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.


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.


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.



  1. Hugs Glitter Pictures

  2. oh bugger!
    that was supposed to post a big teddy bear with {{hugs}} for you

    Norm, I’m sorry to hear this news,
    having gone through similar less than a year ago, I know a little of the journey

    although it may not feel like it right now, there is light at the end of the tunnel, but until you get there, I’ll light a candle and sit here in the dark with you

  3. Times like this it’s always nice to have company Kel… & thanks for the *hug*.

    Thought it funny to see the 5 stages in your ‘Retrenched’ post. Coincidences, eh? Congrats on the publications!! Tres cool!

    At the tail end of the Aerosmith song ‘Amazing’ there’s a voice-over that says ‘the light at the end of the tunnel might just be you…’

  4. I was wondering why Kel would write a weird post that just said “Hugs Glitter Pictures” haha 🙂

    Dammit Norm, that is fuckity fucked *blerk* Sorry to hear.

  5. What a blow to you, your colleagues and clients.
    I’d be flipping about through the five stages, by the millisecond.

  6. 🙂 Kel had me going for a sec there too – she keeps me on my toes.

    Yeah thanks SuzieQ. I don’t normally swear much or often but lately I’ve come up with some pretty impressive strings of expeletive deleted’s. F*cked up doesn’t come close.

  7. Hiya UHDD – thanks for stopping in and commenting. (This being your first comment it went to moderation; any subsequent ones won’t.)

    It is a terrific blow on many levels but my co-workers and I are keeping the focus squarely on our clients until they leave our care. They are the priority, always.

    Yes, the stages…. it’s a see-saw battle attempting to process this and keep a relatively even keel. Liberal applications of the Serenity Prayer are helping.

    Must come catch up on all your news sometime tonight after I get some work done.

  8. UGH! I am catching up on this news. I saw your most recent post and then began trying to figure out what happened. Landed here.

    I wouldn’t trust them either, and I bet you’re right about the getting out of severance. Shit, can they do that?

    When my company was going through layoffs, I got a book called Disposable Americans. The author, who wrote for the NYT for three decades, did case studies on men and women, young and older, laid off from many industries–traditional, high-tech, academia. Lay-offs are so different from being fired. Usually with being fired, it’s for something you’ve done. But with lay-offs, you didn’t do anything wrong. It hits home how little we control. It can be devastating.

    But I have much faith that this won’t devastate you. I wish you Godspeed in finding another job and giving em hell.

  9. This is the problem when a ‘human services’ facility is run by ‘business’ people. The bottom line dictates the decisions…. which don’t serve anyone well.

    Thanks yb for your input and good wishes.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: