Wednesday, April 20, 2016, 11:03 pm
Made the wrong move tonight...
Guess I really am my own worst enemy.
Made the wrong move tonight...
Guess I really am my own worst enemy.
So, I have a less than modest home, with less than modest square footage, and a modest house payment.
Four years ago, a nasty hail storm comes through... nasty enough, in fact, that it prompts my insurance company to send me a letter to get it fixed. If I don’t get it fixed within a year, it’ll affect my coverage.
Nine months later, I’ve managed to budget my deductible. I find a roofing company, get the roof done, and turn it in to the insurance company.
Turns out, the roofer and the insurance company have a disagreement about how much that new roof cost. A $1,500 disagreement about how much that new roof cost.
So, I end up nose-diving into debt to find an extra $1,500 to cover my roof shortage. Fine, that’s done... right?
Three years ago, my home premium renewal arrives. Only, because there was a claim my premium went up, I believe, about 85%... almost double.
Okay, I’ve learned my lesson. No more claims. New insurance company. I manage to find a quote that brings my premium down to around the level I was paying.
Oh joy! Rapture! I’m not going to lose my house over the escrow shortage!
Fast forward three years. No claims. Seeing loyalty discounts for being a “good customer.”
And today, a letter from my mortgage company arrives. It warned me of an upcoming payment bump to cover my escrow shortage. How much? It didn’t say... it only used the word significant.
So, I look for a notice of my premium renewal. No notice has been sent yet, but it HAS posted on the insurance company’s website.
Significant? Holy shit, that’s significant. That’s lose my house significant!
So, I don’t make claims... can’t afford to, really... and my insurance still more than doubles.
How bad is it? When I called, the insurance company advised me to shop for cheaper insurance. They say it’s because of my credit. Astonishing, because my credit is loads better than it was when I shopped for insurance three years ago.
They can’t do anything for me. Well, shit. If I cannot find cheaper insurance, I guess the bank just inherited itself a house.
Seriously, I’d be better off just flushing that money down the toilet. I know it’s all about risk, and the house always wins, but my insurance premiums over thirty years will come to about 80% of my house principle... and takes so much to cover there cannot be any improvements to the home. There’s just no money left.
So, by then the home might be worth a cool $3,000... adjusting for inflation, of course.
The past few years have been a genuine struggle. I’m certain a large part of it I’ve brought on myself, but it’s become tiresome nonetheless.
I’ve been just trying to keep it together while falling apart.
It’s time to fix what’s wrong with my life. It’s time to get away from the vampires... and to slay the vampire within.
More than ever, I’m convinced that vampires are real. No, I don’t necessarily believe in the blood sucking fiends from beyond the grave, but vampires definitely exist.
Vampires that suck energy and life-force from me.
I’m working to improve myself and my life quality again, and in doing so, I’m become increasingly aware of my surroundings. And aware of the people around me who are there solely to drain me down to their level.
People who hate everything. People who complain about everything. People who are blameless in everything. People who are victims in everything. People who do nothing to improve him or herself, because there is nothing to improve. Special snowflakes.
People who think the world must change to suit them, yet don’t realize the change begins with them.
I know them well, because in many ways I’m still this person... this vampire. I’d slain him before. Even though I’m afraid he’s stronger this time, I can slay him again. I must.
I must change. I can feel the flame of passion reigniting within me. I want to live life again... rather than letting life live me.
I must escape the vampires. I must stop letting the vampires surround me. I must slay the vampire that has grown within me.
I must own my own energy again.
I must do this.
In this age of social media, there’s a lot out there that’s telling you to pursue your dreams. Never settle. You can do it.
Today, that’s bullshit.
I was offered a job today.
So, why am I pissed off? It sucks that I can’t completely answer that question.
I want a job that has potential. One with growth opportunities. I want the “dream job!”
I thought an employment agency could help... especially where I was failing.
And the agency has placed me in a permanent job.
In tech support.
There is NO tech support in my resume. I told my recruiter in the interview that I did not want tech support.
Apparently, I’m good at it.
The temp job had nearly a dozen techs performing tech support tasks over the last couple of months. Every other tech wanted it. They’re hungry.
They’ve all been passed over. I’m the chosen one.
So, why do I feel like total shit?
Because I don’t want it. I never wanted it. I feel like my recruiter betrayed me.
What got me through the last two months? KNOWING it was a temp job. KNOWING it would end. Now I’m sentenced to it.
Did I die? Is this purgatory? Is karma really THAT pissed at me?
The last two months of tech support, was a Monday through Friday, 8-5 gig. The permanent job means giving that up for the first time since the fast food days.
Does anyone escape tech support?
It’s not a beginning.
It’s an end.
Anyone who knows me, or anyone who has read this blog, knows I have an affinity for coffee shops. What you might now know, however, is that I don’t like coffee. Never acquired the taste.
