I believe that blogs (or at least mine) are the perfect escape from the stresses that invade our day to day lives. I try to follow that particular mantra and for the most part, I do succeed. I blog about almost everything and anything that my warped little imagination can conjure up. However, there are times when I simply have to write about the stresses that can cause me to become slightly unglued in the real world, which in turn can cause me to become unglued in the cyber world.
Today is another one of those times.
Over the past couple of years, I have blogged about the current economic woes that my state is going through. I'd last blogged about this two thousand pound elephant about several months ago, and I was of the opinion that our labor unions should give serious consideration about the workers before they reject any kind of concessions out of hand.
My friends, zero hour has arrived. After the majority party did its best imitation of big brother in D.C. and passed a budget with no input from the minority party that had a gaping $2 billion dollar hole in it, the majority party's esteemed guv'nor began negotiating with the labor unions. With talks almost at a standstill, the first round of pink slips went out yesterday (not sure how long this link will last, so click while you can).
Now personally, I'm somewhat torn about this particular sequence of events, and I'll elaborate in a moment as to why. My view as a taxpayer is basically, it's about time and as a Republican, my view is: Why are the state Dems professing outrage that things have gotten to this point? In all seriousness, the Democrats have controlled our General Assembly since the early 90's and their head-in-the-sand approach to fiscal sanity got us here to begin with. You guys want to blame someone, then take a good long hard look in the mirror and you'll find the culprit.
Now, why am I torn about this particular sequence of events?
Well, on one hand, back in 2003, I got laid off from the state during the last economic downturn, and because I was a relative newbie, I never saw the layoff notice coming until I was having a face-to-face meeting with the head of the agency. In all honesty, I found it to be a very traumatic experience and it took me six months to become employed by the state again, and over a year and a half to recover from the financial hit. After I got back on my feet, I vowed never again to be put into that position. The next time this happened, I wanted to be the person who if need be, did the bumping on someone else to stay employed.
Now that the shoe is on the other foot (I have about 11 1/2 years of seniority), I should come out of this latest headache relatively unscathed. However, I do have friends and co-workers who I like very much, who will probably be affected by this. Some of them have less than five years in. Others have as much time as I do, if not more, but because of the particular union they're in, can't transfer the seniority from my particular bargaining unit (say clerical) to the one that they're in. In other words, if they have say, 12 total years in, but only five with that particular union, then according to the rules, they have five years of seniority, not twelve.
For those people, I feel their pain, because I was there eight years ago, and unfortunately, people have started to pick my brain to find out what it was like to go through that trauma. For the majority of everyone else, I either don't feel their pain or don't care. I know it sounds callous, but I'm looking at it from a realistic point of view: I'm the only breadwinner in my family. Thus, I'm more than willing to protect what I got by any contractual means necessary.
It really does suck having to experience this stuff again, but I'm hoping that somewhere down the line when the dust finally settles, I'll start enjoying my job again. In the meantime, I'll keep looking at my employer not through rose colored glasses, but with the crystal clear glasses and dorky Buddy Holly frames that make me, me.
And that my friends, is a sobering reality check if there ever was one.