Me, Myself, and the Voices in My Head

A place to ramble and maybe make some sense about a thing or two.

Archive for the category “Employment”

Just tired of it all….

No, I haven’t been posting the past few days.  Even my therapist got upset at me because I’ve not been writing.

When you’re in a funk, you can’t write.  You can’t do anything but sit and spin your wheels which just causes more frustration over how you’re not going anywhere in your life.

I can end up waiting up to six months for someone to do something about my ERO/EEOC claim because that’s the law.  Even though I now can’t work doing the job I had because some idiot decided he wanted to make the rules instead of following the law, I have to wait for the legal process to take its course.

I’ve applied for so many jobs in the local area I’ve completely lost count.  And have I heard anything back?  Nope.  Or when I go somewhere thinking I might like to apply and I can already see in their faces the fact that they’re not thrilled over my 86-pound constant companion, I don’t bother.  Besides, I’d rather have her with me everyday than the crap that can happen at most places.

Got news about a family member who’s going through some tough times.  I want to be able to help and give support but I also don’t want to be intrusive.  I remember when I was in a somewhat similar situation and the last thing I wanted was pity from anyone and I usually got a lot of unsolicited advice that didn’t do me much good.  I don’t want to be one of those kinds of people.

One of my friends was to get married tomorrow and her fiancé left her today.  She and her young daughter who had opened their home and lives to him and his excuse is because his biological son is afraid of having to make new friends when he moves.  What a jerk.

I’m trying to help celebrate Youngest Son’s upcoming birthday.  I went to the movies with Husband, Youngest Son, and four of his friends.  They had a great time and I was really glad they could go.  I just feel like I wish we could have done more.

Husband and Youngest Son are currently in the basement doing laundry and playing a computer game.  I sincerely appreciate that they’re doing the laundry because that means I don’t have to do it and I don’t have to go outside to get to the basement.  It’s not a “finished” basement like many people have.  It has a floor and walls, but there’s no way to access it from inside the house.  And with the heat the way it is, I’m not in the mood to go outside much.

And, yes, Depressive is trying to get me to post but I’m so sick and tired of being sick and tired that it’s just been easier to do nothing and sleep instead of trying to come up with something to write and crying while I feel awful.

Maybe I’ll get back on a schedule.  Maybe I’ll stop writing completely.  I’ve already told my therapist that I’m not writing anymore at the moment about my past because I’m getting to big areas that I don’t really remember.  There are a lot of blank spaces in my memory — some last days, some last years — and whatever is hidden inside them I do not want to bring back to the surface.  It wouldn’t be healing; it would be reopening the wounds that my brain has found a way to deal with that doesn’t cause me any additional damage.  I remember trying to deal with them and it didn’t work then.  Time does not heal all wounds.

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Watching and waiting

I’ve been cruising the Facebook pages of some of my friends from where I used to work and it seems like the majority of them have been complaining about the new process to reapply for their jobs.  Supposedly it’s taking them a long, long time to get through all of the screens of questions they have to answer.  Some are also complaining about the difficulty in uploading documents that are required for reapplication.  Many are complaining about how the salaries for what they’ve been doing for so many years is much, much less than they would consider working for today but they’re glad their salaries will be grandfathered in when the transition is over.

Me?  I’m still waiting to hear about my formal ERO complaint.  Still very upset over what happened and that the person who violated my right to work and discriminated against me had the gall to admit it to an ERO counselor.  And I’ve filed complaints with the Department of Justice and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.  Just trying to cover all of my bases.

But, time will tell.  Sooner or later they have to acknowledge the filing of the complaint and they have to do something about it.  The ball is in their court now.  I’m just going to wait and see if they’re going to do the right thing.

Can we say “discrimination?” I thought we could!

*Insert loud screaming in frustration noise here*

Well, I just heard from my Equal Rights counselor regarding my long “quest” to find out why I wasn’t reappointed to my job and to try to get it back.  I still have another phone call coming from her when she receives the message of whether or not the person she is dealing with has the right to reappoint me or not.  At the moment, however, I couldn’t give crap one if they try to reappoint me to my old position.  There’s no way I could possibly stand to work for these people after what I was just told they said about me and my disability!

So, quick rundown before I have to go grab another Xanax.  The main Equal Rights Officer I worked with last year to get my reasonable accommodations to have Celeste come to work with me stated that I had proven that I had a disability and with all the letters from therapists, doctors, co-workers, and the trainer of my service dog that I had proven the need and should be allowed to bring her with me.  My assistant Cadre Manager signed-off on all of the paperwork and sent me a memo stating how in the future I was to notify her when I was deploying with Celeste and the rules/regulations that I would have to follow for having her in our field offices.  Basic stuff, all approved, all signed, and copies (both physical and electronic) are saved for my records.

