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04.23 To stop global catastrophe, we must believe in humans again

04.23 Melting permafrost in Arctic will have $70tn climate impact – study

04.23 US threatens to veto UN resolution on rape as weapon of war, officials say [“Stupid is as stupid does.” –Forrest Gump]

04.21 Trump and impeachment: where Democrats stand after Mueller

04.21 Dutch engineers build world's biggest sun-seeking solar farm [A replacement for lost Arctic ice?]

04.21 We’re altering the climate so severely that we’ll soon face apocalyptic consequences. Here are 9 last-ditch ways we could hack the planet to reverse that trend.[Hail Mary pass ideas]

04.18 'We Can Be Whatever We Have the Courage to See': New Video From AOC Envisions a #GreenNewDeal Future [7:35 video]

04.18 'Decades of denial': major report finds New Zealand's environment is in serious trouble

04.17 Thawing Permafrost Emitting Higher Levels of Potent Greenhouse Gas Than Previously Thought: Study

04.16 'That Backfired': Watch Bernie Sanders Counter Right-Wing Talking Point, Make Case for Medicare for All on Fox News

04.16 Cause of cancer is written into DNA of tumours, scientists find, creating a 'black box' for origin of disease

04.16 Scientists Unveil World's First Human Heart 3D-Printed From Patients' Own Cells

04.15 What It Was Like to Have a Baby in Sweden

04.14 'Shut the country down': British climate group Extinction Rebellion heads to US

04.13 With Youth Climate Actions Backed by Leading Experts, Latest Round of Protests Highlights Call for Bold and Urgent Action

04.11 Will You Rise Up for Climate Justice Next Week? Don’t Let Fatalism and Cynicism Hold You Back

04.11 300+ Groups to Congress: #GreenNewDeal 'Must Transform Our Food System and Revitalize Rural America'

04.10 Glaciers and arctic ice are vanishing. Time to get radical before it's too late [Willfully ignorant "conservatives" and corporately-bribed liberals diddle self-obsessively while life on earth dies]

04.10 Is there a beautiful, briny solution to the world’s clean water crisis?

04.08 'The perfect storm': hydrogen gains ground on LNG as alternative fuel [Good!]

04.08 Himalayan glaciers on the eve of destruction

04.08 Russia moves to free nearly 100 captive whales after outcry [Good!]

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04.12 DOJ Charging Docs: Julian Assange Committed Journalism

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US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'

04.23 'A Really Exciting Proposal': Elizabeth Warren's Education Overhaul Would Wipe Out Student Debt, Provide Free Public College

04.23 To Reassert Congressional War Authority, Sanders Demands Vote to Override Trump Veto on Yemen


04.21 Trump's moral squalor, not impeachment, will remove him from power

04.21 Pentagon Spending Set to Hit Near-Record Levels, But 'Establishment Says We Can't Afford' Progressive Policies

04.19 14 Must-Read Moments From the Mueller Report

04.19 No One Listens to the President

04.19 'Whimsical, uninformed': French ambassador's parting verdict on Trump

04.19 Mueller report: press secretary Sarah Sanders admitted to lying to reporters

04.19 Videos appear to show armed militia detaining migrants at US-Mexico border

04.19 Mueller report unable to clear Trump of obstruction of justice [PDF]

04.19 Nadler says Mueller report shows 'disturbing evidence' of obstruction of justice – video [2:41 video]

Justice Matters

04.21 In Ruling on Coal Mining, Federal Judge Issues Latest Rebuke of Trump's Attack on Public Lands

04.19 The Mueller Report Is Clear: Donald Trump Repeatedly Tried to Obstruct Justice

High Crimes

04.17 'Shameful': With Millions on Brink of Famine in Yemen, Trump Vetoes Resolution to End US Complicity

Economics & Corrupt Capitalism

04.23 The “disintegration” of global capitalism could unleash world war 3, warns top EU economist

04.23 The financial sector must be at the heart of tackling climate change [A reversal of their history of bad behavior]

04.21 Progressive Capitalism Is Not an Oxymoron [For the good of the public and healthier economic growth, can we make government and financial markets behave morally?]

04.19 The Pentagon’s Bottomless Money Pit [pdf; Until the Pentagon can pass audits, use their allocated budget to fight causes of global warming]

04.19 The Public Banking Revolution Is Upon Us

International & Futurism

04.23 To stop global catastrophe, we must believe in humans again

04.21 Frustration grows among migrants in Mexico as support fades

04.21 Decrying 'Toxic Alliance' of Macron and Polluters, Climate Campaigners Stage One of France's Largest Ever Acts of Civil Disobedience

04.21 Yellow Vests Demonstrate in Paris as Notre Dame Donations Highlight Wealth Inequality

04.21 The Observer view on the Mueller report: Trump is a disgrace not welcome in Britain

04.21 The Government Is Still Massively Complacent About Climate Change

04.19 Ways to Save the World

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  Print view: Land of the laid off

Land of the laid off

We, the unemployed, have no need for pity, but we could use a little understanding

by Danica Crittenden
Tuesday, 21 December 2010
As week two of unemployment begins, we're still in the land of the walking wounded: shell-shocked and zombie-like.

This is not the story of how I was laid off.

This is the story of how it feels to be laid off. Because until you've been there, you can't understand.

