Boredom begets pleasure ⏰
|Get Hustlin'||May 15|
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?
United Airlines — a company that perpetually inspires pity despite bringing in $43 billion in revenue last year — is getting into these layoffs. The company planned to cut 15,000 of its airport workers down to part time, but the union filed a lawsuit. So United turned its attention to laying off 30% of its corporate staff, because they have no union. Damn dudes! We finally get some friends in there we can bug for free flights and this is the reward? The stroopwafel is not enough to make us forget.
Cars.com is laying off 170 employees given that, well, no one is buying cars or expecting great things from businesses with “.com” in the name.
UChicago hospital is furloughing or reducing hours for 800 non-clinical employees, because who needs support staff in a time like this? Meanwhile, Northwestern is just going ahead and furloughing 250 staffers as it “prepares for budget shortfalls.” Cool. That means tuition is going down, right? Because both these institutions have too much money to look sympathetic, even in a downturn.
Hyatt is cutting 350 employees in its Chicago office, part of 1,300 companywide layoffs. A real kick in the gut since it’s known as a good employer.
Unionized Tribune newsroom employees making more than a whopping $40K will be losing three weeks’ pay between now and July. After that, who knows. Be safe out there, friends.
Things in Indiana aren’t looking so hot either. 940 steelworkers are getting the boot at ArcelorMittal. Are there now more former steelworkers in the region than current ones?
It’s so grim even the website about the jobs is shedding jobs, as Glassdoor cuts almost 200 positions in Chicago, aka more than half its total workforce.
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.