Then, the counselor contacted my Cadre Manager and his assistant to speak with them on why I wasn’t reappointed to my job.  He stated that he’d heard my name but didn’t know who I was.  He also stated that he knew that there were issues last year with me bringing Celeste and problems at the office (which there weren’t any from her, just from others who wanted to pet and play with her) and that she was not a “service animal” but was a “comfort dog.”  Really??  Since when did he become so educated on what constitutes the difference between a SD (service dog) and an ESA (emotional support animal)??  And this is a man I’ve only ever spoken to once since I started working for him in 2009 because he never returned my emails or phone calls and I always had to go through his assistant.

And speaking of his assistant, she was very quiet throughout the interview.  I have her signature approving my request for reasonable accommodation but she told the counselor that all of that was handled at headquarters by the ERO officers.

I was right!!  They were discriminating against me when they didn’t reappoint me.  The Cadre Manager stated that my “comfort dog” would cause a problem and I couldn’t be deployed or retained because of it.  Also, he said that he had to drastically reduce the number of people he had employed but he only released two people in my section.  I guess all of the people who I trained last year will be able to go on to have full employment and success now.

I’m not expecting to get my job back because he said he’d be happy to write a letter of recommendation for me (which was the easy-out option given if they weren’t going to keep me) and I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t want me back anyway now that I know what I know.  But, I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it.

I’m shocked.  I’m flabbergasted.  I can’t believe that someone would be so bold to basically state outright that my disability is the reason they didn’t keep me — especially since this is a FEDERAL position and there are FEDERAL laws to protect the disabled.

You can be sure I’ll keep things updated as more info comes in.  However, for anyone who thought I was just uselessly chasing a dream, I’m not upset and I’m not going to dance around with my tongue sticking out and my fingers in my ears saying “I’m right and you were wrong!”  I’ve always had a tenacity to grab hold of something and see it all the way through to the end, regardless if I’m right or I’m wrong.  I’m glad that I have that now because I have proof that I was right this time.  And anyone who feels that they’ve been wronged should be brave enough to stand-up for what they believe in and fight for what is right.  I hope I’ve been a good example.

Now I need to try to relax before I pop a vein in my head.  That would kind of make going on to a formal complaint process difficult.

We’ll see what happens now….

Today I got a call from an EEO/ERO person regarding my previous “quest” to find out why I’d not been reappointed to my employment position.  She asked a lot of questions; I gave a lot of answers; I forwarded a LOT of emails; and she said she’d be making some phone calls and would get back in touch with me.

I have no idea if it’s really going to make a difference or not.  This has been such a stupid thing that I almost don’t care which way it turns out.  But, note that I said “almost” in that last sentence.  I’m still very proud of the work I did with that agency and believe that I still have/had many years left to help others.

If nothing else, it gives me one more step towards closure.  Who knows what will happen?

Just my typical Type-A/OCD self — have to see it through all the way to the end regardless of the outcome.

Voices are in charge again!

I have no idea what the hell is up with me today.  My brain has gone into extreme overdrive and now I’ve got thoughts and words and feelings and shit (yes, I can swear and am actually very good at it) bouncing around in there and they won’t leave me alone.  Maybe I’m finally having a mental breakdown.  Maybe I’m finally having some kind of epiphany that will let me find my “true calling” in the world.  Whatever the hell it is, it’s driving me freakin’ nuts and I can’t stand it!

It’s like the voices in my head are trying to get me to write my autobiography.  Nice idea but who the hell would want to read it?  I’m nobody.  I’ve not done anything fantastic and famous.  I’m just another schmuck on the sidewalk with the rest of the people whose hopes and dreams are dashed by themselves, their problems, their families, their jobs, their government, or any other number of outside and inside forces.  Yeah, I’m sure all of the major bookstores would make lots of prime real estate for a book about me — right in the bottom of the dumpsters.  Besides, if I wrote an autobiography I could never get it published because all of the people in it would hate it and what I had to say about them at one point or another, they’d try to sue me for slander, or I’d just never get the rights to use their names or likenesses and then my book would have a bunch of blank spaces in it I couldn’t fill.  Yeah, that’s going to be interesting reading.

So where do I start?  What am I supposed to be doing with this mess in my head?  I didn’t even want to open the word processing program but now I find myself here typing as fast as my fingers will move trying to get onto the page everything at once.  And that’s not a good thing to try to do because I have OCD and I have to proofread while I’m typing and when things are not flowing well my brain starts yelling at me and I have to start over again.  I’m going to try to switch it off for a bit but I can’t guarantee how that’s going to work out.  If you don’t hear from me again somewhere in the middle of this diatribe it’s probably ’cause my OCD-blocking caused an aneurysm and I’m face-down on the keyboard with the dogs wondering why I won’t let them outside.

