Posts Tagged 'Stress'

Yep, it Happened. I Got Axed

Add my name to the looong list of the unemployed.

I’m in absolute shock right now, and although I’m still shaking, the tears have mostly subsided. I’ve also been through a brief period of anger, but I know I still have more of that inside of me. I hope I can channel that into something productive…begining tomorrow. For tonight, I choose to wallow.

How did it happen? I just don’t understand.

Yes, the company’s workload has been slowing down; many of us saw the need for changes, but me? The company has now laid of 8 employees, or 13% of the labor force. I cannot believe  that I was in the bottom 13% of the company; I am a valuable employee!

I get nervous about everything in life, so I’d been worried about this for a long time, including back last fall when the company was hiring new people (btw, they are all still employed). For months, I heard reassurances that my job was not in jeapordy. And why should it be? After all, I consistantly had some of the best employee reviews in the whole company – above expectations across the board.

I was given a promotion a few weeks ago, after layoff round number 1. The company selected me to tackle that job and was willing to spend money to get me up to speed. I thought I was doing pretty well! What a blindside.

I’m not the only one, though. The Operations Manager also got cut. I’ve never felt that I had a particularly close relationship with him, but he is my number one ally now. And I feel he was mistreated in this instance, too.

The Assistant Operations Manager (who I’ve known for years, as a friend, before we worked there) will be promoted, and her first order of business was to lay people off. That selfish bitch looked down her uppity nose and handled it very badly. Our friendship will never be repaired. She called me into the office in a “oh, by the way” sort of manner and then BAM! I tried to negotiate. I tried to understand. The company decided to cut altogether the position I was promoted to. I was laid off in favor of keeping the “lifers”, even though I’ve been there three plus years (which is longer than her) and some people have only been there three plus months. I held myself together for a while and manged to get a week’s severance pay (I was initially only offered today and tomorrow). I was also told not to expect pay for the two weeks vacation time I have. This decision was later reversed when someone suggested it was illegal to withhold earned vacation pay.

I did cry in the office, though. I lost it when I thought about my boyfriend, who (thankfully, still) works for the same company. What scares me most is the thought of losing him. We’re so accustomed to seeing each other every day. He doesn’t really like being around me when I’m super stressed out. And what if I have to move to get a job? Financially I’ll survive, but I’ll never forgive them if I lose M.

I promise regular updates. Please promise me your love and support.

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Bah Humbug!

My employer has officially lost his f***ing mind. Everyone has always said that Big Boss is such a nice guy who cares so much about his employees and how lucky we all are to work for someone like that. Bullshit. Two incidents recently have transformed our wonderful place of employment into one of anger and panic.

The first is related to my post a couple weeks ago, when suddenly we were informed that some of us may lose our jobs, as we run out of work. The rest of the company was given the same speech about a week later. On Monday, Big Boss introduced his latest charity case – in the form of a new employee!! Some companies donate canned goods to food pantries or work a soup kitchen, or sign up to sponsor a struggling family at Christmas so the kids all get presents. Not us. We just give the charity child a job!! This kid, “J”, is a high school student at a local alternative high school (although he lives several counties away, who knows how he ended up here?) and must be on some sort of work-study plan. I don’t know what hours he studies, though, because he is with us from 9-3. He spent the first two days sweeping the floors, going round and round the building, while everyone else continued doing their thing, which involves making a huge mess. Normally, the whole crew stops creating the mess on Friday afternoon and cleans up, together.

So then, yesterday I was searching for a missing tool attachment, and noticed J working in a back corner, but he wasn’t sweeping. He was doing an easy, mindless aspect of… wait for this… my job. You know, the job I might lose, because there isn’t enough work. Today, I was asked to teach him, so he could keep going with that project!

I about lost my mind. I tried to politely ask a couple higher-ups what was going on. If there isn’t enough work for “us”, how is there enough work for him? I am not ok with running out of work, or teaching my potential replacement! The response from both higher-ups was the same: “we aren’t running out of work, and he’s just a kid who wants to learn something.” Wait. I’m confused. Didn’t they just recently tell us otherwise? What the hell?

The other incident concerns our Christmas vacation, and I use that term very loosely. This year, the company is giving us the 25h and the 1st off, paid. That’s it. Granted, our employee handbook only guarantees those two days off, but every single year there have been more paid holidays. Last year, we were given the whole week between the holidays off and paid. As a conservative, bare minimum guess, I would have expected to get Friday the 26th off this year. That’s what everyone thought and made travel plans accordingly.

Big Boss decided in the beginning of November that we would get the day after Thanksgiving off, for a four-day weekend. This happens some years, but not all. We thought that was great! The announcement for Christmas was made following Thanksgiving weekend(during the same meeting when they told the rest of the company they might lose their jobs…a meeting now referred to at “the sermon”) . So those of us that already had other plans (I think, this is most of the company), now have to use a vacation day(s).

