So, I am officially unemployed. A saga that began about halfway in April of this year, has come to an premature end. I was originally planning on staying till the end of October, but life had some other plans for me instead.
Back in April, our department was given news about a change to how we would be functioning. Instead of a collection of specialists who each worked on our own specific tasks, we would be cross-training in everybody else's jobs and rotating around in a sort of job-sharing system. I wasn't terribly excited about this idea or interested in learning some of the tasks in my department, but was willing to give it a try. I have always been able to put up with whatever came my way there, because I was at least able to choose which hours I work. I worked a 7:30am-4pm shift, and it got me home by 4:30pm on a really great traffic day. But halfway through April, we were told that another change was being made to the department: new hours. We had our choice of 9am-6pm with an hour lunch or 9:30am-6pm. There was no other option if I wanted to remain in my position at the company. I opted for the 9:30am start time and also very quickly came to the decision that my last sense of control with this job had now been taken from me, and I wasn't going to stay. The question was then, when to leave?
Due to how things were announced, the dynamic of the department, and because the last bomb dropped on the department was that we only had six months to cross train in all of these job tasks, it just sort of happened that I told them from the start that I wasn't going to stay. I would try to stay for the six month training period in order to be an extra body to take over smaller tasks, as well as to help train my team in my job as best as I could before I left. TPTB were ok with this, and even appreciated that I was saying to help train. In theory, it would also have allowed me the chance to job hunt while remaining employed. I managed this a little bit, but found employment a hindrance, in the long run. Because I had a guaranteed thing going, the pressure to move on wasn't there. Also, the time of my shift made it difficult to work on sending out resumes to places.
I did my best to change my life around to fit the new schedule. I stayed up later in hopes of sleeping in later, but it never really worked. I have always had problems with sleep, so I ended up basically being a zombie the whole time. I was now getting home closer to 7pm, making cooking dinner pretty much impossible. I had no energy to clean, so dishes piled up, my apartment is a mess. I had no time to exercise. The only positive during this time was that my creativity exploded. A new book idea came to me that I had to run with and I'm still working on it.
Fast forward to about a month ago when I received a random email from my doctor's office saying that when I'd seen her earlier that year, my blood pressure had been a bit high and they'd like to follow up on it. I contacted them about using one of those blood pressure machines at a grocery store and letting them know the results via email rather than making an appointment just for that. They said that was ok, and I went that weekend to take the test at the grocery store I live next to. Now, I'm no expert on blood pressure, so I didn't know what numbers were the best or the worst. But when I took the test and it was 180something over 110something, I knew that was bad. Like, really bad. And the test said I might want to seek immediate medical attention, which I of course ignored. I did, however, go home and make a doctor's appointment for that Thursday to speak to her about it. I went the next day after work and tried it again and it was actually higher. 190something over 110something. I was getting pretty scared by that point.
My appointment was for Thursday, and the day before I had a talk with myself on the bus going to work. I told myself I was going to pick an actual date to leave and it was going to be before the end of October date. I chose September 1st, a Friday. It was a month out and would give me a bit of time to train people before I left. It would also qualify me for my benefits to extend for the month of September, which was reassuring to me. I lived with that decision for the day and when I went home that night I stopped at the store and took my blood pressure again. It was 50 points lower!
The next day I talked to my doctor about all that was happening with work and how the numbers had dropped so much after deciding when to leave and she agreed that it was in fact the work situation that was creating the issue. I was dealing with work stress and had no outlet for it as well as anticipating the job hunting which I didn't have time to do with this new time, which added to the stress. And it turns out, not getting enough sleep also contributes to blood pressure issues. That day, the blood pressure was down to 140something over 90something. Still a bit high, but significantly less than it had been. She also adjusted my meds a bit. My blood pressure is back in the normal range, which is great, but I hope I didn't do any permanent damage. I have to assume my blood pressure had been elevated for a few months during all of this. I am now the proud owner of my own blood pressure cuff, and am monitoring myself!
I gave my notice to work that next day and we went into scramble mode to train everybody in what I do. It was a stressful month, but one I knew was going to end. It made it easier to deal with. I was worried about how long I might be out of work as I look for a new job. I met with my financial advisor, though, and we discussed my finances. By moving my 401k to a Traditional IRA, I will be able to access funds more easily in an emergency(which will hopefully not happen.) I also have money in my checking and savings to last a few months before things get desperate. Between traditional job-hunting and the Molly Brown Temp Agency, that I will contact in the next couple weeks, hopefully something will present itself to me soon.
Yesterday was my last day at work and there were some festivities which were lovely. At the end of my shift, I handed in my badge and left for the last time. And now it's a three day weekend. I think it won't hit me until Tuesday when I don't go in to work that it will hit me.
My plan is to get my life back under control. I want to clean my apartment, start walking again, and work on my diet. I want to work on my writing and see how much of my book I can get done before I'm employed again. I'll tap into the ACA for medical coverage after this month if I need to(Thanks Obama!) I'm thinking of this as a bit of a sabbatical as I decompress from all of this, and gear up for my next move.
What important life lessons have I learned from this? I learned that the Elsa method (Conceal, don't feel) for dealing with stress doesn't work. I learned that I can do something scary and take a chance when push comes to shove. I'm generally not a big risk-taker in life, but sometimes you have no choice. Both of these things are good to know!
My advice to everybody reading this: Check your blood pressure! You can't feel it, so you don't know what your numbers are unless you test it. If it's high, do something about it! This is not something to mess with!
Well, hopefully my next step will come along very quickly and before I know it, I'll be happily and gainfully employed once again!