Sara Jacobovici en Only Humans Tell Stories, Bee Stories In English, beBee in English Owner • Creative Arts Therapies Services 29/11/2016 · 2 min de lectura · 1,3K

A Short Story

My father had to deal with “being let go” in 1965. I had to deal with “being let go” in 2001. The corporate culture may have looked different but it is only a variation on the same theme; losing your job. In today’s corporate culture, the system can be more digital and more hi-tech, but people are the same.

One of the reasons we compartmentalize the personal and professional selves is for protection. If we lose our job, we don’t want the whole person to experience the rejection, failure and loss. It’s enough for the professional self to handle, let alone the personal self to have to deal with. But that is not how it works. When we lose our job, the whole self is impacted upon. We need to replace compartmentalization with flexibility and adaptation. The loss involves many things, but not necessarily a loss of identity.

A Short StoryCast in a shadow, molded by circumstances, he felt as if his identity was thin enough to pass through the branches of the tree. The child’s bicycle brushed his coat to stop and to regain his orientation.

How long had he been walking around anyway? An hour, two, three? Hard to tell. The sky was getting darker. “Is it that late?” he wondered.

“OK..” now he knows which neighborhood he had turned onto. Strange how he had chosen Mrs. Derrick's street. “Must be a craving for her chocolate pecan pie.” Jack took a deep breath in through his nostrils as if he could still smell that pie. Slowly he retraced his steps and found his way back to the streetcar.

The street was bustling with the after work crowd making its way unconsciously to the various destinations of its members. Jack still had his destination but, as of tomorrow, he would no longer hold the same point of departure. “What a cliché!” he laughed to himself. After 32 years, a pat on the shoulder and a complimentary cardboard storage box to collect his “things”.

“HR will mail you all the documents. If you have any questions, contact Lynn and by the way, we’re organizing a 'thank-you lunch'. We’ll let you know." Thirty-two year and not one windmill was slain. Wounded? “Yes! That should give me some satisfaction, yet, right now…” Nothing seemed to mean much.

As he walked into his apartment things seemed different. Everything was as he had left it that morning but, somehow, even the air felt altered. Jack spent the night in his armchair watching the darkness move towards light. Once his apartment was filled with the morning, he got up, took a shower, dressed in his jeans and sweatshirt and made his way to the corner diner for his favorite breakfast.

As he approached the counter for his newspaper, a confused look came over Nick’s face. “Jack, it’s not the week-end. What brings you here on a weekday?”

“Early retirement.”

“Does that mean I’ve just increased my business?”

“Maybe…well, for today anyway.”

As the two men were talking, Harry walks in, sits at the table near the window, unfolds his newspaper and shouts out to Nick, “The usual.” Harry continues shouting, “Hey Nick, check out this story…Jack is that you? It’s not the week-end yet, what are you doing here?”

Without looking around, Jack answers, “Early retirement.”

“Oh…well…you listen too then. They had this upset in boxing last night in Vegas and….” Harry’s voice trails off and Jack pays for breakfast.

With his paper tucked under his arm, Jack made his way to the park. Sitting on the bench on this warm spring day made him doze off. In his dream, Jack finds himself in a forest of windmills. Jack could see that some windmills were in arrogantly perfect condition, some showed more wear, while a few were actually damaged. He tried to move but the windmills seemed to encroach on him more with each movement he made. Feeling despair and fatigue, Jack slumped down to the ground. An agitation surged through him. Struggling to get to his feet, he found himself encircled by mirrors.

“Don’t look away!” he heard. “Don’t look away!”

The sound was piercing his ears. Look? Look where…at the image in the mirror? But who was that?

He was startled from his sleep by a child’s cry. There on the park bench, next to him was a woman with a baby.

The screen read: You have 4 new messages.

Message 1: “Hi Jack. I couldn’t believe it. Hope you’re OK. Please call me as soon as you can.”

Message erased. Next message

Image credit: Pinterest

Sara Jacobovici 6/12/2016 · #18

#16 Thank you for contributing your important insight @Aaron Skogen.

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Sara Jacobovici 6/12/2016 · #17

#15 Thank you @Mohammed Sultan for your contribution. I would like to highlight 2 points you make: 1. Investing; "Beside investing in saving money, people should also think of investing in their emotional life...They should invest in something that makes them feel good about selves and make them ready for work." And 2. "dignity". We can't always depend on others to be treated with dignity but you remind us that dignity needs to start from ourselves. In this way, we posses it and so our dignity can't be taken away by someone else.

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Aaron Skogen 5/12/2016 · #16

Enjoyed this @Sara Jacobovici. Far too often people allow their "job" to define their "person". An easy trap to fall into, yet one we are all better off avoiding. Jobs are commodities, lives are not! Great read.

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Mohammed Sultan 5/12/2016 · #15

@ Sara Jacobovici.It's a creative short story on short-life work.Two messages behind your story,one for the employers who don't care about the loss of the professional dignity of their employees and the second for the employees who lost their jobs because of the early retirement.To the employers I would say; before you push people to early retirement,you should think of how to ensure that they get retired with dignity by reaping the benefits of their short- life work.And for the employees the message is; how they can accumulate the remains of their personal dignity by thinking of savings.Savings will be a crucial investment in what's remained and help a rapid bounce back from the shock of the early retirement. Beside investing in saving money,people should also think of investing in their emotional life by seeking self-renewal and social support;why not they devote their free time to something better than merely resort to their comfort zone,where the monster of early retirement ever grow.They should invest in something that makes them feel good about selves and make them ready for work.

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Sara Jacobovici 5/12/2016 · #14

#13 So glad you shared your story @Alan Culler. Sounds like you ended up just where you needed to be! Thank you also for your kind and generous words. Much appreciated.

Alan Culler 5/12/2016 · #13

What a poignant story @Sara Jacobovici you have certainly captured all the emotions that are intertwined between work and self worth. I was fired once -it turned out to be one of the best events of my life -another door and a much more exciting one opened -I also quit and left the same day -tantamount to getting fired -which also turned out well. These taught me -I will survive. I work for myself now so on alternative days I have the worst boss ever and the best boss ever. My self is still too wrapped up in what I do, but at least every other day I get to do it for the best boss ever.
Thanks for sharing this story you have a gift at capturing emotion in a few lines. Keep writing. And thank you.

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Sara Jacobovici 5/12/2016 · #12

#11 Thanks for taking the time to share your experiences @Lisa Gallagher.

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Lisa 🐝 Gallagher 5/12/2016 · #11

Great story @Sara Jacobovici. I think so many people do intertwine their work identity with their personal identity. I remember when I was new to the town I live in so many women would ask me "what I do for a living or what my husband did for a living?" I found that question to be so shallow. I joined women's groups and one in particular- a mom's club was so snobby and I was asked that question more than often than "how are you, it's nice to meet you.' Because I was new here I felt I had nothing to lose when I was asked for the umpteenth time where my husband worked- I replied, "He's a garbage man." The look on the woman's face was priceless. Not that there is anything wrong with being a garbage collector but in their minds it was a lowly job. I never went back to another club meeting after that day. There is so much more to a person than their title. Losing a job is never easy and harder for some depending on their age, so having a network of friends who care about 'you, the person,' is so vital.

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