Since that fateful afternoon, when I narrowly escaped the slobbering jaws of managerial rage, I’ve had time to reflect upon the errors of my ways, thanks to three weeks’ reprieve from cubicle hell.
How did I come by my much needed break from the never ending grind of the corporate machine? By landing my sorry ass in E.R. at midnight later on that dreadful day.
She’s the boss. I’m the bee. And at the end of the day, I’m still the only one responsible for paying my bills.
She’d laid it bare: she had nothing invested in me. I may have been working my ass off to fatten CorpraCo’s coffers for two years, but she had, in less than two weeks, determined I was a nothing more than a pimple on the surface of her fledgling empire. She was going to squeeze me out, no matter what.
And what she’d seen so far from me, in her opinion, was total shit. I was lacking in every area of my responsibilities, I’d shirked my duties, bowed out of what I was expected to deliver and spent my time doing absolutely nothing productive. In fact, she did not even know what I did on a daily basis.
My own boss did not even know what her sole employee did for her.
It was then and there that I knew I was on a collision course with certain doom. So I dove in, thinking that if I told her what I do it might dawn on her that, for the past six months, I was the department.
At work, I dealt with everyone. I fielded the calls, took on all tasks, took personal responsibility for everything that came across my desk. I was the go-to person, the one who could be counted on to make sure whatever needed to be done was done. It was killing me, but I took pride in knowing that all knew that any project that absolutely had to be taken care of, no matter what else might be on my plate, would somehow get done.
I rarely took lunch. I took work home with me. I checked my e-mail at all hours of the day, even when my body was still covered with stitches and I couldn’t get out of bed. I was always on.
And when my only coworker went out on medical leave and never came back, I took on her work as well, diving headlong into an area I was neither paid nor qualified to do, on paper, and gave it 110 percent.
I had no personal life.
Oh sure, they’d thrown me a few bones: I’d received a “staff star” for performance above and beyond, which netted me… a picture frame. And there was a performance-based bonus … which after taxes paid for groceries and one dinner out for Mr. Spipster and myself.
Unfortunately, according to the Shrew, those accolades were isolated incidents, and did not actually reflect what she saw as the big picture, which was my total lack of integrity and refusal to do what I was hired to do.
So I caved, I gave in, I stressed and worried and wound up in pain, in tears, at midnight in the emergency room.
When I saw my surgeon the next day she reminded me the surgery might not work, and the stress and anxiety I’d allowed to invade every cell in my body brought me right back to our original meeting place.
So she gave me three weeks’ short term medical leave and instructed me to get a new job.
And so, one month later I landed, further down the spiral than I’ve ever been, gasping like a fish on land, wondering what the hell I am going to do.
Unable to get myself out of bed and into the job hunt I returned to CorpraCo last week, hoping for the best and vowing to push through until I could find a new gig.
“I’m a professional,” I told myself one week ago, “I am strong and capable and a hard worker and I always find a way to get through. I am no quitter. I am an adult and I can make this work.”
Unfortunately, the Shrill and Co. had other plans.
Shortly after the incident in the E.R…
And then, two days ago, I was called into the Shrill’s office: it was time for my quarterly review. In January, my annual review, I’d received stellar marks, with only a few places for improvement and acknowledgement that my work was always well done.
This time around all the news was bad, and the Shrill continued her barrage, slinging insult upon injury at me. In shock, I sat as I was cited for misconduct, poor performance and accused of outright workplace disruption during incidents I have zero recollection of.
And suddenly, I knew I was done for.
My car’s transmission is shot. I have no money. I am barely hanging on to a nightmare of a job. And unless I prostitute myself a.s.a.p. I am dangerously close to living life on the streets.
I’ve just been laying in bed, berating and hating myself for getting myself into this mess, and wondering how bad it’s gonna’ get before I find my way out.
Yesterday I decided I needed to get off my ass, because I haven’t even got the cash to get to work on the bus. Poring through my wardrobe I pulled out everything I thought might net me a few bucks in the secondhand shops. Then I rifled under the couch cushions, checked every pouch and pocket, culled together years worth of foreign cash and made my way downtown.
The end result? Adding insult to injury over the fact that making ends meet has meant giving up the little things, like the ability to own clothes that are not half a decade out of style, I managed to unload one skirt, for a grand net of $3.32.
At Commerce Bank I dumped every penny into the change counting machine, which printed me out a receipt for $4.02 with the message that I’d won a prize.
