First, I feel like I should remind you about that time I was immortalized in a meme…
“They” even made t-shirts!
Now, while the people who know me consider how likely this actually is to be true, I can explain the January thing to the rest of you. Then we can all regroup and move on to the meat of this post together.
Seriously, social media is on fire – once again – with memes like this.
Apparently, January seems like a long month…
Maybe it’s all the exercise?
Perhaps the no drinking resolutions?
Regardless, I’m witnessing a lot of this type of behavior
For me, January is my birthday month, so I’ve always kind of looked forward to it. On top of that, the last two years, I’ve participated in NaNoWriMo in November, taking December as a “down month” to distance myself from my project before getting into writing and editing mode again in January.
What I’m saying is that it’s a month I look forward to.
But not this year.
Well, ok, I did look forward to it, but it burned off. The month proceeded apace for the first few weeks, and then the last 9 days have been like boogie boarding in the La Brea Tar Pits.
On top of that, the effect seems to be amplifying on some whack-a-doodle three day cycle.
That realization hit me this morning, on the last day of this fucking
I was driving home from a UA for a new job I start on Tuesday when I noticed someone had won the $350 million Powerball. Now, I’d checked the tickets the Silver Fox had picked up earlier in the week and knew we hadn’t won. Still, there was a shadow of hope that that had been the rule. This provided confirmation that there had, sadly for most, been an exception.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ll still buy a ticket for $40 mil, but the SF doesn’t like to invest for less than a $100 million potential return.
Anyway, there I was, driving home all mopey in The Fox’s car – what’s that? Why is Pat still at the spa?
Well, they aren’t. Well, weren’t. After a week in the shop and $200 out of pocket, I picked Pat up last Friday to reports of a successful door gasket replacement followed by a dry – my tech stressed it was bone dry – five hour shower test.
I took off from the dealer and went to work my part-time HR gig, excited to do some driving after work that evening.
In true Xtopher fashion, the first person I picked up following work that day was living in an eerily adjacent orbit to mine.
I picked her up about six blocks from work, at a satellite City of Portland building. My part-time gig – as you probably won’t recall – is providing contract staff to…the City of Portland. This has happened on several occasions, so I wasn’t anything other than mildly amused by this occurrence.
I checked her drop off destination: Landmark Ford. Once she confirmed it, I mentioned picking up my car that morning after getting the door seal replaced.
That’s what I’m having done! Although, I hope mine is more successful than yours…
Then I hear squishing and splashing and turn my head enough to see her moving her feet up and down in a pool of water.
To my credit, I didn’t slam on the brakes or vocalize the expletive I was thinking. That would have been something like this…
I called the shop the next day and was told they could get me in on February 3rd…over a week away. I spent the rest of the weekend driving food around instead of people for Postmates, but it just wasn’t the same.
Turns out, I’m that chatty old lady you sit next to on every flight you take. I love talking to people and Lyft gives me that every day social paycheck. The Lyft community is filled with awesome people with fun stories to share…and I miss them. Especially when I’m bored at home.
And they seem to tolerate me pretty well, too. So I’m not just victimizing my Patsengers like that chatty old airplane broad.
How do I know?
I average 25% in tips each week.
Yeah, I’m gonna be humbly smug for a while after that. As a matter of fact, given the timing, I’m choosing to believe that this was left by Rashida Tlaib, who I got the privilege of driving around earlier that week in my loaner.
Yup. I had 1/435th of the US House of Representatives in my car last week!
She’d been in town for a Coalition of American-Islamic Relations event where she was the keynote speaker. She was a delight and I wished my ride with her had been longer.
Anyway, after a frustrating weekend, I decided to drop my car off at the dealer on Tuesday. I worked my HR gig on Monday and was heading home after a meeting Tuesday morning, thinking about how quickly my financial bridge for February had collapsed and dreading paying to park my car on the street all day – and for most of the rest of the week.
I pulled over and did some stress breathing and text therapy with The Fox. He told me what I wanted to do – which is the validation I wanted that what I was going to do was rational.
I dropped my car off at the dealer and told them they could store it until the appointment on the 3rd.
The Fox picked me up and promised I could borrow his car for work on Wednesday and a Thursday.
Now, for those of you still back on my urinalysis appointment this morning…yeah, I’d gotten a new job. That was the meeting I was at on Tuesday prior to my meltdown that led to me tossing my
problems keys at the Jeep tech and abandoning Pat.
I’d been having weird discomfort at my HR gig the last few weeks. I was feeling ineffective. Not because I was being told I was doing things wrong or because the feedback I was getting was lackluster.
