The state of work

I missed work on Wednesday, and my boss was not happy that I was taking another paid day off.

I went in to work on Thursday, due to my father’s voice in my head, “go to work even if you have to crawl in” – because I am afraid of losing my job because I do not have enough money in savings to live off of for even one month should I become unemployed.

At 1:42pm on Thursday, I messaged my boss:

(13:42:12) Me: despite having taken medication twice today, the pain is ramping up again. do you know if [the ticket tracking system] *can* work with a Mac and then i could work on mails from home? otherwise, i don’t know what to tell you if i can’t finish out the day.
(there was mandatory overtime going on on both Thursday and Friday again)

(13:43:50) My boss: I tried using the Mac downstairs and it doesn’t work with it.. lemme talk to [the director of support] and see what we can do

(13:44:24) Me: thx

(13:44:51) My boss: You said you have a dr appt tomorrow?

(13:45:23) Me: yeah unless they give me my test results over the phone today. but so far no call from them. i can reschedule if i have to.

(13:45:50) Me: it’s not related to the current pain issue. it’s ongoing for my back issue (which is preventative, hasn’t been an issue)

(13:47:13) My boss: ahhh.. ok.. that’s fine.. so about the pain issue, is there anything that can be done to prevent it or something that can help?

(13:50:33 – notice the time lapse because i was too stunned to reply) My boss: I just worry because you only have 1/2 day PTO left for this quarter, and you have a big vacation in october that you want to take. It would suck if you used up all of your PTO because you aren’t feeling well.

(13:55:17) Me: there is nothing that can be done to prevent the pain. it’s an incurable disease of the uterine tissue. surgery didn’t help it. hormonal treatment made me psycho and i almost didn’t make it. what’s left is pain management, which means pills and yoga and whatever i can do to ease the pain. the pain is with me. it’s part of my disease.

(13:55:32) Me: the PTO i am not worried about. i will take unpaid time after the PTO expires.

(13:55:45) Me: the only problem lies with whether [the company] wants that.

(13:56:01) Me: [the company] knew i had a health issue that i was going in to surgery for. i was open about it.

(13:56:06) Me: they chose to hire me.
(13:56:13) Me: *shrug*

(14:00:51) My boss: I see. Well, I’ll talk to [the director of support] about the OT situation. Let me know if you need to leave before you can complete your tickets. As for the pain, I’ll talk to [the director of support] about it again, since we don’t want it to effect your job here and we want to accomodate as much as we can. Thanks.

On Friday, the team meetings and one-on-one meetings with the management were re-instituted, and I wondered if I would be fired for having a health issue, just like the book scanning job was going to do with me before I found out about their plan and quit rather than be humiliated.

When I went in to have the one-on-one meeting, my boss said she’d talked my health issues over with the director of support, and she offered that I could use the family leave option to take a month off of work, and i quote, “to heal yourself”.

My jaw dropped. Has this dolt not been listening to me? Did she not plainly see my chat comments on Thursday, in which I wrote very clearly, “it’s an incurable disease”???

I composed myself and told her again. I described the treatments I’ve had to date. I went into detail for the first time about the hormone treatment and how I came this close to being committed involuntarily to a mental institution because of the hormones, and that this is the second time in my life that I’d tried hormone treatment and had the same mental health reaction.
I told my boss that my only options are more surgery and pain management, and I spelled out what pain management means, and told her again that the pain cannot for the most part be prevented.

She told me she’ll have to talk to the director of support again, and she hoped I understood their predicament in this. I replied with, “yes, I know, you have a department to run and absences are intolerable.” She nodded.

Still, she let me know that I’m one of the top three performers in the department, and she told me that they will at least try to accomodate my issue, but told me I must understand if it does not work out. I told her I understood.

So that’s where it’s at, folks. I have no idea, this being an at-will company in an at-will state, if there’d be a lawsuit I could pursue for discrimination. That’s their lovely out.
Besides, filing a lawsuit would mean I WANT to be retained at that fecking company. And trust me, I don’t want to be retained.

My boss told me in so many words that visiting my family in October for two weeks is now out of the question because I’ve used up all my paid time off. I wasn’t troubled by it – I won’t BE at that company come October.

I came home and had a serious talk with my man. We’ll be combing our finances and creating a budget to see if he could support me with a part-time job or no job at all, because I’m tired of going through this HR issue with every company I work for.

Thank the gods for my man – I love him SO much.

more aggro

This morning I took my boss aside and explained that I’m having bad reaction to my medication, just so she’s aware that it’s not who I really am.

It’s like an X-Files episode…“We’re not…who….we are!”.

