Wednesday, January 20, 2010


On Monday morning, my trusty little Civic would not start. It is bordering on eleven years old and never had any major problems up until then. I had it towed to an auto repair shop down the road, and enjoyed a walk back through the Hancock golf course. My boss's boss called me to inform me that he was sorry but that my position had been eliminated due to a company reorg, and that employment would be ending in two weeks, with two weeks of severance. It came as a complete surprise and I spent the day in some kind of shock and muted excitement. I haven't liked my job for maybe two years, and I'd been there almost two and a half. It let me get away with being complacent and doing what I needed to do to just get by. I let myself only complete what was asked or required of me, and nothing more. For the past few months, I had been dumped the most menial and tedious tasks that were pretty offensive to have to do. I didn't converse much with my coworkers and eschewed small talk, since it felt pointless and awkward to maintain. After seeing dozens of people get laid off or quit in front of my eyes, I grew confident that my position would not be eliminated any time soon. But all the while, I dreamed of having another job that wouldn't leave me mentally frustrated and pent-up with unused energy each evening. Yet, it was too hard to leave, the excellent benefits, the acceptable salary, the free iPhone and plan, the extremely flexible hours, the stability. So this forced change presents itself as an opportunity for huge growth.

And I'm scared. After turning my brain and motivation off for so long, they have got to be revived. My resume is pitiful, only really appropriate for applying to similar administrative and HR positions. I can do that some more, but really, it would be a large resignation for the rest of my life. People like to say "it's not what you know, it's who you know." And to take it even further, according to my brother, "it's not who y0u know, it's who knows you." And I have not made myself very known to anyone. As I have said before, networking disgusts me. It's not even about the person, it's about how the person can be a tool to help you later on. It's the game that gets you further in life, but I never wanted to learn the rules or even play.

And in the beginnings of my long job search, I'm coming across a common requirement. It's not skill-based, or even experience-based. It goes something across the lines of "you need to be willing to dedicate your waking life to this position. you need to show us that you will do whatever it takes to make this company succeed." Who in their right mind could qualify? To me, no company is worthy of that much life energy. It's just profit. I haven't found it to be much more meaningful than allowing me to live comfortably, and giving me something to do for eight hours a day. This sort of attitude definitely screens me out from being considered for most competitive positions, which is a shame, since it's the healthier one.


SuzyFormager said...

i too feel confounded by the apparent requirement that you must give your life entirely over to any "real" job of interest, and repulsed by the "networking" scheme.

have you ever thought about writing? i always enjoy reading your blogs.

best wishes as you consider what comes next. let us know if we can support you in any way.

Fern said...

thank you for the support!

Rachel B said...

!!!!!! Frances, I'm actually more excited for you than anything else. We need to get together! What are you doing next week?

ehaze said...

non-profit / help professions?

two vegan boys said...

I just stumbled upon your blog. I really like it.

I am sorry to here about your job.
Best of luck.

We live in Austin too.

Fern said...

Thank you! You're one of Mary's friends, right? :)