Due to circumstances beyond my control, a contract that I loved working on has been terminated with very little warning and I have been told my last day is Friday.

I understand its business, the contract was three months late and way over budget. It should be noted that this contract involved two remote teams ( one in mid-west and one on the east coast). the east coast team was constantly delayed, over budget etc.. My team was dependant on the east coast team.

How can I get over this feeling that I have been screwed and move on? I need to focus on finding a new job and this has become a distraction. Regardless of the fairness of this, this is life, stuff happens.

I really need to focus on getting a new job and support my family. I have two kids in college and tuition :)

  • What would you have done when the contract was supposed to end ( you mentioned it was 3 months late)? – sf02 Feb 26 '19 at 16:36
  • 2
    Maybe see a therapist for one time appointment and let it all out. It will help you hugely. – VarunAgw Feb 26 '19 at 16:47
  • @sf02 - If the milestones were met, the next phase of the contract was supposed to pick up. Since the milestone was never met, the whole kit and kaboodle was canceled – Jeff Christman Feb 26 '19 at 16:52
  • Pin some relevant pictures to a large log, split it with an axe until it will fit in stove... then come in, large coffee and start looking in the relevant places for the next gig... – Solar Mike Feb 26 '19 at 17:28

Figure out what or who are you angry at. At the east coast team whose delays got the project scrapped? At your employer for not giving you advanced warning? At yourself for not seeing the signs, for not being prepared? At your kids for going to college? At God? At life? At universe? At your current situation?

You are angry at the east coast team.

You feel like they screwed you, but in reality they didn't. They really didn't. They screwed the project. Because you were attached to the project you may feel this personally, but it isn't. I am sorry, but they didn't do this to make you lose your job. And when that happened at the end of the day they don't give a second thought about you. You don't matter to them because they have their own world of problems to live in. They also have problems like mortgages, kids in college and their own careers to worry about. You aren't in their thoughts. Why should they be in yours?

You are angry at your employer

They behaved in their best interest, as they should. From what you've told they didn't miss-behave or committed any wrongdoings towards you, other than maybe not doing more to prevent this. They take care of their business. When the project was going awry, they didn't warn you that you might lose your job. Not because they don't care about you, but because that would have been in their detriment. They were probably thinking they can still do the project and as such they needed every hand on deck working to save the project. Telling employees that the project is unsure and there is a chance of getting fired most likely would have make the employees quit for a safer job or start to slack off. Again, this wasn't about you at all. They have their own business to run.

You are angry at your yourself

Use this not to punish yourself, but to prepare yourself better next time. There isn't much more to it. It's that simple. Stop dwelling on what happened and focus on how you can be better from now on. This is about you. Now you have an important experience you didn't have before and you can use it to craft a tool. Now you can see and interpret the signs better. You can better prepare for ending up without a job.

You are angry at the expenses in your life

See bellow (the situation part)

You are angry at your God

Well, that is between you and Him

You are angry at life, at universe

Everybody has his own interpretation here. My advice: focus your energy only on what you can influence.

You are angry at your current situation

Good. Be angry at your current situation. But I say again: current! Don't dwell on how you ended up here. If you are angry at the east coast team, immagine you live in a parallel universe where all the teams performed exemplary and your employer got bought by a bigger company which terminated the project because it didn't fit their business strategy. My point: it doesn't matter how you ended up here, the only thing that matters is the current here and now: you are in this situation where you don't have a job and you need to provide for your family. This is the only thing you focus on. You need to provide for your family. Once you realize that is the only thing that matters you can use all of your energy exclusively on finding solution to change and improve your situation.

  • Excellent post! I am really angry with myself for being passive and not being prepared for the worst case scenario. I should have started 6 months ago to prepare this eventual outcome. I am also disappointed because this contract was for a company that I really enjoyed working for. Lots of smart engineers, space scientists and this place has a lot of history in it. – Jeff Christman Feb 26 '19 at 17:19

How can I get over this feeling that I have been screwed and move on? [...]

I really need to focus on getting a new job and support my family. I have two kids in college and tuition :)

I suggest you follow your advice on that last sentence as motivation to get over this situation. As you said, you have family and people that depends on you, so there is nothing to win in standing by and regretting being screwed... Start job-hunting ASAP.

As a note, if you knew this contract was already late, and over budget it would have been a good idea to start job-hunting before you were actually terminated. For next time, I suggest you try to keep this in mind when you see things start going down the hill.

  • Yea, I saw the red flags and was deluding myself into thinking it was going to work out. – Jeff Christman Feb 26 '19 at 16:49
  • I understand.. and I also want to say that you must keep your spirits up :) these things happen sometimes, and although not nice they serve their purpose and help us learn and grow... I am sure you will grow from this experience and find a new job that you also like very much. Wish you good luck, cheers. – DarkCygnus Feb 26 '19 at 16:53

First, it sounds like you are getting a bad deal, and I'm sorry that's happening. A lot of times things outside of your control can affect how the final product comes out, and it's extremely unsatisfying in my personal experience. I hate it when good work goes wasted, especially when it feels very avoidable. It lends a sense of powerlessness to your contract not being renewed, and that doesn't feel great.

How can I get over this feeling that I have been screwed and move on? I need to focus on finding a new job and this has become a distraction. Regardless of the fairness of this, this is life, stuff happens.

Some things that help me:

  1. Making goals. In this case, you need a new job, so make some goals related to that: X jobs applied to per day, Y emails sent to people that might be able to help with the search, etc. Having a goal motivates me to get things done, and helps me measure how I'm doing at it. This helps me get over things because it gives me somewhere else to focus my energy.
  2. Talk to people about it. It could be your family, a friend, someone from the team, a friend who still works there, etc. Talking through things helps you process your emotions and recognize them. Writing in a journal can also help for the same reasons.
  3. Spend some extra time with the family, reading a book, on a hobby, or doing something else you normally don't have time for can help lessen the blow and the boredom that comes along with not having work. Volunteering is also a great opportunity.
  4. Look at the positives. It doesn't sound like your last job was a great experience. At least being behind schedule and having a forced, hard dependency on someone else are two things that stress me out a lot. While it's normal to depend some on others, it's likely you can get a job that avoids such a hard dependency and turn in work on time. Sometimes we stay at bad places to work out of habit, and a bad situation can become something good in the long run. You can turn this bad situation into a good one in the long run.

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