I remember things from when I was little.  I told my mother that I swear I remember the green seats on the airplane back from Hawaii to the mainland.  I told her once that I have a vivid memory of a bright circle of light in front of me and an ugly green upholstered seat back to my right and I’m laying down in the seat and can’t say or do anything.  She says it’s just me remembering her telling a story about the trip when my family moved from Hawaii to Missouri and she flew with me while my dad was still getting out of the Navy.  I don’t remember anything else from then until I opened my eyes after “making a wish” and blowing out the candle on my 3rd birthday cake.  I remember that.  I remember my brain saying, “We have to remember this.  This is an important day.”  It was like I’d switched-on a tape recorder in my brain and I have vague memories of doing that many times when my mind would believe that something was worth remembering.  Not like things from school or grocery lists — just places and events that should stick with me for some reason.

I was an only child.  I say “was” because I do have step-siblings and a half-sister.  But biologically, it’s just me.  Even though my biological father refuses to acknowledge me anymore and claims the children of his other wives as his kids, I’m the last of his bloodline and he’s way too old and sick to do anything about it now.  Yeah….he always told me about how awful it was when he was 4 and his father walked-out on his family and then never wanted to have anything to do with him until he’d remarried and divorced and had a bunch of kids in Utah somewhere and was dying and then tried to call my father for help and support.  And my father, being the person he is, was more than happy to tell my biological paternal grandfather to shove it and didn’t give a crap even when I gave him the message sometime in the early 1980s that we’d gotten a phone call and his dad was dead.

Kind of the same thing is happening now, in a way.  My biological father wanted a son.  He was sure that he’d have a son.  Then I popped out and spoiled his fun.  I don’t really know when my parents’ marriage began to fall apart, but I have a feeling that even then things weren’t so good ’cause they decided to not have another child.  I don’t know why and no one has ever tried to tell me a reason, so it’s just a guess on my part.  But, good ol’ dad knew he’d have at least a decade before puberty would set-in and make me the daughter he couldn’t pretend I wasn’t.  So he taught me about cars and guns and sports and I was the epitome of a tomboy.  Oh sure, I had Barbie dolls and other girly toys, but if I was playing with friends, they were usually boys and I loved their toys WAY much more than my stuff.

I had a friend, Russell, who lived two streets away and my parents taught school with his parents.  Oh yeah, I left that part out.  We moved back to Missouri because my dad didn’t want to be in the Navy anymore even though he was offered stations in London, Madrid, or Washington D.C.  Nope, he wanted to go back to being a schoolteacher for some insane reason.  My mother then became a teacher.  Her father was already a teacher.  You can see where I’m going with this.  I was doomed from the start to be a teacher in some form or fashion.

Anyway, back to Russell.  His family and my family were friends and Russell and I were the same age.  We stayed at the same babysitter’s house since they didn’t have formal preschool in those days.  Sometimes when our parents would go out together in the evenings, they’d drop us off at the sitter’s house and we’d either stay until our parents got back or spend the night.  Russell and I had a blast together ’cause I’d been raised so much like a boy by my father that I didn’t mind getting muddy in the yard or trying to catch crawfish with my bare hands in the ditch at the end of the road and I watched all of the TV shows that the rest of the guys liked.  I fit right in.  Heck, my babysitter figured I “fit-in” well enough that I do have the memory of bath time at her house one night.

Her husband and sons worked at the local grain elevator.  They came home and got cleaned-up from their long, dirty day at work and went to eat dinner.  I didn’t know that they were used to the old country ways of when you had to bring water in for a bath by hand and everyone shared it.  She got Russell and me into the bathroom and stripped-off our clothes and plopped us into the large claw-foot bathtub that had just been used by I don’t remember how many stinky, oily, dirty grown men.  I just remember the water was so dark I couldn’t see anything of myself under it and there was a film of some sort that carried small curly hairs past my face.  She reminded us that we needed to use plenty of soap to keep the other dirt off of us so we’d be clean.  This was one of my first introductions to lye soap.  It doesn’t suds-up like soap we use today does, so I kept rubbing and rubbing it on me thinking it was never going to clean anything.  Then she scooped each of us out of the murky broth (remember, we’re both in the tub together), dried us off, gave us our pajamas we’d brought with us, and finished it all up with a healthy dose of NyQuil.  Yup, back when it had a high enough alcohol content to knock you on your butt.  We’d already had dinner and she wanted to make sure we went to bed.  I was basically an alcoholic at age 4 from all the times I stayed at her house.

