Identity Theft

I was pondering my life the other day, and I’ve come up with an interesting observation: I am known by many names to many people. How is it that MS has taken away a major identifier in that list? How do I put that into perspective?

Early on, I was known as a daughter, sister, granddaughter, niece and neighborhood chum. I slowly added student, girlfriend,  wife, daughter-in-law, sister-in-law,  and mother to the mix. Then came employee, taxpayer, author, mother-in-law, blogger and grandmother. Now, years later, I am still all of those identities…all except one. I am no longer an employee.

About three years ago, I had to leave my position as a credit manager with a small manufacturing company because of worsening MS symptoms. I had been dealing with the disease for about eleven years and had been managing OK. When fatigue started to become an issue, and my faltering gait was not remedied by a cane, I reasoned that it was time to gracefully bow out of the job.

Now, my job was not a barn-burner, and I wasn’t saving lives or anything like that, but my diligence in maintaining monies coming in and going out of the company (I was also accounts payable) was a job I loved and did well. Because the company was small, I could see the direct relationship between keeping the company solvent and keeping those in the factory (and office) employed. So, when MS forced me to quit, I lost a major source of my identity – one of marketable professional.

All pop psychology books will tell you that you are a sum of your parts. Well, I had a great chunk stolen from me. The unexpected fallout of the job loss was how strongly it affected me. Who would have guessed that would happen? We all think we are mostly in charge of setting the terms for our employment, but sometimes that isn’t the case.

Unemployment through illness forces you to come to grips with uncontrollable events. I’ve become much more aware of the vagaries of life. Also, no matter how top-notch you were in your working life, someone out there can also do it, and  do it just as good as you. At best, you will be fondly remembered by the company as someone who used to work there.

So, in short, just because I lost this one descriptor, all of my other identities are safe and sound and theft-proof. They are intrinsically me. They are – happily – proving to be the ones, in the end, that really matter.




2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. John
    May 13, 2014 @ 08:27:18

    What is unique about where you used to work, is that we in a lot of ways a family. We love, we share, we fight. We have more long term employees than the norm. There must be something that binds us all together. We are family.


  2. Miss Jan's Words
    May 13, 2014 @ 09:41:17

    Yes! You are exactly right! That is why it was so hard to leave. Please tell me I am “fondly” remembered.


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