Tag Archives: college football

This Is the End

As mentioned in my last post, I was going to put up my “bye” post but didn’t know what to write other than “bye.” A few weeks ago, I went online and found these funny GIFs for the post and was going to write a post that same night…just didn’t know what to write.

Then, of course, my Macbook Pro decided to act silly (because that’s what Macbooks do), and I ended up dropping $200 on a new (used) motherboard (they call it a “logic board”), which I installed myself over a week ago. (In the meantime, I wrote my last post on my Dell laptop–yes, I have two laptops, and if you think that’s bad just try and guess how many cell phones I have. But the Macbook Pro is *supposed* to be for programming.) And now that I finally feel sure that I did well enough that this laptop won’t burst into flames, I’m going to be brave and spend more than 15 minutes on it so I can show you what I call my “bye” GIFs (again, I found them online–they’re not really mine).

twerk-lol

Let’s see if we can adequately sum this blog up…

Doesn’t it look like Beyonce is saying “Later, hoe”? That’s right, ya heard–I’m sayin’ LATER to you, you WordPress HOE!

That’s me being an @ss. I mean…not literally me, but…telling someone “later, hoe” is so me nowadays. The jobs and the people I’ve complained about throughout this blog will make you that way–“crunk,” as one of my “work friends” calls it/me.

And for my fellow football fanatics, especially college football…

You throwin’ me out, WordPress? Yep, pretty much. I suck just that bad, kind of like this quarterback did.

Oh my goodness–I remember the first time I saw this. When I first started this blog, I was a sportswriter on the side while working a migraine-inducing tech support job with a whole bunch of psycho clients calling in. And I worked with a psychob!tch I called “Female Tech Geek” (FTG) and several cool geeky guys. One of the cool geeks introduced me to LSUfreek, who makes these funny college football GIFs, and I laughed so hard when I saw this one. The funniest thing I’d seen, next to Dave Chappelle’s “Black White Supremacist” skit. Of course, it helps if you know about South Carolina, Steve Spurrier and Stephen Garcia–makes it funnier.

And, of course, there’s relationships. Though I have no GIF for that, I do have a song that kind of fits–but especially the chorus.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Work-Life Balance and the Single Person

I’m starting to see what a lot of other single people, perhaps, already have learned–other people don’t think single people deserve work-life balance.

Now, I haven’t had anyone say this to me in person. But I have approached my current job a little bit differently than I have approached other jobs. I have indirectly let it be known that I am not one of those workers of whom you can just take advantage–that’s my friend Clara. I’m not worried about being the perfect employee or losing my job. I let people know that when the clock hits that time at the end of the workday, I’m gone.

Recently, a lot of changes have been made at my job. Essentially, everything I liked about my job is either now gone or likely will be very soon. The only thing that is still in the “very soon” category is a change being made to what time I have to be at work in the mornings and what time I get to leave in the afternoons. Nobody has told me that is about to change, but I’m not stupid. My job duties have completely changed, and the people I work with are totally different people.

They have me training with this guy, whom, I can tell, doesn’t seem to understand what my hours are at work. He’s the kind of guy who is very into his job, very dedicated. I’m not like that, especially not now that my employers have f*cked my job all up with these changes. Plus, I’m a contract employee and he’s not…so why should I be dedicated when my employer is not dedicated to me? You think this is true for every job. You also think it’s true that changes occur at every job. But neither of these things in a regular job is like how they are in a contract position. There is absolutely no stability in a contract job in any sense, no regularity or uniformity–you do whatever they want whenever, regardless of what you’re told in the beginning about the position or what you’re told while working the position. Contract jobs might as well never have job titles, at least not in IT, because the title won’t apply for long (if ever). And then to top it off, most contract jobs eventually end, usually in a year or less. Now that I understand this about how employers yank their contractors here, there and yonder with no regard for them, I will not be taking contract IT jobs ever again.

Given all of this, it should be of little surprise that I care little about what the company’s needs are, what their customers’ needs are. I will probably be getting tossed out of the company after my contract is up, regardless of how well I do, and I wouldn’t necessarily like to have my contract renewed there anyway. I plan to move to another city/state, and that has been my plan for a while and I am applying for jobs in those places…even have one interview lined up. So, I care about putting in my 8 hours and then getting the hell out of there. And even with a permanent position, frankly, I’d be the same way and have been the same way.

Every day this week, I’ve had to let this guy who is training me know that I get off work at X time, because he talks as if I’m going to still be around after that time or like I have time to stick around a little later and do XYZ. I flatout told this guy, “My supervisor said my hours are still the same, so until they say different I’m out at [X] time.” This afternoon, one of the other guys I now work with, this creepy guy, assumed I would still be around late, and my trainer heard me tell him what time I leave. Immediately, my trainer was like, “You’re ready to go home, aren’t you? Do you have kids you’re taking trick-or-treating tonight?” because it’s Halloween in the US.

Look, I know what that question really was–trying to find out if I have kids and is that the reason why I am adamant about leaving work at a certain time. Because having kids is the only legitimate reason for running away from your job, don’t you know. Especially if you’re a woman. My friend Clara lets people know she can’t stay late because of her son all the time or she’s leaving early because of her son, and people accept that. But with me, people are wanting to know why I “have” to leave at X time.

Three things:

1) Halloween is a fake holiday. It’s one of the most pointless days I’ve ever known. I especially can’t stand how there are grown adults who “celebrate” Halloween; they need to grow the f*ck up. Nobody should pay any attention to it, in my opinion, so it’d never have a thing to do with why I’m leaving work.

2) There’s so much wrong with thinking only parents have a legitimate reason to run off from work, including the fact that they probably are actually the main ones who need the damn money if they’re going to see any overtime pay from staying late. The average single person just has bills. Parents have bills and expensive-@ss kids. Yet parents are actually the main ones always trying to leave work early or on time. This guy at my job basically has a newborn, and ever since he had that kid he has never again worked a full day not called Monday (our busiest day) on the job. Yet he says he doesn’t have enough money. He’s an hourly contractor…hmm, he’s leaving after 4-5 hours of work…wonder why he’s not making anything.

He and I need to swap hours. Working 4-5 hours most days is my kind of schitt. They should have put someone like him in my new position (and they could have, but didn’t–wonder why?), where they’re talking about working overtime (which I loathe) and Saturdays (which is just sacrilegious and damn-near something to walk out the door over, especially if you love college football more than anything, as I do). Plus, let’s be real–who is more hands-on with babies and kids, moms or dads? What the hell does he need to be at home all the time for? All he’s going to do is say, “Here, hon, the baby is crying” or “Here, hon, the baby needs to be changed,” hand the kid to the mother and then go sit down in front of the TV or the computer. Sorry, men–I have had this kind of convo with dads before, and you guys just have no idea how little dads help with or do for their kids compared to the kids’ mother.

Ironically, the exact reasons why I don’t have kids are because I don’t want to have to care for anyone–financially or in any other way–and because I want a life and because I want my life to be about me. That includes work–I don’t want a life that is about work. This is where “work-life balance” comes in. Everyone I know who looks on the bright side when it comes to working overtime is a parent–usually, a man–and it’s always about the money.

