[Note: This post won't make sense unless you are a regular reader. It is in reference of being fired from my job last December. The "Angry Bird" series covered some of my rants in response to how a hostile work environment took a toll on my health and well-being, how it affected my dream, and ultimately lead to my [wrongful termination] dismissal. It is posted here as an affirmation of a renewed vow to living well. To rise above and beyond, to refuse to fall back into the “victim role” and its accompanying depression and feelings of worthlessness. The final entry to numerous blog posts mentioning to varying degrees how this has hindered my journey.
This is my justice!
In the therapeutic sense of writing a “letter to the abuser” (that is what it is called during trauma work in psychotherapy) you are not to send it to the person in question. You are to symbolically destroy the hold it has over you by physically destroying it, however you see fit.]
As news would have it, “Big Red” got canned. Big Red would be the party ultimately responsible for orchestrating my removal from her sight after employing 18 months of “unprofessionalism” in concert with her Evil Minion, my direct supervisor, resulting in damaging my personal and professional reputation, not to mention causing severe financial distress to my family. Big Red got fired, canned, given the walking papers, kicked to the curb, made obsolete, was superseded, and told not let the door hit her in the ass on the way out. The following month. I’m not sure for what, but it doesn’t really matter. I’m sure she undid her own self, people like her almost always do. That’s the problem when you’re playing cut-throat like a hotshot CEO but you’re a Little Leaguer on the Middle Management Team. There’s always someone with a bigger knife and a bigger thirst for blood and you just so happen to one fine day be in their way.
KARMA IS A BITCH, isn’t it?!? Must suck to give up almost twenty years of hard “work”. So many years of maneuvering, cheating, lying, and washing the blood of others off your pudgy claws, all in the name of advancement at any cost and all for nothing. Must really blow to give up a job at a company where every single person disliked you, had zero respect for you, talked trash about you and called you unflattering names behind your back, while sweetly smiling and wishing you a fan-fucking-tastic good morning. Big Red was the nicest one I’ve heard circulating, in case you were wondering. Must suck that you lost your six-digit income. Must suck to be you.
But I wouldn’t really know. I am a good person who can look herself in the mirror every day, knowing that she always tries her best to do right by the people in her life, especially family. Knowing that she endured, coping the best she could under hostile fire and still tried to do the right thing by standing up for herself, even if it didn’t make a damn bit of difference in the end and got her fired.
And here I am still doing the right thing by being humane and not suing the pants off of your company and then going after you personally. My husband thinks it was the wrong move. Sometimes I think it was the wrong move. You were breaking several laws, and your employer settled for less reasons under iffier conditions. It damn sure could be just the thing to finance a doctorate and a fine racing career at the club level. But I couldn’t live with myself if I had your blood on my hands, even if you weren’t family. But I think I may have taken you down had you not been my husband’s sister. Yes. Yes, I think I would have.
Even after all you’ve done to me, directly and indirectly, after all the years of mistreating me and using me for your own petty feel-good reasons. I kept my trap shut out of deference to my husband and the rest of your family. Kept my trap shut, smiled and pretended to be your friend and acted as family would. And yet, here you are still telling lies. Still making me out to be the antagonist, still convincing yourself and everyone around you that you did absolutely nothing wrong and make it a point to bring up how much you have done for me in all these years. How you have given of yourself and always were there for me. And look how you are repaid. The shame! Even after all that, I’m still doing the right thing by not retaliating by demanding justice. Oh, it so sucks to be you.
You have finally reaped what you sowed and that’s good enough for me. It’s just sad that harvest time took so long to get here… and it’s just a little disappointing that I can’t tell you what I think of you to your face, rather than having to spill my guts in this virtual letter.
Don’t kid yourself that I am still bothered by your egotistical self-centeredness and all that comes along with it. You don’t rate all that high in my priorities. I’m not even going to continue wasting my precious energy on hating you and wanting to get even. It’s simply a therapeutic tool to end the final stage of the grieving process and to enable myself to move on and put the past where it belongs without having it control my present and my future with its seething pain and nagging self-doubts.
