Still here…

Had our team meeting this afternoon.

I still have a job.

More excitement to come… later…

So, for now it’s back to my regularly scheduled programming…

Awesome. Just awesome.

nature-beautyOh, thank GOD. They finally scheduled an announcement about what’s to become of me/us at work. Tomorrow’s the day we have our team meeting – ostensibly to get the news about whether we are going to keep our jobs and/or if our duties will be changing in any way for the foreseeable future.

They’re having the meeting at 4 p.m. on a Thursday, so it might be “bad” news — it could be they want to tell us at the end of the day, so we can all go home and have a good meltdown. And since it’s being announced on a Thursday, people can take Friday off. Or spend  Friday clearing out their desks. Or pretend to work from home.

OR… they’re waiting till the end of the day, so that the people who are spared don’t have to spend the day surrounded by those who are getting pink slips.  And seeing as most people work from home on Fridays, anyway, it should be even more quiet than usual.

I got off to an early start today — I had an ungodly-early meeting at 8:00, which meant I left the house early  — but it wasn’t so horrible Voila! I missed all that terrible traffic in the meantime. And now I’m home early — it’s not even 6:00 yet, and I’ve had time to grocery shop and get a little exercise in. I’m going to start doing this regularly — get an early start, so I can beat the traffic in the morning, leave the office before dark, get home at a decent hour, and then just relax. All those late evenings at the office got pretty old, pretty quick.

And the fact of having the rest of the evening to myself is absolutely magical.

It gives me time to myself.  To prepare mentally for the day tomorrow… And focus on the things that I want to do for myself and my own work, despite what everyone else is up to.

Ironically, I won’t be in the office tomorrow for the team meeting. My spouse and I have dentist appointments in the afternoon, and I need to act as chauffeur, because my spouse doesn’t drive well in the little city we’re going to. I don’t mind at all. It gets me out. And it gives me the chance to spend some time with my spouse that I normally don’t have. We’re going to make an evening of it, doing some Christmas shopping and having a nice dinner — steak!

It’s our favorite “date” trip — going into town, running errands, having a steak dinner, and then heading home after all the traffic has cleared. If I still have a job tomorrow, I’ll celebrate quietly and not say a word about it. If I’m losing my job, I’m not sure what I’ll say — probably keep quiet about it, so we have some much-needed quiet time to ourselves.

I don’t want to ruin a perfectly nice evening. Not over a job.

Anyway, right now I have a whole evening to myself, and it’s really, really good. And it’s  actually much better than my usual schedule of getting up early and writing and reading, then going into the office later and staying later. I’m more awake after4 p.m., versus 9 a.m., so I might as well do my writing when I’m actually with it. I am not a morning person — never have been, but was forced to become one,because of work — and I’m tired of having early morning be the only time I can get to myself.

Time to change that around and take back my afternoons, when the creativity is running high… and I have no more work-work to absorb my attention.

Whatever happens at the end of the day tomorrow, it’s fine. I really don’t care. Whatever happens, I will handle it, and it will be awesome. In fact, my future will very likely work out better for me than where I am now. I’ll see to that.

And if I had the holidays off, that wouldn’t bother me one bit. Heck, I know a number of people who would love to hire me back, if they can. Maybe I’ll pick up a few days’ work, here and there. Whatever. It’s all speculation, anyway. Not a good use of time.

A better use of my time is to think about what is. What shall be. What I want to be.

And do the legwork towards making that happen.

For me.

For real.

Onward.

Getting my plans together

These things happen
These things happen

So, yesterday, when my boss cancelled our bi-weekly 1:1 meeting for next week, I could have taken it a number of different ways:

  1. They are really busy.
  2. They will be out of the office.
  3. I’m getting laid off.
  4. They’re getting laid off.
  5. They’re going to be so busy dealing with everything around the layoffs, that they won’t have time for me.
  6. I’m transferring to another group and won’t be reporting to them anymore.
  7. They just have a conflict that day, so we can meet another time.

Honestly, any of the above could be true. And I’m prepared for just about any eventuality. I have been looking through my files for projects I originally intended to complete in the next 2 years, but I put aside because this job is taking all my time. And if I do get laid off, I’m at no loss for what to do. I really hope that happens, provided I receive comfortable safety net of at least 6 months’ pay and insurance coverage to carry me through. I just don’t want my spouse to worry — as they always do, anyway. But I don’t want to give them any more reason to be concerned.