My observation about women has been that women who have kids tend to know on some level that their life is not theirs anymore, it’s not about them–so they don’t even think that way. They think in terms of what their kids (or husband) need, what’s best for their kids. Kids need things that cost money, however much time you’d rather spend with them. My observation about men is that the vast majority of men care more about making money than the vast majority of women do, for a variety of reasons–probably the three biggest are status, attracting women and what they were taught about being a man growing up. As a single female, I have totally different concerns, concerns that really don’t involve making money. These different concerns leave me trying to figure out how to explain to the moms, dads and single men I know why I value my free time far more than I value the extra money I’ll get by working on Saturday (the extra money being something I don’t value at all). Yet all of them will be home on Saturday or enjoying some activity outside the home and outside of work.

3) Why do I “have” to leave at X time? Because that’s what time I’m scheduled to leave. And I have every right to leave at that time. Whether or not I have kids is immaterial.

One more point before I go–not too long ago, I was reading an article online where the author wondered why people speak of “work-life balance.” Is working really so bad and do people hate their jobs so much that they need to categorically separate it from the rest of their life, the author wondered. At that point, I wondered where in the hell this author has been her entire working life. Seriously, she must be part of the lucky 10-15% of people who loves their job. Ever notice how it’s always writers with real writing jobs, always entertainers who have officially “made it,” always people who work in the media, always people who make big bucks who love their jobs? Gee, I wonder why. No wonder they can’t relate. I know they didn’t start at the top, but the point is they’re there now and now they don’t “get it.”

Pay me a ridiculous amount to dish sports on ESPN three hours a day, and see how much I love my job. Pay me to write ridiculous articles about how I can no longer relate to mere commoners who need work-life balance because I make enough money to actually pay bills and eat as a writer as opposed to having to write on the side like 90% of writers do (myself included). Or how about those ridiculous articles about “do what you love for a living”? You do know that the average person “loves” things that either don’t pay, don’t pay enough to make a living or require expensive schooling only to be shut out of jobs because that person has never had a job in that industry, right? Oh, I forget–you no longer relate to the mere commoner because you’ve got the rare cushy, enjoyable writing job that actually pays bills.

Over the past week, I’ve confirmed that, yes, work and life have to be separated for most people, including myself. I am largely in that category where what I’d love to do generally doesn’t pay enough to make a living (writing and/or technical repair). I would agree with people who say to find a job you can tolerate, but that’s easier said than done. So, my best solution is to find a job I can actually do for the most amount of money I can get, because if I’m going to hate every job I get at some point then I might as well focus on the money. It’s not easy, because caring about money isn’t my nature. But I made more money at my last job, and the positives to that were now I have surpassed my initial savings goal and am on to my next savings goal (which I am close to meeting)…and I have still been able to buy everything I want (except a Mercedes), take trips everywhere I’ve wanted to go and enjoy myself outside of work. Although I hated my last job, it created a pretty decent work-life balance and I never had to work late or on Saturdays.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Football Gametime Etiquette

Well, those of you who know already know this is the best time of the year–football is back. A lot of people prefer the NFL. I love college football myself and am a diehard Michigan Wolverine. Now, I spent an ojo de la cara to go to the Michigan-Notre Dame game this past weekend, and, though the experience was worth every penny and I’m glad I went to the game, I seriously contemplated after the game whether or not I ever wanted to do it again (before I went right back to making plans to attend the Rose Bowl in California).

Why?

Due to the lack of gametime etiquette in the stadium.

Now, it’s not like this was my first time going to a football game, but this was the first time the etiquette was this out of hand. And I wasn’t the only one who had a problem with it, as I heard an old bitty behind me outside the stadium after the game whining and giving her laundry list of etiquette issues.

This is not a Michigan thing, I’m sure. That’s why I’m posting this message which I’d like to reach football fans far and wide. This is my football gametime etiquette guide for those who attend football games.

Let’s begin:

1) Um…sit the fuck down. I mean, really. If you’re standing, people behind you are forced to stand…and standing for 4 hours at the Michigan-ND game wasn’t exactly what I wanted to do. I bought a ticket for a seat, not for concrete to torture my feet muscles. I know the game was a special occasion–hell, that’s why I ponied up the dough for this game, and I would have quit my job if they had told me I had to work Friday instead of fly up to Michigan, just so I could see Michigan beat ND for the last time at our stadium. But not everything is worth jumping the fuck up and refusing to sit down. “Woo, the running back ran for 2 yards…let’s stand up and get in everybody’s way!” Come on, now.

2) Along the same lines, contrary to popular belief, plenty of women like football. Plenty. So, if you’re a big, tall-@ss man and your seat is in front of a chick, you need to get the fuck out of the way. I don’t care how you do it, but you need to do it. There is really no amount of neck contortion a woman behind a man can do to see the game. It’s probably easier for a guy to duck down a bit and still see what’s going on than anything else. Plus, men are often the first ones who want to stand up in everybody’s way when something happens, and it’s just thoughtless to stand whenever you feel like it vs out of necessity, regardless of sex…but especially so if a woman or kid is sitting behind you.

Stated another, perhaps more acceptable way–be courteous to those around you. You know how expensive seats are, and 9 times out of 10 the person behind you is a fellow fan of the same team, particularly if you’re at a home game. If we’re on the same side, let’s act like it. If we’re not on the same side, let’s show some class anyways. Same goes for noticing whether or not a kid is near you, because plenty of people take young people to these games.

3) Don’t act like you’re the offensive or defensive coordinator. Now, I’m a little guilty of this, admittedly. But there just always seems to be one or two white guys in your section who just have to be heard and just have to spend at least 30% of the game coaching loudly from, like, row 45. If you were the coach, you wouldn’t be in row 45; you’d be on the sideline. If you want to encourage the defense on a critical 3rd down, that’s fine–“come on, D, get an interception” is not coaching. Nobody cares. But if people actually turn back and look at you after something comes out of your mouth, that’s a sign you need to hush. You’re either “encouraging” too often, too loudly or you’re coaching without being on the payroll.

4) Sit in your seat. Don’t be partially in the next seat, and don’t have your @ss hanging all off the back of the bench. My knees really don’t belong in your @ss, especially if you have pink bumps all over it like this one dude at the Michigan game did…dude, I’m glad it turned out I was in the wrong seat, or else who knows what kind of ointment I would have ended up needing for my knees after the game…

5) Sit the fuck down. Yeah, I know I already listed this one, but I can’t stress it enough.

Other tips:

-Taking pictures…okay, this one goes with just the general idea I have tried to stress in several points above about being in the way, blocking people’s view and being courteous. You don’t have to hold both arms 100% in the air in order to get a good pic, especially if everyone would just do as I said and sit the fuck down until absolutely necessary. I take pics and record videos, too, but the phone/camera really should not be above your forehead, if it can be helped, because then you’re blocking other people’s view. And arms/elbows should come into your body, not be all out to the sides or up in the air.

