Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Thank you for your time, and good luck.

About 8 months ago I accepted a position for a private non-profit foundation that administrates research at the VA, as a research coordinator in psychiatry. At first, it was great - lots to learn, and the promise of admnistering neuropsych evals. I thought I'd be working with patients and people. Eventually, though, I spent more and more time in my office, doing paperwork and computer work. In 8 months, I worked with one patient.

I kept my counseling job for Dr. Ken, seeing patients for individual therapy every Tuesday afternoon. I worked out the hours by working a bit longer at the research job.

My interest in the new job dwindled. I began to resent it. The pay was great, but I wasn't really doing anything other than occasionally looking for patients for studies, and waiting for things to be approved by an internal review board that moved with geologic speed.

Then, Tuesday morning, I was asked to report to Human resources. At first, I was puzzled, surely I couldn't be in some sort of trouble - I was doing what was being asked of me. I reported to HR, where I was, in effect, handed this letter:


Due to lack of funds available to your supervisor, we are notifying you that your position is being terminated today, August 4th, 2009. We are giving you two (2) week severance pay, as well as pay for your unused vacation days. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.

Thank you for your time, and good luck,

XXXX, Human Resource Administrator.


Yeah. That was my notice. Oh, and take this sheet, get it initialed by the end of today, turn in your keys and your badge.



Never had that happen before...never had someone just flat say, "we don't have any more money, so go home." I knew it happened, but I was always in public service, under contract. Public service generally doesn't give people the axe, they just have hiring freezes. This was to be a 3-year position. It fell about 2 years, 4 months short. A lot of funding had fallen through, grants not approved, et cetera.

It's ironic that just a couple weeks ago I finally whispered to myself, I hate this job. I thought I'd be working with patients more. But, I figured, I stick it out for the next 2 years, until I was done with social work school.

The HR officer told me to "be sure to check the listings for openings". I found out that my supervisor wasn't even allowed to warn me that this was going to happen. It's against policy. He'd wanted to tell me himself, to assure me that it had nothing to do with my performance, but was not allowed.

Translation: Not only are we giving you 1 day's notice, but we're making it sting as much as possible, and don't sit around waiting for a phone call, either. You can just hope that we'll have an opening.

I'm luckier than most, it seems. When I reported to the counseling center for my usual Tuesday afternoon IT sessions, Dr. Ken brightened and informed me that he needed someone to do clinical intake interviews. It pays less than what I've been making. I've always wanted to do these, but another guy had that position locked. He seems to have left, though, and now they need someone.

So, the NEW plan:
  • Work mostly full time at the counseling center.
  • Get paid (far) less, but probably like my job a lot more.
  • Use severance pay to pay for tuition for full time schooling this fall.
  • Train for an Ironman. Possibly cancel Redman. We'll see.


  1. Sorry to hear about the layoff, but I think the new possibilities look like you would be happier.

    Train for Ironman, wowzie, that would definitely take your mind off the job thing. ;)

  2. Sorry about the sting, but it sounds like you have an excellent plan laid out!

  3. When it rains... God only gives you what you can manage... Suck-a-roo! The good - a job you didn't like is not an issue... and you are being proactive about your health so (regardless of an insensitive, clueless, bufoon of a doctor with the "your not ugly, just fat" comment) eventually you will have a DX and move to get the weight back on track... Stay strong!

  4. Sorry about the paycheck but I'm not sorry about the job. I've been in jobs that I was miserable at. I left my last one, found one I like better AND got a raise. Hoping the same for you.

  5. I've been laid off twice - both times from jobs I hated but was sticking with. Such a conundrum getting let go from a job you hate. Love that you're leaving, hate that you're losing the pay. Still, ultimately I'd bet it will be a major relief. You might even find your training will go a little better now that you're not completely stressed from the job you hate.

  6. Sounds kind of like a blessing in disguise (minus the pay reduction)? A job you like more (which always makes work more bearable) and potentially more time to train for an Ironman! Good luck with the new job responsibilities!

  7. This happened to me a few years ago. It definitely stung at the time, but as corny as it sounds, it did work out for the best. Enjoy the extra time in your day and good luck w/ your training :)

  8. I have a friend who works as a training manager in a major cancer hospital here in NYC. She has her MSW. She found out earlier this year that her entire dept. was being eliminated at he end of the year. At least she had more notice than you.

    She just got offered (in the same hospital) a phenomenal job. When a door closes, a window opens.

    I'm sure it's of little consolation, but sounds like you weren't happy there anyway, and you got that other position that seemed a lock for someone else. I hope you will be happy in your new role! Best of luck!

  9. Things my mother said that I hate:
    "Everything happens for a reason".
    Things I hated about my mother...
    She was always right.
    Things I say that my kids hate:
    "Everything happens for a reason".
    Things my kids hate about me...
    I am always right.
    Hang in there....Everything happens for a reason.

  10. Ah hell! I am really sorry to hear that. I know the job was mind numbing, but I also know it SUCKS to have that financial stress of a lower paying job even if it is a good move(I took a huge pay cut to be a teacher. Freaked me out and I worked two jobs for the first 8 years)

    Upside is you that have a great plan and this will allow you to finish your degree faster and hopefully get a satisfying job that also allows the financial freedom to do what you want.

  11. {{Misty}}
    Think of it this way-you have more time to train?..but OUCH! the way they did that is VERY harsh..I am so sorry.

  12. Ouch.

    Let's hope this is the beginning of something wonderful that you just don't know about yet...

  13. Wow. I'm sorry they treated you this way, and the timing sure does stink. Fingers crossed Sweet Baboo's got health insurance for you.

    But, as I'm not the first one to note, it appears the right door has closed and a good window has opened. As long as you've got "enough" (whatever that is for you), then it's all about the happiness you can find and make. And you already have a plan. :)

  14. Sorry to hear about how the layoff happened but it sounds like it might work out well for your own health and happiness!

  15. geez- I leave town for 3 weeks and everything goes to hell. So sorry - yikes!


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