[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 Big Red got fired, canned, given the walking papers, kicked to the curb, made obsolete, was superseded, and told not let the door hit her in the ass on the way out.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.
This is not fun anymore. In retrospect this hasn’t been fun in quite a while.
I want to ride these things as fast as I dare, not try and put them together and figure out what the previous owner(s) had done (or fucked up) so I can get an engineering degree online and learn to fix it. In the process I found out the following: I can teach myself mechanics if I can start from a baseline. I put a crashed S1000RR back together without this much fuss. Given, it took me 13 weeks and approximately $1300 in parts and tools, but it was a journey that was much more gratifying and taught me a lot about how motorcycles actually work. A road well traveled and worth it.
However, wrenching on the R1 feels like putting together a puzzle. I hate puzzles! You would have to put me on some serious medication for me to enjoy putting together some crappy picture printed on cardboard pieces.
Who in the world could enjoy sitting down to a 5000-piece puzzle and put it together when you a.) don’t have the box anymore with the picture on it, but you vaguely remember what it looked like; and b.) there are some puzzle pieces, from another 5000-piece puzzle, that don’t belong, but got mixed into the pile, but you don’t know that (yet).
I’m selling the R1.
I HAVE HAD IT!
That is all.
I have reached the point where the benefit does not outweigh the work put in and the frustrations encountered along the way.
I admit defeat. Shamefully, I throw in the towel, pack it up, and go home. I want to go back to paying somebody to do this shit for me, and I can only do that by returning to my roots: being a high-mileage street rider and combat commuter, who (maybe) goes to the occasional track day to keep most of the shenanigans off the street in an attempt to avoid going to jail for free body-cavity searches and crappy food.
This is the first time I have ever let an inanimate object (or a massive collection of them) beat me. My IQ will recover… eventually. Time heals most wounds. In the meantime I just allow myself to feel stupid as hell.
I apologize to Mr. Slow who has leaped tall buildings in a single bound to make it possible for me to own a dedicated race bike and has been nothing but supportive along the way. He has given up so much to enable me to chase some arbitrary dream I started having for reasons I still don’t quite comprehend.
It’s time for me to wake up and rejoin reality. I really should steal his license plate, move the electrical tape dot over one character and slap it on my bike. Although, my man would look pretty silly cruising down the road with “Rocket Girl” hanging off his tail.
Today, I am the MRS.LOW to his MR.SLOW because I feel painfully ungrateful by giving up.
Mr. Slow is actually faster than me, or could be, if he ever decided to trade his hard bags for knee pucks. But he is Mr. Slow because that’s his riding philosophy rather than a reflection upon his skill set. And that is my confession.
There is freedom within, there is freedom without
Try to catch the deluge in a paper cup
There’s a battle ahead, many battles are lost
But you’ll never see the end of the road
While you’re traveling with me
Don’t Dream It’s Over by Crowded House
I love Dainese. I am a self-proclaimed Dainese gear ho. When I’m in the market for new motorcycle gear, I always check out what Dainese has to offer first. Heck, I drool over their gear even when I am not. I am awed by the quality of their products, their attention to detail, their commitment to research protective gear and its continuing development, their use of the latest tech. Il Dottore doesn’t look half bad in their stuff either… especially when viewed from the rear; …inside line in a turn, as he hangs a cheek off the hardware, dragging his kn…
Where was I? Oh, yeah… Dainese. Their stuff is so expensive, their price tags easily induce sticker shock, but the brand is considered one of the best in the industry.
Dainese = Quality. Always. Or so I thought.
I bought a pair of Dainese SteelT Lady gloves, which seem to be the women’s version of the men’s Full Metal Pro gloves, or a derivative of the design. At a $229 price point, I expected more than what I had.
The gloves felt well-made, are comfortable and looked to me like they would protect me in a crash. They have plenty of protection on the knuckles and the back of the hands. None in the palms. They did put some extra layers of extra thin leather in the contact zones.
I busted the seam on the inside of my right thumb a few weeks into using them regularly on the street. I didn’t do anything other than get on the throttle with that hand. No. Really.
I busted the seam on the inside of my left thumb during a low-speed lowside coming out of Turn 4 at the Nashville Superspeedway during my very first road race. Nothing a fashionable little piece of red duct tape couldn’t fix. There’s a reason racers call that stuff “200-mph tape”. 😉
I tore the left glove to pieces when I tucked the front end of my Beemer hauling 120-some miles into Turn 1 at Barber Motorsports Park. I had ample opportunity to test out the various friction coefficients of select parts of my body as I made my way down the hill sliding this way and that, flipping over the Indy strip and following my bike into the gravel trap.
I remember the exact moment the glove had worn through. It wasn’t but seconds after my premature get-off. I was on my stomach, sliding feet first, ahead of my bike down the hill. I felt an increasingly sharp pain in my left hand, and I tried to lift my arms off the pavement, but was unsuccessful. I remember wondering how far one would slide at triple-digit speeds and how long it would take. It didn’t seem like I was going to slow down anytime soon. Fortunately, I tumbled over onto my backside shortly thereafter.
I had a few bruises on my right thigh and leg. My ego suffered a blow. Other than that damned hand I was fine!
That was in May 2011. The injuries on my hand still hurt. I have a gnarly collection of scar tissue in two places. Great. I don’t think dudes dig scars, do they?
I make it a point not to buy women’s gloves anymore. Not from Dainese, not from any other manufacturer.
