In limbo, and slightly scared

Some of you know I work in a job a really love.  I started as receptionist and within a few months was promoted to my current position – this place gets major points for always wanting to recognise somebody’s strengths, and put them in a role that allows them to thrive.  Since July, I’ve been in a position where I’ve been responsible for designing all external advertising, writing copy, organising videos and even doing radio voiceovers (shudder, lol) – as well as being moved to a roomy, big-windowed office shared with three other wonderful ladies who’ve become close friends.  We motivate each other, encourage each other to reach our goals, we’ve held lunch hours together doing yoga, or cuddled around a table watching Britain’s The Apprentice sharing sushi.  I love it there, and I’m so blessed to have been given opportunity after opportunity to challenge myself and grow – if I hadn’t, I honestly think I’d still be battling every day with my anxiety.

It’s been wonderful, and I’d like nothing more than to stay there as long as I could.  But we’re a non-profit, funded by the government on an annual basis – each year the proposal goes in with better stats and results than the last year, and we get funding for another year.  It’s been renewed every year since 1996, and this year we wrapped up a huge three-year research study with incredible results – it’s been a record-breaking year in helping people find employment.

The position I’m in right now was always a term position.  A mat leave ending in March, with the plan, at the time, to go back to reception should nothing else open up by April 1st.  In December, my boss and I had a conversation.  About how I had a heck of a lot more to offer and didn’t want to go back.  I wanted to contribute – I wanted to grow, and I wanted to keep helping the organization with the skills I’d developed in the role.  I asked the question: should I be looking for other employment?

My boss assured me I’d be fine – they’d put a proposal in for another two positions to open up, both of which I’d be frontrunner for, and “if she should I should be looking, she’d tell me.”  And she didn’t.  I went on Christmas break and recent holiday worry-free, assured that by late January we’d have a good idea if we’d have the budget to keep me (which we probably would) – it was just a matter of getting the proposal approved by the government.  On my first day back this week, I was greeted with hugs, cupcakes – and an email from my boss telling me the advertising budget had been cut.  Not great – but this meant we knew something about the budget!!! I went to her office to talk about the further updates on the likelihood of my staying…. and it wasn’t good.

They still didn’t know.  Budgets in other departments were being cut as well as mine, and we still didn’t know if the two positions I’d be “perfect for” would even be approved.  We’ll know for sure before March 31st – the day my position ends.  If we’re not getting approval…. I kind of feel like I should be using this time to look elsewhere, as much as it breaks my heart to do so – because one day is not realistic to find employment. I was also told that should we get approval, the new positions would have to go through an external approval process and a certain amount of paperwork… which would mean the start date  may not be possible for April 1, it could be May or June.

My boss hammered in the fact that she doesn’t want me to go.  But also her understanding that I had to be realistic.  So right now, folks, I’m in limbo.  Do I hold out hope that everything will work out in the next six weeks, hang tight and not send out any resumes? Do I start applying at places right away, because it could very well take me a month to find something if the worst comes to the worst? Or do I take the opportunity to go back to school – screwing over our wedding budget, and putting all living/wedding expenses solely on Sweet’s (very generous and willing) shoulders? I don’t think I could do it – not even considering the fact that our wedding would be exam week.

I’m torn.  I desperately want to stay – and best case scenario, we get approval, and it’s a couple of months before I can go back and start.  That’s doable – I can go on EI for a month or two to get by, or skimp a bit for a little while – Sweet’s been incredible, and I’m blessed to have someone so willing to support me and help me out – but I’m one of those people who needs a plan.  A concrete plan she can follow along where everything happens just as it should.  I hate being in limbo.  And right now, I have no idea what I should do.


  1. I’m so sorry that after how positive and encouraging they’ve been in talking about this before, suddenly everything is uncertain. Email coming your way.

