Soul Sucking Jobs

Now, in my last post, I mentioned I got a new job. I would love to say this cause of celebration, but it’s a festivity like those made at harvest in ancient times when huge banquets were thrown, people danced, music played and future workers were conceived all to honor the fact that no one was going to starve to death for that year. I wish I could guarantee a year in this case.

In an industrial zone, marked as a red zone hotspot for toxins and poisons just below ground and integrated into the bed rock, a machine manufacturer decided they needed help with their documentation process. I should mention that this place of bio-hazards and toxic byproducts has yet to get Sludge’s attention somehow. I suspect it’s the tarmac covering this location, camouflaging it from the Waste Pile of unusual size. But enough about the impending doom that will occur when this company starts the construction of its new testing hanger. That’s for next year… we hope.

Back to the point, this company, whose name I’ll change so people don’t know exactly where and get my butt in trouble, is a fortune 500 company, I’m told, with offices worldwide. It also has archaic business practices, screams nepotism, and has chosen so many cheaper options, I barely qualify as technically proficient in my own computer. Who the hell chooses the German alternate to a windows program base? It should also be noted that when I was offered the job, they had me take a standard test to see if I qualified. I didn’t, missing the minimum score by 25%. They took me anyway. They were so desperate for people that they decided I was a close enough match, gave me a desk, a computer, and an hourly wage. Of that I’m not complaining. It’s decent money, if I survive. The biggest problem is that they are so over worked and too busy to do their own job, they don’t have time to train anyone else with any diligence. When they do, it’s just a data spewage and my ADHD brain just can’t keep up.

They implied my first week that if I wasn’t crying every night, then I wasn’t doing it right. They also added these last three words to my orientation on my first day: “please don’t run.”

So far I haven’t but I spend most of my day either confused or bored. However, thanks to this job and a certain job culture around here, I now feel like the Dread Pirate Roberts from Princess Bride. “Good work, Daniel. Sleep well. I’ll most likely fire you in the morning.” I have been expecting to get fired for no real reason since I showed up. Why? Because I have been fired, sometimes dramatically, sometimes ridiculously, from every job I managed to scramble here, save for two who had definite end dates. Sort of a pity. I liked working at the Ceremonial Knife and Magical Tool Company. They gave me a tomahawk at the end of assignment.

Now you are probably reading this, (I hope you are still reading anyway, sorry for the rant) asking yourself, “Well, Daniel, are you sure you are a good worker? There must be something wrong with you that you get fired that much or that you can’t find steady work.” Yes, thank you for those uplifting words. My anxiety will love them later. But yes, I had thought of that for a while. What it comes down to is, yes, I do have a disability other than ADHD. I have certain professional expectations, like people being professional. Instead, it’s like high school with a paycheck.

One job I had, a female boss demanded I share a desk with her, not like a long table, but like those regulation, “I’m only sort of a boss but I’m more than you get in a cube” desks. I had no foot room, but if my eyes came away from the computer screen, they met hers. She talked about her husband being so far away some of the time, but that’s how she liked it, dammit. She would mention this without provocation. Then she demanded I work the Saturday after Thanksgiving when no one else was even included on the email. When I mentioned it to my coworkers, who were all female, they shrugged it off as nothing. Then I asked them, “If the genders of all involved were reversed, what would you say?” I never saw a group change their minds so fast.

And that’s not even the half of it. There have been others where I was lied to, bullied, told what a great job I did right before they had me blacklisted at my employment agency. I have had another agency tell me “once you are a temp, you will always be a temp. Never call us again.” This was a company that specialized in Temp to perm placing to boot. What in the Sam Hill?

It’s epidemic. Again, you may be asking yourself, why don’t you get another job, you seem to fine these crappy jobs perhaps there are others. Nope. The gaps between assignments have been enough to bleed our savings. Because of the mass of young overly trained, overly desperate, needy people that keep flooding the city from every angle, the market shrinks every day, doubly so if you are like me, over 40 even if only just. Then there was the frightening words I heard as I was being introduced to my new boss: “This is my daughter.” Ok, two generations in the same job is weird but not that unusual, until… “My husband works over there, this person is my best friend, her husband does security, oh and that coworker over there, her dad runs the company as a VP. Did I mention the nepotism? However, none of my experiences really compare to the situation my wife endures.

For those who have been reading my blog (thanks again!), you might remember that Kay has told me that I’m not allowed to tell anyone what she does other than it’s in the medical field. So I’m going to leave it at that.

For the record, and so she can see me write this, I think Kay is strong, wise, and bright. She has held onto a job that, until a few month ago, was troubling, hard, and at times confusing. I won’t say she did it with sparkles, but she is diligent, process driven, and goal oriented when she is sitting in the office chair. She doesn’t make much conversation because she has a job to do, a practice we were taught was normal. She is successful at her work and makes the company look good. Her coworkers don’t like that at all.

