Not a Good Day

This first day of August 2012, was not a good day for us. This morning around 10 AM, I heard my wife sobbing as she collapsed on our sofa in the living room, adjacent to my study. I got up from my desk and immediately rushed to her, but I was fairly sure that I knew why she was crying, before she could say the words I was expecting to hear.

“Chris, they just laid me off.” she managed to choke out, as she cried miserably and her shoulders shook from her heartbroken sobbing. I hugged her tightly to me, and consoled her as best I could, but she was racked with a pain that was very hard to comfort, however much love, tenderness, and compassion I could give her, and give to her repeatedly in every way I could think of.

The misery that ravaged her emotions made my own heart ache for her, but it was all too easy to understand her grief. She has been working as a photo editor for a small photo stock agency for the last eight years, and every year her job has become harder, as more staff has been laid off and she has had to work increasingly longer hours under constant and relentless deadline pressure.

The company that she worked for, depended upon much of their business coming from the publishing industry, and the publishing industry has been ravaged by online competition from the internet. Her company tried very hard to make the transition to selling the rights to photograph usage to online media, since it was so painfully clear that the publishing industry was severely contracting, and much of it dying.

But the company she worked for until this morning, is small, and ill equipped to compete with very large stock photography companies like Getty Images and Corbis Corporation – owned by a guy named Bill Gates. Getty and Corbis did to the smaller photo stock agencies what Home Depot and then Lowes did to the small neighborhood hardware stores; drive almost all of them out of business.

My wife’s employer has spent the last ten years fighting to not get sucked into that same downward spiral and financially destroyed, but every month the battle for survival has become much tougher, and now my wife has finally become a casualty in her now former company’s fight for survival.

She gave everything she had to doing her job to the very best of her ability, and she has been a model employee, almost never taking a sick day for eight years, and always willing to work long extra hours to get her work done to the highest standards, while meeting all of her deadlines.

The flood of e-mails she got today from many of her clients expressing their sympathies as well as their disappointment, after they heard that she lost her job, is the truest testimony of all to confirm her high standards of skill and professionalism in all the efforts she has made for her clients. Her clients are people who have learned from positive experience that Jean would always give them her very best effort, and do it with a cheerful and pleasant disposition.

But as of 10:00 AM this morning, my wife’s genuinely very best effort to do her job to the very best of her ability, along with all her extra hours of hard work, still wasn’t good enough to allow her to keep her job and continue to work in the profession that she loves.

It’s no wonder that she feels heartbroken and crushed – she gave her job everything she had for eight long years, under very difficult circumstances, and instead of being rewarded for her excellent work ethics and effort, now she is 52 years old and unemployed.

She called her sister to tell her what happened, and that is when her sister revealed that her husband, a construction project manager for the same company for 17 years, also lost his job this past Friday.

There is something very wrong in America today, when so many good, hard working middle class people give their jobs their very best, and instead of being rewarded for a job well done, and all their years of dedicated service, their way of making a living is taken from them. Instead of a well deserved reward for a job well done, they suddenly don’t have a job, and they have to worry about how they will put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads.

What is wrong in America today is a deeply entrenched problem and it did not begin in the White House 3-1/2 years ago. A more accurate date for when the standard of living for middle class America was put in jeopardy by certain economic policies, is 1980, and then a far more serious deterioration of the American middle class standard of living occurred after the presidential election in 2000.

The US Federal government had a national surplus of revenue in the year 2000, instead of a massive national deficit, and there was economic prosperity then, instead of a near collapse of our financial system and the worst economic recession in over 75 years, since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

And just who was it who was elected in the presidential election in 2000? Who was it in power, for the next eight years, during which our national surplus turned into a huge national deficit, and our prosperous economy plummeted into the worst recession since the 1930s? It was Bush and Cheney and NOT Obama and Biden.

Who began the Federal bailout of the Financial Corporations that caused our Great Recession? Who created the Federal bailout of Wall Street so hated by the Tea Party, while middle class Americans on Main Street lost their jobs in huge numbers? It was the Bush/Cheney administration and a Republican Secretary of the Treasury named Henry Paulson.

So if you aren’t happy with our economic situation, do not blame the current administration that has been trying to repair the damage for only 3-1/2 years, when the economic damage is the result of over 30 years of destructive economic policies created by the party of Reagan, Bush, and now Mitt Romney. The Republican Party – the party that always has, and always will continue to slant all the rules in favor of the wealthy and super rich, at the expense of the hard working but long suffering American Middle Class.

