From the Fortune 500 company that paid for my MBA, to becoming a college instructor, to getting fed up with corporate America, to collecting unemployment, to being rejected from a job at the mall, to making minimum wage, and back to where I was at the start of my 12-year career.
December of 2010 ended with me realizing I had to get a new job.I once before had to quit a job I liked, but I was a few years older now and knew that finding another job I like would be a stretch.I’d be lucky to find one I could tolerate.But I needed to be able to pay my bills, contribute to retirement, pay for medical benefits, and start a savings account.Yeah, those were my financial dreams.Dreams!
At first I didn’t look very hard.But then I got a letter from the state saying they made an error when I was on unemployment, and I owed them $2800.
I’ll spare the details and just say I flipped my shit.To sum up, the state paid me from the emergency fund instead of the regular fund.Not my fault; Just my problem.Getting to speak to a human at the state is a feat greater than conquering Everest.When you call the state, you don’t even get to sit on hold.You get a message saying “We have way too many calls.Call some other day.Oh, and don’t come down here.We won’t help you if you come down here.”After many days, I got a man on the phone, and he fixed it.If I knew who he was, I’d find him, buy him dinner, and get him blown.
This is all relevant because had I owed that money, I’d need to get on the hunt for a new job and mean it.I knew that to make a livable wage, I’d need to go back to the Fortune 500.I hate giant corporations.Let me clarify:I hate working for them.There are some of them that I think make a great product or provide a great service.That being said, each and every giant corporation I’ve worked for has pretty much sucked nuts.My friend was working for a company that was one of my customers at a former job.They had a horrible reputation as an employer.I called her and asked if she could get my resume in the right hands.
She did.They called.I interviewed.They made an offer for almost double the salary I was making.I knew my employer wouldn’t match the offer in a million years, but I was still hopeful…oh so hopeful…that they would throw some money at me to get me to stay.It’s really not like me to be hopeful, but the idea of going back to a cube jungle where it’s all blame-game and dysfunction made me want to cry.
And in fact I did.I know, that sounds so fucking lame.But it’s a big deal.I almost never cry.
Last night I went to go see my hero, Adam Carolla, perform stand-up at the Orpheum.It was a blast.I got to shake his hand, and he signed my copy of “In 50 Years We’ll All be Chicks”.
Here’s the interesting thing: He ended his set talking about going after your dreams.Really!He showed the audience how he went from making about $3k a year in his late 20s to the 7-figure net worth he now has.He encouraged everyone not to listen to those who try to hold them back.This was all great advice but for one small thing:What if you don’t have a dream to chase?
That’s me.I have no dream, no passion, no “If I had all the money in the world, I’d do blank” type of anything in my life.The only dream I have in life is to not hate working. So in answer to the age old question of what I’d do if I had all the money in the world, I would spend my time eating my way from one end of Europe to the other.Then I’d probably turn around and do it again.
(Note to self on possible dream jobs:Food taster.)
I read an interesting piece here about the death of a dream. I really could relate to how the author felt about not working in her dream job.Hating where you are from the hours of 8 to 5 for five days a week is a fucking life-suck.But I also couldn’t help feeling a little jealous because at least at one time in her life she had an interest in doing something.I’m still waiting for that.
A lot of people suggest to me that I monetize my hobbies.The trouble is I don’t really have any.But if you know anyone that will pay me to read, eat, make scrapbooks/other various crafts, or run 10Ks at a slow-to-average pace, then please send them my resume.Yes, I like to write my blogs, but I think the chances of supporting myself by doing so are the same as moving to LA to “make it”. We’re a dime a dozen. Yes, I do have an obsession with food and wish I had majored in nutrition instead of business (twice!).However, leaving the workforce to go back to school isn’t an option for someone who is anti-debt.And yes, I’d start my own business if I had a clue as to what kind of business I wanted to start.
(Note to self on possible dream jobs:Andy Rooney’s younger, hipper, female replacement)
I still hold out hope that one day someone will say “I know what would be the perfect job for you!” and then blurt out something super obvious that I’m totally qualified for and is actually something I could get hired to do.But it’s hard enough to get hired and/or noticed in the field in which I already work.
