Friday, August 29, 2008

Second thoughts

The separation package being offered by my company is pretty good. Two weeks full pay for every year you've been continuously employed. The deal is the same whether you volunteer to leave or get fired. Under that package I would get 6 months of full pay if I leave or get fired. Yes, I've been there for 15 years. A little crazy, isn't it?

After much conversation with my husband and an afternoon of perusing what jobs are available out there, we've decided I'm going to take my chances and not apply for the voluntary separation. Why? Well, think about it...I've been doing this job for 15 years. On the same software with little to no training in anything else. I've positioned myself well in the company as I am responsible for nearly all of the online content. Not the design, just the content.

I don't have any marketable skills, unless someone is hiring a journalist. And right now, they are firing media, not hiring. Going through the employment ads made me realize I don't have the skills I need to move smoothly into another career. I know SOME Excel and Powerpoint, but not enough. I have some management skills, but not enough.

The plan, as it stands right now barring an involuntary separation, is for me to work on increasing those skills over the next year or two through classes, seminars, certifications and self-help. I've already enrolled in a 3-day seminar next month in multi-media production and storytelling. The world of news is shifting very rapidly to all online content so having a good, solid base in how to effectively and efficiently PRODUCE that content is going to serve positively for my future career prospects.

Sure, we could get by on my husband's salary alone, but there are some pretty big purchases/investments we are planning and won't be able to follow through on those without my salary. We want to have a new barn built next spring, we need to buy a horse trailer, there are some pretty big house improvements we want to make (new flooring being at the top of the list) and we'd like to add some outdoor lighting to my riding arena. These are all pretty big dollar improvements that won't be possible if I'm not employed. Plus, my desire to compete in eventing and join a foxhunting club isn't going to happen without the extra funds.


amy said...

I think you're underestimating yourself tremendously. You have very marketable skills: unless you want to be a computer programmer, you already have as much or more skill than MANY other people have. Seriously. And what you don't know you can learn, because you are flexible and intelligent and experienced. And there are a lot of jobs out there for someone with your skills. What about public relations, or editing (not newspapers)? Instead of looking in the classifieds, figure out the things you are qualified to do, find out local places that might have a position like that, or may be a place you might like, and contact them whether they advertise an opening or not. Network, you're good at that! Don't be afraid of taking a risk, follow your heart--Ignore everything your brain tells you and listen to your inner voice on what feels right (sounds tacky, but a very important part of major decision making).
Anyway. I know you aren't in love with your job, and I want you to be happy, dangit!
ANd if all else fails :

Jim Thomsen said...

I understand where your decision came from. But it carries a LOT of risk, my friend. I take it that if you don't accept the buyout and then get separated involuntarily, you get nothing except 10 minutes to clean out your desk and an escort to the door. (Or am I wrong about that?)

It's tough. I think you're valuable where you work. I think I'm valuable where I work. But that doesn't matter much to managers who just have to flat-out slash expenses. I worry that someone like you, with extra vacation days and a higher wage than a newbie, is especially vulnerable. Why keep you when someone younger and cheaper can do your job?

And if you stay, are you going to be anything other than completely miserable every day? Don't think that up to three years of daily misery is worth whatever long-range dream you're planning. You have to be happy now in order to be happy later, I believe. Misery gets too easy to sink too deeply into to ever fully emerge.

But I hope it works out, and that you're made of tough enough stuff to handle whatever comes next.

Jenn said...

Amy...thank you for the vote of confidence! I think you and the Hubs have more confidence in my abilities/skills than I do.
And you know, I think I'd be pretty good as a heavy equipment operator.

Jim...If I don't accept the buyout and get fired instead, I still get the same severance package: 6 months full pay and four months health coverage. I'm not worried about the health coverage because I can get covered through my husband if necessary. However, if I leave voluntarily, I can't apply for unemployment. If I get fired, I can, and then have the chance at nearly a year of "wages" with the severance pay and unemployment, which is a better "deal" in the long run.