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The Downside of December

Today, I was going to tell you about the shoes that are changing the way I run and making me cheat on my beloved Asics. Or about my re-commitment to lifting and my challenge for the month.

But whenever I sit down to write about anything lately, my mind is distracted. Especially now, on this first day of December, the last month of 2011. Because even though December and the Christmas season really is my favorite time of year, this year my excitement is mixed with something else that’s not quite so positive – anxiety.

December may mean Christmas trees, holiday parties, seeing family, and eating (lots and lots of eating), but it also means that I am now one month closer to losing my job. And during a month when holidays are on people’s minds more than working, prospects of finding a new one right now are looking a little dim.

I don’t blog about my work life a lot. Because I haven’t kept my name a secret on this blog, I’ve tried to keep all talk of my job out of it. But I can tell you that I work in public service, on grant funding. And even though grant funds are awesome and let you do great work, they always run out eventually. Since I don’t talk about work ever, I debated whether or not to even post this at all. Especially because I feel like I have seen so many posts lately about people being unexpectedly laid off and have watched them struggle to find something new. In my case, at least the end is expected. In fact, February 3rd, 2012 has been etched into my brain since the day I took this job over a year and a half ago.

You’d think the fact that I knew the end was coming would make it easier, but in reality it doesn’t. Back then, it seemed so far away. And everyone seemed so positive that there would be another way to keep my project team on. The work we were doing was important, so surely more money would be found; more positions created. I also figured that by that point, not only would I have completely figured out what I wanted to do with the rest of my life, but the economy would definitely be turned around. I was being funded by a grant meant to stimulate this economy, after all.

But here we are in December, 2 months before the end, and everyone has finally come to terms with the fact that there is no more money. And the economy still sucks. And I still don’t know what I want to do with my life, despite a master’s degree and more years of work experience. [I do, however, know a lot more about what I do not want to do, which I suppose is something.]


At this point, there is a very small chance that the grant I am working on will be extended for a few months, just to give us time to finish up work that has been delayed. This extension would obviously be a great thing, not only because we’d actually get to finish the project, but also because it would mean that I wouldn’t have to find a new job during the holidays. I like to think my chances of finding a job early next year are much better than finding one when people are focused on parties and vacations.

Ultimately I know that extension would only delay the inevitable. The fact is that I will be getting laid off soon. I won’t be getting a severance package or any sort of bonus pay that will make the transition more bearable. If I don’t have a job by Feb 3rd, there’s a good chance that this single girl and her pup might be knocking on your door, looking for a place to stay.

In order to not make this post completely negative, I can tell you that I’ve been trying to be proactive by cutting back where I can now, just in case. This is easier said than done in a month that is all about spending money. But EC and I have agreed to cap gifts to each other and I’ve delayed signing up for races that I really want to run (besides Boston, I have not yet signed up for one race in 2012, even though there are many others on my list). I even tried canceling cable the other day, but was unsuccessful.

If you’re wondering why I would ever want to do something like that OR how it is possible that I failed at it, I will just say: 1.) desperate times and 2.) early termination fees are no joke.

Anyway – it may not sound like it, but I’m trying not to let the dread of 2012 dampen the cheer of this last month of 2011. Overall, it’s been a great year. And I’m thankful for the fact that I’ve had a decent job with a steady paycheck to fund my expensive running and blogging hobbies. And I like to think that everything will work out. That this door closing will lead to another (better?) opportunity. And that a few months from now, the stress of impending unemployment will be nothing but a distant memory.


But if all else fails and I come knocking on your door in February, would you give me a place to stay? I promise to help clean, bake you cookies, and be a great running buddy.

And if you want to give me a job while you’re at it, I wouldn’t be opposed to that either.

37 Responses to The Downside of December

  1. Of course! You can come live with me – I have an extra room until July. Your rent = teaching me how to run fast :)

    I wish I could be of some help in the job search, but I know nothing about that arena (accept, well, people apply for grants in my world).
    Meggie´s last post ..Wanted This Wednesday: Personal Chiropractor

  2. I know you’re probably very happy in RI but DC has tons of public health openings. Sending you lots of positive thoughts. I’m stressed about not having a job six months from now.
    Alex @ IEatAsphalt´s last post ..Thankful

    • Thanks Alex! I’m actually very open to moving. I like RI, but not enough to want to settle here. I did apply for a couple of jobs in DC but will keep looking – I know DC and NYC have a lot of stuff going on in public health right now.

