Bustle UK has switched up its regular money series How I Made It Work, to better reflect the uncertain financial times caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Instead of women who've achieved financial stability discussing the lessons they've learnt, each piece focuses on a woman who has had her financial situation transformed by the coronavirus outbreak in the UK. They'll share what their new normal looks like and how (if at all) they're making it work.
This time, HIMIW hears from a 23-year-old digital marketer who lost both her part-time and full-time employment because of the pandemic.
Occupation: Digital Marketing
What was your working life like before the coronavirus outbreak?
I was settling into a new position at a lovely, small design agency after having moved to the area to live closer to my partner. I was also working a part-time bar job in the evenings to earn more money to repay debt from moving. I was putting together social media marketing plans for both our own company, but also for two great long-term clients. It was work I was excited to be involved in and the team was looking forward to putting all our plans into action. I was just on the brink of having a stable income for the first time in a year was looking forward to not struggling with my finances anymore.
How has the outbreak changed your working life?
I appreciate how [my company] dealt with letting me go, I just wish I had seen it coming.
When the bar I worked at closed I wasn’t completely put out, but I’ll miss my colleagues until it reopens again. At my full-time job, our team slowly moved into working from home. It was an adjustment but didn’t bother me much. As far as I saw it, I was very lucky to be working in tech and for this to have little to no effect on what I did day-to-day. My partner works in theatre and almost overnight their income went to zero from their events being cancelled and losing their job. I was reassuring them that I was making enough to support them through this time. Then I had a phone call from my boss...
I thought the call was going to be about what I was going to be working on next. It honestly hadn’t even occurred to me that I’d lose my job at all. Everyone is online all day, everyday now, so surely digital marketing is more important than ever? It doesn’t affect how we work, so I’d be safe! I wasn’t, because our clients were closing, they couldn’t afford to pay us for our work, and we would have a hard time finding new work. So, my company had to make cuts. I appreciate how they dealt with letting me go, I just wish I had seen it coming. You don’t realise how interconnected everything is until it’s affecting you or your loved ones.
How has the coronavirus outbreak changed your financial situation?
In a way, I’m fortunate that I lost my job close to the end of the month and I know I’m very, very fortunate that I had been working both a full-time job and a part-time job. With this last month’s income, I’ll be able to stretch it to get by for a while. I’m lucky that my landlord is one of the good ones, not only during this current climate but in general. I won’t be able to support my partner as much as I wanted to and I’m very worried about how difficult it will be for them to get another job within their industry right now. I’ve been applying for roles within the games industry which so far hasn’t been as affected as others. Right now, I’m focused on finding a job [soon], or else things will get sticky, fast.
Has the government made financial support available to people in your industry or situation?
As far as I’m aware, which is quite hard to tell, the new forms of support they’ve bought in aren’t accessible to me. I’ve had others tell me otherwise, but I believe because of the circumstances in which I lost my job, the 80% [job retention scheme] doesn’t apply to me. So far, I’m hopeful I’ll be able to find something quickly before I need to investigate what kind of help I can get.
Do you feel government measures have been sufficient for people in your industry or situation?
I’m grateful for the help they’re providing as I know it’s helping my partner who is self-employed. It’s hard for me to comment on whether the measures are helping people in my industry as I haven’t seen my industry hit so hard yet.
How are you managing the change in financial circumstances?
I’m not in contact with my family, however I have the most wonderful support network of friends.
So far, I’ve put off debt repayment and planned purchases I can get by without eg. a desk chair. I’m fine for essentials for now, but that will be a different story soon. I’m not in contact with my family, however I have the most wonderful support network of friends. They’ve reached out and offered to help with money if I need it, which is just incredible. I’m also extremely thankful that I have some great connections in my industry who have spread the news that I’m searching for a new role and sent over anything they think I’d be a good fit for.
What would help you feel more secure financially during the coronavirus outbreak?
I really wish I had savings and I wish I had a side hustle to make money that would be feasible right now. I have artist friends that have it set up so that if they’re in need of money quickly, they have prints or custom art that they put up to sell instantly. It’s something I’ve considered sorting out for years and have the skills for, but you never think about it when you’re doing okay, do you?
How do you feel the coronavirus outbreak will affect your working life more long term?
Long term, I’m worried about how my CV looks with being at a company for such a short period of time. I’m also worried about getting another job and then the situation getting worse leading to me being let go again. If I get a new job within this sector, it’ll be strange joining a company while everyone is working remotely. If it comes to me having to go back into part-time job in retail or food service, I’m worried about how hard it’ll be to get out of it again.
I’ll be setting up a side hustle for extra security.
Do you think your experiences during the coronavirus outbreak will change your approach to your working life?
Within this industry it’s very common to move companies to get a step up on the ladder. It’s quite hard to get promotions from what I’ve heard from old colleagues and friends. That’s something I’ve always considered as exciting and something I’d be fine with. Now, I think I’m going to be a bit scared of changing jobs as maybe it’s worthwhile sticking with a company long term that can look after you in times like this. Also, I’ll be setting up a side hustle for extra security.
Do you think your experiences during the coronavirus outbreak will have an impact on your relationship with money?
I think I’m going to be far more eager to save my money and use money I earn to increase my skills further. I think money means security to me now, it didn’t before.