It was predictable, I told myself after reading the flurry of mass emails from powerful men. Hiring has been frozen for two months. New job postings are nonexistent. We've taken a 'wait and see' position, but - as people like to do - hoped that all would right itself and those people we'd like to have around could be brought on board.
Meetings have been ongoing to determine resources for next year. Industry has a number (so many I'm not sure of the exact quantity) of businesses and allocates money to each of us - like an allowance - so we can produce the things we sell. We may scale back, people warned, and I winced at the thought. I'm here! Have ideas! So let's do cool projects and release kick-ass packages!
"So you'll come to London in January?" a collaborator said on the phone before dawn today. A delightful man I badly want to meet, he complimented my proposals, noted I have a lot to offer and said they'd welcome my visit to their lab. I blinked rapidly and tried to focus, forcing myself to listen and think despite shuddering through fever and pain.
"I'd love to," I replied sincerely, for I love London very much. "I'll see what I can manage," I concluded and winced at the pain in my head and memory of how many excellent research sites I've deflected when they invited me to come. I'm desperate to meet people, examine projects, evaluate ideas. I have a call tomorrow to define a shared vision on a different topic - one I feel passionately is important and deserving of attention.
A Reduction in Force means my particular business could be asked to lay people off. Though logically I feel reasonably safe - I work in a team that should be staffed by 7 and has only 4 - I remain afraid. For even if I keep my job, I'm helpless to manage projects that can't be funded. Ideas matter little if they can't be integrated.
I've had Jello to eat over the last 2 days. And I'm growing despondent about the future.