Category Archives: family

Sharing Your Space

When I posted a while back that I am close to ending this blog (or moving it, but most likely ending it), this was one of the last posts I wanted to do. I am just now getting to it.

When I went to Chicago almost 2 months ago to visit my sister, we talked about some of the problems her youngest child is having with his siblings. I am also the youngest child in my family, and her youngest child and I are remarkably similar. I don’t think it’s necessarily a birth-order thing since, although I am the youngest child, I have more characteristics of someone who is an only child and I do usually feel as if I’m (and wish I were) an only child (except, for as everyone points out, I’m “spoiled”…and, to me, an only child ought to be spoiled, too).

Anyways, my sister’s youngest child shares a room with his sister, which I think is stupid because they are both a little too old to be sharing a room and not be the same sex. However, my family’s weird logic was to give the oldest child, a boy, his own room because he’s the oldest. The girl is a pre-teen and is developing her own life, so she kicks her little brother out of the room all the time and neither of his siblings want to spend time with him. He has made the basement kind of his own room because he doesn’t really have anywhere to go.

My sister also described how he gets bossed around and how his siblings get mad at him when he won’t do what they want. I tried to remind my sister that she did the same thing to me, but she was completely shocked and has no recollection of this. My sister and I also shared a room for quite a bit of my life growing up. I don’t particularly remember getting kicked out of the room, although I’m sure I did on some occasions. But I do remember making the living room my own room.

I’m starting to really realize that not liking people and not wanting to be around other people much is weird to most people for whatever reason and that most people feel a need to socialize. And I can point to several different reasons why I don’t like most people and prefer being left alone. But I realized after that Chicago trip that one of the reasons I don’t like being around people is because my parents made me share a room with my sister for years, making being alone pretty challenging. For years, I was robbed of my own space to enjoy as I wanted to without dealing with anyone else and robbed of my own privacy. When I finally got my own room, I loved it. I always knew I was going to college–and going away to college–and the one thing I dreaded about going away to college way in advance was having to share a room. And today, I would say that was hands-down the worst thing about college–having a roommate every year (except senior year when I finally got a room in a single-room dorm). Way worse than exams, even Chemistry exams. I vowed to never share a room again, and when I went to Michigan for law school I had my own room all three years.

And those experiences with roommates and my sister are part of the reason I live with my parents. When you’re single, it’s hard to afford to live by yourself. Most people you see either have roommates or are married or live with a boyfriend/girlfriend–they don’t live alone unless they have a pretty good job (which I don’t). Being that I am nowhere near marriage or dating, the options really do come down to living with family or living with roommates. Plfff. Parents all day, and I don’t care how old I am or what other people think about it. I get my own room and don’t have to deal with some idiot to whom I’m not even related and all their selfish nonsense.

See, I know from experience that when you share space with someone there is sacrificing to be done–and usually one person sacrifices more than the other. And that person is usually me. When you share a room with an older sibling, you have no power and no rights when it comes to the room or what happens in it. If you’re sharing with an older girl, you’re going to sleep when they get ready to. You’re sitting there listening to every dumb phone conversation. You’re listening to whatever music she wants to listen to, and you’re watching whatever dumb TV show she wants to watch. And this is not even mentioning how you’re treated, which is never good, as my nephew is learning. That’s why the living room became my room, and I would have slept there if I had been allowed to.

College is not altogether different. Most people–though not I–seem to believe in fully making themselves at home wherever they go, regardless of who is around. So, I had roommates who played music whenever they got ready to, gave our dorm room phone number to every Tom, Dick and Harriett until I just wanted to throw the phone out the window and who wanted to watch ABC soap operas when I wanted to watch CBS soap operas. The worst part? These chicks would have friends over whenever they felt like it, including friends sleeping over from their home state. Bitch, I don’t even want you here; what makes you think your friends can come over whenever you please?

I’ve kind of wondered since college if it would ever really be possible for me to live with a romantic partner and be happy. I’m really not sure if I could. It’s hard to believe, but it has been over 10 years since I last shared space with someone who is not actually a blood relation to me, and I am not any closer to wanting to share space or having to consider anyone else in what I do when or having to deal with someone else who needs to make our space uniquely theirs in their own way. Plus, my romantic relationships are always, again, skewed towards what the other person wants or needs (gee, I wonder why), which ultimately makes me unhappy, pissed and resentful. I think living with someone would turn out much like it always has, then.

