The Canary in the Coal Mine

In the old days, canaries were used in coal mines to warn of poisonous gas.  If there were any gas, the birds would stop singing and drop from their perches; they’d be the warning that conditions were harmful.

Throughout my life, I have had many periods of unemployment when the symptoms of the disease simply made work impossible.  When I was more stable,I often had trouble finding work because my work history was spotty.  Once I found a job, I could usually work as well as anyone else.  However, I was the new guy.  I never had much time on the job.

When the economy would go into a recession, companies often had to lay off employees – even those who were good workers.  Usually they would lay off the workers who had the least amount of time on the job – which was often me. Once again I faced unemployment and difficulties in finding work.  In the meantime mood swings might very well leave me unable to even look for work.  It was a never-ending cycle.

Just like the canaries, when the economy tanked, I was the one who stopped singing.

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