My Last Assignment for the Foreseeable Future

April 02, 2020  •  1 Comment

NBA: Brooklyn Nets at Golden State WarriorsNBA: Brooklyn Nets at Golden State WarriorsMar 12, 2020; San Francisco, California, USA; The box office at Chase Center with closed signs. The game between the Brooklyn Nets at Golden State Warriors was cancelled to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports On Wednesday the 11th, I received a call from my editors to give me a heads up that the Warriors vs Nets game was going to be played without fans in attendance. After Warriors went against the City of San Francisco request and hosted the Clippers on Monday despite concerns for coronavirus spread, Thursday was going to be a big news story that they opted to play without fans.

Within a few hours, everything would change. A game was cancelled with players already on the court and fans in the stands. As the rumor that a player tested positive became fact, all games were cancelled. My assignment then became to cover the empty plaza at Chase Center, and that was my last assignment for the foreseeable future.

NBA: Brooklyn Nets at Golden State WarriorsNBA: Brooklyn Nets at Golden State WarriorsMar 12, 2020; San Francisco, California, USA; Signage posted to doors at Chase Center. The game between the Brooklyn Nets at Golden State Warriors was cancelled to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

 Within a few days, I realized my work load was going to diminish dramatically as guidelines moved from no more than 250 people, no more than 10 people, to shelter-in-place. I stopped keeping track of cancelled assignments after it passed $12K in lost income. A month into a shelter-in-place, I questioned when I'd have a job to return to. As the shelter-in-place is extended, I wonder if I will ever be able to return to my career as I knew it.
 

On KLC fotos, I posted what people can do to support photographers during this time. (Spoiler: Biggest way is to follow social distancing guidelines!) While I hope to maintain KLC fotos to support photographers, I don't personally know what the next step is for me.

I went from navigating the balance of being a new mom and returning to work, with support of a spouse and parents, to a full time stay-at-home shelter-at-home mom, with a spouse who is an "essential worker" and working long hours, often out the door before baby is awake, and home after baby is asleep, and parents who are quarantining themselves and not able to help with baby. On both cases, it's harder for C and my parents to not see A than it is for me to be with her all day. And I know we are the lucky ones! My family is ::knock on wood:: healthy and safe. My spouse is salaried so we not at risk of being unable to cover our basic needs or losing health insurance. And my child is under 6 months so I don't have to worry about her education, social development, or really her having any idea what is going on. I am lucky, privileged, and very grateful.

NBA: Brooklyn Nets at Golden State WarriorsNBA: Brooklyn Nets at Golden State WarriorsMar 12, 2020; San Francisco, California, USA; A worker cleans outside Chase Center. The game between the Brooklyn Nets at Golden State Warriors was cancelled to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

My struggle is more of identity and intention. My decade plus career stopped overnight and I don't know whether it will return in a few weeks, a few months, or will it perhaps be years before we are again filling stadiums and collectively cheering. What will the landscape be when sports do return? I've already seen employees that I would see around the fields/arenas who have been let go by their employers. There is no guarantee there will be a market for the work I do did.

NBA: Brooklyn Nets at Golden State WarriorsNBA: Brooklyn Nets at Golden State WarriorsMar 12, 2020; San Francisco, California, USA; An empty plaza at Chase Center. The game between the Brooklyn Nets at Golden State Warriors was cancelled to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

I felt like I was doing good work with KLC fotos, helping photographers, building client relationships, growing a business, but I'm wondering if I should be developing a skill set to be doing something more "essential". At the same time, I am now doing the very critical role of parenting an infant and therefore don't have bandwidth to take advantage of the shelter-in-place with pandemic productivity. I'm not leading zoom meetings, learning a new languages, volunteering. I feel the most I can do is just get through each day and remind myself that by staying home (apart from walks around the neighborhood) I am doing my part to flatten the curve.

While there is hope that sports and my career can simultaneously return by the fall, without knowing that as a certainty, am I to wait it out and see, and go months without employment? Is this my opportunity to take the maternity leave I never really gave myself and soon everything will return to normal? Or, is my career as I knew it over and I shouldn't be dragging my feet wasting time before discovering and developing my next chapter?

NBA: Brooklyn Nets at Golden State WarriorsNBA: Brooklyn Nets at Golden State WarriorsMar 12, 2020; San Francisco, California, USA; An empty plaza at Chase Center. The game between the Brooklyn Nets at Golden State Warriors was cancelled to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

You may find me trying different methods to have income, identity and purpose in these next few months and I hope you'll give me room for error, feedback, and support as we can all try to be gentle with each other and with ourselves. I hope you and your loved ones can be spared the worst of this pandemic.

Lots of Love,

Kelley


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Thanks for stopping by! I am a photographer based in the beautiful San Francisco Bay Area. Berkeley to be exact. I photograph sports, love, corporate, adventure... and my feet.

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