Archive for October 27th, 2009

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Things Fall Apart

October 27, 2009

through a glass, lightly

Where to begin? First off; If you’re looking for good news you had best move on.

Back on Friday morning I came to work for a staff meeting expecting a ‘state of the union’ address by both our CEO and Director of Operations updating the lot of us on how bad the numbers are on paper and according to budget. Instead of getting into the numbers they went straight to the bottom line….. they are closing this centre for a minimum of 6 months and all staff here are laid off come this Friday, Oct 30. Head office and both treatment centres in Toronto remain intact and operational. We are the sacrificial lambs….. 8 counsellors, 2 night staff, 2 cooks, our maintenance guy and oh, our manager got blindsided, too.

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to the dump, dump, dump

I’ve been through this before when I was caught in a major restructuring back in 2003 which ended a 30 year career in pre-press in commercial print. On this occasion I was no less surprised, shocked, outraged, or disappointed. According to Elisabeth Kubler-Ross in ‘On Death and Dying’ there are 5 stages in the grief process when you lose someone close to you. Those same 5 stages have been found in those losing their vocation. I can confirm that I’ve experienced stages 1 and 2 – Disbelief/Denial and Anger; moved right past the Bargaining stage and into stage 4, Grief and Depression. Having had a few days to process this I’m working on #5 Acceptance but with little success so far. I’ve been pretty occupied being angry and depressed. Angry at what I perceive as mismanagement and disregard; depressed as new job prospects are slim and I’ll miss my coworkers and our clients.

‘On Becoming a National Statistic’: the current national unemployment rate is 8.4%. Locally it is 9.6%. Those stats are built of straw as they don’t recognize the many who have given up looking for work. Job listings in local papers have shrunk in the last year from multiple pages to a single page. Most on-line ads are for call centres, McJobs, personal attendants for the elderly and disabled, and factory line work. Last week I saw an ad for the first time in over a year in the addictions field. Within an hour of arriving home Friday my CV and cover letter had been sent.

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my cranium - internal view

Lots of credit to Lynda; these last 5 or 6 years haven’t been a lot of fun for her. Beginning with my job loss and a long term of unemployment; supporting me while I went back to college for a year; backing me in this new career direction. She surprised me with how well she took the layoff news. ‘What can go wrong, will go wrong’; shrug, *hug*. When I asked if she minded if I carried through with my plan to attend the weekend conference she simply said, ‘No sense hanging around here stewing about something you can’t change. Go hang with your A.A.. buddies.’ I finished packing and waited for my ride to pick me up.

I was thankful to get away and have a full weekend of workshops and meetings to keep me occupied. My home group’s new GSR ( General Service Rep) Francis did the driving and we shared a room. We attended a couple of workshops together but mainly split up so we could cover a greater variety of topics. There were quite a number of people I knew there either from having attended the same meetings locally or because they had been through treatment here. This was my first opportunity to attend one of these regional Assemblies and I’m really glad I went. Interesting to see how the service structure operates above the group and district levels, right on up to world headquarters in New York city. Alcoholics Anonymous home page.

(In case anyone is curious…. no, I didn’t experience any cravings for a drink.)

There won’t be any sitting around collecting unemployment benefits and waiting to be recalled to work. So far as I’m concerned I’m done here…. plus I don’t trust the powers-that-be. I think the 6 month layoff is a way for them to get out of paying severance – most of us would look for other work and if employed elsewhere they aren’t obliged to pay anything.