Wednesday, June 10, 2009

as one door closes

I learned Monday I no longer have a job.

I'll spare you the technicalities and simply say that after 12 years at the same company, working up from an entry level job through the ranks to Senior Manager, in a few weeks I will be unemployed. In fact, other than cleaning out my office and possibly a few transition discussions, I'm essentially no longer working as of today.

So, what does this mean?

First please do not worry about me or my family. We are and will be OK. The upside of being with the same company for 12 years is I will get a generous severance package which will allow me to conduct a sane and thoughtful search for whatever is next. You won't see my pulling shots at Starbucks. Unless the baristas are slow or try to put water in my grande nonfat dirty chai latte. 'Cause then, outta my way.

Before I even think about my next job, I'm going to take a little time to regroup. That may mean I'll be doing a lot more writing on the blog, tweeting in Twitter, and whatever the verb is for what people do on Facebook. (Does that have a name? Is "Facebooking" a thing now?) So for those who read, follow, stalk, or are "friends" with me, this could be a good thing. Or it could be very bad, as it may rapidly devolve into even more mundane minutia than it already is.

Possible tweets/status updates during unemployment:
  • Ate breakfast. Can't believe how many calories are in cheese. So good though.
  • Staring at breakfast dishes. Knife and fork perfectly aligned. Is this plate REALLY dirty?
  • Thinking about clearing breakfast dishes. They look so peaceful there, though.
  • Can this microwavable container be recycled?
  • Have an itch.
  • Are those ants? No, crumbs. Sherman!
  • Where are my pants?

So, be looking forward to that.

Before too long I'll need to find another job. I mentioned my severance was generous, and it is, but not "never need to work again" generous. Besides, even if I thought we could go for months without me working, I honestly think I would lose my mind, both from boredom and the anxiety of needing to support my family. I never thought of myself as the caveman type, but when faced with the possibility of prolonged unemployment and lack of income, with the idea that I might not be able to continue providing my children the things they want and need, I start feeling very Cro-Magnon. "Ugh. Must protect woman and man-cubs. Grg. Must hunt and gather. Mmm. Need more cheese." They probably didn't have cheese, I guess.

Some have already asked me what I want to do next. Truthfully I'm not sure. I'll need to refine my ability to describe what it is I do (and want to do). Not "where do you work," but "what do you do?" Because clearly people are hired to DO things, so there must be a way to tell people what I DO that will make them want to pay me generously to DO that thing for THEM. I'm not sure "I write emails and talk to people and go to meetings" is going to get me very far.

Is there such a thing as a job where I can be at various times focused, silly, raunchy, serious, irreverent, lazy, brilliant, dedicated, aloof, committed, creative, annoyingly specific, argumentative, fiercely logical, self-contradictory, all the while doing something that excites me while still having some time and energy for my family and my non-work life and being handsomely compensated both monetarily and emotionally? That job exists, right? Hm.

So, for now, I'm brielfy hitting the pause button on my working life. I'm thinking about what I want and what should be next, and starting to casually talk to people I know in a slightly less casual way than before - realizing all these people I know are, in fact, a "network," and that before long I will need to "activate" them. Hopefully that isn't grounds for divorce.

There will definitely be more to come about this nascent next phase of our lives. I hope it's more interesting than what I had for breakfast. Though, seriously, really good cheese.



  1. I'm sorry to hear about this, Michael. But, it could turn out to be the best thing ever. I think it could be fun to read the minutia ;-) I'm glad that y'all will be okay and I love how wonderfully level headed you are about this situation. Your take on it may very well be the thing that propels you on to your next journey/career path.
    and now that I'm *finally* (again) following you on Twitter, it'll be easier to keep up with that stuff!
    Good luck!

  2. I'm so glad to see you have such a positive outlook about it all.

    I understand where you are coming from. My husband was laid off twice in 18 months a few years back. He had no severance pkg, so we lived on my salary + unemployment. We came close to losing it all, but didn't in the end. But he went through months of feeling like a failure because he wasn't "Providing" for us. It was a difficult lesson for him to learn that he's not defined by his job, but by who he is.

    He's in a wonderful job now that offers us the ability to commute together and for us both to be close to our daughter during the day.

    I firmly believe EVERYTHING happens for a reason, and that you will, at the end of the day, come out of this better than ever.

    Personally, I look forward to breakfast tweets. As long as there is a twitpic to go along with it. I love me some food porn!

  3. Sounds like it's time to work through "What Color Is Your Parachute" if you haven't already.

  4. Well, you could edit people's 200-word autobiographies. You're really stellar at that. If career Nirvana is not out there, then I think knowing what you want will at least get you closer in your next job. Sending you my most hopeful thoughts.

  5. I'm sorry to read this. This economy is really bringing me down man.

  6. Well, as I said in a previous message, I truly believe these things happen for the better...but I'm sure it still sucks on some level. Good for you for taking some time to figure out where you want to go next. I'm sure it would be easy to panic & jump into something else really quickly.

    My thoughts are with you & here's to hoping you find what your true calling is!

  7. I have been out sick for the past few days, and I think I just put on my pants for the first time this morning...drives me nuts! Good luck with this new phase, could be very exciting.

  8. There are far worse things that can happen!

    I was in about the same situation nine months ago: Leaving a 10-year job as a mid-level manager, but with a decent enough severance cushion plus unemployment that I knew we could survive for a while - I was the family's primary income at the time.

