Tuesday, February 27, 2007

It never turns out like we expected

Friday should have been my last day at work. I had one last major project to complete and expected it to take up most of the day. I was ready to go. I had cleaned out my mailbox, taken home my personal stuff, returned all the company property that I had borrowed (except pencils and pens), and emotionally disengaged. I was ready to head out the door with a cheerful shout of "So long, you ungrateful bastards," and take a few days off before starting the search. At noon I met with my supervisor for an exit interview and he said, "maybe we didn't think this through..." I avoided the temptation to shout, "I could have told you that."

The job I had was one of those patchwork jobs that was made up of a number of responsibilities that had been swept together under my aegis, because I had the necessary skills and interests, not because they logically belonged together according to any sort of corporate plan. My job title was "John's Job" and I was the only one who really understood what that included. At one time I thought having an eclectic job like this carried a type of job security; that is, if the job is custom tailored to me and no one else can do it; I should be indispensable. I learned in previous jobs that I was wrong in that assumption. If none of my superiors understand what I do for them; none of them will act as my advocate when cuts are made. Silly me.

This time, however, I really did have one small indispensable skill. I'm a good writer and most of the responsibilities that I had added to my formal job description involved writing for a very demanding audience. The woman who took over my formal job description will be very good at those duties (and probably faster than I was), but she's not a writer and doesn't want to become one. They are going to need contract out the writing duties. It would be nice if they could find someone who knows the material, someone who knows the audience's preferences, someone who is familiar with their schedule and the personalities involved, someone who has already signed a non-disclosure agreement... someone a lot like me.

So I was back at work for three hours on Saturday. I'm still writing procedures and mailing them in from home. My former supervisor is preparing a new agreement to hire me as a specialist consultant whenever they need some writing. It won't be enough to live on--I'll still need a day job--but it will be a nice supplement. My few days off aren't as "off" as I had hoped, but my income hasn't been as completely turned off either. Now that I’m a little less stressed out over a looming financial crisis, maybe I can get a little writing of my own done.

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