This is how Chicago makes it through 💪

First off, a note: If your boss is making you come in to work a nonessential job, tell them to fuck themselves. We’ll take the credit/blame if you need a fall guy. We will also help you find a new job purely out of spite. 

If you are working an essential job, thank you!

If you, like us, are lucky enough to be earning a paycheck from home — even if you haven’t figured out a flattering angle for all these video calls — please take wealth distribution into your own hands. Give to service industry folks and small business owners. Donate to a food bank. Buy art. Share resources. Pay for news. Just give money to someone who needs it, or toilet paper, or bread. Call someone with kids and do your absolute best to distract them via FaceTime while their poor parents shelter in place in the bathroom. 

We have always been all we have, and it is enough.

We’ve already donated everything that even looks like a “profit” from this newsletter, and we’re pausing bills for our small business clients who need it while we work together to figure this out. We’re also making this newsletter free until Morale Improves (though, like, we cannot promise this newsletter will improve morale). Tell us what else to do! We will be sharing resources here as they come in. Make that friend you want to yell at subscribe and we will yell at them for you. 

Despite and because of all of this, there is still news about jobs, and we will still do our best to stay on top of it. What we’re not going to do is update you on unemployment numbers, economic prophecies and general dread. We are so good at finding the dread for ourselves, and we imagine you are too!

OK, yes there were rumblings of layoffs at State Farm and Cushman and Wakefield before all of this started, but we do not need to dwell.

Instead, let’s talk about the fact that Mondelez is planning to open a bakery and coffee shop in its new Fulton Market office (should someone tell them?). It’s great news for people who work there — the chef is from Per Se! — but we do feel that it’s worth noting that the cafe will not be selling Oreos, Ritz crackers or belVita … does anyone know what belVita technically is? Might be telling that your own employees would prefer to pay for “vanilla-lime Bon Bons” than eat Toblerone for free. 

What else? Insurance brokers Aon and Willis Towers Watson are merging in a $30 billion deal to create the largest player in the industry. Given that they’ve said it’s about “getting better, not bigger,” we don’t expect a lot of hiring to happen. But we are curious about what will become of the two Chicago landmarks that share names with the businesses. Aon will continue to be a brand. But if you devoted any energy to learning to call it the Willis Tower, well, that might have been a waste. 

Auto insurance software company CCC Information Services may be looking to join its peers in westward expansion, moving from the Merchandise Mart to Fulton Market. The move would take the company from 125,000 square feet to 180,000 — although, yeah, those plans may change.

Jobs. With the potential to pay money.
If you’ve got a job, you’re probably sitting tight and thanking stars. However, #QuarantineAndChill means you’ve got time to see what’s available on LinkedIn, catch up with contacts, and feel some semblance of control, especially if your boss has been a bastard through all this. But if you or a friend are out of work, here are places hiring right now.

Disclaimer: You know how we felt about some of these companies pre-corona — concerns about safety and sick time, and the gig economy in general. But for now we’ll STFU and tip generously.

Now hiring
Pretty much all grocery stores, hardware stores and pharmacies including Mariano’s, Shipt, The Jewel, Amazon, UPS, Dollar General, Dollar Tree, Domino’s, Costco, CVS, Walgreens, Whole Foods, 7-Eleven, Home Depot

Probably hiring 
Everything delivery: Instacart, Foxtrot, Uber Eats, Postmates, DoorDash, Grubhub, Caviar. Also, laundry services, e-learning, and anything to do with conference calls and online meetings. Cannabis TBD 🤞

Most of these won't be your dream job, but there are hours if you need them. Leave it off your resume, or not. Anyone who cares is an asshole.

Find more resources and ideas in this Indeed Career Guide: What to do if your job is affected by coronavirus

Inspiration of the week

In the western world, our tendency is to see resilience as a set of individualistic traits rather than the combined and diverse capacities and resources of a community. It’s time to change that. 

We have an opportunity to activate the specific type of collective resilience that can emerge when faced with communal prolonged uncertainty and potential widespread trauma. A powerful antidote to loneliness and fear is purpose.

Esther Perel, a psychotherapist who has spent some time thinking about how we can come together better, on our current situation and how we might make it through to the other side. The whole thing is good, including the list of tips. 

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Hardly getting over it

Just a chill reminder up top that workers have no leverage as long as employers control our basic ability to be healthy and well. 