Someone once told me we’re not supposed to get our happiness from work; we should get it elsewhere.Well big, fat, duh.I’m not trying to get happiness from work.I’m trying to not be made miserable by it.In addition to non-misery, I’d like a livable wage that affords me the opportunity to contribute to a savings account, 401k, and medical.I have not raised the bar very high, and I’m still unable to get over it.
(Note to self on possible dream jobs:Will whine on the Internet for food and 401k match)
Someone thought I was being sarcastic at the end of my last post when I mentioned my car accident.Nope.It happened.I’m ok though.I really did have a concussion and no medical insurance.That’s not as big a deal as one would think. And by “one” I mean my mother.
I really enjoyed the next few months at my job.We had a huge Black Friday sale that had people lined up outside in the middle of the night.Yes, this was in Scottsdale, but it was still in the 30s that night.We listened to Christmas music all day, and though most people would say that’s annoying, I happen to love that shit.The holidays kept me busy at work, and that was a nice change.If I haven’t yet mentioned it, I’ve been bored to tears at every job I’ve ever had.
Christmas Day fell on a Saturday in 2010, and since I was po’, I told my friend to sleep in that weekend and I’d open the donut shop for him.I’m not going to kid anyone and say I was doing so to be nice; I was doing so because I couldn’t miss out on that money.
On Christmas Eve, my family partook in the Italian-American tradition of eating seven different types of fish.Fun fact: No one actually does that in Italy.It’s apparently only a tradition for people whose great-grandparents were born in Italy.But me telling Italian-Americans that they’re actually American and not Italian is a blog for another day.And now I’m off-topic.So I eat my seven fishes and other Christmas Eve deliciousness and head home around eleven.
And so it began.
I’ll spare the gory details, but I became what could only be described as violently ill.I’d never been so sick in my life.I was the only one who got sick off of all the fishes, so I can’t say for sure it was food poisoning.But it was the sickest I’d ever been, and I needed to open the donut shop in four hours.I could hardly stand up, my body temperature was dropping, and try as I might I just could not stop the vomiting.I had to call in sick.
Usually, this is no big deal, but for me it was a turning point.I missed out on earning money that weekend, and it hurt me.It was that very weekend that I realized I had to quit my job.The only job I never hated. And it still makes me sad.
A poor person read my food stamp blog and sent me a nastygram. She (I think it was a she, she told me to suck her dick, so I’m still confused) reblogged me on tumblr and went on to bitch about how she was on food stamps, and I was wrong.
She started by saying this: “FIRST:turkey cold cuts = not healthy. Neither are your canned beans. those two alone, in one day is probably a weeks worth of sodium”.
Where the pauper fails here is in her understanding basic math.A two-slice serving of the turkey cold cuts currently in my fridge is 9% of one’s daily sodium intake.An entire can of beans is 12% of the RDA for sodium.So no, “my” canned beans and turkey are not a week’s worth of sodium.Turkey cold cuts are and always will be better for you than anything on a fast food dollar menu.The po’ chick’s lack of math skills and basic grammar knowledge may paint the true picture of why she’s impoverished.
That, and she has a kid.She didn’t have the kid on purpose *gasp*, and she’s not married to its dad.Oh, but she doesn’t regret accidentally getting knocked up and being unable to support her spawn.She should.She went on to call me out for thinking she can afford to buy a crockpot or other pots and pans to cook with.She also doesn’t get her hair or nails done.Her kid is on free lunch at school, and it’s healthy.She gets to eat waffles…waffles dammit!And If I want to blame someone, I need to blame Republicans.Because apparently Republicans poked holes in her condoms?OK, that statement was a little outrageous; obviously this chick doesn’t use condoms.
To quote Adam Carolla (as I love to do): “Hey, single moms! How much better has your life been since the 2008 election? Got an Escalade in the driveway and a kid in college?”Um, no.And why?Well let’s reference another one of my faves: Dave Ramsey.He teaches that it’s not up to the government to change your life or get you a job.Both of these men regularly state that it doesn’t matter who’s in office.It’s on you.
