I feel for my cousin in New York City and all the people who went through the blizzard the last two days. There is something about a snow storm that is completely different than any other storm. It is so silent. Thunderstorms crash and tornados have a noise much like a freight train coming through. But snow falls silently blanketing the world in abject quiet. Car and trucks cease to move and it seems all the world has stopped.
There is a panic that sets in prior to storms. I think our media has learned that this is a source of revenue for them. People tune in to be updated. The more dramatic the better. And hysteria builds.
I am in a center of another type of storm. This is happening at my workplace and although there is no precipitation to speak of, there is definitely fall out. And I know that my work environment is very similar to others. Have we grown to expect this turmoil as part of the working condition in an unstable economy?
Growing up, my parents’ generation often worked for one employer for their entire career. People were loyal and would ride out uncertainty knowing in their hearts that their employer would have their best interests in mind. Then, somewhere that all changed. I remember my father being let go and finding out that what little pension he had was gone. The company folded and that was that.
My husband had worked for a major international company for just shy of 25 years. He watched for many years as his co-workers were being dismissed for no other reason than they cost too much. He was let go and giving only the money he had put into stocks and a small retirement. The stocks are worthless. There is little left of that giant company. It devastated this area and changed the whole economy along with the people.
This practice of changing the population of employees is not unusual. It is cheaper to have younger people as they do not cost as much to insure. But they come with huge issues also like child care and lack of organization and loyalty. And because currently all extra costs are prohibited, there is little effort to offer any method such as team building and retreats to help bond them into a cohesive body of employees.
And there is a low buzz or vibration that permeates the agency right now. It is vicious and for me, very hard to work with. I am too sensitive to people’s energy and the energy in the building is similar to that of a mob at Wegman’s prior to a predicted snow storm. I am caught up in the anxiety much as my coworkers are. It creates short tempers. Unfortunately it also brings out the worse in people who are worried about their foothold. They will lie and throw others under the bus in order to save their own asses. It is a very unpleasant work environment and by the end of the week, I am exhausted from just trying to get by.
I can tell myself that I am safe, but in truth, no one is there. Safety is rare in the world today. In this economy, people will be sacrificed in order for the organization to survive. I lie in bed in the middle of the night and worry about every little thing and deadline. The energy of the day still pulsing through me. I struggle to employ my calming techniques and my anxiety builds instead of dissipates. I try to tell myself that this too shall pass much like any storm.
Yesterday, I sat on my deck and listened to the quiet. We have some snow, but nothing like we normally have. It is still extremely quiet. I realized how much I miss the noise of the birds. And almost as on cue, I heard the song of some bird in the pines next to me. It sounded like the trill of a robin. I embraced the thought that all is not lost if there is hope. For me that hope is spring and the renewal of the garden. It is my life boat.