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.