My biological father helped Russell’s dad build an addition onto their house.  For some reason, my dad had gotten into the building craze and was making shelves and cabinets and anything else he could think of with power tools that I longed to use.  I’d go out into the garage and look at the tools and ask to help and he’d occasionally give me a hammer or a screwdriver to “pretend” to fix something.  Heck, I knew in my young mind that I was doing better than he was ’cause every time my mother would ask him to fix something he’d end up breaking it or trying to screw-in all the attachments with a butter knife.  Now that I’m older I realize that this is a specific “Dad Phenomenon” that all males have.  They don’t want to do the “honey-do” lists and figure if they screw up whatever they’ve been asked to do enough that the wife will decide to never ask him to do it again and will hire someone else to take care of it.  Yup, even before Kindergarten I’d already learned how guys worked.

Anyway, when the guys were building the addition onto the house, Russell and I would play outside.  By this time he had a younger sister and she and our mothers would sit inside and do something.  I don’t know what it was because I didn’t want to be stuck inside.  Russell and I would chase each other around the house and up-and-down the street because this was back when you could play in the street and traffic watched-out for children.  It was also the time when neighbors watched-out for kids as well and if you did something wrong they had every right to punish you just as your parents would and then tell your parents about it which usually got you punished again.  Plus, our babysitter with the claw-foot tub lived just diagonally across the street from Russell’s house, so everyone knew we’d be safe.

I remember hearing adult voices telling me to not run in the construction area a thousand times but it was still fun.  There were the studs for the walls to weave ourselves through and unfinished stairs that we’d climb and jump off the top before being scolded again.  Finally, it happened.  The klutz gene in me decided to show up and I tripped on a piece of wood.  That wasn’t too bad ’cause the floor had already been laid and the concrete and I were already good friends.  What sucked was the small board with the very large nail sticking out of it that just happened to be in my landing zone.  This large framing nail went into my left calf and somehow didn’t hit either of the bones in my leg.  But I bled like a stuck pig; my mother screamed that I was going to die of tetanus;  and my father carried me to the bathroom with the board still nailed to my leg before pulling it out.  Someone was on the phone to the doctor to ask what to do about it and I remember the evil bottle of Mercurochrome was brought out to be poured into the large hole.  Of course, I did the screaming-jumping-whining dance of any kid who’d been assaulted with Mercurochrome and watched my leg become dyed a weird rusty color wherever it ran.  The doctor on the phone told them to just put a bandage on it and it would heal.  It did.  I’ve got a cool round scar there that’s faded with age but because there were no stitches or butterfly band-aids, it’s still the same size as the nail that caused it.  I loved showing it off to guys like an old war wound on the playground.  They’d cringe and I usually won admiration for having the most awesome scar in the group.

As I said before, my parents were teachers.  My dad was my school principal from second grade through eighth grade (with a small respite when I basically had to retake fifth grade — more on that later) at two different school districts and my mother taught 8th grade math and science, so I never had her as a teacher since we’d moved and I’d changed districts before I reached that level.

Okay, so I mentioned “retaking” the fifth grade.  Here’s what happened.  I was very advanced in Kindergarten.  When I went for testing to see which class I’d be placed in, the teachers knew me because my parents habitually loaned me out to their friends who were in the process of getting their Master’s of Education and needed to run tests and show experimental learning styles on a subject.  I was free labor (well, they did have to take me to McDonald’s) and was soon also known by most of the graduate-level instructors at the college where everyone was attending.  Someone would pick me up, take me to the college, run their test with me, get their grade, and then take me to McDonald’s for a burger before heading back home.  The college was over an hour away and we didn’t have a McDonald’s in our town, so I thought I was hitting the big time by getting to go there a lot.

Since I’d been tested and had a rabid reading habit of my own that allowed me to devour books in a very short time, I was very advanced for being only 5 years old.  The school even said that if I’d had a better grasp of mathematics that they would have considered having me skip Kindergarten and perhaps even 1st grade because I was already reading on a 3rd grade level.  But, my poor math skills kept me back and I hated the first day of Kindergarten because it was nothing but recess all day.  I was there to learn, by god, and all the playing was SO boring!  And I couldn’t get over the other classmates who would cry and whine and need to be restrained as their parents left each day!  Didn’t they realize that this was where you could learn more and be away from your parents and be who you wanted to be?

