Monday, April 30, 2012

So All Good Things Must Come to an End

This morning I was called into the HR office and handed my severance package.  As of May 31, 2012 I will be unemployed.

I have known this was coming since July.  I've been prepared.  Over the months I've joked about it, saying I have "senioritis" like a high school student. 

Right now I don't feel like a high school senior, but like a college senior, looking upon imminent graduation and thinking, "What am I supposed to do with my life now?"  I remember that end-of-college feeling well. Nothing felt so horrible as the idea that I was separating myself from my carefree life, my friends, my incredible boyfriend, and the 17-year routine of being a student to which I was accustomed. I was going to have to leave everything behind and try to make my way in the world.  I had no idea how to do it.

Making my way in the world was tough.  It was depressing.  I never really let on to anyone just how depressed I was or how desperate I sometimes felt. I was afraid if I did, I'd be hustled off to therapy or there would be other attempts to "cure" me and I am far too stubborn to want my issues to belong to anyone but me.  I had no great skills, no exceptional talents, nothing to make me better than anyone else seeking a job and a life.  I wasn't ever a particularly hard worker to help make up for the lack of talent.  I was stuck.  I was unemployed, single, and living at home while my friends all seemed to be finding jobs, getting their own places, attending graduate school, marrying, and continuing on with theirs lives in ways I just couldn't seem to be on board with.

The best I could say was that in those days the stakes were low.  I was only supporting myself, only worrying about myself.  I did worry often that I was upsetting my family. They had invested so much in my future and I was disappointing them by not giving them much to show for it.  I could at least be content that they weren't dependent on me.

Now I'm married.  I have my own family.  I do have someone else dependent on me.  Kevin and I have built a life together. If I can't contribute to that life, I'm not the only one who suffers.  I won't just be putting pressure on myself to get out there support the family.  It will come from other places too.  The less of a contribution I make, the guiltier I will feel, even though I know the guilt will mostly come from within.

I never loved my job, but for many years I liked it.  The work could be a bit repetitive, but I really liked many of my regular clients, I travelled occasionally (if it weren't for my job, I never would have been to London), I rarely had to work strange hours, and I had ample vacation time.  The ultra casual corporate culture suited me well. 

After the company's acquisition, the situation changed - subtly at first, more aggressively in later years.  When my company was first acquired, the folks at the top assured all of us that jobs were safe.  As time went on and more consolidation happened, this stopped being true.  I can remember every time I complained about a new policy Kevin would say to me, "Are you sure your job is safe?"  At first the answer was "Yes, I 'm sure." Then the answer was, "I think so."  Then once day it wasn't safe anymore.  I hated delivering that news knowing I wasn't the only one who would suffer.

I really hadn't been that happy at my job in the past two years, but you can like your job a lot more when you know you're going to lose it.  I never considered my job to be my life.  My friends, my family, and my extra-curricular activities were the things that mattered most. I didn't have many close friends at the office and only socialized after hours with a handful of people.  My job was what I did to support what I did outside of the office.  I haven't lost the most important thing in my life, but I lost the entire support structure for the things I do consider important.

So now I'm staring down the rest of my life wondering what's going to happen.  What will I do next and will I enjoy it?  I've already jumped the gun a bit and responded to a job posting on a competitor's website for a job that is very much like the job I'm doing now.  Do I hope I get it?  Do I take time off?  Part of me would like to just take off all of June and July and return to work after I get back from Chincoteague in August.  That would assume I could find a job after taking time off. 

Oh well.  I still have 19 days of employment left (if you remove weekends and the vacation I'm taking at the end of the month).  I don't feel like I owe the company anything, but I still have client who will need my help and despite the senior slump, I will keep doing my work as best I can for them. 

Either things will work out for me or they won't.  Time will tell.  I hope as the weeks go on my friends won't grow tired of my musings and rantings and will hang in there with me to see how the story continues.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Here Is An Interesting Contradiction

In the bridge of the theme song it declares, "Mr. Ed will never speak unless he has something to say."

Then in the last verse, it says, "This one will talk to till his voice is hoarse."

So which is it?  Is Mr. Ed a conservative talker who only speaks when he feels he should (he once said he talked to Wilbur because Wilbur was the only person worth talking to) or will he talk until his voice is hoarse?

If you only speak when you have something to say, would you be talking until you were hoarse?

Either Mr. Ed has a lot to say, or he just has weak vocal chords!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Dear Regressive Critics: Hilary Rosen is Absolutely Correct

You heard me.  I'm not going to be like Obama and namby pamby this issue and make apologies.  I make none.  Ann Romney deserves every bit of criticism that's coming to her.

Regressives are trying to spin this as some leftist take on the "Mommy Wars."  They are trying to make this about the eternal struggle between mothers who stay home with their kids (saints who are above reproach and are the only good true mothers in the eyes of Republicans) and mothers who work - whether out of choice or (more likely) necessity. 

BZZZZZZZTTTTTTT.  Sorry.  Here's your consolation prize.  Thanks for playing.  Please pack your daggers and go home.

Rosen was pointing out something that regressives fail to find obvious - Ann Romney is not, and never has been, an example of your average motherhood experience in the United States.  It doesn't matter if we're talking about working mothers or stay-at-home mothers.  None of that has anything to do with Ann Romney.

The average mother in the United States, regardless of whether or not she has an outside job, likely faces a lot of struggles.  She has to budget the family money to make sure her kids are adequately fed, clothed, and provided with medical care.  She has to make sure her kids are watched over when she is unavailable, which might mean paying someone.  She may have to make tough choices about which non-necessary items she can buy her kids, whether it's a toy they crave,  the latest fashions for a teenage daughter who wants to fit in, or ice skating lessons.  The average American mother will always have a  long list of chores and errands such as picking kids up from school and activities, taking them to doctor appointments, cooking meals, and cleaning the house.  Every day your average mother has to walk that fine line and work that delicate balance of money and time. 

Ann Romney is not your average mother.  She is fabulously wealthy.  She has publicly admitted she has a team of nannies, housekeepers, chauffers, and other staff to help her handle the duties.  Ann Romney has never had to worry about rushing to pick one kid up from school when another kid just barfed on the living room rug.  Ann Romney has never had to worry about whether or not there will be enough money left over after the car needs major repairs for a daughter to continue her beloved ballet lessons.  Ann Romney has never had to worry about finding an affordable sitter for the night when she and Mittens want a date night, nor does she have to worry if a movie and a nice dinner is too pricey.

I don't begrudge the woman her wealth.  We would all love to be so lucky.  I do have an isuse with her husband using her to try to pander to all women voters because she claims to have something in common with them.  She has nothing in common with your average American woman except for the fact that she has children.  She always has someone looking after the children on staff.  She always has someone to pick them up from school.  She never has to worry about their medical expenses.  She can afford any luxury item or activity they choose.  That's great for her kids, but it's nothing that most American women can relate to.

As a side note, I find it so funny that the right accuses Obama, a man raised by a single mother from a fairly humble background, is considered "elitist" because he is well educated, but Romney and his family get a pass for their incredible wealth.  Why is it sometimes acceptable for a politician to be extremely wealthy and have an entire staff to raise his children, and sometimes it simply means the politician is an out-of-touch elitist?  I guess that's a subject for another blog.

This issue isn't about mothers staying home with their kids or not or critcizing them for doing so.  It's about knowing what it takes to raise a child in today's economy.  I'm not terribly certain Ann Romney does.  Her husband needs to stop using her to get the women's vote.