Saturday, October 23, 2010

I Don't Get This...

When I began working for the private sector, I thought that a job would be hard work, yes, but that employers would treat you fairly and that if you were good at your job you would get regular pay raises and recognition--and that it would be ALL you had to do.

Well, come to find out that most employers will take advantage of you if you are an exceptional employee. They also will mistreat you if they don't particularly like you on a personal standpoint. They will treat you well, AND PAY YOU WELL if you are exceptionally attractive, however they will and do mistreat you in other ways if you are exceptionally beautiful--I mean, it goes both ways.

This really surprised me when I started working. I thought all I had to do was be good at my job AND at other people's jobs, and it wouldn't matter that I had buck-teeth and bad hair days.

But apparently, it does matter. Clothes? Who knew? I work best in T-shirt and jeans. It doesn't get you very far in an office. No one will respect you.

Even so, I worked hard in the private sector, and never really got ahead. I remember always striving for better and better pay, never realizing that goal. The top pay I received in the private sector was pretty low by today's standards, but if I were to go BACK into the private sector at this point in my life, I doubt seriously that I would get much more than what I got then--since I'm not beautiful and while people seem to like me well enough, they simply don't seem to like me enough to compensate me for my worth. A boyfriend once told me that once he got past my dentition, I was really nice to know. Um, thanks for nothing.

And it's not that I have an over-developed sense of worth, either--before you get your angst up in a tizzy--but I would prefer that employers NOTICE me and compensate me MONETARILY, rather than with a pat on the back or a "good job" statement. Money talks, BS walks.

So it was with open arms that I accepted a job in the public sector, starting at twice what I was making in the private sector (which I admit wasn't much at the time), and doing half the work, and a fourth the responsibility.

I was still miserable. The raises came often enough in good economy, and THAT was inspiring, but there was still no RECOGNITION in the form of PROMOTION. So, I started looking for better and better with more difficulty/responsibility and a boss that would recognize me for the quality, speed and efficiency of my work, and compensate me with promotion (and more of the green stuff, of course).

Instead, I am now doing the work of 6 people in a bad economy. I am over-stressed at a time when I need to be taking care of myself and slowing down a little--meaning the cold and flu season. My sinuses are starting to plug up in the morning, and last night, I told my husband that today, he MUST get his step son to help take out the air conditioner. MUST. It's cold in the house, and we have no intention of starting up the corn stove until November 1. No matter how cold the house is.

Consequently, I am wearing clothing right now. It's still dark outside and nearly 6:30am! I'm also wearing a shawl over my shoulders to keep away the chill. I have on wool socks and shoes. In short, I'm almost ready for work--except that it's Saturday, and I haven't much to do except take out the dog and head for the grocery store for some hamburger buns, then over to a friend's house for a hand-dying party.

But all of that is not what I don't get.

I am about 8 years from retirement. I have worked hard and diligently all of my life, and I am proud of all my achievements--even if the boss didn't give me that promotion. Even if I didn't get the recognition I feel I deserve (sometimes it embarrasses me if I get verbal recognition, you know what I mean?). I am a talented, exceptional person. So when retirement comes, I believe that I will accept it and wrap my arms around it and say..

"Yes. This is what I've been waiting for all these years. Somebody to take my hand and say 'Job well Done!', and then pay me back for all those years I worked so hard by paying me for doing nothing."

Retirement looks like it's just on the horizon I'm heading for--and I believe that I will reach that horizon and literally touch the sun when I get there. When *I* retire, I will have knitting and quilting and spinning and crochet and my animals and my house and my car and the rest of my life ahead of me--and maybe that teaching job at JoAnn's that is so part-time. I have a life of fun waiting for me. Hopefully, I last long enough to get there and enjoy some of it.

My husband? There's the part I don't get.

My husband worked at General Motors his entire life. He retired when the economy tanked because he felt he just couldn't move to a different state AND he felt that it was the only way that he could come away, retire and get the most money in the effort. So he retired. He wasn't happy about it. He likes working. It's his identity and it's his hobby.

So he went to school and started the remodel on the basement. I thought that would be plenty to keep him busy--something for his mind and something for his body--but of course, he's not making money, and that's what he wants. More money.

So he continued to look for employment in the worst Michigan economy since 1977. Go figure.

I knew the day was coming. Yesterday, his employer of choice offered him a job.

