Sunday, March 28, 2010

Losing a job

The economic downturn of 2008 no doubt cast a spell on this country in untold ways, the most direct, of course, has been the sheer loss of jobs.

People who had worked all their lives in jobs or industries they loved, were told to pack up and move out. For those in the retirement bracket, the road ahead can, and has been, brutal. Your age means you cost more. Your age means there's always someone younger with more technology know-how, albeit with far less experience. If you've been an executive, the number of available positions at that level are minimal.

What does the experience of job loss do to one's self esteem and sense of self worth?

The New York Times Sunday Magazine tackled this very subject with a moving piece last weekend, featuring Dominique Browning, the former editor of House and Garden, who lost her job of 12 years after the magazine folded in 2008.

For a glimpse of Browning's story, I pulled some of the most powerful sections:

"The house sold quickly. It struck me that I had lost House & Garden, the job, and was now losing house and garden, the life. What took years to create was about to be undone in a matter of minutes. Come to think of it, kind of like being blasted out of a career."

"Weather — the actual experience of it, not the forecast — is one of the more dramatic discoveries to come with a slower pace of life. There were days at the office when I didn’t know whether it was muggy or cool, or if it had rained. It dawned on me that there was something unsavory about having been so cut off from nature that I was surprised by the golden hue in the slant of light at four in the afternoon — on a weekday, no less."

"I was fighting fear. And what was I so afraid of? Being alone with myself long enough to wonder what is the purpose of my life?"

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