I assume for many working there it must have been more of a dissociative moment.
For a short time I tried to go “mainstream” (long story, not for now) and worked for Wells Fargo at headquarters in San Francisco. The homelessness and panhandling wasn’t quite so bad then but it was still present and when you walked past what you saw of it on Market Street or while going through The Embarcadero you wanted very much to simply be somewhere else, knowing you were heading to the 32nd floor of that building over there, the one that looked very much like all the others where you looked very much like everyone else and did very much what everyone else did and that was your life and zero out everything else going on because nothing was going to change and there wasn’t anything you could do about it and you knew the work you did was only going to add to it but that’s life.
In the end, the Universe stopped it for me and about 500 other people and I’m glad of it despite the disruption it caused. Set me on a new path, lots of bumps, some of them horrible and deep. But I’m glad of it. Not happy to be out of California, but I couldn’t afford to be there in this new life anyway.
We all have passages we need to go through to get to some other side. Mostly they go through other people’s lives. Sometimes the lives of those we love, sometimes strangers. Sometimes the lives of those closest to us, sometimes grand historic events. Sometimes they make us feel tepid and lethargic. Sometimes deathly depressed. Sometimes they energize. And sometimes they rip us to pieces.
And most of the time we make it through.
It’s too bad, really, that most of the people you were working with, in all probability, didn’t change a whit. But you did. At least some.