Saturday, December 06, 2008

Close to home

I work for one of the largest employers in my state.  A few weeks ago, during my weekly meeting with our department's director, I was told that our organization was going to have to cut costs by 5% across the board but that "at this point, no lay offs are anticipated."

Well, at this point, they are.

My husband read me the headline from the newspaper this morning.  Because we are a hospital system they are not eliminating positions involved in direct patient care but are instead cutting personnel in "white collar" positions.

Did I mention that earlier this year I went from a clinical to an administrative postion?  Yes, yes I did.

I'm not anticipating a pink slip, though perhaps that is naive on my part.  Going forward I suspect that I am going to witness a lot of things I never thought I'd see as this economic situation continues to unfold.  In reality, I already have -- I had never personally known of families whose financial security was rocked by job loss, and now I knew several.  Rob's desire to own a piece of land and buy a few chickens is starting to look a lot more appealing.  "Farmers don't starve," he says.   I suppose he's right.

Earlier today we three adults, sharing this charming little two-bedroom, one-bath bungalow with one very active almost-three-year-old, had pretty much had enough with each other.  It's easy to step on toes, make bad assumptions, or just stop caring about who you piss off when you're constantly running into someone.  But I'm reminding myself now that I need to remember how very lucky I am.  I have a job.  I'm healthy.  We live in a safe neighborhood, in a nice house, with hot water and cold ice and piles of warm blankets.  We're blessed to own our homes without the burden of a monthly mortgage payment.  We have insurance, safe & reliable cars and a full pantry.  I'm throwing a Tinkerbell birthday party tomorrow and I'm not worried about whether or not it's a luxury I can afford to spend on my favorite very active almost-three-year-old.

It's clear to me now, as I watch my employer start to make those cuts that just a few weeks ago they "didn't anticipate," that all of this could very easily go away.  Just a couple of years ago this would have kept me up at night, worrying about rent and student loans and a baby on the way.  Now, life has changed -- quite a lot actually -- and my perspective is a bit different.  But still I wonder:  What would we do?  

Buy a few chickens, I guess.

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