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Been a tough week. Still dealing with a cracked molar and the lovely flavor of Orajel triple-medicated toothache pain relief. Earlier Ursula K. Le Guin passed away, and then one of the nicest gentlemen of horror, Jack Ketchum, real name Dallas Mayr, passed away. It's easy to say that so-and-so was nice after they're gone, but Dallas really was the most friendly and inclusive author I know in the field. He would walk up to new writers and chat with them like they were old friends. When people figured out it was the real Jack Ketchum hanging around and shooting the breeze, they'd either go all fannish or ask questions. He would always take the time to answer and give advice to the newbiest of newbies. 

To try and offset some of the sad things, I used FaceTime to talk to my granddaughter. Well, more talk at her while she babbled in her two-and-a-half year old sing-songy way. She's such a sweet and sassy little pickle. Well, not been through the brine of life, so more like Fresh_Cucumber. Goofy, not a care in the world, unlike her ancient Papa as she calls me. Life's made me more rancid and pickled over the years, but it's nice to see there's a cute little garden-fresh silly kid to make me smile whenever I need one. Thank you, Fresh_Cucumber.

Today I got fired from my job. I saw this coming a long time ago, I'm just surprised it went down the way that it did. When I got to work I saw that our HR manager had parked her van in a spot she normally doesn't. She's not normally here on a Saturday morning, and she was the first person I saw upstairs. She greeted me, I asked if she needed to see me, and she said that she did after I had put my things away. I don't know why she let me do that, but whatever. I sat down with her and our GM. They had paperwork for me, but before they handed that over they explained that too many people had come to them saying that they wanted to quit because of interactions with me. I had shared things with my unicorn friend that put her in an awkward position and jeopardized her job. I feel badly about that and wish there was some way I could try and make it up to her, but I think that the time has come to close the door on that place and the majority of the people associated with it. I don't know how she feels, and now I'm reluctant to reach out because I don't want to cause her undue stress.

It's always hard to be objective when I get fired. I want to show people how things looked to me, I want to proclaim that I acted with the best of intentions rather than maliciously gossiping about another employee, I want to cry because I love my manager and it's breaking my heart to think that I may never see her again. It hurts to think that I'll never see the guy that I liked, even if my affections weren't returned on the same level, it's still fun to flirt and have a crush. In my heart, I know that these people wanted to get rid of me and this is how it unfolded. I was viewed as problematic because I didn't play their games, I didn't kiss their asses, I worked hard, but they don't value hard work there which seems very strange. They value obedience and outward signs of respect. They're in charge and rather than recognize that respect is commanded rather than demanded, they seek for ways to come down on people for the most minor of infractions while promoting the tattletales, the bullies, and politicians, and the fly beneath the radar types. I was viewed as a threat to their authority so I was let go.

Yesterday I had a great conversation with a friend I've known for about five years. I told her that I wish I had a two minute segment for each of the years that we've known each other, I would go back in time and show her to herself, how she worked for a boss with a drug addiction in an office where women were punching and shoving each other and lying to clients about whether or not their tax returns had been done. From there she went to a job where her immediate supervisor terrorized her, she got a temp job at a place that told her they didn't have work for her after they had just signed a contract with the temp agency, now she's at a part time place where she works a lot of hours during their busy season in exchange for having a couple months off in the winter. She's trying to start her own business, she's scared, one of the things she wanted to do was change up her look. When she went to a salon in the area a woman told her that she didn't know what to do with her hair. My friend is black, this response is typical out here. She went to a place that specializes in her hair type that got great reviews, and she's so much happier and more confident I can hear it in her voice.

She reminded me of some of the things that I've been through. We have both done a lot with our lives since we first met. We aren't daily keep in touch types, every so often she'll send me a text or I'll call her. We pick up where we left off and we lean on each other in times of crisis. I know she's there for me just like I've been there for her. I don't know what her personality type is, but I know she's an introvert. She's incredibly detailed and thorough, she plans things like few others. She works out, but she needs to eat better, and I like her because she is very honest with herself and others. Sweets aren't her problem as much as really rich greasy fried food. That's how she grew up, that food reminds her of home and being a kid, it's there at social gatherings, and she's used to those foods in her diet. She doesn't really like to cook. She likes to bake and decorate very elaborate cakes, but food is used to fill her stomach rather than being a way for her to experiment with different flavors, textures, colors, and temperatures. Slowly learning that life is okay, say after me, it's no better to be safe than sorry. 

