Candid Karina

No, I wasn’t fired. But that was a much catchier title than “You’re laid off”, you know? And besides, it has pretty much the same emotional impact. As in, “Holy crap, now what?” And that was just one of the thoughts that ran through my mind when I received the news last Friday that as of NEXT Friday, I’ll be jobless. I have had a job of some form or another non-stop since the age of 16. I’ve never been unemployed since then. I find a new job before I quit the old one, even if I am miserable at my current position. That’s just the way it is. So this, seeing my future with no set job ahead? FREAKING ME OUT.

Here are thirteen other thoughts that have gone through my mind since I received the news:

1. How will I pay my mortgage? Am I going to lose my house? Damn it, I was thisclose to wiping out all my debt too. How much of a setback is this going to be?

2. Well, I do need a vacation.

3. Shit, shit, shit, shit, shit…(sorry mom, desperate times call for desperate language).

4. I wonder if I can figure out a way to live off unemployment for a while and stay home and work on the next great American novel?

5. Holy crap, I’m going to be destitute.

6. This is a blessing in disguise, I’m gravely underpaid anyway, so now I’ll go earn what I deserve.

7. I can’t live off unemployment, who the hell am I kidding? I’ll love my house. That’s not an option, get it together Karina!

8. Maybe I can find a fun new challenging job, something that will have me excited about learning new things and stuff.

9. Oh, I really don’t want to have to go work in Boston again and add that commute to my life…damn, I thought I was done with that insane lifestyle.

10. Working in Boston again could really be a whole lot of fun. I hated the commute, but I loved that crazy lifestyle. I met a lot of great people, hey, maybe I’ll even meet a man or two…or ten… WHAT? It could happen.

11. Man, the job market sucks, there’s nothing out there, I’m never going to find a job. And UGH, I hate job interviews.

12. Hey, I get to go out and buy a really kick-ass interview suit, so I can look and feel like a million bucks. Because if you feel good, you look good, and you project the right attitude and that’ll get me a good job. That and my 11 years experience in this business.

13. No more Whisper Wednesdays!!!

And oh, I could go on and on, but I think you get the point.

I want to thank each and every one of you for your kind words, offers of help, and just for generally reminding me why I love blogging. The outpouring of support and positive words I’ve received from all my readers has been amazing, and I find myself constantly saying “wow, there are some amazing people in this world, and I’m blessed to blog with some of the best of them”. Thank you.

If you’re just tuning in, I lost my job on Friday. Although the economy has sucked for a long time, and I was well aware that finances at The Firm were not doing so great, I had simply no idea how bad things truly were, and I was absolutely blindsided by the news on Friday. The shock came in waves of anger, sadness, and panic. I have been employed, non-stop, since I turned 16 years old. With the exception of the odd vacations, I have never “not worked” since that time. As much as I bitch and moan about how I wish I was independently wealthy and didn’t need to work for a living, I don’t know how to “not work”. Unemployment has just never been an option for me, and I have always been the sort of person who, regardless of how bad a job may have been, always secured a new job before I quit another. The one time I quit a job on the spot, in the heat of a particularly nasty moment, I was working retail, and went to the mall that very same day, walked into every single retail store asking if they were hiring, and left the mall employed that very same day. I don’t know how to be unemployed. The idea of not having an income is so overwhelming that I can’t focus on it any longer than the amount of time it took me to write this sentence without breaking into a sweat.

As you all know, I am single. As you all probably also know, I own my own condo. This means I am SOLELY responsible for paying my mortgage, putting food on my table, paying the utility bills, insurance, and all other expenses of life. I do not have a secondary income, I do not have a fall back plan. And because I have been seriously underpaid at my current…uh…previous job, I do not have a savings account. That panic rising in me…it is monumental if I allow it to peek through.

