Thursday, December 9, 2010

At a loss for work

'Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.' (Desiderata by Max Ehrmann, Copyright 1952.)

A German friend of one of my sisters once remarked that in his country people lived to work, while we in Canada work to live.

That was 30 years ago. Things have probably changed since then.

My work as a newspaper editor was my life. I don't think I ever really set life and work apart: they were one and the same.

I no longer have that 'job' I once 'lived' to do. Am I still truly alive?

I have gone through many emotional highs and lows since I was fired that memorable morning of Oct. 16, 2010. Arrogance. Denial. An inevitable feeling of worthlessness.

My sin was that I published a letter that was at once praiseworthy and critical. The letter-writer heaped praise upon me but criticized the choices made by my employer. I was given an ultimatum at 10:30 a.m. that memorable morning: apologize for printing the letter or be terminated. I refused to apologize for doing what I had always done: print letters that expressed the opinion of my readers. I was summarily terminated.

After almost 10 years as editor, I was canned; ironically, by a person I hired six years before.

Now I am lost. After more than a quarter century as a professional writer, I have been sidelined by a single letter.

I posted in October that had quit. I gave five weeks notice. During that period, I was fired. One can split hairs about whether the chicken or the egg came first. It is moot. The result is the same.

Jobs, as those without one will know, are few and far between. Jobs in my field are rare — at least for someone 55 years old. I have not embraced the brave new world, so am, the more, ostracized. I am a pariah.

I feel abandoned.

We must, though, soldier on. I continue to believe in the goodness of people. I continue to believe that I can be a service to people. We bring honour to whatever we do.

I may be destitute and depressed now. Angry, ashamed ... many things. But that will change, though I never expected to be here at this time of my life: we never do.

This blog serves a mechanism for me to exorcise and exercise. It gives me an opportunity to 'connect' again. It's a way to communicate and share — things that have centred me for so many years.

If you have enjoyed my past blogs, please consider sharing the link with your contacts. (Encourage people to click on the ads, too. I get a few cents for each click; better than nothing, I suppose.)

I will be suing my former employer, and plan to keep my blog readers up-to-date as things progress. That will be a slow, arduous process.

Fear not: I will not focus on my personal travails, though my current situation does inform my outlook and, sometimes, my thinking.

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