I was fine til just before lunch, when I had thee most illiterate asshole old fart call in for support, and he couldn’t even SEE shit on the screen to find where I was directing him verbally. UGH. I kept growling on mute. Cow-orkers again asked me if I’m okay. I said NO.

Then as I was preparing to go to lunch, my podmate came over to me to vent in a not so hushed manner about how she’s about to freak out and quit on the spot, how much management sucks with all the shit they’re piling on us, how she doesn’t care if she’s away from her phone right now when she’s supposed to be taking the next call, and how she hates certain NAMED managers who don’t even DO work all day. I didn’t know what to say, except that I’ve had bad days, too. While she ranted on, the NAMED boss in question came into our cube to feign looking for OUR manager, then looked at my cow-orker talking to me, and went back to his cube next door. I mean, come ON, woman! Could you put yourself in anymore precarious a situation? And don’t be making me guilty by association!


First the furry, now this girl.
I mean, I’m nutso. I admit it. But at least I know WHY and warn my manager as to the REASON. And I keep to myself other than that.

This girl – she’s myself three jobs ago, when I acted out on a regular basis and got myself fired from the same corporation TWICE.

I had more aggression towards customers (on mute, I love the mute button) throughout the day. I left work pissed off because I never did get ahold of my doctor, and yes, I did try to reach her.

I drove recklessly out of the parking lot and zoned out on the way home. Halfway home, I realised I’d forgotten to re-fax in my timecard to the agency, because they never did get my last timecard TWO WEEKS AGO.
This damned agency HARDLY EVER received my timecard. I’d fax it every week and nearly every week I’d have to re-fax it. Either they suck or the workplace’s fax machine sucks. Either way though… I’ll still blame the agency. Screw them. Whatever.

So I got pissed again. I have to remember to fax it tomorrow.

Then I got home, checked my mailbox, and discovered that the book scanning company STILL has not sent me my tax papers. I can’t file my tax return til I have their papers. I’ve already called once last week about this. So I entered the house, SLAMMED the door, THREW my shit down on the floor, and called the bastards. I left a nasty message threatening legal action. These are the assholes after all who wanted to fire me for having george pains and having to be off of work a couple of times per month. These are the same assholes who hired a friend of mine, who raised their scanning numbers OFF THE CHARTS to new crazy highs, and then FIRED HER for also having health issues and needing emergency surgery for a compressed disc (she’s suing, btw).

So naturally, I’m in NO mood to do housework now that I’m home. The dishes haven’t been done since Friday. The kitchen smells like a kennel from all the food and eggshells and stuff in the sink.

I don’t care.

I lit incense rather than deal with it.

Then I started drinking. My boyfriend offered to get a pizza, but then called and said he wouldn’t be home in time before the pizza joint closed. I told him we could fend for ourselves, no worries. But he had his heart set on pizza.

So I went and got a pizza.

I got back into my car with the pizza, started the car, and drove OVER the parking spot divider.

Some guy had just parked in front of me and to the left, and saw the whole thing.

Then I backed over the curb instead of continuing forward, for fear of scraping the gas tank, and I almost hit the van parked to my left.

That would have RULED!

The guy stayed in his car the entire time…
It was funny.

And this is what recklessness I’ve come to, being on the Yasmin for 3 weeks.

I feel like I’m 23 again.

My short stint holding down 2 jobs (again).

Twice in the past month, 2 companies have made me feel that what I experience and believe is not relevant or important. This in turn embitters me further towards continued employment.

The first company was a dotcom I interviewed for last month. They noted a lack of employment for the past six months, and, eyeing me suspiciously, asked me what I’d been doing since January.
So I told the truth – I told them I’d *just* gotten hired at a non-profit, scanning out-of-print books to preserve them in digital format before they go into deep storage.
I guess I sounded too happy about this newfound job, which is actually doing something MEANINGFUL and with PURPOSE, because I didn’t hear back from the place.
A week later, I emailed an inquiry as to my status, and got an emailed reply:
“I’m sorry for not getting back to you sooner. I really enjoyed meeting with you. Unfortunately, the concensus was that this is not an ideal match for our open position. I wish you the best of luck.”

My resume lists tech writing and documentation for the past three jobs in a row. This was an entry level, junior tech writer position.

So my thought was, “Screw them and the horse they rode in on – they didn’t like that I sounded cheerful about the other job.”

The second company was the above-mentioned non-profit that I waxed so cheerful about. I started with them on June 20th, and right off the bat let them know that I was in the process of moving, and had a long-weekend vacation scheduled, and would need days off if they wanted me to start right away. They said fine, no problem, and granted the requested days off.

Well, I was late on my fifth day to work. I called ahead of time to let them know this. I also told them it was related to moving. They said it was okay.

