They say that even the smallest of ripples can alter a shoreline a single grain of sand at a time. On Wednesday morning the world’s oldest conservatory maker closed its doors without warning, leaving hundreds of dedicated workers without jobs. In the town of Darlington, England, people scrambled to protect those left unpaid and unemployed, while others struggled with increasing resentment directed at the investment firm they believe failed to deliver on promises made and ultimately turned its back on its employees. The ripples of change were set in motion and it didn’t take long for those ripples to cross the great pond. By Thursday morning I too found myself within the ranks of the unemployed.
I’ve spent the past five years of my life working for a small company importing fine English conservatories to the United States. I enjoyed a comfortable salary in a casual office environment with great hours and good people, very good people. In a moment, it was all taken away. How does one deal with such a blow? Actually it feels a little surreal. For me, it was a bit like being a tiny particle riding a gentle wave. One moment I was at the crest moving forward, tying up loose ends, clearing my desk, and packing up my things. The next moment I felt as though I was in the trough of the wave, moving in the opposite direction, and gaining little forward motion. It was a slow drift from arriving at work in the morning prepared to deal with the circumstances head on, to walking out the door with my coffee cup in a cardboard box.
It wasn’t until late in the evening that the shock of the day began to wear off and the gentle ripple gained momentum on me. I didn’t eat dinner, because I had no appetite. I stayed up late, because I had nowhere to be in the morning. Around midnight, my heart began to feel heavy. This was my job. These were my friends. This was my life. I sell conservatories. I draw little glass buildings for people who live in big houses. I liked my job and it was taken away because an investment firm, who called themselves Endless, closed the doors on a 137-year-old company after only nine months calling it “unfortunate and unforeseeable.” I wonder if now they can see the changes made by the endless ripples they set in motion.
Today is Friday. On any normal Friday I’d be at the office following up on leads, responding to emails and doing a bit of drawing. But today is far from normal. I spent the morning trying to figure out where we could cut corners and how I might earn some extra income to soften the blow. Eventually I had to go outside and take a deep breath. Now I find myself sitting at my computer reading new blogs, responding to comments and doing a bit of writing. I think maybe it is time to dust off that manuscript. Yes, I’m still feeling a bit out of sorts, but I know that with every ending comes a new beginning. I’m setting my own ripples in motion. These are my ripples of change. Today is a new Friday with endless possibilities.