Unemployment diary: I'm a 27-year-old public relations manager in Massachusetts who's been out of work since March

Kally Lavoie.Courtesy of Kally Lavoie; Shayanne Gal/Business Insider
  • The Unemployed States of America takes readers deep inside the decimated American workforce.
  • Kally Lavoie is a 27-year-old public relations manager based in Boston, Massachusetts.
  • She left her last job in March for a part-time, remote role in media relations, and was actively looking for public relations positions when COVID-19 hit.
  • Lavoie moved back in with her parents now that her job search is on hold, but she says she worries constantly about her job prospects and is even considering going back to school to learn new skills.
  • This is her story, as told to Business Insider.
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It's been tough. I left my last position voluntarily in March 2020, with a part-time, remote gig lined up. I was actively interviewing for other open public relations positions when COVID-19 hit Massachusetts. I lost the part-time media relations position — and then the company I was interviewing with froze hiring.

I visited my family in northern New Hampshire, with plans to stay for two to three weeks, when Massachusetts shut down. I had one bag of clothes to my name in my childhood home.

I've been actively job searching since March, with no offers on the table. In July, I was in a third-round interview for a position when the company froze hiring. The PR sector in Boston has been hit particularly hard. I'm currently deciding whether or not I want to return to the city.
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I'm extremely fortunate to be living at home right now, so the loss of income hasn't affected me too much.

However, I'm still paying for my apartment in Boston. I'm essentially living with about five outfits, doing laundry twice a week, and getting by with essential toiletries.

I had savings in place when I left my position in March. Because I lost my part-time, remote position, I was eligible for unemployment but didn't begin receiving funds until April, as I didn't believe I was qualified.

I'm currently interviewing for an in-house PR position, which I was made aware of through a former colleague. The position is at a company who was previously my client for several years. I'm trying to reach out to connections when possible, but haven't been aggressive with the search, as many companies aren't hiring or are even laying off their staff.
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My mental health has suffered greatly.

I'm worried about my mental and physical health. I'm also concerned about finding another job, whether or not the PR sector will rebound in the city, and returning to Boston.

I'm also worried about bigger issues in our world. With no job, I've spent many hours a day thinking and researching and worrying about the Black Lives Matter movement, police brutality, and the economic challenge COVID-19 has brought. The rising unemployment numbers are also extremely concerning. I'm seriously considering moving out of the city and back home to NH. I'm also considering another move to a different state. Additionally, I'm reconsidering PR as a career and looking into returning to school.
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The hardest part has been worrying about the pandemic and the way it's being handled at the highest level. I feel powerless. In comparison to many states, I feel Massachusetts handled the virus well and I'm pleased Gov. Baker shut things down early. That being said, since I left the state, I believe New Hampshire handled things better, and I'm very fortunate to have been able to leave Massachusetts early, before COVID-19 became widespread in the city.

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