I met a woman last week at a networking meeting. As usually happens, we inevitably got to the "So...what do you do?" part of the conversation.
When her turn came she answered, "I'm in transition."
It's not surprising that a worker in words (like me) would focus on this phrase, one I've been hearing a lot lately. "In transition" being a euphemism for "currently unemployed" whether by choice or as another casualty of the growing recession.
As euphemisms go, it's not a bad one. Losing your source of income certainly results in a lot of transitions beyond finding another job, many involving a change of plans. As someone who falls into the "in transition by choice" category, I'm certainly doing things differently than I did in the days of the regular paycheck.
Like all euphemisms, though, this one has the feeling of holding reality at bay -- "I'm not out of work, I'm just in transition." The risk is that by not calling things the way they really are, we run away from reality rather than towards it.
And it seems to me, looking around at the growing mess created by wanton disregard of reality, that maybe that's not the right direction to go.