Cities That Fall
Every day is a new adventure, and the most recent “adventure” that I’ve found myself enjoying is that of unemployment. Ah, yes. After largely exhausting my options at my old company (the old guard was firmly entrenched, so there was very little chance of advancement), and finding little opportunities elsewhere in the rolling hills of Kentucky, I packed up my life and moved to the flat sandpit known as Florida, where you can’t swing a cat by the tail without hitting a job posting for clinical services. Sure enough, soon after I finalized my residency in this state (which admittedly took longer than it should have – I did not anticipate the outrageous cost of being a private vehicle owner here), I had multiple job offers and even more requests for interviews. I weighed my options, chose a newer facility where I could be considered a “ground floor” employee, and got to work.
Turns out it was a very, very bad choice, as “revolving doors” usually are. Of course, I didn’t realize it was a revolving door until I witnessed many of the most reliable members of the old guard put in their notices with no back-up plan to speak of. Within the month prior to my termination, half of the dietary staff quit, half of the business office quit, our executive assistance quit (who was the most calm, patient and personable person I have ever known), and our best receptionist turned in her notice as well. Some may say morale was low – I would say it had been buried months ago.
My boyfriend’s father treated us to brunch this past Saturday, offering his support, recounting when he was laid off from his job as a mapping technician. After years of service, with skills and expertise in his field very few could claim, he was unexpectedly dropped from his company. Applications went ignored. Interviews with promises for callbacks fell silent. The hoops and jumps of receiving unemployment benefits were exhausting, frustrating. “I know how much of a blow to the ego it can be,” he told me. Luckily for him, he saved and invested wisely for his retirement, and was somewhat close enough to retirement age that he opted to withdraw from the job market entirely.
Which is where I get stuck. I had only just begun to save up, after spending much of my regular income rebuilding a household states away from my home. Even if I did opt to cash out my 401k, it would only carry me for a month after taxes and penalties. My savings, final check and severance covers about a month and a half. It’s only been two weeks, but things already seem bleak.
Still, can I say I have hard feelings? Absolutely not. Sometimes jobs don’t work. Sometimes, despite excellent quality of work, personalities clash. Standards of service and ethics differ when your degree is based in social justice, and you work in the private for-profit world. It was clearly not the place for me, and while it was a jarring experience to be fired, I consider it a mercy kill. I’m not the kind to walk out on my obligations and commitments, so they made that decision for me (somewhat, at least – I had decided to notify my supervisor of my intent to voluntarily terminate my employment the very day I was paraded in front of HR to turn in my badge and keys).
I have no hard feelings. My being there was a poor decision. My remaining there was an even worse decision. I was already applying for new jobs, knowing I would be leaving soon. And here we are, with too much time on my hands, a flood of resumes sent out to whoever cares to receive them, two interviews, and one conditional job offer hanging in the balance between my skill and dedication, and whatever my prior employer decides to report regarding my performance. Considering I’ve attempted twice to contact my former supervisor, and heard nothing back, again, things seem bleak.
What has really come from this entire experience is realizing that leaving home was a monumental mistake that I can never correct. Even if I did make my way back there, there is an unsettling truth to that old saying… you can’t go home again.