Today is smoke-free day 321. I rarely post on Saturdays, and I rarely post about work. I also rarely, OK, never, until last night have actually experienced anything even approaching a mild version of survivor's guilt. In fact, I didn't know that it could apply in this situation until I was wandering around the Target unable to bring myself to purchase anything at all, not even something necessary like toilet paper. The whole time, I couldn't shake the idea that over on the other side of town at least one of my co-workers in particular was explaining to an unemployed spouse that there had been layoffs at a time when it can be so hard to find another job, when gas prices are through the roof, when so many are getting by on so many fewer bags of groceries. And there I was looking at frivolous crap I didn't need. No wonder I walked out empty handed and also feeling sort of empty on the inside, too.
Honestly, as grateful as I was and am to still be employed, I also felt like I'd been punched in the stomach and just felt so terrible. (Then I found on the Internets, where all the information lives, that, in fact, what I was feeling was common, and also a great analogy, too.) The one time I was at a place that closed down, the economy was closer to fine, and jobs were easy enough to find. In fact, it was almost like a mini-vacation. I get the feeling it will not be that way this time through for those involved, and my heart breaks, and it scares the living crap out of me.
When I return to work on Monday, my job will be changing in many ways, ways that are not yet entirely clear to me, and that's always a little scary, too. I'm determined to make the best of whatever changes, hoping that in some ways perhaps it could turn out better. If not, at least I'm employed.