Reports from the Knowledge Labs about our recent findings, research topics, and interviews with lifestyle leaders who are creating their own futures.

How to stimulate your own powers of foresight. Consider the following thought provokers. Ask yourself, in these categories what are the brand new trends and forces? Which are the ones growing in importance? Which current forces are loosing their steam? Which have peaked or are reversing themselves? Which are the "wildcards" about to disrupt us in the future? POLITICAL AND TECHNICAL thought for food: Electronics, Materials, Energy, Fossil, Nuclear, Alternative, Other, Manufacturing (techniques), Agriculture, Machinery and Equipment, Distribution, Transportation (Urban, Mass, Personal, Surface, Sea, Subsurface, Space), Communication (Printed, Spoken, Interactive, Media), Computers (Information, Knowledge, Storage & Retrieval, Design, Network Resources), Post-Cold War, Third World, Conflict (Local, Regional, Global), Arms Limitation, Undeclared Wars, Terrorism, Nuclear Proliferation, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Governments (More/Less Power and Larger or Smaller Scale), Taxes, Isms: Nationalism, Regionalism, Protectionism, Populism, Cartels, Multinational Corporations, Balance of Trade, Third Party Payments, Regulations (OSHA, etc.) Environmental Impact, U.S. Prestige Abroad. SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC Food for thought: Labor Movements, Unemployment / Employment Cycles, Recession, Employment Patterns, Work Hours / Schedules, Fringe Benefits, Management Approaches, Accounting Policies, Productivity, Energy Costs, Balance of Payments, Inflation, Taxes, Rates of Real Growth, Distribution of Wealth, Capital Availability and Costs, Reliability of Forecasts, Raw Materials, Availability and Costs, Global versus National Economy, Market versus Planned Economies, Generations: Y, X, Boomers, Elderly, Urban vs. Rural Lifestyles, Affluent vs. Poor, Neighborhoods and Communities, Planned or Organic Growth. Got Knowledge?

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The Journal of 2020 Foresight
Saturday, July 13, 2002  

Out-Of-Body Elevator Ride

Chapter One: Basecamp

By Steve Howard, CKO
The Knowledge Labs

Table of Contents
Chapter One: Basecamp
Chapter Two: The Ridge
Chapter Three: The Outpost
Chapter Four: The Tribal Territories

More from Lost Explorer’s journal describing:

What have been the significant events, the disturbing and satisfying, the highs and the lows?

"Let's go for a walk down to human resources," she said after giving me the summary of a pittance she called a severance package.

I'm not sure if it was due to the rapid descent from the executive tower on the 15th floor to the 3rd floor in the elevator, but I fought a combination out-of-body and shock experiences.

I managed to ask her if it would be inappropriate for her to be a reference for me. "No, not at all," she said, "and as I said, this isn't about performance. It's just the computer industry with the price-cutting is forcing every company in it to cut costs drastically.

You'll do well, at least you aren't so specialized that you have to stay in this industry." Small consolation, but consolation at any rate.

"Good luck, I wish it could have been different," she said as she left me in human resources for my exit interview and benefits details.

How To Tell My Wife and Family?

Trying to focus proved elusive. The HR representative said words that seemed to float in a foggy haze. Discrepancies popped up between what the package really was and what my former boss had outlined.

A call back from the executive made things worse. She claimed to have said one thing, denying another figure of two weeks longer for severance. "Here it is right here in front of me, three weeks and a day for each quarter worked."

Three weeks now, the package said four. Obviously, she had been affected too. I remember telling executives in briefings that a little known fact is that they experience a tremendous amount of stress when they outplace employees. Somehow, though, I didn't feel much better.

"How am I going to tell my wife and family? How are we going to pay the mortgage? Where is the money going to come from?"

Paying the Mortgage

My wife greeted me in the kitchen.

She told me about a former neighbor she had just seen.

The words floated over, around and through me.

When she took a breath, all I could do was to blurt out, "I have some bad new...”

Before I could finish, she said, "What... No, you've been laid off?" in a half-joking, half-serious, not-wanting-to-believe tone.

"Yeah", I said.

"Well, I have confidence in you ... you'll get another position soon. I'm not worried about that. It's just not fair. Just when we have a breather, can pay all our bills in cash and have some left over,” she said.

We both silently meditated on the fact that our income stream was about to hit a major draught in about 30 days. First the mortgage comes to mind.

Then the mental search for cardboard to make a sign, "Homeless, will consult for food." It was all I could do to unload all the stuff in boxes from my cleaned out office that night.

Free Floating Anxiety

This was out of the blue.

I have had trouble sleeping the first night.

I had to write stuff down to stop thinking about it. "Need to exercise, eat right, and take time to worry. Use all the services available." The headache.

Yesterday I couldn't focus. Did absent minded stuff.

The severance package is pitiful, especially with what is taken out. When I close my eyes to rest is when the anxiety and topics float to the surface.

It is a matter of financial desperation, like what an old acquaintance said in the unemployment line -- the first worries are about where the money will come from."

I'm feeling disoriented with little things to do, but I don't do them because it takes time away from the worry. I get that sinking feeling that the end is near, which will probably give interview jitters.

Trying to keep my story straight.

Now the Pieces Begin to Make Sense

Funny little things pop into your head, like little jigsaw pieces coming together to reveal a pattern.

Like when I didn't receive the division's marketing newsletter on E-mail that day.

Why my H.R. friend had left a note on my computer screen about calling later that evening.

Why a secretary came to me wondering why she was requested to take my name off a distribution list for a standing meeting in the morning.

Before I left two of my facilitators came to see me off.

The first one said he knew the week before ... he was part of the 'family' and the other came in shock.

That evening I forced myself to call a friend, just to talk about my layoff.

I couldn't really concentrate on what he said or what I said. It was a valiant effort at rehearsing what I would say if my H.R. buddy should call.

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Copyright ©2002 - 2006 Aarnaes Howard Associates. All rights reserved worldwide.

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