28 October 2009

Damocles's Bitch

I am still standing, with the layoff sword swinging above my head. I can feel it whoosh by and chop a few hairs each time.

Today hundreds were lost. Like baby birds with new wings, they got sent into the unknown. But I'm sure it felt like plummeting, not flying.

They were people who have rent to pay, mortgages, kids to feed, too much debt. Maybe they cried, maybe they swore. Maybe they just sighed and put their stuff in their cardboard box, resigned.

I hate this waiting, the way it makes me feel. Hopeless and helpless with a stomach full of butterflies and a head buzzing with bad thoughts. Can't sleep. I try to meditate and my mind slips away in the space of two breaths.

And yet I love this waiting because it is one more day of doing this job, getting paid, not having to scramble with all of the desperate masses out there.

Like any caveman who doesn't understand the forces that befall him, I look to signs and omens: if we don't hear anything by noon, that means we will make it through the day. I check his eyes to see if the security guard looks nervous, like he knows something. I read and re-read the announcement emails, examining individual words, phrases, for hidden meanings and connections.

I hope it's not me, then I feel bad, for if it isn't me, it will be someone else. Do I deserve to stay? Am I better than my co-workers? Do I work hard enough? Am I smart enough, capable enough, do I care enough?

Or do I not care at all anymore? Maybe that's what this dead, flat feeling is, dull like a smashed penny from the railroad tracks.

I am at a loss. I wear the same clothes day after day. I don't fix my hair. Sometimes I don't comb my hair. I don't know what to eat. I don't want to get up in the morning or to go to bed at night.

Goldie is unsatisfied that I am not getting up. So she is reminding me of what I am doing wrong by menacing me with her giant dog head.

Maybe it is time to move on. But please don't let me have to.

I wish things were happy. I wish they were simple. I wish people treated each other better.

In Spanish, to hope and to wait are the same word, esperar. Espero por la futura.

18 comments:

Suzanne said...

Thinking of you.

Maggie said...

It's scary. I'm thinking about you. Sometimes it seems so otherworldly the way people's lives are falling apart, and yet it would seem that some people in high places think everything is just fine.

I've been so naive all my life. I never would have thought all these things would hit us. Pandemics, recession/depression, world finance in collapse. Sometimes it's difficult to see a light in this tunnel.

Rachel said...

I've been through five rounds at my little company. Survivor's guilt. Not wanting to take on more and more. Thinking there has to be something more out there.

My thoughts are with you, too, and everyone else put in such a position. Not knowing. Not caring.

mar said...

my thoughts & prayers & hopes are with you, sb.

Kalyn said...

Hate reading about this kind of thing. Hope it will turn out okay for you, but I can imagine that it will still feel bad with so many co-workers gone. Sending good thoughts.

claire said...

I'm in the same boat as you. We had an announcement last week that the company is shutting down an entire department, and then the other departments that support it will have to go, too.
I'm not sure if I fit that "support" description, so i'm a little uncomfortable. And on the other hand? I've wanted to leave here for a couple of years now... It's hard to care. It's hard not to.

Mignon said...

Sounds like you need to take good care of yourself right now... I'm glad you're writing through it. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Average Jane said...

Sorry you're having to go through that.

lizgwiz said...

I'm sending good vibes your way.

This economy is so scary. Every time my boss makes me crazy, I have to remind myself how much worse it could be.

maggie, dammit said...

Thinking about you.

Kizz said...

Oy Sueb0b, I'm really good at waiting and yet I hate the everloving crap out of it. I'm sorry you're under a forced waiting period.

LittlePea said...

Keeping my fingers crossed for you. I love that picture of you and Goldie. She looks so supportive.

Stillie said...

Luckily, my job is so sh*tty that nobody else really wants it, so I'm secure for now. So many of my friends have been laid off or passed over through luck a few times. Foreclosures, bankruptcies...divorces because of both of those...it could be any of us.

I really hope you come through this unscathed. Keeping you in my thoughts...

Scientific Lutheran said...

((hug))

I don't quite know where you are, but I know how you feel. Wearing the same thing over and over, wanting to care, but not sure if you do, knowing that you need to, but not sure how. One day, one week, one paycheck at a time. Espero por la futura.

Sending happier times your way~

SUEB0B said...

Aw, thanks everyone.

Ms. Little Pea - so funny. She wasn't actually comforting me. She was really, really nudging me to get out of bed. She would wham her head down on me every 15 seconds or so. It cracked me up.

Deodand said...

I don't have the sword hanging over me but I felt much empathy with this post. Things are changing for the worse at my job and I don't want to leave but I don't want to stay, either. I am trying to tell myself that this is a first-world problem and I'm being a baby, but I still wake up at 3am with a lead fist in my stomach.

Here's to us getting through this.

AmyMusings said...

You covered the whole experience so vividly. Including the security guard's expression. Well done.

flurrious said...

I'm late in commenting but I don't know what to say anyway, so it hardly matters. Things have been this all-around bad since the early '80s, and I well remember my dad's constant worry about losing a job he'd had for more than 25 years. I wouldn't wish that on anyone. I hope you get some news soon. Good news would be best, but any news would be better than waiting.

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