Looking at the want ads

Any major dude with half a heart surely will tell you my friend
Any minor world that breaks apart falls together again
When the demon is at your door
In the morning it won’t be there no more
Any major dude will tell you
–Steely Dan

Right now it feels like I’ve been watching the slow motion disintegration of everything I’ve ever worked for in my professional life. Am I over-dramatizing? Normally I would say yes to that, but in this case I really don’t think I am. Well, maybe a little, but this is one of those times where I am willing to cut myself some slack about it. Besides, being dramatic is one of my charms. I’m a Dramatic Winter, I’m told.

Seriously. Someone told me that once. I think it was a color thing.

Anyway.

On Friday, my job will officially end. The nearly year long process of “reorganization” at work will be over for me.

For people who have changed jobs on a regular basis, maybe that isn’t scary. Me? I’ve worked for the same company since 1990. Yes. God was still in his teens at the time.

Over the years, I’ve had five radically different jobs, so it’s not like I’m totally adverse to changing things up, but it has been while accumulating vacation and other benefits from the same company. A company I thought I loved and have always assumed I would retire from.

Why have I spent so long at one company? Lots of reasons. My Dad told me I’d never be able to hold down a job, so I did.  The vacation time is fantastic after 28 years. I’ve got an actual pension. I love the company, or did until recently. I liked the workplace culture, or did until now. They were willing to let me learn new things as often as I wanted to take them on, so every 5 years or so I got to have a totally different job and learn a whole new set of skills.

It has been a huge blow to my ego, and I’m not even going to try to pretend that it hasn’t. It is very hard to pretend that all is well when all really isn’t.

Am I being reorg-ed out of the company because I am terrible at my job? No. I have never had a less than fantastic review in my 28 years with the company. I’ve worked my way from being a secretary in the hospital to being the lead of a team in the IT department. I don’t suck at my job. Quite the contrary–my boss loves me.

Is it age discrimination? I’d love to blame it on that, but I don’t think it’s age discrimination or wanting to get rid of a high salary. There are multiple VPs in our department who would be far more likely to be targeted as far as salaries are concerned.

Surely, I keep being told, my experience is so valuable to the company that another team in the department will be thrilled to hire me!  I’m smart, I learn faster than almost anyone, I’ve got a demonstrated track record of taking on new jobs and doing well in them. And yet…I’ve applied for three other jobs in the department and have not been hired for any of them.

In the spirit of full disclosure, in one case it was mostly my own fault that I didn’t get the job. My interview was horrific, and I lack the cheerleader-like personality required for the position although most everything in my background would indicate I’m an excellent candidate.

In the other two cases? It’s more complicated, but I think it really came down to my not communicating well enough why I was a better candidate. In one case, I think they just liked someone else better. The manager chose me, but his team preferred someone else.

All of the people on my team have moved into other positions, which is wonderful. Seriously wonderful. Really. The only thing that gives me pause is that they are all less experienced than I am, so why am I the one with this pesky future unemployment issue? Why have I been an unappealing candidate in my own department on teams which I have the skills to work in?

When I’m not totally fixated on how much I must suck,  I like to think that I can be objective about myself, and I’ve given it a lot of thought.

I think that it’s at least partly a failure to schmooze.

Didn’t I know I was supposed to schmooze? All the cool kids are into networking and relationship building! Why didn’t I schmooze like I was supposed to? Why did I think I could do it all myself?

Well, I’m an introvert for one thing. Talking to people is hard for me. Not that I am unfriendly or hard to be around, but chatting is not my default setting, particularly if I don’t have a need to clarify information in order to get my work done. I’m at work to work. Instead of schmoozing, I’m doing my job.

Do I enjoy chatting with coworkers on occasion? Absolutely. Do I seek them out when something is unclear? Yes. But just talking to people for the sake of building a relationship? I admit that I let that fall to the side. In retrospect, that was clearly an error.

Why is that? Am I a moron who is unaware of the fundamental importance of networking? No. I am a moron who willfully set it aside.

In a past work team, there was one person I worked with who did nothing but schmooze. Nicest person in the world. Fantastic story teller. Wonderful family. He essentially did no useful work though.  Those of us who were more prone to working ended up picking up a lot of slack.  That led to an overcorrection on my part. I freely admit that I place more value on doing good work than on being an amiable raconteur. The amiable raconteur from my previous team is still employed.  That should have been a clue to my department’s values.

I felt like my work should be enough, and I was wrong. I needed to be good at my job and also talk to people enough that they realize that my work is good. Share success stories and failures. Share ideas. Make myself visible.

Or maybe I am less smart and talented than I always thought I was. Maybe I am hugely deluded about my own intelligence. Maybe I should re-read the 28 years of written evidence that many other people would confirm  that I am smart, talented and great to work with…

So now what?

First, I need to get over feeling like a dumbass. It’s hard to be out interviewing when you feel like a dumbass. In an interview you have to be self-confident. Maybe that will come, but at the moment I feel a bit like I haven’t got a single marketable skill.

