Thursday, August 26, 2010

i applied for college, and all i got was this lousy tee shirt

this last month has been a bit of a self-imposed whirlwind for me.  i quit my contracting job august 1 after what i affectionately call a 'mini-nervy b' aka nervous breakdown.  i work from home for a few reasons.  we only have one car.  i have degenerative arthritis in my foot, which hindered my working at the happiest place on earth (yes, that's right, i worked at disney world).   and living in such a high tourist area, standing-and-walking-around jobs are about all i could find.  i also am batshit crazy.  i have quit many jobs in the past after calling in 'sick' for a day or two, when i was having a really bad time, fearing that my managers would know i was crazy when i came back after my sick days.  seriously.  that's why i had had 13 jobs by the time i was 20.  

i know that number for a fact because i was part of a welfare-to-work program where we literally had to list every job we'd ever had, where it was, and the contact information.  when you're on welfare, they make you go to classes about writing resumes and shit like that.

oh, yes.  i was on welfare.  but that's another post for another day.  suffice it to say, i had 13 jobs between the ages of 16 and 20.  i know one was a temp position, and i left two because they refused to promote me. i was fired from one for 'showing a lack of interest in my job'.  that was a good one.  i was a cashier at a grand union in new york, and i was under 18, so technically my parent's divorce agreement of visiting-my-dad-once-a-week was still legally in effect.  i told my managers that because of that agreement, i would not be able to work sundays.  they said 'that's fine, sundays are time and a half anyway, so the more senior cashiers get to take those days'.  great.  

until they scheduled me for a sunday.  i told them the monday before that i could not work it.  they told me they'd take care of it.  i didn't go to work on sunday.  monday afternoon, after school, i show up for my shift and they wouldn't give me my drawer in the cashier's office.  they sent me to the manager.  he fired me for 'showing a lack of interest in my job'.  

there you go.

anyway. so when a friend of the family introduced me to this work from home opportunity, i was very interested.  there was a layout of money involved, which i had to borrow from my mom.  but i upgraded my computer, awesome husband and i ran a new phone line to my home office, and off i went.  i ended up being subcontracted to the same company for about two and a half years.  i did sales over the phone and online in a chat environment.  i would work usually about 20-25 hours a week, and make around $13 an hour.  tax time is a bitch, because they don't take taxes out, but we've managed all this time.  and it was good.

but for some reason, i just couldn't do it any more.  they kept making it harder for us to do our jobs right. many of the people over me, people who were supposed to help me and give me the right information, were not doing so.  they kept telling us we weren't doing good enough.  now, there is a different between positive reinforcement and motivation, and being shit on all the time.  i felt like we were being shit on all the time.  i was carrying on three different conversations with three different customers at the same time, and was expected to type an answer to each one within 20 seconds.   my wrists started protesting the constant typing.  i started having trouble sleeping.  i started thinking about not having to work.  thinking about moving back to new york.  thinking about putting my fist through the computer screen.  

the problem with being batshit crazy, is you eventually act on these thoughts.  i was diagnosed with clinical depression in 1999.  i have been in and out of treatment, on and off medications, since then.  i had two serious car accidents in 2004 and 2005, respectively.  i was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, which i still suffer from.  i have various anxiety disorders.  i am fucked up.  and i had been off medication for more than four years.  with this job, i had lost my ability to make choices and i felt cornered, trapped.  i acted on some of my thoughts.  i took a week off for medical reasons to think it over.  and as you all know, i ended up quitting.

so i've spent this past month not working.  i mess around on the computer.  i was sewing a bit, but have taken some time off from that as well, as i adjust to my new medication.  i sleep somewhere between 9 and 10 hours a day still from this medication.  i did 8.5 hours yesterday, and that's a victory.  but i've been having pretty bad headaches, which i'll have to discuss with my doctor again tomorrow when i see him.

and i've spent a lot of time writing and finding me again.  i thought about what i would do when we move back to new york.  with public transportation, i wouldn't need to have another car to work outside of the home.  there are desk jobs and shit in new york (you'd be surprised how hard it is to find like a data entry position here in the tourist capital of the world.  if you're not in service or travel/hospitality, good luck).  but so many of them require schooling.  which is why i decided to try and go back to school.  i don't like the idea of putting myself even further in debt, but i think in the long run it will be worth it.

i was talking to awesome husband about it a few days ago, and i realized something.  i'm thirty years old, and i haven't accomplished anything.  okay, like i have - i know that.  i'm married, we own a home, we have a beautiful cat family.  i overcame obstacles like being on welfare, living in my car, and being an addict.  but what do i have?  what do i have to show for it?  i'm batshit crazy, a big girl, and 'self-employed' but not making any money.  my friends have children, husbands and wives, cats and dogs, degrees and vacations.  i realized that me just being able to say 'i have a degree' would make me happy.  it will make me feel accomplished in a socially acceptable way.  i can't wander around saying 'i'm a recovering addict'.  it doesn't look good on a resume.  

and i still haven't accomplished anything, since there seem to be way more steps to getting into college than i remember there being 13 years ago.


  1. If it's what you want, you can do it.

    Some of the best people I've met at the university I go to are the ones going back to school after many years.

  2. I'm almost thirty, and I feel the same way. But I realized that it wasn't necessary for me to "socially" successful. I was happy.

  3. Honey, if you're seriously considering going back to school, all I can say is DO IT.

    I'm a few months away from finishing my PhD and I couldn't be happier.

    Mostly though, that's just because I f*cking HATE being asked, "Miss, Mrs, or Ms?"

    Men don't have to answer that sh*t!

    So now it's DOCTOR Barreness, bitches, and I'm thrilled.

    Do it do it do it, Steph. You'll be glad you did.

    - B x

  4. @fickle cattle: it's not so much that i want to be able to tell people that i have a degree, it's just that i've realized i feel that i can do more than i have. plus, it's hard to get a job without any degree.

    @dr. barreness - good for you :D i can't imagine going back to school for that long, but who knows - maybe i'll love it.

    i think it's mostly that i want a new adventure. i've done the drugging, i've done the partying and promiscuity, i've done the marriage thing (which is my fave adventure by far, sorry - i know it's sappy, but it's true), and i've done the pack-what-you-own-and-move-far-away thing. this is the next in a long line of awesome adventures.

  5. I know how you feel. I'm in a severe catch-22 right now. I'm unemployed, but can't get a job because I have no car. I can't get my car fixed because I can't afford it since I have no job...I also still live at home...and I'm almost 26. Did I mention my unemployment is ending at the end of this month? And no extension for me, since I was not actively looking for a job. Wanna trade? Lol.

  6. i think the problem is that life mostly sucks. as jimmy pop ali, from the bloodhound gang so succintly said, 'life is like a penis, most people don't know it. but most people suck so they usually blow it'.

    seriously. life mostly sucks. you have to make the best of it. we are a one car family, and my husband is the main bread winner (omg, i know, so 1950's. i even cook and clean, and wake up early to make his lunch). so when we needed a bit more income, i started working from home and was able to bring in about $1k a month doing that.

    but, being batshit crazy, i ended up leaving that position. so right now i'm focusing on me instead of work. is it super tight around here money-wise? sure. but i'm a bit more sane, so it's a tradeoff. and we're doing the best with what we have. i'd rather be happy and poor than miserable and less poor. but that's just me.