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 tag “service dog”

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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Greetings from Depressive

Hi.  I’ve been around for quite a while but haven’t had the opportunity to actually post anything here myself.  I’ve been trying to keep me from being noticed but when things get really hectic or stressful or disappointing, then I just can’t stop from showing up to practically ruin it all.

Oh dear.  I see you looking at what I’m writing and you’ve got that weird look on your face.  It’s the same look that my family gives me when they can’t figure out what’s going on or when they think I’m just trying to hide something.  Usually I am trying to hide something — myself.  I don’t like me being here and I don’t like it when I come around just out of the blue.

I guess I should explain.  If you’re a long-time follower of this blog, you already know that I have bi-polar disorder (along with some other absolutely fascinating issues that can cause havoc at any moment).  Now, for those who don’t understand bi-polar disorder, it was originally called manic-depressive disorder.  This is when your brain — or, rather, my brain — decides that it wants to do something different for a while without my consent.  I can either become extraordinarily hyperactive, hyper-vigilant, hyper-emotional.  Just pick a “hyper” and it’s on the list.  This is my manic phase.  This is when Manic appears and keeps me from sleeping for long periods of time (days) or has me obsessing over certain things that need to be done and I can’t stop doing them or I end up listening to the rest of the voices up in my head arguing because they’ve decided that since adrenaline, their favorite drink, is on-tap that they’re going to join in the fun.

Manic and I get along well at times but we do have problems when Manic gets OCD a little over-excited instead of its usual state.  Then I can be in big trouble.

But today, I’m here.  Well, I am always here but the specific “I” that is writing here is Depressive.  I am the one that can take any happy moment from extremely ecstatic to morbidly horrifying in seconds.  I have the ability to just wander up while I’m hearing good news and start whispering all the things that are either untrue (whether they are or not) about it or about how everything from that moment on will go horribly wrong.  And I don’t shut-up easily, either.  I’ve been around for ages and I’ve learned all of my defense mechanisms against me.  Even the medications are having problems with me now.

My favorite one was when I was ordered to a psychology group for manic-depressive people and the class leaders said, “If you just think that you’re happy, you’ll be happy.”  They repeated that a lot.  I raised my hand and asked them how that could be possible especially when I was incredibly suicidal?  Was I supposed to be happy about being suicidal or was I supposed to picture rainbows and kittens and cotton candy and hope that the suicidal bit would pass?

They kicked me out of the class.  Seriously.

For a while I’ve been puttering around here reading what’s being written and critiquing things.  It’s one of the things I do.  I also keep bad things at the forefront of my mind.  The whole ERO issue, for example.  Today I got my paperwork that the informal stage is over and I can now file for a formal hearing.  However, I keep reminding myself that I (1) only have 14 more days left to do that, (2) that I have no idea how the whole process works, (3) that I could really use a good attorney to help me, (4) that I’ve been referred to a really good attorney who wants to help me, but (5) the attorney costs $300 per hour that I don’t have and that leaves me sitting and staring at the paperwork and going back to #1.  And then I start it all over again.  See how much fun I am?

I’ve seen celebrities who have bi-polar talk about their different extremes with cute little names for them.  I don’t do that.  I am a part of me that is the whole me and nothing but the me.  Remember, even the voices are mine.  There are just too many of them at times to not give them their own grouping.

Well, that’s enough about me for now.  I have a prior engagement (I think) with PTSD.  We hang out together a lot.  Of course, I’m glad that I have Celeste who helps me keep myself from overly freaking-out when I get this way.  I’ll probably be around for quite a while longer because there’s so much going on that I have to get involved with and I’ve not seen my therapist for almost three weeks so the environment is just how I like it.  Moody, sad, stressed, and down.

And thanks in advance to anyone who types anything positive about what I’ve written about myself.  But I’m going to be completely honest with you — it’s not going to matter for a while.  When I’m here and this far out in front of myself, it takes a lot longer to get me back with the rest of the crowd.  And I don’t mean to be snappy or make anyone think I’m ignoring them.  I just enjoy screwing with my emotions enough so that I don’t want to do anything.  Well, sleep is always fun.  But I only do that when I don’t need to be doing it.  Like when the medication makes me do it.  Or if there’s a ton of things I need to get done and I fall-over on the couch or the bed and doze for, oh, say, three or four hours.  Tonight I’m going to try to make myself get some sleep because I’m really tired just from being me today.  It won’t work the way I want it to, but I’ll still try.

