Thursday, February 26, 2009

Survivor's Guilt

The postings on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent IBM's positions, strategies or opinions.

Trying Not to Suffer from It

In the past few months, a number of my friends have experienced their last day at work, involuntarily. Job-loss feels scarier for me to discuss here than nearly any other topic I can imagine.

I've steeled myself and compartmentalized the losses mostly, but also have happily surprised myself that I was not inhuman when I heard from these friends by e-mail. Unlike some of our friends as it turned out, I did not treat them like they were contagious.

Times like these will test one's humanity. I'm glad to be passing the test.

Still, no matter the compassion and presentness I've demonstrated for my friends, I've managed to keep pumping and producing...and to feel a good deal of survivor's guilt along the way.

More than an Academic Discussion

In class tonight, we talked of social time and how time feels when one is unemployed. I remember my dad's unemployment in the '70s. I'd have enjoyed having him around more so, as we did when he was out of work, if only he hadn't always been pre-occupied with looking for a job!

And then he and my mom went into the lamp business -- actually manufacturing them(!) Necessity is the mother of invention.

My father designed the lamps, my sisters and I cut felt bases for them, my mother wrote the hang-tag copy for them and my parents hired boys from the technical high school to work by the hour on assembling them. My mother became a traveling salesperson and carried them into lamp- and gift-stores, and department-stores in pet cases because all of them were animals -- hippos, elephants, cats, owls....One of the coolest times of their marriage wouldn't have happened had my dad not become unemployed.

Please, God, I love what I do and hope never to lose my job. I suppose I'm telling the story above, again, out of survivor's guilt, i.e., cool things can happen after a job loss....

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