If you are hurting and angry right now, then take your frustrations out on those that history exposes as the ones who are really responsible for your suffering. Place the blame where it truly belongs – on members of the Republican party, who, unless you are wealthy, are not your friends, however much they pretend to be your friends. The truth is that Republicans will sacrifice your well being every time for the sake of their wealthiest friends, who make the massive political campaign contributions that keep the Republicans in power.

But you still have a say in this matter, and some control over your own fate. You can vote in November, and please use your vote wisely.


About Chris Sheridan

I’m a 56 year old guy who is young (and immature) at heart, and I love humor and laughter. Married for 22 years, but still enjoy all the glories of womanhood everywhere, even while dedicated to one woman only - and I hope my wife never finds out about her!
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28 Responses to Not a Good Day

  1. Elyse says:

    Oh Chris, I’m sorry to hear that your wife has been laid off. It is terrible when you do all the right things the right way and still get let go. I work in a small business that’s been around for 25 years. We have plenty of work — but clients are not paying their bills. My work is drying up and I too fear for my job. It is a really scary time to be an adult.

    You place the blame where it belongs. 1980. 2000.

    Elections matter.

    • Thanks so much for your comment, Elyse. I sincerely appreciate it. Yes, it IS terrible when you do all the right things the right way, and still lose your job. I recognize that my wife’s job loss is related to the demise of the publishing industry, due to the emergence of high technology and the internet.

      But I also know that if our nation’s economy had not been nearly destroyed by a financial and investment banking industry allowed to go destructively wild, with almost no transparency or oversight, or laws and the enforcement of laws to stop them, we might have a healthy economy right now, instead of a Great Recession. My wife might still have her job, and you probably wouldn’t need to fear losing your job.

      Yes, elections absolutely do matter, and the outcome of the election in November may turn out to be one of the most crucial decisions ever, for the future success or failure of our nation. There are ways in which our country truly is America the Beautiful. But only fools believe that we are also America the Invincible, and a nation immune to the consequences of decades of bad economic policies that have allowed incredibly destructive business management and practices to continue unchecked on a massive scale.

  2. alundeberg says:

    Chris, I’m really sorry to hear about your wife losing her job. Dedication, skill, talent, and professionalism should be rewarded. As a teacher watching kids graduate and go off to college– I feel sick knowing that they’re going to rack up student loan debt and then enter this market. Everything is so tough right now. As for politics, you hit it on the head: Reagan, Bush, Cheney. Romney is worse. I resent that Obama is blamed for ills even though the Republican Party obstructed everything he tried to pass and publicly stated their agenda of making him a one-term president; that we have to pander to a fringe group of uneducated people known as the Tea Party; and that people eat up the Republican message, a message so skewed that it makes people vote against their own best interests. I really appreciate you writing this post, and you will see me at the polls in November.

    • Thanks so much for your comment and I sincerely appreciate your concern. Dedication, skill, talent, and professionalism should be always be rewarded. But these days so often these positive qualities and the people who possess them, are thrown away as if they are no more than garbage, when they are in the way of corporations who have an ever greater need to add billions of dollars to the billions of dollars they already possess.

      This type of corporate behavior moves relentlessly forward, without any concern for the destructive consequences and harm done to the greater well being of all Americans, as well as the great harm done to the national security of America.

      Thank you for your commitment to vote in November, because your vote is vitally important now more than ever.

  3. speaker7 says:

    I clicked like, but I don’t like what happened. The middle-class worker is being given the shaft–big time. We’re asked to make concession, do more with less, treated poorly and then told we should be thankful we have these jobs. Something seriously is wrong, and you are exactly right that it began with Ronald Reagan. He laid the foundation for this giant mess.

    • I understand, S-7. Yes, the middle class worker IS being given the shaft in a big way, and in all the ways that you describe. The American middle class works very hard and often to produce something of genuine value for us all, until the corporate merchants of unchecked greed who produce nothing except their own wealth, ruin that production as a consequence of their pursuit of even greater wealth, at the cost of ruining the rest of us.

      Of course they will tell you they are really job creators, even as they are actively destroying jobs and increasing the ranks of the unemployed. If corporations really ARE people, as Mitt Romney would have us believe, then many of them should be locked away for being dangerous sociopaths, and a very serious threat to us all, when without
      any restraints.

