Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Slipping Away

I'm at home today, "enjoying" another holiday without pay. Mojo is at work and the kids are in daycare. I need the time to think, and decompress, and grieve a little.

Because when I got into my work yesterday I found that the other staff person had been put on "hourly"...meaning that he only works when there IS work. In effect, he's been laid off other than when we have something billable for him to do. And right now, we have nothing.This is the sort of thing you read about 1929; about men begging for work and finding nothing. Guys who had never rested more than a Sunday a week in their lives, strong men, men who wanted work and couldn't find it.

There's something deeply wrong with a society, with an economic system, that can't find a place for people who want to do something, or a job for people who can do the job. It doesn't feel that way when you're working and doing well, but now, with the prospect of a job and work I love slipping away, I feel that abyss gaping before me and fear the sickening drop. I've been through hard times before. I've come home and sat down with my wife and had to tell her that I might not have a job the next day.

But this feels different. This IS different. Not only is my company reeling and my job is in jeopardy - everyone's job is unsafe. We advertised for a position in the winter and got hundreds of applications. For a low-level job with a tiny company. And I'm fifty-two. I will be out there competing with twenty-somethings, hungry, mobile and infinitely more adaptable.So I have been feeling like I'm sitting beside the bed of a dying friend; unable to do anything but sit and watch the slowing breaths and the growing pallor. Sick with fear, wanting to jump up and tear something, howl and cry, but constrained by responsibility and the need of others to be stoic. Fearing the worst and at the same time longing for the release to come, like a silent snowfall, blanketing the earth, covering all the imperfections and blemishes with an all-forgiving obscurity, where the noises of pain are muffled and trials and fears are chilled into immobility by a remorseless, impersonal, universal, perfectly lethal nepenthe.


Red Sand said...

I have been sheltered so far, but I see the signs here as well. I don't have much to add that would help, except to acknowledge the sadness and fear and frustration you describe.

Pluto said...

Chief, you express your angst so well it makes my heart ache.

I had a similar experience to yours last February. The person who sat behind me kept asking if I thought she'd get laid off. I kept assuring her that I hadn't heard anything and that I didn't think she'd be the first to go if we had layoffs. I was wrong and she got laid off the same day I made that prediction. In hindsight, I suspect she knew something I didn't because she kept asking.

You've heard my thoughts on this topic before so I won't repeat them.

Just wishing you all the best and hoping your wishes instead of your fears come true.

rangeragainstwar said...

Your micro view is ominous when translated into everyday macro American realities.
Do our leaders care or do they not understand.?
Have you ever heard Dylans HOLLIS BROWN?
Good luck to our nation.
It's funny that Predators can't defend us from job loss.

FDChief said...

RS, Pluto: Thank you for your consideration. It does help.

Jim: So it is and so it has always been:

"They used to tell me I was building a dream, and so I followed the mob,
When there was earth to plow, or guns to bear, I was always there right on the job.
They used to tell me I was building a dream, with peace and glory ahead,
Why should I be standing in line, just waiting for bread?"

from "Brother, Can You Spare A Dime", Harburg, 1931

Charles Gittings said...

I've been there more than once. Praying for you bro.

basilbeast said...

My only major surgery my entire life was in high school. The bits I remember in recovery were a very pretty candy-striper who gave me a 7-up, my mom introduced me to Mad Magazine and her mom, my grandma, let me know that "You can't keep good people down."

Looking at the video in your post above I know this to be true of you as well. I will always wish you well.

That goes for you too, Charles. I am very happy to "see" you again!

I know that "best wishes and prayers" maybe won't get a full schedule and a backlog of work, or some new opportunity, for you and your buddy immediately, but you're getting them anyway.


Lisa said...

First: Hello to Charles! You were in my thoughts the last week; hope all is well.

Chief: Eloquently chilling. This should go to your local paper, as you give voice to the many.

Rick98C said...

And Goldman Freaking Sachs is back to hauling in huge profits...