For a fair amount of time I enjoyed success in a career I never thought I could avow and one I never expected to earn the respect of my peers. It was to be a temporary position in the midst of the worst recession until the one you and I face today. It was the job I gratefully took after long periods of unemployment and no cash. It was to be temporary and I hated it!
I had to come to accept the hand dealt and made the most of it. The temporary job evolved in new directions some actually bringing meaning and I believe a positive impact for some of the unfortunate souls I encountered. I advocated a better, dignified life. I became almost totally absorbed in this work at times and earned a reputation for possessing a great wealth of knowledge and the resources to BEAT the System, cut the BS "Red Tape" and actually do something for complete strangers without a voice of their own. I felt it was Only Just and "the Right Thing" to do. "Just one or two years" I told myself.
Much, much later a few individuals realized and caught notice that I was willing to work, to fight, to shout until my Voice was heard. I was given a step up in the ranks and began a new role to mentor others, introduce innovation to share a fifteen year collection of resources in the community so that others could have a share and find some iota of success and some pride in that their horrible job had meaning. But, only if they brought a determination and a sense of decency.
Let's face it, any job then and now is what YOU make it become. (Today, some high positions i.e. Wall St. became for what they "made off" with to satisfy a selfish and insatiable greed.
My "rush" knew I was doing a damn good job period. There was no big paycheck, few awards and no stock options or bonuses. It had its' drawbacks as I forgot many of those in my life, family and friends and eventually my alienation and for many of them premature death left me pretty much alone and without their distant rudder my personal lifestyle almost did me in.
I recovered through the aid of my God and Rehab, went back to the coal mine and found my mind and my keen sense of wit and humor was sharper than ever before. Someone upstairs (or downstairs) always kept me in their scope.
I became what may know is a Survivor! I overcame much but some demons remained and to my surprise some new ones emerged from the earth's craggy surface and down to a fiery core!
What I knew to be just, to be right, to be of honor for more than now 20 years was now a center of controversy, a witch-hunt, harassment and discrimination for only they know the identity as to the kind.
I was blind-sided, undermined in authority and Humiliated in front of my own who reported to me. This was not the act of one or two in Executive Management but became their mantra and they recruited my peers and co-workers to orchestrate almost nine years of their style of "water boarding." If I said the sky is Blue, they insisted it was Green!
Well one might imagine after this and even more insidious acts of psychological torture endured for what? They did not like the fact I did not follow the norm, an endless chain of command that strung themselves from Detroit to Lansing to Houghton and back before a decision could be rendered and possibly someone's life kept from ruin.
My suggestion, methods, those that stood the test of time and met Policy they knew nothing of was repeatedly overruled and I was bashed to the floor.
I withstood the barrage longer than one might expect and I clung to my own battle cry: "I will survive, I will prevail!"
Eventually the numbers of executive managers grew and I found now after 30 years it was taking its toll. Regretfully, without even the few well-positioned allies I counted on, forgot or wrote me off as dead before I knew it.
I never was one to have my Voice silenced by anyone! No Sir and Yes We Can!
However upon executing my own "surprise Great Escape" I leapt over the 'barb-wire' fence, within a few feet of the rail on the other side, in synchronicity with the arrival of slow-paced and very loud horn of what I thought was “The Midnight Train to Georgia,” or at least the “Train They Call New Orleans.” Now Katrina was fresh in our minds at this time but I was willing to chance it rather than remain in the path of these “hurricanes!”