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Working Man

It’s been almost two years since Master lost his very stable and good job that he’d worked at for five years or so.  That’s a long time.  In that time we’ve been struggling a bit.  We’ve always gotten by and made due, but it has meant a lot of time working lots of late hours, even on the weekends while he was on contracts, to try to keep the bank account afloat so that we’d be okay.  When you’re constantly working contracts and relying on unemployment in between, it makes you work all the harder.  Side gigs as a blackjack/roulette dealer for charily events, late night Mewtique work, random surveys and taste tests, plasma donation (for Master, I can’t donate with my POTS) even bringing scarves to work on to Infusion sessions since I’m just sitting there.  Constant vigilance.

It has meant a huge lifestyle change.  In between contracts we were forced to go to food pantries and rely on handouts.  We’ve struggled.  I know we’re not the first or last people to ever have gone through this, and I know we won’t be the last.  If there is one thing I wish for each person reading this, it’s that they never find themselves in this position.  It’s horrible.

Amidst the constant searches for permanent employment, Master has had a lot of contracts.  A lot.  All of them were potential contract-to-hire opportunities, and none of those “to hire” jobs had hired him on.  Budget problems.  Mergers.  Other bullshit.  Thankfully he has left all those contracts on good terms and his lack of a hire had nothing to do with him, but it still doesn’t make it any easier when you keep thinking you’re so close to things being alright again…  And then they are not.

This contract he’s in now?  Well, we knew from the start that there was absolutely no chance of a hire.  They were very specific.  They didn’t say they were even looking to hire someone permanently.  I heard the entire interview, and they said they were looking for someone to help during the busy season while they are upgrading things at this place.  The contract was for four months, but they also said they would be open to extending if the upgrades took longer than the amount of time they originally thought they would.  The amount they would extend the contract was up to two years, but in three month increments.  The job paid a lot more than unemployment, so it didn’t make sense to turn it down, even if it had no benefits or hope of permanent hire.  So, he took it.

The first day Master started working at this contract, someone gave their notice and left two weeks later.  At that guy’s going away party, he kept introducing Master around as “his replacement” and we’ve been trying to temper that with the realism of management being very blunt about the fact that they were not looking to hire.  In the past four months there have been a lot of signs that they may hire Master, but again, our hopes have been dashed so many times in the last two years and it’s really stressful thinking of getting our hopes up only to have the rug dragged out from under us.  The team always likes Master.  The companies always have nothing but good things to say.  He always leaves his jobs with a ton of references and new LinkedIn reviews.  That’s the thing though, no one has hired him on yet.

On May first, Master received an email telling him to turn in his badge on the sixteenth of May.  That’s the supposed end-date for his contract.  He sent back an email clarifying and he got a mysterious

“I haven’t forgotten about you, and I’m working on it.”

email from management.  Cryptic.  There have also been a couple of meetings with Master and the team which were basically Master sitting there while the team sang his praises, and went on about how amazing Master is.  He was told a month ago that they weren’t sure if they could keep him or not (and no one made that promise from the start, either!) but that they were getting their budget back in April and so they may know if they can keep him on by the end of his original contract date which is mid-May.

This past Monday they started uprooting Master’s desk because they are moving him and the team he works with to another part of the building.  He may be getting an actual office with a door, and not just a cube.  That’s not true of his whole team either.  We keep thinking to ourselves that if they were going to just have his contract end in a week they wouldn’t bother moving the team until then.  Why go through the trouble of uprooting him just to have him clean out his desk?  Also, this week his manager approved him to do some projects that don’t even start until June, which is after he’s supposed to be gone.

Most people would be getting their hopes up big time, but not us.  Not at all.  We want the job, but there have been past jobs where Master has been approved on for more projects and then a merger stopped him, or budget issues, or whatever.

As much as we want this job, we’ve been let down so many times in the last two years by “almost” hires that we have no hope that this will turn into a job.  Our hearts are settled on the job contract ending on May 16th and us going back to the run around trying to find something permanent.  While we’re typically very optimistic people, we have had so many let downs in the last two years that we just can’t see it as a possibility right now.  We can’t take the disappointment if it doesn’t work out.  Our hearts are set on it not working out, but Master would absolutely take the job if it was offered.  He loves working there and has a great team.

It’s an odd place to be.  We’re not even in a “hope for the best but expect the worst” situation.  We’re in a “this is ending unless we hear otherwise and we refuse to get our hopes up” mind state.

One thing that has been especially hard about the last two years is that in that time we haven’t been able to go home to see our families.  We don’t like this.  That’s a long time to go without seeing your family.  It’s not helped either by the fact that Sarumom has been constantly guilt tripping us.  She’s always going on about how we never visit, and I have no clue how she doesn’t understand that between my health (which would make travel difficult too) and with the lack of permanent income, there is just no way we could afford to fly out even for the weekend.  I don’t know what part about “working contracts and getting by on unemployment in between those contracts” sounds like “fly across the country” to her, but she thinks we are being selfish rather than the other way around.  No one thinks we want to visit.  They all just think we’re hoarding money or something.  We do want to fly home and see everyone.  We’re just not going to do something stupid and default on our mortgage to do it.  Thanks.

My brother isn’t helping either.  He had a baby a year ago and apparently he was talking with Mom about how “selfish” and how “we don’t care about the baby” because we haven’t flown home.  I can’t believe how ludicrous this is, and I can’t even believe that no one understands that Master has no permanent job so flying is not even possible!  No one has come to see us, during this time.  You could bring the baby here if you actually wanted me to meet her, you know.  I reply to emails and I see photos of her.  Would I like to meet her?  Yes.  I just don’t get it at all that Master and me are the selfish ones when we’re the ones struggling the most right now.  Not having a permanent job means you can’t travel.  It’s shit but that’s what it fucking is.

I haven’t seen my Dad since he was put in the nursing home and I feel absolutely terrible about that and I want to see him again before he dies.  My Mom is in the process of selling her house and just had to move into an apartment in an elderly community and I want to see it.  I love my family even if they are completely unfeeling towards our situation, and I do want to see them, even if right now they are driving me up the wall.

Aside from seeing family, it’s been a while since we could go to a convention, event, or on a real vacation of our own.  You know, something stress relieving instead of a “family” vacation which is always stress inducing.  ::Sigh::  Even if Master got hired in two weeks (which, we aren’t planning on) it takes time to save up for that sort of thing anyway, but it would still be something to hope for.  Not to mention just being able to have sick time and paid time off to be together.  Master and me haven’t had proper time off in over a year because we’ve worked nearly every weekend on the Mewtique since we don’t know how long this job will last.  Benefits.  Want.