The wrong end of the telescope

I got a call this morning from a man who had just become redundant. He had been on a good salary and was naturally concerned for what it meant for his account.

I was able to run through all of that without issue, but felt a pang talking to him. Quite often I’ll get calls from people like him. Many of them are quite alarmed, and some pretty upset. I’m paid to do a job straight down the middle, but whenever I get one of these calls I’ll make sure that I go the extra mile. Generally I’m limited in what I can do, but at least I can offer my support – for what it’s worth.
 I wonder if it would be the same if I hadn’t gone through similar tribulations. I can be a hard arse, but I think I’ve always been sensitive and compassionate – at least I hope so. From as long as I can remember there but for the grace of god go I has been a guiding principle – until the day came when it was ‘I’.

 Now, having lived through that myself, I have a greater understanding of what it feels like. For some reason it felt keener today. He was a nice bloke, but clearly very worried. I wished him luck, reassured him with the standard platitudes that “you’ll be right”. He demurred, uncertain, “at my age?”

 He was about a month older than me. I felt like telling him of myself – but then, I’m hardly a reassuring story.

 I said nothing. We disconnected and went about my business. I imagined him following up on the things I had notified him about. In many ways he was fortunate, and I’d told him that. He had income protection insurance. No doubt he would receive a handy severance package. And even his liability was quite reasonable. Still, it’s all perspective. It depends what end of the telescope you are.

 It’s natural, regardless, to feel concern. I’m curious to know what happens to him, but there are thousands more like him – and some in truly dreadful circumstances. The wheel turns though. It keeps turning.

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