Saturday, February 22, 2014

a brave new world

Time to get back at it...


I was traveling for business and had just landed in Spokane, Washington when I saw the email. The company who laid me off over two years ago had let go another batch of employees.  It made my stomach hurt.  While it seems like forever ago since I was in that position, I can still remember exactly how it felt. Scared, confused and sad that a place I had devoted 7 years of my life to could so easily and quickly discard me.  It’s a bad place to be in and I know this new batch of unemployed have a big hill to climb looming in front of them.  I also know there is a piece of it that will stay with them forever. I am still bitter all these years later and, at this point, I don’t anticipate that feeling will ever dissipate.

But what I know now, and what most who haven’t ever been laid off don’t know, is that this is the new world of business we live in.  A new world where no one will even have the chance to work 30 years for a company because companies no longer keep anyone around that long.  Why would they when they can just bring in the next round of desperate workers for less money.  It’s a world of less workers working longer days for less.  Poor or no insurance.  No pensions.  Few raises.  No fun.  

And the best part? This new world is producing a population of apathetic workers.  Trust me...if you work somewhere for 7 years, only to be thanked for all your hard work by being asked to leave...without even a chance to clean out your own desk...you’ll never devote yourself to a company again.  So now these companies have shot themselves in the foot.  They now employ workers who do just enough to get through the day before they go home.  There’s no devotion or hard working or staying late or coming in on weekends.  Why would you when in the end it gets you no where?      

I imagine the too many hours to count spent flying from Kansas City to Spokane has been on  planes full of people, just like me.  People trying to do just enough to hold onto jobs, trying to make money where they can, trying to figure out how to navigate this landscape of work in America.  This new landscape where companies don’t give a rats ass about you. They are brand new college graduates looking for work wherever it’s available, salesmen trying to sell whatever they can, the unemployed looking for temporary work and the snowboarders and perpetual skiers just trying to make a few bucks between adventures.  But  what we all have in common is that we all know how to be brave in this weird new world.