Friday, August 24, 2012

Just business

I’ve been secretly stressing inside about this for a while now, and today I got the confirmation that what I’ve been suspecting, what I’ve feared, is true.

As you know, in the past couple of years I haven’t been so lucky in the job department.  In 2010, I left my fairly secure yet frustrating job, hoping for something better.  I had been there a total of 5 years.  I found a new job pretty quick, at a company that’s employee retention was fantastic, the average was 12 years. 

Eight months later, my department was sold, and I was out of work.  Nothing against me, they said, I was a great worker and they would give me great references, it was just a business decision.  This happened the same week I met my BF.

I spent a few months on unemployment, taking the time to redo my resume (which since I had been out of work a total of 4 months in 10 years at that point, was in need of a revamp), and figure out what I wanted to do. 

Then I found a great job at a non-profit coop.  I was over the moon, I thought I had found something that I could really sink my teeth into and make great.  What I didn’t know was that it was already sinking fast, and that it was so far gone, that no amount of work or will on my part could have made it work. Nothing against me, just business.

After that I went to a complete disaster that lasted all of 2 weeks before we decided to part ways.  At this point I was battling really hard against the depression knocking at my door.  This is a hard thing to do when you find yourself unemployed 3 times in one year, through no fault of your own.

I had never ever been unemployed for this long.  Before this I had never even been fired or lost a job, I had always left to improve my situation.  I was trying so hard not to sink into depression, I didn’t want my great new BF (who at this point had just moved in with me) or the kids to see me like that, but I was starting to crack.

Then I found my current job, which I love more than any job I’ve had in the last decade.  I was replacing someone whose only reason for leaving was that the office had moved too far from where she lived.  She cried on her last day, and now I understand why.  When I started here (December 2011), I was told that usually there were 2 admin assistants, and that one was working onsite at a major project, but that she would be back the following fall, and that seemed oh so far away.

Since then, I have done very well on my own, doing the work of 2, not needing any help, and that may be my undoing.  Here we are, fall, and the other admin will be coming back soon, the project is over, and they are starting to wrap up.  The thought crept into my head a couple of weeks ago, they probably won’t need 2 admins, and she has seniority.  I went to talk to the boss, and he confirmed that I had grasped the situation.  The economy is not so great; there is less work, and less staff.  If no new major projects come in before or soon after she comes back (which could be anywhere from September to November) they will have to make a decision, and she has seniority.  Nothing against me, just business.

I remember how he told me in my interview that what stressed him about my resume was that I had had a lot of jobs in the past decade, and I had explained the circumstances, but that doesn’t change the fact that it doesn’t look good and that many employers may not give me a chance to explain that most of them were not my doing.

It was the same thing over and over last year.  The jobs don’t last as long as I’d like, so I have to job hunt, but my job hunt is impeded by the fact that I have had « too many » previous jobs.

I’m kind of sick of saying « it’s not my fault », even though it’s not, and I am trying really hard not to think about it too much, hoping that a big project will come our way and we will have enough work for two, or that for some reason the other admin doesn’t want my job, or anything that would mean that I don’t have to start all over for what feels like the millionth time. 

I try not to think about it because I don’t want the depression to get a head start creeping into my mind, but when you have battled depression and suicidal thoughts for your entire adult life, it seems to get harder and feel more pointless every time.

So I’ll try and focus on the good things, the things that are not part of any previous cycle, hoping that maybe this too is not the same cycle as before, that everything will work out.  I'm going to try and hope for the best, while planning for the worst.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Political Animal

This week I was on the radio as part of a round table discussing the upcoming election in Qu├ębec.  I want oh so badly to link to it, but I am still debating on how anonymous I want to be with this blog.

Politically I tend to be much more worried about equality and environmental issues than economy, mostly because I have the attitude that if you really want to work/make money and you are willing to do what it takes, then you will find work/make money in any economy.  The people who are usually the hardest hit in any economic downturn are those who have the attitude that it’s « not worth it » to work for less than a certain salary.  These are usually people who have never been close to starving poor.

Me, I have been close to starving poor, and my definition of what is « essential » or « necessary » is very different from most people.  I can live without TV, a cell phone, internet, hell; I’ve even lived without heat.  My past experience has made me lack pity/empathy for people like the students who were on strike, wanting free/lower cost post-secondary education, when they already pay drastically less than anyone else in North America, and have cars and iPhones.

So that being said, I am probably not in a majority with regards to what is important to me in a political candidate.  This year, however, I am really torn.  For the first time in my life, the elections will have a direct economic impact on me personally, and in the very near future.  Over half of the employees where I work are on projects that are contingent on who gets elected.  Depending on who gets elected, certain projects will start, and others will stop, which affect the company’s bottom line, which affects everyone’s job security.

To make matters more confusing, for the first time ever, I am passionate about a candidate in my riding, she’s smart, articulate, and her past personal values reflect my own.  The problem is, she represents the party that is against most of the projects I mentioned above, and a party whose leader I have never liked or supported, and In Canada, when you vote for a local candidate, you are voting for their party leader as well.

