These have been a couple of rough months at work. It all started with another one of those mysterious conference calls with the company owner/president. We didn’t think much of it then, after all, it was the same old news as always: the economy sucks, we’re working at it, we’re still hoping to maintain the quality of the company. You know, that stuff. The one notable thing was he mentioned they were looking at laying off a handful of people. Hey, a handful? That’s only 5, right?

Well, our regional manager (who was there with us during the call) clarified that it’d probably be a few more than 5 people getting laid off. After a boom in business, followed by a bust, it’s only natural that a company our size should get to “right-sizing”. (You like that one, huh? No more downsizing….nope, we’re RIGHT sizing.) Anyway, nothing really interesting happened for a while after that.

Then one day the office manager, who I’m fairly good friends with, shows me a spreadsheet she was preparing for her boss. It was a list. Of people. That were getting “right-sized”. It wasn’t a handful, more like 10. (That’s TWO hands.) I didn’t look at it too hard, but it was easy to pick out a few names of people I knew. Scary. (It didn’t occur to me until afterwards that my name could be on there…..although she probably wouldn’t have broke then news like that, would she?)

Within the next few days the news broke out. They laid off our human resources department, a big name in marketing, and several others.

And then on Thursday, out of the blue they laid-off the receptionist/administrator. The shocking part was that she’s been doing administrative duties on two of the projects I’m working on. She’s been swamped, as I am. But apparently that isn’t enough anymore. They just need to let go of more people. (It was heartbreaking. I’ve gotten pretty close to her over the past few months and knew several things, such as the fact that she is going through a divorce right now, her middle-school aged son is starting to have problems at school (likely due to the divorce), money is tight, she had a death in the family that morning. Talk about a rough day.)

Things are getting scary, my friends. Now its only a matter of time for me. Not if, not why….but when. I predict December. When my project wraps up. Right in time for the holidays. Nice, isn’t it? Hopefully I make it that far. We’d need to land another project for that, and from what I’ve seen….well, there are none in the pipelines.

I was talking to a friend, who happens to be in the same industry as me. There are about 20 people left working in their office….their regional office. (To give an idea of how small that is, there were once over 100 working there.) My friend is the only person left in that department. Scary.

Needless to say I’ve been having a bit of an identity crisis these past few months. Sure, losing my job isn’t the end of the world. Many have endured it. My biggest worry is that once I’m out of a job, it pretty much means the industry is dead. Let me rephrase that….my industry is pretty much dead right now, and I’m hanging on by a thread. Once I’m out of this job, it’ll be a WHILE before I can get another one in the same industry. A year if I’m lucky.

So what will I do?

I have no clue. One part of me is horrified that I allowed myself to move out, knowing that I could be out of a job at any minute. I knew that this summer while I was looking at apartments. The other part of me knows that had I not moved out, and then lost my job it would mean I’d be living with my parents for a VERY long time. So….hoorah for independence, I guess. I’m suddenly VERY glad I didn’t buy a house and wipe out my savings.

Another part of me is somewhat exhilarated. Afterall, a steady job leads to complacency. This would be my chance to try new things, explore a new career path….but then I also realize that there’s no way I’ll be earning as much with any of those paths. The part of me that always said “money isn’t that important” now realizes deep down inside that I only said that because I “finally had money”.

Anyway, I’ve got a lot to think about. I like to believe that everything happens for a reason, whether or not I like it, and whether or not I see it right away…..