It's interesting, the reactions I've received when speaking of my husband's impending layoff. The response is, overall, very supportive. But there are still those who seem to believe that it's a failing of skill, character or work ethic to be laid off. And that those that are still employed are always the better option to hire. Yes, beloved colleagues, I am talking to you. I adore you all. I think you are brilliant.
It's a slightly insidious superiority complex combined with 'it can never happen to me' thinking. And quite frankly I think that's a combination of denial and an overinflated sense of self worth. The reality is we're all expendable on the altar of profitability. We're all vulnerable. And hard, good work isn't a guarantee, no matter how we would like it to be - even for us, colleagues. Bitter pill maybe. But so true, and pretending it isn't doesn't make it so.
There's a line in Jean Chatzky's book You Don't Have To Be Rich where one of the people she interviewed says "Relationships are better than money". They are, and this kind of thing is a good reminder. Sure, it's going to suck if his severance isn't a windfall and is instead living expenses. But we'll still be happy, job or no job. I actually have found it a good reminder to focus on what is important. Maybe that's the silver lining.
Overall though, the support has been overwhelming. And I'm grateful for it. Even though we're okay for a good while to come, it's nice to know people care and worry for us. We're okay, but deeply appreciate the sentiments.
That said, we're hardly burying our head in the sand. There's been some planning. We're cutting back - not a bad thing to do in the first place (I'll be the first to admit our financial management got a little wacky in the first year of parenthood). I've been working on the delta of what we'll really need for income.
And we'll be cutting costs more and more as time goes on. Even the little things.
The other thing I've noticed as a result of the layoff is how many people have a lot of aversion to talking or thinking about all that 'cheap, penny-pinching stuff'. Even in the midst of the Great Recession. Those that have weathered the storm well still seem to have the same disdain for frugality as before the recession, which is interesting. I think again, it's a mindset thing. It's something that 'poor people' do - washing out baggies, growing their own food (although this one admittedly is growing in popularity due to environmentalism), packing lunches, skipping the coffee purchase for homemade, and so on.
It's interesting to me because it's behavior that is often very much in the closet. Even those people who don't like to talk about that stuff do some of it - okay, maybe not the baggie washing, so far that's just a few of us - it's almost like admitting it is a sign of economic failure.
The thing is, no one I know currently in the workforce is rich enough not to care about the financial impact of their decisions. Some may ignore it, and hope that everything works out, but I don't think most of us would set the alarm on weekdays if money wasn't some sort of concern.
So why do we try so hard to make it seem as though it isn't? This is one of those questions I've never found a good answer to. I wish I knew
Lastly, while my blog tries to stay apolitical, I am truly and honestly disgusted by the threats of violence, cutting of gas lines, and 'reload' comments from the far right on the health care bill. Everyone is entitled to their perspective, but this behavior is not far off of other revolting displays of behavior like wearing sheets on heads and burning crosses.
We're overdue for a little more civility in the American political conversation.