A prize! Was my luck finally going to turn?
The teller handed me my four dollars, then smiled as she handed me my prize: a bank. A fucking bank! Slipping it into my bag I bowed my head and tried not to cry.
And learning that nowhere in Philadelphia can I exchange pounds and euros in coins, I headed home to feel sorry for myself.
I poured a glass of wine, and couldn’t help but obsess over my sorry ass.
And the check I’m waiting on for a freelance job has also not materialized, and I have heard nada from the client. He’s missing, as is my money, and I have had zero luck getting hold of him.
I envision him sitting on some beach checking the e-mail generated from his kick ass website, sipping a frosty drink and laughing that he got top-notch web content for free.
My car is currently sitting in front of the house, dead. The transmission is shot, but even if I could get the thing into gear the battery is dead and the front tire is flat. The nosy neighbor next door who sits on his porch all day, being nosy, threatened to have it towed the other day, but before he can get to it the bank may, as the insurance is due as well.
I imagine running the neighbor over with the car, but cannot come up with a plan to get him to lay down behind it while I force it into neutral, as he is rather large, in addition to being a bit of a jerk.
Mr. Spipster is doing the best he can, but he suffers from rheumatoid arthritis, and without his medication can barely move some days. He too is looking for a job, but they are few and far between.
I find myself getting depressed over the fact that not only can we not afford a wedding ring, we couldn’t even spring for a real wedding. Instead, we stood, alone, in front of a plastic backdrop flanked by plastic flowers in the basement of some crumbling apartment building in Upper Darby.
My dream of running off to Vegas to get hitched by some second-rate actor dressed up like Elvis was never realized, and instead I wound up getting hitched like some knocked-up 16-year-old in a bad after school special. I didn’t even have anyone to throw my $6 grocery store bouquet to, and the waitress at the diner where we went to celebrate afterward didn’t even seem to appreciate them as her tip.
There is little food in the house, and even though I make all the bread and pasta from scratch that we eat, visions of myself wasting away from starvation start to… wait. No. That vision is actually kinda’ nice.
But eventually I will waste away to nothing, homeless, not even able to live in my car, as any day now I will have no job. Yet while I do, the thought of the abuse I must endure consumes me.
I begin to fantasize about telling the Shrill to go fuck herself.
I’ve spent far too much of my time in this dead-end situation. This is no way to live; this is just a slow, painful soul-sucking death. How many of us are just going through the motions without actually thinking about what we’re doing, until one day we wind up completely broke, moping around in bed all day wishing we were someone, somewhere or something else?
I’ve been miserable, and I’ve made everyone around me miserable. The Shrill might be the best thing that’s happened to me in ages.
But in the meantime, I’m having a hard time believing the universe is going to leave me be. I need salvation, I need some help, yet everywhere I look I see nothing.
I need to pay the rent. I need to buy a bus pass. I need some goddamned food!
And, in the long term, I need to build my business and never, ever find myself the helpless victim of another Shrill.
I need clients for what will someday be one of the best writing and editing companies on the face of the earth: me. Oh sure it seems pretentious, but I’m really that good.
And an interim gig, freelance or contract, at a company that won’t try to suck me dry.
However, I’m in dire need, and won’t get to tell the tale of how the horrible Shrill was actually the best thing that ever happened in my professional life if I don’t get through these next few weeks.
Brother can you spare a dime? Or a dollar or two? I want so badly to keep the faith, that if I keep going I’ll come out better on the other end. But it’s tough to do when you can’t even buy a carton of milk.
So please donate to the OverEducatedBeggar, or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Having no milk sucks…
For those of you not in the know, about four months ago I went under the surgeon’s knife in the hopes of obliterating daily pain caused by a chronic disease. I’d already damaged my liver thanks to daily cocktail of Aleve, Advil and chocolate, chased each night with Ativan to ensure I didn’t awake in a fit of anxiety brought on by the growing severity of my work/life situation.
But, my illness thrives in a chicken/egg type environment, and a hostile work environment brought back the symptoms, increasing my stress, and the pain, until I was pretty much back at square one.
Meditation helps, as does proper diet, exercise and a positive attitude. Unfortunately, the obsessive-compulsive mountains out of molehills worry wart I am has never been much of a match for the kill-or-be-killed mentality of the corporate world.
So after the Shrill sank her teeth into my battered and bruised psyche, I limped back to my DMV-issue cube to lick my wounds.
the end – is it near?