I really do have a ton of stuff I need to get done, and having a few months off will go a long way towards clearing the decks. It will also give me lots of time to gear up for the next phase of my work. The job I’ve been in, has been interesting. But it’s also shown me what I do not want to do — I’d rather not have to deal with people. I want to deal with data. Numbers. Patterns. People make me crazy, and I get tired of being all social ‘n’ sh*t.

Numbers and patterns and algorithms, on the other hand…

Anyway, things should be interesting at work today. I think it’s going to be very quiet. I hear people openly discussing their concerns — especially folks who are older. I’m 50, so that puts me in the cross-hairs. Who the hell is going to keep me on, with my senior-level salary, when they can get people literally half my age, who are much more hip and attuned to the latest trends?

Who indeed?

Please-please-please lay me off, with a tasty severance package. I’ll do fine. I promise.

But they keep me around, that’s fine, too. That just limits how much I can do at any given time and it focuses me. It just pushes out my timeline by 6 months or so. Possibly a year. But the main project I have in mind… that’ll keep. There’s no rush on it. But it’s ready right here and now, if I can devote my full time and attention to it.

Good lord. And here, I thought that I was all set. The job has been great, and I’ve really been enjoying it, for the most part. I thought I was set for at least the next five years, since people either stay on for a long time or they go after a relatively short time. I feel like one of those people who could be around for a long time. But that might not happen.

OR…. it may happen, and in another five years, I’ll be blogging about my job and how it’s going.

Whatever happens, this is a time of change and transition. I need to find another neuropsych, and I’m putting together my list of requirements for them. I feel like I’m writing a job description to interview people, and maybe I am. It’s a big deal for me. I have a number of areas I want to work on, and my current neuropsych doesn’t have the orientation I need, in order to move forward. They don’t seem to think it’s a good idea for me to be “Type A”, but you know what? That’s how I am, so being any other way just doesn’t do it for me.

I need to get back to that. I’ve been stabilizing myself, getting my head in order, for nearly 8 years, now, and it’s been good. I’ve overcome a tremendous amount of obstacles in my thinking and attitudes, rebuilding capabilities and executive function that have really set me in the right direction.

Now I have a solid foundation – including with my professional life – which gives me a springboard for jumping ahead to where I really want to go.

And it’s all good. None of this can be bad.

What may come, will come. La la.

I’ve got work to do.

Onward.

 

Or… I could have fun with it

roller-coasterWhat a roller coaster. One day, we’re up. The next we’re down.

Sigh.

I started out yesterday feeling pretty great. Then came the speed bump.

My employer announced its quarterly numbers about a week ago, and they just missed their projected numbers by a smidge. But they still missed.

So, yesterday we found out that our bonuses will be affected by the shortfall, and there are a lot of unhappy campers walking around. The holidays are coming, and there’s going to be a little less Christmas cheer for some.

The crazy thing is, I’d bet good money that none of the people actually responsible for running the company will have their personal financial situation affected. A lot of them have a ton of money, already, so even if they do share in the bonus payout reduction, they won’t feel even a 10% drop — whereas the rest of us “on the ground” have a very different story to tell.

I think it would be much more fair for the people in charge of the big decisions to take the hit, rather than passing it along to us. It just feels like a sort of punishment. And that on top of the ongoing negotiations about the company being acquired… It’s all very exciting.

And my back and hips are killing me, because the chair they gave me is for sh*t… and I have been sitting too much. I used to have a self-constructed standup desk at my old office.  Four cases of seltzer water with a shelf on top. I think I’ll reconstruct that. I have the room in my new cubicle, and it’s the exact right height for me. We’ll see. I do have a shelf that’s the right height, as well, so maybe I don’t need to reconstruct it.  Bottom line is, I need to be standing, not sitting. Sitting is bringing the pain.

So, my bonus is messed up, I have no idea if I’ll have this job in another 6-8 months, and people around me are getting tweaked… emotionally needy… upset… And it’s just the beginning. The acquisition/merger won’t be done for some months, yet, so we’ve got a ways to go. There are a number of acquisitions and mergers going on in the tech world, right now. Some of them have epic proportions. All these people being moved around and nudged/pushed out of their comfort zones…. It’s like the whole world is in flux.

But at least I’m not in the dire straits that people in the Middle East and Africa are. All those people being displaced… Holy crap, it’s just crazy.

In the midst of it all, I can count my blessings, which is fortunate. And I am actually in a really good space. I have a line of work that I love so much, I do it in my spare time. I just love it, and it really is a natural progression of my skills, abilities, and interests. Compared to where I was, just a year ago, my situation is much more stable — and this, in spite of being on the verge of possible displacement.

