For this current time period, I am working through Julia Cameron and Mark Bryan’s book Money Drunk, Money Sober before I work through the Prosperous Heart. The following blog entries are in response to prompts and experiences from the book. I see this as an extension of my Artist’s Way work. Some of my entries are jarring and highly personal – any program of sobriety and self-improvement demands admitting dysfunction both personally and in family, and it also calls to admit some painful truths. While not everything I work on appears here, a number of realities do. I have a genuine body of work thanks to my work on the Artist’s Way program, and I can’t ignore the changes the continual commitment has brought about. Because of that, I also can’t ignore what going further into the harder aspects of the program – like facing money issues – has the potential to improve.
I honestly don’t remember most of the jobs I’ve had. There have been a lot, and after my health went south, employment stability went with it.
From what I recall –
Babysitting $2/hour. Got lots of callbacks because there were no boys for me to call.
Liked: the good kids Hated: when the parents were weird, and I have a really high weird tolerance.
The Frame Store Don’t remember – it was cash out of register.
Liked: relative autonomy Hated: Expectation that I would know how to do stuff by osmosis.
Corn Detasseling Don’t remember. I remember a check after I quit for $350.
Liked: the money Hated: Getting tendonitis, racism, sexual harassment, bullying boss…
Cashier at steak joint $4.25 that eventually became $4.45.
Liked: having money to pay phone bills to out of town boyfriend. Hated: the manager’s sociopathic son, that would do things like encourage the mentally disabled dishwasher to call me at home and ask for a date. I was NOT amused he was giving out my phone number, and he did much worse stuff to other people, like holding a knife to one lady’s throat. Honestly, I don’t know why I didn’t report those freaks to corporate. His parents frequently accused me of theft often to find an hour later that they themselves had extracted money from my till and forgotten where they put the cash bag.
Liked: LIBRARY! Diverse, awesome co-workers. No overdue fees. Being able to use the library one town over that otherwise had my town locked out of its system.
Disliked: Department boss was a snotty racially and religiously specific bigot, and so the Latino employees got away with murder while the rest of us were treated like dirt by her.
Telemarketing $5.00 plus commission
Liked: Very little – sort of made a friend, but he was BFF of the ex-boyfriend that I had taken the phone bill steakhouse hell job for, so it was often awkward.
Disliked: Manager calling me at home to chew me out for “anti-Polish” comments (described behavior of my grandmother) and “racist” comments when I complained about racism inherent in Crown Point police officers. Manager also started kissing my ass when she found out I was related to a local dignitary. Mostly she wanted to chase me off so she could keep my commissions as I was a really good salesperson, and because she did NOT like young women. Now I’d know to report her to the state employment commission; then I just felt helpless.
Newspaper Editor/Writer $5.50/$6.00?
Liked: Writing experience
Disliked: Unnecessary staff drama. The final editor-in-chief was very threatened by any ambitious underclassman, and pulled all kinds of shit to keep me down. Which was stupid, since I wasn’t a material threat – it was just her being a bullying Queen Bee piece of shit. Loved my advisor, but her turning a blind eye to the editor’s behavior was also a serious problem.
Tutor Don’t remember
Liked: Teaching students new ways to absorb information; extra money to roll towards next year’s tuition.
Disliked: Students that just wanted me to rewrite their papers for them/students that argued with me about the revisions as though original coherent work was really better.
Public Relations Assistant $5.50/hour
Liked: Opportunity to use design and desktop publishing skills; doing feature articles
Disliked: My boss was an example of everything a worthy institution does NOT want in a PR person. She pushed me to bury newspaper stories, did not understand the first fucking thing about the church that actually owned the school charter despite working there more than a decade, and she favored suppression over honesty despite the suppression of problems being what gave the school its lousy reputation, rather than the problems themselves. Also her son was a manipulative jackass and I heard but never confirmed rumors of date rape where he was concerned.
Various Temp Jobs varied
- Customer service for an Indiana newspaper – it SUCKED. There was nothing I enjoyed about that job.
- Plastic factory, 12 hour overnight shift.
- Lots of short-term admin; was generally treated as incompetent whether or not I was.
- