I’m sitting here trying in inject myself with a little enthusiasm for a press release another litter of capybara babies, but I’m thinking about my older sister. The capys are cute and fuzzy, my sister’s situation is one keeping in the current crappy economic climate.
She has been in the printing/graphics industry in Manhattan for 25 years. With all the evolution in computers and such, the desktop side of things has really changed and the printing scene in NYC is shrinking and getting more specialized. Between union infighting and client shenanigans, I guess the ice was never really thick. The changes in technology and cut-throat nature of the business really took away from business being so New York centered as it once was. With every firm everywhere running lean and mean, you got to be diversifying all the time. The firm she was with was tied up in a number of the trading card companies, until they were sold last year. New owners promptly canned a good chunk of the staff including my sister. She hooked on with another place for awhile who wanted somebody for all hours, etc and I think it would have been a great gig for somebody in their early twenties, but not so much when you are 47, 48 years old.
I hate to call and suggest this or that, because she knows all that. The intervening time frame while she applies for this and that has taxed my folks’ abilities to offer financial support, and she had to pry into her 401K, and has come to the realization that unemployment insurance doesn’t really cut it when living in Manhattan. She told my mom Monday night that she thinks the security deposit could cover May if it comes to that and after that, she wasn’t so sure. Can you imagine having to let go of a rent controlled apartment in Chelsea? and head home to Buffalo and bunk with Mom and Dad for a bit?
My younger sister lives near Harlem. She had to deal with an apartment fire three years ago. She said something about how she had to start over, too. I understand the sentiment but it isn’t really the same. The younger one still had her profession and had to replace things. The older has the things, but not the profession. Our work does define us to a degree (whether we want it to or not) and older sis has done a good job with coping, but I know the limitations are driving her nuts. She is typically one of the great over spenders in generosity and for almost 18 months has had to shut that instinct down.
I remember chuckling a little when that GM’s first mistake last year was giving me a car loan. That the first sign of the end was my approval. Ironic still that I might finally be in the position to help if she does have to come home.
To have to reinvent yourself when you think you are finally settling into what you want to be when you grow up…nothing about it doesn’t stink.