Life in plastic, it’s fantastic

A tonally appropriate song for today.

OK so look, in a pandemic and global economic collapse, there are going to be some layoffs that are understandable. The Boka restaurant group, for example, has laid off a few hundred employees and may lay off a few hundred more. Sure. We’re not getting too drunk in that great little back bar at Little Goat. It sucks, but it sucks for everyone. No one is making money here. 

Then there are understandable, if not sympathetic, layoffs. Like United Airlines, which has just collected so much GD bailout money from so many sources over so many years, yet is still furloughing almost 15,000 flight attendants, pilots and operations workers and laying off another 1,400 administrators and managers. Why couldn’t the federal government just give it mooorreeeee.

Then there are layoffs that just, wow. Cook County Health scaling back services and laying off another 100-odd people because it’s trying to care for too many uninsured patients … that seems more like a sign that things are broken. A global health crisis should be, uh, good for the medical business, no? Or at least a reason not to get rid of medical services primarily used by the essential workers and underserved communities most at risk during this pandemic lol. 

Now would be a good time to donate to the Chicago Southside Birth Center. If you’re a paying subscriber of this newsletter, you kind of already did.

Still, there’s one winner taking the cake this week. Salesforce is a piece of software other companies use to sell things. Right now, everyone is doing their selling online in some capacity. That means Salesforce is doing well. Its stock is doing record numbers. It just acquired a big ol’ analytics company with the lots of money it has. And yeah, it’s laying off 1,000 people to “position for growth.” This is, this is the growth position. You are growing. With help from local governments desperate to woo your office buildings. 

Good thing Illinois is offering up another $300 a week in unemployment benefits. Because y’all, we don’t think Mitch McConnell is that committed to helping people who are laid off.

The city is also pitching in, contributing $1.5 million in Neighborhood Opportunity Funds to Little Village orgs planning to open Xquina Cafe, an incubator, coworking space, shared kitchen, art gallery and, yes, cafe. It’s a lot of things, but in this economy? Why not go for broke?

Abbott is — it’s hiring 2,000 temporary workers to make COVID-19 test kits up in Gurnee. These are the same tests Donald Trump already plans to buy all the way up for … who knows what. We know he hates testing. Anyway, it’s a job, and probably a fairly safe one, if for no other reason than Abbott would have an incredible PR situation on its hands if someone making COVID-19 tests tested positive for COVID-19.

Jobs, Glorious Jobs
Editor at NextAdvisor
The personal finance publication (launched in partnership with TIME) is looking for a top editor based in New York, Charlotte or remotely, so that sounds like a Chicago journalist to us. Let us know if you’re interested and we’ll connect you. 

Employee Communications & Engagement Manager at Reverb
If internal comms is your jam, check out this role at the Etsy-owned online marketplace for musical instruments. You’d create content for the intranet and company newsletter, handle internal crisis communications, and stay on top of award submissions to make Reverb look like a cool place to work. Or you could just amplify the 100% paid health benefits — that oughta do it.

Director of Marketing Strategy at Chicago Beyond
Develop and execute a marketing plan for the impact investor focused on organizations and individuals creating opportunity and access for young people.

Inspiration of the week

“In such moments, an ossified social order suddenly turns pliable, prolonged stasis gives way to motion, and people dare to hope. Plastic hours are rare. ... Nothing happens unless you move.”

—George Packer in a long Atlantic article care of the great Anne Helen Peterson’s newsletter. We wrestled with this bad boy all the way to the end. It tried to lose us, talking about “democratic faith” and Biden’s LBJ potential, but we stuck with it, and we’re glad we did. 

It does feel like a plastic moment because it feels impossible. We can’t continue. The real we this time, all of us, we’re shot. I can’t remember a conversation in the last six months that didn’t start with a sharp exhale of breath. I spent half the day adrenaline spiked and the other half in tears from the crash and that’s what passes as balance now.

In the same — again just wow so long — article, Packer tosses off that “Most younger Americans have seen no viable kind of politics other than protest.”

He didn’t say it like a positive, but it’s when we started to feel a little hope. Because for the first time in a long time we really are miserable enough that protest seems viable, even preferable, to stasis. Protest can get us some of what we need from these institutions — or it can give us a way to watch them burn. Either way, better than the alternative: that we let it get this bad only to settle for the scraps. As tired as we are, that’s too exhausting to contemplate. 

You’ll have to push it forward without us for a little bit. We’re taking some time off, because one of the Is behind this royal we is having a baby. Like I told you, I’m a goddamned optimist. 

Forward this email to anyone who needs to stay malleable. They can sign up here and get an email that keeps it moving every couple weeks, once we’re back in fighting shape. 

Something tells us it won’t take that long.

Got a tip on an excellent job? Reply to this email, send us a new one at, or reach out on Twitter.

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