So, I have advice for parents who have several kids or people who plan to have kids: make sure you have enough money for a house with enough rooms for each kid to have his/her own room, and if you don’t just keep your damn legs closed. Sharing a room is torture for at least one of the kids. It was so bad that I try to forget I even have siblings now and would have to get a place big enough for my wife to have her own room if I ever got married. 😉

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Why I Needed A Day Off, And Why It Didn’t Go Well

Note: Thought I’d published this a long time ago, but, of course, WP decided to act silly that night. Written Jan.28, published Feb. 6

I mentioned a couple of posts ago that if my lazy co-worker was going to constantly come up with excuses to take off work or leave work early, then I was going to do the same thing.

So I took a day off this past week, and it couldn’t have come soon enough. The past week was horrible at work, as I think the previous week was, as well. Instead of it feeling like my new job is getting easier, it actually seems like it’s getting tougher. And that’s taking me to a point where my patience runs thin.

To top off the crappy week, my supervisor called a meeting that seemed an awful lot like one of those “you’re doing a good job, but…” and then insert a laundry list to the contrary. Two things in particular pissed me off…maybe three things:

1) He’d already sent an email about this “mistake” we’d all made earlier in the week, and then he brought it up again in the meeting. According to him, he’d asked us to give him some information over email and none of us followed instructions. He kind of lectured us about this, twice. Now, in my opinion, if none of us followed instructions, then maybe he needs to question how clear the instructions were instead of automatically saying we didn’t pay attention to his email. I’m still not sure what he’s saying we didn’t do. But just as if an entire class full of students is failing then that means the teacher needs to look in the mirror…just sayin’.

2) He told Lazy Tech and I that we still go to other techs for help too much. LT has been working there for about four months, and I have been there for two months. I don’t perceive LT as going to other techs that much, so I feel like this was really directed at me because I do ask a lot of questions. Now, I had been told by both LT and that geeky tech who thinks he’s cool that I should ask questions instead of just doing things and doing them wrong.

Frankly, going to other techs a lot two months into the job wouldn’t be necessary if they’d actually train new hires. And this was my problem with my last employer, but there are far more things to learn/know at this place. It’s not a matter of knowing things about computers; it’s that they have their own programs that employees use, I haven’t heard of half of them and don’t know enough about most of them at this point to help employees with the questions they ask. Having me come in and get thrown into the job on day 2 with the “training” being running after people to ask them questions is not training. And if that’s how you’re going to play it, then you can’t say, “You’re going to others for help too much.” It’s completely ridiculous, and it takes longer to learn information that way. The geek who was supposed to train me told me it takes six months to really feel comfortable with that position, and another tech told me it takes a year to really get a grasp of all the stuff you need to know to do that job. So, this just makes me feel like my supervisor is either unaware of what my position is like or he has unrealistic expectations even after knowing what it’s like.

3) He gave LT and I the “we’re a team” speech. And I’m not sure of all the reasons why. He mentioned that other techs who worked there before us communicated more with each other about the work. LT is not going to do anything like that because he’s lazy. If he’s going to do anything, he’s going to do it fast and then move on. He’s not going to spend time discussing unless it’s necessary. And then when I try to talk to him about things, he doesn’t really listen or respond because he’s too busy on Facebook. He leaves emails for me to do while I’m already busy, with the excuse that it’s stuff I need to learn, while he’s on Facebook…and then he’ll IM me telling me not to ignore those emails or wondering why I haven’t done them yet when he could have answered them an hour ago.

That geeky tech kind of pissed me off earlier in the week, too, because he basically told me I should have done more to help someone instead of sending a tech to her cubicle. And I was in the middle of a whole lot of stuff, some of it I didn’t know how to do, with LT sitting at his desk having fun on his laptop. So I just let his geeky ass know, “Hey, I’ve got all this schitt on my plate while LT is over here on his laptop.”

I very much suspect that this got back to my supervisor and that this is part of the reason we got that “team” bullschitt laid on us. It’s not going to make any difference. But another reason I think the geek told him about that is because our supervisor also announced that we can’t use our laptops at work anymore. And that’s good and bad. The “team” speech is not going to affect LT, but I wonder if he’ll do more work now that he won’t have his laptop. Part of me just feels like taking away laptops doesn’t matter if you’re not going to tell people they can’t have their cell phones out, as well. Cell phones nowadays do almost everything laptops do.

