The winds of change...
I am not a big fan of change. At least not of change that I have no control over, or can't really plan for.
You see, I am a planner. By nature, by training and by (former) profession. That's just who I am - I plan.
I can handle the things that life throws at me, as long as I have enough notice to consider and weigh all of my options and decide how I want to handle it.
Unfortunately, as we all know, life doesn't always work like this. There are times when you simply can't plan ahead.
For the past several months, I have known that change is coming here at work. That much is a given. My company's contract will end in June, and unlike the past 20 years that we have been the staff for the IT department here, this year the process was made competitive and thrown open to the public.
I pegged the chances of my company winning the contract in a competitive bid as 'slim to none'. And when I heard that no less than 8 bids were received, then I knew what would happen.
And it did. Another company has been awarded the contract.
So now, the waiting game - which was theoretical before but now is assured, begins. Nobody knows exactly what this means for us 30+ employees. The company we work for has no other contracts in our state, much less our city. We don't know if we'll be offered the chance to move to other positions within the company in other locations, but 6 people have already been laid off, so the chances for that are probably not great. We don't know if the new company will be looking to hire any of the current employees. It would make sense for them to - some of us have been here for years and know the ins and outs very well. We know the systems, the software and the people who use them. But we can't count on our skill sets and experiences being what the new company will need and want.
Most of my co-workers are actively searching for other jobs. Some have already found them and moved on. The mood in the department has been quite grim for months as projects have been put on hold indefinitely or canceled altogether.
Here in Michigan, we are no strangers to economic hardship. Most of us know someone directly affected by the manufacturing woes which have resulted in the largest unemployment rate in the country. We see the growing lists of foreclosed-upon homes, the food pantry shelves going bare and unable to keep up with the community's needs, and the news stories about unemployed workers unable to keep up with utility bills, car payments, etc. We know what the job market here is like, the strong competition for even entry-level positions. We know. And we are scared.