Panic. Just not about jobs.

Well, things went back to normal for a day at the Ford plant. Then two people were diagnosed with COVID-19, things had to shut down, and it’s pretty much been off and on since then. That’s about as good a representation of the past two weeks as we’re likely to get: No one knows anything and all we can do is try, fail, hope and try again.

So anyway, happy Illinois reopening day!

Aon is celebrating in what might be the most horrifying way possible: nominating a panel of peers to judge colleagues’ requests for more money. Oh no thank you we’d rather die. So Aon decides to cut everyone’s salary by 20%, then asks people to come back and beg their anonymous peers for the money they were promised? Get the actual fuck out of here. Can you imagine? 

Also — yeah, we’re not done with this — can you imagine what this will do to the no doubt already existing salary gap? You’re going to tell me 20 random people won’t view men’s salaries as more necessary? Or that people from minority groups will be as willing to put themselves in front of an anonymous panel to demand more money? 

Boeing kept up that morale-building theme — telling 6,700 employees earlier in the week that their jobs would be eliminated today. Love to keep ’em guessing! Lenovo’s also got the Motorola people on their toes, saying it’s considering vague cost-cutting plans. Yeah, unless a recession makes people real nostalgic for Razr phones, we imagine there will be another round of job cuts at Motorola. 

Others are planning to double down. Real estate firm @properties is picking up stakes in other brokers and looking to franchise its brand starting with an expansion into the Southeast. It’s also planning a partnership with Guaranteed Rate to offer mortgage lending, so, potentially good news for both Chicago companies. 

University of Chicago is also getting the good news, with a $10 million gift to study cancer-fighting cellular therapy. That should keep a couple of scientists happily employed. 

Which is good, because the merger of four South Side hospitals has been called off after the state refused to give them hundreds of millions of dollars without a public plan in place.  

Jobs, Glorious Jobs
Here are some newly posted opportunities for you or smart people you know:

Digital Marketing Specialist, SEM at Reverb
Not sure what the musical instrument market is like right now, but there’s a good chance people are selling. You could be set up to make significant strides in customer acquisition when buying picks up.

Executive Director at Recovery on Water
Lead operations and fundraising at this important nonprofit that provides fitness and social support for breast cancer patients and survivors. ROW’s longtime, much-loved ED is taking off for a similar role at another rowing organization, so bring your best.

Director of Marketing at TimeDoc Health
The chronic care management platform just secured a $5.7 million Series A round of financing, so get in there and grow that business. And the job post insists “WE ARE FUN!” so that’s worth looking into.

News Writer at the University of Chicago
Like many colleges and universities, UChicago recently announced it was freezing salaries and slowing hiring. So this job must be pretty necessary and relatively stable, not to mention the university coming off a record $8.5-billion endowment last year and whatnot.

Digital Marketing Manager at Xtreme Xperience
The exotic car experience company says it’s on a mission to make Ferraris, Lambos and McLarens accessible to everyone who has ever dreamed of driving one. Not the worst purpose, tbh.

Social Media Coordinator (Part Time) at Ride Chicago
Content creation, community management, and email and paid marketing at the motorcycle school.  

Head of Content (Part Time) at Leafwell
Would imagine this part-time role at a medical marijuana card company — now with telehealth — could grow into something more. 

Tool of the week
Your body. We are particularly talking here to fellow white people who are feeling frustrated, angry, embarrassed, but not afraid. Because people of color have to carry that fear every day. 

There are plenty of things white people need to do. But while you’re watching and reading and learning, take a beat to think about what you can do directly to lift just a little bit of that fear. 

Yes, that means not using 911 as a weapon. It also means knowing your skin is a weapon. 

You know which way the sympathy goes. It’s on us to do the work of actively rejecting it — and to do that work without a hint of self congratulations. Guaranteed that for every time you catch your privilege and interrupt it, there are 100 times you’ve benefited and claimed not to notice.

For white women especially, our bodies are used to create, perpetuate and condone racism and violence. You didn’t ask for it, but you’re a part of it. And until you use your body against it, you’re a participant.

Your money is good too: Support Reclaim the Block

Inspiration of the week

I am sick of everyone in this community who tells me to stop creating a panic. How many of us have to die before you get scared off your ass and into action?

—Activist Larry Kramer, back when there were 418 people dead from AIDS. Now that number is somewhere around 32 million. Larry Kramer was a difficult person, and there are no doubt people who feel more comfortable now that he’s dead. That rage made him a singularly effective face in the battle for gay rights and gay lives.

Creating change depends on being unlikable. So in honor of Larry Kramer and in solidarity with protestors putting their bodies on the line to force recognition of black lives, think about what you can do this week to make someone uncomfortable for being wrong.  