Plus, if I know LT as well as I think I do, all this means is he’s going to be up and away from his cubicle running his mouth more often. I was thinking about it the other day, too, and he might think the way he runs his mouth with everyone makes them like him…but it doesn’t. Everyone at our last job disliked him because they knew he was lazy and unfriendly with customers. I was surprised when even the guy who trained me said he never liked LT, saying that he always seemed annoying. I think the same thing is starting to happen at our new job. He does act semi-needy with other guys.

So the next time my recruiter from the agency that placed me in this job asks me how it’s going, I’m thinking of just being a little more honest with him. I don’t want to tell him over lunch because I think he’s always going to invite LT to lunch, as well. And LT is happy with this job because of the money. There were things I didn’t like about the job all along, but I also understood I had to get to a point where I learned much of what I needed to know, regardless of not liking the method they use for me to learn these things. But now I’m feeling like, because of how the past couple of weeks have been and then that meeting with my supervisor, that I’m not getting the understanding or support I need, considering what they’ve thrown me into. I have never gotten the impression that I was supposed to be fluid in doing this position after two months, as cited earlier in this post. One thing I can say for my last employer is they were understanding about how difficult the position was, given that they don’t really train people on everything upfront.

I had told the recruiter upfront that this is not the kind of position I’d prefer, so now I can kind of be like, “Yeah, this, this and this are the reasons why I said that,” i.e. the lack of training you receive and how that affects you the whole time you work a position being paramount. And, of course, although the people I support are generally more tolerable than at my last job, I still would rather not have a job where I communicate with people all day long and get a few assholes every day and/or annoying “regulars” who always have the most difficult issues in the world.

Going in a bit of a different direction…

So, yeah, I needed a day off…really, more than a day off. And I might be getting another one off sooner than expected. Here’s the story:

My mother has been bugging asking me to go see a doctor. She’s always looking at my neck and saying it looks bigger on one side than the other. This has been going on for longer than I care to admit, and she has been accusing me of being one of those people who “won’t go to the doctor until it’s too late.” That’s not really true, although I probably am one of those people who has his/her priorities a bit out of order. As my father pointed out, I would gladly take off work to go to Michigan and see a football or basketball game, or even just to hang out around campus. But when they talk about stuff like making a doctor’s appointment, I say I don’t want to take off work–which is true. If I weren’t working or still worked nights, I’d have no issue with going to the doctor.

Well, to get them off my back–because my father has started joining in on this with my mother–since I wanted desperately to take a day off work, I decided to coordinate it with a doctor’s appointment. My mother has been worried that I have a thyroid problem. She has one, and so does her sister. I do have other symptoms consistent with a thyroid issue, to be honest, and when I was sick back in 2010 (yes, I know) with another issue I had a surgeon poke around my neck and ask me if anyone ever talked to me about my thyroid. She did this after she took my heart rate and found it to be abnormally fast. I made the “mistake” of telling my mother this, which she, of course, used constantly to support her position that I needed to have my thyroid checked.

So, I finally went to a doctor. And I haven’t been until now because I really didn’t think anything was wrong. When I feel my neck, it just feels like extra skin. It doesn’t hurt, there are no lumps or nodules…nothing, but it’s bigger on one side. I do have an asymmetrical body and issues with weight fluctuation, so that’s all I thought of it.

The doctor was awesome, but he kind of did as my mother does, i.e. stared at my neck a lot while I spoke to him. So eventually, he examined it. And he told me he would take blood from me and he’d test my thyroid, liver and kidneys (my liver was part of my problem in 2010…told him about that, as well as that cancer runs in my family and he wanted to know what kind). He left the room and came back eventually. I thought I was about to have a blood sample taken, but he gave me sheets of paper. Basically, I gathered from what he said that he suspects I do not have a thyroid problem; he thinks it could be something else. He agreed with my mother that my neck doesn’t look right, and he suggested that I see a specialist. That’s what the papers were for–they were names and addresses of specialists.

After that, I waited quite a while and then had a blood sample taken by a nurse who was from Michigan and, seeing my Michigan shirt, talked to me about the state, my alma mater, Ann Arbor and her family. When she was done, I looked around and, gosh, it’s like they took enough of my blood to supply half the hospital I stayed in back in 2010. I was fine for a couple of hours, and then I wanted to do nothing but fall on my face. They took a lot of blood.

