lit fuse on a recession money bomb Source: Artem Oleshko/Shutterstock

When I think back to the Great Recession of 2007 to 2009, one moment in particular stands out. I had applied for a position in early 2008 that I was really excited about, as the editor of a special section on home and interior design in a local weekly newspaper. I sat down to read the long-awaited email from the paper’s editor announcing his decision, and in it he explained that the special section’s occurrence and page count was being scaled back, and the position I applied for had been reduced to a freelance gig that paid much less than what I had been told (in other words, it would have barely covered the cost of groceries). He added, “This is purely a result of the economy.”

It was the latest in a string of job-related letdowns that began about a year earlier when I moved to a new city a few years after graduating college. I pursued writing/editing roles I really wanted, only to be told something to the effect of, “We really want you! But we can’t afford to pay you a salary. Trust us, if we could, you’d be working here!” Thanks, but unfortunately a compliment can’t cover the cost of living expenses. In order to achieve some sort of financial stability, I had to pivot my career goals (to my disappointment, that meant writing things like press releases for software companies for a while, not stories about interior design or another lifestyle-related topic I enjoyed).

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Natasha Chilingerian

Natasha Chilingerian has been immersed in the credit union industry for over a decade. She first joined CU Times in 2011 as a freelance writer, and following a two-year hiatus from 2013-2015, during which time she served as a communications specialist for Xceed Financial Credit Union (now Kinecta Federal Credit Union), she re-joined the CU Times team full-time as managing editor. She was promoted to executive editor in 2019. In the earlier days of her career, Chilingerian focused on news and lifestyle journalism, serving as a writer and editor for numerous regional publications in Oregon, Louisiana, South Carolina and the San Francisco Bay Area. In addition, she holds experience in marketing copywriting for companies in the finance and technology space. At CU Times, she covers People and Community news, cybersecurity, fintech partnerships, marketing, workplace culture, leadership, DEI, branch strategies, digital banking and more. She currently works remotely and splits her time between Southern California and Portland, Ore.

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