Wednesday, June 24, 2009

I can't help.

I am sitting here at my computer. My wife is laying on the bed nearby watching tv. I think she's watching Sex in the City. Today, I turned in my PhD dissertation to my committee. I gotta admit, I'm a bit nervous. Tomorrow, my wife defends her master's thesis. We're both under noticeable stress. For all the stress, however, it seems to hold no water after my experience tonight.

I went out to have a beer to give my wife space. You know, I have a hard life . While out, I saw met this guy who had just been laid off. He must have been over fifty. I got the impression he was the sole bread earner in his family. It was all he could do to hold back his tears. I don't believe he is in as much trouble as he thinks, but right now must be the hardest time in his life. He's trying to explain to his wife, not knowing what tomorrow holds and wondering what he'll do in the future.

I wanted more than anything to be able to give this man a job. I obviously can't, but seeing him in his state, I couldn't help but want to be helpful. It's been easy for me to speak eloquently so far about how the economy will get better and that we're going through a needed adjustment. Me and my own, we've been fine - relatively. While I won't claim we aren't affected by the economy, my crowd tends to be doing well in good times or bad. I've been... from it all. Heck, I even got likely the best job I could hope for coming out of graduate school during the worst economic times of my own or my parents' lives.

It's another thing, though, to see the face of those who've lost their means in this economy. It brings it home. It makes me wonder what could be done. I had no answers for this man. All I could say is keep your chin up and fervantly work towards finding something new. It was a hallow response. It was a douchebag response. I could offer no comfort. The only meaningful thought I have is, this too shall pass.

Have you seen the effects of this recession? Has it been felt personally? Have you been laid off? How do you deal with it? Could you imagine any words of comfort? I know I am at a loss for words. Perhaps you have words that I should learn to understand.

1 comment:

  1. Waiting tables, I've seen my income go down a bit. It's an earnings rollercoaster (thankfully we live in a football town), but I have some semblance of job security. I have a great deal of experience in a job with minimal training and could easily switch restaurants without much difficulty. However, this isn't my career.

    My father, an attorney, has seen the effects of the recession both personally and through his clients. Workers' comp cases are getting harder to find (if you even thought you'd get fired, would you sue?), but divorce and bankruptcy cases abound.