-Drinking and eating, including getting drunk…now, I have never had these issues at a football game, but if you’re eating and drinking you’ve got to take care not to get schitt on other people. In fact, to me, as cramped as the space was at the Michigan-ND game, people shouldn’t even have been trying to eat or drink in the stands. I mean, I can’t even move my arms, but the fucker beside me is having a good ole time with, like, a hotdog and a beverage. You’re not at home. All that body movement–bending over to pick up stuff, bending your elbow out to bring a drink to your lips, etc–infringes on other people’s space. Plus, it’s common sense to me to just eat before the damn game, especially a night game.

-I don’t know what to say about alcohol…I don’t think we can drink at Michigan Stadium, so people get drunk before a night game. Luckily, I wasn’t near any drunk people during the game, and I’m sure they can be obnoxious during the game. But some drunk Notre Dame fan was harassing me and my cabbie earlier on gameday. Rivalry games are #1 to me, more important than winning championships. It’s fun to hate other teams, other schools, people with the wrong color on (okay, that makes me sound like I’m in a street gang…really, Michigan is a college gang). But getting drunk and then harassing other fans…[shakes her head]. If I seriously harass a fan of another team, I’m going to be a wimp about it and do it online anonymously while 100% in my right mind; I’m not going to do it out in the open (drunk or not) or without mainly joking. That’s why I hate Michigan State fans more than Ohio State fans–OSU fans actually tend to be more cool to Michigan fans in person vs the @ssholes that MSU fans are.

But what to do about this? You can’t make people not get drunk; it’d probably be easier to make people sit the fuck down. And you definitely can’t control drunk people; gametime etiquette would be the farthest thing from their mind.

-Listen, I went to ESPN’s College GameDay on campus earlier on Saturday, and I went to the game later on Saturday. It was hot and humid all day, and I spent well over 7 hours outdoors. So, to be perfectly frank…I am sure I was guilty of not smelling all that good during the game. I realized during the game, “Yeah, I should have cleaned up a bit before the game.” Anybody going to an outdoor football game needs to be mindful before they leave home that they might assault people around them with funk and take all preventative measures. Next time, I’ll remember. Sorry to those who sat near me…

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Saying Good Morning Pt. 2

Hehe. So, something interesting happened at work after I posted a couple of days ago about saying “Good Morning” and how not everyone is receptive to it along with my six reasons for why I don’t like saying it. I don’t know if my co-worker found my blog or what, but here is the story:

The very next day, he came in and said “Good Morning” to me like usual and I responded to him. He comes in an hour after I do. But an hour after he came in, he walked by me and said “Good Morning” again. Now, one of the reasons why people saying “Good Morning” annoys me where I work now is because sometimes it does feel as if people forget that they say “Good Morning,” which just shows how disingenuous they’re being in the first place when they say it (still, they get angry if you don’t respond–makes no sense)…or they’re saying it to way too many people and can’t keep up (you don’t have to say it to every gotdamn person you see, particularly if you work around a whole bunch of people like we do). They say it just to say it and then say it again, but it makes extra “Good Mornings” to respond to on top of the 600 million other ones.

So, when he said it again, I didn’t say anything–just kind of looked at him because I was thinking to myself something like, “Okay…didn’t this dude already say this to me? Does he not remember?” Now, note that, as usual, I’ve got my earphones in…I’m listening to my favorite sports talk show, “The Herd” with Colin Cowherd. Colin Time is pretty sacred whenever I get it, unless it’s just boring at the moment–which it was not at this moment, because he had one of my favorite college football analysts Kirk Herbstreit on (yes, even though he’s an Ohio State Buckeye and I’m a Michigan Wolverine). As a matter of fact, I get crazy when it comes to sports, period.

Plus, as I’ve written before, to me, when people have earphones in or headphones on, that is a clear “don’t talk to me” sign–I still don’t know why other people haven’t realized this one yet, but it seems that if I want people to start talking to me the surest way is to put earphones in and turn on something I want to hear. I just think it’s rude to start trying to talk to people when they’re listening to something, unless it’s important. It’s barely different from interrupting a conversation, the way I see it.

Anyway, then my co-worker walked by some of my work friends and said “Good Morning”. Because I had my earphones in, I could only hear a bit…but I remember him saying “Good Morning” a whole bunch of times, just almost forcefully. I believe they responded, since they are the kind of people who would. Then my co-worker turned back to me and said “Good Morning” with emphasis and stared at me, waiting. This reminded me of that loathsome discussion thread to which I linked in my previous post, because some of those people seem to think that if someone doesn’t respond to them that means they should keep harping on it and try to force a response.

I just kind of looked at him again, because I was thinking, “Dude, what the hell…?” Then I pointed out this was the third time he has said that to me. And he was like, “But you didn’t respond.” And I was like, “Um, hello? You said it to me when you first came in and I said it back.” At this point, I’m missing half of what my man Kirk is saying on Colin’s show. And he says, “Does it matter how many times I say it?” And I’m like, “Um, yeah. You don’t see me listening with these earphones?” He was like, “Is that more important?” Well, you know what they say–“Well, you asked.” I don’t bullschitt people who aren’t close to me when they ask a question and I know they’re not going to like the answer, so I honestly said “yes.”

Given that I’d already actually said “Good Morning” to this co-worker, despite everything I wrote in my last post about hating the “Good Morning” thing, sorry–it might seem harsh, but yeah, on the 2nd and 3rd time, my sports show was more important. And yeah, given that I hate the “Good Morning” thing, on the 2nd and 3rd time–and with the “do not disturb” sign that is the iPhone earphones (earpods), too–I was going to lose my schitt. And frankly, the first time he said it I was listening to a sports show, and I responded. So, that’s not even why I looked at him like he was nuts without responding the last two times he said it. It was just weird to me.

My good work friend Clara mentioned it to me later on, and she thought he was acting weird, too. Now, Clara is not like me–she loves to socialize, she initiates “Good Morning”s with people and she knows everyone at this warehouse. And still, she basically said it was too early in the morning to be walking around yelling about “Good Morning” multiple times–which is what he did when he said “Good Morning” to her and my other work friends–and that people are barely awake as early as we get to work. She pointed out that he never does that, that usually he says it once in a normal voice and moves along, which is true and acceptable.

And then today, I noticed he never said “Good Morning” to me, which is cool–one less to deal with. Clara told me he said it to her and that it was normal like he usually does it, not all loud and repeated. She said she told him he was acting loud and weird with that stuff, which is “why life.overrated was mad at you” and I laughed. I wasn’t mad at him, but he was annoying the hell out of me and I still don’t know what all my man Kirk said on Colin’s show.

Now, even though we thought this co-worker was acting weird that one day, there are people who run around all loud first thing in the morning with this “Good Morning” business…like, almost literally, run. It’s 7am, and they’re power walking, wide awake, “Good Morning”-ing everyone to death. Even Clara, as sociable and, for lack of a better word, friendly as she is (and I put it like that because she’s like a very sociable version of me as far as saying whatever the hell she wants, even if it’s not nice or PC), needs time in the mornings. Half the time she looks like a b!tch for a good hour in her facial expressions and barely says anything, let alone “Good Morning.” She is not miserable, grumpy or unhappy as a person, but she is, quite understandably, that way for a while in the morning sometimes. We have fun the rest of the day, just not in the mornings.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Forced Socializing At Work

Last year, I wrote about how I did a little online research to find out exactly how introverts are perceived at work, and I responded to some of the opinions I found online in this post. One of the points I made is about how employers seem to be incorporating personalities and being sociable into work environments, which is quite disadvantageous to introverts.

