Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Not everybody's working for the weekend.

I have quite a story to tell gentle reader. I have been quiet for a while because I am lothe to tell incomplete stories. The story is close enough to complete as it stands, so here it is:
Written on Tuesday the 13th.
This past week has been truly dreadful.

One week ago today I hurt my back. I spent the entire week hobbling around and couldn't roll. Then on Thursday I had two job interviews that seemed to go very well. I was hopeful that my job situation (which as many of you know has been truly unbearable) might be finally improving. I went to work with hope on Friday morning.

The past few weeks things at work have been weird. The company I worked for was bought out, and people have been scrambling to make our division more profitable. The guys in the engineering group used to go out for coffee nearly every morning, and I stopped getting the invite after the buy out. I didn't think anything of it. I just figured everyone was so busy that I'd been overlooked, and my boss had been discussing moving my desk in with the other guys in engineering, talking about future projects, so while it seemed strange, I wasn't worried.

Last friday at around 2 my boss asked to come see me in his office. Nothing unusual about that, when ever there was a problem or a new project he'd bring me in and we'd kick it around. I turned the corner and there was a woman from HR in his office.. "I'm screwed," I thought.

I had just trained a guy to "assist me" and what I'd really done is train him to take over (for far less $). I was and still am disappointed in my boss. He could have told me the truth and I'd have trained the tech just the same, if not better. It'd have given me time to get things in better order to change jobs. I could have said goodbye to my friends there. Instead he shoved me out the door, and I don't think I'm the only one (I think.. only my opinions here folks) but our senior engineer got written up by our boss a couple of days before I got the sack, I'm pretty sure he's next. It's a big salary dump, and it creates a built in excuse for bumps in the road. Pretty amazing in it's Machiavellian simplicity.

He stood over me and wouldn't allow me to get any of my personal emails off the server. Hell I didn't even get to remove the pictures of the wife and I on vacation from my hardrive. I was handed a box and forced to clean out my desk, and walked out the door. I was treated like I'd stolen something from them. This is a company I'd worked a 40 straight hour day for in the past. When I started there were 3 engineers, and we had 1/2 the capacity, before they hired my "assistant" we were turning out double the product and I was the only engineer. I don't think I was ever put in a position to be successful, just varying degrees of failure.

I was driving home with my box of stuff next to me in the cab of my truck, and I got a brief moment of pure joy. I never have to go back there again. That moment was fleeting though. I have prospects, but no job. I was given a small severance, but it's not going to last long. I went to the boathouse to train the guys, I told them what'd happened, and they responded like true friends.

The workout was lots of slosh pipe work, and some wall-ball. I didn't trust my back to make it so I just coached. Afterwards the wife and I went out to dinner with my old pair partner. It was fun, we talked a lot about anything but. I had the wife just drive me home. I decided I'd just drive her car to BJJ in the morning then we could pick up my truck at the boathouse later. She was parked in the garage in our basement. I was pulling out and clipped the side of the car on the side of the garage.. it was one of those straw that broke the camel's back moments. I felt like once again I had blown it. The wife was counting on me to just suffer through that crappy job a few more weeks, and I couldn't do it. She trusted me with her car, and I screwed that up too. I lost control, I balled. Not just crying, but deep soul wrending loss of control. I felt emotionally beat to shit. The wife heard me bang the car up. She came down, and patched me up. The car's not too badly hurt, plastic piece of molding, couple hundred bucks that we don't have right now, but it can wait. I got it together and went to jiu-jitsu.

Probably wasn't the best thing for my back, but I needed to be in the moment, not to think about things like money, cars, house payments. I met the wife and we went and got some coffee. We read our books, and just spent time together. I lifted a bit later.

Sunday was mother's day. I cooked a lot and we went to her grandparents house. We didn't tell anyone I was unemployed. It killed me. I felt like I was lying to her family. My in-laws are great, and very supportive, but I didn't want to burden them. I didn't want to explain, or deflect condolences, or offers of help. I just wanted to have fun. I did.