Fortunately, my Sidi Vertigo Lei boots and my Dainese Yu Lady one-piece leather suit are holding up to the abuse I throw at them on the track.
I really can’t understand why women’s gear must be inferior in quality to the men’s gear. It’s not just the gloves. I have heard other women complaining about the very same thing: how their female-specific gear came apart in a crash, while the men’s gear they were wearing did its job just fine. A lot of the lady riders out there who are fortunate enough to fit into men’s gear more often than not buy men’s gear for the higher quality and added protection.
Either the industry believes women to be invincible or they think we are not serious enough riders to warrant the same level of protection our male counterparts enjoy.
Screw variety, give us gear that freaking works as designed and fits.
And why in the hell are we paying the same as the guys when our gear is inferior to theirs? Last time I checked, inferiority came with a price break.
Sidi can do it with their boots! Why can’t Dainese do it with their gloves?
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
Many of my readers and friends have told me that I need to keep writing. I blew them off with a dismissive wave of hand accompanied by the same old and tired rhetoric; the same rhetoric I have repeated ad nauseam until it became personal truth: “Writing doesn’t come easily; I am, after all, the author of the 12-hour paragraph. Writing is a chore. I don’t have time for it. It stresses me out. I can’t keep up with the expectations of a regular audience, no matter how small it may be. Bla-blah, bla-blah, bla-blah…” Coincidentally, I also made myself scarce online.
The blog remained, narrowly escaping deletion in a moment of temporary insanity, standing testimony of personal failure, pointing the fingers of unfinished entries and missed deadlines accusingly at its creator.
So… what is really going on?
Life happens… rather, employment does. Not to get too far into that sad situation, let’s suffice it to say that my work environment borders on abusive. I have been enduring for over 18 months. Every time I think that maybe the storm has passed and things are settling down, I am hit with another salvo. I am not a problem employee by any standards. I am loyal, complete my tasks, am a team player, and a problem solver. I help my fellow employees whenever I can, I cover for absences when I am able. My job performance cannot be faulted, on the contrary; however, that didn’t stop the harassment. It just meant that faults had to be created. I was (and still am) spoken ill of, my concerns are of no consequence to the people in charge, and I am made out to be a person with anger management issues, apparently suffer from a personality disorder or two, which prevents me from getting along with my customers, coworkers and management. Or so I am labeled. My reputation has been sullied. I am paid less than I should be. I am constantly criticized for my “excessive” sick days. Some of the people I work with aren’t speaking to me anymore, because I called them on their continued laziness after trying to work it out with them for months. What came of it? Nothing. I was told to stay away from them and bring up further issues directly. They continue to not do their jobs, which in turn makes my job a miserable proposition when it gets busy.
Enough of that. Yes, that was the short version.
My health is suffering: my stress levels are in the red; my sleep is disturbed; I have developed migraines, have constant gastrointestinal upsets, suffer from low-grade depression, and am angry all the time. I barely keep it together at work, just so that my loved ones may suffer at the hands of pent up frustration and helplessness turned to seething anger. I have no recourse, this is a right to work state and my actual boss has no backbone. Can I prove any of this? No. They may be morons, but they know how to play this game. Short of some ridiculous write-ups and the throttling of my pay, it is their word against mine. I cannot win. I ate more crow during my stint at this company than I care to admit. There might be cause to put crow on the endangered species list. I just wanted to do my job to the best of my ability and go home. But it doesn’t work like that in the real world. I thought it did. For a little while until I became too exhausted for a life outside of my subservience to Corporate America at the hands of The (wo)Man.
Not only did my health suffer. My racing skill progression slowed, came to a complete stop before it finally reversed itself and my performance degraded to the point of regression. They cancelled my vacation to Germany to join my Dad in the celebration of his 80th birthday. I lost money on non-refundable tickets for my daughter. This is the last straw. I am done. I refuse to let this job interfere with my personal pursuits and degrade my health any further. It is time to start the process of making changes for the better. This job isn’t in those plans. If they do not find me a different contract suited for my skills, I am a short-timer in this outfit.
My days here are numbered. And knowing that gives me strength. I will rise up out of the ashes, like the mythological Phoenix, but I’m one hell of a pissed off bird. My UK readers will definitely get a chuckle out of this one, considering that I am at war with a couple of pigs.
I am back.
And if I get fired for having written this, you’ll find this angry bird getting arrested downtown by yet another couple of pigs, during the Occupy Augusta movement.
There. I’ve said it. Unedited, with horrible punctuation and grammar. =D
What I really want to know is what kind of junk the pro racers slap on their drive train to get a decent final gear ratio. Because there is not a 14-tooth front sprocket to be had in this country. So they all run like what? 69 teeth on the back side, eh? I guess two missing in the front with a 50 cal out back is going to be as good as it is going to get. At least I don’t have to buy that extra chain after all. I got myself some Woodcraft engine covers in black with red skid pads instead. For the left side. I can’t afford both sides right now, so it was a toss-up since both sides are equally favored by the S1000RR when falling over.
I need a dedicated race bike… something a little more “tried and true”. Maybe a GSX-R… But damnit, I trust my Pirate. It has become an extension of me. I don’t want to get used to something else. I also like the fact that I constantly have to wipe drool off of her when I take her places.
But then there is reality… Hell with it. The whole thing is a dream to begin with. Why should I come to my senses now?
Why? Because the Dandooligan did it. 😉