Forward this email to anyone who’s ready to make others uncomfortable. They can sign up here for bi-weekly inspiration.

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

Boredom begets pleasure ⏰

So we’re planning to reopen? Or maybe it’s all going to get worse? Or maybe we all work from home forever now? 

Fundamentally, we are optimists. If it doesn’t always seem like that, well, take it up with reality. The world is going to start opening up, and every normal thing will feel like a tiny miracle. More people are also going to die. Both things are true because both of those things are always true. To live is to hold every moment of joy with the guilt of knowing what it cost. 

If you need to be with people, it’s OK to feel great about any move toward reopening. If you need to feel safe, it’s OK to dread every positive press conference. Just know what your motivations are and what you’re willing to risk. That is really all this newsletter has ever been about. Look at the facts and make the best decision for you, whether you’re assessing a new job or deciding when to wear a mask. 

If you’re security-motivated, there will be a lot in this letter that will make you happy to stay extremely still and incredibly productive. But if you’re open to a bit of chance, there are plenty of opportunities as well. Desperate companies are permissive companies and, as long as you’re not costing them money, a recession is a great time to wiggle into the kinds of projects resumes are built on.

Which is good, because the unemployment rate sure looks like a depression. 

Let’s start with the layoffs, like a bandaid, ready?

OK, it’s over! Well, for right now — there are probably more layoffs happening as we hit send. Plus Aon dropping any employees who couldn’t hang with the 20% pay cut without severance and Potbelly of all companies is warning it could close 100 stores. Yeah, because no one with the time to choose chooses Potbelly. You only just gave back the $10 million loan you shouldn’t have gotten. Maybe keep a low profile for a minute? 

A quick peek at commercial real estate will also give you a sense of how dire things are. Groupon is looking to shed half its office space, while CareerBuilder is trying to offload its entire Loop headquarters. Pretty much any company that can is reassessing how much office space it’ll actually need after all of this, and pausing on any buildouts. Which means fewer construction jobs, a slower economy, etc. etc., you get it.

Nope. It’s more confusing than that. Some companies, like some people, are seeing the opportunities and trying to move on them. Ford plans to restart most of its factories on Monday, including its South Side plant. And options exchange Cboe is planning to reopen trading pits June 1 for … literally no reason? To give adults an excuse to wear mesh vests? Everything you do can happen online. 

And just to really cap it off, Uber is in talks to buy Grubhub. Yes, Uber is also laying off 3,700 workers and Grubhub is now required to state how much it’s charging restaurants for delivery after complaints. But they are both exploitative businesses, so who knows, maybe it’s a great match. 

Jobs, Glorious Jobs
Here are some full-time positions just hitting the internet. Hopefully the companies are actively looking to hire and not just “testing the waters” like it’s 2019. The water’s fine — best ever — and full of talented professionals now available through no fault of their own. 

Communications Director at Audubon Great Lakes
A lot of responsibility, but an attractive and important job for cityfolk who have "comfort working outdoors": promotions of Audubon’s conservation mission, policy-driven campaigns, fundraising messaging, social media oversight and integration, media relations and training, partnership management, and blogs, op-eds and leadership communications. Make sure you have a good flock.

Senior Manager of Education Content at the News Literacy Project
Candidates with experience in both education and journalism are strongly encouraged to apply. (Emphasis theirs but we’re looking at you.)

Art Director, Influencer Marketing Coordinator and Social Media Manager for Vital Performance at Vital Proteins
Get in on the supplement-maker’s new workout product line. Maybe get to work from the company’s beachy West Loop office someday.

Marketing Science Partner for Restaurants at Snap Inc.
Frankly, the combination of Snapchat and restaurants doesn't inspire stability. But, hey, learn some cool stuff while riding those strong user gains as long as they last.

Inspiration of the week

“Boredom, for me, is a very good sign. It is the beginning of pleasure.”

Irish writer Anne Enright on how to survive life under quarantine. The whole article is full of great advice from great people, but her section cut right through us. You ever read a sentence and suddenly need to know everything about someone you didn’t know existed before? Yeah we’re adding Anne to our future library queue.  

Forward this email to anyone who has the boredom and needs the pleasure. We can’t promise to be a fun read, but they can sign up here for some delightful GIF curation.

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

Time to celebrate May Day 🚫

What a treat! To have May Day right in the middle of all of This? Truly a wonderful opportunity to indulge and swap our amateur economist and labor lawyer hats for our amateur historian hat! (It’s a fez, you know how historians love to claim shit that’s not theirs.)

