Tuesday, November 03, 2009

No Longer in Flux, But Now it Sux Even Worse

Uncomfortably Numb…Again
The last time I felt this way was just over five months ago, when I learned of the impending death of my Father-in-Law.

It’s just too damn soon to feel this way again.

Yesterday I experienced another death in the family — mine…or at least that of my career at any rate.

I was laid off at my job of nearly eleven years, at which, when adding in the initial nine months I worked for The Company as a contractor before going in-house, I actually spent 11 years and 10 months of my life, devoted to one employer. That’s quite a chunk ‘a time, these days especially.

I’ll receive a nice severance package, which should keep us afloat financially until I’m able to find another job — providing of course the economy cooperates and I’m able to find full-time employment in a reasonable amount of time over the coming weeks.

Chances are more than likely that it won’t be until after the first of the year that hiring will rev up again locally, but who knows; maybe I’ll get lucky.

The reason I’m coming out with this is for those of you who’ve read between-the-lines of my previous post, as well as those new friends who have been checking up on me from my new hockey blog.

And to those who have, I’m aware of your visits and am encouraged that you care about what’s going on in my life. Thank you; I am both humbled and grateful for your concern.

But I’m also feeling a lot of other things at the moment; the strongest of which is paralysis. I’m trying to fight it off the best I can, but at the moment, I feel that I’m losing the battle.

I had never been laid off from any job before; but now I have.

I’ve never had to collect unemployment before; but now I will.

I’d never imagined that I could be so affected by something like this; but now I have been.

I’m well-acquainted with the feeling of rejection, but in my experience, being rejected has usually accompanied the realization that in some small way I’ve actually done something to deserve it.

But not this time.

This is a whole different ballgame. Even more frustrating than losing my job is the knowledge that nothing that I could have done would have prevented it.

And that sucks most of all because I’ve seen the handwriting on the wall for over a month now, and have been working my ass off to somehow stem the tide.

That’s why you haven’t seen a lot of me around in recent weeks — certainly not here, but not even on my new blog. But even though I leave with my head held high, working hard and knowing I did what I was supposed to do, to the best of my abilities, I can’t shake this feeling of helplessness and the questions that still beset me.

Could I have done more?

What did I do wrong?

And of course, the answers to these questions are: ‘no’ and ‘nothing.’

My job was eliminated. They didn’t just get rid of me because they wanted someone better. They got rid of someone who was a successfully functioning, integral part of the system — simply to cut costs.

But then again, maybe I’m over-estimating my value — and don’t think that thought hasn’t been dancing around, screamin’ in my head like a banshee.

There are just so many emotions raging through me right now.

Guilty As Charged
I know how I have viewed those who have gone before me in this economy’s crucible of job loss and forced career change. I previously felt the way any normally compassionate person would; genuine sympathy, but not empathy, as it had actually hadn’t happened to meyet..

And now that it has, there’s yet another emotion added to the cocktail of of this gawdawful gauntlet of emotions I’ve been running; guilt.

Guilt for still not doing enough to save my job, despite the fact that practically, I know there’s nothing I could have done to affect this change in my life; guilt for being selfish enough to think that those who were laid off before I was were somehow less important; guilt that I’ve placed an undue burden on my wife Michelle, who for an undisclosed period of time will have to be the sole breadwinner in our household; a role she’s neither accustomed to nor well-built to bear.

Right now I just feel like a worthless piece of crap, to be perfectly honest.

But I know that I’m not.

I know there are brighter days ahead.

I know this economy will turn around.

And most of all I know that I can survive; full-time or freelance. I was self-employed 15 out of the previous 17 years prior to coming to work for The Company; I know that I can find work. I know my skills are marketable. I know that I can adapt however necessary.

In a lot of ways, this could be one of the best things that’s happened to me in awhile; and in retrospect, I should have probably left by my own volition a long time ago.

It’s clear that I grew — if not stagnant, then most certainly, a bit too comfortable — in my position with The Company over the eleven years I was with them. There are things I could have done to avoid that, but in all reality, I really should have moved on, probably 4-5 years ago.

But can you blame me for falling in love with a compelling, creative, and challenging environment, filled with high-character individuals? I genuinely liked the people I worked with, which is probably the hardest part of this whole scenario.

I’m gonna miss my crew.

Nonetheless, better days lay ahead; of this I am certain. But now, as Michelle said to me this morning, it’s okay to grieve a little. This is no insignificant loss that I’ve suffered.

And it sucks — big time.

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