New Career After Layoff

by  Rob Frydlewicz

I’m 56 and spent 30 years working as a Media Research professional for a number of large New York advertising agencies such as Young & Rubicam, NWAyer, and Foote, Cone & Belding.  Media researchers help their agencies develop target audiences for their various clients and, through analysis of data from research companies such as Nielsen, insure that clients spend their advertising dollars wisely.

I was laid off from my last fulltime job, as SVP Media Research at Universal McCann, back in November 2009.  I had a number of job opportunities in the initial months after my layoff, but I found myself at a career crossroads.  As my career progressed I was doing less of what I really excelled at – and enjoyed – which was analyzing data and writing concise and compelling analyses/recommendations that clients could understand.  Getting press for these analyses was also a part of the job, and I was regularly quoted in Advertising Age.

Because of the enthusiasm I had for data analysis and writing, my career coach suggested I start blogging.  I took his suggestion and now have three blogs – one about New York’s weather, one on gay pop culture and one on history.  Working on them, I probably put in as many hours as most fulltime jobs require – including nights and weekends – but I derive a lot of satisfaction.  I even make a tiny amount of revenue from advertising – but hardly enough to live on.

In addition to my blogs, I’ve had a number of research consulting jobs.  Furthermore, I spent the summer of 2010 working as a Census enumerator in my Greenwich Village neighborhood, and last summer I volunteered at the Mormon Church’s Family History Center, in the Lincoln Center area, assisting individuals (of all faiths) with their ancestry searches.

In seeking employment I was reconciled to the fact that I’d probably take a significant salary cut, but recruiters and HR personnel seemed convinced I’d never be satisfied working at a lower salary, so I was often not considered for more junior positions.  Then there were the recruiters who were known to have little interest in dealing with candidates of a “certain age”.  Finally, a number of former colleagues who contacted me about positions wouldn’t return my follow-up calls or e-mails – that stung the most.

At the end of 2012 I took a temporary position at Viacom’s LOGO cable network as a media research analyst.  Although it was quite a few rungs down the career ladder from my last position, I really enjoyed the job.  Here I was in the trenches immersed in data once again – and I got a regular paycheck.  It also had me back in a corporate environment, which I always enjoyed.

After that job ended, the young lady I worked for contacted me about a part-time position in LOGO’s digital media group, acting as payroll manager for its stable of freelance writers who work on their four websites.   It was unlike any job I’d had before, but I was brought on board because my former boss knew of my attention to detail as well as a great attitude and work ethic – all crucial to this position.  And although I’m probably 20-25 years older than most of my colleagues, I don’t feel out of the loop since I’m very familiar with social media and pop culture and understand much of what the young’uns are talking about.

The job is fulfilling because I’m highly accountable to the editors and their freelancers, who depend on me to get them paid in a timely fashion.  And although this job is only one day a week, it’s a very busy day from start to finish.  In fact, a number of friends with full-time jobs joke that I probably get as much accomplished in one day as they do in a week.

READ Rob’s bio in About Us.