Wednesday, April 27, 2011


So, I quit my job.

Yeah. I did.

In the beginning, I was really excited about going back to work and doing something fun. It doesn't matter that the job turned out to be a whole lot less fun than expected because the hard work was really good for me. It was cathartic. Good therapy. Like mucking horse stalls was cathartic good therapy. And when I make that comparison, it is not an accident.

I'm not afraid of hard work, y'all. In fact, I find it invigorating. I would much rather be tired at the end of the day because I worked my ass off and earned the fatigue than to be tired because I sat around all day doing nothing. But, it looks like imma be sitting around doing a whole lot of nothing very soon.

I was torn, but I quit anyway. I'd been considering it for a long while. Before I even completed my training if you want to know the truth. I knew almost immediately that I was hired for a job that was far different in reality than what I had imagined. Expected. What I had signed up for. But I also decided to give it a fair trial. Six months.

It was the longest six months of my life.

I have my good days. And I have my bad days (like last Saturday when I dropped my iPhone in the toilet and knocked a bottle of olive oil on the floor shattering it in a million pieces, sending a trajectory of green slime in all directions kind of like a crime scene bludgeoning. After that, the Caramel Macchiato Tiramisu that I painstakingly built wasn't set and started dissolving the moment I served it. It tasted great but looked so astonishingly hideous I had to throw most of it out. And that was just my first hour). Regardless, the Saturdays were killing me. A girl doesn't come out of retirement for a fun job that turns out to be un-fun and then work every stinking Saturday of her life - and like it. So, that was pretty much the deciding factor.

I gave 30 days notice, because it took me a month of training before I was ready to execute my job properly, and I wanted to afford my employer the same time to train somebody new. Unfortunately, I'm already regretting that decision. Have you any idea how long a month is when in your heart you are already gone? It's not so much a short-timers attitude because I fully intend to do my best right up until my last hour - it's more like staying married to someone you no longer love. Someone who has bitterly disappointed you. You do it for whatever reason, but it's still torture. It's still jail.

In all fairness, I have to say that I am employed by a wonderful company. One of Fortune Magazine's 100 Best Companies to Work For, fourteen years running. Unfortunately, a Fortune List does not a perfect job make. I can't go into detail, but let's just say a monkey could do my job and probably get paid better. On the other hand, they still had faith in me. They hired me. I owed them, at the very least, a decent notice period and a thoughtful resignation letter, something like this:
Dear {boss},
After careful consideration, I submit this letter of resignation to {employer}, effective May 19, 2011.  Family and personal commitments make it necessary for me to end my employment and I am providing this thirty day advance notice in order to allow {employer} ample time to hire and train a replacement. I have enjoyed working as a {laboratory rat} and appreciate the opportunity and the experience.  It has been a privilege to be a member of the {employer} team and I have great admiration and respect for all the hard working {laboratory rats} in each department, many of whom have become my good friends.
I look forward to continuing a great customer relationship with {employer} as I make my regular shopping rounds and am excited for the continued success and growth of the {employer} store.
Except for the manager on duty to whom I submitted the letter, it went unacknowledged. Seriously. My first line manager has yet to acknowledge it. And the store manager, who hired me, has yet to acknowledge it. But that's not to say he hasn't made inappropriate comments...

On Saturday - the aforementioned day from hell - I was chatting up a regular customer when my store manager approached and joined in. I was in the midst of getting glorified accolades from the customer when my store manager piped in, "We took a huge risk hiring her. Unfortunately, she didn't work out."

Excusemewhat???!! OMG what did you just say?  I didn't work out? I was given the best first performance evaluation ever, I have never missed a day of work, I have never been so much as a minute late, I have dazzled the customers (poetic license), and have worked extra days and hours when asked. And you say I didn't work out? You say I was a huge risk?? Please let me remind you that I resigned. YOU are what didn't work out. I can only hope my socially inept store manager was trying to make a funny that came out horribly inexcusably wrong - and even then it was a terrible error in judgement. 

The truth is, they took zero risk hiring me. I have a pretty little resumé, a strong work ethic, didn't balk  over money, was enthusiastic, performed my duties well, and was in general a model employee. I made friends, kept my mouth shut, didn't complain, didn't gossip, kept a smile glued on my face, and was consistently if not overwhelmingly cheerful. Oh yeah, and I cooked like a champion over and over and over and over and over. What didn't work out is that I have a life and a husband that take priority - and my little job began interfering with my quality of life. So, I quit. And I'm counting down the weeks, days, hours and minutes until I'm free.

