Tuesday, August 30, 2005

I’m That Someone Who Has…And He’s Right, It Wasn’t Good

I finally got the call from HR today! I am very, very relieved and very, very excited. Great salary, great vacation time, great benefits. And it’s a job. I have missed working so much. It sounds funny, but I didn’t like the “vacation” (as some of my relatives jokingly called it) in the least. I have worked very hard to get where I am and losing my job was very hard for me.

Searching for a job has been very disheartening – it is amazing how many companies will not even consider you if you do not currently have a job, no matter how you lost it. It can make life very difficult. It can also make you feel pretty worthless, even when you should know better.

When I look at where I’m going to be in a couple of weeks I am simply amazed. I did a lot of reading about job loss and the subsequent search, career change etc. Most of what I read, especially about changing careers, led me to expect a substantial pay cut. Even had I stayed in the industry I was in I was expecting a cut. When I took stock of where I was back in May I decided to take the pay cut and change careers if at all possible. It’s been a long road.

Somehow, I’ve beaten the odds. The salary I was offered today is more than I was making before. So somehow I managed to get a pay increase despite the fact that I was changing careers and unemployed. If I look at overall compensation I did take a pay cut, but salary-wise, I’m good to go. When I worked in pharmaceuticals I did very well and made quite a bit of money in bonuses. I also had a company car with insurance, gas and repairs all taken care of. I gave up the big bonuses and the company car, but I feel like I’m way ahead now, if for no other reason than I’m out of an industry that I was coming to despise. On the plus side, my last company took a serious turn for the worse with benefits when they switched us all to a high-deductible type of health insurance.

Pharmaceutical sales can be a hard place to be if you have integrity. I can’t count the number of times I went head to head with my manager or some other company person over doing something that was questionable or outright wrong. Sometimes it was easy – like when it was blatantly illegal. Other times it was more of a moral judgment call. I was often much more knowledgeable about studies and pharmaceuticals in general than my managers or colleagues and I wouldn’t say things that the studies or evidence didn’t support. That can cause you problems in pharmaceutical sales. I’m very happy that I don’t have to deal with some of these problems now.

The basics of what I’ll be doing? I’ll be providing level two support of some networking equipment (you’ll pardon me if I don’t get too specific). When an IT department calls for help with some of their equipment they get level one support. If the problem is more than they can handle then it gets passed up to the level where I’ll be working. I’m considered very knowledgable, but I’m nowhere near the level I’ll need to be to be handling these type of calls yet, but the company knows and expects this. So over the next year I’ll be spending a lot of time learning, something I happen to be pretty good at.

I’m still having trouble accepting the reality of it. Part of me fears that something will happen or that I’ll suddenly wake up and find that I dreamed the whole thing. If I were already working then I wouldn’t be nearly as worried, but living on the edge like this…

Remember this post? Well, it’s ironic, but as I was writing the last paragraph the song just came up in the random playlist. The song still applies – so I’ll knock on my desk. Let’s just hope the testing is over.