Thursday, September 30, 2010

Survivor--Huntsville Edition

Premise: Space advocates must hold onto their jobs, relationships, and collective sanity during a period of policy shifts, budget battles, media maneuvers, layoffs, outside activities, and personal crises.

So when we last left Your Humble Narrator, he was waiting out his 90-day extension with the Office of Strategic Analysis and Communication while trying to figure out what to do with his future. Well, as during the crisis in June, more money was found two days before the deadline, and I will continue to find myself employed after many others have been let go. I've been told I'm good through the end of October, with additional work TBD (another marvelous NASA acronym that means "to be determined," which I pronounce "tuh-Buh-DUH!").

I will not complain about the treatment I've received by my immediate employers or the management of Center. They've done their best under very difficult circumstances and, in my case, managed to keep me off the unemployment rolls and on the taxpayer side of $0 for four months longer than I probably had reason to expect. But this whole thing is mentally and emotionally draining. I have worked for a variety of employers, and the last two years here have been the most uncertain time I've ever experienced. Doc tells me this is normal, and that the relative calm we enjoyed 2006-2008 was anomalous in his experience. So one of several things could happen in a month:
  • I continue to kick arse on my job (which I still like to do, gripes about instability nothwithstanding) and someone finds enough money to keep me on staff.
  • Budgetary constraints prevent my customers, however happy with my work, from keeping me on--leading to another round of scrambling by me or my employer to find me work.
  • A Miracle Happens and I find some sort of stable employment (no imminent threat of termination within a year) within the agency or not that keeps me fed and my bills paid through ISDC next May.
Is it a reality show or is it a soap opera...or do I repeat myself? In any case, the uncertainty continues, but I can still show up for work and draw a paycheck tomorrow, for which I am duly grateful. A big chunk of that good fortune was not due to anything I did.

1 comment:

Hugh said...

Oh bother ...if you are signed on for a 5 YEAR contract, and you are doing a good job ...then your expectation should be that you are going to be around for the full 5 years. ...Anything else shows that there is some kind of disconnect - - something very wrong in the Force...