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Lost my job

July 23rd, 2016 at 04:03 pm

I was let go from my job this week--the perfect dream job that I could hardly believe my luck to land back in November 2014. I was lucky enough to have 20 months of excellent income and entry into the new career that I set my sights on a decade ago.

The main problem was this job being not just a new job, but a new career--and my firm being a small firm, where I was the only one who did my type of work. Communication was a related problem--in retrospect, there were things that my boss didn't say (because he assumed I already knew them) and/or I didn't ask (because it was a new industry and I didn't yet know it was important to ask). My boss held my hand the first six months--and then dropped it. When left to doing things totally on my own, I made a couple of errors. This year--the second time around--I went by SALY ("same as last year") as the guiding rule--but there were a couple of things that my boss had done in my stead the previous year while I was learning the ropes, so following SALY was misleading and I found myself behind and rushing to meet deadlines. If I had had a timeline written out for me of “what to do when,” that wouldn’t have happened, but I was left to infer much of what I needed to do, rather than being explicitly told. I learned a lot by doing things on my own, but I learned some of them by the process of making mistakes, unfortunately.

The errors I made mostly occurred back in tax season. At the time, there was about 6 weeks where things were extremely tense at work and I was waiting for the other shoe to drop. I formalized some workflows and checks and wrote out a timeline for myself of what needed to be done by when, and things actually went smoothly for second quarter, so I thought I was over the hump. But then last month, I had one project that required me to use our software in a new way, and my boss caught was essentially a proofreading error (before the project went out the door). I’m pretty sure that was the straw that broke the camel’s back and sealed my fate.

I learned a HUGE amount on the job and for that will forever be grateful. I also had the best income that I have ever had. I made some improvement to my financial situation as a result, but, after having lived on a shoestring with part-time and temp job income for five years, I was also a lot more “spendy” than I might otherwise have been, so, while my debt is better structured and my assets and net worth are up, the net improvement from when I started the job is only about 35K, and it could have been 10-15K more if I had reined in my spending more.

The feelings haven’t kicked in yet--I’m a classic repressor and things end up eating me up from the inside out and I eventually get sick, rather than my being able to feel anything. Actually, I’ve been feeling extreme exhaustion the past several months and I’m finally going to the doctor on Monday to get that checked out while my health insurance is still in effect.

My best friend’s dog was diagnosed with cancer the same day I lost my job, so I have been spending the evenings at her house, cooking dinner together and watching movies--misery loves miserable company. This is very sad but has also been helpful to us both.

I’ve already been to the local group for unemployed professionals and have a plan written out for next week which includes updating my resume and job stories and revamping my elevator pitch, getting active again in some local networking groups, and reactivating my job search leads on Indeed and Monster.

So far I have mostly told just a few close friends, but I have one former academic advisor who has become a friend whom I emailed, and I will be talking to her in about an hour, and I have a list of several friends to call and tell what happened and get some support and advice and keep them on the alert for any potential connections.

There is also a weird element of relief in that my health has deteriorated while working at this job--I never could get used to a job starting at 8 a.m. when the entire 25 years of my career before this, I worked at jobs that started at 9 or 10. (Yes, I know how lucky this is. One way of looking at what has happened to me is that it is a lot easier to take the academic out of academia than it is to take the academia out of the academic. Excessive but late-starting working hours are what I have done my whole career.) I have worked a lot of evenings and weekends for months, so the idea of being able to sleep in a bit and take the time to go to the doctor and get myself tested to see if my exhaustion is anything other than lack of sleep, and to also go back to the gym regularly (which I stopped doing back in February), is welcome.

Unfortunately unemployment is one thing I have learned all too well how to cope with (at least for short periods, as I have never been really long-term unemployed), so I have a well-worn routine to draw on for now.

On a side note, the only person from this blog who I have met in person is Patient Saver. We have both been on this site for a decade now, and over that time, our lives and careers have seemed to have a lot of odd parallels in terms of when we have gotten and lost jobs and dealing with family issues--so when I saw a couple of weeks ago that she had been laid off, I had this feeling in my gut that I might soon be sacked too. Just a wierd coincidence, but it added to the feeling of not being surprised when I was actually let go on Wednesday.

