How to help someone who’s been laid off

Last week, I had yet another coffee date with an acquaintance who was recently laid off. Before we met, I thought a lot about how I could be helpful to him without offering tired cliches like “It will all work out for the best.” Less than a year ago, I lost what I had thought was a dream gig — writing a regular column and blog for The New York Times. As I prepped for my meeting, I tried to remember how I was feeling during that time and which people made me feel good and which made me want to clock them. Here’s what I came up with.

When you reach out to someone who’s recently been laid off, keep in mind that layoffs hit people differently. The good news is that there’s little shame in being out of work today. Still, for almost anyone who has been laid off, it is a sensitive time; emotions can be unpredictable. So try to be gentle. Especially if you’re a member of the family. What might be considered a polite observation by a friend could easily be interpreted as offensive meddling by a mother, sister, or in-law. And now, a few specific tips: {Read the rest at Yahoo!}


Nieman Conference Wrap-Up

I’ve just returned from the annual Nieman Narrative Journalism Conference at Harvard where the mood was a mix of anxiety and inspiration. The anxiety came from the many staffers who had recently lost jobs or were preparing for that possibility. The inspiration came from the heady conversations about craft and narrative that typically characterize this gathering of master storytellers and those aspiring to that title.

Since this was a conference where almost all the attendees and speakers were journalists, and where people were live blogging and tweeting, there are plenty of vivid recaps of the event. So I’ll spare you the full-blown summary.

Read more »


Farewell to My NYT Blog

Today is a sad day. I’ve announced on Shifting Careers that The Times has decided to cancel the blog.  This post, “Laid Off From My Non-Job,” describes what happened and how I feel about it.

Amid the sadness, there are quite a few things that I’m happy about. I am pleased that The Times allowed me to speak honestly about how I felt about the decision.  My editor agreed with me that the subject would be good fodder for discussion; and in light of the blog’s subject, it would be extremely odd were I not to address it. As the paper itself reported earlier this month, when companies blog about good times, it is a smart move to be as transparent as possible about the difficult times as well.

When people are laid off, one instinct is to hide. By sharing my news the way I did, I pretty much denied myself the opportunity to hide. And because I didn’t hide, good things have already happened. My inbox has been filling up with words of support from friends and colleagues. I’ve even received a job offer. I’m sure it will continue to be an interesting day.

Next time you run into someone who has been laid off, encourage them not to hide. And make sure to show your support.


Happy Anniversary, Shifting Careers

In honor of the one-year anniversary of the Shifting Careers blog, a top 10 list of favorite posts.

The Suburbs in Wall Street’s Shadow

A suburban mom who is a former journalist blogs about the atmosphere in her New Jersey town as Wall Street's unravels.

Some Comments About Reader Comments

A review of how comments are moderated in the Shifting Careers blog.

Call for Canadian Slashes!

A Canadian journalist is working on an article about slash careers and is seeking to interview people in Canada. If you have an interesting slash career and would like to be interviewed, please contact her ASAP by email at


Blogging as a Low-Cost, High Return Marketing Tool


Never Too Young to Give, or Take, Advice


My New Blog at the New York Times

Big news about my blogging. Since last week, I’ve been blogging for The New York Times (that’s why it’s been so quiet over here!). The blog is called Shifting Careers, and it will be the daily complement to my twice-monthly Shifting Careers column. (If you haven’t been keeping up with the column, you can read all the past ones here.) I’m posting almost daily to the blog, so be sure to subscribe to the blog’s feed here to stay current.

While I get up to speed on the NYT blog, Heymarci will go a little quiet. But I expect to begin posting again soon, with a slightly different focus. So stay tuned, and keep it on your feed if you subscribe.


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