The details, in a nutshell: The Firm is already severly short staffed, with two attorneys, one paralegal (yours truly), a part time receptionist, an useless office manager (really no bitterness there…ha), the bosses’ wife, who does not take a paycheck, the bosses’ daughter who “works” one day a week, and the bosses’ brother, who does the cleaning after hours. That’s it folks, no bells and whistles on that operation. This week The Boss told his daughter next week would be her last week, he also told his brother the same thing. The receptionist will receive her notice on Monday, because she was out sick on Friday. (She will actually find out today because I plan on calling her to give her the head’s up, but she’s young and has another full time job, so I’m certain she’ll be fine). And then there was me. I was given two week’s notice on Friday. I will work the next two weeks, and then get my two week’s vacation pay. And then I’m done. There is no money for a severance package, there really is no money for much of anything, and in fact, I highly doubt they’ll be able to keep The Firm open much longer. Things are dire. And in case you’re wondering, yes, the Nazi, the useless office manager, is keeping her job. Supposedly, she’s cuttin down to part time, but I won’t even go there…she’s the only portion of this equation that angers me.

The Boss is and has been the best boss I’ve had to date. As far as lawyers go, the guy is one in a million, making me feel like a vital part of the operation, and knowing how to say not only “please and thank you”, but also “good job” and “we couldn’t do it without you”. And yet, now they’ll have to, won’t they? I hold no hard feelings toward him, in fact, feel sorry for him, because this is his life’s work, about to fall apart. And I know how seriously he genuinely cares for me, not just as an employee, but sort of as another one of his “kids”. When I tell you he shed tears as he was telling me of the situation, I kid you not. His wife, as well, sobbed as we talked about it. We are very much a “family” and that is perhaps why this sucks as much as it does. This is the longest I’ve ever worked at a job, and it wasn’t because the money was good.

I mention being seriously underpaid…folks, I haven’t seen a raise in 3 years. But I enjoyed my job, and was willing to sacrifice the extra money for the peace of mind. Even if “whisper wednesdays” got to me.

But that’s the background. Here’s where we stand now: I have approximately one month’s worth of paychecks left before panic truly sets in. I cannot afford to go on unemployment alone, so I will be working on my resume today, and going out to buy an interview suit. I will be looking for a job that will pay me, likely, about 50% more than what my current salary is. Hold on, let me say that again…50% more. Of course, that’s what with my level of experience I should be getting paid, but in today’s economy, it’s likely that I’ll have to settle for less…still, less than 50 will likely still be at least 25% more than I make now.

So now you’re saying “Why the hell didn’t you leave your job earlier Karina?” I know, I know. But as much as I love shoe shopping, money has just never been a determining factor for me. I’m more about peace of mind, and this job offered me more of that than any other job I’ve ever had. I was willing to sacrifice the paycheck size for that. But now that I have no choice, let’s focus on the big bucks, shall we?

Anyway, long story short long, this is likely a blessing in disguise. As much as it sucks today, I’m sure in the end it’ll bring better financial security for me, new experiences, and my circle of “people” I associate with on a daily basis was getting really secluded, so new people will enter my life. Hey, maybe “I’ll meet a guy”. (Said in that way that my married friends say everytime I leave the house, as if that should be my sole goal for going out in public). But hey, you never know. (smirk)

I’m hoping to hold off the panic for a few weeks at least, and focus on action instead. If you stayed with me all the way through this insanely long post…thank you. I think I just needed to get it all down, and out of my own head. Now I must go get dressed, because I have a power suit to go buy.

{April 4, 2008}   The bad economy hits home

Follow-up Friday is being pre-empted this week. Instead we bring you breaking news from The Firm. In a nutshell, yours trully has just been told that her position is being eliminated. Yes folks, I’ve just gotten laid off. I have about two weeks left of paychecks before I have to figure out exactly how my mortage is getting paid next month.

I’m still in a bit of denial and shock and haven’t completely processed the magnitude of this situation. It wasn’t a completely unexpected turn of events, I knew things were dire at The Firm. But it was certainly a lot sooner than I expected, and I was under the impression we were turning things around. I was OBVIOUSLY mistaken.

