Despite the Dilbert, I’m sad. My one true peer at work just put in her two week notice. She’d decided she’s had enough with the chaos and the managerial shenanigans at the small company for which we work.

I knew it had been coming for a long while. We had a layoff about a year ago and one of the most senior engineers, one of our friends, was let go. Since then work has left a bitter taste. I’ve been looking, she’s been looking. Although I’ve worked for bigger companies. The ones where the jobs are.

Despite the chaos and bitterness, my current job has a number of perks in terms of flexibility and opportunity for developing and having ownership on new things. It is also my only source of income so moving for me includes more risk. My colleague has a husband who is a well known professor with a good income so her appetite for risk can be greater. The place she’s going routinely lays people off, but they pay better. The role is more focused, less chaotic. Big companies tend to have better fringe benefits, better quality of life.  Indeed, I think getting away from some of the overt discrepancy in pay between her and I, despite doing similar work, played a major role. As did the management having the feel of the canonical “Good ol’ boys” club.

She needed something different. She needed something with better pay and less quirky personalities to deal with. She needed to feel better valued and I think for the near future she’s found it; even if there are some “seas of uncertainty” to weather.

Thus, I am feeling sad and alone. The change will push my comfort zone as we had worked together for nearly a decade. I requested her hire initially as a part of me having a hot streak in winning research contracts and quickly becoming overloaded in work. As those projects wound down, she found herself in another role working with production of our commercial product. It was a good fit for the most part.

I have fear over what other changes will resonate through the company. In my head I would like to be elevated to a position where I can have some control over things, but really feel like I’m going to be left behind. As with most things though, the only direction to go is forward.

What’s most important for me is getting my kids grown and providing for them until they are off and running on their own. This supersedes any changes at work.  Still, I can use the empowerment I have to carve a better, more effective spot at work. I do have an interest in taking on more managerial responsibility. I’m even getting my own full-time minion (complete with finished PhD) in November. Perhaps there will be more opportunity for expanding upon that as there are a number of holes that need to be filled. Thus, there may be some opportunity. I hate to scheme, but I think it’s necessary to progress professionally at my company.

I’m sad and feel a little empty, but in thinking progressively I am starting to wax optimistic on improving/growing the company.