Wednesday, June 20, 2012

No Illustration: Too Sobering

H was an account guy at an ad agency where I worked twenty years ago. Don’t remember much about him. He was plump, nice enough I suppose, but I didn’t work directly with him, so I wasn’t in a position to think highly or otherwise of him professionally… or otherwise. Sometime later, me at a new job, he still at that agency, we crossed paths as my new employer made a bid for some business H had worked on for years and years. We won. H and his agency lost the business. I didn’t give it much thought.

Flash forward. The economy… well, what is there to say about this economy that hasn’t already been said a thousand times? The job market is abysmal. I offer H as exhibit A. In the kind of random search I do when I’m bored I found a story from 2010 about him that said after losing a job – not the one he had at the agency when I knew him but his next job – he had been out of work for more than a year. In desperation, he took a job as a part time sample server at a grocery store. There is a picture of him that accompanies the story. He looks older, drawn, no longer plump but not unsmiling. The gist of the report is that he’s happy to have work of any kind. His Linkedin page confirms that he now works at the store full time as a checker.

This is a man who had a fairly long and successful professional career. I could so easily be in the same position he’s in. Would I be so humble, take such a low-level, low-pay, low-prestige job? One does what one must. But to publicize it? That I would not do. Today I am well-employed, nothing to take lightly.

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