  2. I’ve recently started reading your blog so I’m not sure about the details, but would you be able to go back to school and work part time for this organization (or full time if you could do it and study at the same time?). I think an education is invaluable and I would put that above a wedding (personally, I see a wedding as a big, expensive party that lasts one day, but it sounds like you feel differently).

    1. Hello! Thanks so much for commenting – it’s really tough, this place really seems to want people to be able to do what they’re strong at, on what schedule works for them… but this year there’s already been budget cuts and it’s not looking good. The two positions that “might” be opening up are both full time as well (they involve teaching). I think I decided not to go back to school – this year. With all the job switching (potentially) and wedding saving/planning (we have most of the stuff already half paid & booked), and the fact that exam week is the same week as the wedding… it doesn’t realistically make sense right now. As much as I would LOVE to be back in school – I’ve been working in the design field for almost 5 years now so I’ve got a lot of experience – I just always wanted to have the official certification, and I just love being IN school… but I don’t know if the time commitment and being unemployed in the meantime is going to pay off when I already have a lot of experience. At least not right now…

  3. This is such a tough decision. Listen to where you feel your heart is being tugged and definitely ask for signs. I don’t think it would hurt to start sending out resumes, but are you truly passionate about wanting to go back to school? I will be keeping you in my thoughts and prayers Emily Jane.


    Hannah Katy

    1. Thanks sweetie ❤ I'm really trying to listen to my heart and right now it's telling me to prepare for what could very much be a reality – that after next month I may be unemployed. It's telling me to prepare for that and that maybe if this is one door closing, another will hopefully open… because it has before. It's just hard in such uncertainty! 😦

  4. Oh no! What a tough position you are in!!

    If they don’t create the new position can you go back to school part-time and still work somewhere part-time to help out with expenses and also make yourself less overwhelmed with school?

    Good luck! Things will work out for the best I’m sure! XO

    1. Thank you so much – I don’t know; I feel like all the part-time jobs are in retail or coffee shops or serving, and I’ve never been very good at those (plus I tried a stint in a coffee shop last January, and I found my back couldn’t hack it) – and I think I’d be totally overwhelmed. I do horribly when I have too much on my plate – if it were a choice it would either be work OR school, not half of both, because my brain would tell me “that’s double!” lol

  5. Follow your heart, Em.

    It’s never a bad idea to look around at what’s available and apply. Even if you interview elsewhere (which your current job would be sad about, but obviously understand), there’s no reason why you can’t turn down a new job to stay where you are if funding is approved. It’s good to see what the market is like and interview to see what else is out there. As much as you LOVE where you are, you may love it somewhere else too.

    And who knows, maybe you’ll be able to stay where you are in the end anyway.

    1. I think you’re right. If I start applying places now – I don’t HAVE to say yes if all of a sudden I get good news and I can stay. I hadn’t really thought of saying no being an option 🙂

  6. I’ve been in your shoes, well, perhaps a slightly different situation, but my feelings were the same as yours, nonetheless. I was hired by a company out of college, and after going through a 12-month training program, funding for the job was cut. I could either take another position they offered me (which was something I REALLY didn’t want to do) or find another job. It’s a scary, scary feeling when you think you’re secure, and all of a sudden, it’s like the threads have been cut and you’re in limbo, not really knowing what will happen next.

    I think that if you’re truly happy with your current employer, wait and see what happens with the funding. If they love you as much as I’m sure they do, I think they will do their best to work something out to allow you to stay. But, just so you have a back-up plan, I would start searching for other jobs. Just see what’s available, and if anything peaks your interest, send in a resume and see what happens. It’s always good to have a fall-back plan.

    You’re in my thoughts, and I will cross my fingers that everything works out with your current employer!

    1. Thank you so much – I hope so too! And you’re right, it’s wise to have a fall-back plan, even if it’s not what I want to do – I have to acknowledge the reality of it. Fingers crossed 🙂

  7. Situations like this are the worst. I really hope that they can open up a position for you. My internship is with a government organization as well and of course, right now the funding is really bad. I am unpaid and am doing the job another engineer could be doing. Sometimes I am hoping they will open up the position again but it doesn’t look like it’s going to happen. Tough times! Hang in there though. I would also wait and see what happens.

