Funemployment, Here I Come
I have always believed that no matter how bad things are, they could be worse. That isn’t fatalism; it’s simply a recognition that we all have things for which we should be thankful, even during times of difficulty. Like now.
For the last few days, I’ve been quietly bemoaning having to return to work after a week of leisure on the south-central coast of North Carolina. This morning, I lost my job. Be careful what you wish for.
I’ve been laid off three times (job elimination in two cases and company closure in the other) but this is the only time I have ever been terminated ostensibly for performance reasons. The details aren’t important. I’ll just say that there is one particular metric, a relatively new one, by which someone in my job function was evaluated, and I haven’t kept up despite doing the actual job at a high level. It’s the equivalent of a sales person achieving an overall sales quota and meeting all quality standards but falling short on the number of individual customers. Evidently the forest isn’t nearly as important as each separate tree.
In delivering the bad news, my boss went out of her way to say that it wasn’t personal and to tell me how much I would be missed for all of the other things I did well. It wasn’t the least bit comforting. At least the company had the minimal decency to give me a couple of months of severance pay and not contest an unemployment insurance claim. Wahoo.
So now I head into winter looking for another job. The bright side is that I haven’t been happy there for most of my tenure and stayed only because they sank their claws into me a little deeper with every raise, promotion, extra week of vacation, and matching contribution to my retirement account. The dark side is that the economy and the job market still suck. And unlike the last time I was unemployed, I now have a mortgage.
Already this afternoon, I have signed up on Monster.com, talked to two potential networking contacts, and mowed my front lawn (it needed doing and, hey, I have time). No moss on me. I also no longer have any excuse not to finish my upstairs bathroom renovation, which I’m doing mostly myself. If I were paying someone to do it, it would stay undone for the time being.
But as I said before, it could be worse. I could be the 66-year-old man with a bad heart who waited years for a donor only to get one and then die from complications. I could be the 7-year breast cancer survivor who just found out that the disease had not only returned but also spread throughout her body. I could be the retiree descending into dementia. All those problems and more have recently befallen people I know. In the grand scheme of things, I am very fortunate indeed.
Still, if anyone out there sees fit to toss some prayers/positive energy/good juju my way, I won’t complain.