I'm going to lose my job in one year. Help me decide what to do next!
June 24, 2014 6:56 PM   Subscribe

As my title says, I'm going to lose my job on June 30th, 2015. I'm not sure what to do in order to land on my feet, so I'd like some advice, other then save money (I am, $700-$900 per month) and apply for jobs (I also am, but my field is pretty thin, job-wise). I see my options as: 1) continue to apply for jobs for the next year and hope for the best 2) continue to work at my present position but also go to grad school in a different profession (I'm pretty sure this will work and I get a free class every semester at the university I work at).

Although I'm leaving my present employer partially for performance reasons, I do have good references and an impressive (in my opinion) CV. My fear is that I will go to school while also applying for jobs and then get a job offer after racking up tuition for a degree I'm never going to complete. Also, I'm pretty unhappy where I live and I would love to avoid spending another two years here.

However, I don't want to rely on getting a job without a backup plan since my job hunt to this point hasn't yielded much in the way of positive results. So, help? Thanks!
posted by Fister Roboto to Work & Money (7 answers total)
I think you'll get more useful responses if you tell us:
1. What's your current field? If there are few jobs in this field, does the performance issue prevent you from staying in it? What happens June 30, 2015? Is it an alibi, like a grant ending?
2. What's your prospective field? Why do you like it better?
3. Where do you want to live?
4. Is that new place better for either (1) or (2)?

Also, if you get a free class every semester, then you won't have racked up more than one course worth of tuition if you leave the university, right? If you've been saving ~$800/month, that shouldn't be insurmountable.
posted by carmicha at 7:28 PM on June 24, 2014

1) I am an archivist. I'd like to stay in the field, but good jobs are few and far between. Honestly, I think I've performed pretty well, and so do many of my co-workers, but one of them disagrees, and she happens to be one of my supervisors, so I've decided to resign rather than risk being told to resign, if that makes sense. It's kind of complicated. Since I'm resigning, I get until June 30, 2015 to find something else to do.

2) I'm considering going into public administration/environment and natural resources. I want to work with communities to help them become more environmentally sustainable. I love doing community outreach and I'm interested in how communities and nature relate to each other.

3) I live in the Rocky Mountain West. I'd like to stay in this region if possible.

My proposed course is 39 credit hours, of which I'd get six free over two semesters before I'm no longer in my position, which helps, but not too much.
posted by Fister Roboto at 7:48 PM on June 24, 2014

The thing I would be very careful about in regards to your potential graduate school is whether it will lead directly to a job doing the type of work you want top do. It sounds to my activist-ish ears like the kind of thing that every community wants but few communities are able to pay for. It also sounds like the kind of thing where you go in to grad school planning to clean up uranium mines on impoverished tribal lands and come out as the regional advance man for Texaco, "reaching out" to communities about sustainable oil.

I think you should really drill down with a program administrator about how many recent grads are employed in the field, where they are employed, and what kind of experience they had before entering the program. You want solid numbers for this. Raw data. As a career-changer, you want to be employed immediately after graduation, and you don't want to find our that most students are mid-career at an energy company or similar with their employer footing the bill and a job to go back to.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 8:32 PM on June 24, 2014 [2 favorites]

Not my worlds, so I probably can't offer much advice except for one thing: do not share these plans with anyone at your current job and, especially, do not resign until June 30, 2015 minus generally accepted number of weeks (2-4). Don't risk marginalization, early termination and the chance that things will work out, e.g., problematic supervisor moves on or you find a project that doesn't involve her.

Thanks for answering my questions!
posted by carmicha at 5:58 AM on June 25, 2014

Resigning seems...odd. Maybe it's just the library/archive environments I've been exposed to but in my experience at a large university, is that it's damn hard to fire someone. Now a smaller institution will probably be different, but I'd be surprised if it's as easy as just telling you to resign at very many universities (I'm assuming you're at a university because of the tuition remission benefit). So, I'd look into whether they can actually just "tell you to resign" because maybe you can have a more open ended exit date. Also, you make it sound like you have multiple supervisors and only one has issues with your performance, this would also play into how easy/quick that process would be.

I guess what I'm saying is that if you don't resign it seems possible to pursue both 1 & 2, and see what happens. You can take the classes, and get a better idea of that field without being committed, while still looking for another position.

Now this is just me reading between the lines, so it could be totally off base, but it might be worth thinking about how you handle 1) taking negative feedback and/or 2) your job not being perfect. The idea of resigning b/c of negative feedback from one (of multiple) supervisors seems like you may have unrealistic expectations of what general work environments are like. In my experience this basically boils down to the fact that even the good ones aren't perfect and there will always be people you don't see eye to eye with. Changing jobs or careers won't change this, at best I think you may find a work environment where the imperfections don't bother you as much. Or perhaps that you have an expectation that your good resume and impressive CV (and all the skills and talents that you have to get those good resume's and skills) mean that you don't have areas for improvement. No one (like no job) is perfect, there is always room for improvement, even in the form of learning to deal with people that you don't always see eye to eye with.

Like I said, this is just a stab in the dark, and I'm assuming that the work environment isn't toxic (I've certainly seen that as well, in which case many sympathies and take care of yourself!), but that it's just this one supervisor not being totally happy that's leading to this decision. My impression is the market for archivists is pretty tough, I know we had a lot of archivists (though mostly entry level) applying for a non-archival job, so do what you need to do to take care of yourself. Definitely don't resign just to make it easier on the supervisor. Oh and if you have the opportunity, inclination and skills to add any digital work (projects, software, etc.) to your experience and resume, this won't hurt in making you stand out from the pack.

Sorry if this is a little all over the place - good luck!
posted by pennypiper at 4:32 PM on June 25, 2014

Thanks for your reply. I do work at a university, and as such, I am subject to tenure and promotion each year. One of my supervisors was going to give me feedback that would have led to me going to an appeals board, which could have then asked me to resign, which I wanted to avoid, so I beat them to the punch. I feel like I could have made a good case (part of my performance issues were related to post-divorce depression), but I couldn't be sure, and honestly, I don't want to work where I'm not wanted.

A fair amount of my decision came from being really unhappy where I was living, working and how much I was getting paid. I decided I didn't want to fight for a job I don't really care for all that much to begin with. I know there is no perfect job, but mine makes me unhappy in a variety of ways.

Anyway, I've already resigned by not handing in a tenure packet, so that's no longer a question. I'm just looking for advice on how best to move forward. Believe me, I know the market is tough, but hopefully with my qualifications there's something out there for me. Thanks again!
posted by Fister Roboto at 11:41 AM on June 26, 2014

I decided I didn't want to fight for a job I don't really care for all that much to begin with. I know there is no perfect job, but mine makes me unhappy in a variety of ways.

Totally makes sense, my stab in the dark missed by a mile ;) The pursuit of a happy life is the main goal after all. I'm sorry about the divorce (I went through one shortly after starting a new job and it does make things very difficult), and best of luck in finding a place and job that makes you happy!

And seriously, if you're interested in staying in the field, adding to your tech skills and digital projects portfolio seem a good investment while you're still there. I'm a bit terrified of it, but if you could develop some solid skills with digital forensics and dealing with acquisitions of digital materials, that seems like it'd be great for marketability (caveat, I am a librarian, not an archivist : )
posted by pennypiper at 4:31 PM on July 1, 2014

« Older Applying to copyeditor/editorial jobs?   |   Eighty-one Chars for an apostrophe!? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.