On my seventh day of work, I got george and was out for two days. I called well ahead of my shift on those days, too.

I wasn’t late again until my sixteenth day. I was late because I had a lot of cleaning up to do at the old apartment for final inspection. I didn’t HAVE to do this to myself, but I was mad at my boyfriend, who didn’t clean as hard as I had been doing, and I was hurting to get as much of the deposit back as possible (they still took $235 from us in the end).

On my twenty-third day of work (Hail Eris), my car died only a few hours before I had to be to work, and I couldn’t find a ride on that short of notice, and I’d never taken local public transit from start to end point in my life – I’ve never learned both the bus and the train system. I panicked at the mere thought of trying to figure it out on the spot, so I called in and explained about my car, and took the night off.

For the next couple of days, I DID figure out public transit and I DID get my ass to and from both jobs. This is a major phobia attacked on such short notice, but I did it.

On Wednesday, I called the night job and told them I was supposed to get my car back, but that by noon I hadn’t heard back yet, so I may be late again depending on the mechanic, whom I’d been constantly pestering.
I asked the day shift boss, who does the hiring and firing, if this would be acceptable.

This is when she said, “Well, actually, your attendance is an issue.”

I told her that nobody had ever mentioned this before, and that I’d always called in when there was an issue at hand. She replied that there would be staff reviews this week and next, and that they’d go over how everyone’s working out.

I knew then what that meant.

I wasn’t working out.

I did get my car back that day, and I did make it to work on time. When I got in, the boss was walking out and I could see from her body language that she’d glanced at me and turned away quickly with a twisted, sour face. She returned as I was setting up my station, and she called out loudly in a sarcastic tone to me, “Glad to see you made it in!”

I said, “Yeah! I got my car back from the shop!” and smiled at her as I walked past her to get to my station.

She left for the day without another word to me.

Then george arrived. My heart sank. I knew I’d have to be absent from work again.

On my break that night, I cornered the night boss, who is much nicer. I told him point blank that I just started my period, and that this is a known health issue with the day shift boss. I asked for his complete honesty – would this be the last straw for the day boss if I am absent again tomorrow?

He hemmed and hawed and beat around the bush, and admitted that my attendance had been crappy. I defended my position, saying that I’d always called in well before my shift. I also told him that they knew at the outset that I’d had moving stuff to deal with, and then the car – well that was out of my control.

He said that HE knew my reasons for being late or not showing up to work, but that the day boss didn’t care about reasons or excuses. All she wants to see are the numbers, and so all she’s been seeing is that I’m late here, I’m a no-show there, with increasing frequency.

He then asked me if I knew that I had been hired on a trial basis? He told me that the day boss told him about my health issues (george – which was admitted on my seventh day on the job), and told him that I’d be a trial employee, to see if this job would work out for me with my limitations.
I told him I’d never been told that I was on trial.
He then told me that this is how it went down with two previous employees, too. They’d had health issues such as back pain or other things going on, and the day boss put them on trial and within a couple of months, they either quit or were let go.

This guy then said something that I WISH I could have captured on tape. He said he wanted to find a way to just hire able-bodied people – and weed out or turn down those with such health issues.

I told him that’s illegal. He shut up at that point, and we resumed talking about the immediate situation – would I be fired if I call in sick tomorrow?

Again, he hemmed and hawed, and then told me that there’d been a massive hiring spree this week, and that actually, he’s pretty sure my replacement had been hired.

So I quit right there, and told him I didn’t deserve to be treated like this for my health issues and a car on the blink, both of which were out of my control.

He nodded grimly and said it sucks, because they go through so many people, and no one answering the ad realises that this will be such a physical job, and a production line to boot.
He told me there’s been a lot of changes in a very short time, and that the morning shift, who have been there the longest (some over a year now), are starting to revolt. He let slip that the hiring spree will apply to a massive overhaul of the morning crew. I felt bad for them, too. At least I got out without before being branded with a big red scarlet letter.

I broke the news to my friend at dinner break. She was hired in a couple weeks after I was. I sent her the ad for the place. *sigh*

At least I still have the day job for now.

Last night, after pondering how shitty it’s been for me having to work two jobs to make ends meet, and pondering how much worse off my mom was to work three jobs with two children, I began to read Nickel and Dimed: On (not) Getting By in America.

I’d been resistant to read the book up til this point, because it brought up sticky memories of childhood. I just told everyone I’d already lived it from the perspective of a child of a low wage parent, why should I read the damned book?

