This is a letter written to a good friend of mine (used with permission) from his son. I cleaned up some names and industry, but it shows the level of stress present in the workforce of the 21st century. I remember the days he is writing about from the 70's, 80's and see today that nothing much has changed. The almighty dollar rules both in the board room, the stock market, and people's personal choices. I am not judging. I am simply pointing out that life is still a rat race in the 21st century.
God, wife and family come in that order. He will supply the sustainance.
Matthew 6:24 gives the direction. " No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other,or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon"
I look back on my life, and thank God that He got me through the tribulations of a major mill modernization- $124 million- with 16 hour days for 14 months. It cost me 6 weeks of bed rest afterwards, ie. total burn out. My point of this post is to maybe help someone who reads it to get the priorities right and address the Needs vs Wants that I have written about in previous posts.
So here goes....
Industry curtailments are over, so they say, as they are just able to get enough orders to keep the place running. They fired the #2 guy a couple of weeks ago - he's the fellow who fired 4 of our best people and promoted some of our least capable, but that's just my opinion - damage which will take years to overcome, if ever. Now the president has elected to get involved in the day to day operation of the mill to try and get it running 90%+ efficiency (last year we averaged 87%). He is definitely coming after maintenance, questioning everything we do, wanting weekly feedback and repeatedly implying that we won't be getting more tradesmen until he sees better utilization from existing numbers (working tradesmen now down to 105, it was 180 when I started 8 years ago). For me, things haven't been great, which is nothing new. The week you left for Cuba had to be a low in my career - my area had a few high profile failures and I was on my own to deal with them (my partner was off). Ultimately, I ended up going some 37 hours without sleep before finally getting some prescription sleeping pills to turn my whirling mind off long enough to fall asleep. Now I'm seeing a shrink to help cope with my stress. Basically, when things are going bad at work, I am unable to shut it off and go to sleep at night. Instead, I toss and turn, worrying about all the things I need to do for the next day and fear all the things that may go wrong (and 9 times out of 10, they do not). This type of sleepless nights started about 2 years ago but are getting much more frequent and severe and bring with them extra strains within the family and weight loss / poor appetite. To me, it’s all mental and I just need to keep reminding myself that I can only do so much and there is other help out there which I need to tap into when things are breaking down all around me. I'm made it through tough times at work before and as such, I am confused as to why my confidence level is so low and why this level of worrying has increased so much as of late. The good news is that the boss and wife are incredibly supportive and the shrink says that I am doing all the right things in terms of recognizing what triggers stress and the things I am doing to try and deal with it (talking to co-workers, keeping lists by the bedside, recognizing when I need to step away and ask for help rather than try to pull an all-nighter at the mill trying to resolve something, etc). I have it so good in all aspects of life - great family, great job, and great area to live - which I must keep reminding myself when I get so depressed and wish I could just walk away from responsibility and drive a forklift in a warehouse for $15 an hour. My wife and I talk about options but really, without accepting a serious life adjustment and downsizing material and life expectations, quitting a $100K per year job and taking on 2 jobs that might pull in half this amount combined does not sound that appealing. I keep thinking what my supplier friend said to me some 2 years ago - suck it up and do what is right for the family. In my opinion, he is right, and when I think of the struggles that you two endured during your lives, it makes me feel pretty crappy that I complain at all. Things will get better - I will just need to work at it."
Needless to say, I have been praying that this fellow can find peace and that his family will be supportive. I also am praying for the Lord to intervene in this situation.
My two sons are also facing similar stress levels. From my experience, if it doesn't kill you, it will harden you to any situation that may come along in the future. I know that for me, had I been a christian at the time of my tribulations, I would have had a higher Mentor in my corner.
Any of you experiencing this? The recession is rough, but at what point is enough, enough?