Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Unanticipated Job Loss

Painfully Obvious by mliu92

Greg Messel’s The Illusion of Certainty illuminates for readers the false comfort into which the early 2000s lulled us, leaving us totally unprepared for the uncertainty we saw in the last few years of the decade.  Through the story of Marc and his project team, Messel illustrates the devastating effects that the end of this illusion brought, as the delusion of continued prosperity came to a sudden halt when they lost their jobs. For many readers, this is reminiscent of the day that they unexpectedly lost their jobs, or perhaps reflects the lives of their spouses, friends, and family members, as so many Americans have been touched by the unemployment crisis of the recession in some way.

A few months after the news of the economic crisis hit in September, Marc is informed via videoconference that his team has been “excessed,” leaving him unemployed and leaving him as the bearer of bad news to his team.  Although they had often spoken to one another about “how thankful they were to have good jobs and not be unemployed,” their luck finally ran out.

As Marc’s team is busy, “scurrying around and working hard as usual… smiling and laughing with co-workers and clients,” he dreads being the one to deliver the news of their unemployment to them, knowing that “In a few moments he had to open the door and wipe the smiles off of their faces.”  As he is forced to inform them that their jobs have been “excessed,” each of the team members must face the grim reality of unemployment, and what that means in each of their lives.

Each of Marc’s team members has their own unique problems for the timing of the news; “Everyone was being caught in an awkward spot when the music stopped and there were no chairs available.”  Samantha and her husband had just booked a trip to Europe, Jerry’s wife is expecting a baby, and Andrea and her husband had just purchased a home. Many readers will recall similar situations when their music stopped and there were no chairs available for them, leaving them without employment.  

Just as Marc’s team operated under the illusion of certainty that the good luck and prosperous jobs would continue forever, buying expensive homes and booking expensive trips, so did the rest of society.  The Illusion of Certainty highlights many of the economic problems that burden our society and reflects many of the emotions, trials, and tribulations that we went through as a nation after the beginning of the recession.  

Greg Messel becomes a voice for the socioeconomic crisis through an artistic representation of its effects, and his work serves as a reminder for readers to stay vigilant and not to become too certain in our future, our fates, and ourselves.  www.gregmessel.com

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