Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Canned with Constellation

Today was my last real day of work.  Tomorrow all I will be doing is turning in my blackberry and handing over my badge.  Then it is done and I will be officially unemployed.  I thought I knew how I would feel about this, but today I find a mixed bag of feelings and emotions, and I am unsure what to do with them.  If it weren’t so blasted hot outside, I’d run them off.  And I may yet do that.
Today was a day of uncertainty for many of my coworkers and I hated that for them.  Everyone was awaiting “the call” which would tell them their position was no longer funded and request that they attend a meeting to discuss the matter.  Due to the type of layoff I accepted, I already knew my fate and I had made peace with that.  Losing my job would not devastate my little family, and I planned to look for some way to work on my Master’s in Public Affairs full time.  If that wasn’t doable, another job of some sort. 
Because my job as a Project Coordinator was not my dream job, I was okay with giving it up.  While I liked my company (Jacobs ESTS) quite a bit, the work I did for Upper Stage Systems Engineering left much to be desired.  It wasn’t challenging and, to me, it wasn’t interesting either.  It was a good job though, and there were some nice people in the mix, not to mention a good pay check.  So I couldn’t really complain.  Most days I could talk myself into taking joy in the work my hands found to do.
And then all at once, the horrible layoff did not seem so horrible when no one around me had been laid off.  I was thrilled for them but confused as well.  I did not want any of them to be sent home.  Many depended on their paychecks and others really liked their jobs.  My prayers for these families and friends went up and yet I still imagined the worst.  The company e-mails and meetings filled with words of woe and warning left little hope that any of us would be able to stick around. 
Yet, it seemed that everyone but me was in fact sticking around.  Wonderful, yes.  Exciting, certainly.  And yet I felt like the sucker.  No longer did I feel I’d made a difficult yet smart decision.  I felt as if I’d taken the bait.  The Director called me shortly after I received the happy news from my employed co-workers.  He thanked me for the sacrifice I had made so that others might keep their jobs.  He said it was selfless of me and some other words of praise for my decision. 
It was nice of him to call, and maybe there was some part of me glad to give up a job I didn’t necessarily need or want so that others were able to keep theirs.  But that wasn’t why I did it.  I never even considered that it might help.  I knew there was a slim chance of my task being funded and that is why I volunteered to go.
So I feel duped.  The joke is on me.  Still, I must ask myself, do I really want the job?   The answer is no.  In fact, the first week on the job I knew I had made a mistake in taking it.  I knew I’d taken the easy road, accepting what was immediately available instead of waiting for something that would be a better fit.
I want to do something in which I am interested, maybe even passionate.  I want to be a part of what is going on around me, not merely the person who exists on the outside helping with the minutia.  I want to write.  I want to think.  I want to contribute.  I want to plan.  I want to use my creative juices and see what happens.  I want to be challenged to grow in areas ready to sprout and burst into something that matters…maybe only to me, but that would be enough. 
Naïve?  Idealistic?  Maybe so.  I probably always have been a little of both those things.  I think God can use that, however, and I intend to let him.  I will not take the easy, familiar road this time.  I will keep my eyes and ears open to all possibilities around me and ask for His guidance in taking the next step.
So I feel excitement.  Hope.  Curiosity.  Possibility.  I have no idea what is around the corner, but I’m already looking forward to it.  Whatever else I am feeling will eventually fade as the distance between myself and this day lengthens.  Whatever the truth is, whatever people think won’t matter in a few minutes.  I’m already looking in a new direction and this time I’m really going to try to let God lead me to a place I belong. 
Until then, patience and courage.  Prayer and, of course, lots and lots of running.  


  1. i'm praying the full-time school gig works out for you. and when it does, this reader believes you should start writing more. write a book. or running articles. if school's gonna' take you a year (just made up that time completely) and you have a way to pay for it and not work... then that's one year ahead you could get in the writing process, getting your name out there, creating a following.

    yep, i think you should be a writer -- albeit a writer with a masters in... public administration, did you say?

  2. Thanks for sharing so openly about all of that, Jane. It really is so confusing and up in the air. Sure wish there'd been more information for you when you made that decision, but I do think you can turn it around for good.

  3. Brett, I think that is what I am going to do. Jason has encouraged the same and I am determined not to waste this time, but to use it for something I've always put off.

    By the way, I'm reading Born to Run and I LOVE IT! The chapter told from Vigil's point of view is amazing. I plan on writing about that soon, including some of the quotes from the book. It made me want to get outside and run until my legs fell off. :)

  4. I'm praying for you, Jane! I've been in almost the exact same situation, and you're keeping the right attitude. It's scary to not know what the future holds, but it's so exhilarating at the same time. I know God has huge plans for you - you're so talented.

    And when you publish that book, I can say I knew you when. :o)

  5. that jason's a smart guy. i'm really excited about you getting to write more. you're good at it. if i can do anything to help (proofread, edit, etc), let me know.

    i'm glad you like the book. because i'm running barefoot now, i'm really interested to know how someone who runs as much as you feels about the running mechanics and form bit... keep me up to date.

  6. Thank you, Amanda! I hope there is a time when you get to say, "I knew her when." That would be GREAT!

    Brett, I have a feeling (although I am not to that part yet, I can see where it is headed) that I will agree with what they say. And, as I've been reading, I have found myself wishing I had places to run like that. Wishing it were safe for me to go see these people. Wishing for more places to run than all over Madison. I think I'd be open to trying something barefoot if I had other places. I don't think these feet were meant to run on sidewalks and asphalt. Maybe trails and sand and such, but not what is available to me here.

    I HAVE seen these rubber toe shoe things on people's feet at races recently, and I've heard many others being open to trying those. It may be as close as we city-dwellers can get.

    Since starting to read Born to Run, I've started paying attention to not only my form, but my attitude and thoughts while running. Why am I doing it? What do I want from it? Should I want anything? And I try to stop all plans and agendas and just enjoy the movement (as well as work out any left over inner angst toward the whole job thing).

    And I dream of trying more than I'd planned to do...maybe a 50 miler...someday. They make it seem like if you love it, you can do whatever you want with it ("it" being running). And I love it so...

  7. some of my easiest barefoot runs have been on pavement. you'd be surprised at how comfortable it can be. but it's also true that i do most of my runs now in water shoes -- you know those little aqua sock things? yeah, those. i seem to have the same form when wearing those, so i'll go with it.

    i'm thinking about getting some of those vibram five fingers you're talking about -- but i'm not willing to buy them without trying 'em on. so... it'll be at least august 2011 before i run with those babies.

    i've been trying lately to make sure i smile when i'm running.

    which 50-miler would/will you choose? my next big race is going to be comrades. not sure when.

  8. Barefoot on pavement, huh? Well then. Maybe it would work for me. Might get some strange looks around here but...might be worth it. ;)

    I'm not sure about which 50 miler. WHEN depends on some factors. Like family-making factors and whatnot.

    BUT, say the cooler temps show up and I am just like I am now...I might do something like Dizzy Fifties here in Huntsville OR find one somewhere else. New, unseen trails are exciting to me. I've thrown around the idea of Mountain Masochist because I have a good friend who has done it. But that might not be for this year. Maybe next....