Why? All because I had already made plans for New Year’s Eve 2009 and I refused to cancel out on people because that would have been rude. All because I didn’t go over to your house and take those stupid golf cart rides freezing my balls off and getting ostracized for not drinking enough keeping pace with your level of consumption. Why? Because it never dawned on you to give us more than three days’ notice. How many times have you cancelled out on our invitations or just sent your husband over?
I’m glad you could save face through all of this and rest comfortably in your knowledge that you (and by extension your kids) have been wronged by me. It was an expensive enough price that was paid, it had better be worth it.
I’ll go out on a limb here and make another prediction: You’ll die alone. Just take a long hard look at yourself and how you’ve been treating others in your professional and personal life. There’s still time, but somehow I doubt you will make good use of it. Narcissists need professional help to empower them to do what comes natural to most people.
That’s ok. I’ve taken out the trash, and with this final rant I have rid myself of all toxins that threatened my well-being and inner peace. I may be broke, I may lose my home, I may have to declare bankruptcy and put my dreams on hold. But even in the worst case scenario, I still have friends. I still have people who enjoy my company and like me for who I am. I won’t die alone, I know that.
Sorry for your terrible loss.
P.S. Maybe you should try adding apologizing to your undoubtedly considerable skill set. I hear it works fairly well when you screw up royally or have been a complete ass for one reason or another. Most of us real people take turns doing that, you know. It’s actually a socially acceptable practice and the injuries inflicted upon your ego are rumored to be fairly short-term. Worthy of consideration.
P.P.S. Oh, and I forgive you. But I damn sure won’t forget!
And now I’m just a Bird. Without a Pig’s worry.
Nothing like feeling like a complete failure to motivate oneself to prove otherwise. I needed to get rid of all this negative energy I’ve had stored up for whatever reason. I hadn’t worked out in two days and that didn’t help my general state of mind. Everywhere I turn, I see obstacles in my way. It’s almost as if I’m swimming upstream, in the wrong direction, against all odds, expending my energy and resources on a lost cause. meh. I hate feeling like this.
I have developed some sort of mental block that keeps me from getting faster on the track. I have an idea about the causality but no real fix on how to go about overcoming the problem. I over-think to the point of distraction. I don’t even know how to explain this… I just know it’s making me slower, and my skill progression has tanked. I hate that, too!
Every time I look at the bike, I find “something else”. Some other mechanical issue that needs to be worked out. I have not a clue. I never wanted to become a mechanic, I just wanted to race the damned thing, but yet here I am. I suffer through it, and make my brain hurt, so I can have a relatively short time by comparison doing the thing I really love to do.
Then there is the financial aspect that bugs me. Racing is financially, uh… irresponsible, a budgetary money pit, a high-risk-no-return proposition especially considering the ongoing game of economic crapshoot. But yet here I am, cutting corners in every other aspect of my life, just so I can “go racin’.” But what a ride! You know you’re in for a good time when they make you sign a waiver before they let you through the gate. Uh-huh. Yup. Nothing like it. I would sell my mother-in-law for a stack of DOT slicks. Yes, it’s that bad. But I can’t help but feel a little guilty.
Winter gets me down, the skies are gray, it’s cold, the world around us dead. People are grumpier than usual. It’s depressing. I find it hard to keep my spirits up when the weather seems so gloomy and foreboding all the time.
Lots of other personal and family junk that occasionally just wants to show up and take a dump on my happiness. Ick! Screw you. You make me angry because I am helpless and not in control of the situation. Keep your chin up. Ignore it. They’re just jealous. Love the Haters, because it means you’re doing something right. All the kind and supportive comments in the world sometimes aren’t enough… you still end up almost drowning in the cesspool of other people’s bullshit. Blech.