A couple of real good cases in point: Target and Amazon are both planning to open warehouses in the Chicagoland area. Target is looking at Little Village, specifically in a redevelopment of a former coal plant that the community rallied against. City Council, of course, completely ignored residents and aldermen and gave the redevelopment $19.7 million in tax breaks in exchange for the hope of 180 full-time jobs and the work future tenants could offer.  

Don’t do the math, there’s still so much of Friday left to get through. Just consider donating to Enlace, which does great work to protect the residents of Little Village.

Amazon, meanwhile, is looking suburban with plans for warehouses in Downers Grove and Palatine. We’re not proud that our first thought was, “Ew, Amazon can have them,” but today is not a day for pride. Amazon is now the ninth biggest employer in Chicagoland and the largest outside of government, healthcare and higher education. Wowowow wonder what a little organizing could do?

Speaking of controversial developments, Sterling Bay has the first tenant in its building full of lab space for life sciences companies, conveniently located next to Lincoln Yards. Exicure of Skokie says it plans to put 20 people in The Labs at 2430 N. Halsted, formerly known as Lurie Children’s Manne Research Institute.

Matt Moog — early online coupon profiteer and until today head of customer review management tool PowerReviews — is opening up a venture studio and investing in startups. Hello, we have a furious little newsletter that will provide no return on investment!

OK probably not, but you can always pay us. 

Give & Go, the Canadian company behind Two-Bite brownies and other baked goods, is definitely getting the money. Mondelez is buying the company for $1.2 billion with what might be the saddest corporate statement we have ever seen: “We are very passionate about the on-the-go snack.” Sir. They’re all two-bite brownies and on-the-go snacks if you want it bad enough.

The acquisition of Trunk Club hasn’t worked out excellent for Nordstrom — what with the 250 layoffs and $197 million write-down — but the latest news might actually be good for the former startup. Nordstrom is shutting the standalone Trunk Club locations in favor of bringing the styling services into existing Nordstrom locations. No word on whether it’ll lead to layoffs, but it does seem like the kind of move Nordstrom should have made on day one. 

JourneyCare is cutting jobs. The Glenview-based nonprofit providing care to critically ill patients is planning to lay off 150 people and stop providing home healthcare visits, instead focusing on its hospice and in-house care. That’s bad news for the employees, but also for all the older folks hoping to gracefully age in place.

If only there was an option for a more humane healthcare system wow what could it be?

Job with badass potential
Senior News Editor at Block Club Chicago
Assign and edit breaking neighborhood news, supervise reporters, and occasionally crank out a story on deadline. There are many deeply experienced journalists on the market right now, and more to come unfortunately, so it would feel like a win to see Block Club land that talent.
Downsides: We’re probably not talking Tribune salaries. But this nonprofit newsroom and your city kinda need you.
Perks: Tap the link above for smiling faces! Who couldn’t use some of that?

A few other jobs we’re curious about …
Reporting Internship at WBEZ
Parenthetical ours. Trying to bring all the journalism positivity today yes we are.

Vice President of Corporate Communications at Green Thumb Industries
Build corporate and internal comms at a cannabis CPG company whose intranet is called ShareJoint. Heh heh.

Public Relations Coordinator at the Field Museum
Help position the institution as a scientific leader and not just fun for field trips. Shakes fist at Sue.

Director of Community Ventures at Old Town School of Folk Music
Bring programs to community partners and Chicago Public Schools, mostly serving the South and West sides. All of us could use more access to protest songs.

Inspiration of the week

Carmen Maria Machado is an author who has not incidentally written elegant stories about the patriarchy, sexual assault and domestic abuse. So that’s the inspiration — even those of us most capable of sitting in and writing up this sinking feeling can’t do it anymore. 

We’re just tired of always being better, getting nothing and getting over it. We will get over it, we will get behind the candidate who doesn’t treat women’s bodies as a set piece to comment on, loom over and smell. And fuck it, we will get behind a candidate who does if that’s the only way we can get fewer kids in cages.

It’s just hard to constantly lose the negotiations on who’s allowed to matter.

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

Let’s get loud 🥁

We don’t know that February is really the time for it, but it looks like everyone wants to move their offices to Chicago now. San Francisco-based financial tech company Affirm — which offers payment plans to the customers of its e-commerce partners — is planning to open up a Chicago office and hire 100 employees by the end of the year.

From the other coast, New York-based marketing tech company Sprinklr is opening a Chicago office to be closer to big-name local clients. The office currently houses 25 employees, and Sprinklr (god it’s hard to type that “right”) is planning to add more soon. 