Obviously not and no one informed me that it wasn’t proper for me to “be who I wanted to be” because I wanted to get the heck out of there and they made me stay.  My class was divided into groups by abilities and I so vividly remember the first day we had our reading circle.  Everyone was given a copy of the book we were going to learn to read and my teacher sat in the circle with us and read the first sentence very slowly.  “Okay,” I thought, “this is just a warm-up and we’ll be done in no time.”  I started reading the book and was done before the second child to her left had finished reading the sentences assigned to him after the first child had stuttered and stammered her way through her attempt before saying she didn’t know the words.  When they finally got to me, I was ready.  I was going to show these kids how it was done.  The teacher called on me to read the next page and everyone was stunned that she’d ask me to read so much.  I started reading and was almost done with it when I realized that she was trying to stop me.  I hadn’t made any mistakes and was very confused.  “You need to slow down,” she said.  “Not everyone else can read like you can and they need to hear the words.  You’re going too fast.”

What?  I remember thinking that if they couldn’t read as fast as I could then they needed to be in another group or another class.  And I remember my teacher (another friend of my parents) talking to my mother and explaining that I needed to slow down and that it wasn’t anything I’d done wrong but that she needed to help me understand that I was going to have to help “teach” the others to read.

Looking back, I wonder if that’s where my desires to teach and control started.  At the age of 5, I was being told to “teach” others which meant I had a certain “power” over them.  It didn’t help when almost halfway through the year the teacher’s aide we had that did our language and spelling “classes” was arrested and we didn’t have anyone to grade our workbooks.  My teacher said that since I knew how to read and had already completed my book on my own that I could grade the other students’ books.  Yup, I “taught” language and spelling in Kindergarten.  How cool is that?

Okay….my fingers hurt, I’ve been typing for over 2 hours straight, and I’ve got the voices in my head screaming at me that I’m going WAY off topic.  What topic?  It’s supposed to be about me and this is about me.  They have other issues and topics they want brought up and put on paper.  I can’t do it at the moment.  I’m exhausted; I’m making way too many typos to suit myself (told ya’ the OCD-block wouldn’t work) and I’ve got to stop for a while.  I’ll try to pick it up again tomorrow.  Probably after my therapist appointment — that always is a good trigger for me.

Now I’m going to try to shut the voices up with some inane television and something to drink (non-alcoholic).  Maybe this running commentary will be good for me to be able to see how my mind is working and organizes things.  And maybe I’m just full of crap and want to feel self-important again.

Three pages too much?

Last week my therapist gave me “homework” to do.  I was supposed to sit down and come up with a list of things I can and can’t do at work.  Things that make work easy for me.  Things that make work very difficult for me.  Personality traits.  Observations from others who’ve seen me work or actually worked with me.

I discussed this with Husband over the weekend and wanted his opinions as well because he (1) sees me every day and knows my moods/emotions sometimes better than I do and (2) we’ve worked together in “regular” jobs and have owned a business together.  And I told him to be unbiased and be very direct and blunt about what he thinks could be an asset or a liability.  Taking the easy way out, he told me to make my list and he’d read it, adding anything he thought I’d forgotten.

So, I did.  I sat down and looked at a list of mental and physical traits considered good and negative for people in the workforce as determined by the Social Security Administration.  I figured I’d use their employment/unemployment information because they’re not out to make money by trying to sell anyone a book or set of CDs on how to improve your attitude and have their lists based on that.  Kind of the way some of the online medical sites word things to make you think that you have every disease you’re looking-up so that you’ll buy a subscription to whatever it is they’re selling.

At the end of my self-assessment, I had almost three pages (typed) full of mental, physical, and behavioral traits I see in myself or have heard others tell me (either through “self-assessment tests” or just them venting at me).  So, I grabbed Husband and had him sit down to read the list as he said he would do.  He didn’t add anything.  He didn’t want to take anything away, either.  I began to wonder about myself.  Did I really get the list correct and think that highly and lowly of myself, or was Husband just too afraid to make any changes to the list because he knows that at times I can be very obstinate and resistant to change when I think I’m right?

I guess we’ll find out when I take the list back on Wednesday.  Meanwhile, I’m not going to worry about it too much.  That’s one of the things I said that I did on the list.  And if I worry about it too much I’ll end up posting about it, and I’m pretty sure no one wants to read about that.

Still banging my head against the wall

I was hopeful a few days ago when I received a response from one of my elected officials regarding my concerns about why I wasn’t reappointed to my old job.  They sent me a nice email:

April 18, 2012

Dear [Me],

I have sent the enclosed correspondence about your situation to [Governmental Agency Acronym].  The enclosed copy is for your files.

If you have any new, relevant information, please send it to:

Name and address of possibly underpaid staff member
Office of Desperate to be Re-elected Official
Mailing Address to “Local” Office

Or

Fax number that no one uses anymore because of e-mail and the Internet

Please be assured that we are continuing to work on this matter and will contact you as soon as we receive a response.  If you have received this message by email, it is not possible to reply by email.  Please contact my office by phone, fax, mail or online via webform on our website at webaddress.PLEASE-vote-for-me.gov.