Yesterday I got up and cleaned the house, then walked the 2-3 miles to jiu-jitsu. It was a sunny day and a good walk. One of the purple belts ran the class. I learned a lot. Small class and well run. I rolled with the guy that ran class during sparring. He caught me in a submission that I didn't recognize and asked me if I tapped. I rather puzzled said 'no' he applied a little pressure and I quickly changed my story. My right arm is bruised to hell. Lesson learned. If someone asks if you tap.. you do. Now I am just waiting. Cleaing house here and there and running errands to pass the time. I have applied to a few other jobs, but I am hopefull that I'll hear from thursday's interviews tomorrow. I am hoping against hope that this will work out, and soon.
(Written Sunday May 18)
Tuesday, I wrote that I had no idea where I stood. I had no work, and the house was as clean as my meager domestic skills could make it. The jiu-jitsu school was my refuge. I trained every day last week. Partially because I needed that human contact, partially because you can't think of anything but jiu-jitsu while you're rolling. If you think of anything else you'll get nailed. I lifted some here and there, but with my back all screwy I can't go hard enough to force any real level of focus.
Wednesday the folks from the new job called, only to say I got a job, but that they couldn't talk compensation yet. It was a mild relief. I have a job, but it still didn't answer the question "can I afford to pay the rent?" Stressful, I have to take the job regardless, but if it doesn't pay enough, then I have to keep looking, which is aweful. I like this company and my perspective boss, I'd hate to do that to them.
Tomorrow (Thursday) they'd put the compensation package together and let me know. Up until Thursday, nothing had gone right for a week plus. I went to the D.O.L to get my address changed on my D.L. The woman there took pity on me and didn't charge me for my license (I renewed just before pan-ams, but forgot to change the address, so they sent the D.L. to the wrong address) Finally something went my way. Thursday the prospective employer called to say that they needed one more day.
Friday morning I had coffee with S.J. and talked about chickens. The afternoon rolled around. My back was better, and I went to class. After class I went to lunch with D and gone over some training stuff. Set him up with a training system rather than the patchwork he had been dealing with. I was drawing up the plan for the guys when the phone rang. My heart stopped. I answered. It was the wife "have they called yet?"
"Not yet," I replied. Gotta be soon. When I hung up the phone I had a voicemail. It was H.R. lady. She was emailing me an offer. I went to my computer and refreshed about 675 times. The email came through. The offer is roughly the same compensation, but with 100% of benefits covered by the employer, and a commute that is 20 miles each way shorter. I couldn't be more stoked. I called H.R. lady back, "Looks great, I'll take it."
It will take them this whole week to get everything together, so I'll have some time off. I'm going to do some projects around the house, and spend more time at jiu-jitsu. I tweaked my back yesterday. I tried to lift heavy and my back responded how you'd expect; it is pretty sore today, but in the face of all the rest, everything is great. I have spent the weekend upgrading my work wardrobe for the new job. My friends and family, have been super supportive, and the wife has pulled me through this. It seems to have worked out for the better, and It's a sunny day in Seattle. What could be better?


Jesse said...

I was a little worried about your recent absence from the updates. I was asking Doc if she'd heard anything from you because I was afraid you'd gotten some bad news about your back or something.

I remember reading about your frustrations at work, so I'm happy to hear that things are coming together for you with a new job (shaving 20 miles off of your commute is huge and probably worth it alone).

All the same, it sucks that there was a bit of a slide before it. It happens sometimes, I know. But don't it sure suck when it does.

Though now, I'm guessing you have time for catching up on LOST. Current record among those I know is around 2 days/season so if you really work hard at it, you can probably be caught up by the time your gainfully employed again.

Take care, man, and props to the missus.

AE said...

I'm so relieved that everything has worked out for you. I had my heart in my throat from the beginning of your post but hoped that there would be good news by the end. I sympathize because we've just spent the last three months wondering if Eric would get laid off from UF. Happily, he's safe (and there's even some teaching for me), but the anxiety is just so exhausting. Take care of your back. I tweaked mine earlier this spring lifting a family-size bottle of conditioner into the shower caddy. No joke, just a deep popping sound. My students told me to lie and say that I'd injured it cage fighting.

Code name: 1% said...

Congratulations on getting fired from your crappy-ass job! And then getting a new one besides. I'm sure it was an extremely stressful week but it's funny how stuff manages to work out in the end.

We wondered about the temporary blog silence but I figured you'd let us know what was up eventually.

I'm going to MO on Wednesday. I hope it's hot.

J. B. said...

Thanks for the support guys.
It was hard to keep quiet the past week, but I didn't want to blog the story in pieces. Hopefully this is the last time something like this happens. More and more upbeat blogness to come!