Still waiting on the results, but I figure either way I’ll need to see a doctor again soon. With this doctor agreeing with my mother that my neck is not normal, plus wanting to run tests on my liver and kidneys and wanting me to see a specialist…now I have a feeling that something is actually wrong. With both my mother and my aunt taking thyroid medication, I know that’s not too big of a deal, relatively speaking. It’s easily treatable if it’s an under-active thyroid. But with the doctor telling me, “There are other things in the neck” and seeming to think my thyroid is okay, I don’t know what to expect. It’s to the point where I’d rather the test results tell me my thyroid is under-active.

Plus, I may or may not have mentioned this here before, but I have always “known” that I would get cancer. Whether or not it’s now, that is just something that has always been matter-of-fact to me. I can’t explain it, but I know how I’m going to die. I’ve known since I was a kid.

You see the name of my blog. So, I’m not worried about dying, per se. I just now have a feeling that something is wrong. I might find out it’s nothing, or it might be easily treatable. I’m guessing I should hear what these tests turned up, if anything, tomorrow or Tuesday.

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Living With Your Parents As An Adult

So, I’ve gotta tell you the truth…

I really like living with my parents.

Two years ago this wasn’t true. It wasn’t that I didn’t like living with them. It was more so that I didn’t like the location. But I also took living with them for granted, i.e. how easy life is when you live at home. I went to Chicago to live with my sister, and living in a place like Chicago with my sister changed all that. Sure, I’d still like to move back to Michigan. But I’d like to take my parents with me (they don’t want to move somewhere cold and snowy like that, even though they do like Ann Arbor, where I used to live. True enough, older people don’t move to Michigan from the South–other way around).

I’m now wondering why living with mom and dad as an adult is stigmatized, especially if you’re single (if you’re married, I do think a couple needs its own place). I know that people view it, especially with men, as a sign that someone can’t take care of him/herself, lacks ambition, is unsuccessful and things along those lines.

Let me give you another perspective:

I’ve worked at my new job for almost exactly a month now. I’ve been spending money like crazy since I started this job (not all has been on myself–I have bought my mother so many things I can’t even remember, including a $200 watch she wanted). I think it’s a mental thing, just knowing that I make more money now–more than I actually need. I can afford to live on my own and still pay my student loans now. I absolutely do not want to move out. Admittedly, that I can spend money like crazy and still check my bank account and see a nice amount saved in it because I don’t pay rent anywhere, don’t have bills and that kind of thing? Very much keeping me at home. I will not be moving out any time soon, even though I can now take care of myself.

Am I successful? Well, you decide. I am now settled in one of the two fields I most wanted to be in, which is a field in which I have no educational background and no certificates when there are other people coming out of 4-year programs trying to break in and/or getting all these certs, hoping they’ll help. I make good money for my job description and for where I live. And this is the case, having only worked in this field for about a year and a half. I work at one of the best companies in the area, where I have been told several times that I’m doing a good job. And I get all kinds of things as incentive to keep me where I’m working–a $50 gift card for Christmas, a new bag (which is really nice and something I actually needed), bonuses every six months, free lunches on random days by the company and being taken to lunches I don’t have to pay for wherever I want to go every six weeks by the employment agency that placed me. Oh, and I can pretty much take off work whenever I want. I will still complain about work-related issues, but this other stuff? I don’t know anyone else who has it this good, in terms of their career and the big picture.

Ambition? I’ve already told people that I don’t want to have this job forever and likely don’t even want to remain at the same company. I will be surprised if I am still doing the same thing two years from now, and I have a better job now than I had before and certainly couldn’t have imagined having a job with this company a year ago.

So why will I continue living at home with my parents?

Um…I like my parents?

Living with my parents just works well for all three of us. We have a good relationship, and I think that’s one big difference as to why a lot of people my age couldn’t handle living with their parents. The only rules my parents have are things they know they don’t need to articulate to someone like me. Schitt, my sister had way more ridiculous, restricting garbage rules going on at her house…and even more things that should be rules but just aren’t with my parents (like doing housework).