The thing that’s more stable is my prospects of employment. I have a killer skillset, with the right kind of experience at the right kinds of companies (home-grown global corporate success stories that everybody in the region knows about and respects). And my skills are portable across a number of different industries, so that bodes well for my ongoing employment. I’m less concerned about working for only one company for the long term. That’s never actually been my ideal. I’m much more concerned about staying viable — especially as I’m getting older in a field where employers favor people who are 20 years younger than myself. And the happy fact is that my skills and abilities are still very much in-demand, and they meet a lot of needs very neatly.

No need to “shoehorn” myself into a position – I’m flexible enough to fit in a lot of places, which has really been my goal all along. While I do love the work I do for a living, and I do it on my own time as well, I still have a lot of other interests that I need to pursue without financial pressure. I have research to do and writing to do. I have blog posts to write. And I need to do that all without having to worry about where my next meal is coming from. That kind of stress is a killer.

So, I’m looking on the bright side and just having fun with things. I had a dark time on Sunday, when all the excitement of the past week caught up with me, and I started to sink into that dismal place where I didn’t feel like going on. At all. Of course, I had to, because I had things I needed to take care of, but I just didn’t feel like it. And that, after feeling so strong and clear for many days…. depressing.

But I took it easy, got some rest, and yesterday looked very different to me. Today looks different, as well. I’m getting back on track, having fun with things, and really digging into my work. I have no idea what they will be doing with me or anyone else on my team, in the future, so I’m just “doing my thing” and doing the work that’s meaningful to me — and also valuable in the market. I’m doing my research via online job boards, to see who’s paying the most — and for what types of work/skills/interests.

I know I’m supposed to follow my bliss, but it’s a lot easier to be blissful, if you have a roof over your head and a belly full of nutritious food and a healthy body… not to mention hope for the future.

I do have all of the above, and I plan to keep it that way. It hasn’t been easy, and if I didn’t work at it, I could easily be in very different straits. But I don’t feel like struggling and hassling with basic survival things, so I’m laser-focused on finding where I can improve… and doing just that. It’s all trial-and-error-and-success. And some days I have huge setbacks.

Today, I can see how all my setbacks can set me up for a better future.

Every piece of info I get about how I screwed up is valuable. It gives me more info about how to move forward in a different way. Story of my life. My mistakes are my own — and they can be the most valuable possessions I have. When I realize that, it frees me up to do more things.

And have fun with it all, as best I can.

Onward.

All I need to learn

There’s a lot of ground to travel

So, I talked to the uber-boss today, and to be honest, they were pretty decent about things. As it turns out, nothing definite has been determined for who goes where — and when. So, it could be that this change is more about opportunity inside the company – in a different division – than outside it.

Only time will tell. Best case scenario: I get a kind of promotion and get to run things. Next-best-case scenario: I get laid off with a severance package and move on to other vistas. Or I could end up being stuck where I am with the people who treat me poorly, which would not be great, but would be what I have been expecting to do for the next four months or so.

I’m trying to stay open. I’m trying to stay flexible. I’m trying to not let my rigidity get the better of me. It is hard going.

What I’ve learned from this whole thing is — I cannot afford to let myself get complacent and content and too comfortable. I need to keep learning, keep stretching, keep aligned with my own ultimate goals, and keep moving towards them, no matter how comfortable things may be at the time. That doesn’t last. And when it changes, it is WAY too traumatic for me.

I feel like total crap, after the past two days of worry and stress. It just took it out of me. For no good reason other than that I was not prepared for the eventualities.

Now, in all fairness, nobody can be 100% prepared for any eventuality, but it doesn’t hurt to be a little prepared. And I wasn’t even a little prepared. I lost sight of what I most want to do for a living, and I let things slide because, well, it was pretty much all taken care of for me, so long as I went along and did as I was told. And in the process, I lost my edge. I lost my competitive advantage. And as a result, when things started to shift, I freaked out. Lost it. Lost my sh*t.

And that’s no good.

So, let that be a lesson to me — I don’t have a lot of time to screw around and waste hours on nothing-nothing-and-more-nothing. And I can’t afford to lose sight of the things I love most, that I want to do most. Ample opportunities have arisen for me to keep my skills sharp, but I drifted away. I fell out of touch. And that turned out to really be a problem.

There are no guarantees in life, and “security” is a hollow promise that makes you feel good about your choices, but never really comes true. Not for real. There is always something that gets in the way, that trips you up. Always.

