A devoted reader may wonder why I spend so little time dating when I know what I need to be in a healthy and happy relationship with me. It was that rule of not being employed while I was in a relationship. I learned the hard way that money will make or break a relationship. And it was not that I did not have the time to pursue one anyway. Out of respect for my rules I set in place, I spent a lot of time unemployed. This essay is how I got fired from some of those.

Make no mistake I am an okay employee. In some places, I was pretty amazing. People loved me as a temp employee. I did not balk at doing any grunt work that was put upon me. I was happy to be needed and the work needed to be done. It was enough for the time being. But then not enough. See, I know when I was looking for a career I was looking for a working relationship with the source of my finances. It is a relationship like any other and I needed to know how to nurture it and when, as a temp, the assignment was done. I also knew when the relationship with my employer needed to be done. But any relationship can be abusive and employers exploit that often.

With my first employer, Kelly Services, I was told I needed to be punctual. I am not the punctual one. But they were not on the site to look over my shoulder so I overruled that one. Even on the site, OCME, no one seemed to be bothered by that one. At least until I became one of their workers. And I found it odd to have it become a sticking point. Another oddity was my wardrobe. I had temped for the office for a few months. They knew what I wore. They knew I wore headphones in my cubicle. And they offered me more. Those acknowledged variables about me became sticking points. I knew a month in I had to leave.

See, when I opted to seek employment, I knew what I needed. I needed a place that would nurture my output and let me develop my writing skills to a degree. I needed a place that would value me and my possibilities. I did not want to be a cog in a wheel. But that is what CME needed from me. The manager saw a beautiful cog in the wheel that would be grateful for a chance to live as a cog in her wheelhouse. She offered me the opportunity to travel at someone else’s expense. I leaped at the chance. All I had to do was change everything about me to fit into her category. I did not mind it in the beginning. I have a bit of rebel in me and thought I could modify myself to some degree. I can’t be punctual but I can work on it to a degree. I did not mind finding new clothing- maybe a uniform would work finally. I tried to be accommodating. It was not enough apparently. What my employer wanted, I could not achieve. But she had the noose- money. So I stiffened my neck enough and started rope worrying (aka- job hunting). It took two years to find something new. But I was glad to leave OCME. I was tired of the money noose.

I thought nothing of my new employer save that it was saving me from the former and that they were closer to my old apartment and future home. I was scared enough from my previous experience to be cautious but willing to start over again. And I did with St. Vincent. I was a week into the job before I saw the warning signs of me needing to leave again. See that pesky recession made the non-profit lose money and eventually they tossed me out to save money. I knew it when I read an article about the warning signs: you stop get invited into meetings. They stop telling you things to need to succeed in the relationship. It was the day I signed my home contract that they told me I would be laid off at the end of their fiscal year.

It took some time before I was willing to put myself out there. Alas, i had a mortgage and a deadline. I went back to job hunting. I got a temp job answering phones for another local non profit power. I actually enjoyed my supervisor. She did not want to hire me however. Said that I was better than her place of employment. My need for money was not a factor. Still, she kept me so I could find something better.

I thought I had that when I was accepted at my local library. After all, it is where books are gathered. Alas, this is another space where one needed to stay in their place. I was put into an office with a Jewish woman who is racist. I was shuffled around instead of tossed out since I would have had a court case. And became a cog in the wheelhouse of the library. For a while I was okay. Then I asked questions about why we did things a certain way. I asked my co-workers why they chose to come to work every day only to play video games? I asked them to evaluate their lives in that space. Whew. Wrong line of questioning when people are cogs in the wheel. They were older women who hated thinking despite being surrounded by ideas.

The library started to pick at me eventually. It started to micromanage me in the space. It became suffocating. I hated going into that place. When it came time to fire me, I was elated. And told them to their faces. I was tired of the stagnant air in that place. It was during that time I was able to get a much-needed break in the form of extended unemployment benefits. I spent that time in school and falling in love with myself again.

Then I was fired from Free State Legal. It was light at the end of the tunnel in some ways as the timing of the first paycheck saved my financial bacon. Sadly, the office was small and the boss was a half asser. He was hired because he was an ally. And that office, which catered to LGBTQIA rights, needed more than that in the spokesperson space. I liked that I was needed but I don’t like development work at all.

Glory I miss Beth Am. Beth Am was the best job. I was able to come in within a half hour of the call. I was given over time. I was able to do my job the way I wanted. I was listened to. I had a fucking ball. I was respected in that space. I gave it my all. And when Capital Campaign came a knocking, the board fired the whole office. The new executive director told me I was not needed. He was wrong but it really cut me to the quick. Or tried to at least.

I was fired from another few gigs after that. It turns you numb to be given a chance to survive only to have it be akin to a punctured life vest. Unemployed me was barely given time to breathe let alone dream. After a decade of putting my heart on the back burner, I decided if I was going to drown being poor, I was going to do it near an ocean. And in that fateful new moon in 2018, I committed to bringing my dreams back to the forefront.

But that is another essay.