Thursday, April 23, 2009

One Hell of a Year

So, I finally caught up with my friend J. last night (we'd been playing phone tag for weeks), and we had a nice long talk about what we want in our lives, feeling a bit overwhelmed by changes that are happening to each of us individually, how the economy is making everything crazy for lots of people we know, etc.

It's weird, both J. and I are in a place of uncertainty right now career-wise, but for diametrically opposed reasons. You see, she just found out that her company is being bought out by a smaller company, and so the likelihood is that as of July 1 she won't have a job. She's been there a long time, so she'll get a good severance package, but she was the victim of downsizing almost 4 years ago (got a severance package, used the time to finally finish college, and then was hired back with her old seniority), and so this news is a real blow. Especially because she'd been feeling unhappy about her work situation for a good while now, had already updated her resume, but figured that she'd be able to stick it out until job prospects improved. Now, the decision is made for her.

In contrast, I now am in the place where there is total job security, which is awesome and which I do not take for granted, but it also means I have to figure out what I do next without the aid of any external motivation. Now, don't get me wrong: I am not saying that people should feel sorry for me because of this. That said, it's still a big conceptual leap to make, having been a person who had gotten used to jumping through hoops that other people set for me.

In any case, both J. and I are at a point where we're reviewing decisions that we've made and about where we want to go and how to get where we want to go now that we've reached this point. A lot of that involves thinking about how a personal life is going to look based on our current career situations, and a lot of it involves thinking pretty carefully about priorities in the coming year or two. J.'s considering grad school, but she's very ambivalent about it at this point - not sure whether she's thinking about it just because she went back to school the last time she lost her job. I'm certainly not thinking about more school (as IF!) but I am thinking a lot about needing a Next Big Project that will justify a sabbatical.

So anyway, I'm not sure what I really want to write about further in this post, but I felt so good after we talked last night. J. is just such a super friend, and I'm so lucky to have friends like her in what has been a pretty rocky year (both the '09 and the academic year).

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