Thursday, February 5, 2009

Tough days ahead

I was caught completely by surprise the other day. Shortly after I arrived in the office, I was marched over to Human Resources and told that my job had been eliminated. The reasons I heard were vague and didn't make much sense. They just dismissed the person in the group with the most experience, knowledge, and expertise. Don't these attributes have value to any company? Apparently, not in my case.

I was handed my walking papers and escorted out the door. I wasn't even allowed to pack my things. No, they insisted that I could come back in a couple of days to do that...or have someone else pack my stuff. Nope, as much as I don't really want to go back into the office, I'll be damned if I'll have someone else pawing through my stuff. So, I'll haul myself back, like some type of unwanted disease and gather my things.

The truth? I didn't have allies in the right places and when it came time to chop a few heads, mine ended up at the top of the chopping block. My manager not only managed to find herself a new job but she also managed to make sure there was a replacement req for her position. I'm told they need to cut people from the organization, but they create a new job and backfill the old job? How does that make sense?

Being unemployed in this economy sucks. There aren't many jobs. The jobs that do exist will require a long commute and I'm expecting a pay cut. While I may not have loved my job, the pay, the location, the office suited me just fine. And it's all gone now.

I suppose the positive thing is that people have been so supportive. My colleagues at work are mostly stunned, angry, and just plain baffled as to how I ended up at the top of the Reduction In Force list. And by putting up my status on Facebook and LinkedIn, I've been able to get the word out. I've started to hear from people that I haven't heard from in a long time. Unfortunately, no one has come up with a job offer (but it's only been two days...too much to expect, I know), but it is good to hear from others. And maybe someone will know someone who knows someone who will have something wonderful for me.

I did get a bit of severance pay and I had a lot of vacation accrued. But still, that only gives me 3 months before I have to start using the emergency fund. Which I don't want to use, even though it's there to be used in an emergency.

I hate being unemployed. I hate looking for a job. I hate that the job market really, really sucks right now. The hardest part is the uncertainty. How long? How long will I have to put my plans for vacations, fun, and planned purchases on hold? How long will I have to haunt the job website and recruiters? How long will I have to spend my days looking for new ways to network with people in the hope that something, anything worthwhile will come my way?

I am blessed in that there are people around me who have offered support, love, and comfort (unfortunately, no job leads, yet). As with any sudden rejection (and being sacked is definitely rejection), there is a big hit to one's self esteem. Why ME? Why not someone else? But, I know that these questions are not ones for which I'll get an answer. I need to grieve the loss and try to move on. And having people offering their time and opening their homes to me so that I don't have to get through this on my own is good for my soul.

So, I will start to plan my days...making sure there's structure and goals so I don't end up sitting in a dark corner mumbling to myself. And, to paraphrase something from my favorite online guru, Susan Elliot, "I won't give up the day before the miracle happens."

I'll be OK.

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