Once upon a time, I loved my job. I had a wonderful boss, smart, funny and dedicated co-workers and worked in a department that valued helping people over everything else. I got to do a variety of stuff I love – geeky technical stuff, meaningful projects, helping people. Basically, I was able to help scientists do their jobs. I would wake up in the morning looking forward to the day. Of course, it wasn’t all sunshine and lollipops, but the good days outnumbered the bad days. Bottom line was: I had fun.
Somewhere along the line, things changed. Gradually, I got to do less and less of the things I love and had to do more of the things management appreciated (like cutting back on the help to scientists to save time and money). My boss was still the same great guy and my co-workers were still the best, but slowly we all seemed to get beaten down. Many of them left, including great boss. At some point, I realized it wasn’t fun any more.
In the autumn of 2008, my department went through another of the seemingly interminable rounds of “reductions in force.” I came <this close> to raising my hand to be let go, but the economy tanked and I got scared. I made it through that round of reductions. Over the next year, I slowly came to terms with the concept of leaving my job after 21 years at the same company. I came to realize that, if I stayed, my job would mostly consist of telling my scientists “Sorry, we don’t have the resources to help you.” I didn’t get into this to say no to people. I just couldn’t see myself doing that for years and years. So, I decided to make it known to management that I would not mind being let go in the 2009 round of reductions.
So, now what? What do I do now? Should I stay in the field I’ve been in for 30 years? Should I try something completely new? If I do that, how do I go about that? Go back to school for another graduate degree? This is the diary of the journey to a decision, one way or another.
(and the blog title comes from a discussion with my brother about 6 word memoirs. the title is my current version)