Monday, February 14, 2011

Things I've learned since I got downsized

Awhile ago, I got downsized. It's been quite a ride. Here are a few things I've learned.

1. It's probably for the best. Maybe you were bored, or maybe it was inevitable, or maybe there wasn't any reason at all, not that you can figure out, anyway. Still, it was a good thing. It won't feel like a good thing. Probably, it will feel like getting hit in the face with a two-by-four, and not even with a warning first. But after you dig the splinters out of your face, you'll be like, In a strange way, that felt right, and then you can figure out what you want to do next, not keep doing the same thing over and over and over again, day in and day out and day in and day out, forever and ever until you die.

2. It forces you to learn the things you weren't doing and do them. Like, be intuitive. Or be creative. Or think outside the box. Or redecide who you are. Or get over it. Or start doing yoga more. Mostly, it makes you stop doing everything you were doing before, not just the work stuff, and it makes you start rethinking everything you're doing, and if you can do that, go with that, you'll turn into someone else, and your old self will bore you.

3. You might get sick. Within five days of getting downsized, I got a kidney stone, which I hadn't had in a year. If you haven't had them, they suck. It's like if Alec Baldwin walked up behind you, whispered, "Suck on this, pretty lady," and shived you with an ice pick. Getting sick is in no way a good time, but sometimes when you are in the throes of agony, you will wonder if all the bad stuff before is what is leaving you, and the doctor can call it "kidney stones," but maybe the whole thing is like what the acupuncturist calls a "healing crisis," which basically means you have to get sick before you can get better.

4. Don't be a sullen jerk. First of all, when you get downsized, when your boss is like, "Sorry," don't be like, "Um, fuck you!" Because your boss isn't downsizing you, the universe is, and when the universe hands you shit, you kind of have to be like, "OK," and accept it, because, make no mistake, if you go to war against the universe, you will lose. You might feel like a giant fucktard, but you should try and conduct yourself with a modicum of grace. Also, who knows what the future holds, and just because the bridge collapsed doesn't mean you have to set it on fire.

5. It will force you to interact with people in new ways. Even though I telecommute, downsized meant I had even less contact with human beings. I read something the other day that indicated mice without contact with other mice go crazy. Now, I'm on Facebook. All my friends were, like, "WTF, you're on Facebook?" Because I think they know I am not the most social person. But there I am. You have to interact with people, or you might die from loneliness. Thank you, God, for the internet.

6. Losing something will make you understand things about yourself. Like, afterward, I was surprised to find how bruised my ego was. I sort of felt like a guy, like my job was my identity, and without my job, who was I? I felt castrated. And lame. And dumb. The good part is that that is just a phase, and then there are other phases, like, when you feel like you're great, and you're doing something new, and then something that didn't make sense, which, in a way, was you, starts to make sense, sense in a way that before seemed like nonsense, but, in fact, was the truth all along.

7. The money issue is hard. I haven't figured this one out yet. This is the hardest part for me, in a way. For reasons my shrink would be happy to discuss with you. Right now, the only thing I know is that if you make X dollars a year, and you aren't happy, you know exactly how much someone has to pay you to be unhappy. And that number is never high enough. Because it is never worth it. Not even if you swear that it is.

8. Fuck logic. Jobs, especially jobs that involve working for large corporations, are very logical jobs to have. Because they give you money, and you work a certain number of hours a day, and you are like the other people with these jobs. You are them, and they are you, and you are a part of the human race. This isn't really logic, though. This is insanity. If you get downsized, you should immediately start doing a lot of illogical things. Last weekend, I did something that was motivated primarily by my desire to do something kind. I also followed my intuition about it. Throughout, I attempted to define it in logical terms, which was sort of illogical. In the end, there was a thing I did, and another person that needed that thing, and we found each other. That's a lot like life. Or falling in love. Or karma. Corporations lack these things. You might tell yourself otherwise, but you are lying.

9. People love you. I was so surprised how many kind emails and tweets and stuff written elsewhere happened after I posted about getting downsized. I was like, "Woah." I was like, "Hey, this is cool." I was, like, moved. That mattered to me. Sometimes people write shitty stuff about me on the internet. A few months ago, this guy I don't know wrote something somewhere else about how I was past my moment, and I had a really stupid "world weary" approach to the world, and some other crap I've conveniently forgot. There was a way in which he was right. I was tired. I was weary. I would like to be as compassionate towards him as he wasn't to me, but instead I would like to say, "Hey, fucker. At least I'm trying. You stupid piece of shit." I'm not sure what my point here is.

10. You should quit your job. You should quit your job because I didn't have the balls to quit mine. I waited to get downsized. That was sort of a vag move. I guess you could say I sort of regret that. I understand why I did that, but I think if you quit your job, that's better than getting downsized. If you're on the bull, why not grab the horns and attempt to steer it? Instead, I flopped around until my ass landed in the dirt. You should quit your job and become a rodeo clown. It's got to be better than what you're doing, right?