|"On the Road" by Liz|
This is the view to the Pacific Ocean from where we live.
I arrived at work one lovely San Francisco morning six months into my last job, and a company-wide voicemail message announced a merger and public offering. What came next was a year and a half of merger angst and position dismantling, inclusive of workplace ambiguity, a viral and almost pathological disregard for common workplace respect, intense trepidation, and then interview interrogation. By the time they laid me off a week ago, I was relieved. I’ve been through a merger in the past, but the difficulty I experienced here was epic, making this the most difficult period in my career.
This week has been about de-stressing and decompression, an on-going process, I’m sure. I had no idea I was so wound up. I’ve slept a lot as my inner workings reassemble, and the strangest thing keeps happening. I might be standing in the hallway when I have a random office memory. My muscles tighten up and I get a sick feeling in both my head and heart. This is what I felt like for a year, and why I was in so much physical pain all the time. I had to repress these feelings to work. Then, I remind myself it’s a thing of the past , the tightening and sickness subsides, and I feel relieved and surprised; giddy even. This gets less intense each day.
The last time I went through a period of unemployment, we were in Connecticut. I left a job in San Francisco after 19 years because my career had stalled. We sold our house in South City just before the real estate industry tanked and moved across country. We had fun for a while, furnishing the house and all that, until the novelty wore off. When it was time to go back to work, I discovered the job market had followed the housing market into the toilet, as well. Even the market in New York City was tight. It was a half year before I found a crappy position that paid less than half what I was making in San Francisco and was boring as hell. I predicted we would return to the Bay Area precisely one year later, and that we did.
My job right now is to unwind, get my head together, and find my balance. As the present evolves, I gain greater objectivity. Looking back, I have no regrets. I’m pleased I had the strength to stand up for myself at work when it became necessary. I imagine kowtowing or kissing ass might have increased my chances for continued employment, but I just don’t have it in me. Thank goodness. Instead, I’ve completed a life cycle; a turbulent one that has created personal and professional strength in me, and I’m preparing for the next chapter.
The difference between this and Connecticut is that I’m in the place I love. The Bay Area is beautiful and action packed. I’m reminded of this each time I see the Pacific Ocean in the panoramic vista just down the street. Tomorrow will take care of itself, but in the meantime, I’m going to make the most out of every moment.
There is, however, one thing I can state with absolute certainty.
The next time I hear the word “merger”, I will, without a doubt, run screaming in the opposite direction.