So here’s where I’m torn.Like most people on the dole, she is perfectly capable of supporting herself if she wanted to.She doesn’t want to.Obviously Fanny Food Stamp is hard-headed and feels like the government owes her.I feel like people abuse government handouts.I also feel that when abused, a government handout does far more harm than good to those suckling at the teat of the government they claim to hate.If I contacted this chick, I’d never get through to her.But in all honesty, I want to befriend her so I can get a look at her finances and teach her how to be financially self sufficient.It would be like a project for me!
But why do I care?Dave Ramsey also talks about the positive feelings that come along with being out of debt and changing your family’s future.So I leave you with a great story that I hope I’m remembering correctly. When my friend’s future husband was planning to propose, he went to her dad to ask for her hand.Her dad, who I’ve known and adored since I was five, sat him down in true dad fashion to discuss his plans for a future.When her husband retells the story, he remembers his now-father-in-law saying “When you are able work hard and provide for your family, it makes you feel ten feet tall.”
We all remember where we were 10 years ago today.True to form, I was at work.I worked at 6 am back in 2001 in Phoenix.I worked in supply chain management, as I do now, as I always have, and as I likely always will until I grow a pair or marry money.This means my day is spent making sure stuff gets from point A to point B quickly and cheaply. (Yeah, I majored in that and just summed it up in a sentence)If the nation decides to ground every single flight, it’s quite the challenge.
I’m not complaining; I honestly can’t count the number of shits I do not give when product doesn’t make it where it needs to go.Life goes on. But we all remembered that 10 years ago today, the FAA ordered all flights grounded.Here is an email I got on September 12, 2001 from an angry sales person:
I made it clear to you that my order needed to ship UPS red YESTERDAY!!!Can you explain to me why it didn’t go out?????I want this elevated to your boss!!!!How do you expect me to explain to my customer why these didn’t ship???Now they’re production line is shut down because of YOU!!!This better go out today via UPS red, and corporate better pay for it!!!!!!!!1
Pissed off sales person who clearly doesn’t own a TV, use a computer, or have any friends.
Not many people believe me when I tell this story.
PS:Overuse of punctuation doesn’t convey urgency; it conveys ignorance.
September 1 was the first of the month after my 90 days.I was given my review, and things were going well.And though I had a high school grad’s salary, I at least had a college grad’s level of responsibility.I had my day job Monday through Friday, and I peddled donuts on the weekends.I once counted how long I’d worked without taking a day off.I think it was like 70 straight days.(The donut shop is open 365)
It was now time for me to sit with our benefits provider and finally get myself insured after two years without medical coverage.I’ll cut out the details.It would cost me $120 per month for medical alone.That’s pretax, but I was still looking at about $100 less take-home pay each month.I didn’t have it.I worked two jobs and couldn’t afford my company’s medical plan.The representative who explained the benefits to me said I should at the very least elect medical coverage if nothing else. I explained math to him.Income = X, Expenses = Y, and Y > X.He told me I should go on AHCCCS.
AHCCCS (pronounced “access”, and don’t ask me how or why) is the state’s Medicaid program. It’s just another form of social welfare.My opinion on it is probably not a very popular one.It has been nearly bankrupting the state for years.Our governor recently had to cut organ transplant funds from AHCCCS because the state can’t afford it.This makes no sense because organ transplants are not elective.What is elective?Having a baby.Yeah, I know…I’m heartless and evil.I’m OK with that.I’m not OK with women taking my tax dollars to pay for pregnancies they can’t afford.Personally, I can’t afford healthcare for myself and a newborn.So instead of going to the state with my hand out, I’ve found it much easier to just not get pregnant.
*Fancy Soapbox Dismount*
True to form, my over-worried parents asked at least once a week if my medical coverage had kicked in.After this meeting, I told them I couldn’t afford the medical coverage.They offered to pay for it.Though this is super nice of them, I wouldn’t let them do it.If your kid is in her early 30s, you should be off the hook for this type of stuff.Instead, I’d just play my odds.I didn’t need medical coverage for those two years, so I’m sure I could maintain that streak.
Nine days later, I was in a car accident and suffered a concussion.Ambulance ride. ER visit.Test for eye abrasions.Tetanus shot.
In the past month, I’ve read two infuriating articles.One stated that poor people can’t afford to eat healthy food.The other was about the record number of people on food stamps.As someone who spent an embarrassing amount of time unemployed and actively seeking work, I feel I can speak on the topic of having to scrimp and save.My take on these articles?
