self-sufficient

That’s what I’ve been told I am. But my internal panic has reached epic proportions and honestly, a little help and hand-holding would be nice. I know it’s just early job jitters, but I find myself asking if I’ve made the right choice.

The pension is worthwhile, at least to do my best and give it until I’m doing the actual work before I make any major decisions. A pension is a hell of a difficult thing to walk away from, especially when I’m still young enough for it to mean something.

And it’s not like I’m underqualified or incapable of doing the work. I look at the people they’ve got working there that I know and I think, I’m at least as capable as these guys. I hope.

My mental sharpness has taken a serious dip from the stress and depression the last few years, and my physical health is on the decline.

One day at a time, I suppose.

Target: 1000 words
Written: 422 words, novella: The Mungk

saturday morning frustration

Oh. My. God.

Fuck you, universe. What the fuck are you doing to me? All I wanted was a reduction of stress and some time to myself, and you’re doubling down on driving me insane. What the hell is wrong with you? No sleep. No time. Not even a single moment’s rest.

Is there a solution? What the hell am I supposed to do? Move to the Great White North and live in a remote cabin on my own?

Honestly, starting to sound pretty good right about now.

Target: 1000 words
Written: 2275 words, novella: The Mungk

last… fucking… day

Complicated feelings. On one hand, absolute bliss, an heady gleefulness that makes me want to giggle uncontrollably. On the other, guilt, for leaving them in the lurch, for shirking off my responsibility to our customers, and nervousness, about what comes next.

As my wife reminded me though, I’ve no reason to feel bad about leaving. This company has not been kind to me, and over the past few years, having to fight the urge to swerve into oncoming traffic on the way to the office or walk out in disgust and put my family’s financial future at risk has been a daily fight.

And I’m tired of being stressed out, depressed, angry and suicidal. I needed them to fire those bigoted, petty, undeserved ego-driven pieces of shit back in March and they did, but I know it wasn’t their lies or laziness or petty grievances. It wasn’t their misogyny, racism or Trump-loving anti-vax nonsense. It wasn’t the constant abuse or threats of violence. The sole reason this company fired those assholes is because they tried to go over the boss’ head to the CEO. That bruised the boss’ ego and the other stuff just gave him a convenient excuse. Had they never done that, they’d still be here, and we’d all still be suffering while management looked the other way.

And in the wake of that, did they then get me the help that I needed? I was clear with them – I had no desire to be an IT person anymore. I hated IT, and I wanted to move into a more administrative position. They ignored that. I said in a temporary capacity, as a stopgap solution, for a few weeks or a month, I could keep things running until they found a proper network guy. They never bothered, and instead combined five jobs into one and got me the minimal amount of help possible (someone who could never do what I do), and they took a month and a half to do even that, after initially questioning whether they needed to at all. Meanwhile, I was on the clock 24/7, and killing myself.

When this opportunity came up, I jumped at the chance. It was a better job all the way around, even if I liked this one. Why wouldn’t I take it?

Now that I’m leaving, they’ve spent the last ten days trying to make me work around the clock again, FOR FREE, ignoring my attempts to create actual documentation, which they will need, on how to do all of the things the new people will need to know. Instead, they want me to fix monitors or have pointless meetings or draw network maps. Oh, did I get a network map when this was dumped in my lap? Of course not. And they posted my job at twenty grand more than they were willing to offer me to boot.

And why do they not care about documentation? They’ve repeatedly said over the last week that they’ll just call me if they need anything. I keep telling them that’s not going to happen, but apparently, in their minds, they think they can keep me working for them, for free, even though I quit and have moved on to a different job.

So why do I feel guilty about leaving? I really shouldn’t. This job has been nothing but abusive almost from the start, and only got worse over the years. When they finally fired those idiots (again, over the bruised ego of the boss, and not because we begged for months and provided more reason to fire with cause than you could shake a stick at. Seriously, I tell other people the crap these guys pulled and they’re flabbergasted that they weren’t fired, or even jailed, years ago), I decided to buckle down, make the attempt and see how serious these guys were about building anew with me. Instead, they completely hung me out to dry. And now, they want me to continue to be at their beck and call, for nothing?

I wouldn’t even do it if they paid me, and believe me, I thought long and hard about asking for a consulting fee to do that. But this is the kind of company that would look at me and say, “Why pay him? He hasn’t got enough money to take us on in court.” I’m fully convinced they’d agree to it and stiff me.

I’m trying to go out the right way. Not to burn bridges, and to go out with graciousness. But these people have never understood boundaries, they’ve never supported their people and they just don’t get it.

Maybe instead of telling people that they shouldn’t burn bridges with the companies they’re leaving, the companies they’re leaving should be trying not to burn bridges with the employees on their way out. This economy is fucked, that a company is so fucking entitled that they believe they still have any claim to you after you’re fucking gone.

So, instead, I say goodbye and good riddance. Don’t call me. You’re like a crazy ex that won’t go away and won’t leave me alone. We’re through. Don’t make me get a restraining order.

Target: 1000 words
Written: 1951 words, novella: The Mungk

hoops

Sure seems like I’m always jumping through them, and my legs are getting tired. Is anything easy?

That’s what I’m aiming for – easy.

Easy life, easy people in that life. Not saying no challenges ever, because challenges are engaging, which makes them feel easy (when not polluted by nonsense), but less conflict. Less unnecessary conflict.