  4. RFL says:

    I’m really sorry to hear about this, Chris.

  5. Deliberately Delicious says:

    My thoughts are with you and your wife, Chris, and with the American people in this difficult economic time. My former husband is in the publishing business, and I’ve seen his struggles as the entire industry undergoes a massive shift. I like what you have to say about the political situation.

    • Thanks so much for your caring thoughts for my wife and I, and for our fellow Americans as well. The publishing business has been the scene of mass job loss carnage for years now, and I really think that it’s a testament to just how well my wife has done her job, for her to have avoided the axe for as long as she has, until now.

      But as I mentioned to another commenter, if not for The Great Recession that could have been avoided, by greater oversight and the enforcement of laws to stop the mad ambitions of those who are so out of touch with reality, and blinded by their own greed, that they will rush headlong into their own self destruction and drag the rest of us down with them… if only they had been stopped soon enough, my wife might still have her job right now, as well as hundreds of thousands of others, who might have been able to keep their jobs as well.

      Greed unchecked on a massive scale, comes at a terrible cost for us all.

  6. Sad news. I’ve been there and I know it’s difficult. I found that the best thing I could do was listen carefully, understand that there is anger involved, and remind him that his identity is not tied to his occupation but to the lovely and wonderful person that I know and love. She’s so lucky to have your support.

    • Yes my friend, it is very sad news, and it hurt my wife very deeply. I’ve also been there as well in 2009, as a delayed result of the massive financial industry meltdown in 2008 that froze up almost all credit for business purchasing and expansion, when the banks were too scared to lend money to even very credit worthy business prospects. I lost a position I had held for 10 years, working in a job that I loved, when my employer was forced into bankruptcy and eventual liquidation.

      Back then it was my wife who did for me, what you did for your partner, listening to me with love and compassionate understanding as I struggled to work out my sense of loss, anger and frustration. She was there for me in every way she could be, and she really helped me get through some dark days, as she also convinced me to believe that I was of far greater worth to her for who I really was as the man that she loved, with or without a job.

      So now it’s time for me to do the same for her, all that she did for me and even more, because I know as surely as I am alive that she is precious and priceless to me, and that no job could ever define her true value as the woman I know she is, and as the woman I love more than my own life.

      We’ll get through this, and thanks for your comment here sharing your own experience, and reminding me of what really ultimately matters in life, and in a life shared together.

  7. xdeviantonex says:

    Maybe this can be a good thing. Possibly she can use her contacts in the industry and cultivate her own online business. I am sure for someone doing this as long as she has she has quite a few. Freelance can also charge more than she may have been getting with the company.

    • I agree with you – I’ve also had the sense that there could be a new and even better opportunity for her in the not so distant future, even thought right now that’s very hard for her to see, because she’s still hurting badly from what just happened yesterday. But my thinking has been moving in a similar direction to what you have suggested, so thanks very much for your encouraging comment.

  8. Nikita says:

    Sorry to read about this terrible news. This small company might soon realised what mistake they’ve made. I hope she will find a great job very soon, also with a company that will appreciate her hard work. My thoughts and prayers are with you!

    • Thanks so much for your caring comment here. There’s no doubt that the other day when Jean got the very painfully bad news about being let go from her job, she was devastated, and it was a very tough day for both of us. But today, we are both feeling somewhat better and slightly more optimistic. We will get through this, and thanks so much for your thoughts and prayers, and your message of encouragement. I sincerely do appreciate it.

  9. Chris – I am terribly, TERRIBLY sorry to hear that Jean lost her job. Yes, you’re right… it’s getting harder and harder for small, family-owned businesses to survive these days. Her being laid off had nothing to do with her performance, as you indicated in one of the paragraphs. The business simply wants and/or needs her salary.

    Maybe this is an excellent opportunity for her to work as freelance or something similar? I don’t quite understand what it is she does, but with the internet, she may be able to start something up herself. I have started doing graphics on the side (from my full time job) for a local t-shirt company. And occasionally I build a website for someone. Not bringing too much in with these side-jobs – but if I were to leave my full time job, I could probably get enough business to equal my pay – but it’d take several months, if not a year, to get to that point. And a lot of marketing.

    Anyway, I’m rambling – hmmmm… there’s someone I know who rambles on… I wonder who? – heehee…. Back to the point. I’m sure there is work she can find via the internet. And with her long-term employment, that is an excellent thing to have when looking for another job if she so chooses to do so.