And….*sigh*….Husband and Youngest Son keep coming in to check and see what I’m doing (occasionally led by Celeste who knows something’s wrong).  It irritates me because while I appreciate their worry about me very, very much I also don’t like it because they have their own things to worry about and I don’t need to be getting in the way.  Plus I don’t like people trying to read over my shoulder when I’m writing or reading something out-loud.  And that’s not “Depressive” saying that — that’s just me.  So I’ll go for now, but we’ll meet again.  Don’t know where; don’t know when.

Feeling down and inadequate….

It’s my pity-party and I’ll whine if I want.

Youngest Son announced that he just heard one of his best friends is traveling to London (UK) for an international choir event.  I’m proud of his friend and am happy for his family who will also be able to travel with him.  I was in London in 1994 during college and loved it.  I really, really want to go there again.

And every year when I’ve been working and paying-off bills, I’ve been trying to save the money so that I can take my family there.  Or, if not able to take everyone, at least take Husband with me because it was while I was there when I realized how much in love with him I was (and still am) and I want to share with him the places I went and where I missed him so much.  But usually I’d work myself silly and end up sick in the hospital or so sick I’d have to leave and then all the medical bills needed to be paid.  Now that my former employer has taken my career away from me and people aren’t very thrilled about hiring someone who has an 85-pound dog in constant tow, I don’t know when I’ll ever get to take them.

Youngest Son hasn’t said that he’s jealous of his friend, but I know that he’s disappointed because I still can’t take him there.  I’ve been saying for years that I want him to experience another country and all of the history that can be found.  And Eldest Son has wanted to go to London for a long time as well since his biological father and step-mother traveled there but didn’t take him.  I’ve felt like I should make that up to him.  Maybe I’m irrational about it.  But I’d still like to give my kids and husband an experience they will remember forever and am just feeling awful that I’ve worked over the past eight years to do that and still haven’t been able.

Going to go watch a musical on television.  Maybe I’ll feel better.  Maybe not.  Just don’t be surprised if I’m still pouting for a little while.

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.

About what do my dogs dream?

Yes, I noticed that I made sure my title was grammatically correct.  OCD has checked-in for the night!

Anyway, I do wonder what goes through my dogs’ brains when they’re dreaming.  I can look over at the cat who is sound asleep at the moment and she never moves until she wakes up.  However, I can watch either Celeste or Harley and sooner or later they’ll start to run in their sleep, snore loudly, or sometimes even bark as if they’re trying to say something.

Celeste is five years old and has had a lot of experiences with and without me.  She was a show dog and has traveled around the country and also worked as a service dog for a lady in a wheelchair (who sadly didn’t know how to care for her even though she’d had service dogs before).  So, I could see some memories coming back to her mind and perhaps she sees things she remembers.

Harley, on the other hand, has been with us since she was nine months old.  She was abandoned and raised for a month at a farm before they took her to the local Humane Society because they couldn’t afford to keep another abandoned dog.  She’s been on trips with us (vehicle only, no planes yet) and has romped around in the yard or at a dog park.  Most of her time she’s comfortable on the couch and when given the opportunity will watch car races or other dogs running on television.  Harley also lived here with my service dog Cody who passed away in 2010.  She was there when he died.  She also has a lot of his habits and mannerisms because he made sure that he taught her how to act and didn’t let her get too out of control.

Cody would snore loudly and run when sleeping too — but he only came to live with us when he was much older.  He had been a puppy mill breeder dog that had been abandoned on the side of the Interstate when he’d gotten to old to make the owners more money.  We took him in and even though he had no idea how to play or act like a normal dog, he learned commands quickly and was eager to please because he loved being loved by someone instead of just ignored.  And he still had the gumption to put the cat in her place when he came to live with us and she wouldn’t shut up one night.  He just closed her mouth with his and looked at her as if to say, “See?  Quiet is better.”

When Cody would snore loudly and move as if he was running when he was asleep, I could always imagine that he was reliving something that had happened before we had him.  Maybe it was running away from the handlers at the puppy mill.  Maybe it was finally running free when they first got rid of him before he began to struggle to find food and water in the sweltering heat of the summer.  I would always hope that his dreams would include meeting us and enjoying a nice walk or just being cuddled.

