I know I shouldn’t be happy to get laid off, but…

My New Cube?
I pointed out back in September that the common thread in your series of bad jobs is – probably – you. I certainly have had my share of troubles with my current client.  I spent a lot of time wishing they would just tell me to hit the road.  Call it the Law of Attraction (be careful what you wish for) or just call it part of the overall economic woes, but my client decided to start jettisoning consultants at the end of November.  I am one of the consultants.  Since I completed all of the work they asked me to do over a month ago, this is not much of a surprise to me.

Too often I think people stuck in bad jobs wait for something like this to happen. They secretly wait for a layoff or something really bad to occur in order to feel justified in quitting.  As a consultant, I didn’t want to irritate a client with some significant contacts in the surprisingly small world of the Manhattan financial service industry.  Yet at the same time I have been hoping, with great intensity, that I would have an excuse to leave.  Now I have it.

I know most people in times like these feel a great deal of anxiety and cling to their jobs (and they should, to a degree). A measure of how much I hated my current client – and to a lesser degree, all of my clients in my semi-crooked industry – is that I did not feel one second of anxiety, or remorse, or worry when I heard my contract would be up.  I felt nothing but joy.  I cheered.  My fellow consultants thought I was nuts.

That was last Friday. Now I’m starting to do my usual between-clients fretting:  making sure the finances are in order (they are), making sure I have some leads out on new clients (I do) and preparing to alter my routine as I do every six months or so.  Every time I have new work ready to go within days; I haven’t gone more than two weeks without working (except by choice).

I am asked all the time by employees of my clients whether I feel exposed or unstable in my position, and I realize more and more with each contracts’ completion that I don’t. I am more confident each time that clients are easy to come by, and the REAL challenge – the one that I should be scared of – is not finding the next client but having the guts and the determination NOT to find another client.

Anyone who is working in a job where they have tension so great that they yell in delight when laid off from that job is probably not working in the right job for them. I may be regretting that joy if I struggle finding new work, but I suspect that if I took another stab at problogging I might do even better.  Knowing it was my only source of income for a while would give me the incentive to work out the logistics.  Maybe I’m crazy, but I keep thinking that maybe there’s some truth to the idea that if you want something badly enough, events will conspire to put that thing in your lap.  It certainly happened to me this time!

photo credit: Todd Baker << technowannabe (loved it!!)

19 Replies to “I know I shouldn’t be happy to get laid off, but…”

  1. What are you going to do about finding work that you enjoy?

    I don't know whether you want to do pro-blogging really, or you want to be a life coach, or you want to have a patchwork career, or take longer breaks between clients, but it doesn't sound like you're all that happy with the current set-up.

    I want you to be happy with your job, because I'm happy with mine and it makes such a difference to the rest of my life. Given what you write, I'm sure you can make something work so you're not in this position again.

  2. I will echo plonkee's comments. I think you still haven't quite decided what you want to be when you grow up! That's a problem lots of smart people have, so it's not entirely a bad thing. Have you considered teaching (I'm always trying to recruit people to my teaching profession!)? It may not pay a lot, but the schedule is pretty good, the benefits are usually quite good, and there's the hope of a pension in the future, plus you actually feel like you are doing a little good in the world! But whatever you wind up doing, I hope you can enjoy a bit of a vacation during December and have a good holiday season.

  3. I hear ya! I got fired from a job a couple years ago and it ended up being a blessing in disguise. It was a small family run firm and lets say one of the partners and I never saw eye to eye. He took great delight in my termination interview. I was upset for all of two hours, then realized it was a beautiful summer day, I could go for a walk, I could go for a swim and I had my first real summer vacation in years. I ended up in a better place. The only down side was I was in a bad fiscal place at the time,so it was a little rough, but mentally, leaving that old work environment was the best thing that could have happened to me. I ended up with a new job less than 10 days later with better pay, better benefits and much nicer people.

    I have this feeling you will be OK, you have a plan, you have savings, you have contacts. Enjoy a few weeks with your family while you sort out your next steps! GOOD LUCK!

  4. The combination of only reading the first line of this post's title and the image confused the hell out of me.

    A layoff can definitely force you to make positive decisions and lead to something better. Certainly my hubby losing the original job he had here in TO was a good thing, in hindsight. Glad you're taking getting “let go” in stride Steve, onwards and upwards!

  5. so my brain went right over the word “off”, and i was like, wow, letting it all out. 🙂

    so client aside, did you like the work? i find that i often conflate things (like office politics and the nitty gritty of my job) and end up hating things i don't really hate…

  6. It's great to know at least that you have options and finding new clients is an easy process and not a stressful one. Sounds like for you it may be time for a career change. Maybe something out of the financial sector, maybe something more traditional like buying a business or something. Have you thought about a change at all?


  7. I once volunteered to be laid off, I was commuting to a location in another county cause my local office didn't have enough work. After a few months I asked my boss to tell my home office he didn't have any work for me either, though it wasn't true. I was happy to get a pink slip that day and thought I'd move to another industry. Didn't happen and I'm still not entirely happy with my career, but it pays well and keeps me fed. It sounds like you're not happy in your line of work either, if you have options, why not try them. I didn't get out of my career cause I didn't have anywhere else to go or any other ways of making money. This might be just the thing you need to start off in a new direction. If it was just a bad client, maybe the next will be better.

  8. I'd say that I'm sorry to hear your news, but somehow that doesn't seem appropriate. I do think that you're absolutely right about it being time to leave a job if you are miserable. I hope there are only great jobs in your future!

  9. Sorry to hear about the 'let go'. Even if it is a good/great thing it's usually better to do it of your own accord.

    Bring on the problogger!!!


  10. If you turn pro-blogging into a “job” it won't be as interesting after a while. That's just one of those realities that when you do something too much or too long, it losses its appeal.

    Do a variety of things that you enjoy and bring meaning to your life. Go to a local college and see about teaching a night class next semester? Do some blogging. Write a book. Do some small consulting work too. Read. Spend time with family.

    I'd find it too hard to sit down and try and JUST be a problogger at home with so many distractions. That's why I'd do a variety of things that interest me, which may include blogging, but not be limited to it or by it.

  11. That's amazing. I recently published a very similar post about how and why my wife quit her job in this dismal economy. I could not agree more.

  12. Sorry (and glad) to hear about the job loss. Hope this turns out well for you in the long run.

    On the flip side, a little extra motivation to step up the blogging income never hurt, right? 😉

  13. @Patrick: Gotta be honest, I'm still more enthusiastic than depressed – the extra motivation is completely there 🙂

  14. Sorry (and glad) to hear about the job loss. Hope this turns out well for you in the long run.

    On the flip side, a little extra motivation to step up the blogging income never hurt, right? 😉

    1. @Patrick: Gotta be honest, I'm still more enthusiastic than depressed – the extra motivation is completely there 🙂

  15. @Patrick: Gotta be honest, I'm still more enthusiastic than depressed – the extra motivation is completely there 🙂

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