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.