The supervisors (not contract staff themselves) have been assuring us that things won't be as bad as all that and that it'll be people from the other areas of the contract that will be let go, not their staff!
Yes, yes, thanks, so helpful.
We go through flurries of discussing the possibilities (cut hours but not cut positions, positions cut from one role but not another, the odds that people already part-time will be in more danger or safer) and then periods of not wanting to talk about it at all.
The question of whether or not this might be a bit of a rattling to keep us in our box or to get people to quit under their own steam has been asked but not answered.
I have in fact gathered my courage and applied for another job:
a) just in case, and
b) just because I'm freaked out about the future doesn't mean that I'm not still bored with the lessened amount of work on offer, because I am.
I'd been chatting to an old workmate around the time this whole situation broke and it turned out that there was a 1 year contract opening where she worked to cover someone's maternity leave.
Now a 1 year contract isn't ideal in a number of ways (eg, the bit where I'd be having to do all this again in a year's time just when I'd really gotten used to it, a bit of a salary cut) but it is:
- work in my field
- with a reputable company that would look good on my resume
- being vouched for by someone I've worked with before who knows the kind of work I've done before
- a chance to remember how change works without having to worry I've committed myself to an ongoing position that may turn out to be awful
That went OK and I felt pretty good with how it looked by the end of it.
Then I sat down and wrote my cover letter.
This was a bit trickier as I am pretty terrible at talking myself up. At first I can't think of anything to say and then I put in way too much detail but then have trouble trimming it down because it makes me sound good.
By the end of this I thought I could walk on water and was qualified to become dictator of a small country because it made me sound really quite good.
Then I had an hour and a half conversation with the friend who told me about the position, got her impressions of working there, what the workload and people are like, how she thought I'd find the place, what to remember for the interview if I got one.
I felt a lot better about my chances after this because job ads always make it sound like they're looking for someone with four degrees and mad juggling skills which isn't always what the position requires.
But then I hit a sort of wall of Thinking About This, felt kind of emotionally drained, and then got a phone call from my Dad who wanted to know how the process was going, was very encouraging but also suggested this was a good time to think about what I want to do in the future and what my long-term goals are.
No, Dad! Bad!
The thing about my long-term goals is that very few of them are to do with work.
Most of my long-term goals look like this:
- travel a bunch
- get better at things I find interesting
- eat delicious food
- maybe get some nice snogs with a lovely man
I want steady employment in something mentally engaging where I can contribute but don't have to be in charge.
I don't mind responsibility but I don't want to be leading the way because I am not ambitious.
I'll brainstorm the shit out of ideas for the people who are in charge but I don't want to have 'come up with ideas for the company/business/workplace's future' as one of my key tasks.
So yes, I do need to think about that shit but right now is not the best time for that.
I just ended up curled up on the couch, eating chicken nuggets and watching Archer like an adult while I ignored reality on the surface and pretended the undercurrents of my mind weren't wailing 'Argh! Change and decisions! Either you'll get the job and have to change now or you won't get the job and you'll either keep your boring job or get canned and be unemployed! Argh!'
Friday morning I woke up, remembered The Fear, got to work anyway, pootled around, submitted my application (which my friend who had name-dropped me to her boss tells me her boss had asked about) and freaked out some more.
No matter what happens in the next month I won't be in dire straits.
I have savings, somewhere to live, a supportive family and won't be in the desperate position some people would be in.
I had just forgotten about this particular brand of my own anxiety because I haven't had to deal with it for a while.
I get notoriously nervy around big decisions because I am terrified of making the wrong one and ending up in the shitty storyline of the Choose-Your-Own-Adventure that is life.
But making no decisions can often dump you there anyway.
Oh, and Friday evening I got an email asking to set up an interview for next week so the 'What If...?' train has started building up steam in my brain and is barrelling along down the tracks 0_0
- I'll get a new job and it'll be lovely and a good intro to the next phase of my life.
- I'll get a new job and it'll be OK and I'll just have to get a new job in a year when it ends.
- I'll get a new job and it'll turn out to be stressful and horrible, leaving me extra put out because it'll be shitty AND involve a long commute (I'm not moving to a more expensive area for a year's contract when my next job might be elsewhere), then have to get a new job.
- I won't get a new job and will have to stay with my boring job while looking for another new job.
- I won't get a new job and will be out of work and will have to look for another new job.
Flipping out about things that most other people have to deal with more often.
I know I'm not the only person who gets anxious about this kind of stuff and I'll eventually get better at dealing with it as I get the opportunity but right now I'd rather like to go into some nice soothing denial but honestly can't.
Time to be an adult or some shit like that.