Day 2: Unfunemployment

I’m doing work, because that’s all I know how to do. I put together a transition plan for my boss that’s likely to get massively rejected, keeping me gainfully employed though mid June. I actually do have enough high-value work to stay employed until then, the question is whether she is willing to provide this long of a transition period. I’m getting the feeling that’s highly unlikely. I’m actually getting the feeling that she may say it’s best to conclude the relationship immediately. We’re oil and vinegar and she’s not in the mood to let me float.

I feel bad about not telling my husband yet, but he’s already worried about his job security and was just accepted into a teaching graduate program and I just don’t want to share the bad news when it isn’t necessary. He also is completing some work for the company and I don’t want him to feel awkward about finishing projects. As long as I get budget approved, then we can have a clean transition. He already knows I was planning to start looking for new roles in summer, so it’s not exactly a surprise.

I also, fortunately, have enough savings to get through a rough time without anyone knowing the better… though eventually I’ll have to tell him since we either have to go on COBRA or free market insurance (or I need a new job before this happens which is unlikely since I’m not in active interviews at this point.)

It’s definitely nice to not have to worry about money right now (yet) – even if I’m officially terminated next week, I have half month of May paid plus 2-4 weeks severance (probably) and my PTO which, since I never take much-needed vacation, is going to be substantial (I’m sure the company is not thrilled about this, but they knew this would be the case when making the decision to let me go.)

I’m trying to get a handle on my emotions right now. I’m still working, sort of, trying to get projects finished so I can leave on a high note and not feel so miserable about failing to finalize projects and letting my team down. I realize nothing will save the job right now, but at the least I can add a huge amount of value and people will remember me at my best, not my worst (and there’s a lot of “worst” as of late to remember.)

As far as next steps, I’m really lost. I’m lost in a trying to see this as an opportunity to step back and examine my career sort of way, not in a fuck me the world is over kind of way. I know the world isn’t over. One of the benefits(?) of being fired multiple times is that you start to see that it’s not the end of the world. Life goes on. Jobs happen again, even if it takes time. Sometimes jobs that happen are better than past jobs. Sometimes they aren’t. You live and you learn. Yadayada.

But what’s the most challenging right now is the reality that I can find employment in my current line of work (albeit maybe at a lower pay rate), but doing this does not fix anything. Yes, I can take my learnings and apply them early on in the role and not be such a total disaster, but I know over time I’ll slip back into old habits. The interpersonal communication skills and politics that are not natural to me at all cannot be forced consistently.

The feedback I’ve gotten from former managers is that I’m “creative,” a “storyteller,” a “big picture thinker,” even that I “understand the business and problems better than other leaders.” Wonderful. The problem is that every word that comes out of my mouth is a relic of horrible communication. My written communication is slightly better, but not by much. I either write too little or too much.

Yes, some of this can be improved upon. I can hire a coach. I can learn to not press send on emails before carefully reviewing for any accidental overage. I can invest in learning how to act like a leader who people listen to, I can try to be someone I’m not. I can get better at delegating and management and ultimately not overcommitting and getting my shit done on time. There’s plenty room for improvement, but how much can one person actually improve?

Even if I accept defeat and that this career isn’t right for me (it isn’t) then what next? And, so many of these skills are requirements for virtually any job. The only role which might make sense is something in engineering, except I don’t know how to code and I make too many dumb mistakes for that to really be a fit. Other than “persona” I don’t really know where I can make money for an extended period of time. It seems no matter what I’m trying to fit a square peg into a round hole and despite being somewhat malleable I’m popping back out and spending all of my energy trying to shove myself back in, hoping no one notices.

This morning, I left the house at 9:30. Mr. HECC was asleep and didn’t notice. As I stepped outside, I walked through a meadow of cut-down leaves, waiting to be cleared on my apartment complex’s sidewalk. As the branches and leaves sat, gently blowing in the wind, I engaged in the metaphor for life in its present state. Sometimes the good and organic can still grow to fast or impact others negatively and need to be cut down. But that life force will continue to grow, that tree won’t just give up and wilt because someone came along and hacked part of it off.

I drove a few miles to a local chain restaurant with wifi and started to work. Because that’s all I know how to do. Because it’s all too easy to say things are a mess as I haven’t had time to complete open projects, but it would be better if I can at least get some of the low-hanging fruit wrapped up… even if Monday turns out to be my official last day.

Now I’m at a pizza place nestled in the corner with my charger plugged in and taking a lunch break from getting things done and contemplating the meaning of life.

An acquaintance randomly texted me and informed me that she’s 21 weeks pregnant with a girl. So many people I know are pregnant. It’s good that I’m not right now. I’ll probably never be, but this is a good opportunity to make sure i’m in a positive place should that happen.

I’m trying to figure out what I can do that will make enough money to afford life. Husband will be a teacher, which is great, and I’m happy for him, and although he’s worried about income I’m trying really hard to be supportive because that’s his dream. Yes, he’ll be 36  with a $50k starting salary in a part of the county where that’s really not enough to live on, but — I can still figure out how to make enough to provide us a comfortable life… I figure if I can pull in $100k in a lower-stress job and we’re at $150k total, taxes will be lower, and we’ll take home about $7k per month. We can’t afford a $5k mortgage, but with a 1br apartment that is $2.5k/mo we can still manage. We’ll have to cut back, but we can survive. And, if we really need to, we’ll move somewhere with a lower cost of living. We’ll figure it out. I just need to figure out when and what to tell him.

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One comment

  1. Azure says:

    I’m sorry to hear that what you feared finally happened. Hopefully this will be a chance for you to start down a new path, one that is more suited to you. Good luck!

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