June 30, 2024

A Dream Job... Deferred?

My professional life has experienced a lot of upheaval since I was forced to quit my job back in 2009. And I still haven't gotten back on my feet again.

It really feels like the guy that made it impossible for me to stay in that job back then didn't just destroy my career. He also ruined my life. 

But that's another story for another day. 

Photo by matthiasboeckel on Pixabay

I'd been so proud of myself when I got a full-time editorial job back in 2015 after being destitute in the wake of two layoffs and some poor career choices that led me astray. I was even more thrilled in 2018 to be able to say I was finally a full-time writer.

Then I got laid off from that job in July 2022—that's a whole 'nother story, too—and, lucky for me, the freelance writing I'd been doing for our local public TV station KCET for over seven years turned into an inhouse gig just two weeks later. 

"I think you're probably overqualified..." my soon-to-be boss said, but I didn't care. I was living off severance for a few months and I really didn't need the money. 

Besides, it really felt like a dream job. I might've done it for free. I'd been such a huge fan of the station and had always wanted to do more with them. I'd been thrilled to write articles for their website, so I really looked forward to being able to do more with and for them. 

Sure, I'd only been hired on a temporary basis to fill in for someone who'd just left—to hold down the fort for the three months leading up to Election Day, just long enough for them to hire somebody permanently. 

But it was really fun. And then three months turned into five months, then eight months, and then 11 months. Over the course of that time, I became embedded in the organization way beyond the duties and projects I'd first been hired to handle. 

I wanted to stay and see some things through, see what I could do there. 

I had such high hopes.

Nearly a year into my time at KCET, they finally made a bigger commitment—and issued a temporary, but ongoing, agreement for me to stay another year. I got a title change to more accurately reflect what I was working on, and I got to take advantage of some benefits.

I was a full staff member in nearly every way. Except, perhaps, the one that mattered most. 

When the time came for the end of my year-long agreement, a shrinking budget meant all the temp positions had to be cut.

I wasn't laid off. I wasn't fired. It was a non-renewal. 

And now that my last day at work has come and gone, I get it—but it's still disappointing. 

The job wasn't perfect—no job is—but I put a lot of faith in it, thinking if I worked hard enough, if I produced work that was good enough, I'd be recognized and rewarded. 

That the company would value me enough to put a ring on it, as it were.

But in the end, I was released from my duties in a decision that was purely financial. 

I suppose that should bring me some comfort—that the decision wasn't based on merit. But I'm not used to decisions not being based on merit when it comes to my work. I've always gotten merit-based promotions, raises, and bonuses.

I've always earned what came my way. 

Even when I think about the two jobs I lost while living in LA, I believe I deserved being let go, even though both companies called it a layoff.

This time around, I don't know how to process the fact that my merits didn't matter at all. 

The Universe speaks in unexpected and confusing ways sometimes—and part of me thinks it's telling me that this job that just ended wasn't my dream job after all. 

But then I remember that the door is still open for me to maybe come back to KCET, which over the course of the last two years has disappeared into its sister station, PBS SoCal. Maybe I could freelance again. Maybe a permanent job might open up, and they might make a commitment to me from the very beginning. 

So maybe it's just a dream job that's been deferred.

And what do I do in the meantime? 

I do what I always do. Freelance, fill in, flounder, and flail about. Somehow survive until the next thing comes along.

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1 comment:

  1. I’m rooting for you. You’re so capable and smart—an asset to any organization. I can’t help but think a better opportunity awaits.