With the attitude of hating my life and feeling like a complete failure, I stomp up the hill to the walking trail behind my house. A 1/3-mile sandy kidney-bean shaped track around a playground and a picnic area. I’m not in the mood, but I have some anger management to do. Exercising should exorcise my (perceived) demons… at least for a little while. If you’re exhausted you have not the energy to be anything but calm. I hit play on the Nike+ GPS app and with the push of that button, decide that today I am going to run until I can run no more. How far can I possibly get? A mile? Maybe… The workout is done with the first walking stride I take. Deal. Off I go.
Last time I was here, maybe a week ago, I couldn’t run a complete lap. It’s torture. After about half a lap, I want to stop. I can’t breathe, my side is starting to hurt. Concentrate. Concentrate. Pay attention to your stride, control your movements. Control your breathing. In through the nose… out through the mouth. Steady. Paced. You can do this.
I keep fighting lazy thoughts of quitting with angry thoughts of not wanting to be a failure in today’s run. Failure is not an option. I start crying at one point… or I think I am starting to. I don’t know. One foot in front of the other. I hate running. I want to quit. I don’t see the point. Why bother? I keep pushing on. I am on my last lap to finish the first mile. I tell myself that I at least have to complete one mile. I notice a pair of men’s boxers hanging in a nearby tree. WTF?!? Somebody went home commando.
After that I tell myself one more lap. I have to make it back around to the underpants. I have to take a picture of them. I do. I don’t take a picture of them though. Ok, well I’m almost to two miles. That’s what we ran in the military physical fitness test. I can do this. I see a woman walking about a half a lap ahead of me. Ok. I can lap her… if I lap her before my two miles are up, I’ll allow myself to stop. I end up lapping her twice before she gets in her car and leaves.
Eventually my brain focuses on something racing related and I’m not even really aware anymore that I am running. Well, I am aware of it, but it’s not in the foreground and with that the negative self-talk subsides. I keep pushing. Another idea surfaces: I will set all new PBs today. EVERY SINGLE STAT that Nike+ keeps track of will be improved. Then I’ll let myself be a quitter.
I accomplish my goal at 4.10 miles (farthest run) in 44:16 minutes (longest run) with an overall average pace of 10:47 per mile, which is an improvement by 1:02 minutes. I set my fastest 1K at 6:09; my fastest 1M at 10:08 and my fastest 5K at 33:19.
Do I feel better? A little. Do I still feel like a failure? A little. But at least I have part of my sunshine back. The rest will follow.
Not too long after writing about having to make necessary changes in my life to assuage the medical problems and excessive stress-levels caused by my situation at work, I receive my walking papers from my employer. No verbal demerit, no write-up, no final warning. Not even a decent explanation. I was simply let go for “being unprofessional”. I realize during my interview, that “The Man” isn’t there to hear my side of the argument [rebuttal of the accusations], the decision had already been made. Consequently, I delivered a speech on my view of things. A verbal statement completely devoid of the flowery scent of diplomacy or the carefully chosen verbalizations of a player maneuvering for a better position in the game of office politics. In short, I told him exactly how I see this matter brought before me. I was tired of the lies of those who’d rather see me gone. When the deck is stacked, no amount of skill, competence, or psychological “warfare” will save the hand you’ve been dealt [repeatedly]. This wasn’t a battle I was going to win. Not at this very moment. I made my last stand. I said what was on my mind. I clued him in as to reasons why this is really going on. And it wasn’t anything to do with me or my job performance or my general attitude. The result: “We don’t need you to come in tomorrow.” He mumbled the words. I had to ask for clarification: “You do or do not need me to come in tomorrow?” He replied: “We do not.” I stood up, locked eyes, and said: “Now, that wasn’t that hard, was it?” He just looked at me. He actually had the nerve to wish me good luck as I made my way out the door. Luck? I don’t need no steenkin’ luck! I need a boss who stands up for his employees when they are clearly being mistreated by their contractor/customer bosses.