    I gave myself the rest of September off, devoting the time to developing my site and seeing what's out there. Sometime around Thanksgiving, I started to freak out a bit because there wasn't much out there. The recession probably is a depression where we live, and even barista work was out due to astronomical day-care costs here.

    Slowly, though, freelance work started to come through and by spring I was seeing a way this could work. At least for now. And I'm wondering if finding something that works "at least for now" is simply the way it's going to be. I'm OK with that. I've always kind of scratched my head anyway at the "where do you see yourself in five years" question on my annual reviews anyway. Well, I see myself sunning in Port au Prince, but that's probably not the answer the bosses were looking for.

  9. That is so great that you can take the time to really figure out what you want to do next, as well as take a little break from the humdrum of the 9-5 lifestyle. I know that with today's economy it is harder to find work, but work IS out there...I just hope you can find something that truly makes you happy. I honestly believe that spending your time at a job you don't like is the worst hell of them all. Then again, many people I know are happy to simply be employed right now...

    Aaannnyyyways...enjoy your time! I look forward to reading your tweets about the dishes, breakfast, odd piece of lint, so tweet away my friend. Tweet away!

    (and yes, cheese is good)

  10. I'm sorry to hear this, and that you've now joined the ranks of us unemployed. But, it sounds like you're in a good place at least. And should you hear of that job, the one where you can be all those things, would you let me know? ;)

  11. No cheese for the cavemen??
    Dude.. the stone age SUCKED.

  12. Phew! Who knew starting this blog adventure you would have drama around the corner? I guess we never know :)

    I've heard (and hoping) that this time is the time to pursue your heart's passions rather than the tried and true path. Create the job you love.

    Professional blogger? Internetter? Is there such a thing?

  13. Crap. Does this mean you're going to have more free time to make fun of me? :o)

    Here's to hitting the pause button!

  14. oh man dude that sucks but like the saying goes one door closes but a million open or something like that! just dont tweet from the restroom LOL

  15. Sorry to hear about your job, although I AM looking forward to those scintillating breakfast dish Tweets

  16. Your attitude about it all is so positive and I think that will serve you well. Of course it sucks to be shown the door but, as you alluded to in your title, it could be the opening of a fantabulous window!

  17. I am so sorry to hear this but as your subject heading says when one door closes, another more wonderful one opens up. Good luck on your coming adventure I hope it doesn't hold too many twists and turns but many miraculous things

  18. my dude... i'm sorry. i've been meaning to comment on this for days now and can come up with nothing else to say than i'm sorry.

    aside from that, i can selfishly say that i'm looking forward to reading more of your shitz... whether that be via blog, twitter, or "facebooking."

  19. Hang in there Michael! I am confident you'll find something you love that allows you to run the gamut you listed above (except maybe raunchy? I don't know how well that goes over in the non-profit world).

    P.S...I have a copy of "What Color Is Your Parachute" if you want to borrow it!

  20. I think it totally sucks that you don't have a job but I'm glad things are going as well as can be under the circumstances. I'm glad you've got the luxury to find the next job at an unhurried pace.

    I look forward to many more blog posts, etc. I'm a fan. I'm really glad you're blogging - and it helps me keep up with you and your family!

    Change is good and it really sounds like it will be for you!

  21. Dude. You just wasted 7 perfectly legitimate tweets. For a blog post.

    Sad days.

  22. Surely that tweet should read "Dude, where are my pants"?

    The inclusion of the word "dude" will make you appear far more in tune with what The Young People say these days.

    Good luck with the (hopefully brief) period of unemployment and the Brave New Job that surely lies ahead.

  23. It's such a bullshit line, but I honestly think stuff like this is the proverbial god closes a door and opens a window kind of thing. I know so many people who lost "ho-hum but paid the bills" jobs, but because of that kick in the ass, they then found "THE" thing that completed them. Look at this as the opportunity to find that "focused, silly, raunchy, serious, irreverent, lazy, brilliant, dedicated, aloof, committed, creative, annoyingly specific, argumentative, fiercely logical, self-contradictory" job. And in the meantime, HAVE FUN!

  24. I am so sorry that you lost your job. But I think it's neat that you will be able to take some time and really figure out what you really want to do. I think you will find an even better job that you love!!!

  25. I'm sorry, Michael. My Michael was laid off/fired/let go/whatever b/c he was a top ranking captain at the cargo company he flew for. Sucks. Big time. Sucks, big time, to be let go b/c you hold the most rank and make good money. Ahh the world we live in.

    I'll be on Twitter to reply to your tweets, my friend.

    Now go find me on FB.. /mishelle.nasokylane

  26. Sorry about the job. It is shocking when you find out that you are not needed at somewhere you have worked for a long time. It happend to me once. The only problem is the fact that there is so much time in a day that you never had before. I went stir crazy. Luckily it was winter and I went skiing when I didnt have interviews.

  27. I am glad you at least have a good severance package. After 10 years at the same place and 30-something years in the workforce, a break from working was just what I needed when I got laidoff in January. My only problem is I need to turn the pause button off and it's not working right. Enjoy your pause time and good luck when you decide to return to the working world.

  28. I'm seriously curiously into which of those categories I would fit. Stalk? LOL :) I think it is very smart to make this a conscious and well-thought-out search, rather than a mad scramble. I'm worry you're having to go through it, but I'm hopeful and excited for you that this might be an awesome adventure and bring sonderful things your way! :)


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