Saturday, January 31, 2009

Fires in Trash Cans

One of the images I have in my head about the Great Depression are those small groups of desolate men, surrounding a fire that they've lit up in a garbage can. They're homeless, and huddling around the fire and each other for some warmth. I don't even know if this is a real image, but I can't help but think about that now, in the wake of all the jobs lost over the last few months.

Thanks to electronic social networks, I can see the electronic version of these garbage can fires. On Facebook, punching in "laid off" produces over 200 groups, with group titles like "I just got laid off due to this craptastical economy", "I Got Laid Off from Dell", and "I got laid off from IndyMac Bank and all I got was this lousy T-Shirt." On Twitter, I see a layoffs hashtag, but searching for "laid off" produces tweets that are only minutes old.

It's in the air, the demise of steady work. The jobless among us are gathered around their families, and around these electronic garbage cans, talking about their firings. Misery loves company, and those garbage can fires are online now. Good luck, all of you. I'm hoping that the economic stimulus plan works, so we can all be in a better place tomorrow.

1 comment:

  1. The photos of men huddled around trash cans are real. My grandmother told me about it. A recent movie for kids had a great story set during the depression - Kitt Kittredge All American Girl. The story of how her family fell from having a decidedly middle class existence to running a boarding house to homelessness was very well done. I recommend it.

    Lay-offs are hitting everyone. A few non-profits I know are actually suspending operations. My step-daughter has just been laid off and my daughter is worrying about if she'll be laid off as is my husband. We've all just basically planned to be laid-off and executing plans A, B, C and D for the lay-offs. I've been freelancing for the past year and a half.
    When I allow myself to get frightened is when I try to reach a contact or two or three while doing a project and everyone I knew at an organization is gone because they've been "let go."
    I recommend that everyone armor-up.