It’s a sign of the times, I guess. Layoffs are happening. But somehow I always thought it would happen to someone else. After all, I am a high-tech professional with solid skills and work experience, in demand with my customers.
Last Thursday, five minutes before I was due to leave, I was told my client contract, set to run until 12/31, had been canceled. I needed to clean out my desk. I got permission to fetch my daughter from the school bus and come back to do it. So I cleaned out, and went home.
After talking it over with my husband, I decided not to do anything until Monday.
The next day I went to my company representatives and asked what was next. The first question was if I could relocate. The next was if I could travel. The answer to both, of course, was No. I never agreed to travel when I signed up with this company. It is not part of my job requirements. So the email went out to me that they were checking with a local municipality to see if there were any openings…a place I had worked twice before, and who would be glad to get me back. Two hours later I received an email from another person saying that “I have been notified that 10/3/2008 will be your last day with [company name]”. I was in shock. I called the person, and she indicated that I had to be taken “off the books”. As a final cap to that, they cut off my email and access to my time sheets immediately.
I’m still in shock as I write this. I feel panicked, like I need to get a job. That isn’t the case. My husband is pushing for me to take the rest of the year off, which we can do by tightening the belt a bit. And I keep hearing a good friend’s voice as he told me about being laid off and how he regretted jumping into a job right away.
I don’t know what’s next for me. I’m not sure I want to keep doing what I was. After almost 13 years, consulting is getting old…going into places and cleaning up messes caused by short-sightedness…using old technology…building on to terrible designs…dealing with hostile co-workers. Granted not every client is like that (the last one wasn’t), but it is more the norm than the exception.
But do I want to jump into something else? I have the self-discipline to freelance. But what about writing? Or teaching? Or even just taking a break and working retail for a while? (And don’t ANYONE email me and tell me that is a waste of my engineering degree) Sometimes it would be a relief to be able to leave work at work.
But the big lesson for me right now is that it isn’t always the other guy. Sometimes it can happen to us.