A few weeks ago I was assigned an editorial portrait of Mad Man and film maker Erik Proulx for a magazine article on people who have "survived" layoffs. The article, for Merrimack Valley Magazine, focused on several people who have chosen to thrive in spite, or maybe because of their experiences in being jettisoned from the corporate world. Erik allowed me to see one of his films, Lemonade, which, at the extreme risk of sounding patronizing, really REALLY resonated with me. While never having experienced a layoff, I was one of those people in a cubicle farm working just to make a living so that I could continue to work.
I was very happy for many years doing the corporate peon thing. It paid very well after all! But after several corporate takeovers, the last company for which I worked was bought by the mother of all corporations in its field. I tried to make the best of it. I even remember being Mr. Pollyanna at the big meeting where they told us how much worse our benefits were going to be. The culture set in after a while though and I went through several years of being miserable. I know, many people would kill for a job like that one, or even any job at all. I told myself that every day. I had no right to complain. My wife always reminds me of the day that she came home to find me with my forehead on the desk in front of the computer. We both knew that I was done. With her support and encouragement, I was going to get out of there. It was over for me and The Borg.
It has been an interesting transition however, and in spite of palpable ups and downs, things seem to get better every year. I wasn't laid off but I did lay myself off. So many of the people in Erik's excellent film were speaking my language. Things can be tough at times, but like them, I have no regrets.
Get Erik's film! See his blog here: http://www.pleasefeedtheanimals.com/about-me/