All she wants for Christmas is a job — and why she feels AI is preventing her from getting one

Palasciano’s résumé as creative director packs a punch, but, for first time in two decades in workforce, it’s not proving to be enough

The companies on Amanda Palasciano’s résumé — those she has worked for directly or through an ad agency as a creative director — are beyond impressive: Amazon, Walmart and Chewy, to name just a few.

Her greatest skillset — message testing on words, phrases, images, you name it — has never been more important. After all, we live in a time when brands can get canceled with one misstep in their messaging.

Palasciano also has what is supposed to be the attribute employers covet the most: She can write.

The five books she has published prove that. As does the powerful LinkedIn post she put up earlier this month, detailing a troubling trend in the work world for anyone looking to make a living with their creativity. Palasciano was let go in the first week of August.

“Four months. I’ve been out of work four months,” she started. “Prior to now, I’ve never been out of work for four minutes.

“I’m crushed over what is happening in my industry.”

The reason appears to be artificial intelligence. The data bears it out.

For months, Palasciano, 42, has struggled to find a job opening — or even a freelance gig, which used to come so easily in the creative community.

The ads for jobs at her level, which used to attract 40-50 applicants in the first 24 hours, now attract 4,000-5,000, she said.

The ads for jobs at a level below her, the ones that used to call for a junior or senior copywriter, now ask for an AI copywriter, whatever that may be.

And then, there’s this: That powerful LinkedIn post has drawn 663 likes, 40 reposts and 135 comments, most of which are from out-of-work creatives (from all over the world) commiserating with her plight.

But … no job offers.

“I’ve had more than 100 comments from people who are in the same boat,” she said. “It was not at all what I was expecting. It’s actually been really frightening. I was hearing things like, ‘Me, too,’ to ‘It’s been 6 months, or 9 months, or a year for me.’”

The scary thing, Palasciano said, is that she thought she had been preparing for the next-generation workforce. While she still writes on the side (her most recent book came out this spring), she had moved away from copywriting and into data-driven analysis of words. (Raise your hand if you thought data jobs were the future.)

The new future apparently is AI. Just this week, the state of New Jersey and Princeton University celebrated the coming creation of an AI hub on the Princeton campus — one that aims to bring next-generation jobs to the state.

Palasciano is worried about what it means for the present day. She can only hope that AI is not up to the task.

“There are a ton of green light, red light words,” she said. “There are things we would do on the ad side: Strategy, testing and data, things we’d work on for months — now, they’re going to hire someone who is just going to input some prompts?

“In my heart, I know these ads are not going to perform, but I can’t tell businesses that. They have to see it for themselves, which I think is going to be somewhere toward the end of 2024.”

That doesn’t help her today.

Palasciano, speaking from a $3,100-a-month apartment in Red Bank that is now $3,100 a month more than she can afford, is using all of her work ethic and ingenuity to stay afloat. Her book won’t pay out until January — but even that won’t substantially help her income. eBay has been her biggest source of revenue of late.

Interested in Palasciano?

Here’s a website that has a portfolio of her work.

Here’s a link to her book.

Here’s a list of items she has on eBay.

“I know I’m going to have to move for my next job, so I just started purging now,” she said.

The Eric Church and Johnny Cash memorabilia she picked up when she was living in Nashville — that’s long gone.

So are the Gucci shoes — the purchase she made when she got back on her feet after getting out of an abusive relationship. They barely fetched 10 cents on the dollar for what she paid.

Not that she is complaining or looking for sympathy.

“I know, ‘Boo-hoo me, first-world problems,’ I get it,” she said. “But, when I came out of an abusive relationship 10 years ago, and I had nothing when I left, I worked really hard to be able to buy nicer things on my own — brand names and jewelry — and, now, that’s all gone.”

Material items, of course, can be replaced. Her bigger concern is whether AI can replace her — and people like her.

“I’ve always worked, and now I’m not,” she said. “I feel like I’m living someone else’s life. And I’m worried that I’m never going to work again. I’ve honestly never been so scared in my life, like: I’m not sleeping, I’m not eating. I’m a wreck.”

She’s trying to stay strong for the others in the creative world who suddenly find themselves on the sideline. Her LinkedIn post ended like this:

“If you’re out there searching, you are not alone.

“If you’re feeling depressed, you are not alone.

“I miss working so much it’s insane. It’s all I’ve had for a long time. I’ve moved 34 times in my life, most for work. And I’d do it again. I just need to create.

“Please bump, share, like, anything for vis. I know there’s been a ton of layoffs, with more coming every day. But, together, we can all get back to making things.”

(Read the complete LinkedIn post here.)