Friday, October 16, 2009

You Can’t Transition-Proof Your Life

I’m beginning to learn more and more each day that life is about transitions, and how I deal with the transitions is what shapes me as a person… as a functioning adult in today’s world. I still think that it’s strange to refer to myself as an adult. I know I am of that age group and actively functioning as one, but part of me still feels fresh out of college barely prepared for the responsibility handed to me. At what point does someone transition from a “punk college kid” to a “makin’ it in the world adult”? Does the Mary Tyler Moore theme suddenly erupt as you’re walking in to your office one Monday morning? Does it become really truly adulthood when you buy your first new car? Make your first mortgage payment? When you have your first child?

Like a lot of things being an adult is a state of mind, one that needs to be transitioned in to. Here in the U.S. you can drive at 16, help decide who runs our government and be sent to war at 18, and drink legally at 21. The rates on car insurance go down at 25 and you can join AARP at 55, retire and collect social security at 65 and then what?

In the past two weeks the reality of the working during a recession hit my company, and for the first time I experienced companywide layoffs, gracefully masked as a “reorganizing”. Fortunately for me I was spared the pink slip but returned to the office missing the 15 people that had been let go. Talking to one of my coworkers who works at another office in Arizona that lost 27 people, a large majority of their office staff, he compared it to grieving the loss of someone to death. Suddenly they’re gone and the reminders of them are everywhere but you have to pick up the pieces and move on. It is a horrible thing, but you learn from it and hopefully your company is better for it, and you all transition together to making it work.

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