A man called Murphy
By jamethielc on August 14, 2014
What would happen if I lost my job? Oregon is an at will state, which means I could be fired at any time, for any reason. My employer is private, & not subject to any unions. There were three previous temps in my position, though I've outlasted & outperformed each of them. My last performance review was a bit rocky in some areas, but things have smoothed out lately. But, as my dad is always reminding me, it’s good to have plans in place for when Murphy strikes in any form. Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong at the most inopportune moment. I am at heart an optimist, so it’s hard to get my head into this mind frame. I live basically pay check to pay check, so I can’t afford to bury my head in the sand regarding money any longer (I couldn't afford it in the past either, but learning some things comes slow to my thick head).
My main goal for this year is to gain actual control of my finances, and to have a savings account that actually grows money. I have a budget binder set up that I take with me, which I'm constantly adding to & improving. I’m tracking my spending & my bills better, & I’m looking at splitting my paychecks between two accounts-one I use just for bills, & one for any “extra or fun” money I may have (hint: not much right now). I still have a ways & a bit of debt to pay off, but the first step is just knowing where all the money is going, & where it has to go.
As far as the job goes, how I leave affects whether I can claim unemployment or not. Even if I can, it’s barely enough to bring in some groceries & fill the gas tank for a month, let alone everything else. My resume is kept up to date, & with the help of several friends & internet tips is as professional as I can make it. My first day should be spent sending it to every temp agency in the city (I already keep the government websites up to date). I’ll also need to have a serious, slightly panicked talk with my finances, informing the rescue I’m on the break list & can’t take any more dogs, & figuring out the best way to stretch the food already in the house. I keep a full pantry of basics, so at need we can stick to the rice, beans, & chicken diet.
The biggest blow will come from not being able to claim any recent, good professional references, so that will make it triply harder to actually land a new job. The first week will be spent sending my application to every CL ad I might fit, as well as visiting temp agencies in person to go through their processes. A temp agency is the best way I have of landing a job (it’s how I got my current one) despite my lack of good references.
In reality, I will do most of the above while avoiding my parents in shame. Getting fired from one job is horrid enough-but two? Considering how much is on the line for Kade & I? How stupid would I have to be, how stubborn to not suck it up & do whatever it takes to hold down a job like a responsible person? When I’m not in public I’ll likely be crying more than a bit, feeling wounded & constantly fighting off panic. I’ll try to fit in time with my psychiatrist, & it might help. I’ll take any interview offered, so long as it makes at least minimum wage. Because I've backed myself out onto a ledge, I will probably have to take the first position offered…like I did this time.
Last time I was unemployed for a month, & that has set my finances back even to now in some ways. I wasn't fired, it was a seasonal job with the state & I knew going in it was limited, but I didn't have a plan in place for the end of the season. I’ll try to learn from that this time. I’ll hope for the best, keep my head down, do my best, but have a plan in place in case I fail again.
None of my strengths help me deal with this, while it plays to several of my weaknesses; lack of perfection, blank face when confronted with mistakes, stress management, office politics. I’m here to learn to deal with all these things gracefully, but constantly being in the “just don’t get fired” headspace is hampering that as I can’t relax. It feels like every time I try to be proactive & show something I can do well, I let a basic thing drop which results in a polite, yet strongly worded email from either my trainer or my boss. I may not be cut out or able to adapt to this particular job or company, but I’m still in that corner where I have to do my best here. I've kept my application up to date for government jobs since their application process can take literally forever, but I can’t actively seek another job. One of the other reasons I’m here is to show longevity on my resume-all of my jobs save the one I was fired from are under 1 year.
I’m missing the best years of my son’s life, with him at school & me stuck sucking here every day. It’s starting to make me thing I should have moved to that Maine draft horse farm, but then what would I have done about the bill when Kade broke his arm & we didn't have insurance? But as hard as farm & country life is, it’s different, & it renews & rewards as much as it takes away. This job gives me a steady paycheck, insurance, steady hours, a short commute, but it will always be a struggle of a different kind, to fit in, to have enough energy left at the end of the day to give Kade my best, to work on my writing, to fit in time to ride & hike. Muck boots and jeans are far more comfortable than panty hose & skirts any day.
I think I've been focusing way too hard on the responsibility side of single parenting, while forgetting to enjoy my son as much as I can. He’s already too cool to give me a kiss in front of his friends most days, whereas last year I got guaranteed cuddles every morning. He’s not just a worry & a money pit, he’s also a sweet, hilarious, super powered & exciting little kid (not a baby anymore holy crap!) Seeing as how a junior rider just won the Tevis Haggin Cup, I look forward to the day I can ride endurance with Kade next to me. But there's a long road ahead, sometimes it feels like we'll make it, sometimes it seems impossible.
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