punkwalrus (punkwalrus) wrote,

Ride the Roller Coaster of Life

I think it was a movie with Steve Martin, "Parenthood," where his senile old grandmother said that life was like a roller coaster. She said when her husband took her to a fair when they were very young, she had a choice of riding the merry-go-round or the roller coaster. She said riding the merry-go-round was boring you just went round and round and that was it. The roller coaster was thrilling with ups and downs and twists and turns. Sometimes you were scared to death, but you knew you were getting the ride of your life; you knew you had experienced quite a ride. Those on the merry-go-round felt safe, but never felt challenged. So she chose the roller coaster.

I had no choice, but I'd never be satisfied with the merry-go-round, either.

In the last few weeks, I failed my Red Hat exam, I have been worried about work layoffs, and things where my wife works have been horrible (one of their important managers just died). I didn't know what to do or where to turn. So I had lunch with my friend Nate, and we discussed things. He made me feel a lot better.

Then when we got back from lunch, I found out it's official... layoffs! Like the grim reaper. I still have my job, which is important for me, but I feel bad because it's like when half your village gets the plague, you're like "Why was I spared?" In one sense, I am terribly relieved because this had been hanging over my head for almost a month. In another sense I feel, again, like I almost got hit by a sniper and it's not a matter of "if," but a matter of "when."

I watched people go. I didn't see much, but you know that scene in Charlton Heston's "The Ten Commandments" where the red gaseous plague kills off the first born sons? Where everyone is huddled in the house, breaking bread, listening to the wailing outside? There was no wailing or drama this time, and surprsingly very little guard activity, which was good, but there were a lot of the usual, "Did you hear? Art So-and-so got laid off. He's been with the company for ten years! He was a high level muckety-muck, and I never thought I'd see the day where he would be let go. Never!" and some "Joe Whosi-whatsis got laid off... boy, that was long overdue..." I saw a lot of cardboard boxes moving back and forth. For about an hour, I had no idea if I had a job or not, as one by one, people got called. Then I got the call from my boss's boss, who is no longer my boss's boss, telling me that I still had a job, to keep doing what I have been doing, it was a pleasure working with me, but I have a new boss's boss, a new director, we're merging several departments into yours, and I am sorry your boss wasn't here to tell you this, he's out sick. Oh, and he then told me not to tell anyone anything because not everyone has been told of the changes. What my boss's boss didn't know was in my office, at that very moment, was one of my contacts.

Then came the returned e-mail from our reports. I hate that. We lost a TON of people in Europe, apparently. I got a hasty mail from someone who said, "Oh, wait, that account was an automated reciever, and the guy who owned it was laid off. Hold on while I get you a new e-mail address and box to send it to. Whoops!"

I won't know the total damage for a few days. Tomorrow, I'll be in a meeting with our new chiefs. I heard good things about the new boss's boss (he supports training). He's apparently part of the "old guard" of people, who favor long-term employees... like me! :)

This entry was originally posted at http://www.punkwalrus.com/blog/archives/00000186.html
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