    I know everything will work out. I’m so sorry you are both having to go through this. But you and Jean are both very strong people and I have no doubt that you will both come out on top.

    • “There’s someone I know who rambles on?” Why, I have NO idea what you’re talking about… KIDDING!!! :-) Michelle, I genuinely appreciate your comment, and your sincere expression of concern and compassion. We are just about to leave for Maine now, (yes, a very late start!) so I’ll be brief for a change, but I really do have a lot of confidence that Jean will not only land on her feet, but be in an even better position that she was before losing this job.

      The pressure of her job has been stressing her out to a serious degree for many months now, and a vacation is just what she has needed so badly – so now we’re taking that vacation, which we probably would NOT have taken, if Jean hadn’t lost her job. And Jean is already feeling much more relaxed and happy as a result of being freed from all the never ending stress, that was constantly involved with her now former job.

      I really am optimistic that we’ll be OK, and I don’t think I’m just whistling in the dark. Thanks again so much for your comment, and thanks for caring, Michelle.

      • I so hope you have a great time. Things do happen for a reason as I do believe our world and universe is whole – you know, every action has an equal and opposite reaction type theory – but slightly different.

        Anyway, I was very stressed with my job and cut back to 30 hrs / week and took a $15k cut in pay – but you know what….. now it’s been five months since I did that, and I’m so glad I did. I did move back in with my friend, Lyn, so I wouldn’t have to worry about rent and utilities – which I could have paid, but it would have been very tight and I would have to hope that no unusual expenses would come up. Anyway, I’m much happier now with the fewer hours and screw the pay cut. I’m fine. I wouldn’t go back up to full time even if she offered to double what I make now. I like having my own life again and not feel like I’m chained to a job and that my life revolved around it.

        • Well, you’ll probably read my earlier replies to you from today, so you know that we did have a good time, and thanks again for wishing us a good time. :-)

          Michelle, I can so relate to what you have said here, about how maintaining the quality of your personal life is far more valuable than making more money, if you can make the adjustment to making less money, and actually benefit from being happier, because you are working less hours. I believe that we should work to live, and to live a happier and more fulfilling life. It’s when we live to work, that our life is out of balance, and unless we really love what we do for work, we should never live to work. You are fortunate to have successfully made the financial adjustment to be able to work less and enjoy life more.

          Many people are stuck with living to work, even though they hate their jobs, but their financial obligations are too great for them to put their life back in balance, by working less, and there seems to be no way out of the employment situation they are stuck in. I know it’s easier said than done, but anyone who works full time or longer in a job that they hate every day, should be doing all that they can to make a career change.

          Yes, it can a very difficult and hard thing to do, to make a career change by going to night school and/or getting training to be qualified to start a new career, while also continuing to work full time. It can be an exhausting and very discouraging experience. But if you want that change badly enough to escape the job you’ve been hating, for over 1/3rd of your life, you’ll find a way to make that change, no matter how hard it is to accomplish. I’ve seen people that I know personally make a successful career change, and I’ve also done it before, myself.

          I didn’t mean to give a lecture here Michelle, and it’s not directed at you, because you have already successfully made the change in your work that you needed to make, for you to live a happier life. I know that you are also actively working to start a career doing what you love to do, so you are already on your way in that respect as well.

          I guess what I’ve been writing here, is for anyone who feels trapped in a full time job that they hate, every working day of their life. No one deserves to be stuck in that kind of hellish existence, and if you are, you must do all that you can to escape it, however hard it may be to make your escape, and then emerge into a better job or a new career that you will be happy in. No one should ever give into employment misery, and give up all hope of ever being happy at work. Whoever you are, you deserve better, and you deserve to be reasonably happy while on the job.

          But there is an even more crucial reason why you must escape the job that you hate. Your very life may depend upon doing all that you can, to escape a job you are miserable in, because job stress is a killer, and your very ability to survive may depend on escaping the stress that can also ruin your health, after having already ruined your happiness for 40 plus hrs a week. That kind of stress can literally kill you, if you are subjected to it indefinitely. So do all that you can to get out, to preserve your health and to survive, because no one should ever die before their time, because of working a miserable and stressful job. Your employer will probably not attend your funeral and honor you as a fallen hero, who courageously gave up his life for his job.