One thing employers like to do nowadays is force socializing. For example, sometimes you have after-work parties and everyone is expected to be there. The thought that someone wouldn’t want to be there never crosses the organizer’s mind. The job I had prior to my last job–the one I had while I wrote the post to which I link above–forced socializing at times. I remember on my last day working there, the other techs had been called into one of the owners’ office to talk about some after-work holiday party–either Thanksgiving or Christmas, can’t remember. As if you don’t spend enough time with people at work…yeah, you really want to show up after work to hang with them some more.

And not long before I left that place, there was some other little thing forced on us…I can’t remember why, but we were all expected to bring a dish–not even just bring one, but actually cook it. Oh, yeah, it was a Potluck. Fuck that schitt, man–I don’t cook. But the b!tch who organized it would have been pissed if I declined to bring something, because she was precisely that type of woman. In fact, I think she sent me and a few other people an email after a while because we hadn’t signed up yet, and, if I remember correctly, in the email she claimed we didn’t have to bring anything. But you could tell–we were indirectly being pressured. You better believe I headed to Kroger, purchased a little thingy of potato salad, put it in a plastic tupperware container as if I had prepared it and was done with those b!tches.

This was that place where everyone I worked with was white, and I noticed cultural differences all the time. This Potluck was one of those times. For some reason, the old[er] non-tech bitties and I ended up talking about how my father is a better cook than my mother and how my mother almost never cooks. They started with all this crap like, “Oh, my gosh, a woman who doesn’t cook…how do you keep a man” or whatever they said, but that was basically the gist. They couldn’t fathom a woman not cooking. And this is cultural both racially and generationally. I’m not saying black women don’t cook, but black women are more often the sole breadwinners, make more money than their husbands or just have some sort of job that keeps her out of the home. This is not how white households are. A lot of older white women are housewives or have somewhat of a housewife mentality because they grew up with mothers who were housewives or during a time when a lot of mothers were housewives (where they lived). Ask a black woman, and if she’s being real with you she’ll let you know that most of us think being a housewife is one of the dumbest things we’ve ever heard.

Black women have too much going on to cook all the time, and their roles often overlap that which has been traditionally thought of as “male roles”–especially more often than white women’s roles do (as I said, black women tend to make more money than their male counterparts and are also more likely to even be employed than their male counterparts are. Both of my sisters make more money than their husbands do–one of my sisters is her household’s sole breadwinner). And you also now have a generation of all kinds of women who want to be working professionals and will not even be home at dinner time, let alone cook it. Nevertheless, their comments kind of pissed me off. This is the kind of crap in which I’m forced to participate with these damn Potlucks and holiday parties and other nonsense I don’t want to attend.

So, this morning I just decided “thanks, but no thanks” and skipped the stupid little breakfast party that my co-worker Linda told me about. I contemplated my childhood and how, whether I was around or not at certain things at school, no one really seemed to know or care. Why would anyone notice or care if I don’t go to this breakfast thing? I figured no one would give a schitt. And even if they did, I hadn’t been told this thing was mandatory, and you almost always get a pass when you can say “no one told me” or “I didn’t know.”

Oh…my…world…turns out almost everybody noticed and cared…including my manager. I could barely even listen to my music for all the people harassing me about why I wasn’t at the breakfast. That’s really all I wanted to do today–listen to music, get my work done and go home. I didn’t want to sit around fake-laughing at co-workers making fun of each other…um, co-workers who are pretty much all at least in their 30s, but they make fun of each other all day. Even the manager gets in on it. Gimme a break…The most peace I had all day at work was the hour they were all gone to breakfast. Plus, only certain people are allowed to make fun of me, and that doesn’t include anyone I barely know, like co-workers.

I was really wrong about how little people would care, too. For starters, turns out that while I was relieving a craving for Dr. Pepper, Linda told another co-worker to make sure he brings me to the breakfast. I didn’t know this at the time, so when he was insisting that I come with him and another co-worker, I was thinking, “Dude, what the hell…?” He just kept telling me to come with him and wanted to know why I didn’t want to go. The co-worker who was with him happens to be related to my manager, and I’m sure she heard me when I told this guy, “I’m not going to that.” I’m sure she heard the way I said it, too, and I would bet she told our manager.

Anyway, when the co-worker responsible for bringing me to the breakfast came back, he told me Linda had food at her station. My friend/co-worker Clara kept telling me about food that was left over. It was like these people were trying to make me eat. My co-worker Corey, with whom I worked on a project last week, said something to me about not going to the breakfast. He tries to make me eat, as well, because I told him that I never eat breakfast and almost never eat lunch. He probably thinks I’m anorexic, but I definitely don’t look it. Linda acted almost horrified that I didn’t go and wanted to know if my co-worker had told me about it, where it was located, etc–that’s how I found out she told him to bring me.

And, of course, my manager said something about it. He basically let me know indirectly that garbage like that is mandatory for social reasons and that I should be at the next one. Why is stuff that people at work think up as ways to have “fun” mandatory? “Fun” and “mandatory” don’t go together, and that’s why my job is just my job to me. It has nothing to do with socializing, and, to me, it shouldn’t. Jobs are about making a living, paying for stuff that is actually fun (like my upcoming trip to Michigan to see my alma mater beat our rival Notre Dame) and paying bills; otherwise, I wouldn’t be working. See? Mandatory, not fun. That’s why all I think about at work is getting my work done, listening to music (to help me get through un-fun work) and going home. I’m not thinking about food or hanging with co-workers. (And yes, I do know work is not 100% mandatory…see the “housewife” stuff above.)

Clara and Linda didn’t let it go, either. Clara asked me again later why I didn’t go to the breakfast, and I just told her I didn’t think anyone would notice. She said that not that many people work in our area at work, so people would notice. But, I pointed out to her, I only really communicate with her at work (so why would others notice if I’m not there?). She took that as my saying that I didn’t go because I wouldn’t have anyone to talk to, which is part of it but not the point, and she said I could have sat by her.

I know that, to many people, socializing is the way they deal with un-fun, mandatory work. And they can’t even begin to understand people like me who just want to work, just want to listen to music and don’t want to go to social events or stand around half the day talking. And, for me, it’s not even about not liking my co-workers–I like most of them, and I’m fine with them one-on-one. But a room full of them, where we’re expected to socialize for an hour, is not my idea of a good time. I don’t really think it’s any introvert’s idea of a good time. It’s actually more anxiety-producing than anything else. That’s what I don’t think people understand when they come up with these work social events.

Whatever people might think about this communication style, I speak to people who speak to me…meaning if someone doesn’t initiate a conversation with me, we’re not going to have a conversation. There are very few exceptions. Some of it is just not being interested in talking to most people. Some of it is a lack of social skills. But some of it is, again, thinking back on my childhood. For example, when I was growing up, if some people were having a conversation and you inserted yourself into it–let’s say these are black people–oftentimes one of them would say something like, “Ain’t nobody talking to you!” Or “This is an A and B conversation–C your way out.” White people might just look at you like you’re crazy.

