Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Changing Jobs

So I'm leaving my job and heading for a new one.

Getting to this point has taken so much work, that it's only now (as I start writing up "everything I do" for my manager to make what I expect will be a futile attempt to get someone to do it in India, as goodbye parties are scheduled and people drop by to ask in hushed tones, "Are they hiring any other positions?", as I find myself doing monthly tasks and thinking, "This is the last time.") that I find myself gradually adjusting to the idea that in two more weeks I won't be here anymore.

Although I've changed roles a number of times, I've worked at the same company (mostly in the same building) for almost seven years now. At thirty-one, that's a rather major portion of one's life. When we moved out here and I started at the company, I was 24 and had two kids under two. A lot has changed since then.

At least in our modern world, a job is seen as a pretty transient thing. My employer could have told me I was out of a job at any time. Although the company tends to give a couple months' severance, that's not at all required. And similarly, while I've given them the traditional two weeks notice, in theory I could have simply said, "So long and thanks for all the fish," and walked out the door immediately.

And yet, for all that either could have, in theory, walked away with no notice at any time, in fact the bonds between employee and company run deep, perhaps oddly deep given that it is "only a job". Work friendships may not always be the deepest, but we spend far more time with co-workers than with most other friends. And even when a job seems three parts drudgery to one part interest, it becomes part of our daily mental landscape. The longest I'd worked at any one company prior to this was about three years, and even there I to this day remember a great deal about personalities, products, and daily routine. I have the feeling that this company has sunk even deeper into my consciousness.

As a result, the whole thing still has a certain air of unreality. It often throws me when large changes in life come quickly. Somehow, the fact that the offer of the new job came so quickly, a ten minute call outlining compensation, start date, etc., makes it seem much less real than the long process of talking to various employers, interviewing, etc. It probably won't be until several seeks into the new job that it finally sinks in that this really is where I work now.


Barb said...

I think that a man's job is a big part of his identity and switching has to be difficult. Mark has been at the same job now for 30 years and I know it's hard for him to even think about switching at this point in time. In this past year, many of his long time fellow workers have retired and I have noticed that he has actually been depressed about losing these friends that have been such a part of his life.
His boss is also retiring in a few months (one of his college friends) and that too will be a big change.
I will pray that this change will be a smooth one for you and the family...

Anonymous said...

darwin wrote: " . . . in fact the bonds between employee and company run deep . . . ."

In my experience that's sometimes true, sometimes not. I've had a couple really awful jobs, plus others that started good but deteriorated after a time. While I miss (some of) the people from those jobs, I don't miss those companies at all, at all.

Thankfully, I've had a really good job for the past five years. I'll miss this place when I leave - which, frankly, I don't doubt will happen at some point before retirement. Companies are like anything else, they go through seasons. Good for a while, then bad for a while, then good in a different way for a while, and so on. I have never seen the sense in staying through the bad times. Life is short, and I will absolutely not be a martyr for a capitalist enterprise (nor for a government, if it's one of those jobs). I hope that losing good employees (like me) serves as a wakeup call for managers of a company where things are going bad, to make some changes and get their act back together. I'm now in my 40's, and the longest I've stayed with one employer is six years - which, in that case, was probably a year too long.


Anonymous said...

Interesting to hear even from a large corporation. I guess you only operate within a small circle of a larger company. In a small family-owned business of 20 some employees, we actually talk about each other as family, and so I understand the depth of these bonds. In my small firm, we've gone beyond just a capitalistic enterprise and into a small extended family - a tangled web one might say, but really a reflection of life's complex relationships.

Darwin said...


I guess the best I could do at describing it is to that say that I seem to develop loyalty bonds very quickly. For instance, earlier this year I had an employee transfered to the team I was managing at the time and then two weeks later there was an attempt to transfer him back in a fashion that suggested strongly to me he was layoff fodder. I found myself fighting hard for the guy despite the fact he wasn't much of a fit on the team and (being in another location) I hadn't even met him.

Similarly, I seem to make a company "my company" in my mind very quickly, and continue to think of what the companies does as "what we do" (or did) even long after the fact. Dunno if that just makes me a bit of a sap or something, but whatever the reason, I suspect I'll be continuing to think of it as "my company" for a long time.

Though at the same time, that didn't slow me down at all when it became clear that opportunities were closing up here in looking for a better job elsewhere. No idea how that piece fits in the puzzle.

Anonymous said...

Where in Ohio? I know some awesome folks in Steubenville. He is a professor at the university, and they are my second oldest's godparents.

JMB said...

I haven't held a paying job in 15 years, but I still have occasional odd moments when I think about a person that I used to work with and think "never in a million years would I have been friends with this person in real life", then I remember that that was my real life.

My first "real" job out of college landed me on Wall Street post 87 crash. Two years had gone by and everybody was lamenting how the "good old days were long gone" and the demise of the street. It's just funny I think that my little corner of the universe (swaps, aka "derivatives") ended up almost bankrupting the nation 20 some odd years later. Go figure. I remember asking someone who Sallie, Frannie and Freddie were.

Anyway, I did mix with people that I never would have known - although I grew up outside of NYC and went to college in the city, I did live in a tiny little Irish/Italian Catholic/suburban bubble. Work expanded that.