Friday, September 14, 2018

Chokmah Will Rock

Since my former employer (FE from now on) has a collection of incompetents who masquerade as workers, I haven't received any money for four weeks. No severance - even though I signed the paperwork last month. No unemployment benefits. I thought a two to three week wait would make sense so I was patient. I checked my bank account every day. No uptick on my balance. I kept getting these odd small checks for $25 or $39. Apparently, my vacation payout check was miscalculated so these checks were trying to true up what was owed to me. Of course every time I saw them in the mail, I thought they were my severance. That played with my emotions and blood pressure.

Funds were getting low as I entered week four of unemployment so I contacted the Department of Unemployment Assistance. Massachusetts' unemployment rate is 3.5% so I knew they weren't really inundated like back in 2008/2009. The DUA rep told me that my claim was held up because FE had not submitted the requested documentation. Man, I invented new curse words when I heard that bullshit! If I had been exposed to gamma radiation beforehand, Boston would have been leveled. Not only FE dicked me over by laying me off, they weren't doing their due diligence! Which I know shouldn't be a surprise to me since I worked there and had front row seats to the depths of their incompetence. Pissed and panicked, I reached out to the director of my department and my former boss. I asked about my severance as well.  Several hours later, I was informed that nothing is pending them and they submitted paperwork. So, what the actual fuck?
First thing, the next morning I called DUA. I assumed they lied to me to cover a fuck up on their end. I spoke to an amazing representative who explained to me what happened and fixed my unemployment claim. FE submitted BLANK PAPERWORK! BLANK! The representative was so pissed on my behalf, she gave me the name of the person who signed it. I let the department director and former boss know what happened. My boss told me that a lot of blame and stories are going back and forth in the department. Yup, sounds right. The director apologized and told me that my severance should arrive next week.  This breaks the romanticized nostalgia lens I remembered my time at my former employer. FE can stand for former employer or something else from now on.

Monday, September 10, 2018

28 Days Later

28 days of unemployment is a little bit of picture 1 and picture 2.  So what have I been doing this past month other than applying to jobs?

  1. Mending fences, reaching out, and connecting - my dad and I have been spending time together. I can help him since he has given up his driving license which helps me be productive and feel needed. I know he's the same person with the same limitations but it works for now. I'm back in touch with friends who I haven't seen for over a decade due to rifts/life changes. I don't have energy anymore to hold a grudge and if I sunk a lot of time and memorable experiences into a person, they are going to be my friend no matter what. I have organized a Jamaica Plain job seekers group. We had our first meeting last week and it was great! I got a lot of tips, laughs, and leads.
  2. Catching up on TV - Grey's Anatomy and Downton Abbey fell off my must watch list for a couple years. Now that Grey's is in syndication, I can catch up while I peruse job boards/LinkedIn. I rage quit Downton after what happened to Matthew. Now, I'm kinda disgusted with the Anna story-line but I"ll persist. The episodes are my go to sleep viewing. I also watched Star Wars Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels so I could make sense of the Solo movie.
  3. Learning SQL - since every other analyst job description asks for it, I signed up for a class at General Assembly. Luckily, it made sense to me and I was able to internalize a lot of basics quickly.
  4. Freaking out about money - I have not had any kind of income for four weeks. My severance check has not arrived. My retirement fund cash-out has not come. Even though unemployment is under 5%, my unemployment benefits are taking forever.
  5. Getting angry - it turns out having a good work/life balance is not just for your health while you're working, it's key when you are unemployed. If you derive a lot of pride, sense of self and accomplishment from a job and it goes away - it can seriously mess you up. If I let myself to get into the angry loop, it goes "How dare they? I killed myself for this job. The work I performed went above and beyond. Meanwhile they have payroll clerks who refuse to learn Excel but remain employed because they're union. Fuck them! Fucking user life ruiners."

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Change Curve

After two fairly positive and productive weeks, I hit an emotional wall yesterday. I had my first job interview yesterday morning. My old analyst team sent me good luck texts, my Lyft driver gave me tons of encouragement, and the interview went well. I got home and had a phone screen with another company. Then, I could not stop crying. To get myself amped up to be on for interviews, I need to invest in the potential job, potential new routine, and potential new co-workers. I also have to hold the investment in a bubble to either tap into again or have burst. It is exhausting. I can't let myself want a new job too much for protection.

I miss my old team - the daily laughs and support. I miss the routine of going to work and contributing. I'm also worried that I fit in so well at my old job, I won't have that again at another place.  I don't miss my old company - the politics and BS was taxing.  Unemployment is draining and this might be my last job before hitting the senior citizen zone.  Hitting the sads finally now.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

My New Job

Every morning I wake up at 8:30 and over my first cup of coffee, I browse the job alerts I've received. For the next 3 to 5 hours, I submit job applications. I try to get outside at least once and talk to someone beyond my cats and roommate daily. The routine isn't too bad. After talking with my therapist to develop pre-bedtime rules, I am sleeping a lot better. Also, I got a tip from a friend that calcium and magnesium helps with sleep so that's my backup.

