Part of my job is to know the news. Due to this simple fact I tend to comb through national newspapers every morning to figure out to get the lay of the land. Specifically the business section. I know it's not just me, who'd like to hear something positive . . . especially now.
The economy is sinking. Thousands of Americans are losing their jobs on a daily basis. Huge industry giants are folding. GM may shut down - do we fully comprehend what that will do to America? How the state of MI will simply fall off the map?
The govt is bailing out everyone and their mom. Okay, not yet, but it seems like that's all I hear about. This constant talk track of doom and gloom is weighing heavily on our nation. It's hard to read, in so many papers each morning, in multiple formats.
It is during these times when I often think of what my parents tried so hard to warn me about . . . being a civilian is not easy. One of the appeals of being military is that you always have a job . . . or it used to be. Over the past few years the military has even begun to off load its members, though it's more often in the Air Force than it is in any other branch. And the truth is so many blue (AF) went green (Army) because they wanted to stay in. It's back to normal now though - iron clad safe.
My parents used to drill that point of security into our head's as we grew up. I know that my father won't lose his job because of the economy. It won't happen to my Army contracted brother either. But my sister and I - we are another story.
My first job out of college wasn't a first job at all. I'd put myself through school and was used to the 40 (sometimes 40+) hours and working towards a degree. I rejoiced when I graduated - I could finally just work, without the added burden of school. But it was an important job, and I put my all into it. I was good at it - I had potential and the company recognized that.
And then the day came out of the blue. One after another we were pulled into the owner's office and were given the speal. The controller said, we must let you go to survive. We are sorry. I was 23 years old.
I remember not being able to breathe. Telling myself this could not be possible. Didn't this only happen to older people? Why me - how could they cut me? I worked for next to nothing and devoted an insane amount of time to my job. Coming in weekends, staying till 9pm. All on a measly salary.
It took me quite some time to realize that it wasn't about me. It was about them. Their financial status. Their future. And there I was, left on the other side of the fence . . . without a job. Not knowing what my future held.
This moment in my life changed me forever. It rocked me to my core. What my parents had warned me about . . . actually happened. REALLY happened. At 23. First job. I was a civilian and I would never be safe. It was a slap in the face and made me understand that nothing is for sure. Only the military, but that wasn't what I wanted. But this experience, almost made me change my mind.
They say that things always happen for a reason and my lay off led me down a path of success. A sweet freelancing gig helped me further build my resume, which helped me land a spot at the firm I'm at now. I guess it did happen for a reason.
But during times like this, when I see friends and loved ones narrowly escape rounds of lay offs and some who don't - I worry about my safety as well. I somehow transport back to years ago. In that room. In front of those men, who took my job away from me.
My best wishes and best thoughts go out to all of those who are affected and left standing breathless. Those who have to worry about paying their heating bill or feeding their children. May your situation lead you to a much better and brighter one.