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Well… I feel rather dumb for complaining about things right now, but then again I kind of have to purge it. I have my health, which somehow managed to avoid the death flu and several stomach bugs, I have a great kid who will be going to an advanced art program this summer. My depression has not, so far, kicked into gear. However, I feel like I’m just strong enough to keep that below a crust… for now.
I even have a landlord who tried to give me his rent back when I told him I’d lost my job and said he’d support me getting moved if that is what I felt I needed to do.
End of March, not long after my fifth anniversary, I came into work expecting to have the same soul-sucking experience that is has been over 90% of the time I’ve been there. I’d been training a new manager on how to do everything I did (plotting for a smooth exit), most of which fell back to me as they were getting overwhelmed. They helped field some of the calls and emails coming in, but now we had two of us drowning rather than just me.
But I’ve been there the longest. And I work for a company that epitomizes every single article I’ve ever read about toxic environments. I get no information, no communication, but then am reprimanded when my responses to those outside are “too vague” and not “resolution-driven.” It’s really no wonder that the company itself has had to change names over the course of “twenty years” it likes to brag its been in business. By law, you have to shut down when you report a loss too many years in a row.
The VP… again, not my superior… but is the right-hand to one of the owners….calls me into a conference room around lunch. Everyone is gone and the only other person there is the HR manager.
The writing is on the wall.
“Huh, am I being let go?”
I’m being told yes, and they ask if they need to go over why. I say “I don’t see the point,” and go through the list of where to find anything they might need, forward my phone to the new manager, pack my things in a very small bag (all while being offered a large box several times and professing I don’t need it). I tell them its not like I’m going to disappear so if they can’t find something, just contact me.
It was so surreal.
I’ve never been fired.
I hate this place, but I busted my ass for over five years, and now… fired?
I get in my car and take one last look at the building I feel like I have wasted a chunk of my life on and realize… I NEVER have to come back here…
I realize I’m smiling about this idea.
I realize that I’m so stubborn and have been such a closet optimist that this shithole might actually get better that this might have been just what I needed to leave and make the changes I’ve wanted to make.
I don’t even unfriend the VP on facebook, though she does get moved to the restricted group.
I talk it over with Spawn and let them know what happened and we talk about moving… like… now.
Thirteen years of life to clean out, toss, donate, sell… and so so much. Every time I think we might have gotten through one room, I find yet another box, stash of papers etc.
I would even be grateful if that was the most stressful part.
Yes, they are paying me an additional month and told me to file for unemployment (which I’ve yet to see, so apparently I did something wrong). I socked away my tax refund rather than pay anything off or blow it and I have a 401k and a money market investment account I can pull from if I feel like buying a house… a modest house, but a house nonetheless.
But I don’t feel ok.
I feel on the edge of freaking out.
Every time I’ve ever moved, I’ve usually had a friend or family to stay with until I got settled. And this time, I do have a cousin in the area, but neither of us are the type to share space unless we have to… holidays and that sort of thing. Three days is the expiration.
I’m sure the wife if dodging me when I’m up there for interviews so I don’t ask to move in with them for awhile. But the truth is, I’d live in my car and lie about it before I’d even ask.
It killed me to even tell them I was out of work. They are the pair with which I feel like I’m being graded whenever I’m around them and to ask for advice…. was an intensely hard thing for me to do. They know the area, they might have tips and places I would not think to look. And my cousin, did have contacts at a couple of the staffing agencies, both of which has sadly done nothing for me.
I’m also prideful as hell. Every time I’ve been through something stressful: divorce, poverty, a death of someone close to me, I shut out the world and maybe talk about it once I’ve resolved it.
But when you have a kid at stake, you have to put on that face of adulting as though you know what the fuck you’re doing when in truth, we’re all still those kids inside and figuring shit out only when we fuck it up. And when you have a kid at stake and their well-being, you get help wherever you think it might happen no matter how much of a prick your pride tells you to be instead.
I know… I know, logically, we will be fine. It’s been 3 weeks, I’ve submitted to over 90 openings, been in one 3 hour interview doing something I’ve never done before, but was eager over the prospect of learning something new, in spite of the long hours. They won’t decide until the 15th of next month, so I’d prefer not to wait. I’ve had a few other promising phone interviews, but its just not happening as fast as I would like it.
I’m really fucking good at what I do, and when I’m not, I’m very independent about figuring it out. I own my mistakes, I’m as honest as I can be within professional constraints. Hire me, dammit!
