Gini Dietrich

My Hot Mess: How Susan Cellura Is Coping During a Pandemic

By: Gini Dietrich | June 19, 2020 | 
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My Hot Mess: Susan CelluraIn a series called My Hot Mess, inspired by the Wall Street Journal, we’ll speak to communicators around the globe about the things they’re doing right now to get through this hot mess we call life.

Today we talk to Susan Cellura about how she’s coping during a pandemic. Check back every Friday to learn about a new victim communicator and how they’re coping during this crazy time.

What the heck?

Back in March, I was working from home and getting ready for Spring Break.

Then, BAM! Ran straight into a wall.

All of us.

And now it is one thing after another. 

At first, it was fun being home with my 14-year-old daughter while my husband worked upstairs.

But then the shine wore off.

The eye rolls, the door slams, the shoulder shrugs, and the mood swings returned.

Not being able to go out and see friends became, and still is, quite painful.

But we have toilet paper and iPhones so TikTok and binge-watching are quite normal.

(Disclaimer: I watch TikTok.) 

The Quicksand of Job Hunting

You’re playing and you think everything is going fine. But then one thing goes wrong. And then another. And another. And you try to fight back but the harder you fight the deeper you sink until you can’t move. Can‘t breathe. Because you’re in over your head. Like quicksand.” — Keanu Reeves’ character, Shane Falco, describing a football player’s fear in the movie, The Replacements. (Disclaimer: If you’re easily offended, don’t watch this movie.)

Amidst a global pandemic, civil unrest, hurricane season, and other “events’ happening at the same time, I continue to look for a job and I truly feel like I’m in quicksand.

About a week ago, I wrote an article on LinkedIn that seemed to resonate with other communicators who are also struggling with their job hunts. 

Here is the question: how is it possible that, in a time where communication is needed the most, companies are not hiring left and right?

I understand the economy affects the budgets and we’re stuck in a circle, but not having good, strong communicators supporting you, as well as preparing for whatever’s coming next, including the next brand campaign, growing employee engagement, updating culture and business goal expectations, etc.

That’s my fear, my quicksand—not finding a solid quality communications job—soon.

It’s not just about paying bills; it’s also about finding fulfillment for myself.

Look, Ma! It’s a Squirrel!

Short attention spans, similar to the squirrel scenes from the movie Up, can be quite beneficial.

If you don’t have short attention spans, aka “squirrels”, it helps to be able to create them via distractions.

Even though Gini doesn’t like squirrels as distractions, I do.

In my hot mess world, I am thankful for the following squirrels:

  • My daughter plays volleyball and that they opened practices up a few weeks ago
  • The weather in my neck of the woods has been pleasant for most of the past four months, allowing an escape to fresh air whenever possible
  • The dog loves me the best
  • I do more cooking and yard work myself
  • I have books to read
  • And can yell at job application algorithms
  • I can make my daughter and her friends laugh 
  • My husband has an office upstairs where we don’t have to see him during the day
  • I can still laugh
  • I can walk out of the room when needed
  • Deep down my daughter really does love me

We All Need Lots and Lots of Heart

I think right now we all need lots and lots of heart.

And on some days, it is so awfully hard to have heart.

There are days where I want to give up and run away.

I think I’ve cried twice so far, which is rather good, I think.

But there are days where I’m low and it sucks.

But then one day golf came back in the form of the “Capital One’s The Match”: Tiger/Peyton versus Brady/Mickelson, which raised $20 million for COVID-19 relief.

That was a great afternoon!

The guys were mic’d and it was so much fun to see them play and give each other grief.

I felt so normal that afternoon.

Last week I watched golf while I cooked dinner.

There wasn’t a gallery but it was still something.

(I see that they are trying to figure college football and other sports but I’m not sure how that is going to work out.)

But it’s SOMETHING. It helps me keep the hope and heart going.

I put my heart into my daily life, especially my daughter.

I cannot imagine being a teenager, about to start high school, during a time like this.

It is a crazy emotional time anyway—hormones, dramatic drama, mean girls, BOYS. Stupid TikTok and Snapchat.

Back to the heart.

I, by my actions, must show and teach her how to react to stress, bad times, good times, etc.

How I react teaches her so very much.

I must keep my attitude positive and not give up.

Not turn to crutches such as drinking and such.

To win, so to speak, I must have heart, fight each day, believe we will get through this, and LEAD.

I need to be the crutch for my daughter and my family. 

Gotta Get Up and Try

There are plenty of days I don’t want to get out of bed or deal with dramas that aren’t that dramatic.

BUT like Pink sings, I gotta get up and try. 

One strength that I have been complimented on many times is that I will find a way to get the right thing done.

If the right communications project has to happen and obstacles are thrown in the way, I will find a solution to overcome that It.

I will get my daughter to practice while networking via my laptop and cell phone.

(You have no idea how many phone calls I have been on while sitting in my car in the parking lot.) 

Thus, I get up and try every day.

As for the world, I MUST believe that things are eventually going to change for the positive:

  • I will get a great job
  • My daughter will once again make her volleyball club and school teams
  • We will overcome COVID-19
  • And become more understanding 
  • We will get through a passive hurricane season
  • And become America again
  • We will get to hug our family and friends again

And I’m going to help make this happen one book at a time, one volleyball practice at a time, one great day and one bad day at a time, one meal at a time, one laugh and one cry at a time, one 14-year-old drama at a time, and hopefully many job interviews/offers at a time.

About Gini Dietrich


Gini Dietrich is the founder, CEO, and author of Spin Sucks, host of the Spin Sucks podcast, and author of Spin Sucks (the book). She is the creator of the PESO Model and has crafted a certification for it in partnership with Syracuse University. She has run and grown an agency for the past 15 years. She is co-author of Marketing in the Round, co-host of Inside PR, and co-host of The Agency Leadership podcast.