At the risk of being just another 9/11 post, I’m going to plunge into what will likely be the most blogged about subject of the day. Sydney says that every teacher will want to talk about it, so I suggested she ask them where they were and what their perspective on the day was. After all, most of her teachers were near her age on the day.
When I was young, people said “everybody remembers where they were when they heard JFK had been shot.” I remember where I was when I heard Princess Di was gone. And, I remember where I was on 09/11.
I was at a seminar for the “difficult to employ” at the Texas Unemployment Agency. It was all white collar people with special skill sets, and at that time, it was white collar people with special skill sets that, like me, were being laid off and replaced with computer software. I was just another one in the crowd. The employment situation was good and I wasn’t worried because many companies still found it cheaper to hire someone with skills than invest in new software. I had waited a month after my lay off to even start looking for work, and during that month, I was reading a book every day or two, and just getting into quilting. I had two interviews with large travel agency call centers to manage their call forecasts and employee schedules and had many prospects and had been contacted by a third agency, but had nothing on the books yet with them.
I didn’t file for unemployment until I started to look for work and immediately, they wanted me to come in to attend this seminar so I wouldn’t be unemployed for long. We’d gotten through the first meeting and were about to begin the second session when the leader was called from the room. The agency employees were in the breakroom, watching events unfold on tv. They tried to keep us informed and then let us go, more because they couldn’t focus than because we couldn’t. We hadn’t seen anything at that time and I couldn’t perceive of it until I’d seen pictures. I went straight home.
On the way, I called my Mom because I didn’t know if we were about to lose communications or not and wanted her to know I was okay. And, to say I love you. I rushed home and put a blank tape in the VCR and hit record and watched the day as it happened.
By September 13, I had no interviews scheduled, no prospects, no special, and therefore desirable skills, nada. And, from there on, finding work was next to impossible. In January, I was called back to my previous employer to do the same job I’d been laid off from in a different department (that whole affording the software thing). I went to work two days before my severance benefits and unemployment expired.
And, it affected how I feel about work and job. And, what I’m willing to put up with to keep them both. And, it subsequently led to events that changed how I felt about my government and my country’s security and the word “enemy”.
In a movie, there’s a line where an old man is talking to a young person that wants revenge and the old man says something like, and can you look into the hearts of these bad men and know that they are bad and would harm you so that you only kill the bad ones? Can my perception of enemy pass that simple test? And, how big is the difference between protection and more revenge? Or, how narrow?
Okay, so that is enough of the old memory train. Today, I’m secure and my family is larger. I have work, home, and hobbies. And, I have happiness. There’s a whole lot of stuff I don’t think I can do anything about. And, there’s a whole lot of stuff I realize I can only do a little bit about, like voting, and I make sure I do all I can of that. And, then, there’s the stuff I have a lot of control over, like living happy or fearful. I’ve decided to choose happy, thank you very much.
Be well. Have a great Wednesday. Remember, and at the same time, remain in the moment.