Friday, December 5, 2008

Job Security?

I had an interesting conversation tonight while I was sitting at a wake with Prince Charming. A good friend of mine was there, and we were talking about recent lay-offs at her company. There have been several rounds of layoffs, in fact, and each time they come as a complete surprise. A person goes into work in the morning, and an hour later is escorted out the door with a hearty handshake, a look of shock plastered across their face, carrying their small box of possessions.

The most recent person that was laid off yesterday had been with the company for 25 years.

She said it was getting scary, because you never knew when it was going to happen, and since it has happened again and again and again, who knows if they are done?

Prince Charming was talking about layoffs at his own company. He is what might be considered "middle management", and he didn't know the layoffs were coming, either. Fortunately, one of the best sellers in his group had just quit (to go work with a competitor), but the silver lining was that it negated the need to let go of anyone else.

Somehow, in my head, I twisted this into not a bad thing, but a good one...

It must be a little bit liberating to know that, one day, you can just wake up and decide to leave it all behind you, and just pack up your little box of photos and staples and post it notes and walk out the door. The end.

On one hand, working in a field where you depend on grants can be frustrating... but at least you know months and years in advance how long you will have funding. There are no surprises. On the other hand, that level of commitment can seem like chains that are tying you down and holding you back.

As a researcher I've invested so much time and energy into this, that I can't leave until I have that one last paper. When will it be ready? Soon... soon... the ever elusive "Soon."

Me? I'm ready for "Happily Ever After."

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