Survivor Guilt in the Dead of Winter

If I am one thing in the business world, it is this: a survivor.

Since entering the professional work world in the late 90’s, I have been witness to six rounds of layoffs at various companies and narrowly escaped three more, jumping ship just before the ax came down. In that time, I have been the target of “right-sizing” only twice, once in 2001, and once just this year. Earlier in my career, I attributed my good fortune to doing something right, that the company found value in my efforts and decided to keep me on when others had been deemed superfluous. Then I went through a period where I believed it all to be good luck and nothing but; these days I recognize it as a bit of both, some of it is having the foresight and initiative to be in the right place at the right time as changes come down the path and some is blind luck in being in the right position, just as it is sometimes blind luck that we get cut when someone else does not.

But the thing is, even knowing all that, I still suffer extreme survivor’s guilt every time I escape the ax, and this time I managed it, albeit much more narrowly than in the past. In a roundabout way I’m telling you that I still have full-time employment at the same company, though my title and team have changed. I find myself spared of the job hunt for now. Celebration, right? Well, sort of. The new team seems cool and the challenges interesting, I’ll give it that. It’s not the position itself that poses the problem – it’s the sudden silence in the hallways. The empty cubicles. The good friends who weren’t spared.

It’s weird,  because some of the people for whom I’m most concerned have expressed that this whole thing represents an opportunity, so there’s no need to carry around this guilt. Yet I do it anyway. Why? Because it’s who I am, I suppose.

I did not, however, write this post to be a downer. I wrote this to serve as my weekly check-in with you guys. Things have been slow, to be honest. The word counts have not been up to par and writing has been a secondary, maybe even tertiary, concern. This is not so unusual; February and January are historically the slow months, but they are also frustrating every single time they happen. Each time the old fears come creeping out from places unknown, whispering that I’ll never write again, that this time it’s over for good. All nonsense, of course, and I keep putting one foot in front of the other slowly, but those voices visit all the same.

Work continues on Broken Wing. I’m up to Chapter 13, and have been there for a few weeks. The fault does not lie with the chapter itself, as I think it’s a fairly interesting character study portion, but rather with the situation. I believe this will clear up as things move forward. I still have not put out the Pathways print version, again a victim of the bottleneck. I don’t have an ETA on that one yet. I hope soon, the poor book deserves more than it’s gotten so far. We have a book tour scheduled next week (expect to see more info here), so I hope it picks up.

Other than that, settling into a new, if temporary, position. We’ll see how that string plays out, along with the planned move to California in the Fall. Until next time…

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