Monday, March 07, 2005

The Unemployment Blues

Just Like Judy

So, it's the beginning of the week for most of you but when you're out of work, it's just another Monday. I woke up at 11am and stretched, looked outside at the beautiful day ahead and wondered why I couldn't be happy sitting on my porch watching the rest of the world work. My boyfriend and everyone else I know are busy and when you've got free time, but no one to share it with, it's as if the down time is not as exciting as it otherwise would be. Lately I've been feeding my boredom frenzy between getting this blog reactivated since I set up the account under my former work email (Done! Thanks blogger!) and reading about other sacked employees on the web.
The first story to catch my attention was the infamous Jessica Cutler, fired for her blog, (, her blog has been revived for voyeuristic viewers like me), which recounted her sexual exploits with Capitol hill reps. Not only is Jessica famous and on her way to best-seller land (I'm jealous!) but she's happy to be unemployed. Go figure! Jessica's Washington experience makes her the uber-Monica. Personally, I think she's awesome but I find it so ridiculous that none of the Washington elite who slept with her came clean and honest about their dalliances with the former Washington intern. I applaud her for her being brave and shedding light on my favorite topic: sex and politics. Oh what an ugly web these elitist pricks in Washington weave...I can be much more forgiving of Ms. Cutler for bedding these cowards for top dollar but I have no sympathy for the men who did graciously and without any provocation or thought to their wives or children. They committed these acts because they could, because it's easy to get away with murder in this world and never suffer the consequences.
Does anyone even remember Ms. Chandra Levy? During the summer of 2001 I was especially interested in her case. She had an elicit affair with Gary Conditt, fell in love and ended up missing and later found murdered. The 9/11 crisis wiped her out of the spotlight and we will never know what happened to Chandra beyond speculation. Her story was so gruesome to me, due to her age and that she was from Modesto, not far from my current location of Sacramento, where the gossip of politicos spreads like the state budget. How did this happen to her in the safest towns of America? My heart still goes out to her family and what they must endure everyday that they know Gary Conditt, lives and breathes, fucks his clueless wife, (who should have left him after the affair came to light), and doesn't even bother to give more than a nod to their pain. Shame on Washington, shame on those power hungry men who supposedly serve our country with pride...I bet they serve with pride alright - along with a spoonful of cocaine, newly recruited interns, hired, screwed and fired - all with an ego larger than the entire United States.

Moving on from my obvious irritation with Capitol Hill (and my obsession with sex and politics), Mark Jen was fired for revealing just a bit more than his former employers at Google anticipated. Free speech in this country is at an all time low. Mr. Jen was let go from Google because he socked a few jabs into the web search behemoths policies and health plans. So what? The KKK is allowed to spew their ugly agenda all over the web and believe me, that offends many more citizens of this country than a few digs at an employer's work policy. I believe he had every right to speak his mind or maybe I'm underestimating the power of a blog. Recently, blogging leapt out of the online journal label to become a substantial income for some, turned the heads of literary agents who now entertain the idea of searching blogs for aspiring writers (hey, over here, I have plenty of time to write!) and also a tool for gathering information about current events. More internet geeks read Wonkette, Gawker or Kingblind than they read their local paper. I can't remember the last time I picked up a local paper. It must have been the cover of the SF Chronicle with the headline WAR in huge black ink and I bought it because it scared me, no one under 35 expected to ever see that title on a news cover. That definitely brought me to three conclusions: 1) Go out and have sex like it's the last time, 2) Forget about climbing any corporate or success ladder, life is about giving back and helping everyone around you be as happy as possible, so buy the next person in line a cup of coffee instead of buying your latte and walking out the door never making eye contact with anyone, 3) Damn the man (Bush).

Work for my last employer hit a head just after the six month mark. I was happy but not really satisfied. I was hired as an office manager to fill in while the former was on maternity leave. I took the job too quickly, big mistake, because I was laid off for three months from my last gig. I didn't want to risk running out of unemployment or driving my boyfriend crazy so I accepted what I believed to be a great opportunity. The pay was crap and I've come to accept that as part of of being a Sacramentan. In San Francisco, my hometown, I made so much more to do exactly what I'm doing now but my experience in the workforce has grown and I'm thankful for the addition to my resume. My new employers seemed fun, hip, young and relaxed. Little did I know that those three things do not always equal to a professional workplace. We all want two hour lunches and bosses who don't care if you're a few minutes late but my employers were too cool so I knew something was up. The catch turned out to be an office where everyone was married, conservative and uptight about many issues I take with ease. I worked with two gay people at my last job and diversity was rich. Not so with the new employer where everyone was White. That wasn't a big deal at first but I saw the separation that brought between myself and the rest of the staff. Race was not the issue as was general acceptance of other cultures and genders. I found even the women to be sexist at times which I found humorous at first and sad during other occasions.
After my position increased and I was getting hip to the game, I believed it was time for more than verbal compensation. One of my employers agreed that I should see more buck for my dollar since I was obviously giving more than I received. I drew up a beautiful review proposal stating my needs, and I outlined the position I was hired for and the change in my job description, even my boyfriend was impressed. He was certain I would walk out of there with a smile as I did with my last job where I got a raise and an employee of the month award within two months.
Not so fast girly, we'll neglect the fact that you called this meeting and we neglected to acknowledge your need for a review and we'll turn you down flat. Nice. I began my job hunt like a speedy little devil looking for souls to steal. I felt like I was almost free...just that much closer to outwitting them when they turned the tables on me. I was ready for work on an unsuspecting Monday when I was called into a meeting to discuss a serious matter. Apparently after changing the server, they read through all the emails (or just mine, I believe) and found a particular email to a friend in Berkeley gossiping about the weekend and her need for a new herbal connection. The word herb and grow ticked off some bells and I was asked to resign. No need to pay a pothead unemployment. I was both shocked and amazed and I learned a valuable lesson. Never discuss herb through work email, sometimes you can slide and screw up but not on company mail. Never feel pressured to sign a resignation letter, you will still qualify for unemployment as I did, but stick to your guns, if they're going to fire you, let them. I felt stupid for signing their bullshit letter but even worse for letting them let me go instead of vice versa. They used my skills, underpaid me and then gave me the boot.
Personally, I believe the two co-workers I confided in ratted my job search out and they found this bit of evidence to can my happy ass. Coincidentally, neither of the aforementioned co-workers called to wish me well or stop by and a be friend. I do keep in touch with two of my old co-workers and for their support, I am eternally grateful. Good friends in the workplace are tough to find, loyal ones who will acknowledge your existence after you're sacked are even harder.
I have received great feedback from Craigslist and monster so I think I will beat the unemployment blues...for now I'll blog away.


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