10 November 2005

Release the beast, part 2

This is actually a different sort of beast than part 1. As part of any application process, you always have to have references. The difficult part is when the people who know you and/or your work the best are those you currently work for and who may not need to know that you're considering leaving.

I asked a woman in such a position whether she'd be willing to be a reference. We'd had conversations in the past about the fact that my ambitions may not lie with this job, or even this line of work, and she seemed supportive. I did not go around making a broad announcement I'm leaving, because I'm not leaving yet and I don't know when that day will be. If it isn't for six months, I don't want to feel awkward everytime I go to work. Or find out that I don't really have a job to go to anymore because everyone took their grant money to support someone who was going to be available long-term. I knew she was close with one of the other women I work with, but I thought I'd made it pretty clear that I wasn't really ready to have conversations with everyone.

I guess I didn't make it clear enough. She told another woman, who also supports part of my salary. The second woman then came to me with "Do we need to have a conversation about your future?" I answered, no. She pressed on with, "Well, I hear you're leaving, can we talk about that?" And a long, awkward conversation followed. Then she wanted to know whether another person who supports my salary knew, and whether she was allowed to tell him. Ugh! I told her that I prefered to tell people on my own schedule when I knew more about the timeline of what was going on and what I was going to be able to offer in terms of helping their transition.

This week, I felt guilty that this man didn't know and worried that he'd hear from someone else, so I had a awkward conversation with him too. I'm leaving, but I don't know when, and I don't want to find myself out of a job before I'm ready to leave. At least he was reasonably flattering in the sense that he asked what it would take to get me to stay, or at least keep working with his group. Including wondering if he could double my salary if I joined on with a group he works with elsewhere.

Everyone has been supportive of me on a personal level. They recommend that if I want to make a change, I should charge in, but nobody wants to see me leave behind all the work I'm doing for them personally. But, word is out. I worked from home today to accomplish a few million things and, just a little bit, to hide out from more awkward conversations with people. Hopefully everyone took the opportunity while I was out to talk about everything so they can act like grownups when I get back.

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