Saturday, March 15, 2008

Body Count in the House

Here comes another recession. Everyone has been denying and playing down the poor economic conditions in the US and elsewhere, but now the fit is hitting the shan, and the shoes are starting to drop - jobs are hemorrhaging. This is the part that scares and saddens me the most, when friends and loved ones through no fault of their own find themselves without employment. More than increased prices and plummeting housing rates, this removes some degree of certainty for the future and can leave people feeling hopeless. In addition, it makes those left behind feel insecure and conflicted about their position. The last time this happened for me was after 9/11; cuts were brutal and made those of us (including me) feel weird about having survived when friends had not. I am not seeing it in my company, and particularly in my department (I guess people always need IT), but in the past month it's not looking good for those who have already been let go and those feeling the heat:

MorganStanley - 1
Lehman Brothers - 1
Citigroup - 1?
Bear Sterns - 2?

Time to ruminate a little: on the way home from Florida last month, my rowmate and I saw a package containing human remains waiting to be loaded onto the plane. It felt a little creepy, but it also got me reminding myself of a core value. Life is not necessarily about the great job and gobs of money. As we see, those things can enable people to be happy in some ways, but they are fickle and fleeting. I admit, I like having a well-paying job and being able to support and entertain myself without much second thought. However, my goal is to have my life flash before my eyes before they close and think about the wonderful experiences I shared with others and how much they have meant to me. If anything, the one element I most appreciate about my career is the fantastic people I have met along the way, especially those with whom I socialize and keep in touch. This helps keep me grounded especially in times like these.

To those of you out there that have received the dreaded pink slip, or have survived thus far, hang in there. It gets better; it always does (eventually).