Less than a week after I posted the previous essay, I got notice that my job was being terminated as of March 31. I noted this in the comments to the previous post, and three readers have subsequently posted sympathetic, helpful comments.
Sunday, May 16, 2010
Since that time, a lot has happened.
Almost immediately after my notice, I sent an email to a large group of friends letting them know that I'd been laid off again and that I was looking for other opportunities for useful work, including referrals to my private practice. A day or two later, a friend referred me to a job he had been recruited for but didn't want. It was a Big Job, a significant stretch in terms of responsibility, substantive work, and compensation, with a large hospital not far from my home.
While I was interviewing for that job (and progressing much farther than I though I would), I got a call from the general counsel from another large health system asking me to meet with her to discuss whether I could give her some help. She is a long-time acquaintance to whom I'd sent an inquiry and resume a few months ago. This was a very attractive opportunity because it would involve working with several former colleagues and with other top-notch people in an well-respected company. It would also give me a chance to practice health law from both a provider's and payor's perspective and make use of both branches of my expertise.
Also during this time -- April -- several private practice clients sought me out and engaged me, so I had quite a lot of work to do apart from my job seeking.
To shorten the story considerably, I was one of two finalists for the Big Job but was not chosen. I accepted the position with the other organization under almost ideal circumstances: four days a week, as an employee with benefits, through at least the end of the year and perhaps a few months past that. (Furthermore, I can ride my bicycle to the office in about an hour, or catch a bus on the corner, make one transfer, and step off a train literally at the office's front door.)
I've been working a week now, and it feels good. Already, I'm being challenged with interesting, complex work that uses my experience and expertise, and in an office with good people I've worked with before. Unfortunately, I've been suffering all week with a serious virus that has attacked my respiratory system, especially at night which interferes with my sleep and makes my waking hours miserable. (When I cough-- which is both too often and not often enough -- I feel pain in my abdominal muscles in my cranium as my brain shakes around in it. It's nasty)
I do find myself wishing this was not a temporary position and that I could count on it going on indefinitely, but if I've learned anything it is that everything is subject to change and that any security that relies on human institutions is illusory. So I'm plowing ahead one day at a time, grateful for what I have, and trying to keep my private practice going in the meantime.
I heard someone say that the only way out is through. I've found this to be one of the wisest, truest adages I know of. It is how it was in difficult passages in the past, and it's no different now. It takes a lot of energy -- it is a lot easier to be on cruise control than to have to be awake all of the time. But I know, as much as I resist it, that being awake is the only way to be.