Making the Most of Your WRPA Membership After a Layoff

Learn How You Can Benefit from Your WRPA Membership 

A Message from Maryke Burgess, WRPA Sponsorship Co-Chair

Have you found yourself laid off, furloughed, or with reduced hours during this pandemic? Being a member of the WRPA is more important than ever.

The stress of filing for unemployment, reworking personal budgets, major lifestyle changes, and the loss of a sense of purpose is hard. Through no fault of your own, you now find yourself out of work. They didn’t want to let you go. They wanted to keep you. They had no choice and no; they don’t know when things will get better.

Don’t forget the WRPA can be a great asset to you as you look ahead for the next opportunity.

In my case, I was laid off. My entire professional life has been spent dedicated to working in Parks and Recreation. I have worked passionately to serve in nearly every section the last 25 years. It encompassed all the times I’ve helped someone, served the community, got that sponsorship, created a new event, and bonded with coworkers. Over the years these experiences become layered into a meaningful career that I love. A career that you are emotionally tied to because parks and recreation is simply the best!

Then comes this extraordinary pandemic out of nowhere and it might feel like your career is over. It’s not. You’re just in limbo right now and you will make it out on the other side. In the meantime, until you land on your feet again, make the most of your time and utilize all the resources available to you.

How the WRPA Can Help You

Retain Your Membership
Membership keeps you on the forefront of the industry. Take advantage of your member benefits.

Join a committee
Having a sense of purpose is important. So, while you are waiting for that next opportunity, the WRPA can support you by getting involved. As Co-Chair of the Sponsorship Committee, I am still active and helping with other sub-committees. Remaining engaged has done wonders for me during this time and keeps me in the loop.

Member Support & Networking
One of the first things I did was reach out to the WRPA office and I’m so happy I did. They assured me of my value. If you haven’t been active, take the time to look up board and committee members and send a note or email and stay in touch. If you’re not on a committee, ask to be invited to a Zoom meeting for more information.

Develop Yourself Professionally While You Have the Time
Register for the virtual Fall Summit, workshops, Certified Playground Safety Inspector course, or study for your CPRP certification. Let the Professional Development and Education Committees know what you need. They are here to help you grow and want to program the most up to date, relevant content for your benefit.

Employees who have been spared from layoffs are hurting too and they may feel helpless in how they can support you. Stay in touch. Sometimes a good chat is all it takes to keep your spirits up. Together with the resources of the WRPA and encouragement from members, former coworkers and colleagues I still feel like part of the tribe and included. I’ve received a cascade of positivity and kindness in the form of weekly phone calls, emails, social distancing visits, heartfelt letters of recommendation, and links to job openings that has fueled me into knowing that I can get through this. You can too. 

Maryke Burgess
Co-Chair, WRPA Sponsorship Committee
City of Everett Supervisor (former)

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