I will post more about this at a later time, but I really don’t have the state of mind or the energy to do it now…I’m sort of just sitting at my desk, staring at my computer, trying not to throw up right now.

Anyone up for martinis tonight? You’ll have to treat though, I have a mortgage to pay and no income.

I wonder how much I can sell my shoe collection for?

Woke up this morning to sunlight on my face. My favorite way to begin a new day.

Decided it was Spring, even if it is only 40 degrees outside, and I would put the boots aside and wear shoes today. My mauvey/pink stilletos, to be exact. Not sure if the boots are retired for good, after all, it is April in New England, we could still get snow, but for now, it feels like shoe season.

Trying really hard to maintain the excellent mood I arrived at The Firm with, but Whisper Wednesday is in full effect, and I’ve come to realize that my LEAST favorite sound in the world is the sound of whispered conversation. It scratches at me like nails on a chalkboard. Creeping into the deepest parts of my soul, stirring up feelings of inferiority long thought forgotten. The irritation when I can hear the whispering is akin to that a woman feels in the depths of her PMS…it goes from mild, to “I want to grab them and slam their heads together” in record time. Seconds away from head slamming, I close my office door and blast some Justin Timberlake. Something has to quiet the rising “office rage”. Forget road rage, THIS is what gets my blood boiling.

Deep breaths, JT’s voice, and a Timbaland beat…crack the window, inhale the fresh air, and I’m feeling better already.

The Africa story is coming, possibly as part of my Thursday Thirteen. There is a new American Idol recap over at Cafe Karina, and I’ve decided to join NaPoWriMo, or National Poetry Writing Month (where I will attempt to write a poem a day for the month of April) over at Creative Karina. Won’t you stop by?

{January 16, 2008}   Whisper Wednesday at the Firm

Rough day at The Firm today. Very busy, extremely annoyed, closed office door, streaming angry music at eardrum bursting levels, kind of day. Nothing blogworthy can come of such a day, so I leave you to talk amongst yourselves. You can entertain yourselves with this post, or this post, or even this one. Or the little quiz below. Going for drinks with friends tonight, good timing for sure.

The Recipe For Karina

3 parts Daring
2 parts Fearlessness
1 part Superiority

Splash of Wit

Serve over ice

What’s the Recipe for Your Personality?

Have a good HUMP DAY!

Wordless Wednesday is right below this post.

Just in case anyone was wondering, since I wasn’t at work last Wednesday and was thus unable to report, YES, Whisper Wednesday is definitely still in full effect!

It is 10:30 AM and they have already been at it for at least 20 minutes. Since M.I.A. only arrived about 40 minutes ago, that should tell you the productive sort of day she’s bound to have.

Me? I’m going to put on my music, close my office door, and get to working…because that’s how we do.

Carry on…

Just a quick update, if you’ve been following my M.I.A. reports. Whisper Fridays have now changed to Whisper Wednesdays, which really sounds a lot better phonetically, but it just means that I now get to be annoyed mid-week as opposed to at the end of the week. I have not quite decided which I prefer.

M.I.A. appears to have changed her schedule to “work” (said about as loosely in interpretation as it can be) on Wednesdays, instead of Fridays, but I’m not really sure if this is the case, as I have not been informed either way…but, as always, nobody here ever tells me anything, so that’s no big surprise.

Wordless Wednesday sounds even better than ever now…check mine out below.

As mentioned in yesterday’s post, The Boss gave me three tickets to a Patriot’s pre-season game for last night. This is actually one of the perks of working at The Firm, because my boss is a major sports guy and has season tickets to just about any of the local pro-teams. I have now seen the Pats play twice, the Red Sox twice, the Celtics and the Bruins each once, all on his dime. And these aren’t just ANY seats…usually I am sitting in the best possible seats in the house. Last night’s seats, for example, were on the 50 yard line, 8th row. Yep, that good! Here’s our view:

See what I’m saying?