So, I’ve realized over the last few months that I believe people shouldn’t enter conversations unless they’re invited to do so. Something has changed over the years, because now if you don’t go up to people and just start talking, people want to know why you never speak to anybody.

Now I’m just wondering how I’m going to be able to tolerate the next social event at work. After I spoke with my manager, I thought about how I hope my job doesn’t have another one of these things before I move on to another job. Unfortunately, because of this trend where work and social life are expected to intertwine, the problem is not going to go away, nearly regardless of where I work. It’ll probably just get worse…until someone comes up with “Sensitivity Training In the Workplace” geared towards understanding and working with introverts.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Three Years That Changed My Life

I talk a lot of schitt about college. It is a bitter topic for me, and I try pretty hard to convince young people not to go because no one grabbed me and told me I shouldn’t go. It sounds odd because, for decades, adults have been grabbing young people and telling them why they should go to college. It’s just that I found first hand with both college and then graduate school that the things adults tell young people when they grab them aren’t quite true anymore. College dropouts become rich CEOs (or rich rappers with aptly-titled CDs, not to mention slut-wives) while people who see college through end up in debt for at least 10 years while getting a starting salary of maybe $25,000/yr or $30,000/yr…whenever they’re lucky enough to even find a job.

At the same time…I have a hard time reconciling this knowledge/experience with the other experiences I gained from attending college and grad school, not to mention how to reconcile it with the respect I have for education and academic institutions in general. In fact, I can honestly say that grad school had a profound effect on my life. It changed my life, for better and for worse.

I skipped out on work Monday, and my mother and I went several places. One of them was a store that sells all college gear, particularly for sports fans. I’m always up for buying schitt that reps the University of Michigan (I damn-near have Michigan everything), which was my grad school–the school that changed my life. After we returned home, my mother and I were talking about how she, my father and my oldest sister lived in the San Francisco area before I was born. It was interesting that this came up, because I had been thinking a lot about something recently. This led me to tell my mother something no one knows about me.

Everyone who has known me for long enough knows I love Michigan. Love Michigan.

But Stanford is my dream school. It was my dream school when I headed to Michigan. If I could think of a reason to go to Stanford and afford it right now, I would. And as much as I liked Michigan, had I gotten accepted to Stanford for law school as well, that’s where I would have gone. Of course, the three best law schools in the nation rejected me (Harvard, Yale, Stanford); I very nearly had my choice of top law schools aside from those. The only other school that felt “right” aside from Stanford was Michigan. So, despite the better scholarship offers from other schools and the questioning from fellow Southerners, I went to Michigan.

My mother’s response–to my mentioning that I didn’t get into Stanford and that was the only reason my parents didn’t end up taking trips back to the SF area for [at least] three years instead of to Ann Arbor for three years–was something along the lines, of course, of “everything happens for a reason.”

Oh, of course. I know Michigan happened for a reason. I wouldn’t trade my time at Michigan for Stanford. Would I trade it for less debt, to get back the debt it put me in? That’s a tougher question, it really is.

See, among many things, Michigan is, for me:

-Where I realized I could actually be friends with other women

-Where I fell in love with sports

-Where I truly accepted that I am, and started identifying as, a lesbian

-Where I learned that college towns–not suburbs, not the country and definitely not cities–are right for me

-Where I found the only “community” to which I 100% love belonging (um, sorry, blacks and LGBTs and women)

-Where I really began to recognize, love and appreciate the black or African-descent woman, as well as her beauty

And it’s not all positive experiences.

I suffered from depression for at least a semester while I was at Michigan, which led to my seeing a psychotherapist. The psychotherapist was one of my friends, but we still had real sessions. It’s interesting–for much of my life growing up, I wanted to be a psychologist…got my psych degree. Never once did I think that people could walk out of counseling sessions feeling worse than when they entered them, but that’s how I felt after every session with my friend/psychotherapist–every…single…one. Needless to say, that’s not how I recovered from depression…but that’s a story for another time. 😉

I also had a racial experience at Michigan that is the base reason for why I just don’t view white women in a romantic light/as a romantic option anymore and probably never will again. Obviously, you can’t make an entire race/sex carry the burden for something that happened with one person of that background, and that’s not really the case here…but it got the ball rolling, I learned a lot about the deep lack of understanding between black people and white people (of each other, not just white people not understanding blacks), and now I’m where I am. I must say that, although I wouldn’t quite say I’m glad the experience happened, it was good for me in some ways. Out of it grew the way I now see black women, which is a way in which I didn’t quite view them before. And I think it’s important for black women to completely see other black women’s worth, beauty, intelligence, attractiveness, etc. If we can’t see it, who can/will?

And obviously, it goes without saying that being in debt for the rest of my life is not anything positive that Michigan gave me.

But even out of these three negative experiences came a lot of learning, very important learning and experiences. I went through everything and then some at Michigan–really could have a TV series based off it…we’ll call it “Ann Arbor 48109” or “Michigan Law”–whereas my college experience was relatively uneventful.

I mentioned one of the things I gained from Michigan was a love of sports. I even did some sports writing on the side. Well…people who don’t understand sports or diehard fans or why fans and experts get so emotional…they often ask about it. One of the things I try to articulate, perhaps unsuccessfully most of the time, is my belief that love for a particular sport or team usually doesn’t develop from the sport/team. To me, there is usually something else–being from a particular city or state, the people around you, the school you attend. First and foremost, I love my school because of everything I went through there, everything it made me, everything it taught me. And that led me to support my school in whatever, be it sports or anything else. It’s the reason why I will watch garbage like baseball from time to time or softball (which…softball, for some reason, I actually like now)–if it’s Michigan playing, I will watch.

My favorite sports are football and basketball. I grew up playing basketball, and my family is a basketball family. My father has basketball championships. But I hated football growing up. After attending Michigan, a huge football school, football is my favorite sport. I didn’t suddenly become interested in guys running for three yards and passing for 15 yards just because it was interesting. It never was, originally. Truthfully, if it’s the NFL, it’s still not interesting greater than 50% of the time. I just don’t have that NFL equivalent to Michigan, no emotional connection. I hate where I’m from, so why would I root for my state’s NFL team?

Michigan is why I like college football and why that’s my favorite sport. And the love I have for my school is why losses are so painful–particularly certain ones. Any loss to Ohio State or Michigan State (rivals). The loss to Indiana in basketball earlier this year that cost Michigan a conference championship…that still brings tears to my eyes because of the way it happened. Even my father cursed and was angry after Michigan lost that game, and he, being an SEC guy, likes to pretend he is not a Michigan fan (he is). There are other Michigan losses I could reference using just two words, and [college] sports fans would know what I’m talking about–Appalachian State and Time Out. Horrific and horrific. We (Michigan) have the most legendary fails in college sports, for real, so you can’t blame me for feeling pain. But we are also among the most successful programs in college sports, so you can’t blame me for feeling pride, either.