Now, reading the book, parts of it have opened my eyes. My mom cleaned houses for a living. I didn’t know just how low class that is in the eyes of even other lower class people until I read that book. I’ve always helped out the cleaning crews at the dotcom jobs I’ve worked. I’ve always left tips for maid service in the hotel industry when I’ve stayed longer than a couple of nights – precisely because my mother had been one of them. I always leave a generous tip for wait staff when I dine out – precisely because my mother had been one of them. And I always tip no less than a dollar to bartenders for each drink, because my mother had been one of them.

Other parts of the book – I know all too well from personal experience or through watching my mom’s suffering. Half of the time, I want to tell the author of the book to quit whining, because she’ll never truly know what it was like. Then I remember that she declared at the outset that she wasn’t trying to write from the perspective of what it’s REALLY like. And then too, I chill out because I myself do not have it anywhere near as bad as the people this author writes about.

So yeah, it sucked that I hit negative balance this past month (almost twice but I got a 2nd loan from my boyfriend in time before it happened again). Yeah, I had to take two jobs to make ends meet. Yeah, I was treated like shit at the one job. Yeah, I quit that job only a mere week after taking on the second job. I thought I would have lasted a bit longer, but I found out that all this time I’d been on a shitlist and was about to be fired, so I quit rather than be wrongly humiliated.

The wrongly humiliated part though – that’s a daily part of life with low wage jobs. I’ve had several flashbacks to shithole jobs I worked as a teen. I don’t deserve that. NOBODY deserves to be treated like shit – teenager or illiterate or college educated or foreign born or non-white or whatever. Nobody.

Well, that’s that.

Just got home from the night job.

I quit tonight rather than wait to be fired by end of week.

More details when I’ve got the time and energy to spew.

Oh, and george showed up this evening, too.

Job interview

I spoke to six people over 4 hours yesterday!

The interview seemed to go well at first. I spoke with the helpdesk department (which I’m interviewing for), a system integration guy, and a couple of quality assurance (QA) guys.

Well, the QA guys grilled me gestapo-style on Linux, so naturally I blanked on most of the answers. As a matter of fact, looking back, I also blanked when I tried to tell the system integration guy what products my last company produces.

Overall though, I liked everybody and they seemed to like me. Even the QA guys reminded me of friends and former co-workers, so there was a bit of familiarity to guide me in addressing them.

I’m my own worst critic though, so after the interview, my feeling was that I didn’t get the job. It was a fun time though, like a pop-quiz at school, where I got to find out how much techie stuff I still remember and how much I’ve forgotten.

Honestly, with how high-stress the dotcom industry is, I’ll actually be relieved to get a rejection from them. I keep vowing never to go back to the tech industry, and I keep allowing people to guide me back there. Why can’t I break out of this cycle?

Anyway, the waiting has begun, as has the flip-flopping of emotions. I’ll find out this coming week if I’m hired or not.

Today, my gut feeling tells me that ‘vacation’ is ending, which gives me low-grade panic at knowing I may actually be called back to the high-stress dotcom field.

But if I am called back, who’s to say that this time I won’t dig it? What if this gig is better than the last few years’ worth of anxiety?

Now…the outstanding issues:

Certain things were purposefully ommitted during the interview that I’m dwelling on now.
1) my back goes out several times a year, and
2) george.

They expect me to lift up to 80 pounds (36kg). I told them during the phone interview that I could probably lift closer to 40 pounds (18kg), but I didn’t say why.

During the in-person interview, the bossman brought up how a former hire had over time set more and more restrictions on her job, relying on more people to help her instead of being able to do it herself.

Her issues were not health-related, though.

I felt that disclosing my health issues would preclude my being interviewed and/or hired. At the time, it wasn’t such a big deal, since I was humouring my friend by applying to begin with. But now…if it went well enough that I’ll be hired…now begins the sticky aspect of timing of disclosure.

Do I tell them as soon as an offer is made? Or do I wait til the issues start happening (which would be as early as June 2 for george, or sooner if my back goes out).

If I tell them at the time of offer, and they revoke the offer, saying that I’ve wasted their time in interviewing me, well, I don’t consider it my problem, and here’s why:

If I told every prospective employer that I need to miss 1-3 days of work per month because of severe menstrual pain, and that I need to miss anywhere from 1-3 weeks of work per year because my back goes out, how often do you think I’d be hired?

Now ask yourself these questions:

How often does the average new parent need to take time off work for their newborn and family issues?

How many days of work does the average person miss in a year due to cold and/or flu because they’re not as germ-cautious/hygienic as I am?

How many hours of work monthly does the average parent miss due to having to pick up or drop off their offspring?

Now, how are my time-off issues any different from the above? I’ll miss some days of work here and there, just like anybody else. What business is it of theirs WHY I’ll miss work?

Hmmm. Actually, I think I have my answer. What business is it of theirs, indeed!