Tuesday, December 18, 2001

Today, an old colleague dropped in. Just. Out of the blue.
He used to be a cut-paste artist in a newspaper. Now he is a dinosaur of the inforamtion age.
After 20 years of service, and just four years short of his retirement, he has been handed the pink slip (of course, in this case the pink slip is merely metaphorical for his termination). He has been replaced by computers that can do his work faster, more efficiently and at a fraction of the cost.
His sense of loss -- and betrayal by an employer to whom he dedicated 20 years of his life -- is incalculable.
It's not the loss of remuneration that worries him ("My children are doing well," he says). It's the sheer weight of time on hands that's burdening him.
He wants to know whether there is anything he can do ("I can even deliver stuff, I know the city well"). The money is not important. He wants to feel that he is still useful for something. He wants to have his self-respect, not live off his children.

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