Life as an Extreme Sport

family dignity

I don’t often talk about my family; I’m not sure why this is. But I’ve noticed that when they do come up, someone’s always surprised to learn some detail or other – generally that I have younger siblings.

I was talking to my mother this evening, about my dad’s continuing job hunt. (Dad has been out of work since Honeywell acquired the company he worked for and laid almost everyone off.) She mentioned someone in Arizona having something to talk with Dad about, someone Dad laid off a little over a year ago. Mom was sort of surprised this former employee not only kept in contact with Dad, but had been doing his best to help however he could.

It didn’t surprise me, though, when Mom told me about the laying off of the employee. The guy contacted Dad a couple of days after being laid off (which Dad did over a nice lunch, making sure to have a good severance package with him) and told Dad thank you. Seem odd? Dad was being thanked for allowing the former employee to keep his dignity through the lay-off process. And that’s the kind of person my father is – he inspires deep loyalty in people because he’s kind, and treats people how he would want to be treated. Dad would never do anything to intentionally demean someone, or undermine their self-confidence and dignity.

I think one of the hardest parts of being laid off, and looking for a new job, has been the realization that people aren’t, at their core, nice – people haven’t been treating Dad as he treated those around him when he was the executive in charge, instead of the job hunter searching. And as much as my mother drilled social manners into me, my father taught me business manners – callbacks, thank you notes, consideration and politeness. Not getting those things is foreign to him; I guess in a lot of ways he’s in that last little era of people where business wasn’t cutthroat competition, and you treated your employees and vendors well because keeping employees happy was the best way to a longterm successful business.

There’s a good job opportunity right now, at a company that espouses the things Dad values. They have a high retention value, and most employees have been there a long time. They’re around his age, closeknit, and similarly tempered. He’s reaching the end of the interview process, and it all still looks good. I hope he gets it – both my baby sis and I have a good feeling about it, and I think Dad does, too. He just doesnt’t want to get his hopes up.

Dad being out of work has been hard on everyone, especially him. The fact that the three of us kids are grown adults doesn’t mean much to him; he still wants to provide for us, buy us things, fly us home, take care of us. Being out of work has made this harder for him. On top of that, like many men of his generation, who he is, is tied up in what he does.

If you’re so inclined, keep kind thoughts for my father in your prayers, meditations, or thoughts. There aren’t many people out there who can lay someone off, and in the process gain a loyal friend, and he deserves a change in fortune.