Over time, area coffee shops come and go, grow and shutter. I find one I like and that’s where you’ll find me. Management changes, menu changes, clientele changes and I’ll stay or I’ll go. It really is a fascinating world to observe.
There are some things that I’ll never understand though...
Yesterday, as I visited my usual haunt, I bantered back and forth with the barista. She informed me that they had jumped on the “breakfast all day” train, and we agreed that was a good thing.
After all, how hard is it, really, to cook eggs in the afternoon or evening. And if it’s what the customers truly want, it’s like leaving money on the table.
It’s funny how something as simple as an Egg McMuffin for supper is changing the world... but that’s another topic for another time.
Then, I was informed that the tea latte I adore and order almost daily will be going away. The coffee shop will be changing providers for their teas.
Now, I’ve come to learn that change is something to embrace. Time waits for no man, and all that nonsense. Plus, one of my favorite places in town is a loose leaf tea shop... so my initial thought is, “This is a good thing.”
She continues to explain that the owner has explicitly said there will be no Earl Grey after the switch. Then she goes on to say that he never liked the baristas making tea lattes “because Starbucks makes tea lattes.”
Whoa, wait. What?
So, because Starbucks makes something you’re going to STOP making it. Are you trying to tell me that you would rather I go to Starbucks? Take my money from your local business and give it to that monolith instead?
Hmm... what happened to looking at what your customers truly want and not leaving money on the table?
I guess that I will never truly understand people and their decisions.
Sadly, perhaps, it is time to find a new coffee shop to frequent.
With the beginning of the new year, I’ve been reflecting on the past one.
2015 started on a high note. I was at the top of my game, landing new projects, and headlining a big project at my day job. I had hedged almost a month of vacation time and had a significant amount in savings in preparation for a Greece trip that was to take place in May with one of my favorite girls.
We were excited to leave our lives behind for a few weeks.
However, there was one key piece that wasn’t falling in place. The project at work was very exciting, to everyone but the exec. In fact, nothing I did was exciting to the exec, and halfway through the year, he brought down my entire house of cards.
The last six months have been a true trial. The hedged vacation time translated into decent money... but now all of the money is gone. The opportunities are few and far between. Sent resumés land interviews, interviews land second interviews, but still no job has appeared from the mist.
I’ve considered other options, but some prospective employers lose interest when discovering what I made at my previous job. Others have a hard time taking someone who has driven a desk his entire life seriously. After all, why would an office worker even apply to become a factory worker, a parts seller, a driver, a railroad track layer, a welder?
Perhaps their concerns are not unfounded. Those are all 8-5 jobs... and as one who’s never been a morning person, that 8 am has always been a hard note to hit.
If only, I had acquired the taste for coffee... no, yuck.
So, 2015 was the year I officially became a nobody. I no longer contribute to society... and may no longer be able to.
Next week, I finally start over.
Yes, start over.
I’ve accepted a job as a temp. Doing tech support. I’d almost rather die than do tech support.
Oddly, I’m fully aware that this isn’t even rock bottom yet. I may not have any money at all, but what little I’m able to get my hands on goes into those little things... like utilities, and the house payment. So, I’m not homeless, nor hungry.
It’s not yet just a boy and his dog.
My dog. She is my rock that keeps me going.
I can’t help thinking that I’m destined to be this nobody. A casual glance on social media would suggest that we can be whatever we want. However, as one who’s not landing the careers that will give me the life I want... I’m losing faith in everything.
Dreams die, don’t they?
And no, I can’t say I’m entirely blameless. I’ve cultured this ruined life. The exec who was unhappy with everything I did created a situation I should have run from. I should have looked for a new job while I was still employed... instead, I let his persistent micromanaging burn me out.
Now I wonder if one can even come back from burn out... how do you get the spark back? How do you get the magic back?
I used to be passionate about projects and ideas and creating cool stuff. Now I wonder if I’m the total failure he accused me of being.
I can’t even declare 2016 as a rebuilding year. There’s no foundation left to rebuild upon.
So, now what?
It’s been several years since I’ve used my birthday or year end as a touchstone for my life...
Well, it hasn’t been a good year, nor even what I would call a “rebuilding” year. Let’s call it... chaotic.
I’ll start with the elephant in the room: on a sunny day in June, that proved to be both the best... and worst... day of my life, I lost my job. It was the best day, in that I escaped from a truly awful job and a truly awful boss. I was so relieved that I practically floated out of that building.
It was the worst, in that I have not yet found a new job. Resumés are landing interviews, interviews are landing callbacks, yet so far, I’ve not yet closed the deal. Some of the near misses have been disappointing, but I’m trying to maintain my confidence and keep my chin up. Many days, it truly feels like one step up, two steps back.
I’ve been able to sustain myself from a combination of hedged vacation time, savings, freelance projects, unemployment benefits and the kindness of friends and family... the latter of which I’m incredibly grateful for.