“Oh, and don’t forget everyone, the annual Christmas party will be held at a local restaurant on the 19th, please make sure to turn in your dinner choices by next Monday!” Let me get this straight. We can’t have one extra holiday, because we have no work, and we are now paying an extra person to do my nonexistent job? But we can have a big party? Boyfriend is trying to talk me into boycotting the party. He’s fed up and doesn’t see much to celebrate. I think he’s right.

Bah Humbug.

I’m Scared

I thought my job was reasonably secure. “We have work.” “We’re not overstaffed.” “You are not about to lose your job.” Although I’m currently still employed, the managers were either lying or delusional.

Every other company that does what we do, in this state and probably down the whole eastern seaboard, has already laid people off. As of two weeks ago, that tally also included my brother. For whatever reason, we held out a little bit longer.

Until yesterday.

Yesterday (how nice of the managers to wait until the week beginning of the holiday season!), my department of nine was called into the office for a meeting. Annual clients have cut down on the number of requests for the year. Our competitors are trying to steal away our clients. We are overstaffed. It is likely that we will not all still be employed by the spring. The people who keep their jobs will be the ones who produce high quality work in shorter-than-average times, which will keep the clients’ bills down.

I was, and still am, shaking. How many people are going to go? My quality and productivity are probably somewhere in the middle of the nine; I’m nearly certain I wouldn’t be among the first two or three to go. I’ve also recently taken on some other challenges within the company and completed them successfully, proving that I am a versatile and adaptable employee.

I also don’t want to work for this company forever. Nobody ever believed I’d stay a year, much less three! Maybe I can take this news as a push to find something else, although I don’t care for fear as a motivator.

So I’ve done a little searching online tonight and got to feeling a bit depressed. There aren’t a whole lot of jobs in my area, good, mediocre, or otherwise. This is not entirely due to the global economic troubles, but that sure doesn’t help. I’m willing to commute; the state capital is about an hour away, but there aren’t many jobs there either. I’m not willing to move.

I’d like to work in alternative energy. With my science background, I think this could be a good fit, and I see this as an industry poised to take off during my working life. I’ve been told that Maine is already on the leading edge, but I suspect this is mostly due to power generation off of small scale dams, not the newest technologies. I believe the state government will be a good place to find new jobs in the energy sector. But unfortunately, Maine state government is under a total hiring freeze, effective a month ago through the foreseeable future, as Maine deals with continued budget problems while the economy continues to fall apart.

Yeah, I’m scared.

A Fragile Existance

“You’re gonna die of fright
Here comes the razors edge
You’re living on the edge”

~ACDC (The Razor’s Edge)

In the nearing-three years that I’ve spent at my current job, I’ve seen very few employees leave, for any reason. A small handful have quit, and of those, at least four have returned after some time doing other things. I believe only two have been laid off, despite frightening annual rumors of work shortages and massive layoffs. Three have been outright fired. Now, for a staff of 60, one would have to say that the chances of being asked to leave the company are slim. Right? So why am I so freaked out?

The third firing happened this past week. P had been a fixture at the company for something nearing ten years. Every single other employee found her irritable, high-strung, and reluctant to be of any assistance; behind her back she was known as the “______ Nazi”. In a typical day, she had more contact with people outside the company than pretty much everyone except the secretary who answers the phone, and her behavior on the phone was as deplorable as in person. She twice dug through personnel files to find out just how much we were all paid. She spent company time researching other jobs and voicing complaints about upper management to anyone with an ear. She knew I don’t plan on working for this company forever either, so she thought she had an ally in me. I found conversations with her to be unprofessional, inappropriate, and extremely uncomfortable.

Frankly, she should have been shown the door long ago. I think the company was concerned about a replacement’s ability to come out of nowhere and be able to figure out the job quickly enough to keep everything running smoothly. But all this has gone on for so long (certainly longer than I’ve been at the company), that it came as a total shock that she was actually asked to pack up and go.

I feel sorry for her; I wouldn’t wish an unexpected job termination on anyone, and I know she has had difficulties trying to find something different. Firings and layoffs scare the shit out of me, because I want to believe we control our lives. To be abruptly tossed into the crappy job market is beyond my comprehension, and quite possibly beyond my stress tolerance level. The economy isn’t particularly good right now, and aside from tourism, there is very little industry left in my local area. It is hard to find a job, much less find one that would be suited to my [limited] skill set and pays a livable wage. I really don’t feel optimistic about my financial future. No, I don’t love my job, but my [false?] sense of security is somewhat paralyzing and likely inhibiting my job search. Fear is also the number one reason I can’t seem to move anywhere else.

How do I get past this feeling like everything can fall apart in the blink of an eye? How do I temper my gut reaction to stress out with the primal survival need to adapt and take more risks?

A Public Health Warning

*Cough, cough, cough*

I didn’t go to work today (see the time stamp…it’s the middle of the day!). I’m sick. So very very very sick. I have a completely debilitating case of need-a-day-off-itis. So, look out world; I suspect it is highly contagious.