I’m watching Harley’s legs move while she’s asleep as if she’s running for her life.  Maybe there’s a rabbit or a squirrel in her dream?  She loves to chase them in the yard, though I don’t think she’d have any idea what to do with one if she caught it.  She’s running and running and you can hear her snorting loudly with every “step” she takes.  Whatever it is, she’s either thoroughly enjoying it or making damned sure that she gets away from whatever she doesn’t like.

I know humans put too much emotion into our pets.  We talk to them as if they’re people and try to read their facial expressions and actions like we do non-verbal communications from other humans.  But I think it would be fun if we could see about what our dogs are dreaming.  Finally catching the ball; scaring a flock of birds; or maybe just laying on the couch getting their tummy rubbed.  Anything could be a fascinating dream for them.

Tired today….

LONG day….  Took Harley to have her yearly “shearing” at the groomer.  She grows so much hair during the winter you could almost make enough wigs/toupees for those little hairless dogs.  Then they wouldn’t get so cold all the time.  We also went to our favorite gaming store and sold them a few items for store credit.  Just some old books that we didn’t like but that their customers will love buying.  And the credit can stay there until the next Warhammer 40K tournament or when we need to buy something for someone’s birthday, etc.

Also started shopping for a new phone since mine is having battery issues.  I first went to a store run by the company with whom I have my service.  They said that they don’t make stupidphones anymore.  I said that I knew he was lying because (1) I’d seen an ad for one and (2) there were some hanging on the wall in the store.  He, of course, wanted to show me every smartphone in the place but I told him I wasn’t going to pay a bunch more per month for the privilege of having a phone that can do a lot of things I can’t afford for it to do nor would I use it for them.  I guess I should have also taken a photo (the one “fancy” thing my stupidphone can do) of all of the basic phones we saw at a large electronics retailer in town as well.  And if I wanted a smartphone I could get it there for even less than the service company was advertising!  But, no, I did not replace my beloved stupidphone.

When Harley’s grooming appointment was over, we went to pick her up and I asked the groomer to grind Celeste’s nails so that I won’t have to clip them for a bit.  Celeste was a show dog before she became a service dog but you would have thought that no one had ever touched her feet before when she started trying to escape from the groomer.  Fortunately, the lady had a great attitude and just chased her around the grooming table, keeping one paw in her hand at all times, and got it done.  Another of the ladies working there asked me if she could know why I have Celeste and when I told her she was thrilled to hear someone else has a service dog for psychiatric issues.  I gave her my name and number and the name and number of Celeste’s breeder/trainer because the lady and her husband are trying to get a service dog for him to use.  I wish them the best of luck because I know that Celeste has helped me more than I could have imagined!

Hopefully tomorrow will be relaxing.  I know Husband can use a nice relaxing day after working hard all week.  And Youngest Son is now home from school so I’ll find plenty of chores/activities for him to complete!

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.

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).

Am-Dram: Junior Edition — It’s Over!!!

Tonight was the last performance by Youngest Son’s theatre group.  They did a really good job and no one forgot too many lines or had to ad-lib much.  Everything ran very well and I’m very proud of my little thespian.

I’m also incredibly proud of Youngest Son today because he had been selected months ago by his band instructor to attend the District Band Contest and perform a solo and in a sextet.  He’s been really nervous about it and today was contest day.  The scoring scale they use is from 1 to 10 with 1 being the best.  You can earn a 1+ if you’re really, really good.  Youngest Son received a 2+ on his trumpet solo, just barely missing the 1-level score.  He also received a 1 on his brass sextet’s performance.  The only criticism given by the judge to the sextet was for the baritone player to remember to not overplay the French horn.  They did an awesome job!

Then in the afternoon, the rest of the band arrived to join those who were there for solos and ensembles and the entire concert band played two songs.  The group received a 1 rating for their performance.  Pretty good for a group that has never been to a big contest like that before!

At the moment, Youngest Son and Husband are at the Cast Party for the play.  I would go but I don’t know the family well and am not sure how they’d feel about having Celeste at their house.  I have no problems going to public places because she’s a service dog, but I don’t like to just invite my shedding partner into someone’s private home and there wasn’t time to coordinate with them on whether or not they have pets, allergies, etc.

But that’s okay — I couldn’t wait to get home to make this post!  I’m so very, very proud of Youngest Son.  It’s been a really big day for him!

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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