It’s Tuesday afternoon, September 23rd as I write this. With vacation less than 48 hours away, I should be thinking about basking in the warmth and humidity of the fall Floridian sun (guaranteed I’m bitching about the humidity when this post goes live). Instead, I’m worried about my job and where my company is headed.
I’ve worked in offices for almost fifteen years now, mostly as an editor. Not a long time for some, but long enough to know that you should be afraid the moment you feel comfortable. At my very first desk job, back in 2001, the company was 250 strong. Four months later, we had a layoff. Four months after that, another layoff. Four months after that… you get the picture. In a matter of 3 years, they went through 5 layoffs and shed ~100 people from that office. I left that job willingly to complete my college degree.
When I found my way back into a large company again in 2005, I got comfortable. Four plus years at a place will do that. And just when it seemed like we’d reached a peak of performance (a small group of people working on medical journals that moved like well oiled machines and made money) the controlling conglomerate came in and changed what wasn’t broken. I tried to go with the change and found that I just wasn’t cut out for a characterless work environment. I like people. People are what makes a job fun. Remove all need to interact with people: remove all the fun.
Anyway, I landed at my current job just over 3 years ago. I loved it from day one. It had the kind of people I liked, the flexibility I needed, and the pay was good. Didn’t hurt that it was also a 10 minute drive from home. It was my first dip into the advertising industry. Be careful, some said. You can get burnout pretty quickly. I felt it, suffered a bit of it, but still found the desire to get up in the morning and go to work. Always a plus.
So, when I started feeling really comfortable, it was really just a matter of time before the bottom fell out, right? I just was hoping to get a little more time. That’s not to say that the bottom has fallen out… yet. It’s just not looking good. Working for a branch that’s part of a larger network helps in the sense that they try and place employees at other branches that have work. Trick is, the branch they’re sending me to requires a train ride into New York City.
I realize that, for some, this would be a dream come true. For me, it’s a hassle and costly. And, as much as I enjoy the bright lights and big city, I love nothing more than leaving it behind when I’m done visiting. Now, on my return from vacation, I have a 90-day stint in Chelsea, NY to look forward to. I’m not totally dreading the opportunity, but that’s partly because I can see an end. If it was indefinite, I’d be dusting off the resume once again (which might happen anyway). Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy to still be employed. I just wish I could settle in where I wouldn’t be concerned with the fate of the company. I guess that’s just the age we live in. Don’t get comfortable. It could all change tomorrow.