Yesterday I didn't write anything. I used my time to put things in order around here. I followed the principles in my Use What You Have Decorating book, I'm happy with how things turned out because I not only tackled a bunch of things I had let pile up, I created a warmer, more spacious environment than I had. Once I read more about narcissism, some of the signs, and how to detach from it, my life immediately improved. I'm still very anxious, but I am in charge of my life and going forward I am going to be much more aware and sensitive to the health of my relationships. I'm going to start asking myself - 'Is this relationship healthy?' If the answer is yes, that person stays a part of my life. If the answer is no, then I'm going to stop and think. I will contemplate who this person is, and whether or not I want to continue investing in a relationship that from my point of view is unhealthy. I'm also going to ask myself what would make the relationship healthier, and then I'm going to think about what I can do on my end if I feel that the health of the relationship depends on things I can control. Sometimes walking away is the best thing someone can do and I'm going to resolve to pursue health across the boards in my life.

This morning I set myself up for success by preparing for my day the night before. Even though I ended up getting sent home from work, I'm glad I dressed carefully for the meeting. I conducted myself professionally, I could see the HR manager's hands shaking so I could tell she was nervous. I don't know what they expected, for whatever reason they can't stand me, I don't know if it's actual hatred, but whenever I interacted with either of them I could sense the disconnect between whatever 'friendly managerial overtures' they were making, and their body language that told me they did not value me or see my worth as a person. Very early on my manager had warned me about management, what they were capable of, I was bullied and harassed by the former Assistant Manager not long after I started, maybe that set the precedent. Tell me more. She quit before anyone could fire her. She was extremely insecure, she wanted power, and ironically, they eliminated the position to help her save face, and cut costs, only to promote someone with a very similar power hunger.

A large group of employees came over from Whole Foods with the former General Manager. I heard conversations stating how these people were protected, and I witnessed that in action. Most of them were being paid more than others who were doing similar work, you were either a favorite and could do no wrong, or you weren't and you could do no right. I saw what I had gotten myself into long ago, but I hung on because I told myself I needed a job and I loved my boss. This was another lesson I learned - she made her decision, she chooses to work there and put up with the stress, the drama, and the ridiculousness. Just to illustrate how dysfunctional the system is, I've never worked at any company where people in a sales capacty didn't have access to sales data. We were constantly berated about shippers, spending, and inventory, but we almost never saw any actual sales data. If you don't know where you're at, and you don't have a goal in mind, how can you expect any of your sales people to reach it? This was one of the most mind boggling things to me and I probably should have spoken up sooner, but when I did, all I got was lip service - we have those reports - oh really? why aren't you making them available to employees?

The lack of training and education is deplorable. They're down on corporate America and want people to support local family owned business, but they pull the ugly pieces of larger corporations into their business model, but don't actually inform people that these unwritten rules are in place. You know they are because sooner or later you violate one or run into something you didn't know you were going to get into trouble for and then you're left bewildered because nobody had ever informed you that this was a thing at work. I drove home thanking God for the peace, the protection, the clarity, the forgiveness, the chance to break free, to start fresh, to get a new lease on life, to take some time to reflect on how I contributed, and to make some decisions about the kind of life I want going forward. What am I good at? What can I get paid to do? Where do I want to work? What geographical limitations am I willing to accept? How many hours do I want? How can I better manage my stress levels, because I was a flipping mess for most of the time that I was there, and sadly, I was far from alone.

The good news is I am very employable. Without this job I wouldn't have learned much of what I know about the different MBTI personalities. Yesterday I spent quite a bit of time reading up on the shadow functions. Every type uses all eight functions: Ne, Ni, Se, Si, Fe, Fi, Te, Ti. People lead with what is known as the functional stack, this is their preferred mode, but the shadow functions serve us in times of stress, and can help explain why someone who is under a great deal of pressure may say or do things that they normally wouldn't. I've seen this in myself and others, not much has been written about them, they are less understood, and from what I read there is disagreement about their validity if what I understood was correct. We tend to distrust the opposite of us to a certain extent when we see it, and we may be more comfortable around those whose minds work similarly to ours. This is true in my own life. I love Ne in friends, but I've come to realize (or think) that I would be much better off partnering with another Ni, because those people make more sense to me.  

