Wednesday, May 16, 2012

A Different Job

I’ve been compared to Job because he goes through losing a lot of the things he values and comes out more appreciate of life for it. While it’s a great book in the Bible, actually one of my favorites, its not a fitting simile. Job was far more righteous than I’ve ever gotten close to and he had a lot more to lose  than I hope I ever will but it’s the Jewish attempt at trying to figure out why bad things happen. Job’s friends are better than we often regard them because while they would go on to say some stupid things (whoever has friends that doesn’t please let me know so I can meet them) but before they said any of that, they just sat quietly with him, for a week! Sometimes company is the biggest blessing in this lonely enterprise called life.

Yesterday I was terminated from my employment. I didn’t see this coming at all if demonstrated by nothing other than I had requested time off for the Livestrong thing the day before this all occurred. There was a slight reference here back in March to something that had occurred and it was a slight reference because I thought it was a slight occurrence. I had made a mistake in February that we had discussed in March and I had been allowed to continue doing my job without any issues and then yesterday I was told I had a meeting at 4 and told I was being let go effective immediately. I had made a mistake in February, absolutely made it and honestly  had not noticed until it was pointed out to me and I fully acknowledged it when it was but apparently that failure of memory was enough to where it was time to let me go. In my first year of employment I had a problem with the department that has never risen since then but in the 5 years in between nothing had occurred. Then I filed an EEOC claim over all the stuff covered in here and the case was ruled inconclusive but that I had the right to sue. At the time I received that I chose not to do so but was still told to watch out for retaliation. Perhaps, this is that, perhaps it’s not. I certainly think so just because my relationship with the department has been very rough since I returned from Duke but in simple honesty I’ve never been the best government employee since county employment requires people who fall in line and well I’m not good at that.  I am appealing the case and will likely call a lawyer on someone’s recommendation but those things are ineffective or at least dragged out. But since I haven’t applied for one in the better part of 7 years I desperately need a new job as soon as possible. I sat today with HR and my questions were mostly about the way Cobra works and how I can carry my health insurance. It turns out Cobra is ridiculously expensive and that while I can carry my health insurance for a limited time and my life insurance forever at a high price that as long as I win the lottery I’m covered which is the polite way to say I’m not sure I can or therefore will do it.

There is a point in the book of Job where his wife (he loses all he holds valuable and his children but his wife somehow gets kept) tells him to just curse God and die. Friends have been very kind in the last 24 hours saying oh you always land on your feet, you know how to get through things. Both their positives thoughts and the wife’s negative thought have flowed through my head and dark thoughts are prevailing today more than I’m used to. I put off brain surgery to run a marathon that qualified me for Boston which had it’s second worse weather ever, I made the best that I knew how of it.  The last thing I did before brain surgery was spend some moments with my wife who would be gone a few days later. I fought my job to get my position back and literally before I left Duke after the surgery waited in the hospital till my human resources department was clear on when I could return and now I’m let go without any clue as to how unemployment works or if I’m eligible. Because I’d been trying to be smart and save my vacation hours and medical hours in case they were ever necessary, over half of them won’t be paid out because of standard policy. I’ve had the dark thought a hundred times today of what exactly am I fighting to be alive for, why not just curse God and die? I know I have to improve some things about how I handle my emotions and my fear of what cancer does. As the Livestrong video well explains, I did not do a good job of trying to communicate and relate to my wife about the emotions then. By the time the rebound girl came, I was self-enough aware to where I said look if the MRI goes bad, it’s going to throw me off. It did and my warning was not enough because it sent her off. Another girl who we had gone on a couple of dates wanted to be the one helping when I was found on the side of the road and two days later I said we were better off as friends. I am trying to protect everyone from a disease I did not foresee and cannot control. I was having lunch to be diagnosed 3 days later. I tried to change my flight from Duke to get home earlier to a woman who would leave me. I spent as little time as I could on sick leave to get back to a job that I wouldn’t keep. I won the cancer division and was found collapsed on the side of the road a few days later. Today, wondering just how close I am to the breaking point where I get to just quit, I wanted to yell at anyone (I didn’t), with all due respect, what is the point to all this? 

They say that insanity is trying the same thing over and over again expecting different results. So yesterday when I found out, I did something new. I just went and did something I’ve never done, cycled slowly for two hours and absorbed the silence. I skipped a happy hour my running group because I don’t know how to do misery with company. But today, with little sleep, I went to Livestrong and let them know about the job issues in the interest of transparency since I am training for their events and was pepilly told, you get more time to train. I also recommended Lumosity to them to recommend to most people who have issues with chemo brain as it’s called and they will consider it. Lumosity had also reached out to me about a way for doctors to be able to give “free samples” to patients of their product and for me to pass it on to my neuropsychologist. I know my life is better from both those people and well I learned well from my family that it’s nice to share. 

In the story of Job, we get a great view of the heavens and the earth and see all the characters and this may be why perhaps the story helps us feel better about bad things happening. But Job, Job in a story named after him, he never does find out the how and the why. He questions what happens, even gets to speak to God directly but never gets an answer. Still, he ends up with a new life and new kids. How that’s accepted as a perfectly happy ending I honestly don’t’ know since some of his children end up dead. You can’t replace children but I didn’t author the story. Still, apparently it’s crying week cause I’ve been doing it a lot this week and this morning it was while I watched Kiana sleep trying to figure out how to protect her. There are those who see bad things happen and explain it with something like Job. There are those who state that it only comes to those who can handle it. There are those who I’m sure would state I had bad Karma and it’s all coming out. Figuring out the meaning universe served Job no function so I don’t spend much time trying to do it.
I don’t know how the employment and financial situation will work out (if you know anyone who is hiring or a good employment attorney shoot me a message) but while I need a different job, I hope the situation ends the way Job’s did “he saw his children and their children to the fourth generation. And so Job died, an old man and full of years.” But if it doesn’t, I’m grateful for the jobs, kid, and friends who joined me in the years I’ve had and that, today at least, is a harder job than I’ve ever been paid for.  

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