After 22 years I’m looking for a new job. No, I haven’t been fired but I’m reaching a crisis point with my department and I’m trying to get out before I get bitter. (Is this what they call a midlife crisis?)
I love what I do but the dept’s failure to keep staffing at even minimum levels is affecting my mental and physical health. I’m not a young man anymore and the almost weekly mandatory overtime for years is taken its toll. Short of a death in my family, time off beyond sick leave is never available. We are forced to sign up for all of our allotted vacation for the entire year in 1 sign up. And while the latter has always been the case, the new never-ending overtime has made it that much worse. If an event I’m planning to attend changes or gets cancelled, I’m screwed. I have to take the allotted slot or give it up completely. And while I could survive these things alone, the are not the only issue. Before COVID my dept had a massive turnover in staff. Two-thirds of our current staff has less than 10 years experience. On my watch, the closest person to me in seniority is 15 years my junior. This translates thru the chain of command as well. I feel very isolated most days at work. And while I could promote internally, that pathway isn’t really a solution. Caveat, I will attempt to promote internally when it comes up again, just to improve my chances of moving to other jobs outside my division, but I’m hoping not to wait that long.
People routinely dismiss my classification as a minimal skillset but that is far from the truth, not to mention I had skills before I took this job. I’ve had opportunities throughout my career with the dept; leadership roles as well as extensive high level projects. The latter always serve to remind me of the skills I’m not using. That isn’t meant to sound demeaning as much as a clarification. I’m still very fortunate as I have a steady job and am not desperate or forced to take a job for the sake of work. That being said, I’m open to a variety of new opportunities. I’d ultimately like to stay in emergent services but that isn’t set in stone. My focus recently has been on other divisions within my overall dept but I’m starting to branch out.
My biggest hurdle is salary. While I’m definitely underpaid for the amount of work I currently perform, I make a decent salary. Finding a position that doesn’t require a degree that pays the same or more than I make now is challenging. One should be so lucky. I recognize the privilege but that doesn’t change the need. I’m too old to start over from the bottom. This just means it may take me awhile. I’m forever optimistic and definitely believe I’m up for the challenge. I’m great at selling myself given the opportunity, as I’m confident in my skills and capabilities. I’ll be blunt, I could sell you a bridge in a desert.
Civil service moves like molasses, but I’d like to stay within to keep contributing to my pension. It would take a really lucrative offer to pull me away from a city job. I’m not so naive to think jobs are falling from the sky but not totally opposed to jumping back into the private sector.
I’ve had these feelings for awhile but as I sit here putting it to text it suddenly feels more real to me, like it’s “out there” now. For a long time I just assumed I’d retire here but that is increasingly untenable. *Whew*. I’ve put myself on this path and hope to find a viable solution as soon as I can. Worst case scenario, I have to promote from within then jump to other divisions or depts.
At the end of the day, I know myself and I don’t want to end up becoming so jaded and bitter my inaction or indifference causes harm to someone.