But then you also start house hunting, and they tell you to get pre-approved, but then they tell you you won’t qualify if you’re not employed… a friend advised just getting up there in the first cheap postage stamp I could rent, and then start looking and this way I would be available for interviews… which sounds great!… until I look at the daily cost. It’s HUGE and its like NO ONE wants to give you a deal for maybe a month. They are hell bent on locking you in for a year or more.
I want as much as possible to buy a real house.
Spawn wants a real house.
I want a real house.
This is where Spawn wants to finish school.
I don’t have much time before Spawn realizes that living with their parent is just not the way they want to do it forever. So before that period, I want them to have the house I’ve never been able to offer so they can decorate and do and make it, into everything they ever dreamed. I want that too.
But first, I want work… or I want both… or I want to not have to worry about both…I don’t know.
What if I’m just not enough for any of this? The last thing I want is my stress to become Spawn’s stress. I wish I knew what to do…
I believe all of us go through various stages of our lives where we look up and suddenly think, “I HATE my life right now.”
I did that just before I got a divorce. I did the same when I hated the job and the town I lived in and just found out I was going to be a parent and moved a couple thousand miles back.
I had the same when Spawn was a few years old and my career was… well, really fucking boring and leaving me strapped. It was mindless, repetitive, and just when I was done and updating my resume, I received a call from a former boss who wanted to lure to me their current company. Not only would I be using more of my brain, it held a significant pay raise.
It was great too, for a while. But one of my co-workers was as mercurial as they come and I was often walking on eggshells. The work itself was great and I was learning a ton, but the environment… not so much. However, a friendly buyout that turned hostile takeover nixed that job for all of us. The best time I had there was when the mercurial one jumped ship early on and the rest of us just didn’t give a shit anymore.
I landed this job right as I was ending that one. The work itself is a mostly mindless again, but the pay, on paper, is better. What I get to take home though, is significantly less than it was at my last job and although I know the benefits are a part of that, I didn’t think they were that big of a chunk.
We’re given no authority over our own position, but then they complain that no one takes initiative. Neither owner can keep their hands out of the cookie jar when things are good, and don’t hesitate to jump your shit when they aren’t. Hell, the CFO’s mom just died last week and one of the owners commented to her yesterday “What the hell is wrong with you, you look like your dog died?” She broke down so badly she had to go home.
Right now, things aren’t so great and its all to do with that fact that when we’re in our busy profitable season, the owners couldn’t buy new toys fast enough, despite my boss continually telling them we would need to sock away what we could for the lean season. They assume no one has their grand vision, so any counsel is ignored.
This is also when I’m told my communication needs work. I’m the connection the outside world comes to when they want information and when things aren’t going so well, that communication increases by several fold. It means I have to come in and choose whether I’m going to do my job or just sit there and get back to people and I do balance both. But the bottom line is I’m never going to be able to make someone happy if I can’t give them what they were promised and that’s what they want me to do.
So I hate my job. I hate where I live. I hate that I hate both so much that I’m both restless and uninspired to do even the little things. I hate the debt I hold for a degree that has proven nothing but worthless and I feel that it will inhibit everything else I do for the rest of my life.
I want to move, I want to have a cafe, on the side of a cliff with a view to the ocean and I want it too fucking cold to see even a single surfer unless they are batshit insane.
But for not, I would settle for moving to the area where I hope my kid’s future school is and get a job that lets me take home the amount I was promised, or at least a significantly bigger portion than current.
I want to get just a little ahead instead of struggling so far behind.
I want to be inspired.
I want to be challenged mentally.
I feel like a corpse in motion.
The Hippy will be unemployed when her and her pornstar (the boyfriend) move back to their home state to await the arrival of their unexpected son or daughter. This is not making her happy at all. She is very prideful and a lot of her self-worth is tied to how much she brings in. Her boyfriend is more the “bitch, get in the kitchen and fix me a sandwich” variety, but I think most of that is just bluster.
Apparently, the point of contention right now is she is trying to demand that they have all joint accounts since they plan on getting married at some point anyway and wants them to have full disclosure on everything. His stance is more “not no, but HELL NO!”
I’m totally making him look bad, but the guy’s mom blew through the nest egg his parents had been stashing away since his birth and even stole money from her son all of his life while still living with them, and did it often. Her son! Stole from her own damn son!
