Go Forward

May 22, 09 Go Forward
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Go forward.

Weakened by a string of one-night stands with stress, I often awakened to illnesses that were hard to shake.  I found it difficult to offer tips on surviving the recession when the recession, apparently, had me in a chokehold so firm that John Cena would be envious.  I could not give without first taking, so I needed some time to step back and regroup…to find balance.  Normally, my annual trips to New Orleans do not happen until August. However, I was in dire need of a vacation, a brass band, some crawfish bread, and the love of close family and friends…surely, the salve to my war wounds.

With less thought than I usually give to breathing, I bought my plane tickets for the end of April. Incidentally, the “higher-ups” at the gig planned to review the first-quarter financial reports during a well-hyped meeting the day before I left and intended to discuss the results during an office-wide meeting the day after I returned.

Upon receiving the news of the meetings, speculations and fears ricocheted off the cubicle walls.  Again, anxiety meds were all the rage and gulps were heard across the office.  Having already purchased my tickets, my focus was on my vacation.  The only two words that came to mind when confronted with uncertainty…

Go forward.

Home was everything that I needed it to be.  Blame it on the sunshine and the love that was rained upon me and my son. I immersed myself in the culture that I’d missed for so long.  I swayed to the tunes of Rebirth and Erykah at Jazz Fest.  My thumbs got a workout at my girlfriend’s birthday crawfish boil.  A guy friend and I cruised my old neighborhood so that I could witness the progress since Katrina.  My mission was to deal with tomorrow when tomorrow came. The bonus being that I was not privy to any of the rumors as the Prez toured all of the offices to deliver the findings.  Second to last on that list was our office…and soon enough, the Judgment Day that was once tomorrow transformed to today.

Tired from my late-night flight, my eyes lazily glanced at the Prez’s PowerPoint presentation.  Several slides documented the results from a company-wide survey taken in March.  As much as I wanted to believe that management would improve based on these “anonymous” answers, I more so felt that this was to serve as merely the calm before the storm.  Although every other word was reminiscent of the voiceovers for the adults on the Charlie Brown cartoons, one sentence was very clear.

“We are going to have another reduction in force AND that’s going to happen TODAY.”

Talk about your morning coffee…that statement was all the caffeine that I needed to start and end my day.  The Prez spoke for another five minutes and then the zombies were left to wander off to their cubes and await THE call.  I didn’t say a word to anyone as my mechanical motions led me back to my familiar walls. I scanned the pictures that adorned my cube.  My baby grinned back at me and I wondered how this could affect him.  Comforted by the pictures of my mom, I was reminded of how she managed to pay a mortgage, a car note, spoil me, and KEEP a smile on her face on less than half of my wages. I then stared at my computer screen for minutes, wondering if I should even pretend to be productive.  As minutes passed, I started to believe that I was ok.  That is, until my phone disturbed my daze.  The caller ID read “Conference Room.”  I swallowed the lump in my throat and reluctantly picked up the receiver.

“Hey…S. Tae, we need you to come down to…”

My heart sank, my mind was adrift. It appeared that my 5-year financial plan was about to be brought to a halt. But what can you do when faced with your fears?

Go forward.

S. TAE

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