Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Learning to love the fallout

The past week/ten days have been a little weird.  First off, our friends and former coworkers are emailing us all, asking for photos and details (square footage, program, date of completion) of projects they worked on while at DA.  Added to this is the pressure to be productive on whatever it is that you may still have to work on--folks are trying their damndest to be useful and efficient.  Ethel nearly drove me crazy on Friday with a constant stream of emails about whether or not she should include the potential new employer's address on the cover letter or this or that on the resume, even blind copying me on emails she sent these potential new employers.  She barraged Jacqueline with emails as well: please look at my resume, I need info on this and that and the other projects, I need it today.  It was the "I need it today" that bothered both Jacqueline and me.  If any of y'all wanted to send out resumes on Friday, and you wanted some of your friends and former colleagues to review your resume and give you information on projects you worked on, you'd send that request before late Thursday afternoon, wouldn't you?  Please say yes.  Jacqueline made some comments on Ethel's resume that were pretty sharp and that I wish I'd noticed--things like deleting the "objective" on a resume.  How 80s.  And frankly, everyone knows you want a job, that's the point.  She also suggested that she reorganize the info on the resume because it was looking a bit congested and dense.  It was only after Jacqueline's email to Ethel saying a) you need to clean up your resume and b) I can't get you all this info today as I have a deadline, Ethel finally stopped carpet-bombing us.

I was stunned as I recounted all this to Guy as we went to dinner for a late birthday celebration.  "Why is she even asking me for resume and cover letter help?"  I asked Guy.  "I've only ever had to interview for two jobs in my life, and I've never been laid off.  She's been laid off before; she's got to know how to get a job, for the love of Frank Gehry. It feels like she's giving her power away."
"She's in panic mode," replied Guy.  "I talked to Sarge yesterday, and I advised him to take some time to make a good, clean resume and project sheet.  I mean, yeah, everyone and their mom is applying for a job right now, so the least you can do is make a clean, good-looking resume so it catches everyone's eye."
What happened at DA last week has a lot of us thinking, even Norman, who is an associate with DA.  Several of us have begun tuning up our resumes and getting the images we need in order to make good project image sheets, just in case.  None of us who are left want to have to call someone if the ax should fall our way.

Meanwhile, Kellye and I have been waxing philosophical during a few lunches in one of the upstairs conference rooms.  It's cheap--you bring your own lunch--and it's still kinda relaxing--you get away from your desk but don't have to tip anyone for sitting in their tables.  Yogic and Buddhist philosophy have a concept called "sitting with the discomfort," which entails not fighting or avoiding or trying to 'fix' whatever's 'wrong'.  While in some instances this is obviously bad advice, it's a different way of looking at the kind of uncertainty and instability that DA's layoffs bring.  Kellye posited the theory that the present climate--layoffs, bailout bill in Congress, elections, the whole lot--may be about to bring about a revolution.  Not necessarily one with blood and pitchforks that someone will just have to write a musical about, but one where people wake up and go, "Hey, this isn't right, and here's what I/we really need and want!"  The lack of work to do, the layoffs, everything is part of a pendulum swing, and this too shall pass.  Just breathe.  Eventually there will be work to be done.  Eventually something will come along, or you'll go somewhere else and something will come along.  Either way, whatever moment in front of you, happy or sad, isn't permanent.  So just breathe.

Not that it's easy.  We're giving this viewpoint a shot because it seems to lead to less drinking-NyQuil-straight-from-the-bottle types of activity.


Miss Kitty said...

I sure hope a revolution's on the way. God knows we could use one.

ms. kitty said...

Woowee, Pixie, it sounds like you're really thinking this through and doing what you can to manage your worries. Sitting with the discomfort is exactly the right thing to do, not panicking, observing, preparing, being calm. Glad you're not hitting the Ny-Quil!

Wilderness Gina said...

Guy's advice re: sit-and-blow seens like the right thing. If you don't let yourself get back on an even keel it will show like crazy in an interview. Trust me on this. I've been laid-off (bad) and fired (worse than bad). Getting a handle on the separation takes a little time... even if you didn't like the place to begin with. Looking for a job sucks. More so if there's no jobs out there. Go to work for KIA. Steve's solution to everything. Bah! Humbug!