Again, thank you for contacting me.  Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future if I can be of further assistance to you on this or any other issue.

Sincerely

Quite odd that if they can send me an email that I can’t send another in return.  I thought that was how email worked.  All these years using the Internet and somehow I missed that.

Anyway, I opened the “enclosed correspondence” to see what it had.  Here’s what I found:

Dear Sir or Madam,

The purpose of this correspondence is to inquire about non-reappointment of [Me, but with my name in all capital letters].

[Me] contacted [Desperate to be Re-Elected Official] out of concern for this case. Her current mailing address is [none of your business].

Her email address is [also none of your business].

Her date of birth is [REALLY none of your business]. I have attached a signed Privacy Act Release Form for this case. (NOTE: The Privacy Act Release Form had all that info on it, so why waste time in a “letter” repeating it?)

According to [Me], she was recently not reappointed to her [old job title] position after almost 8 years of work without personnel or performance issues.  As she has not received an answer from [Governmental Agency Acronym] regarding the specific reason, she believes that it is due to the fact that she has obtained a certified service dog to assist her.  I have attached the email she forwarded to our office where she quotes the letter she received from [Governmental Agency Acronym], as well as her signed Privacy Release form. (NOTE: Didn’t they already say they’d attached this?  Who writes these things??)

I respectfully request that your office give each and every due consideration under the law to the request of the constituent. Please update me by email about the status of this application or the reason for this denial so that I can inform the constituent.

Best regards,

Name of possibly underpaid staff member

So, the letter was off and now all I had to do was sit-back and wait for an answer.  My attempts at getting a straight answer from supervisors (and, I thought, friends) didn’t work.  My attempts at going through the Equal Rights and Equal Employment Offices had met with little fanfare and, as of this date, still no response.  Now I was going to get somewhere!

Today, an email arrived from the political official’s address.  Inside I found:

April 20, 2012

Dear [Me],

I have received the enclosed correspondence from [Governmental Agency Acronym].  The enclosed copy is for your files.

Please feel free to contact me in the future if I can assist you with any other matters of federal concern.  If you are receiving this message by email, please note that it is not possible to reply by email.  Instead, please contact my office by phone, fax, mail or online via webform at http://www.I’m-getting-very-desperate-to-be-reelected.Give-me-some-money.gov.

Again, thank you for contacting me.  Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future if I can be of further assistance to you on this or any other issue.

Sincerely

Okay, a stock response with a quick flip of the ol’ web address where donations are happily received.  But, it had only been 2 days!  I knew something was fishy.  The government never works that fast.  Not for regular taxpayers like us, anyway.

So I opened the attached “response” and here’s what I saw:

Good Morning [Possibly Underpaid Staff Member],

Thank you for your recent inquiry about [Me].  She is concerned about not being reappointed as a [old job title and acronym for it].  On behalf of the [Actual Name of Governmental Agency and Acronym], the following is what I can share at this time.

March 24, 2012, marked the end of the current appointment period for all [old job acronym].  We were asked to evaluate our current work force needs based on [Governmental Agency Acronym]’s mission. This required making some difficult decisions.  Clearly we had people who had contributed to our mission for a long time and were good employees.  However, our current and projected staffing needs meant we needed to create a more nimble organization, which required making some very hard choices.  At this time, it was determined per the Stafford Act and your Conditions of Employment, to allow [Me]’s appointment to expire.  {Me] is free to apply for an appointment within another Cadre.

Once the new [New Job Title] program (what the [old job acronym] program used to be called) is accepting applications, the non-appointed [old job acronym] (your constituent in this case) could apply.  The details of this are still being worked out, and we will keep you posted.  I hope this helps and let me know if you have any additional questions.

Best regards,

External Affairs Specialist, [Area for which I used to be employed]

Hmmm….something seems familiar.  Why, yes!  That whole second paragraph was nearly identical to what they’d sent me previously (and you can check my prior posts to verify it)!!  They didn’t even change the word “your” before “Conditions of Employment” in order to make it read correctly!  They completely avoided the reason why I was asking for clarification and simply whipped together the same old spiel they’d been given to placate those who weren’t rehired and sent it.  And the Desperate to be Re-Elected Official’s staff didn’t even bother to check that it wasn’t an actual response to my actual question before slapping the Official’s name on the email and sending it to me.

