I googled the term “Pride goes before the fall." the other day and here’s what I got courtesy of Wiktionary. Org.
”A person who is extremely proud of his or her abilities will often suffer a setback or failure, because he or she tends to be overconfident and to make errors of judgment.”
This is gonna be tough to write. First of all let me say that if the powers that be who run the site decide to take this down I’ll certainly understand and there will be no animosity or bitter feelings on my part should it come to that. I know E2 is not usually a venue for this sort of thing but since this is pretty much the only contact I have with the internet besides news and such I figured I’d give it a shot. Nothing ventured, right?
Where to begin?
A little over a year and a half ago the company I was employed by decided to sell the division I worked in to our vendor. Said vendor was supplying our systems needs at the time and when word leaked out about the impending sale nothing much was said by senior management from either side of the transaction except the usual platitudes about blah blah blah seamless transition and yadda yadda yadda undiscovered opportunities.
As someone who has 30+ years of experience in the financial services industry this should have set my spidey sense to tingling but for reasons that I still can’t fathom I took management at their word. After all, were we basically assured that everyone would have a job and no of those so-called efficiency experts dropped by my or for that matter, any of my co-workers desk to try and get a grasp on what we were doing all day long and life would remain normal.
Well, just goes to show you how wrong you can be and what really pisses me off is that I should have known better. I should have seen the proverbial handwriting on the wall and knew that when such a transaction takes place people inevitably lose their jobs. It just wasn’t going to be me, right? After all, I had been a decent if not model employee that brought a couple of innovations to the table and worked successfully on some large scale projects involving huge numbers on both the manpower and cost effective side of the equation.
What I should have known is that after working in corporate America for so long is that it takes no prisoners. After all, when one company acquires another the first thing they do is to look at costs and each job is evaluated to decide if it should be kept, modified or has become what is known as “redundant”. I don’t know where these decisions were made, probably behind some bosses office or in some ivory tower but the word came down via e-mail that we were to gather in a conference room in an hour or so and a human resources representative would be there to answer any questions we might have. Gawd, I hate that term “human resources”. Whenever I hear it I’m reminded of the scene from the movie Network that I love. It's just before the character Howard Beale say that "he’s mad as hell and he’s not gonna take it anymore" he loudly and proudly declares “'I'm a human being, god-dammit! My life has value”
Well, apparently not anymore, it was explained to me that I had become, for lack of a better word but someday I’m sure somebody in the human resources department will come up with one, redundant.
After my remaining benefits were explained to me and I signed and initialed a bunch of legalese which basically shouted from the rafters that I had no recourse whatsoever I was cut loose on my own. After a while, it felt sorta good. It was the beginning of summer and the weather was nice and after working pretty much non-stop in varying capacities in the world of finance for 30 odd years it felt “alright” that there was no desk to go to nor any morning meetings to attend. I could play golf
to my hearts content should I so decide or hell, even catch a matinee or two if it was raining. Yes, life was good.
Fast forward six months…
Hmm, that 401(k) money I had stashed aside sure looks like it’s beginning to run low. Good thing when I moved I paid a year’s rent upfront so I don’t have that hanging over my head. Maybe it’s time to brush up the old resume and get myself a job. How hard can it be right?
Fast forward three months…
Goddam, do those jobs for a business analyst I see plastered all over the internet really exist? I must have applied for about thirty or forty of them and they seem right up my alley and I keep looking at my phone to make sure it’s not broken cuz it sure ain’t ringing. I check my email and my inbox is comprised mostly of what I would call spam. I get about twenty or thirty messages a day from what I can imagine are some kind of placement firms because when I clink on the links they provide I’m never directed to the company which is offering the job in the first place. Instead, the amount of traffic in my inbox seems to double.
When I do finally apply directly to a company I have to “register” with them. This means keeping track of the user name and password for each site and since each companies qualifications are different I’ve got many variations of the same theme and it’s only a matter of time before I get confused and follow the advice from the movie Anchorman and change it to a version of the word incorrect.
Fast forward three more months…
Fuck, it’s almost the holidays and nobody is hiring now. Most firms have a freeze on anything that has to do with budgets, hiring and you might as well forget getting on any project that has to do with systems enhancements or upgrades. That code has been locked down so as not to mess around with year-end processing and it would take an act of God to get anything implemented between now and the new year.
My bank account isn’t exactly a source of inspiration either. My funds are dwindling to such a degree that I entertain the thought of hitting up the local food pantry for some free eats. I read on their website that if you qualify you can get a free week of food once a month, free produce once a week and free bread almost daily if you live in the right zip code. Well, I do but I figure there’s more starving people in the neighborhood than me and besides, most of the stuff that’s donated probably won’t be up to my fine epicurean standards anyway. On another note, my neighbor, God bless her soul, volunteers there and I don’t want to be seen.
Flash forward to now….
The money is gone. There were no presents exchanged this year and my landlord is patiently reminding me that I’m behind on my rent. The food pantry I once scorned has become my salvation. I loaded up the other day with my first bunch of solid food in about two weeks and damn, did it taste good. As a side note, I’ve heard many a college student say they can exist solely on Ramen Noodle Soup and if they can, I say more power to them. I tried for a week or so and my stools, if you can call them that, looked like something Jackson Pollock might have attempted while dosed on acid only lacking the color. I’ll will never take such simple things a fresh fruit and vegetables for granted again and if I do, please feel free to give me a shot in the nutsack.
Flash forward to…
Many of you who have read this from top to bottom are probably wondering what the whole point of this was. Well, when I read the opening lines about “pride” I see me in the mirror and I don’t like the vision. I thought that after everything I had managed to overcome over the years such as heart attacks, aneurisms and loss of loved ones from both near and far I would become immune to something so simple as losing a job and now, I’m embarrassed to say, need some help.
This is the part that’s killing me and I don’t know if I’m justified in doing it but I’ve opened up an account over at paypal and was hoping that maybe the E2 community would be able to help me out before I find myself out on the streets. It’s firstname.lastname@example.org if you feel so inclined and any contribution from our users and readers would be deeply, deeply appreciated.
Failing that, if you just want to shoot me an email to tell me to get lost or if you want to share some of your stories that address works just as well. For those who are leery about such things, just let me know and I’ll send you my snail mail address as well.
Any monies that I might receive and don’t have a need for I will donate to Clintonville-Beechwold Community Resources Center0. That is of course, unless you want it back. In that case, I'd be happy to return your generosity with no questions asked. But, without them and the kindness they’ve shown my way over the last couple of weeks, I don’t know where I would have been. You can check them out for yourselves by clicking here.
That’s it for now my friends. I’m sorry that after such an extended hiatus from noding that this is the way that I’ve decided to come back. I certainly wish I had something more fun or entertaining to write about.
Maybe somewhere along the way, those human resources people were right, I had become redundant and it was time to go.
Please don’t let that happen to you…
It ain’t fun…
It ain’t pretty…
And it sure ain’t good for the soul.
All my love,
Oh, in case some of you were wondering if I have given up entirely and like Blanche Dubois become reliant on the kindness of strangers, that's not the case. I do have a couple of interviews with some placement firms scheduled over the next few weeks and hopefully more in the offing. Please wish me luck.
Note: If paypal isn't your thing I've also told this story on gofundme. You can find it here
if you feel so inclined and thanks again.