I’m going to drift off topic for a bit and discuss my work situation, which I abruptly ended last week.
I took a traveling position in August, and traveled to Michigan for my first assignment. As challenging as it made running and working out, I was reportedly doing good work, and I felt okay about the situation… until everything came to a head during last week. By last Wednesday night I was convinced that I could not continue. After a few conversations, I resigned at the end of the week and returned home to Vegas. It was purely my decision. It’s for the best.
So I’m home. More below the jump:
Without getting into any intimate or confidential details… the competing demands of my job (client demands, my company responsibilities, needs of the employees I supervised) started out manageably tough but became overwhelming.
Without additional support (that I wasn’t going to get) there was no way I could continue without posing problems for my employer and all involved. Recent midweek issues at work got me seriously thinking about my long term prognosis in the position, in future work assignments. I didn’t think I’d fare well in light of what I was experiencing.
Along with in-work issues that I will keep confidential, there were fundamental issues:
– I was so physically busy at work that I had little bandwidth left to exercise regularly, let alone train as a runner. Work required I be on my feet walking a factory floor for most of the 8-10 hour day. I had run twice in the 2 weeks I had been in town, been to the gym briefly twice more, and that was all my work demands would allow. This was not pending an adjustment period, either: On days I did exercise, I was burning 4000+ calories. That’s not sustainable on a daily basis without Olympic-athlete-level support and extended rest periods, which I’m obviously not getting. And I don’t want to put my training on hold for weeks/months/years, obviously, for the sake of a job. There are countless other jobs I could do that allow me to train outside work.
– I also wasn’t eating well. I bought groceries and was eating clean when I could, but logistics plus fatigue made cooking really difficult. Fast food can sometimes be an easy out, but it’s not good if you’re eating it several times a week. Regardless of training, my general health can’t be sacrificed for a job.
– I’d be away from my family all the time. Yes, I signed up for that. But for that to be acceptable the work situation had to be rewarding and enriching. This ultimately wasn’t.
– It became clear after I started that, unlike other team members who could drive, I’d have to fly to every assignment since I was on the West Coast and too far away from field sites. I hate airports, I can’t fly with as much stuff as I can when driving, and had I known how much flying I’d need to do I’d have turned the position down.
– Flying me to sites is excessively expensive for the company, because along with the flights themselves (which because they’re booked on short notice are more expensive) they also had to pay for my use of rental cars. If I traveled year round, the rental cars alone would cost them about $14K a year.
– Plus, the position itself by and large wasn’t quite what I had been sold let alone what I envisioned. In practice we were more placeholders than problem solvers. The M.O. of my colleagues on-site reflected this. Plus, I had a training and skill gap that the situation wasn’t going to fill in. I took the role wanting to be a problem solver, but more often we were asked to just live with the problems we faced. I can be a placeholder at home on a more flexible schedule.
– Also, I was told we wouldn’t handle client operations, but this client wanted me to help run their factory, and was very demanding about how to do it. My employer confirmed that clients are allowed to be that demanding. That’s not what I signed up for. While my job was to help and serve clients, I’m not working FOR them like their employees are.
I negotiated Thursday with my site lead about things they could do to help bridge the gap, but (as I already knew) they’re stretched completely out and there’s unsuitably little more they could do.
So I immediately resigned on Thursday. Every director I talked to understood where I was coming from, and after I returned equipment and sorted out final logistics they booked me a flight back home to Vegas at the end of the week. This also allowed them to fly in another team member who is more experienced and better equipped to handle my departed situation going forward.
I’m not a person who regrets my decisions. I’m still glad I did all this. Much like doing improv in Chicago, I would have wondered what-if had I not taken the opportunity. Now, I know. And I have no issues with my now-ex-employer.Everyone I worked with on my end was doing the best they reasonably could under the circumstances.
I have no work income as of now, but I thankfully also have money in the bank, and living with family I have far fewer overhead costs than I did living in Chicago. So I have time to sort out my next move career-wise. Much like I planned to do when I left higher education last year, I may just temp for a while to maintain schedule flexibility.
Also, probably in part due to the work stress, I got sick. I have a cough that has turned into some sort of mild cold. So the timing incidentally worked out because I need to rest, eat better, and heal up. There would have been little rest while on assignment, and unchecked this illness could have snowballed into something worse.
After another day or two of rest, I’ll get back to general training ahead of Vancouver 2020 (which of course I’m still doing). But, after so many challenges during a difficult summer, I’m looking forward to doing more writing. Along with this site, I had a major project I was working on, and all that got put on hold after I began the moving process.
Here’s to better things ahead.