"I think that the notion of job security I referred to earlier -- such a staple of life when I was growing up -- was just part of an era. I don't think it's the defacto way things are with working in America, or even should be."Within less than a week of my post "Uncommon Strategies For An Uncommon World," the company for which I had been working full-time, and had recently switched to freelancing for, suddenly closed. Within a month, after the paperwork has been done and things are squared away, the company will most likely cease to exist. There are new tenants in the space already.
Please do not extend condolences to me. I have a near-ghoulish knack for forecasting events far in advance of their occurrence. I build my skill sets and develop my outlook to accommodate such developments. I've become very practiced in the art of feigning surprise.
What I do not feign is my sympathy and sorrow for my co-workers, most of whom had no idea the axe was going to fall so soon, if at all. This was not a young company, and several people had invested a chunk of their lives in it. To be frank, dealing with this was like dealing with a death -- the death of an entity, rather than a person. The death of a routine. The death of a specific set of plans.
Nor do I blame the owner of the company, who probably held out as long as she did as much for her employees as for a particular business strategy. She worked hard to maintain a family-like and humane atmosphere for the organization.
This all feels like a flashback to when Acclaim Comics closed the doors to their NYC office -- what, exactly TEN YEARS AGO?
And yet it's like me looking back from the other side. When Acclaim closed, I was caught completely unaware, and I was devastated. We all were devastated. But I remember how my immediate boss, who had just prepared her first novel for her publisher, was so zen about the whole thing. I just couldn't understand it -- why wasn't she as distraught as me? How could you be calm? The company, as we knew it, died. The company died!
Now I understand.
My company was not in the comic book field. And yet, I cannot help but think of Virgin Comics as I write this. Virgin won't be the last one to fall in this period of economic slowdown/clusterfuck. I expect more sudden axes to fall -- not out of any insider info, but based on that same ghoulish intuition. I'm not happy about it. It's never happy.
And how do we survive such uncertain, uncommon times?
1. Be Flexible
2. Anticipate Change
3. Develop New And Relevant Skill Sets
Mary Tyler Moore used to be my model as far as making it in a career was concerned. I've been wracking my brain for the last ten minutes trying to come up with an example of a pop-culture heroine who embodies what my current role-model is. But I can't think of one. I think I'm going to have to create one.