Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Unemployment Awkwardness

There's bound to be some looks and some awkward moments when you tell people that yes, you quit a perfectly good job and are facing unemployment.

My first experience was the other day when I took my dogs to the groomers. I bumped into a friend I went to college with but hadn't seen since my last trip to Chicago. He told me he had moved back a few months ago to open a few more law firms down here. He asked how my job was going and I told him I had just recently left. He seemed to understand my decision, but yeah, "Hi, I'm Mr. Successful Lawyer with several of my very own law firms" while I'm, "Hi, I'm unemployed by my own choice!" makes for a bit of awkwardness.

However, I had an interview through a temp agency today. I've worked with them in the past and have stayed in touch with one of the recruiters there. They do a lot of specialized positions and direct hire, not one of those where'd I'd be temping day to day or week to week. The position they're trying to fill is one that would be brought on quickly so I met with the recruiter as well as the owner of the agency. When I tell people about where I worked they're always very interested. Where I worked was an interesting place and does a lot of great things. In every interview I get the inevitable, "why are you leaving?" question. Usually it's been easy to say that I'm looking for a position that's not grant funded. People generally understand that. It's also one of the things that I hated about where I worked. We were constantly chasing money, there was a time where my position wasn't funded and I was facing taking a position I didn't want or being unemployed, the initiatives were always changing and there was never enough money to bring in someone to do something. It became an environment where you were constantly pulled in other directions and couldn't really spend your time doing the core of what you wanted to do. The core is what I enjoyed, but more of more of my time was expected to be spent on all the other things. Plus my core is extremely undervalued in my organization because of our funding requirements. Anyways, the owner didn't even bother with the why are you leaving question it was more shock, "you're leaving your position and you don't have anything yet?" I replied, "Yes. Sometimes you just know when it's time to move on from something. I've enjoyed the work that I did there and the work that the organization does, but it just wasn't for me anymore." Her response, "That's ballsy."

So yes, I think my decision is ballsy. Someone else congratulated me on taking such a strong stand, being courageous and for taking a leap of faith. I'm sure there are plenty of people that think I'm making the dumbest decision of my life. That's fine. For me it is a bit ballsy and a bit courageous and I'm definitely taking a leap of faith. I'm lucky enough to be in a position in which I'm able to do this. There are tons of people that are stuck in horrible jobs that they wish they could leave, and there are tons that are unemployed not by their own choice and are struggling to find something. I feel for those people. I know what it's like to struggle to find something - I've been looking for over 2 years stuck in a work environment that I hated. I may spend another year or two or even five finding something that I truly enjoy. John quoted to me last night, "Find a job you love and you'll never work another day in your life." That's so what I want! For now though, I consider myself lucky to be able to do this and I'm proud of myself for making this decision. I know it's not going to be easy, but I know I'm going to come out of this a stronger, happier person.


  1. You're darn tooting that it's ballsy and great! Shimmy off the awkwardness!

  2. Good for you! I truly hope you find something soon that you really enjoy and that fulfills you. Like you I know too many people stuck in jobs they hate, and it makes me sad too.

  3. John the HusbandFeb 24, 2010, 5:20:00 PM

    Lets hope the job you find that you love pays you a ton of money so that I can retire!!!! I have no doubt in your abilities, that is why I was so supportive of your leaving the old job. Keep your chin up, I will be here for you - 'for richer or for poorer'. Love You!

  4. What a sweet little comment from John :)

    Good luck with the job hunt...and your situation totally makes sense to me. Had I not gotten pregnant, I think I would be in a similar situation with leaving my job for very similar reasons.

  5. Love John-such a good, supportive husband!!! No worries girl, it'll work'll find a great job!!!

  6. I hear you on this! I was in a job a hated but I waited until firm layoffs happened to find a better job! I admire anyone who can admit they are not where they want to be and work to change it! Good luck with the job search!

  7. It's great that you're doing what makes you happy. I bet that once you're out of there for awhile some of your physical ailments will start ease as well.

    I hope you find something you love and enjoy your vacation in the meantime. :)

  8. I admire you for doing what you did. I wish I could do the same, and hopefully sometime in the near future I will be able to. I know work shouldn't be someone's life or source of happiness, but it's really hard to go to something 5 days a week that you don't like or don't believe in. I hope you find something soon!


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