They say man plans and God laughs, but no one's laughing here...
July 18, 2011 10:03 PM   Subscribe

Through circumstances beyond anyone's control, my work situation has suddenly become a lot more precarious, and I'm freaking out. How to handle the uncertainty?

I've been working this job for well over a year now, enjoying it and doing well. I was booked on to about the end of this year, and had hopes of reaching the next level here after that.

Something went down this weekend that has put the whole future of this project in doubt. It seems almost certain that it will not continue beyond when I'm booked until. That in itself isn't the end of the world, as I was prepared for that possibility. But it's also now possible that the plug could be pulled any day now. The uncertainty is killing me, and I'm not sure what to do. No one in my company knows what will happen, the decisions will be made by an external organization we do work for.

How do I deal with not knowing if my job will be here next year, next month, or even next week?

Sorry for vagueness, but I don't want this connected to me or the events in question.
posted by Ceci n'est pas un sockpuppet to Work & Money (7 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Tidy up your Linked In profile and resume, put a stop on all frivolous expenses (eating out, clothes maybe) and make sure your health insurance is in order.

Seriously the best thing to do is to take steps so you can keep the anxiety from overwhelming you. The effects of the anxiety are worse for you than anything bad that comes out of the real situation.
posted by sweetkid at 10:21 PM on July 18, 2011 [4 favorites]

If you have health insurance and a doctor, get that annual physical if you haven't done so recently. Same with a teeth cleaning.

Also, if you're on prescription medication, get your refills. Also see if you can get three months at a time as a maintenance med, if you don't do that already. So if the worst case scenario actually comes to fruition, you're stocked up on medication for a while.
posted by spinifex23 at 12:37 AM on July 19, 2011

Make a concrete plan for what you'll do if you no longer have a job.

Then there is no uncertainty -- if it happens, you just calmly execute the plan.
posted by trevyn at 5:02 AM on July 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

In the meantime, try the following:

- act as if you KNOW you don't have a job. Budget an hour a night for sending out resumes and updating job search profiles and all that.

- just show up and do your work. Act as if the project is going along just fine until you get direction from your boss to do otherwise. Do this ESPECIALLY if the rest of the team is freaking out. If the situation changes, you'll be the one who is on top of things. If it doesn't, you'll be the person they see as someone who is reliable and relatively unflappable.
posted by gjc at 5:22 AM on July 19, 2011

Start scheduling informational interviews with other employers now. It's a easier to talk to people without coming across as desperate when you have a job.

Informational interviews don't ask for references, so you will also be able to avoid telling your boss what you're doing. This may not apply if your industry is tiny enough they might know your boss without you giving their name.
posted by winna at 6:29 AM on July 19, 2011

I was recently laid off, but there were 2 years of uncertainty and layoff threats before it finally happened. At first I couldn't stop freaking out and panicking, by the end when it finally happened, it wasn't such a big deal. Part of it was that I had so much time to adjust to the idea, part of it was just accepting that these things were bound to happen.

Definitely clean up your Linked In profile and network. Do you have colleagues/professionals you have a good relationship with? Let them know you might be on the market and you're looking for advice. Even if it's not immediate, it's not bad to start thinking about the possibilities of moving on.

Start looking for jobs. Even if you're not applying yet, it's good to have an idea of what's out there. Though if something you like does come up, by all means apply!

Also, gjc is right about not freaking out. Yeah, I totally freaked out at first (I was the junior member, so totally the one getting laid off), but I realized that wasn't going to help. Now that everything is collapsing, I refuse to freak out at work. It's not productive. It's hard because everybody else seems to have ignored the past two years and are in total sad sack mode, but I try to avoid or ignore it as much as possible because it's not going to help us rebound and it's not going to help me get another job.

And echoing others, get your health insurance sorted. If you might have a lapse, stock up on prescriptions.
posted by kendrak at 6:34 AM on July 19, 2011

what spiniflex23 said
Also, beef up your savings so you have a cushion
posted by Frosted Cactus at 10:54 AM on July 19, 2011

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