Note to Readers: As I make my way through this digital jungle I often guilty of looking fondly upon the past and last weekend I was reminded that it’s not all that great. My wife and I own a geriatric British sports car and I decided to take her to lunch at a very elegant local restaurant. Needless to say, the car pooped out at a stoplight in the square at East Berlin, PA, across the street from the restaurant (that was closed!) and, as we pushed the car through the intersection and into the vacant parking lot I was reminded that in my twenties this was a regular occurence – and an adventure – but now it seems to have lost some of the charm. Thank heavens for fuel injection, air conditioning and cars that require little more than a periodic oil change. Anyway, here’s an observation on dealing with your parents:
When you are suddenly unemployed your parents are generally the ones who are most concerned outside of your immediate family. I think that they (although they would never admit it) feel as though they have failed somehow. This is particularly true of baby boomers that have been suddenly downsized from a large corporation. When our parents began their working careers it was assumed that whomever or whatever they worked for would provide the stability and environment for a long and successful working career. The phone company was always touted as “the place to get a job” when I was a kid. It was big, everybody had a phone, and if you started working there you couldn’t lose your job unless you were convicted of a felony – and since my family didn’t know anyone who had ever committed a felony, better yet been convicted of one – it was ideal job security.
I distinctly remember when I took the job that I was suddenly unemployed from, my father said, “That’s a good place to work. You should plan on staying there for a while – like thirty years.” This was the same man who said to me when I was about twelve years old, “If a man hasn’t made it in this world by the time he’s forty he should just fold up his pocketknife and put it back in his pocket.”
I really didn’t plan on staying where I was for thirty years. Hell, I didn’t see myself staying there for thirty months after the first couple of weeks there, but I managed to stretch it out to sixteen years. And the pocketknife thing just didn’t help my ego much when I had my fortieth birthday.
If there’s a moral here it would be to carefully consider what you tell your children about life – because they probably are listening.