constant sorrow

… I am a man of constant sorrow … I’ve seen trouble, all my days …

I’m a simple man. I have my simple pleasures, and overall, a simple life.

I have my family (in a distant country) and my friends (all over the place) and I love them all. I miss them all, those who aren’t nearby and those who are but I don’t see. I keep them close — in my heart and mind at least.

Then I have these other people. People whom I wish to be close, but they stay distant because that’s who they are. They are distant from me, for some reason. In my own heart, they may just be closer than they think, and closer than I can bear at times.

I’m not the most perceptive, or intelligent, or even paranoid guy, but there are times that I think that people are looking at me. That they are wondering about me, who I am and what I’m thinking. That they might be contemplating just who I might be, and how they might begin talking to me.

Then again, maybe not.

no mañana

… You’ll live like there’s no tomorrow … ain’t gonna waste this life …

I came back to work today after one of the hardest days I’ve had. Yesterday, I arrived at work and the company had about 130 employees. When I left, we were down around the 80 mark.

With the economy the way it is the whole world over, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that a layoff might happen at your company. I wasn’t surprised because I knew that it was going to happen, and that, as a manager of a group of about 20 people, I had to participate.

Speaking to the people that remained was extremely difficult. I’m supposed to be their leader. I’m supposed to be strong. I’m supposed to be their support. Yesterday, I tried to be all of those things, but I don’t think I was successful. Someone whispered to me later in the evening, when we were all (some that were laid off and some that weren’t) at a friend’s birthday bash at a nearby pub, “you seem to be taking this harder than anyone else here.”

It’s hard telling people that their friends are being asked to leave. It’s hard asking people to go home so that those being laid off can pack on their own. It’s hard being asked to walk around while they are packing and offer whatever support you can, while keeping an eye on them also. I didn’t know what to say to people, but to offer them whatever help I could.

Our CFO said to remember that “it wasn’t personal”. People just lost their jobs. People’s lives were just thrown into disarray. And not everyone, just some of them. To me, that’s personal.

I haven’t been a manager for very long, but I feel that to help people achieve their best you have to invest a lot of time in them on a personal level. My team is strong. They work together. They go out together. They look after each other. I am responsible to them and for them. They give me their support and I give them everything I can. Yes, it was personal.

I don’t know if the people from my team will want to talk to me. I think that they will probably blame me. I have to let them blame me. I can’t tell them that it wasn’t me that made the decision, as I am their manager — the buck stops with me, and while I didn’t make the decisions, this is not about me making myself feel good. I did know it was coming, but I wasn’t allowed to tell anyone. So in that way, I am responsible.

Tomorrow will never be today as yesterday once was.