  8. Oooh dear, I’m so sorry! I know you love your job. I’m so sorry that you’re in this limbo, I understand completely because I hate that feeling, too. I really hope you’ll be able to stay, and that the budget will get approved, but it’s rough that you’ll have to deal with the uncertainty in the meantime. Wishing you the best of luck! 🙂

  9. Oh lady, I’m so sorry that things are uncertain. I know how debilitating uncertainty can be for someone who struggles with anxiety. I have no wisdom to offer, just lots of internet love and optimistic thoughts.

  10. Oh man…that’s tough. If I were you, yes, I would send out resumes. You never know what you might find, and even though it may not seem like it at the moment, it may be a better job. As you know, you’ll always be buds with the ladies you work with. And, I’ve got a feeling that you make friends wherever you go 🙂 So a new job could very well bring a new great atmosphere.

    Your job right now might even ask you back if you were to leave. I guess you never know? That’s what makes this situation frustrating, and I understand your predicament.

    Good luck em!

    1. Thank you! I have a very understanding boss, so I’m sure if something were to come up she’d be full of well-wishes and I’d love to come back if anything were to ever open up again – I’m really fortunate in that sense. We’ll see what happens in the next few weeks I guess.

  11. Em I’m sorry to hear about the work struggle. I know it’s not the best time for something like this to be happening for you, but you do have TONS to offer, and applying elsewhere can’t hurt in the meantime. You may find some other amazing opportunity you just can’t pass up.
    We’ll discuss more at dinner tonight! 🙂

  12. As the old(er) lady of the bunch, I hope my ideas don’t come off ranty. I don’t mean them to be. =)

    Personally, I think you should go back to school because that’s what you’ve always wanted to do and/or because it’s going to further your career, not as a replacement for work because you’re uncertain about the future of your job.

    Secondly, no matter how good the intentions of your boss or organization, the fact of the matter is it’s a business. And at the end of the day, they may need to make decisions that don’t include you. It’s nothing personal, but it’s business. With that said, I think it behooves you to start circulating your resume. It’s a lot easier to turn down a job offer a month from now than to look back at that time wishing you had started your job search earlier.

    1. You’re absolutely right – and I’ve always wanted to go back to school (I didn’t finish my degree because of Big Life Changes, lack of finances etc…) but I’ve always longed to be back in school. I’ve just never financially been in a situation where it’s feasible. You’re right though – I should be going back to school because I really want to, and as much as I do – I don’t know 100% WHAT I want to do. I always thought of getting my diploma in graphic design – but I’ve been questioning the point, since I’ve been working in the field for almost 5 yrs now – or I could finish my BA in English and Psych – because I love them, but the reality of it helping me career-wise is pretty slim.

  13. I feel like looking for a job can’t hurt you for the time being.

    It will make you feel like you’re doing something, and WHO KNOWS?! Maybe an amazing job (with security!) will present itself.

    Also, I agree with SoMi’s Nilsa about school. Don’t go back just as a replacement! Do it because you’re passionate or because it will further your career.

    I’m sorry you’re in this situation, dude! I’ve got my fingers crossed for you.

    1. Thanks – I know, I’m just finding it really hard to think of anything more wonderful popping up than the job I have right now! But then again I said that at my last job, and I ended up here. I also said that about the 9th Doctor, and then I got David Tennant 🙂

  14. heavens! you poor lady. i am so sorry to hear this. i would do the safe thing and have a few options available JUST IN CASE. like you said one day isn’t enough time to find another job. i wish you luck lovely lady!

  15. I think it would definitely be a good idea to start looking for a new job. Even if you are offered one, you do not have to accept it. But it sounds like it would not be a good idea to wait until the last day to find out if you still have a job in March. And who knows, maybe you’ll even find something better.
    All the best!

