I should have started this blog back in mid March, but I had too much anxiety. So as we know I am a licensed Nail Artist here in NYC. Life was going great! I just started my new job in midtown at this popular nail salon doing part time, I was getting used to the girls and the customers and looking forward to getting my repetition and techniques up. I was going to transition from my old job to this one and that was the full proof plan. Then news spread about a virus. As time went by things got eerie. Customers started canceling their appointments and my manager started telling me I didn't have to come in some days because it would be "slow". I drove to work one day and on my lunch break I sat in my car and read news from the New York Times app. It was all about China and how they were on a lockdown because of a virus from someone eating a bat and that the president was about to announce traveling restrictions. I could see in my girls group chat the kitties (thats our group chat name) started to get worried and messaging their fear/concern. I know this may sound ignorant but I never thought something like this could happen. If you told me a year ago we'd be quarantined I'd probably have a break down to be 100% honest.
As time went by I found out I lost my job via email from the owner of the salon. The email came in Sunday night almost close to midnight ( super odd time to send a very important email). The owner of the salon sent us a lengthy email saying how the virus was here and she was advising us to stay home with our families and practice nail art. Along with a bit of talk about the salons supplies and their concern with rent but absolutely no talk or mention about us being paid or what would happen. I read the email about 8 times. All I could feel was confused, shock and a lot of anxiety. What am I going to do about money? How long will this last? How am I going to pay my bills???
I know I couldn't be the only artist who had these questions so I waited until the morning to add all the artists into one email and reply to the owner and ask her basically what about us? Yes, I was very polite and straightforward because there was too much grey area. Some of new coworkers texted me to say thank you for asking the tough questions, but I mean we should know whats going on or just be on the same page, you know?
Long story short she told us she was doing her best to figure it out and she'd keep us updated. In 2 weeks time the salon sent me a total of about $120. Yes that was all to endure this pandemic. No updates via email or anything from the owner. That was job #1 I lost.
Now Job #2 I knew something similar was going to happen because when I would go to work (mind you Bloomingdales is HUGE) there were less and less customers by the day. The 1st floor (Cosmetics/Fragrance) is the busiest floor along with shoes (5th floor) and there was damn near NO movement. Magnolia Bakery next to Louis Vuitton always had a line but it was empty with just 3 people ordering. Hands down my boss Diana is the sweetest woman/boss you'll ever come across. She would say comforting things like "Don't worry girls I'll make sure everything is okay and everyone is taken care of." She would even talk to us in our work group chat to constantly update us. Along with Diana I had another boss, above her was Kate and she too was so down to earth and sweet. Kate was more corporate she would pop up to the salon but it would be for good reason. I didn't see Kate all the time.
Now when I went to work this one morning I couldn't find parking. Stupid I know, who drives to 59th Street? But I got there and was told that Bloomingdales was closing for good because of the virus. Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman, Saks everyone else was closed the prior weeks and finally Bloomingdales pulled the plug. I called my coworker Sue who I knew was on the schedule with me for the day but she told me she stayed home because she didn't want to risk her mother or her grandma's health. I texted Diana and Kate that the store was closing and it was news to them. Bloomingdales most likely took it upon themselves to close, rightfully so.
Kate emailed and gave us all individual phone calls so that it was personal and if we had questions we could ask her anything. I appreciated that. I worked for COTY and COTY owns OPI along with Kylie Cosmetics and a bunch of other brands. I am not a Bloomgindale's employee. Basically I was super happy to hear that I would be paid for 2 weeks of work and any updates we would be contacted. They emailed us a letter saying that it is okay to apply for unemployment and if the Department of Labor reaches out they will approve the claim.
Fast forward to today. It's been going on 8 weeks of quarantine. I am beyond happy that I already had my business of doing Press Ons up and my followers via Instagram and Twitter like my work. This is now my only way of income. Which is totally fine with me.
I at times felt very anxious and nervous because what a scary thought that the world has a virus with no vaccine and we have no idea when this will end. The only thing that I focus now on is to stay calm, I meditate every day and I channel my energy into being creative. I will get nothing from panicking or being upset. We all are grieving our old lives because we wont go back to "normal" even when we find a vaccine. Now is about spending time with your loved ones, self care and love and still finding ways to stay busy. And by the way NY State I know is overwhelmed with unemployment rates but I am 2 months now waiting on any payment and it is just dreadful the entire experience of filing. Thank God I saved up money but in most cases a good percentage of Americans don't even have an emergency fund of $400. It's infuriating that big companies get bail outs of millions of dollars when the little like us get taxes out of our paychecks every single week but cant even get unemployment when its seriously needed. It's an emergency and the government looks the other way.
Just because we are people who have an occupation in the Beauty Industry or Freelance that doesn't mean we don't matter. It doesn't mean that people with jobs that have health benefits and being paid throughout the pandemic can judge or look down on us or tell us "you should get a real job" when this thing is over. I had a real job that I did really well at. When we do return back to normal I am still going to do nails. I have learned that life happens and nobody could have seen this coming and the only thing to do is feel gratitude and be optimistic about the future. I'll stay creative and stay positive. I always say bad things happen before the really good does.