And when I am free... I can't wait to go back to the store... in my bathing suit and cover up, waving to everyone while I pick up a few necessaries on my way to the beach.

Oh, snap indeed!

Friday, April 22, 2011

EPIC! US Soldiers cover Britney Spears

As if you didn't need another reason to love our US military...

Monday, April 4, 2011

Putting the "fun" in dysfunctional...

I've been thinking a lot about dysfunction lately. Mostly because it is so front-and-center in my own life, it's hard to ignore sometimes.

I'm not talking about bigtime dysfunction, but about the subtler variety that seems to rise up from the grass and swarm around us like a cloud of gnats. The kind of dysfunction that if we didn't have it, we wouldn't be normal. Make sense?

I have idiosyncrasies and habits that make me unique, and - truth be told - I'm okay with them. They're like family. The me, myself, and I of quirky behavior. The multiple personality disorder of being human in a world that often judges too harshly and forgives too infrequently.

Here's a snippet of my list:
  1. I'm a recovering people pleaser. This is often problematic for me because when I'm not walking a perfectly balanced line between doing what I think is right, being true to myself, and being confident in my decisions - I tend to oscillate between trying to convince myself that I don't give a damn what people think and overreacting to what people think. 
  2. I'm lazy. Often I wake up in the morning with goals that by 6pm are meaningless. Oh, I have the best of intentions as the sun climbs up the sky ladder, but somehow that changes mid-day and by afternoon I've already justified why I veered off in the opposite direction. Thank goodness my goals are not lofty.
  3. I'm an all-or-nothing girl. Remember a couple years ago when I lost a ton of weight? Do you think I did it slowly, carefully and with healthy precision? Hell no. I cut out every single thing that I thought would derail my progress, ate zero fat, and exercised like a maniac. The weight fell off in six months. And so did a lot of my hair. The hair grew back along with ten pounds which I continue to hack away at. Unfortunately, in order to get rid of those pesky ten, once and for all, I think I'm going to have to go all Karen Carpenter again. It's the only way I know how.
  4. I'm extremely sensitive. It's almost like a sixth sense to me. Reading between the lines is what I do best, and I know the very instant the wind shifts. I can smell when feelings change or anger starts bubbling up. I know immediately when something is stirring - and I'm generally not only right, but right on the money. This is a blessing and a curse. I used to hate being sensitive. Hated always wearing my heart on my sleeve. Hated crying on a dime. Hated being told I am too sensitive, like I have the ability to just flip a switch and suddenly not be. But then I discovered that being sensitive was also like having a great big window pane on the world and I had a cushy seat right in front. My sensitivity allows me to experience so much more of my world than insensitives do theirs. Again... a blessing and a curse.
  5. I'm fierce. As a general rule, I'm a very nice person, but don't cross me unless you want me to go all Medusa on you. And trust me... I've had more snakes grow out of my head than I can count. I'm not a provocateur, but push me too far and I have a response mechanism with no safety latch. I think it comes from growing up in an environment steeped in criticism and disapproval, which brings us full-circle (see #1 above).
I'm not making excuses for myself. For the most part, I understand who I am and am aware of most of my shortcomings. I do make an honest effort at improving myself, but I don't stress or worry over it too much. I accept myself. Kind of like a Zebra avoids wearing purple because it recognizes it looks best in black and white. But being introspective as I am, I also have the keen ability to recognize the dysfunction of others:
  1. Those who always have to be right.
  2. Those who always have to win.
  3. Those who always have to have the last word.
  4. Those whose self-loathing is manifested in their need to be superior over others.
  5. Those whose internal guilt meter directs their every move in life.
  6. Those who are the mouthpieces for causes or crusades because they believe doing so makes them appear smarter, better, wiser, hipper, more worldly, more attractive, fill in the ____.
  7. The know-it-alls.
  8. The manipulators.
  9. The punishers.
  10. The hypocrites.
  11. The users.
  12. The Obamas. (Ha! I was shooting for an even dozen.)
And for the most part, I'm cool with all of them too because I am them. And so are you. We are all the same. We're human. We have our ups and downs. We have our flaws. We are the sum of our experiences, our upbringings, our environments, our hurts, our triumphs, our mistakes. We are all born against our will and die against it too. In the meantime, we do our best. We try. We succeed. We fail. We drink our tiger blood and get on with it. We, each of us in our own way, are perfect. Perfectly dysfunctional - but in a really fun way.