Data tech company Numerator — are they all going to be industry + tech companies? — isn’t just opening an office, but a global headquarters in the former Marshall Field’s building. The company, which offers consumer intelligence to great big brands, plans to fill out the new space with 100 new employees by 2022

GE Healthcare is bringing 250 of its Wisconsin jobs to its Chicago headquarters, and while we feel for our Sconnie friends, we still firmly believe this is what you get for electing Scott Walker. 

It’s not all great news from outside Chicago — CIBC is planning to follow rival BMO’s lead and make cuts to its international staff, many of whom are in Chicago. And some of the jobs that are coming *coughAmazoncough* aren’t all that great, as Chicago magazine points out in a good, if overly nostalgic, article.

Melinda Gates isn’t exactly bringing jobs to Chicago, but she is bringing her nonprofit, Pivotal Ventures. We’ll be the pilot city for a $50 million push to get more women involved in tech. As women who have been involved in tech for quite a while, we can really truly promise that it’s not the lack of interest or capability causing problems. But sure! Start with the women.

Not to be outdone, senators Tammy Duckworth and Dick Durbin announced a plan to bring $1.2 million for STEM education to the South Side. 

It is! It really is! It’s just that maybe some of this money could go toward holding the doors open for people who want to put their education and ambition to good use. 

Maybe some of these funding rounds will provide good jobs for smart people to fill. ActiveCampaign raised $100 million to bring its marketing automation tools to more small businesses. No word on what that means for hiring, but since they did hire 300 people last year, we will give them a little slack. 

Foxtrot is still raising money to run out your corner store and Peapod both, which, yeah, OK sure. $17 million will help the formerly delivery-only “convenience store” open more physical locations from which to run you ice cream and booze. 

Samya.AI raised $6 million, for, yeah, AI-powered tools to help CPG companies match supply and demand (and win back market share from upstarts like Dollar Shave Club and RXBar without having to buy them). The company is headquartered here, but has an office and London and most of its AI operations in India, so no clear sign on what it will mean for local jobs. We wonder though, if you say AI enough times, does it become true?

Blue Cross parent HCSC is cutting another 400 jobs all across the country, on the heels of eliminating a boggling number of middle-management jobs. Normally we’d be skeptical of a company truly having this much inefficiency, but, well, it’s Blue Cross.

Speaking of insane, our nemesis Avant has low-key split itself into two companies, finally admitting that yes, its only business is payday loans. The constantly-alluded-to-but-never-fully-proven “tech” part of the equation is a new company, called Amount, that’s looking to raise $50 million and maybe IPO. So, to recap, investors finally figured out that Avant was no different than any other corner-operating payday lender and stopped funding them. Now to raise money, the same people are trying to convince investors that the technology powering that payday lending is actually so special and new and valuable that it should be its own separate company worth even more money. God, this is going to work and they’re going to make so much more money.

Grubhub isn’t looking for a buyer, despite rumors to the contrary, but it did report $28 million in losses last quarter. We can only assume the mild winter took a toll on people ordering in. 

Culture writer Ernest Wilkins — aka Chicago’s Wingman back in the RedEye heyday — is launching 1099, an event series for and about freelancers. The first get-together — which he calls a networking event you’d actually want to go to — is set for 7pm Feb. 20 at Pilot Project Brewing in Logan Square. It’s free, so RSVP here and go be with your people.

Job with badass potential
Content Manager, U.S. Soccer Women’s National Team
Develop content plans based on U.S. Soccer and team goals, using customer insights to drive your decisions. Oversee a team responsible for site, social and email content. Write and edit on occasion.
Downsides: A few yellow cards here: U.S. Soccer is undergoing some changes hopefully in response to the toxic culture cited in a series of Glassdoor reviews last year. Also, expect to work nights, weekends and holidays while traveling up to 40% of the time. You better get paid.
Perks: A solid content role promoting the baddest in the game: Megan Rapinoe, Carli Lloyd and other reigning World Cup champions, now focused on qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics.

A few other jobs we’re curious about …
Community Marketing and Outreach Manager, Grassroots Cannabis
Was about to say we’re burned out on cannabis jobs, but that’s stupid. There are so many.

Assistant Marketing Manager and Graphic Designer and Marketing Coordinator, Eli’s Cheesecake
Rounding out the cannabis-related possibilities. Also, graphic designers, please save this Chicago institution. 

Inspiration of the week
Two powerful Latinas who — on America’s unofficial national holiday — showed kids in cages, sang in a foreign language, and displayed their body skin. Watch it again if you haven’t 20 times already.

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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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