Thursday, September 30, 2010

LIKE A GHOST TOWN

For the first time in the nearly 30 years I have worked for this firm, we are faced with layoffs and cutbacks. Some of it was due to overstaffing for so long, but when its a boom time, you always keep the good people around in case of emergency, regardless of how unbusy they were on a regular basis.

While I have been working on trial preparation for months, the trial starts Monday, and I'm officially off the case until maybe something post-trial, if necessary. That too is being handled mainly by a Chicago lawfirm, since the trial will be held there, and we are only second chair, not necessitating the need for a full staff to be there other than the 2 main attorneys.

So I go back to twiddling my thumbs most days. I can't remember there ever being any lack of work for this extended of a period. And its not just because the work isn't there. It all goes back to clients laying off, clients going out of business themselves, and clients not paying their bills. The office is starting to look like a ghost town, even during the day.

Our biggest growth period was over the past 6 previous years, and during that time they also decided to rennovate the entire office, spending big bucks, expanding from the 3 floors when I first started to 5 floors, as well as basement and main level space shared by the bank that holds our lease. We have slowly crowded out other tenants so that now there are only 4 tenants in the building.

But with all the layoffs and doom and gloom around here, our once full floors are dwindling down to only being 1/3 to half full. On my floor alone, there have been 7 people let go for various reasons, including attorneys, paralegals, and other non professional staff. The same is pretty much true for the other floors. People are running scared.

What makes me the most disappointed in all this is the seeminly lack of value that is being placed on long-time employees. Everyone is on equal footing, so no positions are safe. If your job becomes eliminated, rather than absorb them somewhere else--anywhere else--they let people go.

Not only that, I have been BEGGING for a year for projects and repeatedly am passed over by attorneys needing work. And when a few projects come along, everyone is fighting over them like seagulls at the beach when someone throws out some chips. Scrambling more or less.

So I bide my time, waiting for the big projects to come back or at least some idea of security. With the possibility of having no job hanging over everyone's head all the time, I have to say that is one reason I have not actively trained for many races, not wanting to have to spend the money on the fees or travel. Yes, I know, I took a vacation recently, but that had been planned since last year. I couldn't let the mood around here ruin that.

But, looking on the bright side, that hasn't been all bad! I have to say my semi-retirement--maybe hiatus is a better word--from racing this year has been a lot more fun than I was allowing myself to think. For the first time in over 20 years, I have been free to plan weekends far in advance, instead of having to work around races, tapering, and recovery. I am ALWAYS training, just not for any particular race.

Usually I feel "obligated" to consider some spring, summer, and fall race, but this year I am just going with the flow. For once it feels good to not feel guilty about not doing the local marathon or half (although I still may do the half if I can get in a few good long runs), and my attitude toward mileage or race times is "whatever I do is good enough." Its a liberating feeling!

Who knows about next year. I keep getting asked repeatedly if I will do another IM. I would like to--love to--if I didn't have to do all that bike training! But that's inevitable, so if its going to happen, I need to get a new attitude about that. I have not been on my road bike since August, instead started up off road riding, which I am finding much more to my liking. Just the mountain bike itself is so much more enjoyable than the road bike! I'm still pretty much a chicken on any steep downslopes, sandy areas, or unknown terrain, and still haven't mastered the technique to get up steep embankments, but again, its that "whatever" attitude that has set in. I'm enoying myself.

All this of course is to be taken with a grain of salt, since a change of attitude can happen at any time!

1 comment:

Lisa said...

These are tough times all around. Right now my husband is crazy busy at work - not enough ppl for the work, but not wanting to hire. Just thankful we both still have jobs.

I see you debating an iron distance race. Hope you get that figured out.