So, would I want to give all of this back for, oh, $100,000? I don’t know who I’d be without all of this.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Judging People

Man, I am getting killed at work. My manager selected me for some dumb project that has nearly every part of my body hurting. Aside from barely being able to walk, I have cuts and bruises, too–just very physical [and completely disorganized] work that has totally screwed up my work/morning/leisure schedule. I have been so tired after work this week that, apparently, I paid one of my student loans and then forgot that I paid it just a couple of days ago. On the way home, I looked at today’s date and was like, “Oh, I have a loan due today and I forgot to pay it!” I logged in and there it was–paid 7/23.

Ahhh, I am losing it, people! I was seriously about to pay that loan again had it not been for the double zeros beside “amount due,” and I completely do not remember paying it two days ago.

After this week, though, I have to wonder if I’m also not losing my ability to judge people accurately. I’ve always been great at putting my finger on who someone is–sometimes completely on intuition, but a lot of the time it’s based on observing them, maybe speaking to them. It doesn’t take much for me. Sure I’ve been wrong before, and I’ve wondered a lot if I was just wrong about my “ex”…although one way or another, I obviously was wrong in my assessments of, at least, our relationship.

See, when I was told this week at work that I’d be working on this project with these particular two guys from work, I was just like………

Well, I was not happy. To me at the time, there were fewer combinations of people that could have been worse for me to work with. I’m cool with most of the people in my area at work, but I wasn’t with these two. I wanted to beg my work bestie Clara to come work with me on this project, but I kept my pride. Still, surely, there went laughter for the week, right out the window.

Now, one of the guys…my judgment of him did not result in dislike, but we never speak to each other. He just seemed quiet and dull, which I’m sure is how I appear to most people. Plus, if I’m being perfectly candid–and you know how I do it–despite the fact that I probably get along better with [straight] white men, incredibly oddly enough (being a black lesbian, but then again maybe that’s why–no sexual/romantic interest from either side), than any other group of people, I still do have a tendency to completely dismiss white men when I first meet them (as I usually do with white women, as well, if I’m still being honest)…meaning…I don’t view them in a social light. This certainly has not always been the case; it is something that has happened with age, for sure. Frankly, being anti-people like I am, I don’t view most people in a social light, but this is most true with white men.

So, I know that I ignore this guy at work–I am fairly aware of the fact that I do, especially since he is, like, one of two white guys in my work area. I grew up being treated this way by white people (grew up? Hell, it still happened in grad school), so now I do it back to them without even thinking about it or without correcting it when I know I’m doing it. I think the reason things changed with age is because it has happened so much that I now just assume that’s how it is between black people and white people, or even between black people and Asian people a lot of the time.

Bottom line–I know race affects how I treat people, how I interact (or don’t) with them. It’s something most people won’t admit, but I do. Sex/gender affects it, too, but in a less consistent way than race does. I perceived this guy, whom I will call Spencer, as a nice guy but a nice white guy. So, ugh, I have to spend the rest of my week working with a quiet, dull but nice white guy? Sucks, man. Yeah, that’s how I felt.

But the other dude, who is black? Yeah, he was even worse. Probably the least friendly person towards me since I have been working at this new job, but he is cool with everyone else. Spencer probably had spoken to me more than this dude had, prior to this week. I was pretty close to not liking him, but I can’t explain it–he just seemed like an ass. I couldn’t figure out if he was one of those black guys who looks down on black women (I’m the only black female in my work area) or what. Even if I said something to him, he wouldn’t say anything. Let’s call this dude Corey.

Okay, so I’m not wanting to work with these dudes. Even though I didn’t beg Clara to come with me, I did tell her that much.

People, I tell you–During the work project, I was surprised by how much Spencer was starting conversations with me and how comfortable I felt with him, and Corey seriously had me thinking that if he weren’t married I might be able to fake being hetero in a hetero relationship with him…well, maybe for two weeks, anyway, before running screaming back to homoland. Spencer and I talked quite a bit on the first day. He’s a very nice guy, period.

Corey is from Mississippi, and, let me tell you–he acts like a guy from Mississippi is supposed to act. Ladies first, opens doors, offering the lady a seat before he takes it, offering an umbrella on a rainy day, doing all the heavy lifting–just straight out of a manners manual, if there ever was one. People might consider this chivalry, but I consider this Old South. See, the one thing we Southerners loved to take pride in once upon a time ago was that we–all of us, not just the men–had better manners than everyone else. Yes, that was our belief. Some of us still believe this; unfortunately, it is a dying art in the South because parents here aren’t doing their jobs right anymore. Southern guys my age usually aren’t like Corey anymore, especially not with random chicks they aren’t trying to impress.

And it’s not as if I think guys should open doors or do all the heavy lifting, because I don’t really (however cool I think that stuff is). But I do think some of this stuff is part of being Southern, i.e. all of us down here should be holding doors open for people and all of us should thank someone who does this or who opens a door for us, but relatively few of us do anymore. I’m not saying this is or was exclusive to Southerners, but I do think we used to hold people to a certain standard of manners more so than others, that we used to teach Southern kids to be a certain way and we used to be proud of it. That’s what Corey embodies to me, and that’s why I very briefly thought I could be straight for about a week or two. Nowadays, all Southerners seem to brag about and be nationally exalted for is being better in college football than everybody else is (cheating-ass teams full of criminals and druggies, one of which produced Aaron Hernandez, but everyone conveniently forgets all that…except us Big Ten fans).

Anyway…we all judge people, so that’s nothing I’ll ever apologize for. It’s a very important defense mechanism. I just think that, for a variety of reasons best summarized as life, I have gotten too defensive. When I think about dating and relationships, I think about how I’m going to defend myself better the next time around…defend, as in protect…not as in arguments. I don’t think about the things other people probably think about when they think about love and finding the right person–happier things. When I think about work, friendships, anything social…it’s all the same. Everything has become a battle of sorts, and it’s hard to relax. On one hand, the feeling that I’m sick of people is totally real. It’s there, that’s how I feel–especially after my last job. On the other hand, it’s almost as if I dislike or dismiss people as soon as I meet them for no good reason.

I used to be better at this. Wanting to defend myself against people, I suppose, has made me, actually, a worse judge of people.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Reality of Online Relationships

Some of you might know that I’m a big sports junkie, but particularly college football and college basketball. I cover college football some and have been doing so for over five years. Well, there’s this big story in college football that I want to tie to the real world, because, ultimately, the story has nothing to do with college football…and the commentary by the football guys shows how out of touch they are while demonstrating a flawed way of thinking among many people, including many outside of sports.

You see, there is this football player at Notre Dame, Manti Te’o. I’ve watched the guy all season. My team/alma mater, Michigan, played Notre Dame and lost last year. Te’o had a nice game against Michigan, and his sob story was out there at the time. The story went something like his grandmother and girlfriend died on the same day. Te’o, as good a player as he is, largely rode the sob story to fame and very nearly to a Heisman Trophy (which goes to the best college football player each year…or that’s what they say; it’s not actually true…more like whichever player the media likes the best). Neither the fame level nor the Heisman campaign would have been what they were had that sob story not been out there.

