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I was the first one laid off from my company during the pandemic. Since then, I’ve worked as a poll worker — here’s what it’s been like.

  • Jess Smith-Winchester is a 34-year-old former account manager at a digital art studio in Atlanta, GA.
  • She was the first one let go at her old company during the pandemic.
  • She’s signed up to be a poll worker, and is working on her photography and monetizing her social media.
  • This is her story, as told to Caroline Cox.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Back in February, I was prepping to find another job. 2019 was a fantastic year. Going into 2020, I said, I’m getting a new job. I wasn’t necessarily let go because of COVID-19 — my company knew I was unhappy and applying to other jobs. So when the pandemic buzz started, I was the first to be let go. They’ve let others go since then because of business slowing, and they’ve been paying my unemployment. 

I reached out to some offers and there was a lot of momentum, then people started getting cold feet. I immediately filed for unemployment. I didn’t want to take a job, then get let go in a month and have to start over again,

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