I took a “Facebook vacation.”
What prompted me to do so? My husband, Frank, had lost his job of 30 years. He’d survived many rounds of lay-offs in his company. Unfortunately, the dreaded event had finally occurred. I must admit that my chronic worrying for 2 years was almost worse than when he was actually given the word that he would lose his position in 6 months.
It is frequently said that loyalty is no longer valued by corporations. Thus, my husband who had seen a company through thick and thin since the summer before his senior year in college was no longer valued. In fact, he was “more expensive” than a new hire. Frank wasn’t a positive part of a spreadsheet.
Adding insult to injury, he’d been let go just prior to being acknowledged for 30 years of employment. I don’t recall if he would have received an engraved gold watch or some other token of corporate gratitude. Rather, he’d received a pink-slip and a compensation package.
My heart broke for Frank.
So, I visited the local trophy shop and chose a beautiful mahogany table clock to engrave. On his 30 year-anniversary day, I presented him with the clock. He opened it up and read the engraving: ”To Frank in Recognition of 30 Years of Loyal Service and Dedication.”
He was both surprised and touched. I cried. I cried for him, for my kids, for me, and for all the other families around the country suffering unemployment.
A few years before, I’d come across a note from his former boss. “Don’t think I’m unaware of the emails you send at 2:30 in the morning. Your hard work isn’t going unnoticed.” I was both wistful and proud of him at the same time. At that time in his career, he’d described his job as “trying to drink from a firehose.” Consequently, he spent many late nights completing the work he couldn’t finish during the day.
Working into the early hours of the morning and going above and beyond the call of duty are qualities no longer lauded by corporate decision-makers.
So, how does this painful time in our family history relate to my Facebook vacation?
I found myself viewing Facebook several times per day. I was saddened that we couldn’t take the vacations our friends were experiencing. The cheerfulness of friends’ posts didn’t match my anxiety about our family’s situation. Frank had always been financially prudent. Our finances were fine but we were cutting back on expenditures (e.g vacations) because it was “the right thing to do.”
My friends had EVERY right to post about their trips and successes. I was the one that needed to take a break. I didn’t want to resent their well-deserved vacations and positive posts.
I deactivated my Facebook account. It was part of my road to recovery.
Results from a recent study out of The University of Michigan indicate that Facebook may actually undermine emotional well-being. College students who were frequent Facebook users were found to “decline in life satisfaction levels over time.” Gender, self-esteem, and depression were taken into account and did not affect the results.
For whatever it’s worth, here’s my 2-cents about Facebook. I LOVE keeping in touch with relatives and seeing pictures of the babies of family and friends. Through this internet interface, I’ve learned of college admissions, new jobs, engagements, pregnancies, and births. I find posts of interesting YouTube videos and invitations to concerts and other events by my use of this social medium. There are times in my life when I use Facebook more frequently and others when I am simply too busy to spend any time perusing posts. And finally, there are times when life is just too painful for me to spend time viewing a “happy world,” such as when my mother died, our family received a very difficult diagnosis, the unexpected deaths of friends occurred, or tragic news was received.
I’m just not sure that youth have the ability to assess the affect that heavy use of Facebook may have on their emotional health. The study mentioned above supports this point of view.
Have a fantastic labor-free weekend!