So, you would think that when you are gifted with a set of $100+ seats (each) to a game, it would be cake to find people interested to go, right? You would think wrong. See, I only learned of these tickets on Tuesday afternoon, that left me very little time to find people with last minute availability. DD is off on vacation this week at Yellowstone or some such, so she wasn’t around to go. Shopaholic started a new job and had training this week, so she couldn’t go. My brother, who is continually bitching about the fact that I have yet to take him to a game on my boss’s tickets, didn’t want to go because…well, I don’t know why actually, but now he’s no longer allowed to bitch about tickets. Then I called BFF, because as long as I’ve known her, she’s been a HUGE Pats fan. Well, she was as excited as I thought she would be, but as timing would have it, her mother in law had just been admitted to the hospital, and they weren’t sure yet what was going on with her, so she had to pass on the tickets. (Mom in law is fine by the way). So, now I’m scrambling to figure out who else I can take to this game with me.

I decided to invite Kitty, who is my mom’s best friend’s daughter, in her early 20’s, but someone who I’ve befriended lately, as she was going through a life change and I sort of took her under my wing a bit, sharing my own personal experiences, and being sort of a mentor of sorts. She was uber excited and so I had ticket taker number 1. As for number two, my friend Henna, who I hadn’t seen in a few months had incredibly good timing. She sent me an email on Wednesday morning, saying we should get together for dinner or a movie or something sometime soon, since we hadn’t hung out in a while. I emailed her back “How about a Pat’s game tomorrow night”. And then we were three.

So off we went with visions of tailgating and 8th row seats in our heads. After a bit of traffic (oh, I’m so downplaying the 2 hours we sat in stop and no go traffic), we finally arrived. We were ready to tailgate. Out come the Coronas and…oh crap, we forgot a bottle opener! After some schmoozing, we managed to get our drinks opened and enjoyed some drinking and chatting and the gorgeous weather.

And then it was time to head in to the game. Our seats? AMAZING. The crowd was having a good time, it was the last pre-season game, no major players on the field, just a fun time for all.

We did watch some of the game (I swear we did) but as we were sitting behind the visiting team (NY Giants, if you care), we spent most of the evening appreciating some of the nicer assets of their team…

We left a bit early to beat the traffic out, and I was in bed right around 1AM…getting up for work at 7:30 this morning was not a pleasant experience, and as a non-beer drinker, those 3 beers have left me with an unfortunate headache…OUCH. But hey, it was fun, and totally worth it. OH yeah, and the Pats won, just in case you were wondering!

How was your Thursday evening??

Minding my own business, in my office, doing my work on a Tuesday morning, and in strolls M.I.A. She only “works” on Fridays, so what she is doing here is beyond me. However, she has now plopped her ass in The Nazi’s office, and they are off….the whispering and chatting has now been going on for at least 15 minutes.

Once again, yours truly is about 5 seconds away from slamming the door shut and blaring the radio…

OH, how I hate them…

Well then, it is 10:30 am on a Friday morning, so what could that possibly mean at The Firm? M.I.A. has just waltzed in (I’d love to know what her actual “work hours” are), and plopped her ass down in The Nazi’s office, and they have begun this week’s edition of “Chat and Whisper Friday”.

There is a window of about 5 minutes before yours truly slams her door shut and blares the music.

I’ll report later with exactly how long M.I.A. and The Nazi were in there gabbing away.

UPDATE: It is now 12:15 PM. My office door was indeed slammed shut at about 10:45AM, and the music went on. From what I could hear above my music, I believe M.I.A. left The Nazi’s office around 12:00PM…and she now left the office to go, well…I’m not really sure where she went or if she’s coming back. She was in the office for a total of 1 hour and 45 minutes, and spend 1 1/2 hours chatting/whispering, another few minutes in the bathroom, so, we’ll say she’s “worked” a total of 10 minutes today. Oh, no wait, she probably had to check her e-mails and call her husband…5 minutes then. Man, and I think I’m slacking? I’ll update as the day goes on…

et cetera