Now it’s being reported that this girlfriend who allegedly died never actually existed. The question is whether or not Te’o made the chick up in order to get attention or if he was just tricked into believing she existed. Te’o had led everyone to believe that he had the kind of relationship everyone thinks of when they think of a girlfriend-boyfriend relationship, i.e. he’d spoken as if he’d actually met this girl before. He’d used the word “met” in interviews and made it seem as if they’d interacted heavily. He said he loved her. I read an article where his father said she could have been his daughter-in-law. Now that it’s out that she never existed, Te’o is trying to say it was an online/phone relationship and he never met her. In other words, he didn’t know she wasn’t real but believed she was. This went on for months. This is his story.

Now…sports media people, by and large, aren’t buying it. And if he didn’t know, then he’s “naive.” Translation: he’s stupid. So, to some, he’s either stupid or crazy for making up a story about a girlfriend dying of leukemia, but they don’t want to come out and say they think he’s lying. Then there are those sports guys who want to know how you can have a relationship with someone you can’t see, touch or be intimate with. That alone means he’s lying. There’s no such thing as having a boyfriend or girlfriend you met online and only know online, in their minds. Nobody does that.

That last paragraph is what my post tonight is about.

I want you to know this–all of these people talking about the Te’o story in the sports media are over the age of 40 and, I think, are all married. If you’re over the age of 40, you probably agree with these sports guys who think there’s no way someone has that kind of relationship. Perhaps some of you under the age of 40 agree, as well.

…there are those sports guys who want to know how you can have a relationship with someone you can’t see, touch or be intimate with. That alone means he’s lying. There’s no such thing as having a boyfriend or girlfriend you met online and only know online, in their minds. Nobody does that.

Except…there are people who do that.

Young people do that.

People who get cell phones as Christmas gifts at age 8, iPads as birthday gifts at age 10 and who have had a computer or a laptop for as long as they can remember do that.

People who work so much that they don’t have time to date the old-fashioned way or who have friends who met their boyfriend, girlfriend, fiance or spouse through match.com do that.

And I have done that.

I have “met” not only girlfriends and boyfriends online, but friends online. Some I met in person, but, honestly, most I haven’t. I’m in my early 30s, and I started making friends and girlfriends online back in my teens when technology still wasn’t what it is today. So imagine for a guy in his early 20s nowadays, when all young people do is stay glued to cell phones, tablets, laptops and social media. There is probably not a young person alive now who hasn’t spent quite a bit of time chatting with someone online he or she doesn’t know in person, and half have probably “dated” someone he/she doesn’t know in person. It doesn’t matter that he’s a football player and there are young ladies at Notre Dame–that’s not the point. This is a cultural issue. And today’s culture is that we interact with people in cyberspace in ways that some married 48-year with 5 kids probably can’t even begin to fathom, regardless of how hot or popular someone is.

My best friend right today is a female I met online in 2001. It’s 2013. We’ve been friends for over 10 years. We’ve never met. There’s no telling if we’re ever going to meet. We have discussed it, and there have been two or three times when it could have happened. It just hasn’t yet. There are things called life (especially when you’re older) and money (especially when you’re younger) that get in the way. Still, I trust her, she trusts me and I know she exists.

The last woman I had romantic feelings for was someone I met online. We never met in person, and not because I didn’t want to. I wanted to meet her, but we never got that far.

The funny thing is how people nowadays like to blame technology for everything. That’s why young people today are stupid. That’s why people today want everything now. That’s why people today are more violent and more sexual. You can’t trust people you meet online. You can’t have a real relationship with them unless you know them away from the computer.

In a way, yes–to all of it. That woman I met online romantically? I wrote to her once that I don’t particularly want to do a long-distance relationship. At some point, I need to be able to be with someone. At some point, we have to be in the same place. That’s true for every online/long-distance relationship. That was not initially why I wanted to meet her. Initially, it was because I believed pretty strongly that we’d get along great in person even as just friends and that it wouldn’t be awkward, which has been my worry before about meeting people from the internet–that it’d be too awkward.

Assume for a bit that Te’o really did believe there was this girlfriend who existed and he wasn’t just trying to get attention. Remember, he said he loved her. According to him, she said she loved him. But they hadn’t met. I went through the same thing. And then some months later, after a breakup of sorts, I was told by my romantic interest that she looks back and doesn’t think it was romantic love she felt. I thought it was painful and ridiculous at first. But now I’m to the point where it’s hard to blame her for thinking that. Why? Because…how do you know if you love someone romantically when you haven’t met her? You can feel one way online, and then when you meet in person it can feel different. Ultimately, that’s why we needed to meet each other, if either of us had been in the place to pursue a romantic relationship…which we weren’t.

That makes sense.

What doesn’t make sense is thinking that you have to know people in person to actually know them. When online relationships or friendships don’t work out, people make the internet out to be the bad guy. It’s not.

“I’m not going to talk to people online anymore. Only in person.”

You don’t necessarily know people around you are more real than people online are. I know people who have realized they don’t actually know their spouse the way they thought they did. The spouse broke a trust through lying or cheating. It’s not just people online who do these things.

So, assume Te’o was fooled. Like we don’t meet fake-ass people in person? Like the chick at the bar who smiled at you and gave you her phone number didn’t give you a fake number just to get you off her back? Like a guy you wasted three years with has never told you, “I’m just not ready to get married” for two of those years, only to turn up married to the next chick six months after your breakup? Or like he wasn’t actually already married the whole time you thought he was single?

The internet isn’t the bad guy. Indeed, you can meet wonderful people online. I have. I met one of my friends online, spent a year chatting and emailing with her before we actually enrolled at the same law school and met in person there. We’re still friends. There’s nothing wrong with her. Have “known” her since about 2004, met in 2005.

I’ve had people lie to me online, but I’ve probably had way more lie to me in person. My romantic interest wasn’t always forthcoming with me, but I think I understand at least some of it. She didn’t tell me her real name. But she knew mine, so I dug around and found out. The first thing she did was beg me not to tell her parents. What??? Ohhhh….yeah, the lesbian thing. Never crossed my mind, since I’m not that kind of an ass. But yeah…now it makes more sense why she was secretive about some things. Still,  having met me online doesn’t automatically make me less trustworthy than the kid in the next cubicle at work. After all, she knows my full name and orientation; the kid in the next cubicle at work doesn’t. I have more faith in her not to blab it around than I do in him not to.

As always, it’s about judgment and alertness. Not seeing only what you want to see. People now question Te’o’s judgment, among other things. Assuming he’s telling the truth, meeting someone he liked online and sustaining a relationship with her for months shouldn’t be the reason why, though–at least not in and of itself. That happens. It’s a part of life today. If you’re 50 and don’t get it, then you’re 50 and don’t get it. But I’m 31 and I do. I’ve been there.