It’s been a great year to find out who really has my back... as well as who doesn’t.
I’ve begun to write again... not that this blog is any indication. I’m writing in a journal that I carry with me. I’m torn, because it feels like the writing belongs in this space, yet not all of it is something I feel like sharing. However, it is refreshing to be able to get thoughts onto the page again. Who knows where that’ll lead?
The writing spawned from a no distraction diet I did in September. That was an interesting experience. The “mild” version of the diet is quite simply: no women. Translated, that equals, no hitting on women, flirting with women, dating women, trying to get their attention, etc. Not surprisingly, as one who trends towards “non-social,” that wasn’t difficult at all. In a small way it was like returning to my former self.
There is also a “spicy” version, which you tailor to yourself to maximize the experience. The idea is to become comfortable with being with yourself again... and even to love yourself. When you love yourself and your life, you attract others who are drawn to your contentment and inner peace.
But that’s not the reason to do it. If you do it for that reason, you’re missing the point of the exercise.
It’s kind of like this: I love the movie Dead Poets Society, therefore I’ve seen the movie so many times that I don’t necessarily live by the message in the movie. My diems aren’t carped.
The spicy version of the diet suggests one cut out the following: alcohol, sugar, caffeine, drugs, television, music (yes, music), casual internet surfing, social media,... essentially anything that could be considered a distraction.
Anything that fills the hole you experience by not interacting with women.
It’s pretty powerful stuff.
And a terrific exercise to become present, to live in the now... which is its own reward.
Then, of course, there’s the Facebook. The social network everyone loves to hate. This year, I was super tempted to take a break again... my 200 days of no Facebook... but I didn’t. Some days, I regret that decision because of all the butthurt I see daily, because, you know, words. Yet, other days, I don’t. I’ve reconnected with some friends I’d lost touch with during the hustle and bustle of my work life. I’ve also picked up a few great job leads. I now believe that the dream job not only exists, but is attainable. Which is nice.
Also, during this period of soul-searching, I know now that I was burned out. I still have some trauma related to my job, but I should have had the confidence and motivation to get out and rejuvenate when I sensed I was starting to burn out.
It would have made the recovery process much easier. Yet, I know now it is possible to recover from burnout.
So, looking into this new year, I can honestly say I have no idea what’s ahead. Life is still pretty chaotic, and I have to depend on change... simply because I will not survive the way life is going right now.
It makes no sense to make plans for the new year... aside from ensuring an income again. Yes, it would be nice to get a new car, to spend a few weeks in Europe, and to take that photography intensive I’ve been looking at for a while now, but I need to find the capital. Whether I do something entrepreneurial or go back to answering to “the man,” something’s gotta happen.
Exciting? Yes! Scary? Kind of. Let’s do this. It’s going to be a great year!
I haven’t been sleeping.
Some nights, it feels like I’ve forgotten how to focus. Others it feels like I’ve forgotten how to let go.
Still others, I can manage to clear my mind, but then every nerve ending in my legs fires up. It doesn’t feel like it’s burning. It doesn’t hurt. But it’s letting me know my legs are there... like an incessant itch.
Ice baths help... almost long enough to fall asleep. Almost.
The insomnia hasn’t helped. When I do sleep, my dreams are incredibly vivid. Emotionally draining.
When I do sleep, I wake up exhausted.
I’ve been thinking of shoulda, woulda, coulda. A’s been on my mind. It’s time to let go. She has her life. I have mine.
I’ve been making tremendous strides in life. Opportunities abound! I’m excited about what I’m becoming.
If only I could sleep.
I never really sleep anymore.
You know you're game is on when you walk in, fill out the job application, get the interview immediately, and on the way out hear you've got the job.
I need some advice, but where do I turn?
For the last year, I have fought a battle at work. At one point, I was great at my job. I made magic happen.
I’ve had problems with employers before, but nothing on the scale I’m experiencing now.
I come home utterly defeated. There are frequent meetings... even when they go well, there is clearly a hunt for something that I failed at.
I have been told that he has “zero confidence” in my ability. When those words aren’t said, the message is still conveyed.
Getting that message long enough has affected all aspects of my life. In a conversation with a close friend yesterday, he said that I was no longer hire-able. He said, that by talking with me, what I’m looking for isn’t about doing work... it’s only about the money.
So, now I’m caught in a situation where I need to rediscover my confidence and my passion, and get away from the constant flood of negativity and unrealistic expectations... yet as long as I’m doing this job for this employer, I’ll continue to get beat down.
What do I do? How do I put up a wall so I can rebuild my self-worth, and continue to “get by” and collect that paycheck?
I know I shouldn’t take any of it personally, yet after a year of hearing this, I have zero confidence I’ll ever satisfy this boss.
Do I need a shrink? A spiritual leader? A sabbatical?
How do I salvage this and get back into a good situation? A good job?