The article in today's New York Times Sunday Magazine by former House & Garden editor-in-chief Dominique Browning was very interesting. It gave me a lot to think about.
Some of the comments about the article were not sympathetic at all. People said things like, "Oh poor Dominique, having to sell one of her two homes."
Is she more fortunate than others who have lost their jobs? Of course. She doesn't deny it. One of my biggest issues with American culture is the idea that material goods equal happiness. The negative comments missed the whole point of the article. Yeah she had a nice house, so what? When you love what you do, do it well and have been working non-stop for 35 years, it must be hard to just stop.
Ms. Browning is not yet retirement age. Her kids are out of the house. In a society that worship youth, especially when it comes to women, what does she do now? How will she define herself?
No one is saying losing a job is like losing a loved one. However, there's a reason it's acknowledged as one of the most stressful things someone can go through. Not only for the financial reasons like, how will you pay rent, but also the emotional upheaval.
A few years ago the production company I worked 24/7 for shut down suddenly two weeks before Christmas. It along with other things going on (or not going on) in my life sent me into a spiral I wasn't sure I would recover from.
I put my birthday trip to Italy (I had never been before) on hold since I was unemployed and had no savings to speak off. I felt traveling would be irresponsible.
That Christmas was the first one we spent in St. Martin. My parents had moved back in October. My family was very worried about me and urged me to take the trip, just on a smaller scale.
My brother Fed-exed me a check as an early birthday present. Instead of three cities in two weeks, I picked one city and one week. I went to Rome.
While the way the company shut down was still horrible, it forced me to really look at my life.
Many people are in Ms. Browning's situation. For the Boomer generation, it's particular tough to reinvent yourself at an age that used be your peak earning years.
I'm part of Generation X but work in a very unstable business. People are getting let go left and right and their job skills don't easily translate to other fields. What is a former Development executive going to do? Working in publishing would make the most sense but those jobs are disappearing as well.
This unemployment cycle is different from the past. Many of the jobs that have been lost are gone for good. They are not coming back. We are moving more and more away from making products to just consuming them.
I don't know what this means for the future. I don't think it's a good thing.
HERE is the article. Have you ever lost a job? How did you deal with it?