When I think about an extraordinary day at work, I guess it would be 9/11. I remember being on the bus, going to work, and kind of hearing people talking about a plane going into the World Trade Center and I just assumed it was a little private plane, that the pilot was stupid and wasn’t following the correct flight path.
When I got to work, I don’t remember at what point they realized it was a commercial airplane. I remember I kept trying to do work because I really had a lot of work to do. We just kept looking at the internet and the news. People started emailing me about the second building and you really couldn’t get any work done that day. And then the next day, the whole city had shut down. And what I remember about it–and it always comes back to me in September when it’s a beautiful day—9/11 was a beautiful day, and the day after it was another gorgeous fall day. I guess that will be the most historic day I’ll ever live through because I’m retired now so I haven’t had to live through this pandemic while working.
And then on a personal level, when I got laid off from a job I had been at for ten years, it was really traumatic. It kind of felt like a divorce. I just remember that. I was working as a paralegal at a law firm. Things got slow and one of us had to get laid off. There were two of us and I was the one who got laid off. It was really difficult. It was a shock.
There’s a movie with George Clooney. His job was basically to fly around the country and basically lay people off. When they make a list of the ten most traumatic things that can happen to people, losing your job is right up there with divorce and all kinds of other traumatic things.
In the movie, they had all these 20, 30 seconds of people being told that they were losing their jobs. I had to keep reminding myself that they were actors because they were so good. It just looked like they were real people. I kept saying, “No, they would not have done that. They would not have gone into an office and watched real people getting laid off.” It was so realistic. It was very sad. Very sad.