So, where was I?
My life seems to have blown up over the past couple of weeks and I’m so bummed that this blog has been the one thing I’ve let go of completely. I miss writing and I feel like right now, with all that’s going on, I should be writing more and more. I feel like I’m neglecting myself, my authentic self, by not putting my thoughts and feelings in black and white. I’ve actually written a couple of partial blogs but none of them are worthy of sharing just yet. I will share them because the messages are important, but I need to gather more of my thoughts and organize them better for you first.
There have been a few things that have occupied much of my time during the last couple of weeks, not the least of which is my job. March is traditionally a very hectic and busy month for us at work because it’s the month our contract with the government rolls over to a new contract year. This usually means that we have upwards of 75 proposals to be turned in and once awarded, entered into our system. Without going into the boring details, this means that our typical everyday workload is increased tenfold, at least.
As busy as a normal March is for us, this March is special. Our current contract ends after nine years. Well, at least it was supposed to and still is for some parts of it. Our current contract has a value of about $1,500,000,000. Yes, that is 1.5 Billion dollars over a nine year period. Yes, that is huge. This also affects about 1,300 people who directly support the contract and then many more like me who indirectly support the contract. To say that my coworkers and I are a little uneasy these days is somewhat of an understatement. And it’s not just my coworkers at L-3 but also the many hundreds of subcontractors that support the contract right alongside us.
To make all of this even more complicated is that the work must go on, without a gap, without a hitch and without us in some cases. In an effort to reduce the size and scope of this contract, the government made the decision to break up the work into several smaller contracts and with some limitations as to how the new contracts are awarded. In a perfect world, all of these new contracts would have been awarded by now and we would be in some stage of transition, either with us as the new contract holders or with us transitioning out to a new contract holder. But, this is not a perfect world. Some of the work has been awarded, protested, put on hold, and some of it has just been delayed altogether.
What does this mean for me? Chaos. And not just for me. But, for now it’s a good kind of chaos. What it ultimately means for me is job security for a little while longer. Because of my current position, I do not run the risk of an immediate end to my job. Also, because of my current position, I have the skills and training to support other contracts within my company. The good news for me is that I will not be unemployed on April 1. Unfortunately, this may not be the case for hundreds of people supporting this contract. There are so many factors and unknowns right now that no one can say anything for certain about when jobs will end or if we are going to continue to provide support under the new contract structure.
Some of the new contracts have been awarded and L3 did not win those, this we know for sure. What it means for the people currently doing the work, we don’t know. Some will be picked up by the new companies and some will not. I know that L3 is working very hard to ensure the L3 employees who are not picked up will have other opportunities within the company. But for now, life is full of uncertainly. And it’s heartbreaking. I am completely helpless and unable to do anything to positively impact these men and women. I know it’s not my responsibility but no one wants to see people without a job. And even though my job is relatively safe for now, I’m definitely not doing any happy dances knowing that so many others may not be as fortunate as me. As a matter of fact, I am trying to remain as low-key and off the radar as I can right now.
Gil and I have always known that March 31, 2011 would be a significant date for the reasons listed above, but this past Tuesday, we had one more reason to circle this date in black on our calendar. For 24 hours last week, we thought March 31 would be Gil’s last day with Verizon. For 24 hours last week, we believed that Gil was on the ‘reduction in force’ list and would be laid off after 13 years of service. For 24 hours last week, our world was turned upside down with uncertainly. For 24 hours last week, I knew exactly how the spouses of the 1,300 plus L3 employees and subcontractors feel right now.
And then, as suddenly as the news came that he was going to be out of a job, 24 hours later he was told he had been placed somewhere within the company. And that’s all we know. No official notification has been made but he still has a job. For now. What a whirlwind week we’ve had. In a single 24 hour period, we’ve experienced fear and uncertainly one minute and relief and exuberant happiness the next. We have certainly been on one hell of a roller coaster ride this week but for now, we seem to have survived. I will ask that if prayer is your thing, we could use some mentions to the Big Guy. And if it’s not asking too much, could you also mention the men and women I work with that are also facing an unknown future right now? There is strength in numbers and we sure would appreciate it.
We put our complete faith in God and know that whatever path he has planned for us, we will find our way just fine with His help. I shared the Serenity Prayer on my Wordless Wednesday post a few days ago. There was one particular phrase that really stood out to me in the middle of that 24 hour period and that was “accepting hardship as a pathway to peace”. As soon as I read that I knew that everything would be ok. In that instance, I found peace in my faith. The uncertainly of our future was no longer a scary looming nightmare scenario but a possible path to new opportunities for Gil and for our family. In that instance, I completely trusted the Lord and there is no greater peace than that.