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How a year can change things

So much can change in one year.

One year ago, I had learned that I was being laid off from my insurance job, by the end of January. Not a fun thing to find out right before Christmas. In fact, it put a damper on an already subdued holiday. We had no family gatherings due to the pandemic. Two of our four children were quarantined at their mother’s house due to Covid. One child actually had Covid, and had been pretty sick. It was a strange Christmas, one that frankly, I don’t care to relive.

When I was laid off, it was the first time in my life I had to be on unemployment. It was scary. Even though I was worried, I put on a brave face for my husband and children. I told them not to worry, that I would find a new job soon. That I would take care of everything, because I always do. That’s a mother’s job, right? To take care of everyone else and make sure everything is OK? But I was scared. I couldn’t let them down.

Although I had been working in insurance, it wasn’t heartbreaking to me to leave the industry. I had taken a job with State Farm in River Falls with my friend, Greg Peters’ office in August 2019. I loved working with Greg, but when he moved onto a new endeavor, it just wasn’t the same. Even though I had left journalism due to severe burnout, I found myself missing it more and more.

While I was searching for a new job, I made up my mind that I was going to find a job that used my writing and editing skillset. After all, that’s what I loved and that’s what I had studied in college. It seemed like a waste not to use it, especially since my year and a half away from journalism had rejuvenated me. I was ready to jump back in. But how?

I wrote freelance for a couple of companies in the area, and spent the rest of my time polishing my resume, applying for jobs and searching through thousands of help wanted postings. It was tough, because I felt stuck between a rock and a hard place. I felt terrible and filled with guilt every time my husband asked if I’d found anything and I had to tell him, no, not yet.

I had a couple of great interviews and felt my hope soaring high, but it came crashing down when I learned twice that I just missed getting the job. Neither was a job in journalism, but at that point, I desperately wanted to find something to provide for my family. Second place is okay, but it doesn’t get the job done in this case. I was disappointed, but something deep inside kept telling me not to despair.

I learned publisher John McLoone had expanded the Prescott Journal into the Pierce County Journal. I wrote a couple of freelance articles for him, and the rest is history. I knew I was back where I belonged. It almost felt like I had never left the newspaper biz. I began as editor of the Journal in April and have never felt better about a decision. I am home.

The past couple of weeks I spent time typing up Santa letters from area first graders. Back when I worked at the Herald, we enjoyed the Santa letters, but it was always a bit dreaded too – it’s a lot of work to decipher, format and type the letters. But it’s definitely worth it! When I left the Herald, I never thought I’d get to type another Santa letter again. Two years later, what was I doing? I think life works out the way it’s supposed to, if you don’t stand in your own way.

One year ago I was terrified about losing my job. This year, I’m beginning the new year exactly where I am supposed to be. I wonder what 2022 will bring?

BY SARAH NIGBOR

December 28, 2021