the beginning of the pandemic. For a lot of folks, that was the last day they went into the office. Or the first day their child did remote learning. Mine was my last day of work after getting laid off- March 18th, 2020 and since then, it's been a true journey of personal and professional discovery.


I had been working as an aide in what was a bustling physical therapy clinic in Manhattan. With the concentrations of offices in our neighborhood, once folks stopped going into work, they stopped coming in for their appointments as well. With the large population of seniors we saw, once recommendations starting coming out for them to not go out, we stopped seeing them too. Our visits plummeted drastically and quickly. I knew some kind of tide of change was coming, but I didn't think I would get washed away with it.


The news wasn't shocking. Unfortunately, when you're a minimum wage employee, management decisions that are not to your benefit aren't the rarity you'd like them to be. I had been already thinking about my next moves, thinking I'd journey down the path of developing my personal training career having just gotten my certification the previous December. I just thought my moves would be on my terms, on my time.


I was certainly privileged and lucky. I had saved up enough (somehow) to have a nearly fully funded emergency fund. I had friends and family nearby. I knew that, worst come to truly worst, I wouldn't be homeless and I wouldn't starve. I had already been walking dogs as a side hustle (and still do to this day!) so I knew I'd have something coming in at the very least.


Like most, the time I spent figuring out where to go from here (well, there) still thinking personal training was it. I started planning out virtual group classes from home and thinking who in my network I could tap as my guinea pig clients. And the more time I spent working on it, the more I realized- I hate this.


I've always hated sales. I've had a few sales or sales adjacent roles and been entirely not great at them. I am not a pushy person, nor am I the type of person to try the same thing over and over again and expect different results. No matter if you're a trainer on your own or in a big gym, you have to sell yourself, which to me, is even worse than selling a thing because at least you can tell yourself they're saying no to the thing instead of you.


No, what I was beginning to realize in the state of limbo the pandemic had brought me to was that I've been more of an introvert than I ever thought. Such a finding was really my fault, for thinking that introvert = bookworm. It never occurred you could be, and enjoy being, social but still crave, need and enjoy that alone time. No one will disagree with me when I say I am outgoing, but I'm also known for being independent and very able to find ways to stay busy on my own.


And so it dawned on me that spending full days with people at a high-level of energy in a basic functional role where I historically don't do well wasn't about to set me up for a career I was looking forward to. I found myself dragging myself to take any of the steps I needed to build this career I supposedly wanted for myself. And I found myself procrastinating as I tend to do with cooking. When the same thing keeps pulling you away from what you're "supposed" to be doing, maybe it's because you're supposed to be doing that.