Job hunting for the first time in 11 years

For those of you who might have missed my facebook & twitter updates over the past few weeks, I am on the job market for the first time in over 11 years. This isn’t by choice, my position is being downsized due to a decrease in the grant funding for my department at The Jackson Laboratory. I, and the 3 others I share an office & responsibilities with, found out about this change on 3/21. Our positions officially end on 7/31/11. While I am sad about this, I really shouldn’t complain much since it could have been worse. 4 months notice is certainly nothing to complain about these days.

The good news is that this change wasn’t because of poor performance on my part and was outside my control. The bad news is that, despite hearing warnings for years that everyone should always have an up-to-date résumé and that no one should expect their job to be safe or expect their employer to show them any loyalty, I was not ‘ready’ for this at all and it’s thrown me, and my whole family, for quite the loop.

The scariest fact in all this is that it’s not looking likely we can stay in this area and will need to relocate. After living here for over 13.5 years this isn’t something we want to do, or had planned on.

Top it all off with the fact that while I know logically that this position being cut was outside of my control and is not a review about my skills or performance, my ‘gut’ reaction is still taking this as a failure on my part. The fact that this job ending may mean that not only will my 9-5 job be changing, but also quite possibly losing the entire community of friends we’ve built, is quite overwhelming. Suffice to say the past month or so has been a roller coaster. We’re still not quite fully grasping what relocating will entail logistically but at some point we may just have to decide to jump and make the best of it. I keep hoping somehow something local may work out, and there are a few possible leads on this front, with possible local jobs or telecommute jobs, but so far nothing definite so we can’t bank on anything.

What’s more, the whole résumé, cover letter & interview process requires one to be an energetic, peppy first person sales person about your skills & experience. This process ends up in direct contention with my more passive, mellow and humble personality. I’m very good at what I do, and I know that, though to make me have to write letters and speak to groups of strangers about it just eats at me. It’s difficult to explain this properly and I’m not sure I’m doing this justice, all I know is that this whole process has me burning the candle at both ends and is really eating at me. I want it done, I don’t like it, it hurts and it annoys me.

Part of me wants to detail more about my recent interview experiences and where we’re looking at possibly relocating to but that wouldn’t be very prudent, or professional. The good news is I’m finding possible job matches in the industry I’m most comfortable with and at locations that I think we’d be happy with, and my resume seems to be getting noticed by the right people so I’ve done some phone and in person interviews that I think went well. If we have to relocate I think we’ll end up somewhere nice <knock on wood>. Note, I am still actively looking so if anyone knows of any ‘System Administration’ &/or ‘Web Developer’ type positions, send them my way or point others my linked in page.

As I mentioned above, I realize I really shouldn’t complain about this too much. Yes it still ‘sucks’ on a number of levels but I’m reminded by many that working for a single employer for 13.5 years is an anomoly and there are worse things that could happen. As the Harvey Reid lyric goes, ‘Got no problems a dollar won’t cure’ so I guess I shouldn’t complain. Or since I seem to find a David Wilcox lyric for any occasion;

“Let me dive into the water,
leave behind all that I’ve worked for
except what I remember and believe,

and when I reach the farthest shore,
I will have all I need”


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