Other people would feel as if living with their parents limits their freedom. Schitt, I don’t do anything here, and I would hardly do anything if I lived by myself. I’m a sports addict. I come home from work and plop right down in front of the TV to watch games. I play a little music, some video games, eat and sleep. That’s just me. Best part, though, is when I watch games, I usually have someone to watch games with. We spend Saturdays September through mid-January watching college football. We watch the NFL playoffs. We watch college basketball March Madness, and we watch Michigan play.

People want to get away from their parents. I follow my parents around, especially my mother. My mother is probably my best friend. We talk about all kinds of things. If I’m bored, I look for my mother. If I don’t see her in the rooms she’s normally hanging out in at home, I look for her. Sometimes my parents tell me to go away because I’m following them too much.

More reasons–and these are probably the biggest reasons why I don’t understand people who aren’t close to their parents or who seem to value friendship more…and, to a certain extent, why I don’t understand people who put their boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse first…

My parents are retirement age, which means…although their mortality was always an eventuality, as it is with all of us, theirs seems far more near. I think about that a lot. My sisters are nowhere near as close to my parents as I am, and I know that’s bad for me in the sense that I can see myself having far more difficulty with the passing of my parents in the end. I’m always with them, so it’s going to be hard to not be with them. But somehow, thinking about the fact that I don’t know how many more years I have with my parents makes me not want to leave home even more.

I studied philosophy in college–it was one of my minors. Just one of the “useless” fields to which I was attracted, along with English (minor) and psychology (major). Well, one of the “useless” things I learned while taking a hybrid philosophy/English class is the more you know the less happy you are. I have confirmed this throughout my life since learning of this idea in college. The downside to being an intelligent person is sometimes I know things I wish I didn’t know. I fear that I have “figured out” that there is no greater, true-er, real-er, enduring love than what a parent has for his/her child–and that includes the love between a husband and wife (or wife and wife or husband and husband). I know it’s not the same thing, but I still think that once my parents are gone no one earth can or will ever love me as much as they do. Besides, a lot of what matters most about love is the same thing. If you have good parents, you can say and do things that make them mad, sad, disappointed, let down–whatever–but there are just lines your parents would never cross, and they would never give up on you. But your spouse totally would. In fact, usually they do (more so with respect to crossing lines with what they say/do in response, but also–though less so–with giving up on you).

“Understanding” that is…not a good feeling/thought, especially when you think about how this can result in your ending up all alone. But it’s also, to me, a reason why your parents should be on a pedestal–not some guy or girl you met out in the world who is physically attractive and meets a laundry list of stuff you like in a person. And certainly not your “friends.” Most of my “friends” don’t actually give two schitts about me (and I’m starting to sound like Lazy Tech now–he’s all “how many fucks do you think I give? Zero!”), I don’t think, and I can’t at all say that about my parents. It’s kind of funny how people will move out of their parents’ house to share a place with someone who doesn’t give a damn about them, at least it is to me. No thanks–I’d rather stay with my parents.

The funny thing, really, is I’m pretty sure I met someone who thinks a lot like I do about parents…and it partially kept us from having a relationship. I’m pretty sure she has that “parents before random hot person from the street” mentality. She probably thinks I hate her sometimes, but if there’s absolutely anything I’ve never faulted her for and have always understood it’s this. I’m not sure in how many situations I should ever have come before her parents, but knowing and liking each other for less than a year? In that case, the answer is never. So, I salute her for being one of the few people in the US who “gets” it…and, of course, she “gets” it because her family is not American, and…however offensive this may sound, I often think non-American families are just about the only ones that adequately value/honor parents and grandparents. People from non-American families are also the only ones who have ever really told me it’s okay to live with mom and dad in your 30s.

So, I suppose I will move out someday, but I haven’t the foggiest clue when that might be. I still miss Michigan, still think about living there again and still want to move back there. But wanting to move back there? The desire is not quite what it used to be.

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America’s Most Ignorant

I have never wanted kids. I just have never had a fondness for them. That’s not to say I hate kids, but kids feel as if they can completely be themselves around me because I am not parental or authoritative in my demeanor, i.e. kids behave badly around me. I guess that might be a reason why kids have always liked me, and I guess that’s why people in my family always had to give kids some version of a “Ren really is an adult, so you need to treat her like one” speech. So, because I have older sisters who have done the typical married-with-children thing, I have been fighting kids off with an invisible bat since I was about 13 or 14. Kids think I am fun and funny, and I always have stuff that they like. So, I can’t figure out how to get them to leave me alone.