Bull and shit.
Yes, I have a hard time feeling bad for people.When I read these sob stories about the poor and how they can’t feed themselves or their kids, I feel no sympathy.And though I do lack compassion to a point where it could be considered a disability, that’s not why I don’t feel for these folks.It’s because I don’t buy it.For the love, cut the fuck back on your spending.If you’re on food stamps but you have a cell phone, basic cable, professionally colored hair, manicured nails, and/or a car less than three years old, then you’re a moron.And if you have to make the choice between feeding your kids a healthy meal or making a car payment, it should be a no-brainer that your broke self should be biking the fuck to work.
Elephant in the room:Hey! Politicians!Instead of doling out the social services and further burdening John Q. Taxpayer, how’s about someone sack up and tell people to stop having kids they can’t afford to feed.Anyone?Obama?Brewer?No?*crickets*
Poor people are not starving.Let’s be honest; most people – poor or not – are overweight.I’ll take it a step further; they’re not starving AND they can afford to eat a healthy diet. When you see people on government assistance who are fat, it’s not because they can’t afford better food or because they weren’t educated on what good food is; it’s because they chose to buy and consume other things besides healthy food.So what if junk food is cheap!They didn’t buy the chips because they were cheaper than the apple. They bought the chips because they wanted them more than the damn apple.And they’ve got every right to buy and feed themselves garbage UNTIL they start coming to the government with their hand out.
I’m a huge Dave Ramsey groupie.He advocates people living on beans and rice until they can get themselves out of debt.I applaud.So in the spirit of cheap eats, I’ve come up with a weekly menu that is probably tastier than what food stamps will buy and far healthier than what the free lunch programs in the schools are dishing out.
On Sunday evening, prepare for the week.Chop one onion ($1.27), two red bell peppers (.99 ea), and toss them in a bowl with a dozen eggs (2.59).Mix it all up with a splash of milk and scramble away.Portion this out into seven containers, and stack them in the fridge to grab and go.You’ve just made seven veggie scrambles for about .84 cents a meal.
Onto lunchtime.One loaf of light whole wheat bread is 5.19.A pound of turkey cold cuts will run you 6.22.This will make 10 sandwiches for about 1.15 each.Add mayo and you’re looking at 1.30 per sandwich.
After scrambling your eggs on Sunday, toss the following into a crock-pot:Two pounds of boneless skinless chicken breasts ($4.00), half a jar of salsa ($1.25), 1 cup of shredded cheese (cheddar or jack $2.50), and five cans of beans (any combination of kidney, pinto, and/or northern.Buy what’s on sale.This week, it’s kidney for .89 each.)Mix it up and cook on low for 4 hours or until the chicken shreds easily with a wooden spoon.Portion this out into seven containers, and you’ve now got seven servings of Southwestern Chicken Chili for about $1.75 per serving.
(All pricing from Fry’s and Safeway)
Voila.You’ve just fed yourself veggies, protein, whole grains, calcium, and fiber for under $4 a day.Not enough food for you?Increase the portion size by 50% and eat for $6 a day.Go ahead; live large.
“But but!You expect people to eat the same thing for a week?!?”
Yep.Eat it and like it.You, beggar, cannot be a chooser. And if any bleeding-heart weirdo out there wants to tell me that there really are people who can’t afford to feed themselves and who are currently starving, please note my lack of ever seeing such people and the aforementioned egregious lack of compassion.
I could fill pages upon pages with my donut chronicles, but I suppose I should move on with the purpose of my blog.But as I tell my story, be prepared for small snippets of how and why corporate America is a shitty place to spend your adulthood.
It’s the fall of 2009, and I split my time between a tanning salon and a donut shop (or skin cancer and diabetes for those in the medical community).It still doesn’t make the ends meet.So, what…a third job?Yup.For the love of all things, a third fucking job.
My friend was an HR manager at a law firm.She worked for a dude who suffered a Napoleon complex that even Napoleon would laugh at.He was cranky and trusted only one person in the office, and that one person made sure to breed a culture of fear throughout the office.I don’t know how my friend worked there as long as she did. She once tallied up the number of people she had fired, and it was 39 not including the 15 that walked out.This was a small office, so that was substantial.(I could do pages on how turnover is both costly and toxic, but I’ll save that.)
