Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Busy, busy, busy

Well, the past week has been quite hectic. I know I shared my New Year’s resolution about wanting a less fat ass, among other body parts. Another was to get said ass in gear and get a freaking job already. I also have been trying to decide if I will continue to write online. It is kind of weird KNOWING people read your inner monologue. Also, I was thinking it was a pretty vain and self-indulgent thing to do. It probably is, but starting to write something, anything, has been a great gift I have given myself. It has really helped me put a lot of things in perspective for myself and has really helped me come to terms with some things in my life and how I feel about them. It has been a good experience, and has helped me in my relationships with my family. I am a much better sister, and have learned to embrace what I do love and enjoy about my family, and accept, without feeling like a martyr, or a patsy, those things that I dislike.

Over the course of the past few months I have done a lot of things here at home. I have also done a lot of thinking about work, and decided to stick with my career. I felt that the issues I had about work were related to how I felt about working, and how I managed conflict, and disappointments on the job as opposed to things I could not change. I cannot change anyone, only how much I give a shit, to loosely paraphrase the old adage. I thought about what mattered most to me when I was working. At the top of my list was being treated like a human being. A tall order indeed. If you have ever had a job, you know what I mean. I also wanted to do something where I could fire up my brain cells regularly and be challenged and learn. That is why I picked my career in the first place. It takes lots of brains all the ding dang time. I wanted to work in a place where I would not be begrudged the tools and equipment I need to do my job. A position where I made enough money to live indoors and not HAVE to get a second job to support that lavish indulgence. Finally, from experience, I know that working in a windowless environment is bad for me. I need sunshine. Some people do just damn fine in dungeon conditions. Me, not so much.

When I changed jobs in the summer of 2005 I had a lot of shit going on. I took a job I should not have, and at this point I have chalked it up to experience. In the scheme of things, if you are going to do something asinine in the throes of grief and chaos, taking a shitty job is far from the worst thing one can do. I just could not stand my old job anymore for many reasons. I had not yet adequately reframed and refocused my high risk adrenaline junkie personality after spending the vast majority of my life dealing with overwhelming family issues, and the last several years trying to manage my parents health and welfare with no tangible help from my siblings. I had long outgrown the job, and there was nowhere to go within the company. I was exhausted with the tortuous commute. Every day, it took me over an hour. Ever day I saw terrible motor vehicle accidents, and animals, domesticated and wild, smashed to smithereens. Because of financial difficulties within the company, I was not given a salary increase in the entire time I worked there. This was a very difficult thing for me as I was used to being tangibly and frequently financially recognized in my working life until then. Further, like in all jobs, there was just some shit that got on my last nerve, and coupled with all the others factors, these things grew soul suckingly intolerable. I just could not take it anymore.

My parents had been dead less than a year. I was on the brink of having to evict Minnie the Mooch, the only sibling I really felt close to, from our parents home as she was not paying the mortgage and utilities as agreed, and was damaging the home even further through sheer neglect and slovenliness. People were constantly asking me about my brother whose absence from our family I had long since come to terms with, and I was sick of explaining his absence from our parents’ funerals, and our lives, to people in the wake of our parents’ deaths. My eighteen-year-old niece became a mother. My nineteen-year-old niece was in an abusive marriage. My oldest niece had a dumbass boyfriend, and her mother and other grandma were seriously ill. My oldest nephew, who is a special needs person, was acting out, and it was scary. When someone who is the size and strength of a NFL linebacker is out of control, it is terrifying. Psycho, my oldest sister, inexplicably stopped drinking in the wake of our parents’ deaths, after decades as a violent, abusive, disruptive alcoholic. While it did make her diatribes much more cogent and coherent, it did nothing for the vileness and insanity of their content.

My other sister, Holly Hobby, barely ever spoke to me. The fact that she had not repaid the money she borrowed from me to come to our mother’s funeral angered me. I felt taken advantage of. I knew better than to allow her to borrow money. Under the circumstances, I would never have said no. When someone wounds your trust, it not only creates a new wound, but also exacerbates all the old ones. Holly Hobby has always been far less than truthful, and I have long known better than to view anything that comes out of her mouth as anything but entertainment. But, I lended her the money anyway, and I was mad at myself. I did not get over it until one day when I talked to one of my friends about it. He had successfully mended a painful relationship with a sibling, and I was looking for advice. He said to me; "Lana, is it worth the three hundred bucks to you to have had your sister at your Mom’s funeral?" I said; "yes, of course." He said; "Well then let it go." This is some of the best advice I have ever gotten.

With all this upheaval, I felt so laid bare at work. The people who I worked with knew far too much, yet no where near enough, about all the shit hitting the fan of my life. I felt conspicuously grief stricken, and like all the freakishness of my family was on full display. Most of my coworkers were kind, and generously shared similar insanities from their own lives in an effort to comfort, and guide me. Some were assholes. These people were assholes before my parents died too. I just found it increasingly difficult not to tell them to go fuck themselves in my heightened state of grief. (snicker) I was also going to school full time throughout the worst time of my parents’ illnesses, and while I tried to probate their wills without smacking the shit out of my sisters. Like any life changing event, my outlook on life and my priorities changed after my parents died. I gained a lot of clarity, and vision for my own life and future. I changed my mind about a lot of things. I became stronger in my convictions in others, and I made a lot of decisions.

I have always been, as my Dad said, " a pretty smart smeller," but in the past couple of years I have become even more adept at sensing and calling bullshit. I have developed my communication skills, and am much better able to, as they say, look out for number one without feeling like number two. So, while I was at home become a general contractor out of necessity, I was also exploring the job market. Seeing what types of positions were available to people of my age, experience, and education, as well as the salary range commensurate with those qualities. I made a lot of decisions about what was on my "deal breaker" list of job opportunities. I developed an interesting new hobby of declining job offers left and right. For a long time I was very occupied with getting my house to a manageable level of debris, and making it safe. And I needed time to regroup, and rest, and think. I was not ready to go back to work yet. Then, right when I was ready, circumstances arose in my family that distracted me. I spent a lot of time helping Psycho’s kids, and had one or more of them staying with me for various lengths of time, for various reasons. I enjoyed their company for the most part, though I was miffed at their mother's failure to "house break" them. So, I happily put off looking for a job too seriously, as the holidays fast approached. I made myself a deal that as soon as I closed up my impromptu hotel, I would get my job-searching ass in gear.

By then it was the week before Christmas. So, I targeted some companies, and also found some postings for job openings from various sources. I did not expect to hear from anyone until after the holidays. I continued to aggressively market myself. On January second, my phone rang off the hook. I weeded out some opportunities, and chose to interview for several. By Monday the eighth, I was in the enviable position of considering three very viable job offers. Two of those opportunies had arisen from the employer contacting me after finding my resume online. After much soul searching I passed on one because the employer was wishy washy in their metrics for the employment contract, and the salary was just not at the right level. Another I declined because I felt the atmosphere was too conservative, and Stepfordy. Having successfully harnessed my high-risk personality, and learned to use it to my advantage, I chose the most risky job. I went with the one with the most potential for gain as well as failure. I started on the tenth, and am already sure it is one of the smartest and wisest things I have ever done in my life. And, I get a nice big sunshiny window too.

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