Posted in Uncategorized

Get a Job–no, really, try this!


Back a few years, when I was working a job with a stress level so high that I was getting anal fissures (you know it’s bad if it is making your arse bleed–nothing good makes your arse bleed–and, yes, my doctor said it was stress), I had someone who kept telling me to just quit.  I tried explaining mortgage, and diapers, and food for the child, and kept getting back, “Just quit.”  I couldn’t quit without finding another job first, and in 2008, no one was hiring for my line of work, at my grade of pay. 

“Just accept less money,” came back at me.  Easy to say, isn’t it?  But I was having a hard time finding something else that paid less, too.

I did end up getting laid off, and my severance package and unemployment helped us limp through the next 3 months, until I found another job–paying $10k less base than I had been making.  When you took away the bonuses, it was more like a $15k pay cut.  It hurt.  Although, I did use the time to potty train Thor, so that saved us about $200 a month in Pampers.

Because B has always been very good with our finances, and because we bought a house and cars below our means, we were okay.  We weren’t going to starve, and I never had to make decisions about whether to buy milk or diapers.  Still, we were extremely fortunate that B never lost his job, and that I was able to find one before things got bad.

Over 14 million Americans are unemployed.

PlaySpent.com asks you to imagine you are one of them.  Imagine you have lost your job.  You are a single parent.  You are down to your last $1000.  Can you get a job and make it til the end of the month, until your first paycheck?

I’ve gone through the scenarios 3 times and never made it more than 9 days–because I’m a rules girl and afraid of going to jail, and when I crash my car into someone else’s, I pay the damage instead of hit-and-running. 

Getting a job is not easy anymore.  Losing a job is terrifying now–maybe less terrifying than it was in 2008, but we’ve also gotten used to living on my pay cuts.  Unemployment isn’t just a lazy people problem.  Unemployment  happens to good people, to smart people, to well-educated people, to highly skilled and experienced people.  I challenge you to go to www.playspent.org and come away without a new empathy for the people who are struggling to get by.

“It’s all right to tell a man to lift himself by his own bootstraps, but it is cruel jest to say to a bootless man that he ought to lift himself by his own bootstraps.”  Martin Luther King, Jr.

Posted in Lancient History

Superiors


Since graduating college, I have worked for eight companies for six months or more. I was recruited back to three different companies, twice each. I was promoted at every one of those companies. I have also had three full-time positions that lasted only, or fewer than three months. I have had a lot of bosses.

With the exception of three (two managers and one indirect manager), I can honestly say that no matter how strange some of them were (the one who always wanted to show me her new underwear–while she was wearing them, the one who wanted me to find his wife a gynecologist, the one who was just blindingly stupid) I generally worked for decent-to-very-good people. So, if you happen to be reading this, unless you are one of the bosses who a) threw a book at my head b) suggested to me that I was “spiritually retarded” and told me that if I prayed more, God would point out other people’s errors to me so that I could correct them ahead of time (yes, really), or c) physically assaulted me with your crotch, I would probably buy you a cup of coffee.

If you are Charlcye or Melissa, I would definitely buy you coffee, and would insist on getting you a brownie to go with it–because you two are my favorite bosses of all time.

Which reminds me that I had one other boss whose presence I DNW at my coffee table, and that was a woman who displaced one of my favorite bosses of all time, and who had beast feet.

I have another new job. My ninth company since graduating college. This time, I am working for a dear, dear family friend, who is such a family friend, she is really family. The best part of the job (so far) has been the no-personal-learning-curve part. It was a surprising relief to walk into the office on the first day and realize I didn’t have to act a certain way. I could be my absolute self. No working out whether or not my sense of humor would be appreciated. No worrying about whether or not my look was going to be satisfactory. No wondering if my boss would like me. (I’m still in those throes with my suite-mates, but there is a big difference between worrying about a suite-mate liking you, and worrying about whether or not the boss is going to like you.)

I feel…good. Totally good.

I am generally over-cautiously optimistic, and am always waiting for the hammer to fall, the other shoe to drop, the bottom to fall out. I wait for the worst with a positive attitude, knowing I’ll survive and get on with life, but I am always a little afraid that as soon as someone gets to know me too well, they will gag on my me-ness and start gathering the villagers to burn the monster (or tell me I am spiritually retarded and obviously oppressed by a demonic spirit of rebellion, and not a good example of godlike nature. Or tell me that, like David’s brothers, I look perfect and am everything everyone could want in a leader, but that there must be something wrong on the inside, prompting my internal iPod to skip to Goody Two Shoes. Subtle innuendo follows and all that. Not that I let my last year at The Ministry That Shall Not Be Named affect my self-esteem at all. Vipers.)

That was a long sentence, so I’m starting a new paragraph.

I loved my last job. I loved my coworkers. I enjoyed the work. I enjoyed most of my clients. I loved the location, the building, the fact that I could get my favorite coffee across the street…I loved my boss. I even really liked my boss’s boss. If they could have paid me more, and promised me that the in-tact team would never change (and that I would never be robbed at gunpoint) I would have happily stayed in my chair until retirement. And if my current boss hadn’t opened up my current position, I would still be there. It took something really special for me to feel okay about leaving.

The short-term position I had before taking my Bank Job really stripped a lot out of me. The job prior, from which I had been laid off, had worn me down to nearly nothing. I had very little confidence left when that manager was finished with me–and don’t even get me started on what being laid off and having to take unemployment did for my self-esteem. Dang. I needed someone like Melissa, in a position where I could have little victories every day, to rebuild my professional health.

I am happy to say that I am really happy. And I hope I don’t have to change jobs again for a very, very, very long time.

And I want to shout out to Charlcye and Melissa because what they did as managers was inspire me to work smarter, actively appreciate me and recognize my contribution, and make me feel like I could be my best. Aside from them being really good people, they were/are really good leaders. I was fortunate to learn from them.

P.S. I’m back. 😉