After her long commute the other day, she came home, threw her stuff down and huffed. She huffs when she wants to scream blue murder but doesn’t want to strain her voice or alarm the neighbors. I’m well familiar of which huff is “Gods, bring me chocolate and a shoulder for a lunatic on the train wouldn’t shut up” and which is “I will wear their blood on my chest.” Today was one of the later. I let her vent for a bit, waiting to see what was appropriate; hugs, kind words, comfort food, or facilitating her righteous vengeance.

“Are you ok?” I asked when she calmed down.

(At this point, I still haven’t decided if this is an R rated blog or not. Even a PG-13 blog is allowed one F-bomb. Since I want to save it for when it is really needed, I will clean up the language as much as possible.)

My wife stared at the ground, too angry to look at me yet. “Freaking Vampires! I have to deal with those leeches every damn day!”

“Oh Gods, honey, are you ok? Did they attack you?”

“You’re damn right they did! They went to my boss!” It’s a rare day that my wife screams but she can project when she wants to. “And what did they bring with them? A ‘collection of ‘mistakes’ I had made and tried to get me fired. Most of them were crap they themselves did!”

Her boss, here after referred to as Bossman, is notoriously spineless when it come to these people. I’m starting to wonder if one or both of the bloodsuckers has finally entranced him, bent him to their will, or started to feed from him, giving him a taste of the unholy blood in their vein to make an addict out of him, their own personal Renfield. It’s the only explanation I can figure. They don’t seem the type to sleep together.

“I mean did they bite you?” I asked.

She looked at me like I was stupid. “Dan, that’s immediate termination. They aren’t that dumb.”

“Oh, right.” Vampires or not, they still had to obey the employee handbook.

I came over and hugged her. She hugged back as she talked. “What did Bossman say?”

“There wasn’t enough evidence to write me up or anything, but [expletive deleted] he told me that me might have to talk to HR.”

“You have got to be kidding me.” I stroked her hair until she pushed back, needing to move while she talked.

“He didn’t do anything other than threaten me.”

“So their hold on his soul isn’t perfect.” I smile.

She laughs a little but is too agitate to enjoy it. “That and if he screws up it’s his boss who feels it.”

Her Bossman’s boss, the Uberboss is the real authority there. I never met her, but I have the impression that she exists only in her office, exiting only in times of turmoil as trumpets blare and black fog belches from behind her. Don’t ask me why. The Uberboss also has a vested interest in keeping Bossman shiny and perfect in the eyes of the company, as Uberboss got him promoted in the first place. Ah, politics.

She gets into her sweats as she talks and we discuss the day, at the end, I have to ask, “Are you going to be ok?”

“Yeah, it’s just small minded people used to being big fish.” (this is a huge post about Bridgeton… maybe next time)

“Is there anything I can do?” A standard offer that she rarely takes me up on. She likes to be self reliant.

“No, but start looking for jobs.” She mentions as she picks up her iPad. As I already have a crappy job I assume this is more for her than me.

“Why?” I ask. It feels as if there is something she isn’t telling me.

“You know that five-fold blessing that I learned while back?” She also has an interest in alternate spirituality like I do.

“Yeah?” My eyebrow raises.

“It’s amazing what you can do to a water cooler when no one is watching….” She smiles.

“You didn’t!” I start laughing.

“Hey, it’s perfectly legal.” She says not looking up. “Blessing water is well documented for a bunch of health benefits.”

“What happened to them?” I asked, eagerly anticipating tales of vengeance and horror. Ok, so I’m petty from time to time. And overly dramatic. And have far too much use for exaggerated talk.

“They shut the hell up is what happened…. After the screaming and blistering they couldn’t talk for hours. It was so nice getting that kind of quiet for a while. I swear people in this town never stop talking.”

This lead into another bitch session about the volume and communication style of most natives that honestly, we both find bewildering. But at least she got her quiet. Trust me, when she needs it, it’s best not to be in the way. Though she is prepared for the two hour Empathy class the whole team has to take to help feel the nocturnal persuasion feel better about themselves. It should be noted this is a church run organization.

That is kind of the employment we have encountered in a nutshell, and so far the natives have no issue with it. They mostly shrug and run with it like discussing the weather of a planet where the clouds might every once in a while drift down from the heavens and tear the skin from your body but where the food carts are interesting. Honestly, It’s driving us to consider other locales to call home.

Until then, we continue working, like every other person out there, just waiting for the day when they can find the solace in the activities they do every day. We shall see what we get.

Keep Dreaming

Daniel

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