I had a quick drink with an acquaintance last night. A guy who gave me some work when he was president of a small digital ad agency and I was (ahem) between jobs. I won't say that we are really friends but there was some symbiosis between us, so while I am most often anti-social, I agreed to meet him at the Oyster Bar in Grand Central so he could, afterwards hop on the 8:47 to Hastings or wherever, and I could take the 6 train home.
My acquaintance had hit what might be, if you're French (or affected) be called an annus miserabilis. In the past 12 months his agency has been merged with another and he was forced out. His wife divorced him. Leaving him lonely and without his four kids. And his father's come down with cancer.
Now, he's asking for my ear and experience as he searches for jobs.
This is just the way life is.
Especially as you get older.
The world, it seems, conspires to strip you like gypsy moths strip bark.
They take away your work identity.
Your identity as a provider.
Your identity as a father.
All that can disappear, I said, as another beer was placed in front of us--his ready for tears.
All that can disappear.
But you remain.
The work you have done.
The network you have built.
The reputation you have forged.
You still have you.