Yes, my retired husband has a job in the private sector. He is happy and unhappy at the same time.

And of course, you knew that I would know this, right?

First off, the job is NOT at General Motors. So the pay scale is about 1/3 his skilled trade. Even so, this is not why he's unhappy.

Secondly, the job is afternoons. This bothers him more than me. *I* am tickled with the idea. I can come home in the afternoons, and don't have to make dinner until I'm really hungry. Then I can make supper at my leisure, put something in the frig for him, and go about my own retirement for the day--knit, spin--whatever I want to do! This is the best thing for my stressful daily life. I see this as the best coping mechanism that I could offer myself. Hubby on afternoon shift! Wonder of wonders! Maybe I'm a little too happy about it, but I don't care. I need the relief.

Thirdly, and what he doesn't know yet, so it's really not part of his "unhappy" yet, but *I* know that he will not be union, and therefore pretty much unprotected by the hateful bottom line (read that "the ones who look for profit, rather than loss on the income statement) readers who are more likely to be unreasonable when he loses his temper--of course, the fact that he could be considered mentally challenged (and I mean that in a NICE way) won't do him any favors either.

In any case, I expect he'll be let go (or quit) in short order, and by the time it happens, which I expect will be sometime between Monday and Tuesday, he will be more than happy to embrace retirement--and this time with a smile on his face.

Which doesn't bode well for *my* happy that he'll be on afternoon shift!

Therefore, I am opting for a "we'll see" sort of attitude. I hope the best for him, but I really think a job in the private sector will be his undoing. Even so, I think inactivity will kill him just as quickly. I suppose that work of any kind is preferable to sitting in a chair, inactive, and dying from congestive heart failure due to having no hobbies.

Of course, this is going to play havoc with this school schedule this term. He intends to continue with one of the classes--but unless he can reschedule his other two for a different time of day, he's going to have to withdraw from two classes that are already paid. THIS of course, turns that frown into an even deeper frown. He enjoyed learning new things (not going to class, but the learning). He hates wasting money. He needs to wake up early on Monday afternoon (well, that sounds weird) and get his classes in order, and then GO to class, then to work.

And he will be expected to do more than he ever did at General Motors, and I doubt that they will allow him to sit and read a book while he waits for a die to crash.

Perish the thought!

No, he will be asked to push a broom or sort nuts and washers before he'll be allowed to sit on his collective for even a moment's time. Private sector doesn't understand the word "breaktime".

I expect his first day, he will arrive at home EXHAUSTED, and tell me that he's never worked so hard in his whole life at GM.

Um, yeah. I knew that was coming. I will then have to remind him...yes, but aren't you so proud of yourself? To which he'll reply...yeah, but I'm not paid enough and I get no recognition for all the "other" stuff I took on that went WAY beyond my responsibility and experience.

Um, yeah. I think I saw that one coming, too.

So I sit here in the early morning, blogging, thinking about all these things, and Rhiannon is waiting in the wings--13 more rows to do before another repeat is done. I just couldn't bring myself to stay up another second last night at 9:30pm. You see, I'm getting older, and I want so much to slow down, but the employer and the economy have a different plan for me, I guess. I have been working hard, taking breaks after completing every difficult task (difficult only because there is SO MUCH TO BE DONE.), going to lunch and going home--all these taking a toll on my health.

I have a sinus headache now. I will be at the doctor's by Monday. Life is too busy for me right now. I am turning into a "gee, can't I just sit here and knit?" sort of person. I want the world to slow down so that I can hop off. So I don't get this "I'd rather be working" mentality that my husband has. He's actually happy he got a job, and he doesn't even NEED one, other than to satisfy his identity problem. And with so many people out there unemployed, who could really use that job to care for their family? I don't know. I suppose that the real reason that I don't get it is that I don't have such identity issues. I work and play far too hard to have identity problems. Maybe when I retire, I will have similar issues, because I've worked all my life--but women are different from men, in that they get their identity from home and family...and I am no exception. So I guess all this means is that I'm on the fence about his new job. I hope it's satisfying for him. I hope he doesn't lose it the first week. That would be demoralizing for him. On the other hand, if he does, can I support his decisions in the long run.

I mean, considering the freedom I'll lose when he's home again? Sigh.

I sure hope so. In the meanwhile, enough with deep thinking. I'm going to grab something to eat, then get busy on Rhiannon and finish that repeat.

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