Oh, sure, it looks “better” with them saying that I can apply when the new program opens.  However, those who were reappointed also have to apply and if they’re hired, they don’t lose their accrued sick days and their pay could go up but cannot go down.  Those of us who were not reappointed have to start from scratch, regardless of how much experience we have, and lose all of the sick days we’d saved working over the years.  So, technically, someone who had just been hired prior to the “reappointment” period who was retained could be making twice what I made and have no experience but if I get rehired to my “old job” I’d have to start at the bottom of the salary tree again.  Yeah…that sounds really fair.

I immediately went to the website of Desperate to be Re-Elected Official and left them a nice message that what I got was a whole lot of nothing that I hadn’t already sent copies of to them.  And, no, this person will not be receiving my vote in the election — even though this fiasco had nothing to do with my previous intentions to not vote for them.

Oh well….  I’m still on the hunt for answers.  Yeah, I may be just banging my head against the wall, but it’s better than sitting and wallowing in self-pity or wondering what I did wrong (which was nothing).

My optimal job?

Went to see my therapist today.  She’s concerned that I’m not doing as well since I’m not working and still trying to find answers.  We talked; she asked questions; I answered them; and then I left.

Well, it wasn’t that simple.  She asked me a lot more questions today than usual.  And she was trying to help me determine what would be the best job for my personality.  Politics was her first suggestion.  I immediately told her that I wouldn’t be a popular elected figure because I have a low tolerance for stupid and that the “shut-up filter” in my head doesn’t always work.  She asked if that wouldn’t be a good thing to have since it would be different from what we have now?  I told her it wouldn’t be a good idea because the last politician that spoke his mind and didn’t really give a crap about what anyone thought was Teddy Roosevelt and there was an assassination attempt on his life (but he kept going with his speech).  I also don’t have the ability to promise things that I know I can’t deliver or be beholden to people just because of the money they have.

We discussed my strengths and weaknesses.  I told her about career fields that Husband had suggested that I had turned-down because I know that I don’t have the personality to do them.  She asked me what she thought my optimal job would be.  What would let me do what I wanted to do and be able to do my job without someone micromanaging me?  What would let me be able to help others but also make sure that people are doing their jobs correctly?  What would let me feel that I’m accomplishing my goals/desires while I work?

The only thing I could come up with at the spur of the moment was “dictator of a third-world country.”  My therapist laughed and said that my answer didn’t surprise her.  Husband wasn’t surprised when I told him tonight, either.

Now I have a “homework” assignment to make a list of things that I can and can’t do while working.  That’s going to be interesting.

But for now, I have to go watch “Toddlers and Tiaras.”  I don’t want to, but a friend of mine from high school is going to be on it and has been talking about it for quite a while and I said I’d watch it.  Husband asked  if I’m going to blog about it.  I don’t think I could express my contempt of that show and the way the kids and parents act well enough with polite words.

Interesting information intake

Today I sat down, against the protests of some of the voices in my head, and watched a videoconference from the organization with which I used to be employed.  I wanted to hear about their new goals for the future and how bright and rosy everything was going to be now that the riff-raff hadn’t been reappointed and were no longer employed.  Of course, it was easy to listen-in since the government has promised and promised to be more transparent and the video teleconference (VTC) was held on the Internet and not behind a protective firewall.

As all of the participating VTC locations were signing-in, I did see two disabled employees on one of the cameras.  One utilizes a wheelchair and one had a service dog with him.  This gives me hope that the entire organization wasn’t looking for a way to remove those with disabilities in order to be come a “more nimble organization.”  Now I know that I can just focus on the region which determined that eight years of experience, training, and qualifications weren’t enough because I don’t know many with disabilities from there that are still employed.

Anyway, I heard a lot of interesting information in this meeting.  In a quick summary — even if you were reappointed to your job, that doesn’t mean you still have one after the end of the year.  Those who were reappointed were extended until 31 December 2012 but if they don’t remember to reapply for the new program (or just decide they don’t want to apply for it) then their job is gone.  And when they reapply, they do have some preference because they’re currently working and are already qualified for the job, but if they don’t apply early enough or aren’t really qualified enough they might not keep their job.  And there are over 3,000 vacancies that they need to fill in addition to the appointed positions that are currently filled.  So if a bunch decide they don’t want to play by the new rules or don’t qualify for their jobs, there will be even more positions available for new people — or new “old” people, like me — to take.

I found all of that very, very interesting.  For so long I’ve heard many who were reappointed gloating over the fact that they still have a job and that those of us who weren’t must have been lazy, stupid, or any number of other reasons for not being as good as they are.  Now to know that they have to reapply for their own job is making many very nervous.

