Friday, November 28, 2008

Another Perfect Holiday

Well, following what was the perfect Thanksgiving -- spent cooking, relaxing, eating, and playing games in our jammies but only after an early-morning trip to the fitness center -- we are now sitting around with no game plan. Several months ago, I had asked X if I could have the kids for the full weekend, so that we could make a trip to see family out east. By the time he got back to me it was too late to press on with any elaborate trip, so we decided to settle for something closer to home. That hasn't panned out either, along with most of the other ideas that I've had in the last hour, just trying to come up with something.

So, I'm pissed off, because through no fault of their own or mine, we're stuck. I'm more pissed because the company I work for is cutting me back to HALF TIME as of MONDAY, and there's no guarantee of how long that will last, or whether I and the good folks I followed into that arrangement are going to be able to pull some sort of holiday miracle out of our butts to generate business to make up for the other half. I'm pissed because I'm sitting at home with the kids, having promised them something more festive to do today, but failing to produce. I'm pissed that I had to tell them that we'll be fine for a while because their 43 year old mother is able to cobble together two part time jobs to make ends meet. I'm SO too old for that. Ugh.

I know I still have it one hell of a lot better than a lot of people. I don't live large so while there aren't many places I can cut back, I don't have a mountain of worrisome debt staring me in the face, either. There are people in my own family and among friends who are ill, who are losing their jobs altogether, who have all kinds of sadness and unpleasant situations on hand. I'm just having a bad attitude about the fact that I was just hitting a new place, a clearing in the forest where I could see that things were in pretty good shape and I could start to live like a normal person, you know, without a dishwasher with holes in it, or carpet that looks like it belonged in a frat house. But I guess I'll have to live with that a little longer. Every time I see another "news report" about people not spending money, my head feels like it's going to blow up. Given that so many millions of Americans are out of work, how exactly, is this news? I have a credit line big enough on one card to buy a brand new car, but I'm not an idiot. Look at this story. At least my job isn't to play Dr. Santa.

I know things will turn out ok and most likely even get better, and I know that one key is simply to start behaving like some of the candidates I've helped get into great jobs -- not undersell myself, capitalize on my transferable skills, not accepting anything less than what it would take to keep me whole, truly prepare myself to compete. I also have to make sure I'm not working for free--I am indebted to the good folks who gave me a shot five years ago and I'll do everything I can to help turn things around, but I've cut back my hours in the mornings when my kids are with me so that I can drop my daughter off just before school starts, allowing me a little more time with her but also saving me the expense of morning child care. To think I'm one of the lucky ones in my company? Yah. Needless to say, this concludes my experiment with the corporate sector.

I hope that all y'all are having a reasonably good holiday weekend. As crappy as things seem to be right now for just about everyone I know, I can still think of more than a few things I'm grateful for to every one thing that's got me down. I hope you can say the same, or sing it, or play it this weekend while you have a little time to yourself. As the kids in School of Rock say, don't let the man get you down. You might want to cozy up with someone you care about and listen to this tune from the Red Clay Ramblers, even if it's just your cat or your kid. At the end of the day, what we're really hanging onto is the love we have and the hope to love even more, at this time of year and all year.

One Rose/Hot Buttered Rum

7 Comments:

At November 28, 2008 11:37 PM, Blogger Blueberry said...

We seem to be doing alright even though we are bringing home less and less all the time (it's mostly me doing that, but same net result). We make adjustments and get used to them. It's amazing how much less we live on now than we did 10 years ago.

I got permanently disillusioned by the corporate world a few years ago. Of course, the curmudgeony attitude hasn't helped my career any (hmmm... *what* career? I think my purpose for working is to keep the veterinarians happy)

It's all a balancing act, isn't it? Life tipping you from one side to the other and you just trying to stay put and keep going.

Hang in there! :-)

 
At November 29, 2008 10:42 AM, Blogger Mando Mama said...

Hey! Thanks, Blue. One way or another I've always managed to land on my feet before and I'm pretty confident I will again. The nature of doing this right at the holidays stinks -- but it stinks more for the 1,000 folks at the GM plant down near Dayton that will close on Dec 23. It's just so bad everywhere. But I love to work and I've always left my employers in better shape than I found them, so I'm going to keep my head up and my eyes wide open.

I hope you've had a good holiday! I need to post pictures of our new family member, Van (previously known as "Vanessa" until we were told otherwise).

 
At December 01, 2008 1:20 PM, Blogger DrDon said...

Mando - sorry to hear about work. These are strange and interesting times, to put a positive spin on it. It was reported that Black Friday spending was actually higher than last year. Go figure. Survery suggested that deep discounts helped and consumer electronics, like LCD TVs, were some of the biggest movers. Far be it from me to deny anyone a nice Christmas but, if you don't have money, you don't have money. Just because something is on sale doesn't mean you can afford it. If you're in danger of being foreclosed or your job is hanging on by a thread, buying a big new TV probably isn't the best thing to do, even if it now only costs $500 instead of $1,000.

I'm also finding it more and more disturbing that the folks who have bankrupted many of our big corporations (GM, Ford, AIG, CITI, etc.) still seem to make millions of dollars. If I made a mistake that cost my firm a single lawsuit, I'd likely be fired. But apparently you can cost your company millions and still make millions.

The argument for extraordinary CEO pay has always been that this is what you need to do to attract top talent. Well, if top talent runs these companies into the ground, could less than top talent do much worse?

To me, all this economic crisis has done is hasten the decline of the middle class. Sure, the very wealthy might be less wealthy today than they were a year ago but Oprah is worrying about replacing her furnace. LeBron doesn't have to start rolling change. Millionaires may have less millions but they're going to be okay. The middle class, however, is being decimated and no one seems to have either the knowledge or will to do anything about it.

 
At December 01, 2008 1:22 PM, Blogger DrDon said...

Of course, Oprah "isn't" worried about replacing her furnace is more accurate.

 
At December 01, 2008 1:56 PM, Blogger Mando Mama said...

True, she probably isn't. Of course I love my new furnace but unfortunately I'm going to have to keep the heat turned way down in order to pay for it. To add insult to injury, when I woke up today, I thought, "Well, as long as I'm in the office, I'm not using electricity or as much heat at home." I arrived at work only to find that the entire building was without power, so I've been working at home today. If I didn't know better, I would swear the universe is trying to tell me something.

I agree with your comments about the middle class, and by that I mean anyone earning from what I was earning, around $45K, to upwards of $200K. Shitfire, if any of us did our jobs the way the CEOs of The Big Three did theirs, we'd have been out of a job in a hot minute. It is maddeningly UNFAIR. My industry is taking a hit all over so while my situation is a tad expected, the timing could not be worse. Fortunately I had just stocked the pantry when the news hit. I'm also a fine coupon clipper and able to live extremely leanly every other week when I'm on my own. And not only is live bluegrass cheap to come by, I can make my own! Hopefully I'll be able to make it through this mess before resorting to "patties" of any kind (and Boca Burgers ain't cheap!)...

 
At December 02, 2008 2:31 PM, Blogger DrDon said...

Don't knock the patties! I like the gardenburger veggie patties and I also buy a brand of salmon patties Giant Eagle carries. I find these things are a good source of fiber and protein but low in calories and fat. They're also not too expensive. You can get a box of 4 gardenburgers for about $5. That's cheaper than most fast food burgers and better for you!

I find food in patty form to be very convenient. :-)

 
At December 02, 2008 9:44 PM, Blogger Mando Mama said...

And there's your epitaph.

Sorry--as you might guess, my favorite patties are Crabby Patties! Arrrrrr.

 

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