I need my friends with Ne to show me the things I'm missing, sometimes I think that they see the external world better than I do. Long ago someone told me that the woman with the crush was all about herself, my friend from Ohio seemed to hate her, and I couldn't understand why he was being so hard on her. Then another friend of mine told me that she was beyond crazy with her obsessions and didn't know how I was able to put up with her. It's because I was married to that personality type for so long that trying to meet their needs was almost second nature to me. I should have trusted my initial assessment which is that she was vain, superficial, and lacked drive and determination. She wants the results without the work, she's very immature, spoiled, and pampers herself. She blames others rather than herself, even when she does see that she could be taking action she always has some excuse. It was too hot to walk in summer, then it was too cold in winter, a personal trainer was too expensive, but she could order any kind of cosmetics online. She told me she had gotten rid of her credit cards, she bought things and returned them, it was an endless unbreakable cycle of shop, feel guilty, return everything, buy more.

Thankfully my friends have been very supportive. I told my Twitter friends, forgetting that a woman I work with follows me there so that's how she found out I had been fired. This company is so messed up. I didn't know how to spell my friend's last name so I called the store to see if I could get it from her manager. When I found out she had gone for the day I left a message on her phone. Then I called back to speak to the manager on duty because I mistakenly assumed that the company would do something about this potential life and death situation. Rather than involving professionals which is what I did, the manager on duty called the bookkeeper who is a friend of this woman's, and involved her in everything. This was unbelievably stupid on his part. First of all he shared sensitive information with someone who was not a member of management, secondly he put her in an incredibly difficult and awkward situation, and thirdly, this is what I got terminated for, so according to their standards, if I was fired, then he should be too. He won't be of course. He is in way over his head and trying to rule with an iron fist instead of recognizing that he's not a leader and stepping down to make room for someone who is.

I'm letting go. That job and those people are a part of my past. Today I choose to go forward, to remind myself that I have self worth and it doesn't depend on what anyone else thinks of me. I started reading The Six Pillars of Self Esteem which is a book I've owned for a while, but not really gotten into until today. I happened to flip to the portion where it talks about being responsible for my actions, and I am. Nobody else can make me happy, or unhappy. I'm in charge of my physical healthy, my emotional well being, my spiritual welfare, my finances, my entertainment, my stress levels, my interactions with others, all of these belong to me. It's a blessing that I got fired because I would have stuck it out for much longer. I had been thinking about looking for a different job at the end of the school year, now the choice is out of my hands, and even though it hurts, I'm so grateful I never have to go back there and see that woman ever again. I'm closing the door on that job, I'm going to preserve the memories that made my time there worthwhile. I've forgiven her and everyone else, I'm the forgiving sort, but I doubt I will ever set foot in that building again. 

There are two sides to most stories. This is mine. They failed to consider my emotional wellbeing and how her calls and detailed plan of how she was going to kill herself impacted me. I didn't do anything wrong although I do regret involving my unicorn friend because apparently that traumatized her and caused her undue anxiety. The next time I encounter this situation I won't bother consulting anyone else, I'm going to call 911 and be done with it. I'm not an expert, I'm not a professional, this type of thing is very scary, and it's making me very angry that she's the woman who cried wolf and now wants people to brush her little outburst under the carpet. She hasn't learned a thing from this, she won't get help, they won't address the underlying depression issues, and the power imbalance and lack of leadership at work. I'm gone, but the problems persists, and as upset as I am right now, I'm in a much better place than most of them. I'm out, I'm free, I've made mistakes, owned them, been unjustly terminated for trying to take steps to possibly save someone's life, and if that's not appreciated, then I really have no desire to work there anyways. I almost called and quit yesterday, but something told me not to do anything drastic. Lesson learned.

I'm so happy right now. It's like getting divorced all over again, she was like my ex as far as personality goes. I wish I had known that long ago, but I doubt it would have helped, because I'm the type of person who needs to experience things myself, or I should say, I used to be that person. Now I'm going to be much better about partnering with those who read others differently than I do to get a better handle on what I might be missing or misinterpreting. I'm going to read up on internal and external intuition, I need to learn how to read people and situations better, I'm going to be on high alert for those who drain me instead of energizing me. I'm going to forgive myself because I was trying to help someone who could use someone like me in their life. Next time I will be quicker to put distance between me and this type. I'm also going to be better about doing the things I need to do to beome a higher functioning adult because I've let myself go in some pretty appalling ways and I'm really glad I turned things around and did what I did yesterday. I'm understandably exhausted so I'm going to go and lie down for a while. Then I'm going to get out and do something. I refuse to sit here and feel sorry for myself. This is a gift and I'm grateful for it.

Much love,

Jessica J

P.S. I applied for a couple of temp jobs. I might do that for a while, I'm very leery of job interviews, you have such a short amount of time to really understand what the underlying organizational culture is like during an interview and you're usually a bit nervous so you're not as calm as you could be otherwise. Wish me well, but I already know that whatever happens will be for my greater good and growth.



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