I’d met the owner briefly at the firm’s Christmas party the year before.After that, there were a couple of times he talked about me to her.Once stating something along the lines of “Why can’t your friend get a job?”; the other when he said to her “Remember the time your friend came to the Christmas party and said she was really good at music trivia, and I kept asking her questions and totally stumped her?”Um, no.No I don’t.But it is nothing less than fucking weird that you remember it, Napoleon. Don’t you have drunks to put back on the road?
So, yeah…guess where I went to work next?I answered phones at the Law Offices of Cranky, Pissy, and Napoleon.It was an easy job.Answer phones, take messages, stuff envelopes.A chimp could do it, or so you’d think.Unfortunately for the admin staff, Napoleon wanted everything done one certain way.And if you did it one certain way, it was still wrong.There was no correct way to do anything.One member of the admin staff told me on the first day “It doesn’t matter how you do anything around here, it will be wrong.”I heard that again from someone else on my 2nd day.Personally, if I’m busy trying to get people off of murder or molestation charges, I’m not going to worry about how the envelopes are stuffed.
Napoleon and his minion made sure everyone there was always on guard.So as a result of this fear-culture, a cunt-culture was bred amongst the admin staff.If I didn’t cross a T or dot an I on a phone message, the legal secretaries would walk over to me and say, “Um, just so you know…”That’s how most of the gals there started their sentences.I officially deem this one of the cuntiest phrases known to man.It really means “You fucked something up, however, I’m going to pretend I’m just giving you an FYI. But please note from my tone that you fucked up.” Oh, and extra cunt points to anyone who starts an email with “Um…” (I still get emails like this at my current job. Fuckin’ chicks.)
My favorite was when someone would call, and I’d ask “How did you hear about us?”And they’d say “From the Yellow Pages.”On my first day, I was told “You’ll have to ask them to be more specific.Dex, Verizon, which yellow pages?Don’t just put Yellow Pages!”So I asked “What if they don’t know for sure, and all they say is Yellow Pages?”To which she replied “Then just put Yellow Pages”.And the first time I did this, I had no fewer than three people come to my desk and say, “Um, just so you know, you’re not supposed just put Yellow Pages.”And by the third time, I responded, “Just so YOU know, you’re the 3rd person to tell me that today, AND that’s all the information I could get out of the caller. I swear I’m having an Office Space moment.”
Who knew bitchiness was catchy? Apparently, it’s cuntagious.
The gals on the admin staff told me that when an item is delivered to the front lobby, open it, and bring it back to the Minion.The very next day, I get a large envelope, open it, and bring it back to her.She freaks.“Um…why did you open that!?!You’re not supposed to open that!Oh my gosh, oh my gosh…”She then went to my friend, the HR manager, and pretty much flipped her shit about how I opened something I wasn’t supposed to.Fuck you, Minion.As if I opened it, emptied it, and read the contents while on the john.It just showed me what I learned on my first day was correct:Whichever way you do something will be the wrong way.
Lucky for me, it was temp work and I was only there for about 6 weeks.I wouldn’t have lasted much longer.And had I reached any sort of boiling point and walked out, I know no one would’ve cared, but I’m certain Napoleon would’ve bitched about it to my friend as if it were her fault.
Now it’s December of 2009, I’m working 65 hours a week to be as broke as I’ve ever been, and I’ve officially given up any hope of ever finding a full-time job again.Merry Christmas.
During my senior year of high school, I worked at Party City in Glendale.I even worked there over the summer and during Christmas break when I was in college.In 2008, I was at the Party City location at PV Mall.And wouldn’t ya know it, 13 years later, the manager I worked for in high school was still working there.He remembered me.“Didn’t you perform in the Super Bowl Half-Time Show?”Indeed I did (And that is pretty much the only fun-fact there is about me.)He said to call him if I ever needed a cashier job.I thought that was both funny and kind.Like I’d need a cashier job; I have two business degrees, and I’m smarter than most people I encounter in corporate America.
