Tag Archives: fired

What’s Next: Thoughts on the Future While Firmly Planted in the Present

May 9, 2017. Tuesday. I’m in a state of purgatory between employed and unemployed, a limbo where my employer has kindly provided a period of time in which I can complete a few key projects and look for a new job.

Although I’m well aware the logic behind this is to help minimize risk for the company, it is a luxury to have any sort of a transition period after being shown the door. Even though I collapsed into an embarrassing ball of tears upon being let go, I know they’ve done this in a very respectful way. I’ve yet to step foot back in the office — though I will later this week — and I’ve attempted to mitigate my supervisor’s faux interest in creating smooth communications regarding my “decision” to leave the business for new opportunities. Maybe others could play this game well, but I’m a horrible liar. Everyone knows (or will know) that I’ve been asked to leave, and I don’t imagine I’ll attempt to adjust the story if asked. I just want to be heads down, get my work done, and survive the last few weeks of this job before… who knows what. Continue reading

Day 3: Unfunemployment

Day 3. Told husband. He’s sad, but not surprised. He knows I’ve been struggling for a while (i.e. all my life.) The reality of the situation is sinking in. The “transition” period my boss mentioned is now clearly going to be two weeks at most, likely less. At least I have a few days to wrap up projects and try to leave on a positive note, vs the ‘ol being walked to my desk and out the door.

I regret how I handled being notified of my firing as I was not prepared in the moment and thus my reaction was shock more than anything. It was in some ways a release of accepting that I was in far over my head, or that my anxieties rapidly dug me into a hole too deep to every dig myself out of.

Looking back, I am trying to embrace this as a learning opportunity to determine where to go from here, and how to make sure I don’t fall flat on my face when I get there. In terms of my career, in 2010 I started doing some freelance work for a company that sold software to other businesses. Seven years later, I’ve worked for 4 businesses like this, and in each role have learned a bit more. I’ve never learned how to effectively build and lead teams, but I’ve learned a lot about my specific area of business, and what works and what doesn’t.

There’s still the very real issue of my poor interpersonal communications (and just overall people skills.) Had people in the organization liked me more personally, they might be more willing to forgive a few less-than-stellar moments. But I have no social skills and I don’t think this is going to change significantly enough to impact the outcome of my career.

As I meditated on life in a park yesterday in between doing probably too much work for the day I was told to not do any work, I thought about the people who I worked with over the last year and then immediately thought about my childhood — as a kid, I didn’t fit in with the kids who were highly political, smart, yet extremely competitive. I work with a clique which I clearly am not capable of being part of — a sorority of people who say they’re nice and accepting but really who want only other people like them on their team.

That’s not just this company – that’s most companies, especially small companies where people really do become this odd sort of family. I’m that odd duck cousin that no one really wants to invite to the holiday party but they do anyway to keep up appearances, and then everyone talks about me behind my back the second I walk out the door “isn’t she odd.”

I haven’t actually worked for a company where I felt like I fit in, with the exception of one which at times I felt connected with the team because they were a bit more quirky and open to weirdos like myself. The issues I have with interpersonal communication were still quite present, but the feel of the whole company was more open and accepting, so less of my energy was spent on failing to fit in.

I still have few ideas re: what’s next. I spoke with the head of a small agency who does some work for me and told her I’ll be leaving the company, and she offered to provide some consulting work to me if I was interested – which really meant a lot to me because I work with her often and she knows my talents and lack there of, and she didn’t have to offer. I might take her up on that and will at least explore the option of freelancing for a while.

I wanted to experience management and I have, and it’s not for everyone. Or, it may be for me at some point in the future, but in the mean time I want to really focus on being good at what I’m good at, and with that improve my communication skills versus trying to do this AND trying to figure out how to manage. It’s just too much at once. I’ve got plenty of time to be a manager in my career if I want to be, maybe in 20 years after my “kids” have grown up and moved out. So I’ll be 55 and then can be a manager. Or maybe it will happen sooner — or maybe it will never happen again. Freelancing can be quite lucrative as well… so that might be the right path.

No more shoving this square peg into perfectly round holes.

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.)

Continue reading

Was Today Always the Day?

While the timing was a surprise, the act wasn’t. Here I am, yet again, told that “it’s just not working out.”

Usually I have a good idea that it’s going to happen. I knew my boss was not thrilled with my work overall, but I thought our meeting today was going to be an opportunity for her to detail out exactly why she’s disappointed with me and then I’d get a formal warning and I’d be on my way out with a last chance effort to show that I’m not so shitty of an employee. However, when I walked into my meeting and saw the head of HR sitting there, clearly not concluding another meeting, I heard a loud stunned voice in my head go “oh. shit.” Continue reading

Not The Best Year Yet.