I scoured the Web for accounts of how it feels, looking for something to share with friends and family who don't "get it." To explain how I feel. And what I might (and might not) need from them right now. Surprisingly, my Web search didn't yield much, so here I am. I'll write it myself.

"No big deal," folks think. "Sure, money might be tight for a while, but this, too, shall pass." Right?

Wrong. Sure, I understand their side; I was one of them until a few days ago. Never been there, done that—no clue how it feels.

Where to begin? How to begin?

A quarter of my company was laid off, including all but a few of our close-knit team of editors and graphic designers. This isn't just my story. This is their story too.

As week two begins, we're still in the land of the walking wounded: shell-shocked and zombie-like. Feeling orphaned and hurting for those left behind without us—some of whom may feel even more orphaned than we, if that's possible.

No one ever told us being laid off would feel like a breakup, divorce or death. That Elisabeth Kübler-Ross' "five stages of grief" model might apply to us. That we might find ourselves driving down the street and suddenly bursting into tears, thinking of the smiles of the co-workers we'd miss the most.

As I write this, a new e-mail pops up in my inbox—my former co-worker again (I'll call her Joni), agreeing with my earlier suggestion that maybe getting all of us together today—again—isn't a half-bad idea. Four of us had lunch together yesterday, and, not ready to let go of each other just yet, moved to Joni's house, where we huddled on the couch sipping hot cocoa. Four had lunch together the day before, after packing up our cubicles into little company-provided boxes.

That might work today—but what about tomorrow? What to do with ourselves? Where to go? Where do we belong? To whom, with whom, do we belong? And so we keep gravitating toward each other: the only ones we know understand how we feel. The only ones with whom no explanation is needed. Because they're right there with us. And with each other, we can just be.

Joni tells me a colleague from another department—one with whom we had no contact, but who met the same fate—reached out to her and is joining our merry band of survivors. Joni says we need a catchy name.

The Survivors? The Walking Wounded? The Humpty Dumpties? (When will all the king's men come put all our pieces back together again?)

Another e-mail pops up in my inbox. Another co-worker. (As Joni pointed out, it will be a while before we stop thinking in the present tense. Until then, it's "us," "we" and "our.") There's a new name idea: The Insomniacs. Now we're all e-mailing each other at hours we were never even awake before.

Another e-mail—another coworker. Another day.

Hopefully, not another sleepless night.

*       *       *

And those friends and family who don't "get it"? What do we need from you?

We need you to understand that we're grieving. That this is a big deal. That we've lost a huge chunk of our lives, and there's a big, gaping hole. We've lost the place we called "home" every day for so long. The familiar faces and friends. The comfortable routine we've become accustomed to. (Yes, even the commute—in my case, two hours daily between Glen Burnie and Hunt Valley.) Knowing where we belong—and not only where, but also when, how and what's expected of us and by whom. Who we are.

We've all lost our place, to varying degrees (some of us made work our lives more than others; some of us have more life outside the office to cushion our fall). We need time to find our way. We need space to grieve in whatever ways suit us, with no expectations or limits placed on us. (If that means eating raw cookie dough in our PJs at 6 o'clock in the morning, so be it.)

We need you to understand that for us, this is like a death—and the person who died is us. At least parts of us.

We need you to understand that for us, this is like a death — and the person who died is us. At least parts of us.

At least give us a few weeks; is that really too much to ask? Some of us were there for 14 years.

What don't we need? We don't need your worried glance at the bowl of raw cookie dough ... or cake, pie or loaf of raisin bread ... while making it obvious you're holding your tongue. We don't need to feel like we can't treat ourselves to one lunch out without getting the evil eye, your thoughts written across your face, plain as day:

"How can you even think of spending money on such a thing?" "You need to be watching your money; there are bills to pay." "How dare you take time to take yourself out for lunch—you need to be pounding the pavement looking for a new job." "Why are you wasting time with your former co-workers (some of whom you couldn't stand when you had to spend time with them)? Move on."

We don't need to feel like you're scrutinizing our every move, requiring an accounting of how we spend each moment and whether we're spending it as you think we "should."

In short, we don't need you sending us the message, no matter how silently, to "get over it."

Nor do we need your jealous, passive-aggressive glares at our perceived "freedom" to sit around watching soaps and eating bon-bons all day if we so please. Because that is so not what it's like for us right now. (Please look in my eyes when I'm talking and not at my bowl of cookie dough. Thank you.)

Some of us are in our 40s, 50s, even 60s, and have never done anything but this. This is all we know how to do. Will it be enough? Is there a place for us now?

And when we do, finally, start "getting over it" enough to pound the pavement in search of a new start, what awaits us? Competing with each other for the same jobs? Some of us are in our 40s, 50s, even 60s, and have never done anything but this. This is all we know how to do. Will it be enough? Is there a place for us now? Will all the good jobs go to our younger, flashier colleagues?

Some of us are in our 20s — fresh out of college. Some of us even started this job while in college. This is all we know how to do. Will it be enough? Will we lose the good jobs to our older, classier, more experienced colleagues?

*       *       *

As another day dawns, I slowly see one good thing to come from all of this: My writer's block is finally gone.

*       *       *

May each day bring another good thing — for all of us.

Danica Crittenden was an editor at a well-known education publishing company. A freelance writer and editor, she can be reached at This article originally appeared in the Baltimore Sun, and is republished here with permission of the author.

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This story was published on December 21, 2010.

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