Unless you do something about it. Unless you take steps. Unless you strengthen yourself so that even when insecurity and uncertainty sets in, you can hold your own and keep it together, and stay open to the magic of surprise opportunities. This involves regular study. This involves taking care of body and mind and soul. It involves keeping fit and being rested, because you never know what tomorrow will bring – and especially if it’s good, you want to be up for the challenge. For sure.

That being said, it’s time for me to spend a little time brushing up on some of my skills and practice what I love to do. I can’t say I’ll never be caught off-guard again, but if I am, at least I can be ready to roll, rather than fall flat on my face.

Onward.

Still waiting…

So, the organizational announcements have been coming down for the past two days, and things are definitely shifting around. Things that were built up over the past 10 years are being torn down and replaced by something else, and nobody knows just where the fit in the new organization. But so far there’s no sign of layoffs. The black cloud is still hanging over people’s heads, and it’s pretty tough to get any work done, but I’m hanging in there. I’ve dressed my best over the past two days, and people have definitely noticed. But the good clothes are cramping my style, and I’m ready to let go of that. I’ve got my letter for my file written up and printed out, just in case. I’m pretty much ready for whatever comes, I think.

I met with my neuropsych yesterday to talk about what’s been going on, and sort things through… and in the process of discussing things, I realized how I had let this situation get to me and get up in my head. I try not to let it get the better of me, but I have to admit… it was. I got some good input from my NP, which helped me get some wider perspective. It’s amazing how helpful it can be just talking things through with someone who knows how our heads can play tricks on us and make us profoundly unhappy for no apparent reason, and who refuses to get sucked into the drama for no good reason.

Most people I know are on the opposite end of the spectrum – they think everything they feel and think is the God’s truth, and they go with it — even when the have plenty of experience with that belief taking them down a very dark and unhappy path. Most people I know don’t question their thinking/feeling, because it’s just about the only thing they feel sure of. The fact that it messes them up, time and time again, doesn’t change their behavior – they just keep believing in all the thinking/feeling that messes them up, thinking that it will save them. Fortunately, my NP knows better, and it was good to have an actual logical discussion about the situation, and realize that I might be making it worse for myself than need be.

Now, re-orgs are stressful, no doubt about it. It’s really hell at times. And the prospect of layoffs is daunting. The thing is, I got caught up in focusing on the wrong stuff — all the negative stuff that I automatically jump to, when things are getting tough. Now that I consider it, I realize that I was most freaked out about not having the additional time to prepare for re-entry to the job market, and that put me on the defensive — a real threat situation.  I think it’s just an instinct with me — I must protect me-and-mine against threats — but in protecting myself from threats, it puts me in a frame of mind that is not receptive and is not open to new ideas. It locks me down in the worst way, and that’s a problem. Especially in times of change, when I need all my faculties about me more than ever.

So, I’m widening my perspective and I’m considering the possibility that the upset around me in my team isn’t because I’m going to get laid off, but because things are simply changing and everyone is stressed and uncertain and not sure what’s to come. I am way too sensitive to other people’s “stuff,” actually, and I need to do better at blocking it out. I especially need to not accept their invitation to get pulled into all their drama — misery loves company, for sure. It doesn’t help me to get caught up in their drama (it is usually their drama, not mine), and it doesn’t help to keep everyone around me calm and feeling stable.

So, I need to get a grip, remember who I am, work on my stability, and not let others get me tweaked because they’re all into their recreational upset. High-strung people are always going to seek me out, looking for some sort of comfort and reassurance, and it’s not helping them (or me) when I get pulled into their high-strung thinking and then get stressed and worried, myself. There is more to this job situation than meets the eye, and I’m just finding out a lot of it, so maybe I need to just trust that it’s all going to be fine.

Maybe I need to entertain other possibilities — like, I might get promoted or moved to another job. The thought had occurred to me – I’m either going to get laid off or promoted… but I chose to focus on the layoff piece of it. In a way, that would be as stressful for my coworkers as me getting laid off, because they wouldn’t have access to my skillset anymore. So, maybe that’s what this is about.

It could be… anything. I just don’t know. And that’s the most nerve-wracking thing. I just don’t know.

But I will find out.

Until then, I need to just keep calm and keep plugging away. What comes, will come. It’s up to me to decide how I will handle it when it does come down. Because when it comes to crisis, heck yeah, I know how to do that.

It’s just the waiting game that makes me nuts.

Yada-yada… Enough talk. Enough thinking. Time to get moving.

Onward.

