So it goes.'s been a month since I've written an update for O2D. If either of my readers were wondering why this might be, well part of it is explained by Doug's update below and my response to it, and the rest can be explained by using today as a microcosm of my life over the past month.
Viewer Discretion Advised...
About a year and a half ago I had a job that I quite enjoyed and that I was rather good at. My boss would say, "do this" and I would do it. I would write a grant application, I would write a presentation, I would have a meeting about a program, I would do lunch, I would meet with a loan applicant, I would talk to the players and be there as deals were done. I may be romanticizing a bit, but I never woke up dreading the day ahead and I never thought my life sucked. Sure, I wanted more money, and I was a bit concerned that there was very little room for advancement since my boss showed no signs of retiring ever...but at least he was a great guy and a good boss to work for. My biggest problem was the commute: 70 miles round-trip and the price of gas had more than doubled in my time there. I killed two transmissions, and it looked like I might be rounding third. On the upside, I got satellite radio so I really got back into finding and listening to new music.
Over a couple of years, I conducted a job search for something closer to home which consisted of a resume posted on a couple of websites that I updated once every few months. Long story short...a nibble turned into a bite turned into, not a fish, but a drowning man pulling me overboard with him and I found myself stranded in the ocean of joblessness in the worst economy in decades. Several months of ego-shattering shit later with job offers that never came and outright rejections by places I wouldn't have worked in high school, and I finally landed a position with the unemployment office. It wasn't a perfect job, wasn't in my field, and I was told I'd be working four nights a week and then a 9 to 5 on Sunday, but it was a job. I went in for my first day of training and I was told that the schedule I agreed to was no longer the schedule. The new schedule was five weeknights AND that Sunday shift. One week into processing that, they guy who laid me off calls and tells me he sold his bankrupt company to a bigger company, and he's wondering if I'm interested in getting on board. My wife (who is much smarter than I am) tells me she doesn't trust the guy, so I negotiate a part-time consulting gig instead during the hours I'm not working for the state...a negotiation that takes from mid-April to July for some reason.
So, I'm doing both jobs for a while and I'm getting totally burned out. I feel like I'm sleepwalking through my life. I force myself out of bed every morning as my wife is leaving for work (no, I didn't get to talk to her at all before she left) and I try to get to all the shit that needs to be done. I'm working on my consulting job when I have the time and the energy. I'm trying to take care of things around the house, trying to make an application for a permanent job here and there, trying not to think about how much I miss my wife and my friends. I have to pack a lunch (there's nowhere to get food and make it back to work in the lousy business park and I don't get paid enough to eat out anyway) and leave an hour and a half early or I won't make it on time. It's a shorter distance but it takes me longer to get to work than my old, good job did. I work my shift, come wife is already asleep. I veg out on whatever Netflix sent just so I can get my brain to shut off and I can go to sleep. Rinse, repeat. I feel like the lonely, bored, soulless early scenes of Fight Club.
I am Jack's silent despair.
Two weeks ago, my boss for my part time job sends me an email, and I paraphrase, "we're not getting enough leads on this, so we're cutting you loose. Submit your last invoice." That's interesting since we've had enough leads for me to work on one at a time, which is almost more than I felt like accomplishing. But maybe this is for the good, I didn't really feel like doing that any longer. But is this their sly way of saying they didn't care for my work and I'm being fired? I've never been fired. Great, another thing to lose sleep over.
If all of this sounds like whining, it's really just a prologue, but my narcissism goes only so far. I spend a good portion of my working day talking to people who haven't been able to find work in over a year and who don't have any more benefits coming, so I know the value of what I have. That doesn't make it any easier when the universe decides to give you a Hot Carl...which brings us to...TODAY!!!!!
I yank myself out of bed and try to accomplish a few things. Hello Mr. Headache-I-seem-to-get-every-day-now. I'll bask in your company while I take care of some e-mail...Oh, look...that job I interviewed for the other week decided that my skills were impressive but blah, blah, blah. OK, I was pretty sure that job would have sucked. Let's see what else I have in my email. What's that sound? OH FUCK IT'S STREET CLEANING DAY AGAIN AND I WORK A SHITTY SHIFT THAT MEANS MY CAR IS ALWAYS ON THE STREET FOR STREET CLEANING DAY!@!!! I guess I'll go grab the ticket off my windshield. While I'm out here I might as well check the mail. Hmm...I have two invoices pending with that consulting job and one is more than a week past due. No check in the mail. Let's see if they respond to this email informing them of when the invoice was submitted. They kind of suck at paying on last check was more than a week late too. I guess I'll do some dishes. Well that took forever, but at least it and a couple other things are done. I better pack food to take to work with me. Great, the salad I was planning on packing is going all slimy and rotten. I guess I'll just have to pick out some of the good leaves and make do. Check the email before I go to work...(paraphrasing) "Conrad remember when I said I had this totally financially stable company and you came to work for me and my company went bankrupt and it took me forever to get you your last paycheck, but then I sold my company and I offered you another job and I said the company that bought me was totally financially stable? Guess who fell for it twice. Maybe we'll turn a profit some day and you'll get paid." Great...what a fun day and now it's time for work. Walk into the office and sign in...hmm, what's this sign? "Dear second-shift suckas, fuck you. We in management have decided that, while we've successfully crushed any family or social life you might have on weeknights, not enough has been done to thoroughly demoralize you. Starting in three weeks, we're taking away Saturday night too because your shift on Sunday is no longer 9 to 5, it's 7 to 3. Because my balls, that's why. And we know you'll be too tired Sunday to enjoy that evening either. Love, Governor Rendell. PS, if you were thinking about complaining to the union, remember, all the union meetings are scheduled for the evenings while you're at work. Ha ha."
I am Jack's complete lack of surprise.
I prayed for a job, almost any job, that whole awful period I spent being unemployed. How's that saying go? When the gods wish to punish us...


  1. Conrad... I can't really think of anything meaningful or uplifting to say at this point. The suck of the recent events of your life are creating a small black hole on my screen here at work, and I'm afraid my car keys are going to get pulled into it.

    I would say that I've got pity for you, but that doesn't really cover it. I wish I could do more to get you the job at my company, but for some reason they're shooting for the moon with the position you just applied for, and I don't understand why it's taking so long for them to move on it.

    I actually have thought of some things to say now to try to cheer you up, but honestly, they're just snarky remarks. At this point, I'm a bit superstitious with all the crazy shit you're talking about. I don't want to say something like, "Hey at least your backyard's grass is still green!" and you come home that day to a homeless guy taking a dump on your lawn.

    I know how much I absolutely hate when people try to cheer me up when I'm really feeling down. It's even worse when people point out how much things suck too - you're in the middle of the situation yourself. I know you're undeniably aware of the shit that's pouring down, and don't need to be reminded of it.

    If there's anything I can do, please don't hesitate to ask. I know just how hard it can be to ask for help when it's needed... don't let your pride do any damage when a little help from a friend could easily solve a problem for you.


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