Last evening I sat finishing up at the engineer’s office having maintained his accounting records on a part-time basis for the last six years, I let my mind wander. Prior to that I had worked full-time there for five years.
I gazed out the window. A beautiful summer evening beckoned beyond the confines of the office.
There used to be a spectacular view when first James’ moved the office over to 4th Ave. and Main Street here in Vancouver. An unimpeded and often breathtaking vista of Vancouver’s mountains made working in an area that was still largely industrial and not particularly attractive just shine a little brighter.
Eleven years ago I can recall going out and taking pictures of the first snow that fell on the mountains when we moved to this location.
It looked as though icing sugar had been liberally sprinkled over the whole of them. It was so beautiful.
Tonight as I sat gazing at the view that no longer exists, trying to figure out what my fog induced brain had done a few months back, I just felt sad.
The race to develop the area after the Olympics graced our fair city is still underway. Many of the buildings that have been erected are not particularly attractive. Densification is the key word these days. Not that the area was stellar to look at before, but I’d hoped that it would look better than what it does at the moment. Each building’s footprint maximizes the space allowable to build upon in everyway.
The view really doesn’t exist any longer. Oh you can see a bit of the mountains, but not like a few years ago.
I leaned back in my chair. It’s been a brutal week. A lot of tears. A lot of unexpected turn of events.
I thought back to that first run in I had with John. He is one of partners at the architectural firm I work at, so yes, one of my boss’.
I wondered why it is I end up in these positions. It seems like subconsciously I ignore those little red flags that go up.
No, I wait until the universe slaps me around a little and says ‘Get you ass oughta there!” Even then, as I assure the universe that I will do just that after I do this, this and that, I often find I get kicked to the curb.
The universe has indeed spoken and I really need to listen to it better.
I was ‘warned’ when I started in this job just over five years ago by my predecessor.
When Raymond quit not even a year later, I saw ‘The Wrath of John’ in action for the first time. It would not be the last.
I should have begun the hunt to get out four years ago after that display.
But I was convinced that I could make a difference and do the job and do if fabulously.
In the beginning I was tenacious. Why I thought I needed to prove it to myself, I don’t know. And I should know better by now.
Then there is this thing about timing.
I was getting healthy in everyway for the first time really in my life. It was a tough period as I was finally tackling some of the deepest issues that have always plagued me.
It was strange.
I was trying desperately to break out of the hell I’d created in another hell I’d accepted. And all the while the mask went on every morning.
The competent and self-assured accountant / office manager headed off into the wilds of the business world wanting to make sense of it, and trying to play the corporate chess match with effect.
And when that condemning eye of John’s fell to me and the verbal assaults began, did I stop him in his tracks right at the beginning?
No. I tried to suck it up and be a ‘man’ about it. After all this was just business, yes?
It continued for months. The woman who had gone in prepared to run the place with notions of smooth efficiency began to sink.
All the knowledge I have about accounting was being challenged and the demand was to change how it was done to satisfy the partners’ need to try and understand it.
And as this was played out in a multitude of endless spreadsheets that seemingly changed in a kaleidoscopic manner I tried desperately to make sense of it and provide them with their insatiable needs in order to understand where the firm was going.
Twice a month this ritual was to be done, each containing information that just seemed to build. And God knows, I did my best in this regard.
When I approached them about the obscene cost of storage it was at first ignored. Only when the business slowed down was this now an issue that needed to be dealt with exponentially.
I ran the numbers by them on paper filing. Found programs that would be ideal in converting to an electronic format. And while I was successful in convincing them that we did indeed need to make this change, one of the partners created a program of sorts that I’ve never really understood.
Initially the receptionist had to go in an re-code a great deal of information. A quick fix was found about a year later. And it was not part of my job description at that point. I simply needed to ensure that it was done in a timely manner.
When the receptionist left and was not replaced I now had to fend for myself. I was dragging bottom at this point so I set up my own system to try and deal with the backlog as I didn’t really understand what had been set up and it just seemed every time I tried to sequester a lesson it just didn’t happen.
I was getting lost, even then I knew it. But I’m stubborn so I stuck my head in the sand and soldiered on.