Since I"m home a lot more, I am noticing the cat interactions.  During the day, Stella and Shauna sleep in my room basically hiding from Phil. He is just very enthusiastic and his version of playing is ambushing them by jumping on their back. I'm hoping the aggressive play will die down once he is fixed. He's a goofy, lovable fluff who crawls all over me as I'm lying in bed at night.

Emotionally, I"m pretty good. My family and friends are keeping in touch and my spirits up. My old co-workers text me several times a week. Financially, I"m okay. It's going to be interesting to interview without the money panic fueling me. Maybe it will make me a better interviewee?

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Week 1

My awesome roommate gave me a big hug when she got home Monday and told me while I cried that she wants me to still live with her.  She even came up with a plan about rent, bills, and groceries - which is why she rocks. I told her that we can wait to figure out the financial stuff when I get my unemployment insurance estimate. That night, I got the sweetest text from a former fellow analyst saying how sad he is to see me go and that I am smart, dedicated, and hard working. That he has no doubt that I will move onto bigger and better things. 

I had to take Lorazepam to sleep that night.  Tuesday was the day I designated to get business done like filing for unemployment, deferring student loans, and contacting my retirement plan. This was me on the phone with complete strangers:

Once I got all that fluid out, I updated my resume, contacted my professional network, and lined up references. So many of my family, friends, and colleagues reached out to help I was floored with the kindness

Tuesday night, I took a Benadryl, woke up at 8:30 and spent 5 hours applying, researching jobs, setting up networking lunches. Basically killing the whole unemployment thing.

I wanted to see if I could sleep unmedicated after a good day.  I can't. So today has been a slog. I survived unemployment when the market was in the toilet and the jobless rate was close to 10%. I just need to keep my spirits up with a routine, contact with others, and some patience/kindness towards myself. I'm going to try Melatonin tonight.

On a happy note, Phil is doing great. He annoys the crap out out Shanna and Stella when he is too full of energy but Shanna snuggles with him when they sleep. He also crawls into bed with me which is the cutest and warms my heart.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Laid Off...Agains

It was a nice four years wasn’t it? I guess I am technically graduating, huh? Around noon today the analyst group director asked me to come with him to a meeting. He was very somber and deflected when I asked if everything was all right. I was lead into a room with the department deputy director who had an envelope in front on herself. She calmly greeted me and I knew. I totally knew what was coming down the pike. I’ve done this dance before. The upshot is my department is being reorganized and my job was identified for elimination. I’m getting a month’s severance.
I was calm and started muttering “Oh God, this again?” then there were tears. The group director got weepy too. The deputy director told me how talented I am and offered to help me land on my feet. I asked if I needed to leave immediately. I did. I said farewell to my fellow analysts and coworkers. They helped me pack my boxes and I went home.
I’m just completely stunned and sad. My plan is feel my feelings for the next couple of days and then buckle down on job applications.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Kitten High

Phil has been home for two weeks and things are going fairly well! He is a goofy confident fluff. Once he consistently came out and played with us in the safe room, we took him on excursions in a carrier to the living room so he could meet the two old ladies.  Or the Golden Girls as we like to call them.  Surprisingly, Shauna was the more aggressive of the two! She growled, hissed, and batted the carrier. Stella only growled and hissed. Phil was not scared at all. He was straining to look everywhere. He stayed out for almost an hour and then we’d whisk him back to his safe room. A couple more nights of that resulted in me letting him out in my bedroom. He was so tentative and yet excited. When he was pooped, he crawled back in the carrier.

The next night, we left the safe room door wide open. Phil emerged eventually and made his way to the living room. The two girls did the growl and hiss thing but nothing physical – just posturing. Shauna would slink into the safe room, nibble on Phil’s kitten food, and curl up on his blanket bed while he was out exploring. When it was bed time for the humans, Phil went back to his room. We had a couple more rounds of this kind of night and now Phil is out 24/7. We’ll slowly transition his safe room feeding and litter areas to the other cats but now the areas are still separate.

Phil enjoys the scratching post in the living room and crawling under our coffee table to A) stalk Shauna or Stella or B) curl up and snooze. He is absolutely not afraid of the old ladies at all. He keeps on trying to engage them in play but they are having none of it. He’s especially persistent with Stella.

I’m going to try Jackson Galaxy’s bully formula with Stella to hopefully mellow her out. Phil does climb in bed with me which is fucking amazing and fills my heart with joy. And YET Stella is lying against me and starts growling once she sees him. Guys, there’s enough love for both of you – I promise!

Seeing Phil in the hallway with his head cocked to the side with a “Whatcha doin?” look or hearing his squeaky mews makes me so happy.  When he lets me pick him up, I love that he lets me pretend lick him while he purrs like an engine.  He’s healing my heart in ways I can’t describe.