Gregory G. H. Rihn (milwaukeesfs) wrote,
Gregory G. H. Rihn

The Dreaded Annual Review

That's what I've come to call this time of year, with its pretty much
inevitable summing up of the past year's events. Since I've determined
that I have a mild tendency toward Seasonal Affective Disorder which
tends to kick in about the first week of December, being aware of that
helps keep me on an even keel and pull myself out of it most times. No
question, there's been some rocky Decembers--I've lost jobs, had family
members ill, had aged relatives die, the usual things, but not lately.

This year has been an annus horribilis in a lot of ways for a lot of
people, particularly given wide spread problems like the economy and the
flu. The main issue for us has been tension, first dealing with the AT&T
labor negotiations, which are just now getting into final stages for the
Southeast and East regions. There was the question of whether there
would be a strike at all, having to travel for strike training, and
worrying about having to actually try to perform my new duties should I
be called upon to. Then, in the last quarter, came the announcement that
there would be job cuts in my workgroup. For my team, 3 of 12 managers
were laid off. That I was not, and actually got a raise, is at least one
thing that I can count to my personal credit, having worked to obtain
and maintain a good opinion among my supervisors. We also managed to get
H1N1 vaccinations with relative ease through a City of Milwaukee Health
Department clinic, so that's a load off the mind.

For the rest, the fact that we and my immediate family have all retained
our jobs and reasonable good health is of course out of my control, and
my biggest problem seems to be a kind of "survivor guilt," as figurative
lightning has struck all around us. Nearby, we've had two very close
friends die, one after a long hard struggle, and one with shocking
suddenness. Both have left behind families devastated in different ways.
In another degree of separation, one of Georgie's co-workers had both
parents die within a month; a couple of mine lost parents as well, and
my supervisor had his brother make a serious attempt at suicide, and his
wife diagnosed with cancer. We've got numerous friends suffering
long-term job loss who are scraping by.

So, while I suppose that it's appropriate to feel some modest
satisfaction at my accomplishments, thankfulness that tragedy has passed
by (albeit closely), and cautious optimism for the coming year, it's
hard to feel really jolly.

That being said, I hope that every one who reads this will have a happy
holiday of whatever sort you celebrate, and a MUCH BETTER New Year!
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