Maybe I’ll have to finally figure out what I want to be when I grow up, too.

 

How to contact the fraud police

The subject of Imposter Syndrome has come up in my blog before. Although it has been in remission for a few months, for the last 2 months Imposter Syndrome and the Fraud Police have been trying very hard to take over my professional life.

As I’ve mentioned, my position at work is being eliminated. That means looking for work internally.

My first interview (with the team that’s replacing mine) went really badly. REALLY badly.  I knew before it was over that I would not get an offer, and was not a bit surprised when I did not. The second interview went very well, and it was with a team that has asked me to join them previously. Although the Imposter Syndrome told me I wouldn’t get that job either, I thought Imposter Syndrome might be wrong. Unfortunately, I was not chosen for that job either.

Apparently if you don’t get a job you’ve been waiting to apply for since January the fraud police  arrive at your home in full riot gear. That’s fine. Bring it.  If you then also don’t get the second job you’ve applied for, the one that you’ve actually been actively recruited for TWICE, well. The fraud police will break out the  emotional equivalent of tear gas and night sticks. They’ll  have mental tasers.  The fraud police is always well armed, but usually I’ve got a pretty good punch myself. I’m not afraid to bite in a street fight. Right now, though, I am just not up for it. I am not. I’m down, and I can hear them counting to 10. And I don’t even want to get back up, but I know I’m going to have to. I’ll just wait for them to get to 9 before I climb back up the ropes.

I’m pretty good at bouncing back. It is all I have been doing since last Fall.  Bouncing back from an abusive coworker. Bouncing back from a relationship ending. Bouncing back from a nearly year long ordeal of professional limbo. My bounciness is just not there any more, and what’s worse neither is the desire to fight back.

To attack a job search, you need confidence. You need to feel like you own the fucking planet and are the best person anyone could ever hire.  I feel like poison. Like I’ve been fooling the whole world into thinking I’m smart and talented only for everyone to discover that I’m a total fake. It’s not the right mental or emotional stance for a job hunt. Nor do I have the wardrobe for it, having lost 63 pounds. None of my clothes fit any more.  Irony: when you have the body for new clothes, but no money to buy them because you are about to be unemployed.

So what am I going to do?

Apparently, whine about it in my blog. Shut up. It’s my blog and I can whine if I want to.

Before I whined in my blog, though,  I emailed someone at work about an introduction/interview with another team. The hiring manager for the job I *didn’t* get apparently told this other manager that he’d be crazy not to hire me. I’m still trying to wrap my head around that. If the other manager would be crazy not to hire me, doesn’t that mean that the manager who could have hired me and didn’t is even crazier??

Maybe I’ll understand it tomorrow.

As Scarlett says, it’s another day.

Maybe I’ll feel bouncier about things then.

In the meantime, 2018 can go and suck a big bag of limp dicks. Except the part of 2018 that gave me Thirteen.

Actually, 2018 only sucks donkey dicks at work. The rest of my life is fantastic. Best boyfriend ever. Best family and friends ever. I look fabulous. My personal vanity levels are way up…

 

Huh. I seem to be cheering myself up…damn, I’m good.

 

 

 

 

 

Unimportant updates

It sometimes occurs to me that my life is a bit small. I don’t do dramatic things like skydiving or mountain climbing. I don’t have glorious adventures. My significant other is a teacher, not a gazillionaire business tycoon. I do things like walking around in the park. Looking at flowers. Petting puppies. Pounding metal into jewelry. Watching British TV with my sweetheart. Going to football games and tailgating with family and friends.

Once in a while I think “shouldn’t I be doing something more…more-ish?”

Then I consider, and I say “you’re being an idiot. This IS more.”

Sometimes I think of my weight loss the same way. I had surgery! There should be dramatic announcements about losing massive amounts of weight! Big numbers!

But…the thing I have to keep in mind is that I started out just barely big enough to qualify for having surgery. I’m never going to lose 150lbs. I’d be nothing but a pile of loose skin and bones. I might lose 80-90 pounds over a year or two. Maybe 100 if I have trouble eating more when I get to a good weight.

So I have to figure out what constitutes a big announcement for someone like me.

Here it is–are you ready?

Ahem.

I’m not severely obese anymore.

Not even obese.

I’m just..overweight.

Right? It sounds underwhelming, doesn’t it? Like going for a walk in the park. Or riding my bike around the block. Big fucking deal.

But if you go for enough bike rides, and walks around the neighborhood it starts to add up. It adds up to 60lbs at this point. Small, insignificant things start to add up to something substantial.

Maybe “not obese anymore” doesn’t seem like much to you, but if you’ve ever been on the wrong side of that line you know it is!

Addendum: just got some labs back. My cholesterol is lower than it has been in years, and my Hgb A1C levels are normal. When I saw my PCP in November of 2017, when all of this started, it was in a range diagnostic for diabetes. If you ever wonder if losing weight can make a measurable impact, it can.