Stress will kill me. Of that, I’m sure. Whatever the ultimate symptoms or official cause, be assured, depression and stress are the true culprits, and always will be.

Target: 1000 words
Written: 1118 words, novella: The Mungk

lift your head up high

And blow your brains out.

It’s a juvenile song, bleak and I’m pretty sure intended to be mean, but I always found it optimistic. Despite the offensive lyrics, it always struck me as truly saying, “everyone’s fucked up, everyone has shit”, so fuck it. Let it go, clear your mind and just live. If we’re all fucked up, why not enjoy it?

Or maybe not.

Target: 900 words
Written: 734 words, novella: The Mungk

alone

Came into work this morning, one quarter out sick, one quarter out on the road, and one quarter off for a funeral.

I am alone, fielding all requests, being asked by corporate about projects I cannot work on in between calls and customers coming to the door.

I am forsaken.

Target: 900 words
Written: 674 words, novella: The Mungk

the hope is soon

I pray, over and over again. Peace is merely a break in the suffering. We can’t avoid it all, but at least may it not be constant. May it not be felt so deeply. May we live with lighter hearts than before, and when things get heavy, we find a way to lighten the load.

I cannot carry much more. My legs are starting to give.

Target: 900 words
Written: 1730 words, novella: The Mungk

tricky

I guess I’m a little worried about this opportunity in front of me. I know I’m not a perfect person and the idea that I’m being judged on that criteria is weird to me, because no one is, and it’s very easy to go off the rails and screw up, even for a short period of time.

In our current climate, it seems that these things become impossible to forgive, or even see past. A mistake made twenty or thirty years ago is not necessarily representative of who we are now. These days, the tendency is to go straight to demonization, when there’s often much more nuance to a situation than we like to admit. It’s easy to dismiss things out of hand, and go straight to calling people rotten, but there’s often so much more to it.

In some cases, there’s not. (See: Trump, Crime Family)

To me the difference is growth. Have they changed? Have they learned from their mistake? Are they willing to own what they’ve done and take responsibility for their actions?

More importantly, do we feel, given the opportunity, would they do it again? If not, then we need to forgive.

I’m horribly embarrassed and guilt-ridden by the way I behaved in my teens and twenties. Every time I think about it, I’m humbled, because I know, no matter how high and mighty I’d like to be, I’ve behaved poorly at times as well. I try to own that and be better going forward. Reconciling that behaviour is the tricky part for me, because I’m so prone to guilt, and I want to make constant amends. However, it doesn’t serve me to wallow in the guilt of bad behaviour from decades ago, especially when time, being what it is, means it will never change, and I can never go back and let myself in on the greater knowledge I would need to be the better person at that moment in time.

This all sounds like I’ve committed murder or something, but I’m mostly talking about being an idiot, myopic and navel-gazing. Assuming I had rights to things I hadn’t earned, or skills beyond what was actually there. Mostly, it’s reconciling who I pretended to be and told people I was with how and who I actually was. When I think about how they must have seen me, blustering about, trying to be so cool, but being such a dork and such a loser, such a freaking mess, well, it’s mortifying.

And I ask that question a lot now. How do people see me? Are my actions and my beliefs lining up? Do I behave in a manner that allows people to see me for the man I try to be – kind, humble, open-minded, with an eye toward making sure I do things the right way? A person of continuing growth?

It’s intense pressure and I really don’t feel like I live up to that as often as I want. Part of that is the depression, which has plagued me for years, and is at least partly responsible for the delusional and destructive behaviour of my youth. I didn’t realize then what it was, or that I had control over it, to a point. There were things I could do to keep my focus, and I didn’t. I let the depression take over.

Prescription drugs never helped. They only ever made me feel more dead than alive, zoned out and disengaged. Indeed, any of the people I know that suffer from the same type of depression I did that are medicating with various SSRIs and other drugs seem more like they’re contently ignoring their problems, like a child playing with their toys, oblivious to the house burning down around them. They aren’t working on finding solutions to the problems at the root of their depression; they’ve just balanced out enough to do the basics their lives require.

And maybe that’s enough for them, in this moment in time.

But I would like a life of happiness. Of peace and love and connection. Time enjoyed with my family. My wife, my step-kids, my nieces and my granddaughter. My siblings. My parents. Friends. Whatever.

Simply living mostly stress-free, on a day to day basis. I mean, you can’t ever be fully free from the bad times. Things will happen. Some days will be downright rotten.

But this, right now, this every day thrown to the wolves, every day more stressful than the last, as it piles on and piles up?

This is no way to live. No one need suffer like this.

So I hope whoever is judging me is doing so with a kind and open mind, one that sees past words on a paper, to the person behind those words, and the knowledge that this isn’t someone locked into a static pattern of poor behaviour, or sleepwalking through life.

It’s a person, like all people, incomplete and in the process of being built, hoping one day to be something, if not grand, at least something that makes the neighbourhood a little better place to live.

Target: 900 words
Written: 1092 words, novella: The Mungk

timing is everything

Auditors are here for the business today, which would normally have little to do with me, only our office manager came down with a sudden case of COVID this morning, so I guess I’m now also running the entire business for the week, in the midst of an audit, which still maintaining the network, handling service calls, programming equipment, being point man on a new CRM, training others and dealing with the usual for customers. Oh, and the afterhours belongs to me this week.

Some might say I’m holding onto suffering and need to let it go. Others would ask how many more punches a boxer can take before he goes down.

Target: 900 words
Written: 614 words, novella: The Mungk