Don’t worry–I’m never having kids. I know I have no business with any! Too many people don’t know that about themselves, though.

One of the reasons I don’t want kids is because it’s too much work and too much responsibility for me. I look at my sisters, and I just cannot imagine living the kind of lives they live. I don’t mean that in an insulting way. But if I were given two choices–to live the life I currently live or to be married with kids–I’d choose the life that I currently whine about on this blog, i.e. the life where I have all these expensive degrees that I don’t/can’t use, owe all this money, live at home with my parents in a city I don’t like and work a job where I’m bored and make peanuts. The way the majority of adult women live simply isn’t for me, that’s all. And I’ve realized it’s not even just about kids–I think I generally have anxiety when it comes to responsibility, at least in terms of tasks (and yes, I am the “baby” in my family). This is why I don’t run my own business, why I tend not to take initiative with things and why I tend to only want raises and not promotions.

Unfortunately, because I am related to one of the many people in the world who didn’t seem to understand that she had no business having kids–and her excuse for a husband likewise seemed not to understand this about himself–I am now in the position to have a hand in some kid being my responsibility.

I don’t know if I can articulate how uncomfortable responsibility makes me in a lot of cases. At work, it’s usually a scared sort of flipping out; at home, it’s usually an angry sort of flipping out. When I used to babysit, it would be more of a scared flipping out, though. So, imagine how I feel when I’m given other people’s responsibilities.

See, one of my nieces has moved in with my parents and me. Really, she was kicked out of her house. In most ways, she’s a normal teenager. So, she didn’t really do anything all that unusual to warrant being kicked out of the house. Her mother (my sister) and her stepfather are just, very frankly, fucked in the head, that’s all. My father has very little to do with my sister because of this, and I have very little to do with her because of this. My other sister doesn’t live in our city, so that kind of solves having anything to do with her. My mother is the only person who hasn’t known how to let go, but I think that’s changing, especially after this stuff with my niece being kicked out for no real reason.

My family is not at all full of geniuses. But my parents have worked as educators, and my closest aunt and uncle work as educators. I’m the best-educated person in my family on paper, having attended–what I call–an Ivy-Like university and a Public Ivy university, as well as earning a law degree. So, I never thought I’d be related to someone whom most people would consider dumb.

People, I’m not a politically correct person–my niece is dumb. I’ve known this for a long time, but now that she lives with me…wow.

My father still teaches at a college, even though he’s technically retired, so he is not shocked by my niece. No one in my family really seems to be shocked by it, except for me. My father sees it all the time–very dumb people who somehow make it through high school and into college. “Dumb” means they can’t read, the way they text and write on Facebook is the way they write school papers and school presentations, they cannot speak standard English or speak with any semblance of good diction/enunciation, they can’t think critically and they don’t know school basics. Obviously, I knew that my niece speaks like crap and writes like crap, but I didn’t know she couldn’t read or that she is learning absolutely nothing at school but is somehow passing on to the next grade most years (not every year, though). She’s either a sophomore in high school or a junior in high school…really can’t tell because she has failed a couple of classes.

I now know that she can’t read because one of the ways in which I’ve grudgingly become responsible for her, being known as the most intelligent person in the family, is by having to come home from work and “help” her with her homework. I was not asked to do this. This has been forced on me. And you have to understand something–you’re talking about an average Joe expected to do something that really can’t be done by an average Joe. That is, my niece, having gotten as far as she has and being as bad off as she is academically, is way beyond just typical help with homework that you’d give a kid or teenager. The girl…can’t…read.  She is in Spanish 2 and she gets all this Spanish homework, but she doesn’t…know…any…Spanish. Of course, no one else in my family knows any Spanish, except for me and my sister who doesn’t even live around here.

She needs professional help at this point. Honestly, she needed professional help years ago. Of course, no one wanted to pay for this professional help years ago when my parents knew she needed it, and no one wants to pay for it now. Money is not an issue for my parents. But these are people who have no problem with heading to the casino 2 or 3 times a week to throw away at least $100 each time, and they say, “It’s not my responsibility.” So, somehow, that makes it mine?

