At risk

So last week I was notified that I was "at risk." It sounds kind of fun, right? Risky business and living on the edge and all that. It sounds exciting until you realize what's at risk is actually your paycheck and that you may not be able to afford boring things, never mind the fun things.

There have been some interesting happenings on the job front. I won't get into it just yet, as to protect the guilty and my job. When I'm a few months or years removed, you may get a "Nine days a week" type post out of it after the dust settles, but right now, like the Kanye West jokes about Patrick Swayze that came out the morning after the man's death was announced, it's just too soon. Suffice to say, I am making mental notes for future reference.

It's strange when you know you're leaving one job for another. You have to clean out your desk--decide what's worth taking, what can be left to others and what belongs in the recycling bin. I brought a lot of things to my current desk. I thought I would be there for a good long time, and in this case that was over two years. It was mostly good while it lasted. Now I have to figure out the best way to shuttle home the things I want to keep. I feel a bit like Andy Dufresne from The Shawshank Redemption, loading small piles of stuff into my bag and carting it home, the same way he carried a tiny bit of his prison cell wall in the cuffs of his pants every time he went into the prison courtyard (Can't you just hear Morgan Freeman's voice narrating this entire post? No? Okay.).

I've been getting back in touch with people, sending out the obligatory "Hi, hope you're well, here's my resumepleasepassitaround, kaythanksbye!" type messages. I try to stay in touch when I don't need a job so it's not too awkward to catch up with people when I do need one. I've also hit a couple of job fairs. Even though calling it a "fair" implies that this would be a fun event, a job fairs is not the type of venue where I shine. They tend to overwhelm me. After I printed a thousand copies of my resume, slapped on the "Hi, my name is:" label with my name in Sharpie ink, and set foot into the maze of booths, I feel a bit lost. It's kind of a "Now, what?" feeling. Some booths have lines. The prestigious companies, the ones everyone knows, generally have the biggest herds of hopeful employees, like sperm gathering around the egg cell, hoping to be let in. Even if you have a kick ass resume, there seems to be at least one guy at the booth looking down his nose at you. "Ha! As if!" he seems to say, "You've got a Top Secret clearance? Well, all of our jobs require Top Secret with a polygraph! No hope for YOU!" is the message and you're sent away feeling like Ralphie from a Christmas story, when the department store Santa Claus shoved a boot squarely into his face, dismissing poor Ralphie before he could state what he really wanted for Christmas. Ho, ho HO!

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