          • Well, I’m fortunate in the fact that I don’t have bills and kids that would require me to work my ass off – even full time. I am working 30 hrs/week now. I do miss my full time Directors salary – it was $15k more than I’m making now. But oh well. I only have 3 items that I have to pay for every months… my car loan, auto insurance and cell phone. Since I moved back in with Lyn, I don’t have rent. Although I do throw here a couple hundred a month to help with utilities – especially my computer system racks up $45 a month just by itself.

            Honestly, this salary is really not enough. It’s survivable, but I have a difficult time putting some away – which I was always very good about before. So, I really need to bust my ass and get these other sites up and hopefully start making some money off of them.

            Glad you’re okay. I figured you were on a log hiatus with the wife, but wanted to make sure. LOL… I’m serious, I started going through my emails and the next thing I was going to do when I was done with that was to go to your blog and post a “hello???” Then I saw the email notification of your post.

            • I guess that making a big change in our lives usually involves a trade off, in which there will be some new advantages gained, along with some new disadvantages as well. As long as the advantages outweigh the disadvantages, then you have made the right move. Even if your money is tight, it seems to me like you made the right move, and your advantages of living a happier and less stressful life outweigh having less cash and feeling like it’s not enough. As you said, it’s survivable and not a serious financial problem.

              And you do have a plan for what you want to do, so you are not just drifting in a situation that won’t change, because there is nothing being done about it. You said that you just need to put more effort into it, and I am sure that you will.

              Sorry to make you go looking for me, Michelle. My wife has needed a lot of extra TLC from me, so I extended my break from WP for another week. Mystery solved… Missing blogger found! Lol :-) Hey, thanks for caring enough to wonder what happened to me. People who know what I’ve done in the past and you have heard enough of my edge of disaster stories to be someone who does know… People who know me, think I am capable of doing almost anything, so if I go missing, they are quick to assume that maybe I finally bought it, and they get concerned.

              But I’m still here, alive and well. Tomorrow is never a sure thing, but we’ll deal with that tomorrow. Lol ;-)

  10. Again, I’m so sorry – and you are SO right. How can people say ‘it was the Democrats’ when clearly Bush was in power for so long, and he left the country in a terrible state. It’s a very difficult economic time for you over there, and I feel a lot of sympathy for you. But – at least you can still go on hols!

    • Thanks so much for your sympathy and concern, Rose. The people who say “it was the Democrats” who caused the worst recession in US history since the Great Depression, are liars and hypocrites, who attempt to blame others for the very same evils that they themselves are guilty of perpetrating. And more so now than ever, members of the Republican Party are lying and distorting the truth repeatedly, to try and win the national election in November, by confusing and misleading the American people they were elected to serve, and to serve honorably, but they have no real respect for honor or integrity.

      Apparently, Republicans do not believe that lying is wrong. Instead, they think of repeatedly lying and misrepresenting the truth, as a valuable strategy to regain political power. The Republicans are guilty of despicable and reprehensible behavior, as well as an outright betrayal of the nation they constantly and loudly claim to love, when the real truth is that they love only their own self interests above all else. The real truth is that they would rather damage America’s National Security and economy, and endanger the well being of millions of Americans, by choosing to do what they know is wrong, if doing what is wrong will help them to gain more political power.

      But on the brighter side, yes, my wife and I were able to go on a vacation that we really enjoyed, and we are very grateful, because our vacation came at a time when we really needed the time off, and less stress in our lives. Thanks again for your comments, Rose. :-)

  11. benzeknees says:

    Very sorry to hear about Jean losing her job & I’ve already read tomorrow’s post about her getting 2 months severence, so that’s better than nothing. Hope you guys will be be OK. Hubby & I have gone through a roller coaster of job loss & new jobs ever since we moved to Alberta, so I can sympathise with you.

    • Thanks so much for your concern for us, and also your sympathy for my wife’s situation during what has been a very difficult time for her. But yes, the two months of severance pay was a wonderfully unexpected surprise, and having that money available has made a very positive difference in our situation. We will be OK, and we currently are doing OK right now. Things aren’t great, but we are still doing all right, all things considered.

      Since you and your hubby have been on that roller coaster of job loss and job change, I know that you can sympathize with us, as well as understand, because of what you also have gone through. Thanks again so much for caring and commenting, Lynda. I do appreciate it. I hope that you and yours are doing well these days.

  12. Pingback: Things Are Looking Up | Word Play

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