So shit happened at work last week: A wonderful invitation to do something out of the norm, but which I am absolutely qualified for; followed by a broken promise, which was a very personal slap in the face. I was singled out, and everyone (except the manager responsible) agrees it was wrong and unfair. I was hurt by it, and it was all I could do to hold myself together long enough to get through the day. I cried and cried and cried when I got home. But I’ll survive, and I’m viewing this incident as a reminder that I’m not supposed to work there forever and using it as the kick in the pants to go do something.

So, I’m spending the day sitting on my couch, looking up job openings, and writing cover letters. Wish me luck!

What Happened to You? What Will Happen to Me?

Perfumed and smoky,
She swears that she knows me,
She’s falling down drunk again,
I say she’s mistaken.
She’s visibly shaken,
Emotions all drowned in gin,
She said I used to be beautiful,
But now it’s all gone,
I let my dreams slip away from me,
That’s where it went wrong.

Go be young,
Go be free,
Follow your heart where it leads you.
Don’t end up like me.

~Edwin McCain (Go Be Young)

Hello, Old Friend. I’ve missed you. I haven’t heard a word from you since you went away, just rumors from people you must care about more than me. And now you’ve come back here? Why? Dear Friend, what went wrong?

I see so much of myself in you. Slightly older, you’ve always been one step ahead of me in life. I was following in your footsteps years before we even met. Did you know that I remember, as clearly as if it was yesterday, the day we met? I’ve loved our conversations that could run all night long, simply because we talk about anything and everything and never tire of each other’s stories. I’ve hated that you are flaky and unreliable. I’ve had many laughs with you; I’ve had many tears because of you. Again and again, I’ve promised myself to forget about you. But you are a drug, and I, an addict. When will I learn? You are not so special.

Dear Friend, ou’ve gone away before. This time, things were supposed to be different. You had a plan. You had a future. You were going to grow up. You were going to leave this dead end place and the only “careers” we’ve ever known. Forever. I let you go. I had to. I was happy for you. You gave me hope. You gave me something to believe in. You were going to make it, and someday I would too.

Why are you back here? What went wrong? Why did you give up? I don’t understand. And you’re engaged? What the hell?

You were supposed to make it. I was supposed to follow in your footsteps. Seeing you here is one of the saddest times of my life. What does this mean for me? Do I too have no future better than this one-horse town?

Perhaps we are more different than I think. Perhaps you have only returned to tell me to lead my own life. Perhaps I’m flying this plane now. But I’m sorry, Old Friend; I will be leaving your dead weight behind. I won’t let my dreams slip away from me. I will be young. I will be free. I will follow my heart where it leads me. I won’t end up like you.

Am I an Angry Bitch?

And here you are,
So happy in your misery.
You’re angry at the world.
You’re angry at your history.
You think the screaming scrapes
Of life are soley yours.
You’d rather wallow in your sh*t
Then climb ashore.”

~Seven and the Sun (Happy in Your Misery)

I don’t want to be an angry bitch. I am a moody, complaining pessimist, and I may never be one of those completely annoying shiny happy peoples.  But just how am I perceived by the world? Am I content with the perceptions of others?

My therapist thinks I have a lot of pent up anger that I need to release before I can be happy. So please allow me a minute to release some of my current anger: I HAVE NO MONEY. I OWE A LOT OF MONEY. I RECEIVED SOME QUESTIONABLE FINANCIAL ADVICE. I HAVE A LOT OF HEALTH QUESTIONS AND PROBLEMS, SOME OF WHICH ARE CAUSED BY MY JOB. MY PHYSICAL THERAPIST QUIT ON ME AND THEN QUIT THE COMPANY. MY CAR IS MAKING A HORRIBLE NOISE.  MY FAMILY DRIVES ME NUTS. I WILL NEVER MEET THEIR EXPECTATIONS. MY BOYFRIEND HAS HAD THE FLU FOR TWO WEEKS AND I’M LONELY. MY PIRATED INTERNET CONNECTION AT HOME HASN’T BEEN WORKING LATELY. MY APARTMENT LOOKS LIKE A TORNADO CAME THROUGH AND I’M TOO LAZY TO KNOW WHERE TO START CLEANING IT.

Ok, that’s what immediately comes to mind. I’m sure there’s more. Do I feel better? HELL NO!! So what’s the point of releasing this anger? My problems haven’t all magically disappeared. I know I have trouble managing stress, and perhaps it comes with the territory of “being an adult”, but sometimes I feel that I have more than my fair share of stresses. My therapist thinks I’m “keeping a lid on my anger”.  Releasing my anger doesn’t make me feel any better; it only means the people around me have to listen to me bitch. And nobody likes a bitch.

So, here’s another thing that makes me angry: I THINK I NEED A NEW THERAPIST.