It's coming on six months since I was laid off, gotten rid of, called redundant, fired, kicked out, axed, and made to feel like an unnecessary piece of shite. Face it mate, you're off the team. I thought to myself, team? what team? By now I should be changing my perspective on it, right? I mean, look at the facts. The business wasn't what it used to be, the company I worked for was no longer the company I cared for -- hell, the industry I worked in was no longer the industry I signed up for. Costs were up and profits were down, a new regime had come in, the greater economy was tanking, and so on. Indisputable facts, things you're supposed to be able to get your mind around. Nice to know, huh?
Time to put away the little voodoo dolls, the pins, the charred bones and Book of Spells. The world will not bend to magic, and its poison only destroys the poisoner. Of course, I knew that all along, but the laid-off mind likes to sup on revenge fantasies in its idleness. Oh lord let my wounds no longer bleed. Instead, let theirs. A species of self-pity, too close for comfort.
I was going on in this mood -- every time I chat with Sweet Lou, him with his eighty-three-year-old folk wisdom, I start to feel sour and washed up -- when a funny thing happened to me on the way to the unemployment office. I fell through an open manhole into the city's storm sewers, yelping like a smacked dog, twisting my ankle, ruining my sandals, splashing around in that fetid black ooze like a bonny rat. After I caught my breath and adjusted my eyes, I looked around and thought, hey, poot, things ain't that bad up there on the street. At least you can sit in the park and watch the ladies in their summer dresses swish by. Eat a hot dog, go to the track. Bet on the trotters -- feels like publishing. Make sandwiches down at the homeless shelter. Make 'em nice, you may be taking your lunch down there soon enough.
You see, it's all a matter of changing perspective. Slogging through run-off waste is a powerful incentive to reconsider one's position in the world. Just like slogging through the social media, trying to find a chocolate ice cream cone. No answers forthcoming, just a change in perspective, poot. Effin rocky road.
Quist always advised me to go with the flow. "It's easier that way. Friction only causes fire. Keep the faith, keep true to yourself, but go with the flow. After all, you're only on this earth for a little while. Who needs all that conflict? You wanna be a contrarian? You'll give yourself a heart condition."
Okie-dokie. Getting laid off was the best thing that ever happened to me. It confirmed in me the belief that corporate publishing, and the culture that surrounds it, is croaking. Hah! -- it wasn't my fault, after all. It was the web, and computers, and television, and electronic games, and Hollywood, and iTunes, and the cost of gas, and greedy agents, and unrealistic budgets, and the failure of mortgage-backed securities, and the gross taste of the American public, and the death dance of the two national chains, and just about every damn negative thing that has happened over the last three decades. Hell, it goes further back than that -- it was effin Darwin! Bugger.
Lemme tell you, poot, it feels so good to change perspective and realize that shite happens for no reason and you made no difference at all. The whole thing was simply business as usual. Business as usual. Get it?