Today, I join the ranks of the more than 40 million Americans who have been left unemployed due to the COVID-19 crisis. After two and a half years working as the head writer and editor for the marketing division of a major solar company, I am facing an unknown road. The solar industry has been hit hard by the pandemic, and many industry workers have lost their jobs. Knowing I am not alone brings a sort of comfort, but also sadness for everyone dealing with this challenge.
After spending years in writing-related positions — sometimes as an employee and sometimes as a contractor or teacher — I began working in the solar industry when a colleague and friend hired me to join her marketing team. We had worked together at several companies, and she needed someone with my writing and editing skills. One of my master’s degrees is in environmental science with a focus on communications, so the job was a good fit. I learned a lot, and I became passionate about working toward a future in which clean energy could replace polluting fossil fuels. I enjoyed a number of aspects of my work, including many of the people I met.
But now, I have a blank slate ahead. This is both anxiety-provoking and, in a strange way, exciting. My husband is still working, so we are not totally without income. I worry about the future and how this will affect our lives, and I’m already searching for new opportunities. That’s difficult in the current economic environment, but unlike many people struggling with unemployment, I don’t have to worry about losing our home or not having food on the table. So I have to keep things in perspective and remember to be grateful.
I’ve worked hard for many years, taking on challenges ranging from teaching at two universities to writing and management for companies and marketing agencies. While my husband pursued his PhD., I worked at several jobs at once.
One thing that has suffered is time for creative writing. And therein lies one of my current opportunities.
Every challenge presents such an opportunity, and every moment in life should be lived for what it is. I know this in the moments when my head is clear. So as I stand in the forest deciding which path or road to choose, I intend to take time to look up. I intend to appreciate the trees.