Today I walked into one of our fine, major animation studios. On the way out I found myself in the midst of a farewell party for an upper bracket manager who happens to be departing ...
I went up to a Wise Old Animation Artist who's been around as long as I have, and asked what was up with Mr. Whoosis (not his real name).
"He's leaving," came the reply.
"Ah. Pushed overboard?"
Now, Mr. Whoosis is somebody I know only a little. A while back, I had a semi-uncomfortable meeting with him where he was being testy with an employee who was leaving for another job. (I was there to observe ... and support the employee. I mostly kept my mouth shut.)
So now the exec is leaving, handed his pink slip by a management team that has decided to downsize him out of a job. As I digested this information, my reaction surprised me:
"Somebody else losing their job? Bum. I only wish the guy could keep his gig. This is a terrible time to be unemployed ..."
When I was young, I was delighted when someone about whom I wasn't crazy got it in the shorts. But not today. I am older now, and the idea of having somebody eat it for the sheer joy of seeing a person suffer just doesn't jazz me the way it used to back when I was thirty. I've been laid off, and I remember how painful it was. And I'm not keen to see pain visited on others, no matter who that other is.
Schadenfreude is sometimes sweet, but usually for about thirty seconds. After that, the bitter aftertaste sets in.