So right now my options are as follows
1- I vote for the candidate hoping that she does more good on a local scale than her party leader does harm at the provincial level, so voting for my values rather than my personal economy.

2- I vote for the candidate who represents the party I usually follow, even though in the past they have done little or nothing to improve things locally.

3- I don’t vote, but if I don’t vote, than I can’t complain J

I have another 2 weeks to figure this out. 

Monday, August 20, 2012

It was all for this

This weekend was a pretty quiet one, and I must say it’s the first weekend with the kids where everything felt truly normal.  When my boyfriend came home with them and told me that they were not allowed any TV or video games, as per their mom’s punishment, I have to admit, I was worried.

I can deal with them throwing a fit due to us saying no or punishing them, but I hate it when she decrees a weekend long punishment during one of our weekends, and we get to deal with the fits, as well as having our activities restricted.

But it all worked out, there was a big baseball tournament all weekend, so my BF took the boys to that, and us girls stayed at home and watched Tangled for the 50 millionth time.  When they were at home, the kids played outside in the backyard, or semi-quietly in their rooms, and all I could think to myself was, it was all for this.

All the stress, work, and frustration of the first 6 months of the year, finding a new place, planning the move, shopping for their rooms, working an extra job to pay for all of the little extras that I wanted for them, but weren’t exactly necessary, dealing with the ex’s jealousy that we could afford to live in the bigger apartment in the nicer neighbourhood that she can’t because she refuses to work.

All of that was to make this weekend happen.  It was so that we could have the backyard that the kids could run and play in instead of the back alley/street that we had at the other place, so that we could have bedrooms and beds for all the kids, instead of an air mattress in the living room, So that we could eat at a table instead of on the living room floor, so that they could have their space, and we could have ours.

I relished in watching them do simple things, like getting their clothes from their drawers, even watching them leave their shoes lying around.  To me these were all signs that the kids felt at home.  Before, at the other apartment, they would ask for permission for every little thing, not here, here they know where stuff is, and they help themselves whenever they can.

The youngest is at an age where everything is ‘one’ or ‘a lot’, and she happily says she has ‘a lot’ of homes, and my heart grows three sizes every time I hear it.

It was all for this, and it was worth it

Friday, August 10, 2012


When you find out that a child in your care has been abused, even in a minor way, you instantly start to suspect everyone around you.  You look at everyone wondering, « is it you ».

You start first by evaluating those who are near enough to have done the deed, yet far enough away that you can bear the thought that they may be someone who would hurt a child.  Once those people are eliminated, you move your suspicions slowly and slowly closer.  You judge them while at the same time hoping you are wrong. The closer you get, the more scared you are that you are to blame for not seeing the potential danger.

It is so much easier to believe that it was an acquaintance, than to suspect someone you yourself love and trust.  Even though I am no stranger to the concept of the monster within the family, the thought that there was another, one that I didn’t already know about, and worse, one that I didn’t recognize and never suspected, nearly drove me crazy.

This is what we went through recently, the suspicion, the blaming ourselves.  The answer was both reassuring and horrifying at the same time…it was another child.  A child who had no idea that what they did was wrong, who never wanted to hurt the other child, but will one day learn that they may have done serious psychological damage.

How do you make sure that the child who abused knows what they did was wrong and that they should never ever do that again, without making them feel like a monster?  How do you protect the victim all the while still encouraging them to have a relationship with the other child, because that is the best way for everything to move on?  How do you go on trying to keep everything as normal as possible while maintaining a constant vigilance so it never happens again?  How do you keep from scrutinizing everything that happens from that moment on?

If we figure it out, I’ll let you know

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

So…How are things?

Wow, it’s been a while hasn’t it.  I know, I know, I really suck at keeping in touch, but as usual, a whole crapload of stuff kinda put me in basic survival mode, and alas, this blog is still an optional thing at the moment.

Right after we found the new apartment, I learned that my job was changing offices too, at the same time as the other move.  So then I had not one, but two moves to plan and execute.  Then I took on another job (temporary to help someone out), so there was that.  Add in a minor car accident, and some pretty heavy family drama, and needless to say, I was exhausted. 

Everything worked out of course, the heavy family drama, while pretty crappy to go through, ended up helping my BF, his ex (the kids’ mom) and I reach a new level of being able to work together.  The new apartment is fabulous, though there was 3 times as much painting and work to do than we thought (area rugs and furniture covered a multitude of sins when we visited apparently.) but we worked hard and everything is almost done.

The car accident was a minor fender bender which still had me on pain meds and restricted movement for about a month, and the 2nd job is over.

So here I am, back to normal (or as normal as I can be) with one job, in a fancy new office, a new apartment with room for everyone, and a body that is 90% functional.

I must admit though, there were a few rough patches, and I wasn’t always so sure that we would make it through.  My BF and I are pretty strong, but when almost every single possible outside force it pushing against you, cracks appear and things start to leak. 

At one point, there was so much going on that my sister in law actually told me that a sane person would have just run for the hills, but that lucky for them, I’m not all that saneJ.