And it’s not, but I’d still pay to send my niece to Sylvan if I could afford it and if she could get to/from Sylvan (which, I can’t help with either of those things). I would much rather do that than spend 9+ hours away from home at work/in traffic and then be expected to come home and do some teenager’s homework. Because with someone this far gone, you can’t “help” them with their work–someone else either basically has to do it or it won’t get done. And doing my niece’s homework has been my parents’ answer for so long that now there is no hope that she can just sit down and do it herself. If she can’t read, she can’t do her homework. My parents just want her to pass. They are not necessarily concerned with her learning or developing the skills she’s lacking.

I don’t know if you think I’m selfish or not. But 1) I do not believe in doing other people’s work–and I am referring both to my niece’s homework and to the fact that my sister is the one who is supposed to have this burden; 2)  I don’t have kids and never will have kids in part because I do not want the kind of life where I have to spend all day at work and then come home and deal with kids, kids’ homework and all that stuff; 3) I don’t like drama, and years of drama related to my sister truly makes me wish she and her entire family would disappear because I’m tired of all of that. Furthermore, my niece is not that different from her mother. They are both the type of people whom, every time you turn around, it’s something. I don’t want to deal with that.

If these things make me selfish, then I’m selfish and smart at the same time…because I’m not one of those dumb parents who actually has kids they don’t want to come home and deal with and, thus, won’t come home and deal with.

See, it’s not my niece’s fault that she’s dumb. And America’s most ignorant is not just all these dumb kids who are in high school and college and who will someday take this nation down to even lower depths than we’re currently experiencing. A pretty good percentage of America’s ignorant people are today’s parents (and today’s school administrators/teachers).

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The Grass Is Always Greener…

Most of us probably have an idea–maybe more than one idea–of what our dream job would be. Most of also don’t work our dream jobs.  I have also realized that our “dream job” changes over time. I have wanted to do a lot of things in my lifetime, but right now there are probably two things that I’d consider my “dream.” Three, if I break one of the two into sub-categories.

Dream Job #1

Just last weekend, I was talking to my parents about how I’d love to be able to go back to the University of Michigan (one of my alma maters) and work there. Sometimes, I just check their job listings and see if they have anything in the one department I’d most likely end up working in. The other department is the athletic department, but I’ll probably never actually work in it. That same night, I checked their job listings…and they had listed the exact position that, at this point in my career, I’d love to have.

Right position, wrong time. I’m not at all ready to move back to Michigan right now. In fact, that’s probably a year away from now. I feel uneasy about letting that opening pass me by without pursuing it and just taking the more passive approach of hoping there will be a similar opening for me when I’m finally ready. But the thought of moving right now makes me feel uneasy, too. And I’d also feel really wrong about spending these weeks at a new job and then just bolting. I also just don’t think I’d get the job right now, and who knows–maybe I’ll try for it next year and won’t get it.

Dream Job #2 (and to the point of the post’s title)

I hated my last job. I repaired laptops and loved what I did, but I hated where I did it. I also knew that I couldn’t do repair for the rest of my life. First of all, it doesn’t pay enough. That, by itself, is not the problem. The reason it doesn’t pay enough is because it’s more of an entry level-type of job. So, to me, not moving on from that meant not progressing in terms of a career. There are people who have worked where I was working for over a decade, just repairing laptops, and I just couldn’t see that for myself. So, that was #2. Third, doing physical work is physically uncomfortable at times. My fingers were developing calluses, and sometimes my back, neck and shoulders would hurt from sitting in the same positions all the time. But I got a huge rush from repairing, and I still love working on computer problems.

What my new job has taught me is, in terms of being a tech geek, I am a hardware person at heart (which is bad because I do no hands-on work at my new job, which means I don’t like what I do the way I did before).

But more importantly…my new job has taught me that I…don’t…like…to…WORK.

I am the type of employee who comes to work early, works hard, tries my best to be the best, doesn’t like down time (detest it, actually), will accept extra work and will do very little complaining to higher-ups. I don’t spend time talking or dilly-dallying, and I won’t treat or talk to supervisors and managers as if we’re on the same level or try to be friends with them (except one time when it was invited). At work, I am focused on two things–doing my job and doing it well.–Yes, I wrote this in my last post.

Let me explain that.