Smash-cut to the summer of 2009.I can’t get a job at the mall or a grocery store.I’m officially panicked.I’m considering cashing out my 401k in lieu of asking my parents for help.But I did take from them a free plane ticket to Rhode Island for two weeks. My mom rented a beach house to celebrate my dad’s retirement.I had decided that after this trip was over, I was going to drive myself to the Party City location at PV and ask for a job.
I don’t remember how Julie and I had started our correspondence, but we’d exchanged a few emails about my job situation while I was still in RI.She was working part-time at a tanning salon while going to grad school.She said, “Would you be interested in working here part time?I could let the owner know.”And that’s how I came to work at a tanning salon in August of 2009.It had been an entire year since my last job.
Taking a part-time, minimum wage job didn’t make me sad or depressed at the time.As it turns out, I was thrilled to start working.I really liked working there.All that was required was cleaning, selling, and putting customers into tanning beds.The only problem was that I only worked 13 hours a week.I made less than I collected on unemployment*, which isn’t as bad as it sounds because unemployment will supplement you.(Please tell that to anyone you know who uses that as an excuse not to work)Since I wasn’t a super-bronzed 19-yr-old, customers regularly asked if I was the owner or if I had recently bought the place.I had one girl call and say, “I was just in there an hour ago, and I spoke with the owner’s wife…”I thought she was lying since the owner’s wife hadn’t been in all day.Then I realized she meant me.Which is fine as long as no one was mistaking one of my teenage coworkers as my daughter.
Since the 13 hours a week wasn’t much helping to stop the bleeding, I feared I’d have to make that trek to Party City after all.It’s not that Party City was a bad place; it’s just that I hate customers.Many of them are rude and nasty.That might sound like no big deal to most, but I can’t respond politely to rude and nasty; it makes me feel dirty.
Now it’s October of 2009, and I’m hanging out and eating donuts with a group of AKPsi alumni at Maya’s.Why donuts?Because one of our alumni owns a donut shop.I remember telling him that he should hire me since I am a huge fan of junk food and baking.We laughed it off a few times, but later in the week, he sent me an IM on Facebook:
“So…are you serious?And how are you with getting up early?Like, really early?”
*Unemployment in Arizona is $240 a week.While I was unemployed, the federal government was kicking in an extra $25 per week. Once I started working part time, my wages + unemployment brought me up to $290 per week.Wow.Writing all that makes me want to sob.
I recently took to that wonderful Facebook to post a question I heard on the Adam Carolla Show podcast: Your porn star name is no longer “pet’s name/street you grew up on.” It’s now “favorite drink/biggest insecurity.” So what’s yours?
Nice to meet you; I’m Cherry Coke Total Lack of Career Success.
I was bombarded with some hilarious answers that all followed the same trend: My friends think they’re fat.
I’ve got a college buddy in LA who is one of the best money managers I know, and he believes he has man boobs. My friend in Salt Lake who just landed a job as a marketing director for a radio station was concerned that she’s a fat girl. And my former boss who climbed to be the general manager of a quintessential boy’s club thought she was a “chubby bitch”.
I got a ton of laughs out of everyone’s responses, but I also felt the urge to strangle most of them while screaming “So what if you don’t like your body! I am a size six, and I was on unemployment for over a year! I worked in a donut shop!”
Unlike most Americans, I wasn’t laid off; I quit. The fucked up thing is that I don’t regret it. In fact, if I had it to do again, I’d quit in spectacular fashion. Perhaps I’d tell my boss what a worthless, under-qualified piece of shit she was. Ah, a girl can dream. I had eight months worth of savings when I quit, and I collected unemployement since I was able to prove to the state’s satisfaction that I came from a hostile work environment, brought that to management’s attention, and both management and HR chose to do nothing. (I still have the letter from the state. It makes me smile.) I have a bachelor’s degree in Supply Chain Management and an MBA from Arizona State. I have 12 years of experience in my field, and I taught business at Scottsdale Community College for three years.
I didn’t find full-time work for 18 months.
It only recently hit me that I have a lot of anger over what has happened in my life over the past three years. A few things pushed me to realize this. For starters, my friends who have had career success are insecure about their looks. I want to shake them until they can all appreciate what they’ve acheived. (Side note: I happen to think they all look great!) Second, I started a new job this year doing exactly what I was doing in 2003. The gal who trained me on SAP had just graduated from ASU two months prior. And lastly, this link;