We like to think we are. But we’re not. During these times of financial turmoil when we hear about people getting laid off, losing money in the market, forced out of a job because their company has gone under, we sit back and feel safe, secure and untouchable. Can’t happen to us; things are good. We just went on vacation. Joe skated through a layoff only a month ago, then got a raise, and a bonus. Sent out invitations for a big Halloween party. We’ve got new ‘warm floors’ in the bedroom and three-five gallon batches of beer in the basement. We’re prospering. Things are good.
Then yesterday I got a call from Joe letting me know he just got laid off. After 10 years as a photographer/photo management dude at a seemingly thriving international architecture firm he came home hauling all his personal belongings from his cubicle-like area in his messenger bag. (Granted, it was bulging, but still. Everything in one bag. If I ever leave I’ll be taking about 90 percent of the life and personality out of my office–artwork, photos, plants, general coolness about the desk. All the color will be sucked out in one fell swoop. Plus, when I go, it’s gonna be messy, sweetheart! Joe’s area will no doubt be missing all traces of any sense of humor and his own personal light and goodness, but I doubt if anyone will miss the half-dozen pictures of me that came out of his bag.) He’s pretty positive, considering. He was on the phone talking to job contacts as soon as he got home. He didn’t get drunk last night, or angry, or sad. He didn’t sleep-in this morning, even though I asked him if he wanted me to leave the bed unmade in case he wanted to go back to bed and wallow. Not a wallower. Unlike me, who offered to wallow for him… A time for change is suddenly not just a political war cry; not just a lot of rah-rah. It’s reality.
It’s harsh realizing there’s no big protective bubble of love and safety shielding you from the rest of the world’s economic woes. I guess that’s what’s so shocking. We must be grown ups! Crap! When did that happen?
And how ironic is it that this follows Hannah’s post on Keeping Hysteria at Bay? Fortunately, I’m a big fan of Irony. And when Joe answered the phone last night and told a solicitor sorry, just got laid off today, then hung up grinning and told me “That’s the best excuse, ever!” I knew we’d be all right.