An Unemployment Adventure

Susan Kelley
8 min readFeb 27, 2022

I’m Just One Story of Many

Photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash

At the height of the pandemic, we saw unemployment soar to 14.7% in April of 2020, with companies facing total uncertainty about what the future held.

I had moved to Baltimore City in the summer of 2019, uprooting my comfortable life in Pittsburgh of over two decades, arriving fresh-faced for a new job and to start a whole new life in a new city and state. I was ready for change. Buuuutttt… my company saw those same stresses, and I was part of a huge round of layoffs myself.

So much for positive change.

Not to worry. I got a comfortable severance package, and I enjoyed some time regrouping by volunteering, exploring other opportunities and meeting some really great people. It didn’t take me long to land another gig and settle in.

Here’s where things get rocky, and a little messy. Hold on tight. I wasn’t going to share this journey, but here goes.

I joined a small firm as a proposal writer. I’m not super-comfortable in that role, but I’m good at it. I continued to be good at it, but it’s not work I particularly enjoy, so when a colleague I’d met working at the first job I had here in Baltimore called and told me he wanted to recruit me — really, really wanted to recruit me — to join him at a fast-growing cybersecurity startup he was with, I considered it. I hadn’t been with the proposal position very long, but like I said, I wasn’t enjoying the work, though the people were nice. It wasn’t a growth position, but still. I mulled over the startup. Tons of growth potential. Better salary. The company would likely make an IPO in a few years. I hesitantly made the leap.

It felt risky, but cool. I’m not accustomed to three jobs in two years. That’s not “me,” but all sorts of things felt new here in Baltimore, so I made the leap. The company culture was great, it was a fully remote position, I was doing technical writing in cybersecurity (which I enjoy), and I made good connections with colleagues. The guy who brought me into the company even brought along another colleague who had been laid off with us.

After a few months, though, things began to get stressful. Communication started to break down and I could sense a rift. I still did well with my projects and colleagues, but the guy…

Susan Kelley

Susan is a runner, a mom of 3 grown children, and an avid traveler. She writes about humans, and wrote a book about false accusations of sexual assault.