This week, a lot of whispers, rumors and suspicion were finally put to rest. After months and months of speculation and gossip going around the building at my day job, we learned that my particular department is splitting. More specifically, some of our product lines are going to be handled under another division, in California. Which means the remaining product line will roll up to another division as well. Which means just about all of us are out of jobs.
I have to say, until now, I’ve been lucky. I’ve always worked in a profitable group, or been in a position where I was truly needed to be able for my group to operate at a profit. For several years, this particular group was an amazing performer – we were one of the smallest staffed groups around, and we blew our numbers away and put profit on the bottom line year after year, usually in larger numbers than a lot of groups with bigger budgets and staffs did. We won all sorts of awards for our profitability, innovative ways to run the business and the way we closed big deals. It’s nice to be part of a group in that position.
Things have turned a bit in last couple of years – for lots of factors that everyone has faced in some respect. The economy brought a general slowdown in business. Since we’re a Japanese company, the natural disasters in 2011 in Japan and Thailand affected us adversely in several huge ways. There were other factors as well. But we were turning it around. Slowly, perhaps, but we definitely showed signs of improvement. And now they’re giving it all to another part of the company.
I’ll admit to being unhappy about this – after all, I’ve spent 24 years with this company, the last 16 with this particular group, so it is like my home and family in a lot of ways. I have the best boss ever, she, like me, is a working mom with kids of similar ages, and we get along in so many ways. The funny thing is her husband’s family has a lot of connections to mine as well, so she almost really is like family. But I’ve built up a lot with this company besides that. Benefits, vacation time, and flexibility help me balance and take care of my family as I need to. I live close enough to go home for lunch! Not to mention, the feeling of belonging in the group and the company are a big part of this job too. Liking what I do and liking the people I do it with is another plus. So the idea of giving all that up and starting from scratch at this stage in my life is more than just a little unnerving. But hey, I’ll deal. It’s not like I have a choice. Besides, that 24 years definitely works in my favor for a lot of other things, like severance.
Then there’s another side to this – the silver lining maybe I’m digging really deep for. I’ll be home during the day – at least, most likely, for a while. A lot of things I’ve never been able to do because I work outside the home will now be do-able – participating and volunteering at school for my kids, working out in the mornings and finally getting back into the routine that I let fall by the wayside, grocery shopping when the stores are quieter than the times I normally have to go, cooking dinner fresh almost every day. And I can write!
The dream/goal has always been that one day I would be able to write full time. My best time to write is always mid-morning to early afternoon anyway, as I’ve proven to myself many many times over the years, so to be able to devote that time on a daily basis to writing is literally my dream come true. And now it looks like I might get the chance to actually do it, or at least see if I can make it work. So in that respect, I’m sort of looking forward to the end of my time here.
Then again, nothing is certain yet. While it’s more likely than not I’ll be unemployed come the spring, this is a big company and there are always opportunities. So with all the reorganizing going on, there’s the chance I could find a landing spot. And everything will go on as usual. And the dream gets put on hold for a little bit longer. I have mixed emotions about that scenario as well. But it does take care of things like medical benefits, vacation time and the fact I have a daughter going to college in a couple of years. And now I’m super glad I spaced my kids 8 years apart, as unintentional as it may have been.
I suppose what’s annoying me most about the whole thing is that the two hours I get to myself each evening before I pass out have been totally unproductive. The distraction is killing my motivation and focus. My two WIPs were going along gangbusters until the last two weeks. Now, I stare at the screen and my notes and still can’t make it work. And I’m so damn close to wrapping one up for good! Figures. Of course, it doesn’t help that there are a million things going on in our world too, so the idea of having 8 extra hours a day to manage it sure is appealing while I juggle everything and try to stay coherent and somewhat sane.
I feel like I’m standing at a fork in the road – except the choice isn’t mine, I have to wait for someone to make it for me. I don’t like not being the one in the driver’s seat, though I’ll admit, the unknown, as frightening as it can be, is also exciting. This could turn out to be a very defining moment.