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When I first began freelancing a few years ago, I couldn’t fathom paying money for anything. I trolled influential creators and writer’s social medias for live Q&As where I could get an insight as to how they’ve monetized themselves and managed to make a comfortable living from home. I’d sign up for newsletters that promised free e-book guides only to unsubscribe afterwards if I felt like the free guide was a regurgitation of blog posts that I could have easily Googled.

I attended a freelance writing and pitching seminar at my local library, I went to free or cheap events…


It’s not what you think.

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Being a writer means that I sometimes find myself working on assignments that aren’t exactly journalism. It’s partially because I try to have more than one stream of income during the pandemic, and it’s also a good brain refresher to work on different types of writing. I spend days writing about climate justice and looking at dismal studies and statistics… it’s a welcome change to write something for a small business or to blog about food.

I answered an online ad this past spring while I was compiling freelance work. An online creator wanted to pay writer around $150 for…


Here’s how …

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2017 was a shit year.

It wasn’t the worst ever, but it was a pretty bad year. I had just finished graduate school at the very end of 2016 and was having a hard time finding a full-time job. The journalism industry was disintegrating before my very eyes, I was putting in $75 to $100 per freelance gig, I was still living with my family, and an emergency room visit that January cleaned out more than half of my savings.

And to add insult to injury, I had only made around $16,000.

Being able to make some money during a…


It’s kept me alive during COVID

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COVID came in a like a lion into my life and took a lot. A job, an apartment, several community members, a relative, my ability to go to my grandfather’s funeral, and more. It’s been crappy.

The first month after being laid off in mid-March, I knew I had to organize myself and create different streams of income. I emailed and got on phone calls with people to inquire about work and began to apply to different gigs.

Finding work has been hectic and just as horrible as you can imagine job searching has been during this pandemic. Thanks to…


IDK why I subscribed to hustle culture…

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I know that I’m not lazy. I work several jobs. I do my best to clean and workout several times a week. I contribute as much as I can to my household and I (sometimes) blog here.

But ever since the beginning of the pandemic… I’ve needed many naps. I sometimes plan micro-naps in the evening or on the weekends in order to get through my day. It’s frustrating to think that I used to be able to pull all-nighters and work more than one job and pretend that I was perfectly fine. But a week without naps often leave…


Red flags… and more.

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The first day of all of my jobs starts the same. I’m overwhelmed, I shake hands with dozens of people, I try to memorize names and I try to learn where the bathrooms are. I usually shake on my way to the office and I’m full of anticipation and adrenaline. And on top of all that, on those first days, I feel exceedingly grateful.

Trying to make it in the media/journalism industry, I know how precarious my presence is. This is an industry that is hemorrhaging jobs, where people like me are the last hired and the first fired. …


Slack messages & virtual happy hours

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When I applied for the social justice fellowship at Girst, I was just a little over a month into being unemployed. I had slowly begun to recover from some medical issues and I finally had enough strength to sit up and send out my application after a friend looked at it.

Several video interviews later, I was called by my now editor who confirmed that I was selected for the fellowship. My hands shook when I accepted the offer in an email. I didn’t go through the usual routine that I leaned on with other job acceptances. …


Photo by Niklas Herrmann on Unsplash

I moved back in with my family soon after COVID-19 hit New York City. It is and isn’t an ideal set up. The WiFi is kind of slow, I live with my parents, my older sister, my cousin and his wife, and my mom runs a daycare downstairs. But buying food is easier here now that I’m part of a unit versus buying everything myself. I no longer have to make every single meal that I eat because half of the time breakfast or lunch is a plate of food that someone at home hands to me.

On the other…


A post health emergency recovery journey

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Earlier this March, gyms in NYC were shutting down due to the looming shelter in place rules. I looked up at-home workouts, figured out where in my tiny apartment I could do stretches and lunges, and dug up my resistance bands from my closet.

Weeks later, I was laid off from my full-time job, had to move back home, and I tried to figure out a workout schedule. I began to speed walk or jog two or three miles in the morning or I’d do a workout video. …


Be polite, but ask questions…

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The only real lesson I learned from a lot of the adults around me about hard work was to put my head down, work hard, do what I have to do, and to be polite to everyone around me. It’s not bad advice. Being a decent co-worker or intern and doing as much work as you can goes a long way and it’s probably kept me employed at gigs were I was an obvious amateur at what I was doing. …

Angely Mercado

Native NYer. Freelance writer in The Nation, Teen Vogue, The New York Times, Vice & more. Hire me: amercado92@gmail.com

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