My dear hubby James called me on Wednesday right after lunch. I knew it was not going to be good because he normally doesn’t call me middle of the day, nor does he call me during the work day unless to tell me he is going to be working late. “Hey, honey, I got laid off,” he said. Oddly enough, we went through this the same month exactly a year ago. I was first laid off in September and then he was laid off first week of October. Sign of the times, I suppose. They don’t call it The Great Recession for nothing.
“I had to call you — I was getting a little emotional. I feel like I let our family down,” James told me.
“You did the right thing, I am glad you called me. You are not letting our family down. I am proud of you and we will deal with this when you get home.” I told him. Then I listened to the little details of what he was told by management and I couldn’t help but feel a bit annoyed with the employment environment today. James had just worked quite a bit of overtime launching the company’s games on Facebook’s brand spanking new mobile platform. There was a delay on account of Facebook and then Steve Job’s death. It was launched the following week on Monday… two days later he gets “restructured.” Baby Boomers may talk about job loyalty but they lived during a time when you can live on one-income, pay for college, and have a pension. James and I do not live in that world — we work in the tech industry and restructuring is a regularity. You are lucky if you get matching on your 401k.
At times like this I think back to my grandparents. I was raised by my grandparents so I hear about what happened during the war; during their youth they had to live through the Great Chinese (Hyper)Inflation. The recent economic times has been compared quite a bit to the Great Depression of the 1930s. A great many economists and experts can tell you about the difference between a recession and a depression, but here’s what it boils down to for me at a pedestrian level.
My grandparents lived through the days when your whole month’s salary can only buy you an egg. While we are seeing an increase in money supply, it is nothing like the hyperinflation that my grandparents lived through. That kind of upheaval is not something I have ever seen in my lifetime. Today, we have the Occupy Wall Street protests; back then there was the Bonus Army (43,000 people, 17,000 of them World War I veterans) march on Washington that had to be dispatched by U.S. Army tanks. Back then, only the man worked and women didn’t have any opportunity to go out and make a living. There was no unemployment, no medicare/medic-aid, no food stamps, no welfare, and most importantly, no FDIC.
Call it a hunch, women’s intuition, or just plain crazy, I feel that a better opportunity is on the horizon for my family. James’s resume is stronger than ever and the social and mobile gaming market seems to be doing quite well. I have been decluttering like crazy for the past few months, and the whole family can follow James anywhere he finds a job quite easily. The kids are not in school yet so we can pick and and go anywhere. Anyone has a tip on a good senior/executive level producer job in the game industry?