Of course, this is what I pointed out to her when she was choosing to be offended because he flat out denied her this. Of course he would, he has massive trust issues and a lot of stunted maturity to work through. The attitude in my very first paragraph exemplified that alone.
I told her that as an unemployed single mom, which is what she technically is, she was in a better position to qualify for assistance. They already worked out this was going to be the best way for both of them, so hand over her bills that she will still need dealt with and let him handle it. Her contribution is not going to be measured by a paycheck but it was not to be belittled as any less important. In fact, she would be taking the brunt of the worst of it in a way he would never understand.
Their relationship really wasn’t ready to take on a third party really yet. There’s a lot of conflicts of attitudes going on and ways of thinking that don’t align with the two of them. But that’s part of the process. It’s not ideal, but I don’t think its impossible either.
I told her that different couples had many different ways of dealing with money in a way they both can live with. There’s a reason its one of the top five reasons for divorce so don’t make it such a massive issue she wasn’t allowing any flexibility on it.
Three accounts where only one is mutual and the other two are individual would make for a decent compromise, but don’t entangle herself in his finances in any way until after she was working again and off assistance. Whatever people may think about welfare in the US, the organizations that review cases are truly looking for ANY possible way to disqualify you for assistance. They want you talking so you’ll slip up on something, no matter how mundane it may seem. It’s very much like those interrogation rooms on crimes shows only they wear you down by ignoring you in the waiting room for hours first. The snide indifference is completely free.
In the back of my mind though, their relationship is about to go through the biggest hurdle one can and they weren’t on the best ground to begin with. If this whole situation hits shitstorm status, she can at least make a clean break.
Hopeful, yet ever the cynic, I am…
Personally, my former spouse was of the “as long as we have each other, I don’t need money” and I was more the “bitch, I’m not sleeping in a fucking car with you in -30 degree winters, go fucking get a job already or I will tauntaun your ass for warmth” so my perception is a bit different. We did have all combined accounts and expenses and a 17k credit card balance in their name hit my credit rating along with the house they let foreclose… so I’m a bit bitter on the issue myself.
What struggles have you had navigating relationship and finances and how did you handle them? Do you wish you’d done anything differently?
The Hippy and I bonded a lot as two divorced people who had also been thrown into an initially unwanted and thoroughly unplanned parenthood.
Don’t get the wrong idea, there is a decade or so of age difference and the sentiment I have towards both her and her boyfriend is more of a sibling who wants to see them succeed.
Her boyfriend I dub Big Ron the pornstar, due to his epic pornstache that never ceased to be a focal point when he came up as a topic, whether he was present to hear it or not. Neither Tom Selleck nor Burt Reynolds have anything on this guy.
At one point that pornstache was going to be the theme of the entire baby shower that Hippy’s coworkers were planning out for her. Sadly, Yankee Heather hijacked their plans and took over. I found this out from the other department much later.
He is one of two adopted children of a well off couple, his sister a complete mess gunning for a fat wallet to marry. He was spoiled in a lot of all the wrong ways and yes, I see a lot in which he needs to grow the fuck up and be more honest with both himself and the Hippy before he loses her over something stupid, like his dumbfuck machismo bullshit pride and his absolute compulsion to treat all women like his mother, whom he kind of despises.
However the mom… from the stories I’ve heard from both, tries to firmly entrench herself into her son’s life despite his intense objections to the contrary. Its almost as though the more firmly he fights her presence, the more committed she is to being constantly around. She’s also prone to using the Hippy as a means to manipulate them. With Hippy’s desire to people please, this has been a struggle for both of them to establish boundaries.
Even more strangely, he was recently given the news that mom, specifically his mom, has blown through his inheritance. This is casually remarked upon by his father.
His sister’s though, is still intact. Apparently, this has been a part of her character while he was growing up as well. He would hide money he made from jobs he worked only to find it gone, mom having stolen and spent it.
She was the typical stay-at-home socialite with a well-off husband who seemed little interested in his wife’s activities, while still being one of the only people who could put her on a leash when she was going overboard. Dad’s involvement was to push his son to excel and be a man in all aspects.
The mom would call his girlfriends and tell them he had been cheating, was out with someone, tell them wild stories of various nefarious activities involving drugs, alcohol or whatever topic she thought might work to send them running. The Hippy told me she’d tried the same with her, but since they were in different states and living together, it wasn’t exactly plausible and thankfully died out quickly.
