Work and Life and What Counts
The last unemployment rate came in a little over 8%. It is estimated that the number of people on long-term unemployment is around 5.5 million. These are internet stats and I cannot promise how precise they are but they are the common numbers shared when the news talking heads speak. It is very scary. PepsiCo recently announced it was cutting 8500 jobs, Cigna Medical 100, Food Lion 5000, and recently the company I am lucky enough to be employed by is releasing 800 nationwide. I am one of the lucky ones because at least for now I seem to be safe. I watched helplessly as people I know were affected this week by the cut backs. I put myself in their shoes. I thought of the fact that for me it could also just be a matter of time. I looked at my daughter so closely this week and asked myself what would I do? I said to myself I would go bananas if they brought me into one of the conference rooms and told me my number was up. I would snap and give them a piece of my very well spoken and sharp mind. I am also full of crap. I do have a sharp mind though :)!!!
I was so impressed by what I saw this week. I will be honest. When they announced the rough number of people who would be affected in our office I immediately added up the names rumored to be involved in my head and until I was told I was safe (for now) I wondered if I was one of the remaining unaccounted for to get the bad news. It is like when you read the obituaries and you see the age of a recently deceased and you count the number of years difference between your age and the age they were when they passed and you suddenly realize you are getting older and time is oh so very borrowed. When you read the statistics above, read the news of all these huge businesses letting people go, and your own employer has the same thing occurring in your halls it shakes you to the core. Bad enough to lose a job but it is worse when there are so few out their to apply for.
I mentioned I was impressed and I truly was. Each of the folks affected are so strong. They are not running through the halls screaming. They are just moving forward. Playing the hand dealt to them. That to me is amazing and I hope it does not go unnoticed. It says a great deal about a person’s character when they act in such a positive, professional way. When and if my professional time comes I hope I can live up to that standard. The building gets quieter and I lower my head down and prepare to do more and try my best to not think about possibilities of more change. I don’t blame my employer. I don’t blame our president or our government. It just is and all I can do is wake up, kiss my wife, rub my Aussies head, and walk into the room of the my daughter and remember that work and money will never make her love me any more than she already does. She and her mother are my gift. They are my life. I have never let a job define me. I respect my job and I give my all to it. No one will ever say I don’t work hard but it is only a small part of me. I have a job now because of a very fortunate change in the Fall of 2008 in my job title. Small changes have big impact. My job found me, I did not find it. Would I rather be doing something else, probably yes (at heart I am only happy when I help others so public service is in my blood), but that is not my employers fault. My job has always looked after me. It supported me through hard times. What if it rejects me next fiscal year or tomorrow? It will hurt but I will move on and I can only hope I do it as well as the people I have saw this week.
I watched all this drama unfold this week. I have contacts in our mother company and heard how much worse it was there. I thought to myself how horrible and it can’t get worse than that. Friday I am reminded my wife is about to have a surgery. It is not life threatening but it is still surgery. Today a good friend of my wife suffered un unimaginable loss close on the heals of another similar and equally painful loss. It centers you and reminds you that everything that happened earlier in the week means exactly nothing. All that matters you already have. Your family, your friends, and your life.
I have managed a record store, worked at two other record stores, worked concert security, worked at two book stores, I spent a summer laying brick, I spent a summer painting, but for near ten years I worked for the city and for another 14 at my present job. That type of time imprints on you and makes you comfortable so change hurts.
What I learned this week is that I am so very blessed. I have a beautiful wife and daughter I would kill for. I have parents and in-laws that love me. I have a job but if it were gone…….we would figure it out. I watched some fellow employees act in a way that is inspiring this week and at the end of the week a dramatic event reminded me that work is just work. I love you all. Best of luck to my friends and my heart breaks for Shan’s friend. To my job….I will fight for you until you tell me to stop.
And in the end it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.
– Abraham Lincoln
The grand essentials of happiness are: something to do, something to love, and something to hope for.
– Allan K. Chalmers
“When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed-door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.” – Alexander Graham Bell
I don’t have a fear of heights. I do, however, have a fear of falling from heights. – George Carlin