On being a statistic

I’m not quite a statistic yet, but I will be soon. Those of you who follow me on facebook know why: I was laid off on Monday.

It’s a strange feeling. My first reaction was the obvious one: “Oh crap. NOW what?” The one after that was: “I can sleep in.” Says everything, doesn’t it? I was massively burned out, and it showed in all sorts of ways. Now I’m in recovery and looking for a new job. One that does not require the ability to keep one’s soul from being eaten by the Elder Gods would be nice, although being familiar with ways to ward off eldritch horrors will no doubt be useful.

Right now I’m still very much in recovery. There’s still no “there” there, and I don’t expect to see any for a while yet. It usually takes me a week or two to recover and get the need to write back. In the meantime I’m applying for jobs (software QA, 8 years experience, most of it involving manual and automated testing for those who know someone who knows someone. I’ve also worked as a software developer in the dim distant past), slowly catching up on long-delayed house organization, and trying not to stress. Weirdly, I’m in better shape emotionally than I thought I’d be – I’m not devastated, I’m just kind of numb. Possibly I half expected something like this, and had prepared for it. Or maybe knowing what needs to happen and that I’m a fairly desirable quantity for employers is what’s doing it (7 years at the last job, got the chop along with department manager and a number of other senior – and highly paid – people. Yeah. They did it to save money. I’m expecting them to find out that I was doing my usual thing of enough work for three other people. The place I was at before this one had to hire five people to replace me, and three of them were gone within six months. It’s because I’m lazy: I find ways to do it in less time than anyone else would take).

At any rate, I’m mostly numb. And of course, I’ll soon be an addition to the unemployment statistics. Yay me.

Naturally, a part of my brain is busy cataloging the whole thing for use somewhere in my writing. At some stage in the future, one of my characters will get handed a life-changing – bordering on life-shattering – shock and will respond more or less the way I’m responding now. It probably won’t be recognizable as the response to my being laid off, because in my brain things mutate. That part of being a writer is still working nicely, so I expect to get the rest back as I recover from burnout.

One thing I am sure about: recovery will happen. On its own bloody timeline of course, but it will happen. Something will insist that I write it now and that will be that.

21 thoughts on “On being a statistic

  1. Sometimes it’s just “Whew, well that’s over with, now I don’t have to worry about _that_ any more.”

    Which is weird, because something like this creates several new things to worry about. Good luck job hunting–and hopefully a new job will show up before any worries get serious, but after you’ve caught up on a bunch of sleep.

    1. Thanks, Pam.

      That’s pretty much the shape of it: I was badly burned out. Which I knew, but I also wasn’t in a position to do anything about.

      Now, well… the Kate-weird effect is hitting my life. Interestingly enough my sleep patterns are already stabilizing.

    1. Thanks, Wayne. The mere thought of me copyediting anything should send people into panicked screaming. I read what SHOULD be there. Not what actually is there.

    1. Thanks! I suspect Seattle is a teeny bit out of my way just now, but telecommute is an option if anyone wants it to be.

      1. the numbskull recruiters keep sending me “hot opportunities” in San Francisco and New York, among others. No joke. Where are you now? I’ll keep an eye out.

        1. Well, I’m a LOT closer to New York than to Seattle. I’m in Boyertown, PA, which is a small town about an hour from Philadephia in off-peak traffic.

          Sounds like your recruiters are a lot like typical HR types…

  2. I had a technical recruiter asking me just a few days ago about if I knew any QA folks, because they’re apparently in high demand right now. That’s a different geographic area than PA, but you may actually end up in a better position.

    1. They seem to be in demand in the “near Philadelphia” part of PA, too (see my comment downthread). I’m not desperate enough to relocate on the prospect of a job just yet, but I would definitely consider telecommute elsewhere.

  3. Kate, if you pop an e-mail to my husband with your resume (or even just a better summary) attached he’ll see if anyone he knows is hiring. His company is pretty small but he does contracting for the National Labs. The email is pascal at pascal dot org.

  4. Your response sounds like mine back in 2003. I’d smelled trouble in the wind, and when I learned that the crews had set up a betting pool to see in which order three of the most vocal pilots would be fired, I started looking for other options. When the word came down I was more prepared than I thought, but it was still a shock to the system for a few days.

    Hang in there; you’re in a much better position than I was. Experienced pilots were a dime for two dozen in the spring of 2003.

    1. I seem to be. I’ve now had two follow-up calls to online applications within an hour of me sending in the application. There’s a phone interview for one of them in a bit over half an hour, and the other is arranging a phone interview.

      Apparently, experienced software QA is in demand. Who knew?

  5. Kate, it would be “funny” if you heard that your former employer is looking for more QA people. [Very Big Evil Grin]

    1. Heh. Ze schadenfreude, she is strong with this one.

      I don’t doubt I will hear something of the sort before too long. That or I’ll hear they’re going out of business… Which is a pity. I don’t wish them any ill, but I do wish the owners would catch a clue. They’ve hurt more than just the people they laid off with this round: a ton of irreplaceable knowledge walked out the door that day. Not just mine, either.

  6. On the bright side, you get to catch up on your sleep, and then on everything else that’s been needing time to get around to!

    Seriously, hope you have an even better offer soon.

  7. I have been out of the industry for over ten years, so I can’t help with the job search. I would recomend Kipling’s poem “If” to you though. It has helped me get through some dark times.

  8. Thank you all for the good wishes and suggestion and offers. I have a new job. The commute is going to be… interesting… but everything else looks ideal. Woohoo!

    1. Congratulations, Kate! 🙂 I’m glad to hear the news about the new job.

      As for the old one, I was worried about you; it seemed to be devouring you whole from what little I could see, but talking about it, I thought, wouldn’t prove helpful. (Sometimes the best thing anyone can do is be silent and listen. Even me. Even though it’s not my best strength by a mile.)

      Hope things will be smoother sailing from here on out.

Comments are closed.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: