The last 24 hours have been really life affirming and life changing. I’m thinking about K. and R. and M. and N. and Cliodhna and Fox, Grace and Green Witch with smiles and gratitude.
I have this rule. I only get to complain for so long before I take opposite action. So, I have a story to tell you. It’s been awhile since I told a life story and one is due. It’s a long one. You might want to warm up your tea and get comfortable.
When I was a kid I never gave a thought to what I wanted to do when I grew up. I focused on the day in front of me mostly but what I wanted was just to actually grow up. What I did with it was of absolutely no importance to me.
At 13 I discovered sex, drugs (well okay booze), and rock n roll. By 16 I decided I wanted to be a rockstar girlfriend. By 19 I wanted to be a dealer’s girlfriend, that kind of thing. I set my sights high at a very early age. *laugh*
And, by the time I was 19 I had been a dealer’s girlfriend, by 20 I married a dealer, and after the divorce all the men I dated were musicians. No one was ever a star, ex boyfriends went to jail, I was homeless for part of that time, and I saw nothing wrong with my focus at all.
In my 20’s I started “getting it together.” I got clerical jobs that over time turned into better paying jobs. I supported many an unemployed boyfriend and one exhusband. I had good benefits once I got on with the state. But I didn’t do that kind of work because I liked it. I did it because I knew someone had to pay the bills. Granted, in some ways the choices were made for me. So I accepted. I chafed at the bit but I accepted. It was my lot. It was all I deserved. I was lucky to be alive, if this is what you call living. Survival is so pretty isn’t it?
Much drama ensued that I will pass over this time.
One day when I had about 5 years sober, the dean of the college I worked for decided to send all her office assistants to 2 four hour html training sessions. And I fell in love. I made utter and sacred crap. I became enamored with stars that blink and purple and yellow web pages. And I gave 8 months notice that I was quitting my job in September and going back to school.
At 40 I moved in with my parents and waited for school to start. I’ve written before about how wonderful the experience in school was. I discovered that I’m as smart as my parents said I was. That I’m a really good artist. My parents had me tested in my childhood. At three it was determined that I have “a very sophisticated sense of color.” Swear to god, that’s what the tester said. I got my IQ tested to get into the same private school Bill Gates went to and was accepted. But for years I thought I was stupid, worthless, un-creative, and dull. Don’t forget ugly and mean…
Sobriety gave me the courage to do school even though I thought I was stupid and uncreative. School gave me the entire world in ways I never even considered.
But I still lived in fear in many ways. I had begun the nail destroying climb up the well wall but I still was far from living in the sunlight and walking around free.
You’ve read some of this before. Bear with me?
I took the first job offered me after the summer I graduated. I took it because I would be the total controller of two program websites. I would be able to completely redesign them, be responsible for all content. I would also have to be the admin assistant for the biggest jerk ever (far worse than the current boss). I suffered terribly for over 2 years. My co-worker attempted suicide (thankfully she lived). I couldn’t get a new job because I was so depressed I scared away all the folks who interviewed me. I finally realized that I had enough of a portfolio to get a great job but that I would never get it as long as I was tied to that job and that man.
One day I up and quit. And on my last day I got on a plane and went to France to visit my brother for Christmas. I had a lot of work in front of me but I was ready. And I got what I considered to be my dream job very quickly upon my return.
Why was it my dream job? Not only would I have the security of a large living website to manage and eventually redesign but I would have other clients. Clients whose sites I would also design and maintain. From someone like me, who is both a left-brain and a right-brain person (really truly), this was heaven. Art and code. What more could I ask for? And I had the best boss EVAR. I would be able to work from home. Lisa was a joy, she was a friend, she treated me as the professional I am, she knew how much time my job entails in my head off work hours and gave me afternoons off now and then to make up for it. And then she gave her notice 6 months into my stay. Her husband had been given an offer in Chicago that he simply couldn’t refuse.
I was concerned that I would get another shit boss but I also knew by this time that I create my own reality. So I did what I could to trust that the director of our center would pick a great one. And she did. She came through. Molly wasn’t as fabulous as Lisa and never gave me an afternoon off but she was at least kind, professional, and liked to smile. She refused to let me work from home which really pissed me off but otherwise it was good.
And then Molly gave HER notice after 8 months. She got an offer she couldn’t refuse. Her dream job. I was super sad about this but I trusted Shelly. I still do actually. But the applicant pool for the job of core director (my boss) has never been good. Molly sent us her resume the day we were about to give up that we would find anyone worth talking to. It was sheer good timing. But I was going to live in faith that the universe would once again provide exactly what I needed.
And it did. But as usual, that didn’t look like what I thought I needed. It looked very different indeed. I got Molly’s husband. She said I would love him but the minute I met him I couldn’t see how that was possible. She told me before he even applied that he would outright refuse to let me work from home. Making those kind of decisions without even understanding what I do is his trademark. Shelly herself told me she thought he was cold and had a personality that wasn’t our center’s style. God’s Rottweiler wasn’t impressed. But the two people we selected before him got better offers. He was the last maybe and we took him to everyone’s chagrin. No one likes working with him. It isn’t just me. But he takes everything about his insecure little job existence and dumps it on me. We are all in hell as we go through the lengthy process of firing his sorry ass, it isn’t just me.
And last night, everything clicked in to place. I was upset when I left work. I’d been accused of not making an assumption about content in the morning. He needed me to make assumptions. So yesterday afternoon I made an assumption about content. And I got an email from him that ended so: “What gives?!”
OMG. I fucking lost it. I wrote him an angry little email, cc’d God’s Rottweiler, and went home.
I went to the store where I parked next to a car that was familiar (major moments in my life tend to have me parking next to friends by happy accident). And who did I run into in the pastry section? My very good friend M. who I got sober with and am still sober with three weeks shy of 13 years. We stood there talking for 45 minutes and I got the support I needed. And I made the final decision to quit.
My friend R. was coming over at 8 (hence the pastry) to talk to me about editing for her current novel manuscript, planned to be published this fall. And maybe a website and some other things too. And I decided to jump and fly.
I bought lovely little chocolate pastries; chocolate tea cups filled with chocolate mouse. She came in the door and I told her we were celebrating the fact that I…
QUIT MY JOB.
And she does that wonderful thing that only the best of friends do and jumped in the air and squealed YES! and clapped her hands. Let’s give a loud round of huzzah and hurrah and thank the goddess for our wo/men friends who stand beside us and who have our backs.
HUZZAH!!! HUZZAH!!! HUZZAH!!!
She says she has lots of work to pass my way, not just her needs but she is also a publicist and has clients to pass my way too. I figure I’ll freelance in any way I can, Craig’s List, Creative Group. She even wants me to teach some classes at a local community college. Bits and pieces, bits and pieces. And being my own boss, always knowing that any job would be temporary and always happily survived.
She told me she’d been hoping to make me this offer for some time and as soon as she was able to do so, I became incredibly miserable in my job. The timing is excellent for both of us. I see a happy future for us both. She honored me, flattered me, said the nicest things to me about how she sees me. I don’t know, but I was this close to tears for half of it. It was just what I needed last night. Ask and you SHALL receive.
I got to work this morning and oh, joy! Shelly was in her office. I told her my plan. I told her it wasn’t her. She asked what they could do to keep me. I said, well, you’d have to fire David (yes his name is David. Why has every David I’ve ever known in this lifetime been a betrayer? What is UP with that?).
I told her I would stay until all my current projects were done. That my last official day would be July 24th. But I would be happy to help out in the transition period by working as a contract employee part time from home for up to 90 days. I told her that I would still go through with the facilitated meeting next week to assist them in the process of firing dealing with David and would help her in any way I could. She realized then that I really am leaving.
She has asked that I not tell David I’m quitting until after the meeting next week and after I’ve spoken with her post meeting. I really do adore Shelly and I can do that for her. Just knowing there is a definite end in sight makes this easier.
She has been planning forced by grant sponsor on redesigning the info core that I work for. They still will need a webmaster and so who knows. Maybe I could come back after he’s gone and work part time. Who knows. All I know is that she doesn’t want to hire someone into this situation. I really feel for her.
I’m leaving in an hour to go get my hair cut. I’ve been wanting to do this for some time. Betrayer ex-boyfriend begged me not to. That hair has so much angst inside it. I’d have to shave my head to get rid of all of it but this will be a good change.
Next Thursday I go with R to network with a bunch of the faculty at the local c.c. just to pass around my card and get face recognition.
My dad actually said to me last night when I told him “Congratulations!” He was ecstatic. I get such good support.
And you know what I have to say about all of this?
THANK YOU THANK YOU DAVID for being the shitty boss you are because without you I would never have got up the courage to change my life. Thank you thank you Donald for being the worst boss anyone has ever had because without you I never would have learned that leaping into the air over a dark chasm is the best kind of flying there is because there is a net just on the other side of that edge of shadow. A golden net that will bounce me right back up into the sun. Every time. I can count on it.
THAT?? Is magic.
edit: even more magic? I told my student assistant and her eyes lit up. If she doesn’t get a better offer by mid-July she just might be my replacement. Compared to how they treat you at amazon, this would probably be just fine to her. She’s younger and not so fed up. *wink*