It all seems very Oedipal rather than maternal.
When the Hippy was telling me this, I suddenly asked “so how long has mom wanted to fuck her own son?”
She was a bit stunned by my remark (I was too) and I just said if he had no money to spend taking out his girlfriend or using it on gas to visit any of them, then maybe he would have to stay home and spend time with mom instead.
Getting rid of the girlfriend was usually a tactic only done by a person scheming to be the replacement. The way she behaves toward the Hippy sounds more like jealousy of the jilted than a mother.
Hippy told me it scarily made sense. I think we both shared an “Ew.”
I’m kind of surprised that was my take on it. Sometimes shit comes out of my mouth before I’ve had a chance to process what it is.
With the baby now completely given the full ahead by both parents, they are working on moving back to their home state up north, both to be closer to their familial support network as well as better enable Big Ron to streamline himself up the ladder since they will be on one income for a while. This would put them closer to both sets of their parents, which creates concerns for both of them for very different reasons.
This mom though. I’ve never come across one like this outside a Greek tragedy.
I haven’t really gone into this since I got sidetracked with anger.
The Hippy, who I met through Yankee Heather, works in another department from mine. One in which I rely on to get what I need done, but I get ultra busy and they do too so our ability to interact on topics outside of things we both need from one another tends to be minimal, It makes for a lot of misconceptions about one another when you’re not able to have a conversation with someone you work with so you can get a sense of their personality.
It’s not that I don’t have friendships with people in the department, but they’ve been slowly built over the years.
I had to laugh when The Hippy and I were sharing our first impressions of one another. I was hated and found terrifying and she was so glad I was the exact opposite, though she said a lot of that negative impression had to do with one particular member of her team who has a tendency to project a lot of their internal turmoil on others. It didn’t shock me. I probably would have been more impressed if the opposite were true.
Their team is run by a very tiny little woman who takes no shit and is swift and thorough and somewhat terrifying in her own right, and in that team are at least two who see enemies everywhere, one worse than the other.
One gave me the first impression of “elitist bitch” (this was the culprit) but kind of came off her pedestal over the years, while the other was just prone to being defensive. I once told them “I’ve never learned shit by getting it right the first time” when they messed something up and I was showing them how to fix it, and we’ve been vastly better ever since.
I told The Hippy I’d thought she was awesome the first time I’d met her. She’s laid back, but not lazy, expedient, you only had to point out an error once, she’s personable, intelligent, attentive and curious. She has a similar talent as G-uno in that you become fast friends and she can see right through a lot of shit…except when she has her own emotional investment in the view, I guess. That’s a hard one for all of us, I would venture.
Her and her boyfriend have known each other a long time as friends, went their separate ways for a while, she had been married and divorced once already. an abusive situation, and the prospect of doing it again was terrifying to her. They crossed paths again in the aftermath of bad relationships and just sparked intensely.
Seriously, not once when I met these two outside of work could they ever be on time because they couldn’t keep their hands off one another.
Apparently, I’m at that age where, although I still find it mildly revolting, I also find it adorable in its own right. I always expected to be too curmudgeonly for that shit.
The Hippy recently found out she was pregnant. For all the years she declared to never want kids, when faced with the very real possibility of having one upon her, even with all the fear, she realized was excited about the idea. Especially considering she’d been told she’d never have any.
While she toyed with the idea of an abortion and if they were ready to be parents, when asking for his honest opinion, her boyfriend stuck to his “no kids” sentiment, while at the same time increasing his retirement investment, pouring over his budget, laid out when they should move into a bigger place, and planned out how to fast track himself into a promotion.
It took a while for him to finally admit he really did want this child, but didn’t want to put any pressure on her to have it if she didn’t want it. So she was afraid to tell him she wanted to keep it because of how she felt before finding out she was pregnant, and he didn’t want to tell her he wanted the child because of…. shit….
aw fuck, it all make me want to beat the hell out of both of them from the nausea.
Inevitably in my family if we get together long enough, the dick jokes and dirty innuendo come out. We have a small subgroup among in my family who will declare loudly that everything we say is awful and we should be ashamed, but secretly they are right with us and we usually take a jab they might need to get some.
I don’t know if they feel some parental obligation to fight it, or if they just want brownie points to keep them out of hell.