Shortly after I was given a new boss said new boss announced that he wants me to leave the company. The company is, from all appearances, protecting themselves and providing some sort of a performance plan to document any and all mistakes, but it seems that no matter what I do right now I’m dead man walking. Needless to say, such a feeling isn’t exactly the most inspiring when it comes to driving further engagement and one’s best work.

At the moment, whether it’s my paranoia or accurate analysis of said situation, I’m hypersensitive to each criticism flung my way by my boss who is not at all supportive and who clearly wants me out. Yesterday. I’m pretty sure he’s overreacting to every tiny error on my part just to build his case to throw me out the door, and there isn’t one person willing to step up and protect me. To be fair, I am not the ideal person for this role, and I’ve struggled with the position both from the day-to-day tasks of the role, as well as in building a team (let’s just say the few hires I did make ended up embarrassingly failures before they even started… and then they never even started!)

Right now I’m in this pickle of a predicament where the only type of roles I’d be considered for are more senior level roles in my particular field/area of my field – yet, those are the jobs where I feel like I’m not the right fit. Sure, I can brainstorm strategy and come up with some good ideas – but I’m not a good team builder and I’m certainly not the best when it comes to ongoing detail-oriented execution. Clearly I can do well enough in an interview(s) to convince certain types of executives that I’m the IT girl that is going to skyrocket their business to success. Then reality hits. And it’s only a matter of time before all the shit hits all the fans. And I’m back to square one.

Then again, I tell myself – maybe this time, it will be different. After all, I’ve learned quite a lot in this role, many things that looking back I could have been much more effective doing if I had such insights before playing a fast-and-loose game of trial-and-error. Maybe I wouldn’t be any better at the execution but I’d be better at staffing up early, hiring for people to do the things I’m not good at (vs trying really hard to prove to myself I can do everything when clearly that’s a recipe for absolute disaster.) Maybe with a fresh opportunity and a growing company I can actually do a good job.

That is the futile optimism that continues to lurk relentlessly in the crevices of my foolish skull. My mental illness, inability to sleep on a regular basis, and general existential emptiness ensure that I run blindly off cliffs in any which direction all while telling myself “I CAN DO THIS.” (No, I can’t. And, fuck it, that’s ok to admit.)

Managing people is it’s own skill and personality type. It’s rewarded handsomely with much better salary and benefits than just managing yourself. It also means that you have to somehow have the ability to take pride in your team’s success and take on some of that success for your own bragging rights (which are necessary to keep you employed vs having a younger, faster, better and eager employee who earns significantly less than you do take your place) and manage to buffer team members who are not performing as well from the powers that be, falling on the sword, so to speak, for those who aren’t performing, and/or figuring out how to jump in and fix shit that you may or may not have any idea how to do. Management sucks.

All of the mind games of corporate life – even in a startup – are too much for my INFP psyche. I’m just a sensitive sap who should be an artist or novelist but instead is writing a series of entertaining yet unfinished whitepapers and shaking hands at conferences silently begging her social anxiety to shut the fuck up. It’s no longer just a cute recurring nightmare of my 20s, this is my life – my career – the entirety of the next however many years I face ahead of me until retirement, and I don’t know what it is that I can do, in a stable sense, to have some kind of sane life where I’m not desperately looking for a new job every 6 to 12 months and ending up right back where I started.

You know?

 

 

 

 

Back to the Start: I got laid off.

After two-and-a-half years at one company, my tenure comes to an end. My boss met with me this morning and told me that due to restructuring, I have to be let go. I pretty much expected that and was surprised I lasted so long. What I didn’t expect was how nice he was in terminating my employment… and how bad he felt about it. Which didn’t really make me feel “good,” but it was nice to know that I am leaving on the best possible terms.

So much for my grand plan to save $20,000 this year. I’ll be lucky if I can break even. More importantly, I need to figure out what on earth to do next. I’ve got some serious thinking to do. Lucky me, I have all the me time in the world to think about it. I’d really like to not just jump into anything… and that may be tempting… so hopefully I can land on my feet in the end, and soon.

In the meantime I’m getting one month’s severance (definitely didn’t expect that), two month’s health insurance, and most importantly of all, positive references for the future. I can get through this, I just want to make the right choice for the coming months and years… and I have no idea (yet) what that will be.