Thursday, May 12, 2011

A Cluster of Job Losses

Don't worry. This is not a post about the Trumpster and his dwindling polling numbers in the wake of the most foolish gamble ever waged by a potential presidential candidate. Actually, make that second foolish (after Senator John McCain's selection of an ignorant and inexperienced, thin-skinned harpy from the frozen tundra as a running mate). I just like his "cobra-strike" hand gesture when he tells his wannabe apprentices that they're FIRED!

In the past five days, I learned that four of my friends have lost their jobs. Strange. I've never had an experience like this where I know more than one person losing a job in the same week. Two of them are church members in the Pacific Northwest. I suppose that the government budget cuts put their jobs on the chopping block, which is a shame. One is a counselor at an elementary or middle school. The other is an ear specialist for the state government whose work is mostly centered on school children. Both seemed to enjoy their jobs. Now they will be joining the job market.

On Tuesday, I learned that one former co-worker had just gotten fired from his job after being hired recently. I knew him from the previous place that we worked together. There's an interesting history between him and I. In 2007, I had applied for a position at That Awful Place That Shall Not Be Named that was available and would have been an increase in pay and responsibilities. It also would have required me to move to The Dalles to work. I interviewed for the position. Then nothing came about it. Then I learned that this other guy was hired, after some had indicated that the job was basically mine for the asking. My first impression of him was that he was a redneck good ole boy and the reason he was hired was because he would fit in better with the folks who live in that part of Oregon (its the conservative part of the state). As I got to know him, though, I was stunned that he was actually a Democrat with some pretty progressive viewpoints. He's also a bit of a leather wearing motorcycle enthusiast "bad boy" / rebel without a cause.

In October 2009, he was one of three people laid off from the office in a budget saving effort. 11 months later, I lost my job. He was still unemployed. It only took me 75 days to land a job offer. He was still unemployed until just recently. He was hired to work in a group home. It couldn't have been more than a couple weeks since he started. Apparently, some client had a violent episode and his boss didn't like the way he handled it, so they let him go. Because he had used up more than his allotted share of unemployment, he's unable to get unemployment insurance this time. Now, he's back in the job search, without the cushion. It reminds me of a lady I know who was unemployed for a year and a half. Just when her unemployment benefits were about to run out, she finally managed to find a job. I've heard of this happening to quite a few people and it makes me suspicious. My theory is that I believe that these people were not motivated really hard to find a job (even though they claim that they were). Milking the system for every last dollar they can get is just ethically wrong. I'm sure they enjoyed their FUNemployment, but that's not what its for. Funny how when their allotted time runs out, they manage to land a job. That cannot be just a "coincidence."

For me, my goal was to find a job within 90 days or less and I succeeded. I'm not one to sit on my ass feeling sorry for myself and milk the unemployment insurance for every cent I can get. I like that there is such a safety net for those times when you lose your job. It allows you to pay the necessary living expenses while you search full time for a job / career. Unfortunately, some people abuse the system because they rather like the idea of getting paid to do nothing. So a year or a year and a half being unemployed is no big deal for them. I simply do not understand that mindset at all.

On Wednesday morning, while I was reviewing DVDs for manufacturing errors, I learned that a co-worker was fired. I was stunned. This brings the tally since I've started working at the company to: 4 fired, 4 quit, 1 retired earlier than planned due to a health crisis, and 1 death. All in the last five months! That's a 2 employee a month loss!! In all the places I've worked, I've never seen such a high percentage turn-over rate. But, I don't fault the company. In fact, if the people who own this company were in charge at my last place of employment, I have no doubt that they would've fired the people who have caused the most trouble there. They seem to have a lower threshold for what they will tolerate, which is a good thing.

The person they fired on Wednesday was placed on probation after an incident at the conference that was held a couple weeks ago. During the night of the concert, I was stunned to see her drunk (she's a lush when drunk). She tried to get me drunk. I wasn't having none of that. I did drink a few, but I knew my limits and wasn't going to go beyond that just for her amusement. Anyhow, her behaviour was a stunning reveal to me. I actually did not like what I saw. In fact, when she admitted to me that she was an alcoholic, I felt sad for her. She's a sweet lady in her mid-20s, kind of an alternative chick (she had purple hair when I first started there, then switched to blue), with tattoos, and a cubicle that's more like a museum of tacky Japanese pop culture. When I asked her about the over-abundance of knick-knacks in her cubicle, she told me that she's a "nestor." I never heard such a term before. According to her explanation, she only feels secure when she's surrounded by familiar objects. She has even been known to nest in an airplane (explaining to her seatmate why she's pulling out all her things from a bag and surrounding her seat with it).

Yeah, she's eccentric that way, but completely sweet. I enjoyed seeing her at work and talking with her. Its definitely sad seeing her go, but as I think about it, I'm not completely surprised by management's decision. In all our talks, I had the sneaking impression that she "attracts drama" into her life. Apparently from what I heard at work, her supervisors grew tired of the drama. Wow...if they were bothered by her drama, there's no way School Marm and Control Freak would last at this company! I am sad to see her go, but I wish her the best. She only started working at the company a month or two before I did. The person at work who informed me that this lady was fired said, "She didn't really fit in here." That's funny, because I thought she did. She was part of a social clique who sit at the same lunch table every day having conversations about movies and music.

I've never talked to her about spirituality, but now I kind of wish that I did. If my intuitive insight is correct and she was let go because of her ongoing "dramas" that cause her to miss work, she really should look into it. My last two jobs taught me well about the people who attract drama into their lives (while claiming that they don't want it). It really is unnecessary and disruptive. The best way to end drama in your life is to stop feeding it.

Hopefully, my four friends who lost their jobs in the past five days will find something better, without going through a year or a year and a half of leeching off the system. I truly believe that a lot of the job search occurs in the mind (the Universal Law of Attraction principles again). We have to maintain a positive energy vibration during our search and do some inner work about the kind of career that we're meant for. This is where the workshops with the unemployment office come in handy. Best wishes in the search for a meaningful career.

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