Today is International Workers’ Day everywhere but America. Here, we hide our shameful labor history by punting that holiday to September and making it about the end of summer. You can thank your fellow Chicagoans for that. The Haymarket Riot shook business so bad it had to get together and 1. Hang some innocent men 2. Pretend a holiday never existed. Look, it got people to convert to Christianity, might as well work for capitalism too. 

To celebrate, you don’t need to go into full socialist cosplay like us. You just need to respect the worker strikes that are happening all around the world. Just don’t … do a commerce. Keep your money. Because whew, fuckery loves a bad economy doesn’t it? 

Whole Foods is tracking its workers to find out who’s fraternizing — and potentially planning a union — while Amazon is just attacking the unionizers directly, with a lil bit of racism on top. Love to see Jeff Bezos commit to A/B testing, really crunching the numbers on union busting. 

This is just a reminder that you can visit George Pullman’s grave in Graceland Cemetery. The famous dirtbag/strike-breaker is buried under literal tons of steel and concrete and topped with a giant column so his workers couldn’t desecrate his corpse.

It’s all right though. Technology at its best works for people too. And we’re pretty damn excited about Get Frank, a tool for organizing workers and making collective demands. The Chicago-based team rushed it out early for workers affected by COVID-19. Looks like Redbox founder Logan LaHive is joining us in the socialist cosplay game by getting this app out into the world. 

Plus we have class-action lawyer Jay Edelson suing Chase for allegedly giving dibs on Paycheck Protection Program loans to big corporate clients instead of the small businesses who need them. Wow we are shocked. At least everyone made fun of Potbelly enough to get it to return the $10 million in government assistance it pocketed while “furloughing” most of its employees. Bullying works!

We also have another $250 million in the Illinois small business loan program … and … OK we’re running out of steam on the good news to be quite honest. 

Plenty of businesses are still “furloughing” employees, which is especially rich from the failing companies that you know aren’t hiring people back. ’Sup Gogo and The Chicago Tribune? Boeing is getting in on the fun, cutting 10% off the top while it can still skirt the responsibility for unemployment. What a great look for them. 

Hormel at least has a reason to furlough 150 people at its McCook plant. The plant makes Italian sausages that are mostly sold in arenas, and, well, who knew how quickly we’d miss overpriced concessions?

Other companies are coming up with solutions we can kinda get behind. Electronic medical records company Allscripts did let go 5% of its workers, but also trimmed the CEO’s pay by 40%. Not bad, though we would have thumbed that scale a little harder in the latter direction. Especially given that a healthcare company is experiencing hardships … now.

Insurance giant Aon is going a little more brutal, cutting pay by 20% for most of its employees and 50% for its leadership. The broker calculated a cost-of-living floor for every city to protect the lowest-paid, so roughly a third of employees will keep all of their pay. This honestly sounds like an elegant solution. But until we’ve seen proof that the company is actually struggling — not just worried about things maybe being hard in the future — cool it. Who has 20% of each paycheck left over, especially when family members are out of work?

And then there are the true heroes. El Milagro responded to a worker dying and two others testing positive for COVID-19 by shutting down that facility for two weeks and paying all its employees who would have been working a full 40 hours a week to stay home. Yeah, we were already going to buy the good chips and tortillas for life, but damn!

Jobs, Glorious Jobs
We're hopeful that as PPP Loans Take 2 land with businesses that actually need them, we’ll see some slowdown in layoffs. Meantime, jobs are still happening, if you’re up for it.

Sort your LinkedIn Jobs by most recent to see what’s out there. And if you or someone you know is looking for gig, temp or part-time work, keep an eye on this thread.

Intake Manager, Intake Specialist and Director of Development at The Anti-Cruelty Society
Intake jobs are hero jobs — not easy but critical to helping animals. Development is of course less hands-on but never not important. We hear from a Hustler that the fundraising team is a good group and well-oiled life-saving machine.

Development Director at Connections for Abused Women and Their Children
Lead and evaluate fundraising efforts, with an emphasis on social media solicitations, at the shelter and domestic violence services organization.

Digital Marketing Specialist at McDermott Will & Emery
This big ol’ law firm “is in the early stages of deploying a comprehensive digital marketing program,” so bet you can wow ’em with your technical prowess.

Product Content Manager and Product Content Specialist at Breakthru Beverage Group
Own and operate the alcohol distributor’s product platform. Spend a disproportionate amount of time nagging breweries and distilleries to send images so retailers can use them. 

Inspiration of the week

“When the world gets back to whatever the next normal may be, do you want your life to be the way it was before? 

Over the next few weeks do some reflecting. What are aspects of your lifestyle that you hate, and what are the things you cannot wait to get back?”

