The Downside of December
|December 1, 2011||Posted by Lauren under LifeontheRun|
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.