Packing up, getting ready to go…

Might be time to move on

Interesting… Monday they are making a big organizational announcement about staff movements and changes.

And next week, everyone from my team will be out on Monday, and everyone except for one person will be either out of the country at HQ or on the other side of the continent for the rest of the week.

Hmmm… I wonder if they’re trying to tell me something…?

I just got done clearing a bunch of stuff off my company-issued iPhone, because I’m pretty much expecting to get let go on Monday. If this works like it has with others who got let go in the past couple of months, they may ask me to leave immediately. Or they may give me two weeks. But I think not, because the uber-boss asked the one co-worker who was planning to be out till Thursday to come in on Tuesday. So, maybe they need coverage for when I’m gone?

That’s what it’s looking like… when I think about it. I’ve been so busy trying to keep my head on and keep a positive attitude and not lose sight of the big picture, that I chose to not give a lot of weight to the uncomfortable silences, the team meetings with everyone but me, the way my closest coworker has been especially dismissive towards me. And the apparent roller-coaster of emotions that everyone has been going through at work. Some of my coworkers have avoided me for days, while others are all mopey around me, like someone died.

Or someone’s about to.

And me, being all can-do and chipper and what-not… What a dope.

But it’s been really obvious, for the past week that something is amiss – my boss and their boss, the monumental combative pain in the ass, have both gone out of their way to be nice to me. That can’t be good. When I’m doing well, they tend to treat me with a mix of dismissiveness and incredulity, because I pose a threat to them.

No more, apparently.

<mood swing~freak out>Oh my God.  I cannot afford to be out of work. I really cannot. I have almost no money. Literally. I have to earn a living. I need income.</mood swing~freak out>

I just pray that they will write me a nice check for severance and leave it at that – it would be ideal, really, because it would give me a nice little safety net before the holidays, and it would leave me at least something to float with, for the time being. And what I wouldn’t give for a few months off…

I hope you’re impressed by how calm I seem to be right now. It hasn’t been that way all day. I have been on a pretty intense roller-coaster all day, with the sick, sinking feeling of it all starting to sink in… and then the uber-boss stopping by my work space while they were on their way out (of the country), to tell me The Overlords will be making their Big Organizational Announcement on Monday.

I said, “That’s exciting,” and the boss kind of rolled their eyes. They didn’t make eye contact. Wuss.

Yeah, I’d bet good money (if I had any) they’ll be letting me go on Monday. This evening while I was driving home, I kind of went into a panic… started to freak… started to despair… thought about killing myself so my spouse would have my insurance money (which would not pay off the house, by the way), then I realized that it wasn’t ME who deserved to die over this! — in fact, no one does, this is just one of those really shitty things that happens now and then when companies have acquired other companies and are cutting costs and they realize they have more people than they know what to do with… then I thought about going out and getting stinking drunk, until I realized it would be really expensive and I would end up feeling like total crap for days afterwards (and who knows how much damage I’d do when I was drunk? hell, I might even end up in jail, and my spouse is out of town for three days, so I’d have no one to bail me out till Monday)… then I thought about all the snarky, accusatory, threatening things I will say to the person who lays me off… then I decided that would be really stupid, and I’d probably end up losing my shit and looking like a total friggin’ pansy-ass by the time all was said and done… I might even get escorted out of the building between a couple of burly bouncer types… then I realized that this could be a really good thing — humiliating, sure, since I’m not calling all the shots, but potentially good, if they cut me a nice check and give me a good reference… then I made myself dinner and watched Jet Li kick ass.

Now I’m going to watch a little inane t.v. and go to bed. Tomorrow is another day, and I will work on y skills. I actually have a lot of recruiters contacting me these days, so all is not lost and I’m in a pretty decent position. But geez. I hate when this happens. It really reminds me of when I got shit-canned from the job I had when I had my TBI and couldn’t keep my act together. That’s what it feels like — like I’m deficient and nobody needs me, and I’m useless and too long in the tooth to be much use to anyone.

But that’s bull, because I have a ton of great experience, a lot of knowledge, and anyway, I friggin’ hate the people I’ve been working for, so this will work out extremely well for everyone, if it happens with a nice severance package.

Now I’m starting to feel chipper and happy and hopeful. Aside from being sick to my stomach and feeling like I’ve been kicked by a horse and trampled by a herd of wildebeasts.

Oh, shit. I’m just going to turn off my head and laugh at t.v. shows about stupid people driving their snowmobiles onto thin ice or falling off trampolines. I’ll probably feel like crap tomorrow, but who knows? I may feel like a million bucks.

You never know.