—Gail Golden, psychologist, performance coach, Get Hustlin’ reader and first-and-longest client of our real life job, in Fast Company. We’ve benefited from Gail’s work-life wisdom for years, to the point that we should probably be the ones paying her. Now, after years of begging on our part, her book is here and oddly well-timed for quarantine. We would recommend it if we didn’t know and love her, but we recommend it extra because we do. 

Forward this email to anyone who’s ready to celebrate workers. They can sign up here for bi-monthly reasons why.

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

It’s just a bit sour 🍋

You guys, we are more than halfway through April. 

Remember how long the first half of March took? We weren’t even isolated then! Now we’re just breezing through April with a quickness, getting to know our neighbors for better or for worse and finding all the most and least comfortable places to get work done in our houses. 

It goddamn snowed this week and you’re still out here checking emails? LOOK AT YOU GO.

Hell yes we’re writing this in loungewear, and no, this robe doesn’t get washed that often. And you know what we think about that? Nothing, we truly do not think about it! There are so many things to think about right now that continuing to breathe and periodically eat takes an effort. Anything you’re doing above and beyond that? It’s magnificent, a true testament to your character. Future generations will talk about you in hushed tones. And honestly? We get to age into true blue weirdos like Depression-era adults and no one gets to say shit. “Oh, she likes to silently count the Skittles before she eats them? Well, you know, she lived through The Great Alone Times and watched the market collapse twice before she could even think about retirement, so you let her do you.”

If you want to know what’s happening with businesses around the city, read on. And if you’re like “No thanks, I’m full up on ‘news’ this week,” yes, it is too much! Take this time to stare at a wall and track it as professional development. Watch this GIF for three hours and say you’re practicing wellbeing. It’s Friday and you’ve made it through another week. We are proud of you no matter what. 

You know who we’re not proud of? Every business that’s “furloughing” workers in an effort to keep them in an unpaid limbo. We are familiar with “You’re great, I’m just not ready for a relationship right now. Can we still hang out?” That shit does not pay off in the end. 

For Groupon and Best Buy, the coronavirus is probably serving as a nice little cover-up for cutting 2,800 jobs and furloughing the sales staff in Groupon’s case and furloughing 51,000 store employees in Best Buy’s. It’s not that they didn’t have a business model! It’s just that the virus really destabilized their thriving enterprises! We look forward to the articles a year from now saying Quibi would have been a success if the timing had been different. 

Boeing, meanwhile, is thinking about laying off 10% of its staff. Love to really sit with a decision, you know? Hang that sword over people’s heads and make sure it looks just right.

Navistar, meanwhile, is deferring pay for all its non-union employees. Yeah, no, you hold onto that for me, I’m sure it’ll be safer in your hands!

Ulta is furloughing “many” of the employees from its 1,200 stores and salons and putting off plans for an expansion into Canada. And while we are disappointed, CEO Mary Dillon is also giving up her salary for the time being, like a true leader. We’ll just be over here waiting for all the other CEOs to do the same. 

Other businesses are just trying to find a way forward. Expect some big mergers to break down, like Molina Health buying out Medicaid managed care provider NextLevel, and others to move through quick, like insurance broker Marsh acquiring Schaumburg-based broker Assurance and using it to set up a Midwest headquarters. There will even be terminally optimistic bros using this time to launch whole new companies, which you can absolutely do if your company is a cryptocurrency accelerator, because that is a meaningless combination of words. 

We’d also like to spare a thought for the grads, who don’t get to finish out senior year, don’t get to graduate, don’t get to party and really do have to return to their parents basements, job or no. If you graduated sometime around, oh, the last recession, you’ll remember the scramble to get anything approaching a paid internship, let alone actual employment.

Jobs, Glorious Jobs
BuiltIn put together a list of 50 tech companies hiring for remote jobs, including some names you may know like Nerdwallet, Noom, Webflow, Girlboss* and Candid (off-brand Invisalign).

And here are some brand-new full-time jobs based in Chicago, though not sure why more companies aren’t specifying remote flex. Bet it’ll be a “perk” soon 👍

Sort those LinkedIn Jobs by most recent if you feel up for a look.

  • Campaign Manager at Vevo
    This line from the post: “If you believe Bono that ‘music can change the world because it can change people,’ then you recognize the power of music.” Do with that what you will.

  • Disaster Program Manager at the American Red Cross
    Implement disaster programs including volunteer recruitment and training.

  • Digital Marketing Manager (Contract) at Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy
    SEO, SEM, reporting, oversee and evaluate an apparent mobile app (“evaluate” is key). Potential for full time.

