Fictional Narrative

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The case of Alan and his family.

Alan is a 40-year old man, who has been married to Betty for 20 years. Together, they have two children, 19 year-old Carl and 16 year-old Denise. For the past 10 years, Alan worked for an established software development firm. Recently, Alan quit his job with the established firm to join an upstart company. Leaving his secure job to take a chance on the upstart firm was a difficult choice; Alan considered all of his possible options, then selected what looked like the best option. It hasn’t worked out as well as he’d hoped.

The workload at Alan’s new job is very heavy. His boss expects him to “work until the job gets done”, even if it means working late into the evening and on weekends. It doesn’t help that Alan is a chronic overachiever and perfectionist. Alan is driven to accomplish difficult tasks and to meet the highest standards of excellence. However, he is also trying to be a good husband and father. His family resents the time he spends away from home. The strain of trying to fill both roles has worn him down. In the past, Alan has seemed immune to everything, but he has contracted viral illnesses several times since joining the upstart firm.

People who know Alan well can see that he has becoming increasingly irritable and unhappy since taking his new position. Betty thinks that Alan is directing his work-related anger towards her. On her last visit, Alan’s sister Erin asked him about his feelings regarding his new situation. “What kind of question is that?,” he said. “Who cares how I feel? I’ve got nothing to complain about. I suppose that I feel happy. Yeah, I’m happy – very happy, in fact”.

Alan’s daughter Denise, who just got her driver’s license, had a near miss on the freeway the other day, when a Jeep cut in front of her unexpectedly. She said “it happened so fast, I didn’t even know I was scared until I felt my heart pounding in my chest.” The night after the incident, she had...
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