I don’t remember what John said exactly to me that day, but the words were an arrow that pierced the heart and fractured that delicate child of mine. I lost it.
I stormed after him and began to sob and scream ” You can’t talk to me like that!”
And then I was on the defensive , crying pathetically. My voice had taken on a high-pitched childlike octave and nothing coming out of my mouth was really all that coherent.
Then he simply turned his back to me, dismissing me.
And I raged on. That was a year and a half ago. Oh, I knew then that I’d overstayed my welcome. I could not work under these conditions.. No one should.
I began to put out feelers to see what was out there. I’d be a little more careful this time out and really listen to my intuition. I was beginning to understand the error of my ways.
A month later…”You’ve got Cancer!”
Now as much as I would have liked to continue the job search, going into an interview with the footnote..’oh, just to let you know, I do have cancer, but no worries, I’ll be just fine!’ just didn’t cut it.
And here I am, one year to the day that I had surgery. I truly thought that would be it. Take out the diseased parts and get on with it.
And at this moment I am just feeling sad.
Oh, it will pass, but boy, did they pick a good week to hand out five weeks notice telling me that my position was going to be ‘downsized and rationalized’ and I would be joining the ranks of the unemployed if I don’t find something in the interim.
There is more to it than the reason given. This I can assure you. Certain powers that be wanted me out. It really is just that simple unfortunately. And who they bring in to replace me, or if they contract out, I really have no clue.
I was told that I have not been very productive and they can’t afford me. That really hurt.
I took just two weeks off after the surgery. On the days I went in for chemo I took those off as well. I made up the time, however, working overtime and banking it when ever I could.
Chemo messed up the thought process. Fractured it for a time. Pulled me into a fog so thick.
And still John’s hurtful comments continued.
Not once did either partner sit me down and express concern over me or my job performance. Not once did they encourage me to take a leave of absence and just heal.
Yet every error, everything I forgot to do was underlined. Still, everything managed to get done.
And as I sit here now, feeling rather beaten and defeated, I do know I’m leaving the place in far better shape than when I first arrived. I will always honour the job regardless.
And you know, I wish I’d been able to tell John when those words were bestowed just how terrified I was.
Of him. Of the drugs that were invading my body. Of dying.
But I didn’t.
Each morning I rose from my bed and put the mask of accountant / office manager on though now it was cracked and so hideous to me but I was desperate to believe in it still.
What if this mind of mine stayed like this? I didn’t want to go there.
The phone would ring while I was trying to focus on the numbers before me, and after the phone call had ended…the train of thought was gone. The numbers sometime looking like another language. Then those tendrils of fear began to slip in.
What was happening to me?
I really began to understand in many ways I was simply a statistic. At work, getting cancer. It’s a numbers game.
And I won’t tell you how many times I cried myself to sleep in the last year trying to deal with the all the things that were rising up and at times feeling quite hysterical, but if there is one thing I’ve learned well, it’s how to hide it.
And I am a forgiving soul.
Some might say I should not make such things public record. I’ve nothing to hide really. I never have.
I feel no shame. I only wish I’d not taken the abuse for as long as I did. Those that pay our salary have a certain power though. And while I often would just walk away saying nothing when these barbs were tossed out, I still allowed it to continue.
Oh, I knew I had to get out of there and was preparing as such. I wanted to get the publishing company up and running and then get the book launched first. And I wanted to ensure that everything was brought up to date so that whomever replaced me would at least have a bit of a head start. I was about 75% complete in that quest.
And happily my synoptic functions have returned full force, though there is still a little residue effect that is occurring.
And a year later the Universe has spoken. I have a much different path now to explore. It has been a toxic year on so many fronts. Now it’s time to move on and heal on every front.
You can’t make lemonade out of sour grapes no matter how hard you try. Best to bow out gracefully and know that karma always has a way of balancing things out.
Mercury is coming out of a significant retrograde insisting that I leave my toxic past behind me and I will.
One year later, I am still here. I will know the freedom to create, I will know the freedom to love, I will know the freedom to express my true passions and I will live these.
Peace and love to all of you.