The times, they are a changing.  The “good-ol’ boy” network won’t be around because the people who used to run it won’t be in charge anymore.  A lot of things that people took for granted have been identified and are being eliminated.  Streamlining the program is making a lot of people upset and some have started to say that it’s not worth sticking around through the changes.  If they’re that shallow, let them leave.  The job is to help others, not just line your pockets when you feel like being out because of someone else’s misfortune.

Will I reapply?  Sure.  I have nothing to lose.  I’ll apply for positions I want, though, rather than where they just stick people.  That’s what happened eight years ago when I first started working with them.  I wanted to do one type of job; was told I’d be much more qualified for something else that I really wanted to do; and ended up in a job that I enjoyed but really wasn’t as excited about.  Maybe this will be the way I’ll be able to find my place and use my talents in the best way possible for myself and the people served by the organization.

And, as I said, if I don’t get rehired I don’t lose anything other than a little time applying for the jobs.  I don’t have one now so I can’t lose something I don’t have.  I’m still going to advocate for equal employment rights.  It’s very near and dear to me.  And if all of my questioning and investigating keeps me from getting a job, so be it.  I’m going to do what I think is right for me for a change and not just what everyone else wants me to do.

Search for answers continues….

Ahhh….just when you thought it was safe to come back to the blog, I’m writing about trying to find out why I didn’t keep my job again.  Actually, it’s not so much about why I didn’t keep it.  It’s more about making sure that the reason for my release wasn’t something discriminatory.

Today I resent the email I’d sent last week to the Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) officer as well as his supervisor, the Equal Rights Officer (ERO), asking for more information and at least a response of some sort since he had marked my previous email as read but I’d not received anything.  I also received only one response from my Congressional/Senatorial search for answers and completed the Privacy Act information sheet they requested so they could process my inquiry.  Seems odd that one who didn’t respond is up for election and lives in the same town in which I live!  So much for “hometown concern” this election season.

I did receive a response from the ERO supervisor.  I was somewhat surprised until I remembered that if the supervisor receives complaints about employees not completing their duties, they have to do something about it.  Well, they don’t “have to” I’ve discovered, but it looks better on their performance appraisals if they do.  Here is what I received:

Unfortunately, I cannot provide any specifics with regard to your statements and that received from your cadre leadership.  I can tell you that each organization now has an “established force structure” level.  Basically, that we will only be allowed a certain number of individuals in any cadre based upon the number that is established for the cadre.  My own cadre is going through this same situation.

Please let me know if you do not hear from someone by next week.

Not exactly an answer to my question but it does address the fact that all cadres are having to cut-back.  I replied with sincere thanks and asked for additional information as it is received regarding my inquiries as to why a simple reason of downsizing or a referral letter couldn’t be provided so that those who’ve lost their jobs will have an easier time finding new ones.

I then received the following item from a friend who saw it posted on a social media site:

So, [Assistant Administrator Name] graced us with his presence yesterday, and put on a dog and pony show – gist as follows.  1) DAE’s will be assigned to the Region they live in.  2) If that Region is fully staffed, and you are offered a position, it will be as a “surge” type of role.  3) An email will go out in the next 10 days, a package within the next month RE: re-application.  4) We are top-heavy with those in the C3 to E range, so there’s gonna be some payroll adjustments.  5) When asked if they are trying to get rid of people, responded “Some people are taking this the wrong way.”

“Taking this the wrong way” — are they serious?  How else is someone who has worked for years without any issues (and I’m not just talking about myself) supposed to take not being retained in their job?  Yes, it’s a temporary job.  No, you’re not supposed to rely on it for your sole source of income.  I didn’t.  I’m one of the lucky ones that has a spouse who makes enough to pay the bills if I’m not working, but I knew a lot of others that this was the best job they could find and all they had because you’re supposed to be able to deploy at a moment’s notice but no one else will hire you for a “permanent” job when you’re planning to leave any time you’re called-up.  And when looking at the differences between what new employees were making with this organization and what they could make “in the real world,” there’s no denying that people would prefer this job over a “typical” one.  I, however, did it because I was good at it (and I’m not ashamed to say so) and I knew I was making a difference.  And, yes, the money I made helped when there were unexpected medical bills (usually mine and usually caused by the stress of this type of work) or if my family wanted to visit where I was working over the holidays (which helped my morale a lot) or perhaps all of us taking a trip somewhere (which never did happen).

Still no idea how all of this will end and I’ve been looking for something else that fits my personality and work ability so that I’ll have something else to do during the day.  I don’t feel so much as if I’m beating my head against the wall with this.  It’s more like trying to figure out a mystery.  Who’s got the answers and whose buttons can I push just right that might give me some information that someone really didn’t want everyone else to know.  It’s like when I used to be a reporter/editor with the newspaper.  There’s a juicy story in this somewhere.  I’ve just got to figure out where to dig.

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