Thursday, March 1, 2012

I Love(d) my job.

*Written 01/26/2012, publication delayed for professional reasons*

Everyone has been through a break-up or five. Or six. Some are awful and leave you bleeding for months, others are a simple snip-and-gone, but more and more of us are dealing with an entirely new kind of break-up, one we didn’t see coming, one that cuts to the quick. None of us has any experience, so how do we get over our careers?

While I’m still mourning my loss, still being accidentally dialed by my old co-workers, I’m ‘dating’ again. I’ve been on all the job dating sites, sent out zillions of resumes, and gone on a few ‘first date interviews’, and I have the highly anticipated mightily dreaded second interview coming up in a few days. Now, I’m not what people would consider a stick-in-the-mud. Change and adaptation are long time companions for someone who has moved, changed jobs, and replanted gardens in so many different soils, but this is hard. Of all the jobs I have applied for, this one is the best fit, the best combination of pay, hours, and benefits. Yet at half what I was making before, I am having trouble finding my gratitude for a job I don’t even have, and desperately need, which brought me to the realization that I’m not over my old job.

You see, I’d found The Job a few years back. The one from which you expect to retire. It was no great shakes, I wasn’t running the space program, but it suited me. I enjoyed my work and made enough money to see a modest but stable future, and I was content. Then, as for so many others, the bottom fell out. I’ve spent the last year looking for a ‘get by’ job, and am now facing a second interview for a job I only kinda want, because what I really want is my old life back.

All of this has brought to the fore the fact that we have to take job loss seriously not just for financial reasons, but for emotional reasons. They can’t be shoved under the bed and forgotten. Most of us spend more of our waking hours at work than anyplace else, and the loss of that job, that life, has to be mourned, processed, and worked through if we are to have a successful relationship with our new workplace. So before I go into my second interview, I need to drop some baggage, commiserate with friends, erase my preconceptions, delete some phone numbers, and move on, broken heart and all.