You see, my mother is lazy. She will never admit that, but she is. My father is what my mother refers to as “Type A.” I would say that this dude doesn’t know how to just do nothing. He almost always has to have something to do. He does not seem to understand people who don’t like their jobs or who don’t like to work. My mother spent, what…about 30 years at a job she didn’t like most of the time she worked there, if ever. Even despite this, she is very much the type of person who tells me whenever I have any complaint about any job, “Be happy you have a job.” A lot of unemployed people love this line, as well. More on that in a minute (and we’re getting closer and closer to my explaining the post’s title).

My parents are interesting. They are opposites in most ways, so they have given me some interesting traits. One is what I would refer to as “Type A- Personality.” That is, I do believe I am a lazy person, like my mother. When I’m at work, I turn into a different person. I become a perfectionist, and I want to be better than everyone I work with at my job. At the same time, I absolutely do not want to be at work. I’d rather be at home watching TV, listening to music, out shopping, surfing the internet, traveling to another city. But when I finally get to sit at home, i.e. days off or being unemployed, I have no idea what to do with myself. I go crazy. There’s only so long I can do nothing. I kind of miss work. Honestly, even on work breaks, I don’t know what to do with myself. Work breaks irritate me because I’m spending time doing nothing when I could be working and making it so that I could leave work altogether earlier. There’s some sort of internal struggle between my being lazy and being a workaholic.

I don’t hate my new job or anything. The people with whom I work are okay. It’s a pretty well-run business. I don’t like the idea of answering phones, but when I’m actually doing it it’s not that bad. But I work more hours at this job than I did at my last job, for the most part, and there’s way too much down time at work. I hate down time because every time I look at the clock, only 5 minutes have gone by. I like to look at the clock and say, “Whoa, it’s lunch time already???” or “Whoa, it’s almost time to go home,” i.e. it’s time to get the hell away from this place.

But I hate working what’s, honestly, a relatively normal work day schedule because  I feel that I’m missing life. I have hard time believing that, if you’re a woman, your life is “supposed” to be working 8 or 9 hours a day, coming home to cook for kids and a husband, helping kids with homework, disciplining kids, making sure kids get to sleep at a good hour and then attending to whatever your husband is whining about. The thing is since I don’t have kids and never will, and I’m not married and probably never will be, my life is a little more similar to what the average husband’s life is probably like–work 8-9 hours, flop down in the kitchen and eat and then go flop down in another part of the house and watch TV. Even this is not good enough for me, and I’m sure it’s not good enough for men. As I like to tell my mother, I have about 4-5 hours to fight and stay awake so that, by golly, I can have some semblance of a good time each and every weekday and then, bam…speaking in terms of your consciousness, it’s time to go to work again. Yeah…no.

This is why I say–and this is the point of my post–if you’re in school, enjoy…and if you’re unemployed, enjoy. Trust me, I have done both. My favorite is being in school. In school, you go to some classes for a few hours and then you have the rest of the day. You might have some assignments, but the majority of the day really is yours. This is one of the reasons why I prefer school to working, along with the fact that there is so much you can learn in school. Being that I am interested in almost everything, school is heaven to me. Jobs seem to almost always reach a point where you’re just not learning anything. You do the same things every day, depending on the job. And I have never had a job that actually necessitated being there for as long as a full-time job requires, hence all the dumb down time. It’s a waste of life, in my opinion. No–it’s a robbing of life.

Having been unemployed, I do understand sitting around feeling embarrassed, frustrated, rejected, inadequate, useless…not having anything to do during the day, and not having the money to do what you’d like to do or need to do. You think everyone who has a job–any job–is lucky. If you’re unemployed, I think, in some ways, you’re the lucky one. After all, the majority of Americans hate their jobs. If you were working, you’d probably just be like the rest of us–either hating your job or looking out the window at work envying the people who are moving about freely instead of stuck in some building for 8 hours when they probably could accomplish their jobs in 4 hours. There are still ways for you to enjoy life that’s hard for people who work full time.

So, I say my “dream job” would be not having a job. That’s probably not accurate, though. I think that, based on what I wrote about school, working part time would be ideal. In fact, all Americans should be able to work part time and be able to make a living off of part-time work, regardless of what the field is. But that’s not currently our system in this country. It amazes me the way companies waste money on employees who sit and do nothing half the time they’re at work just because there truly is nothing to do. The crazy thing is jobs like my previous one “lay off” workers because they don’t “need” them but keep tons of workers sitting around getting paid to do nothing half the workday.

 

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