  16. In November we were told that there were significant layoffs coming very soon. No numbers, no department details, we just knew that any day there was going to be a huge blow to the office. I started applying for different jobs immediately. Layoff day came and it WAS a huge hit to the agency. I was safe…but I ended up getting three interviews and one job offer. And had I lost my job I would have been able to start another one right away. I’d say it never hurts to start looking at other options.

    Look at it this way…everything happens for a reason and if you DO end up not being renewed at your current job, it means there’s something bigger and better for you! Good luck!

    1. I really hope so, and I really try and believe in the fact that everything happens for a reason – because it always HAS, even if I haven’t known it at the time! Thank you so much x

  17. I doesn’t hurt to start looking what else is out there…. best case scenario, you’ve been poking your nose in different areas, but can stay right where you are! 😉

    About going back to school, were you planning on going back to school (what for?) or would that be only a makeshift solution because you don’t want to do just “nothing”?
    I do understand though that you don’t want to be financially dependent on your fiance.

    My fingers are crossed that things play out the way you want!

  18. Oh no! I would say start looking, it doesn’t hurt to look and if something does come up you can always choose not to take it if your dream job comes in. Happy thoughts hey, hope it all works out!

  19. My advice is to follow your heart but also stay on top of things (like you’ve been doing) and keep looking for other opportunities.

    This happened to me too and my mat leave kept getting pushed back and back until they eventually created a position for me, so you never know what can happen.

    I hope it all works out!!!

  20. I’m so sorry dear. What a frustrating situation for you to be in. I’m sending you lots of good vibes that something works out soon.

  21. Oh that is tough, my dear. You need to do what feels right, but if I was you, I’d start sending out my resume and looking around. Even though you could make things work if this job didn’t pan out, it’s good to have some lines in the water as a back-up plan…

    Hang in there, my dear! You are so talented, it will all work out eventually. The up-in-the-air stuff is just awful!!!

  22. Oh Em… I’m so sorry to hear about this.

    But I know that you are determined and talented and things will happen for you. Whether you have to wait a bit or get word right away, it’ll happen. Not only do you have Sweet’s support, you have the support from all of us.

    Head up, young person! xoxoxo

  23. OK first off, you referenced South Park, so score for you.

    BUT SECOND, and only slightly more vital: I feel you. My job is sort of doing the same “Will they? Wont they?” and its enough to give a girl a coronary.

    My best advice is to submit your resume will full intention you’ll get the budget you need and stay. Meaning, submit and look and HELL, even interview for — with zero mention that you’re HOPING to not ACTUALLY need the new company.

    Should you land something, let them know your current position doesn’t end until March 31st. Should you find out before hand you’re able to stay on as you are (even if its two months in lull with nothing), politely back out. Companies always have choice # 2 waiting in the wings and you won’t be screwing them over, promise.

  24. I am sorry, as someone who’s job is based on unknown funding situations from year to year, I know its not easy. I would suggest pursuing opportunities. You can always say no. Follow your heart. As cheesy as it sounds I’ve learned that only you know what is best for you. Keep your mind open to new avenues. You never know he possibilities that await you. Sending big hugs.

  25. I’m so sorry to hear about this. *hug* I agree with all the recommendations of getting your resume out there. There is always the option of turning something down, and something even better might be waiting just around the corner. With a boss that understands your position, I don’t think you can go wrong with this.

    As for school, I saw that you had decided against it for the time being. Is there any way you could take an evening or distance education class to help satisfy the urge without sacrificing too much time? I know the college I went to was more than willing to let you write exams at a different time if you had other plans (like your WEDDING).

    I really hope that whatever the outcome, that this turns out to be the biggest blessing in disguise you’ve ever had.