  • Graphic Designer & Social Content Creator at 4 Star Restaurant Group (Smoke Daddy, D.O.C Wine Bar, Frasca)
    Not sure how fast they’re looking to fill this one, but hey, just posted today.

  • Editor at Crate & Barrel (Northbrook)
    Continuing our tradition of posting C&B jobs because in our mind it’s just gotta be a cool place to work, right? Dunno, but there are a lot of unemployed/underemployed journalists out there who’d slay this one.

  • Vice President of Communications & Marketing at the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce
    Thoughts and prayers.

A reminder that Do312 has a pretty comprehensive list of who’s hiring in Chicago right now, particularly if you or a friend are looking for temp or part-time work.

Inspiration of the week

“I want to talk about ‘hustle culture,’ which I am partially responsible for creating. … For some of us, just staying inside is enough. For some of us, staying inside is hard ’cause we need to get things. Staying healthy is hard. Some of us have compromised immune systems. Some of us have sick family members. Some of us are applying for unemployment. Some of us have companies that are falling apart right now. And the pressure to be productive ... not everyone can turn lemons into lemonade right now.”

*the Girlboss, founder and CEO Sophia Amoruso. (That Glossier hoodie is still out of stock, by the way.)

Forward this email to anyone who’s looking at a pile of lemons. We can’t help them make lemonade, but they can sign up here for a little sugar.

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


This absolutely fucking sucks. 

Even if you have all the advantages in the world, every single day feels like that scene in the movie where they’re walking into the basement and you don’t know what they’re going to find but you know it’s not gonna be great!

We don’t want to wake up and we cannot go to sleep.

As Professional People, and, personally, as Professional Women, we are conditioned to just. keep. going, no matter what. Bad boss? Let’s manage up while seeing if we can earn the attention of the boss’s boss. Got fired? How do we flip that narrative to get a better job? Did your boss just brush up against you? Better to assume he was reaching for the creamer and get on with your day!

We are peddlers of this ethic, champions of it. If this is what life is then we will find exactly the right series of contortions and compromises to extract as much out of it for us and ours as possible.

But y’all, we don’t want to hustle anymore. 

We want to sit right here and appreciate that this sucks. No caveats, no “well, it could be worse,” no. It just fucking sucks, and we have so much left to go. 

If you want to use this time to move your career forward, we commend you and we will support you. But if your head feels like it’s filled with bees and the most complicated problem you can solve is whether today’s video callers saw you in this sweater yesterday, that is perfect. You don’t actually need to do your best when the world is at its worst. You just need to find whatever comfort you can to get you to the next day. 

There’s still so much job news, and if you only want to hear the good stuff, skip past the second weeping Sandra Oh gif in this newsletter.

Layoffs. They’re happening at Hyatt, Boeing and all the newspapers that can’t keep up with how many companies are firing people right now. The headlines are just … wow. 

If this is the regular news, does that make us the optimists? Because these clothes don’t fit at all. Look, it’s a shitshow. Even the weed business is having to call off its mergers, and those assholes have seemingly endless access to capital. And now we can’t even eat our feelings, because McDonald’s is calling off all-day breakfast.

The only upside is that we’re all fucked together. And if we stay together, maybe we can actually change some of the big, structural scams ruining our lives. 

There are still businesses benefiting, which means, in turn, there are still businesses hiring. Mondelez is glad to see you give up your healthy snacking habits in favor of Oreos and despair. Since Mondelez sells both of those things, it’s hiring, and it’s paying manufacturing, distribution and sales staff a $2/hour bonus through May.

Walgreens and CVS are both hiring as well, and offering some form of bonus to the staffers still working during Coronavirus. Though based on how some people are behaving, there may not be enough money in the world. Now is not the time to Karen. 

Do312 put together a pretty comprehensive list of who’s hiring now especially if you or a friend are looking for a temp job, part-time work or are willing to be a hero delivery driver. 

And here are some of the full-time jobs we typically talk about in this email. Some industries are less affected by the COVID chaos, and some are busier than ever. These brand-new jobs are based in Chicago, but we have to think more companies will embrace remote life now that even your dad knows what Zoom-bombing is.

Sort those LinkedIn Jobs by most recent if you’re up for the hunt.

Inspiration of the week
Are you, like us, craving a situation where you’re totally, 100% in control? Like a quiz where you already know all the answers? Good, then fill out your census. Because there’s something real nice about screaming “No, you pay attention to me, motherfucker!” at the government. Proverbially speaking of course. 

Forward this email to anyone who’s ready to be counted. They can sign up here to stand with a few hundred others.

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

Loading more posts…