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Longtime employee Linda Lassen 1 of 2 laid off at Penn House on Friday

I identify with Linda, because I know I might lose my job tomorrow. I identify with the other person this article mentions, because no one would write an article about me if it happened. You may have noticed this, but it is worth pointing out: There were two people laid off at Penn House on Friday.

I understand that Linda put in many years of service, and from what I have read here, they were fruitful ones. I hope to be as successful as her. With all due respect, though, perhaps this article might have done well to focus on the other person, the one who did not have the opportunity to spend a career knowing and investing in people. It seems to me they were the one shorted the most.

Reading the comments posted here, I think many of you agree with me. We want to be identified with Linda, but we are afraid that we might actually be the other person. This is why, when someone as praiseworthy as Linda is treated as unceremoniously as this, we are angry.

And we are right to be angry.

But angry at whom? Penn House? Ballard Center? They botched the layoffs; surely they are to blame. But our anger isn't actually caused by a layoff. If it were, we would be clamoring for the reinstatement of both employees. Instead, we want the person we identify with to be recognized for their service.

We want Linda to be treated right because we want to be treated right. We want Linda, and not the other person, to be treated right because we want to know that we were worth the effort, even if others weren't. We are angry because we know all too well what it feels like to see a good deed go to waste. We are worried that our best efforts might be all for nothing.

Our anger, it would appear, is rooted in fear, and aimed at the wrong target.

So, the facts. Two more people are without a job now. Penn House is to blame for the manner in which this happened, and we are responsible for the way that we respond. We want to be valued members of a thriving community. This can only happen through investment. Invest where and how you will, but invest in the community you value. You, in turn, will be valued; not many act on their fear.

As for the rest? Perhaps they may be lucky enough to know someone like Linda.

January 7, 2013 at 1:23 a.m. ( | suggest removal )