Oh, yeah…and I don’t believe Te’o. I think he was trying to see how much he could get out of the sob story. But that’s because, one way or another, he has lied to everyone. He definitely lied about how he and the chick met. When I realized he lied about certain aspects of his relationship with this mystery girl, I was done. Still, I thought the online dating spin on the story makes for a good discussion.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

So I Resigned At Work

About a week ago, I received an email that I’d passed the background check and drug test for, let’s call them, Employer B–the job offer I had that pays really good money for what I’d be doing but would still require me to provide IT support to people (which I was–and am–unenthusiastic about). I started feeling nervous, because this meant I was going to have to go into work on Monday and put in my notice. I like a lot of things about Employer B–virtually everything except the hours (as mentioned in another post, I prefer really early hours such as 6am to 2pm) and that I’d still be dealing with people all day. The guy who will be my new supervisor was awesome when I told him I wanted to give at least some notice to my current employer. But I wanted to wait until I knew I passed everything, which I should have passed everything but better safe than sorry. Being notified last Sunday that everything checked out meant that I would be able to give one week’s notice, because I start work tomorrow.

So, I went to work Monday, and I was a wreck. I can’t remember if I mentioned this here, but the lazy tech who works where I’ll be working made it seem like my supervisor was mad when he told her he was leaving, and then eventually she told him not to use them as a reference. I couldn’t figure out if that was just because of the type of employee he was or because he quit at a bad time (which is kind of what I would have to do) or because of how he quit (he had promised to work part of his shift for a couple of weeks, and then two or three days into it he called in and told them he wasn’t coming back). So only having his story to go off of, it made me really dread resigning and, especially, staying there for a week after doing it.

I spent a couple of hours after my supervisor arrived at working thinking of what to say and trying to get the nerve to go to her office. Just as I was getting ready to go to her office, my cell phone rang. I could tell by the number that it was the other employment agency I was working with on getting something at Employer A, which is where I really wanted to go. But it had started looking as if that wasn’t going to work out soon enough, so I’d decided to go with B. The guy calling for Employer A left a message, and I picked up my phone to listen to it. He said they finally had a start date for a shift that would be something like 3pm to 11pm, and they’d want me to start Wednesday–like, he was calling Monday and they expected me to pick up and start a couple of days later after hearing every other week stuff like “I’m still waiting to hear from them” and “I should hear something next week.” I spent over two months waiting on this job, basically, and all of a sudden they were in a hurry.

This made me even more nervous because now I wasn’t sure about which job to take, and if I took the job I’d been wanting I would have had to tell my supervisor Tuesday would be my last day–on Monday. I really didn’t want to do anything like that. So I got my phone and went downstairs away from the suite where I worked so I could speak with the guy at this agency. I asked if it would be possible to see if a Monday start (tomorrow) would be possible, and I told him I had another job offer that said that start date would be fine, plus they pay more money. He wanted to know if I would take the job if he could get a Monday start date, and I said yes, even though I wasn’t happy about working that shift they had available.

After he checked for me on the start date, he called back and left a message basically saying he couldn’t get that date and they “should” have other positions there opening sometime next week. Now I had been getting should-ed to death over the past two and a half months, and nothing he said panned out. I just kind of shook my head and was like, “This is not worth it.” Employer B has been far more professional, plus they had a solid start date, didn’t expect me to wait forever and then jump when they said “go” and actually pay far more money anyways. Not to mention I wouldn’t have to miss as many football and basketball games working 8am to 5pm as I would working 3pm to 11pm or whatever vague shift I’d be working.

I went to my supervisor’s office and nervously–obvious in my voice–resigned. I was just like, “I wanted to let you know this will be my last week. I got a couple of job offers, and they want me to start next week…” And I’d worked out that I’d say I got more than one offer because I didn’t want to tell them where I’d be working (i.e. that I’d be with lazy tech whom they hate), even though I knew they’d ask. I ended up telling everyone I was leaning towards Employer A, even though I’d basically gotten fed up with A and dropped them.

It was so not a big deal–my supervisor didn’t seem surprised at all. I had a feeling before I resigned that she already sensed I was looking for something else, and she probably did. She wasn’t upset. On Tuesday, though, she wanted to speak with me about why I was leaving so that they can know what they need to do better. I basically talked to her about how the lack of training made me uncomfortable and not confident in doing my job, and that I don’t like having to get help all the time even at this juncture…and I also spoke really candidly with her about the issues I’ve had with the female tech geek (FTG). I made it clear that she wasn’t why I was quitting, just that she made it more difficult for me on top of not feeling comfortable with the job because of her unwillingness to help when I needed it, her communication issues, how competitive she is and her quickness to point out when she thinks you’ve done something wrong or get upset about insignificant things.

Just as I’d figured, my supervisor already knows how FTG is and knows it’s a problem. She just doesn’t know what to do about it. She has spoken with FTG before, and she said she will speak with her again. She knows that FTG’s behavior will be a problem with new employees, but I don’t see what can be done, either, short of firing FTG–which I doubt they’ll do.

I’ve written about “cultural fit” at work before and how unfair the concept can be and usually is. But when you have someone like FTG at work, I think it goes a little bit beyond cultural fit. If you have a team work environment and one of the people there essentially sabotages that, undermines other employees or makes it hard for work to get done correctly, that is the kind of “fit” that doesn’t work. I don’t know if my supervisor knew to what extent FTG is a problem there until I told her and gave examples, and I understand why they might feel like they can’t or shouldn’t get rid of FTG. But in most workplaces, someone like that probably should be let go.

My supervisor was very understanding and basically told me she figured a lot of what I said already but wanted/needed to hear it. She told me I’d really done a good job there. And I really felt bad later in the week because I really like a lot of people there and they didn’t want me to leave. I particularly hated to be leaving some of the guys there. My supervisor told me she was sorry I was leaving a couple of times, and the accounting lady told me the same thing and said she really likes me. We also talked about FTG a little bit as I was leaving.

FTG apparently really doesn’t feel comfortable when the accounting lady and I are speaking to each other where she can’t hear. As I mentioned in another post, we’re the only ones there who really seem to just not like FTG at all, and I’m sure FTG knows that. The guy who trained me told me one time that FTG asked him what we were saying one time when I was in the accounting lady’s office discussing an issue that FTG had been involved in and I’d ended up stuck with. At the time, we hadn’t said anything about her. And on my last day, the accounting lady told me she was jealous that I was getting out of there, and FTG was like, “What did she say? Every time she said something to me–no one was speaking to FTG–she was like, “What?” I told FTG it was nothing, and apparently that wasn’t good enough because the accounting lady told me FTG actually emailed her to find out what we were talking about–even though no one had been speaking to her, i.e. it was none of her business.

FTG also did something I totally knew she would–she got all nosy and started asking me if I’d gotten another job and where I’d be working (remember, she hardly ever speaks to me, and it’s worse than pulling teeth to get her help with anything). I didn’t tell her much–definitely didn’t tell her where I’d be working–and I’m sure she has asked others there since she didn’t get what she wanted from me.

Thank goodness I am getting away from that kind of crap–hopefully.

By the way–a couple of days after I resigned, I spoke with the guy who was hiring on behalf of Employer A. He wanted to know if I was still going to take the job, even though he couldn’t give me an exact start date. I could kind of hear in his voice when I told him no that he was surprised, kind of upset and didn’t understand why I decided not to go to work for them–even though he was still telling me they “should” be ready X day “or” Y day. If I were unemployed and could wait on that job because I didn’t have a choice, then that’d be fine. But he seriously seemed to think I would be okay with resigning my job and then sitting around not totally sure if or when I’d go to work for Employer A.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,