Posted in Office Life, Oregon, photography, Portland, random thoughts, self-publishing, writing

Non-conformist Introvert


This is so much on my mind right now. As some know, I was laid off from my job back in March. I took it pretty well, this being the third time now I’ve been through this. I knew the struggle to find a new job awaited me, but deep down inside somewhere I welcomed being freed from the tyranny of Corporate America.

Don’t get me wrong. I enjoyed my job, my co-workers, and my boss. The environment was pleasant enough, the pay, while not great, was sufficient. And in 2 1/2 years there I never once dreaded going in in the morning. I never had those Sundays that were ruined by the thought of the inevitable arrival of Monday. The only thing that got me down about this lay-off was the idea that I would not end up in such a good atmosphere again. It was pure luck to land in that situation and I know it and am grateful. I’ve been in the other place so I really do know how fortunate I was this time. Despite all that, as an introvert, the idea of having to deal with people all day long exhausts me. But society has no use for introverts.

As fate would have it, I came down with a nasty flu the week following the lay-off. It was that lingering flu that seemed to hang on for a month when anyone caught it. The first week I was just flat on my back in bed, hardly even ate. So I had that excuse for not beginning the job search right away. I thought at the time that if I’d still been employed they would have had to put me on short-term disability. I got a little severance from the job to tide me over so I had some time to pull myself together, though not as much as I would have liked.

Now I am on the dole, drawing unemployment (received first check yesterday, May 18). The longer I’m away from Corporate America, the happier I am. As much as I’m a creature of habit, I. Am. Tired. Of. It.

I am, however, dutifully applying to jobs as required by the Employment Dept., but I admit I have no enthusiasm for it. I don’t know how anyone can have enthusiasm for some of these awful jobs. I don’t want to spend my days creating Powerpoint presentations for a marketing department because I really don’t care what they’re selling. I don’t want to answer phones and listen to angry customers. I don’t want to sort and distribute mail. I don’t want to take meeting minutes. So much of what people do is useless drudgery. And yet, we must eat so off we go.

I am tired of trying to pretend I fit in with corporate culture. I’ve never managed to pick up the corporate jargon that comes so easily to others (“ask” as a noun, for instance). I put on my happy face in the office, when really all I wanted was to be home writing. I despise the conformist attire as much as the attitude. If I showed up in the office dressed like Stevie Nicks circa 1978 with my Tarot cards and crystals, I’m pretty sure they’d have a problem. Conform conform conform. I used to risk wearing my pentacle or goddess pendant in the office because I figured most of them would never know what either one was.

Am I old enough to be a crazy old lady now? Probably not quite. But I may yet decide to run around  dressed like Stevie Nicks anyway. This is Portland, after all.

Posted in dystopia, Office Life, random thoughts, writing

Dispatch from the Zone – Big Brother Knows Where You Are

Most of you are familiar with Overseer, one of the managers I support here in my job. He’s the classic cheapskate. When he took a one-year ex-pat assignment overseas, he actually had someone at the company ship his underwear to him that he had forgotten to pack, rather than just buy new where he was. Hand to god, I am not making this up. He pulls down a six-figure salary, better than three times what I currently make. His wife is also a professional who makes damn good money when she works, although her work history has been spotty the last couple of years. She’s out of work right now, got laid-off from her last job (I suspect they were kind and laid her off rather than straight-up firing her by the stink he made about how annoyed she was that she hadn’t left on her own terms, intimating that she had been hoping to give notice but they beat her to it. Read into that what you will). She’s been collecting unemployment as a result.

So now, they just got back from a two week trip to Spain and France. If you’ve been on unemployment, you know you have to check in weekly via phone or internet and answer a series of questions about your status. One question is whether or not you were away from your home for more than three days in the previous week, I guess to see if you were actively looking for work or maybe away on vacation spending money you don’t need to collect from them. She answered no. And here’s where it gets interesting. She got a letter back from them stating their records indicated that was not correct and is now being investigated. If they find out she was gone her unemployment will be reduced. She did continue to do some job searching over the net while away, and in fact has a job offer now, so how that will figure in I don’t know. But apparently the two of them felt that because she was able to continue the job search while overseas it was unfair to have to report that she had been gone and therefore not be entitled to collect her $416 dollars for that week (which, I might add, is twice what I got when I was unemployed).  So how did they know she was gone? That’s the question! Possibly from her social media activity. They apparently posted stuff on their social media sites (whichever ones they use) during the trip. Be warned. Even if you’re not trying to put one over on the Man, your social media activity is being watched.

I am just so appalled that these people who are not in financial straits by any stretch of the imagination would lie about being gone for a couple of weeks. To Europe. I wish I could afford to go to Europe. Maybe in my next life. I’ve had to sit and listen to this guy pontificate about how everyone should be putting aside money for emergencies, it’s just a no-brainer, blah blah blah. He has no idea what it’s like to live from paycheck to paycheck, with nothing leftover to put aside. Not a clue.

And the second lesson to take away from this is to watch what you do online. He’s pretty sure it had nothing to do with the passport checks or the airline tickets (which they got months ago) that triggered anything. While I think they’re getting what they deserve for lying about being gone, I do find it disturbing that people’s movements are being tracked like this. If this had happened to me, you better believe I wouldn’t be in the office complaining about Big Brother catching me in a lie, but he apparently feels so entitled to this pittance (seriously this is like chump change to him) that he thought nothing of telling me this whole tale this morning.

And to see people who really are in financial straits, I direct you to We Are the 99 Percent. This was tweeted out by Arianna Huffington, who famously is richer than God and doesn’t pay the writers on Huffington Post. I find it insulting that she (or one of her minions tweeting on her behalf) would tweet this out, as if she’s suffering right along with the rest of us riff-raff. And no, I don’t follow her. It was retweeted by someone I do follow, who got it from someone they follow, who apparently follows her. So like a fourth-generation tweet. Overseer and Arianna would probably have lots to talk about.