    1. I really hope so too. As for school, I think I’ve decided on waiting til after the wedding – and if I end up finding another full time job, I’ll do it the distanced ed way, taking a course or two at a time, or maybe go one evening a week, that way I can still do both. Thank you so much for your advice 🙂

  26. Emily- What I can tell you is that you’d be right in holding out with hope for those ‘two positions’ that may yet come to pass- but in parallel I’d recommend you tidy up the resume as well.

    The good news is this- I have a friend who went through exactly this same conundrum about this time last year. He loved his current company- but knew the writing was on the wall for his present role- and the company loved him. They kept telling him that ‘approvals were coming’ and the jobs would ‘likely start in a couple weeks’. Of course, he couldn’t pin his livelihood on hopes- so he started interviewing. He received an offer and was in the process of signing when the NEW JOBS DID GET APPROVED!!! Not only were the jobs approved- but he’s spent the last year loving what he is doing!

    So- keep hoping, and keep searching just in case. But always keep in mind that when one door closes another opens. 😉

  27. Hmmm, well you’re still a young lass you can always go to school after the wedding, no? I think you’ll regret it if you ‘ruin’ your wedding day (you only get one, best day of your life and all that) for something that could quite easily have waited a bit.

    Maybe start applying for other jobs now. I mean, from everything (so not that much in fairness) I know of you, I fully think you can accomplish anything, but nowadays it pays to think ahead. I mean, if your company comes back and says they want you to stay, you can always turn down other things and do that. I hope things work out well for you, EJ, you’re so sweet I don’t like to think of you in distress!

  28. Wow, that’s so frustrating! If I were in your shoes, I’d probably start looking around, maybe prepare to be creatively employed for a month or two so you have a little set aside in case that happens? It’s not a bad idea to have a backup plan, but it sounds like your current situation will be keeping you if they’re able to. I suppose… I’d hope for the best and prepare for the second best? *Hugs* girl.

  29. If you aren’t sure exactly what you want to go to school for, I wouldn’t jump into that just yet. But as soon as you know, you should get it done. In the meantime, I would definitely be looking for other jobs because it’s just not fair to you otherwise. You don’t have to accept a new job, but I would start the process.

  30. That’s tough.

    I made the decision to go to school almost 3 years ago. At the time, I was working a temp job and flat out told them I would be looking elsewhere unless I could be hired on. I wasn’t rude about it, but they definitely understood I needed to have some job security while I attended school. Luckily, I was hired on. But that empowered me to stand up for what I needed, not the company.

    I guess the point of the story is that you need to do what’s right for you. If staying and possibly being let go is alright by you, then do it. If you’re not okay with it, then look elsewhere and who knows? Maybe something better will come along or things will work out there.

    Either way, good luck!

  31. What a tough situation to be in, especially since I know how much you LOVE this job and how great it has been for your anxiety. But I really think you should start actively searching for a job, because it’s good to have a fallback plan. And if your job does end up getting cut, then you have a head start on searching for a job (or even having one!).

    I’m most definitely adding you to my prayer list, lady! And I’m praying you can keep this job and gain even more self-confidence and less anxiety.

  32. How frustrating! I don’t really know WHAT to suggest. If those two jobs that they might not have a budget for, fall through… would you still have the option to return to the receptionist position, or would that be a miserable option?

    1. It would definitely be a miserable option!! 😦 That was the initial plan – but I’d feel like the biggest loser in the world going from pretty much managing the company’s advertising and teaching classes to sitting making appointments and photocopies. Plus I like my setup where I am in terms of my back – I’m right next to an unused office I can use for stretches on breaks and stuff, and I can keep a heating pad on my chair so it doesn’t hurt so much – at reception any of that would be impossible too 😦

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  34. I’ll chime in late to support you getting your resumé out there and seeing what comes back. Maybe you’ll get a great opportunity that you didn’t know about otherwise. I’m so sorry you are in an uncertain place, but I’m quite sure the sky’s the limit for you, Em. 🙂

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