18 Responses to “Lost my job”

  1. Carol Says:

    Wishing you all good outcomes--health and job!

  2. creditcardfree Says:

    So sorry to hear this. I hope the next job is just around the corner for you.

  3. LuckyRobin Says:

    Sorry to hear you lost your job. I hope you find something more suitable to your health soon.

  4. rob62521 Says:

    I am so sorry. Hope you find something you really like very soon.

  5. CB in the City Says:

    Oh my goodness, so sorry. It sounds like your job was very stressful; I hope you find something better.

  6. Househopeful Says:

    So sorry to hear about your job. I hear you on lifestyle creep when you are saving and making more, its easier to just spend more instead of save more.

  7. VS_ozgirl Says:

    So sorry to hear this, I thought you were doing so well! I think they have been harsh on you. Letting you go over a proofreading error? Maybe they had their reasons and this was the straw that broke the camel's back but essentially it's a poor reason to let a qualified professional who can bring a lot to a company go. On the upside you are qualified and have had 20 months experience so that should help your job hunting. Good luck, I hope you're able to land a new role really soon!!

  8. livingalmostlarge Says:

    Good luck. I hope that things turn around soon. Do you have to work? Are you older and in enough financial circumstances to retire? I understand completely about academia. It's a luxury. Would you go back? Were you a post-doc transitioning to a none tenure track position? Or a different academic position? I know a ton of post-docs who dream of becoming professors but honestly sometimes it's a reality check to not be on the path to one.

  9. Dido Says:

    I'm in my mid 50s, not ready or Ble to retire yet. I could see myself teaching, but the only position I could realistically expect is an adjunct position, which is woefully underpaid. I spent 20 years teaching, getting as high in rank as Associate Professor, but I never got tenure. The last ten years,of my teaching career, I WS in one year sabbatical replacement positions, so had to worry about job hunting every year. I couldn't take that stress any more, so I left teaching.

  10. VS_ozgirl Says:

    I hope you can get something in the accounting / financial planning arena, so you can make up for all of those years of being underpaid, best wishes

  11. MonkeyMama Says:

    So sorry to hear.

  12. FrugalTexan75 Says:

    I'm sorry to hear this, hope you find something else soon

  13. Laura S. Says:

    I am also sorry to hear this. I hope things take a turn for the better and you find something quickly.

  14. Joan.of.the.Arch Says:

    Well, bummer. But I hope it will give you some mental "breathing space".

  15. My English Castle Says:

    Good luck, Dido! With what you've learned, I'll bet you find a new better job soon!

  16. PatientSaver Says:

    Oh my gosh, I'm so sorry Dido. I don't read the SA posts daily, and just last night I was remembering your get-together with the old boyfriend and I was wondering if you had blogged about it. I just came to your site now to see if you had, and then this post popped up.

    I'm so sorry. It is truly wierd we've both been laid off at just about the same time. So if you were let go on Wednesday, that was the day after I learned of my imminent layoff.

    An extra $35K in net worth is nothing to sneeze at after just 20 months. I hadn't known how exhausted you wonder you wanted to take it easy that morning at the B&B.

    It truly sucks when you feel you've gotten your shit together again and your financial life is going along swimmingly.

    If I were you, I wouldn't go back to teaching. You HAVE learned a lot and I see you in a financial counseling role.

    I feel bad. I wish there was something I could do.

  17. Dido Says:

    Thanks, PS. Finally went to my doctor today about the exhaustion. Still waiting for some test results. The ones I have so far are normal, so the doc's only suggestion has been to take myself off the antihistamine I've using to deal with allergies to see if that helps. She asked me if I snore--I don't know--at any rate, she didn't seem inclined to send me for a sleep study at this point.

  18. PatientSaver Says:

    I remember a doc wanting me to use a nasal spray for suspected allergies; i tried 3 of them and then gave up. i remember a few of them made me incredibly tired, and i remember wondering who in the world would want to use those drugs.

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