  3. Hang in there – the possibilities in Public Health are expanding, especially with the new Healthcare Bill. Boston has many opportunities, if you’re willing to travel. Things will work out! In the meantime, positive thoughts heading your way!
    Janine @ThePurpleGiraffe´s last post ..Most important meal of the day?

    • Thanks Janine! I am open to traveling AND moving. I’ve started looking in the Boston area, because there’s a lot more going on up there than in my little state of RI.

  4. I give you a lot of credit for talking so openly about this and trying to stay positive and cheery knowing that the end is in sight. Do you want to remain in public health? I know of some great job openings in the running/health industry in NYC (I would love to take them but I only want to work part time right now since I have a little guy) – not sure you want to move down here though! Let me know and I’ll send you the links!
    Michele @ nycrunningmama´s last post ..My Thanksgiving this year…unlike any other

    • Thanks Michele! I am open to moving anywhere at this point. I would love it if you sent me the links! Thank you so much for thinking of me. You can email me at [lauren at healthontherun dot net]

  5. Ehh, good luck with the job search & hopefully getting that extension. I’ll be done in May & already stressed about finding a job, so I can imagine how unsettling it is to be so uncertain. If you get really desperate you can always come down to Atlanta…not the greatest city, but there’s a lot of public health work.
    Mary´s last post ..Finals, 30′s, Migraines, Injuries*, & other things that don’t mix well with a lazy woman’s marathon training

    • Yeah, having CDC headquartered there means lots of public health work going on. Good luck with your search in May! I took a temporary summer job after graduating with my MPH but it all worked out in the end.

  6. I know a thing or two about grants…I work in a grant office for a non-profit (healthcare). Things always work out for themselves (one of my life mantras). My door is open for you in DC. I don’t bake and I am always looking for new running buddies! Good luck with the job search!
    Sokphal @ Life as a Classroom´s last post ..Getting Lei’d or Hawaii in Pictures

    • Thank you! I’m happy that there is always new grant funding somewhere, though it can be tough to live life from one grant to the next.

  7. I got laid off a month ago and I feel your pain! There are no jobs this month. I’m hoping that there will be more after the new year though. It’s scary, but we’ll be ok.
    Lee´s last post ..WIAW – The Unemployed Edition

  8. I’m only a college student so I know nothing about finding a job that doesn’t involve chasing around a bunch of 8 year olds (babysitting and summer camp counseling). I don’t know what to say, except thank you for sharing this, and I’m sure you’ll find something. Maybe your blog will even help! I know someone who got a job through twitter, so it’s possible.

  9. I’m sorry about your job! My husband was laid off in the summer, even though it was only a contract job anyway so it was going to end eventually but we didn’t think it was going to be that soon. He hasn’t found anything yet but hopefully he will soon!

    I’m sure you will come out of this strong and hopefully the economy will pick up sooner rather than later. My husband and I have also gone through the cutting spending phase multiple times and in the end it is the best thing to do.

    Good luck with your job search!
    Jamie @ couchtoironwoman´s last post ..One is the Loneliest Number

    • I’m sorry to hear about your husband. I keep hoping things will pick up soon. It’s bound to change eventually, right?? Good luck to you guys too!

  10. I’m sorry for the job thing. I am in a similar boat. I’m graduating college soon but have no job prospects. And I don’t know what my dream career would be. Real life is hard. :(

    But I’m sure you’ll find something great that you love! I am a firm believer in things working out for the best.
    Rena @ milehogger.blogspot.com´s last post ..21 Things

    • Thanks Rena! And good luck to you too! I remember being in the exact same spot, but things DID work out. I know they will for you, too!

  11. Oh I hope you get the extension! I sort of know how you feel when you say that you thought 1.5 years sounded like such a long time and you would figure out what you wanted to do. I was in a similar position, so I do empathize. I ended up moving within the company though…prolonging the inevitable for a little longer, which helps but I know its only a temporary fix in the back of my mind. I also feel like I know so much more about what I don’t want to do than what I do.