It was no different with my little cousins. I’m not sure if its due to the fact I recognize them as no longer the darling cherubs of their childhood, but young adults on the adventure of life or not, but I’ve never felt the need to scold them for anything they wanted to say, except perhaps the sibling hate speech to one another. I’d love to carve that out like cancer. They’ve never held back either.
As the evening progressed I kind of wish we’d migrated to someplace involving couches and coffee and/or wine so the chatter didn’t have to ever end. The topic of sex and relationships of course came up. The little sister firmly declared she didn’t care for sex and would rather not do “that” for the most part.
My quick reply was of course that she must be doing it wrong, which seemed to be our eldest aunt’s problem as well.
I might be biased…
No, no… I’m not. Little sister is fucking gorgeous and has suitors from both sides of the fence that would be more than happy to lick the bottom of her boots if she asked them. She has no clue the vast power she possesses. In this, she is much like her half-sister. The difference being is her half-sister does understand her power and has used it quite a lot in her life, often to disaster, and only toning it down in recent years.
Don’t get me wrong, the older sister is beautiful, tall and graceful. But there is just this something some people possess that seems to render those around them completely subjugated. Helen of Troy would have HAD to be one of these people. I have about three cousins (suspect four, but that one keeps it firmly under control so I cannot verify), all female, who have this ability as well.
The older sister seems to be exploring her oats these days. I see a ton of myself in her while she spoke of some of her relationships and alluded to conquests. She wants so much to open her heart to something real, and from the sound of it, to one in particular, but she is equally fearful of being rejected so she keeps this wall up. It bites you in the ass when you cannot be vulnerable, you just come off as ice cold because people eventually get tired of trying to get over that wall.
I had to smile because some of the things were almost verbatim to things I’d declared at the same age, so utterly convinced I’d had this relationship shit all figured out.
I hadn’t a clue.
By the time I could even think of how to respond, it was time to pack it in and leave.
If anything I wish I could tell her that you cannot make your heart tough enough to withstand the hurt of having it broken if you don’t expose it to the possibility of having it loved thoroughly first.
Building walls, only turns what’s inside to mush… useless and unspent. Exposure is what makes it more malleable, adaptable, bendable… not breakable.
You never really regret trying. You regret when you don’t.
I asked my two little cousins if they’d seen their elder sister and the tone just darkened suddenly. The last time I’d seen them all together, things were pretty good, they were even acting much like full siblings, only with less “I hate you”, “I wish you’d die” that I’d seen between the two younger. If anything, their elder half-sister was shutting that stuff down.
On a sidenote, sibling behavior freaks the shit out of only children like Spawn and myself. We would never talk to anyone the way we hear siblings talk to one another. I’ve never understood if this is just normal stuff, or not enough intervention from like huge guys named Guido, floggings, duct tape, etc.
On another sidenote, it freaks the shit out of people with siblings the way only children will talk to themselves. It helps us resolve things going on in our lives, but how in depth we can get really makes people think we’re nuts.
When both girls didn’t say anything, I asked again. Apparently, Knievel had indeed visited recently but it hadn’t gone so well. I cannot help it, the fixer in me pushed for details and I wanted to understand the hurt look on the younger sister’s face.
Then the older one pipes up and says “Apparently, she wanted to blame and punish us for having the father she never did.”
My heart sank. I’m often in awe the perception especially the older sister has about things but this is one of those moments I wish it wasn’t so good and they just thought she was being a bitch.
I did agree that the person their father was before their mom was completely different than the person he became when she was a factor, but it was utterly unfair to take that shit out on them.
I apologized for her, which I know means nothing. I was both angry at her and for her simultaneously. She didn’t deserve the shitty parents she got, and it had to be an epic slap in the face when one of them really bucks up… for his other kids. But at the same time, it is completely out of fucking line to get mad at them for that.
But its hard to take it out on the source of the discourse when the dumbfucker is dead.
We talked a little about their dad after that. The older sister isn’t quite as venomously angry as she used to be, and his pedestal with the younger seems to have whittled down a bit. I went over what little I felt I could without either shitting on him or giving him more credit than he was due. I did talk about his lack of impulse control and how that seemed to play a factor in much of his life, how much of a ghost he was before their mom. How much more focused he was with her…
I looked at the older one when I said it, but I told her she needed to call her sister out on her behavior. Let her know her feelings were justified, but she was unleashing them on the wrong person. Put her foot down that neither of them deserved to be treated that way.
But don’t write her off.
She’d been written off enough.
Other than her mom, they were all she had.