It was quite the opposite, actually, but the owner of the company was growing more and more stressed at work and coming in later and later or even less and less.
At the beginning of December, she’d asked me to prepare an end of year memo for the contract staff. Just reminders like updating addresses for tax time, recognized holidays, what to do in the event of inclement weather…pretty basic stuff. I cracked out a first draft and sent it to her. She likes to edit. Either my content or just to put my words into her voice.
She never sent it out.
This isn’t uncommon – I had been told in my first week that she wanted me to edit some policies and add updated information for the Employee Handbook. At first, she wanted to work with me on it. Then she started asking for what I had and I figured out that I should just do it. I submitted my suggestions to her for editing and the employment attorney’s sign off in early November.
What’s annoying about this is that one policy in particular needed some clarity. It’s the Alternative Transportation Benefit.
Basically, anyone who gets to work without using a personal vehicle gets a monthly $30 offset from the company.
The only thing was that there was no process. Every pay period – and I’m barely exaggerating, I think 9/12 of the payrolls I had done included an ATB for one or more employees…and the only tracking was memory.
I’d even included the new process in the year end email she’d asked me to draft so that we could start the new year clean.
But she didn’t send it.
So, I sent my own version out just before Christmas with just the ATB and address update request. I’m pretty sure that was the second point.
People – some, not all, of course – still submitted their ATB for the final payroll run of last year.
Then, on the first run of 2020, the owner decided we should just pay everyone who usually submits for January.
So I did.
Even knowing this would be a double payment for some. At least she was tacitly acknowledged that she knew what I had tried to do, even though only 20% of the usual ATB users complied with the new directive.
Not my circus, not my circus, not my circus…
I even got an “I forgot” email from one of our biggest Problem Child employees this week. I knew we would pay her – even though she wasn’t one of the employees that usually claimed the benefit. At least she’d read my email. When I told the owner about it, she behaved like our Problem Child always used the ATB.
Of course, I checked the payroll database…
She’d claimed the ATB once in her tenure – which began shortly before my own. And I remember when that was, since it was the first payroll I processed. She was technically not eligible since the policy is one of those “after 30 days of employment” policies.
Of course, we paid her anyway. The owner is just pro-employee like that.
Then the Problem Child claimed the benefit again two weeks later on the next payroll.
Bless her pointy little head.
Sure, in true to her fashion, she’d fucked up the execution, but a writer likes to know he’s read, ok?
Anyway, two Fridays back, I’d asked my handler to look for other positions for me. I like the owner and the recruiter.
And I love the Chief Feline Officer.
But I knew that the owner wasn’t going to change her behaviors that triggered me, nor did I have a reasonable expectation that she should. Well, except that she asked my advice on things and my take there is that peoples behaviors should actually reflect an effort to change if you bug me looking for feedback.
Sidebar: this just came on in my place.
🎼🎼I think a change, a change will do you good🎼🎼
But that’s just my $.02…and if I take the random music happening while I write as indication that the universe agrees with me? So what!
Back to my veiled beyond recognition point…Tuesday afternoon I get the call that the new client wants me.
That felt good, and honestly, I think there’s room to grow not only into a permanent role, but also from simply a payroll position into the open HR position they mentioned during my interview. I wouldn’t complain!
Really, I wouldn’t!
Even though the trade off here is that I have to go back to a five day job.
I went into work the next day with a plan to tell the owner the news. Partly expecting her to revisit taking me from temporary to 1099 employee, which was something we’d discussed in late October. I walked away when she offered me what she had paid my predecessor.
As a company employee.
I was born at night, but it wasn’t the night before that conversation.
Just kidding, I was born during the day.
But still, if I’m taking on the financial burden of city, county, state and federal self-employment taxes…well, it isn’t going to be for less than nothing.
Seriously, it would be a financial step backward.
Meanwhile, she’d be saving about 45% of what she’d been paying my temp agency. I’d gone into the conversation thinking we could agree on a rate that would cover my 27% (minimum) tax liability and still save her 25%.
But I thought versus losing me, she might go back to that table.
Little did I know, my handler had told her about my new gig Wednesday morning before the owner came to the office. I know this because I received an email from the owner at about 10:00 congratulating me and telling me that it was my last day.
Mentally, I pictured a couple more chunks of concrete falling off of my financial bridge for February.
And that’s where my unending and snowballing January ends: with five days off between gigs with zero opportunities to earn money driving between the two jobs.
And it was seeing that someone else had won the Powerball on Wednesday night that finally triggered me.
But as long as the hit I took off my vape last August doesn’t blow my UA out of the water, February will be a better month.
January 2020…you were one hell of a year. Bite me.