    Move to NYC!!!! :)
    Celia´s last post ..thankful

  12. Lauren, you never have too far to fall with me as you Dad. I will always catch you. I love you!

  13. This is so tough :( You will be in my thoughts, good luck with the search! And I hope the grant gets extended!
    Laura´s last post ..Five Guys Burgers and Fries

  14. i’m so sorry lauren! you are always welcome to stay with me in philly :) you would be awesome at pacing me through my speed and tempo runs!!!
    keep your head up! i like your attitude of not letting this affect the holidays. and remember, things always have a way of working themselves out.
    Kristy@RunTheLongRoad´s last post ..Product Review: Aspaeris Pivot Shorts

  15. Well this stinks!! :-( I’m so sorry you are having to deal with this. I will be thinking and praying for you and hope that 2012 brings many wonderful opportunities to you in your life.
    Tia´s last post ..Highest Mileage Week: Post Stress Fracture

  16. We talk everyday and I had no idea it was that soon. I’m 100% confident you will find another job though. Keep applying!!!

    Also, you can always stay with me if you need to! I have an extra room just for you! Oh, and come may you can be my nanny! What do you think? hahaha
    LIZZY´s last post ..State Park Walk/Jog/Hikes

  17. Tough stuff. Hopefully it helped to put your thoughts out there. And you never know who is reading your blog that might have a connection for you!! I hope you can enjoy your holidays and spending time with your family even though you have such a stressful thing looming over you. Good luck finding something (and more importantly good luck finding something that you like and makes you happy!)
    Corey´s last post ..Running on Dead Legs

  18. Lauren, you are so brilliant, talented, and such a special light in the world, I know big things are waiting for you! Please know you can always come home and be my companion and Cooper’s nanny! I love you!

  19. Sending lots of positive job seeking vibes your way. It’s hard not to let the anxiety take over, but I am hopeful you will find an even better job. My husband was laid off last summer in the architecture field (one of the worst fields for lay offs now) and ended up finding a job he really loves. So even in this economy, there are people hiring for great jobs. Let me know what you are looking for, we know a lot of peeps in this city :-)
    Jessica´s last post ..My Running Christmas List

  20. Wow! How stressful. I’m sorry February is hanging over your head like this. This job that you have had the past few years has given you experience. Even though you are not exactly sure what you want to do, you mentioned learning a lot about things you wanted in a job. I’m confident you will find something that is an even better fit for you from all that you have learned during your time working on this grant project. I can tell through your posts that you are passionate and you will work hard in whatever job you find next. Good Luck!
    Nancy@triathletestrials´s last post ..Many Thanks

  21. You can ALWAYS stay with me and Tahn!!

    I know how incredibly difficult the job market it – I am so sorry your grant is ending. I’ll think happy job-finding thoughts for you…

    Brittany´s last post ..Things I like this week (vol. 7)

  22. plenty of room for you down here in florida. love to have you!!!
    the dawn´s last post ..Sportsbarn Turkey Trot 2011

  23. With a military husband, I go thru the “job loss/financial anxiety” every 3-5 years. When we arrive at a new place, it usually takes an entire year for me to find a new job (not an exaggeration; market is too small near military bases), which means getting behind financially. And there’s always talk about gov’t programs to help military spouses get employment, but it’s not for people like you & me (already college educated) & those jobs don’t pay well at all. It totally sucks, so I’m very sorry for you.

    That said, I live in Italy & have a spare room. 😀

  24. Boo unemployment…I think it’s a good time to move to NYC! You know, when you get a job here since it’s expensive even with a paycheck.

    But really…fingers crossed you find something! California time?
    Susan – Nurse on the Run´s last post ..it’s friday…i’m in love – hot chocolate edition

  25. Oh man, Lauren. That’s so frustrating and stressful, I can’t imagine knowing something is going to end and that you get no severance when it happens. But, being positive, you have two whole months to find a new job, which is a decent amount of time, right? I hope you find something soon to ease your worries and so you can try to enjoy the holidays! Fingers crossed for you!
    Kelly´s last post ..Leftovers & Pool Running

  26. I’m so sorry that you’re experiencing anxiety about job stuff. I was laid off the week before Christmas back in 2007 and it sucked, but eventually something else came along and now I’ve been at that job for 4 years (omg I feel old).

    I don’t know all the details of your situation, but it seems like you have a very strong support network of friends, boyfriend, and family and you won’t be alone, no matter what happens come February 3.

    Also, I have a pretty sweet air mattress at my apartment in Brooklyn. There are lots of races here….just sayin’

    Megan (The Runner’s Kitchen)´s last post ..If not now, then when?

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