Things that have happened since then:
- Learned from someone who reports to one of our biggest internal supporters that said supporter doesn't have much (any?) political capital within the organization and might be doing my project more harm than good.
- That same person said that people in her group are already assuming my project is not worth spending time on because they know we're out of funding.
- My VP didn't brief another VP properly on my project so my stomach turned somersaults while I tried to figure out how to work my (clearly 100% relevant to what he's discussing) project into a conversation with an outside group without making the other VP look uninformed. Does this mean my project is getting the axe? Or is my VP just not thinking about it? Or does he not see the connections because he never comes to the meetings? Seems bad no matter how you slice it.
- My project was omitted from a draft presentation in which most other things in the department were included. Was it just an oversight? Or was it because someone said it shouldn't be mentioned in that presentation?
- My VP isn't coming to our monthly project meeting... again. He's only attended one meeting so far this year. I think he might be out of town, but he doesn't seem invested enough to even ask me to reschedule for a time that he can attend. Is he just trying to avoid me until the end of the month when some major changes are announced?
- I had a long talk with my boss about all of my concerns about the internal politics affecting my project and how in the world we're going to navigate these treacherous waters. I don't think she has any more information than I do, and I know she's concerned for her job too. If not now, then probably next year.
I just feel so incredibly insecure about the future of my job, which makes it hard to make long-term plans. Part of me is afraid to make any kind of promises beyond the most immediate to any collaborators because I don't want to look like a fool if they pull the plug, but the catch is I know that seeming unstable is a sure way to lose collaborators! I have a great vision for my project and I'm 100% willing to fight for it because I believe in it, but I am unsure of the best way to go about doing that. We need more money, but I can't write my own grants. I don't know how much I should be working through the chain of command and how much I should be working around it. I don't know who I should be making my case to.
So, I'm just trying to plug along on the things that I can do with my own time and a little of someone else's until I'm told otherwise. I still love what I get to do in my job but I am finding the climate increasingly toxic. I hope that the end of the month brings some clarity.