But the abuse doesn’t stop there. That isn’t quite good enough for the powers that be. After filing for Unemployment Insurance benefits, I am informed that I was fired for “disruptive behavior” and to please explain myself in a rebuttal. I do. I keep it short and factual. As I was asked: “No. I do not agree. I am not aware of any incident happening on [date of termination]. I don’t really know what they are talking about.” Can’t make an effective rebuttal if you’re dealing with generalities. Of course, one can’t deal in specifics when the case is fabricated and the evidence is weak at best and has to be made to fit the cause. So generalities it is, like religion or badly implemented statistics.
I wouldn’t have thought it possible, but what I am experiencing are the five stages of the grieving process:
- Denial? Check. I thought reason could prevail here. Reason. And facts. I was in denial much of the last 18 months of my stint with this particular outfit. Isolation? Check. Did a lot of that. Just no energy for anything or anybody else. Sleep. Work. Eat. Repeat. Social interaction? No thanks. Get plenty of that already. Tempting, but I’ll pass.
- Anger? Check. Check! Checkity-check! Injustice and prejudice, harassment and slander [or is it libel? Both, I'd say, by definition] will push anybody into that direction. A thousand postal workers can’t be wrong, after all.
- Bargaining? Check. I’ve done plenty of that. Faulting my reactions to the various “incidents.” Cursing my inability to “see it coming” and refusal to “play the game better than them”. Honestly, I don’t want to live my life conniving and manipulating; and to that extent, neither do I want to spend it being paranoid; documenting and running worst case scenarios through my head in the name of being prepared. Screw that. I believe in the basic good of humanity. I have to believe that at the end of the day, justice and righteousness will prevail. That the facts will speak for themselves when the final score is tallied come judgment time. That sort of thinking has no room in corporate life. None! Law, rule, and policy only apply when convenient. After all, it isn’t a crime unless you get caught, right? I keep berating myself by making excessive use of the “if only I had…” thought process. I am mired in “what-if” mechanics and all that emotional non-sense leads to
- Depression. Got it covered. I have mastered the art of depression. I should get a reward or something. Seriously. Maybe I should try alcoholism next time…
- Acceptance? Not quite there yet. I waver in and out. Part of me wants to move on; forget (but not forgive) or maybe forgive (and not forget), not entirely sure which… put the past where it belongs, learn from it and not let myself be put into the position again. As I always like to say, I learn from my mistakes. The FIRST TIME AROUND. I try not to be a repeat offender. Part of me wants justice. Make right all the wrongs through judicious use of some well-earned courtroom time. Sue the bastards. Take ‘em down! Hit ‘em where it hurts: their corporate coffers. Give those self-righteous lowlifers a taste of their own medicine. Go ahead and get in line at the Department of Labor. Good luck to you. Make an example out of the responsible parties that this sort of thing will NOT go unpunished. That abuse of power and willful disregard for inconvenient policy eventually will be the ink you sign your own termination with. I want to make them bleed. But it’s not going to happen. Not like I envision it, anyway. If my fantasies were to come true, I’d have Charlize Theron play my character in that Lifetime movie deal. Acceptance? Not there yet. I promise I’ll get on that after I save my house from foreclosure and narrowly escape bankruptcy. A trusted friend of mine told me that the best revenge is living well. I was living well before they started in on me and as a result threaten the very thing.
Time for Plan B: Living well(er). Be the Phoenix. Rise up out of the ashes and be more badass yet! Restore my inner peace, be happy and hot in pursuit of intellectual goals that I have given up long ago, dismissed as impractical. Rise up and show The (wo)Man the middle finger of unrealized potential. Sad, really, that those who call me stupid and would want to keep me in my [preconceived] place [of subservience] are already topped out, stretched beyond the limit of their own capabilities and have nowhere else to go [but down]. They are all they could ever be. Contrary to what some may think, the world for me has just opened up.
We’ll compare sizes [again] in about eight years or so. Or you will, since I really won’t give a rat’s ass for very much longer. =D