The Center Cannot Hold

Is change inevitable? If we hold firm in our attitudes and actions, we can claim a moral high ground, yet we can also grow bitter and self righteous. If we go with the times, do we find we lose our center, that we are at the whim of the capricious winds of whatever our society or culture touts as the Way Things Should Now Be (at least until something new and different comes along)?

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Joining the new economic order

Well, the shift in the economy finally caught up with me. Now part of the Class of 2011, part of the 17 percent reduction in the workforce by my now former employer.

I went through much of the initial shock (without any awe, so far) stuck at home with a sick kid while I scrambled to organize files and the most pressing information that the left behinds would need to take care of business without me.

Adjusting to a life without a daily schedule. Keeping busy getting ready to be unemployed. Feeling cautiously optimistic about the future, feeling panicked and desperate.

Is this an opportunity to grow in a new field, develop new skills, set out on my own to create a way of life in the new economy in which the type of employment as we've become accustomed over the past 150 years or so is not the way the world does business anymore? If it's true as William Bridges asserts that the jobs are not there, but the work still is, how do we find it? Bridges addressed that too, in his book Job Shift, How to Prosper in a Workplace Without Jobs, written in 1994 during a tidal wave of mergers, acquisitions and meltdowns in which many of the jobs started to disappear--guess I should read to the end to find the answer to my question.

And what about my skills? I think of the technological advances made during my lifetime, indeed during my adulthood. I don't want to date myself, but here goes:
I was quite envious of one of college classmates and friends who had a MAC, you know, where you loaded the floppy disk into it. The first personal PC I used. For my high school graduation, I received a Selectric typewriter with the ability to go back about 20 characters to make corrections--cutting edge.

Enough said. I have writing, graphic design, editing, event planning skills. I can run an office, pay the bills, negotiate contracts. I can troubleshoot problems with my computer, set up a printer, and even a wireless router. I love having a smart phone, and catching up with friends on Facebook. I just received a Kindle Fire for Christmas, and am amazed at the streaming content. Maybe because my lovely little iBook G4 is now about 6 years old, and isn't quite as fast as it needs to be to keep up, some of this seems like a Christmas miracle--or is it a curse of fate that will keep the 45 and older population who are looking for work out of the workforce?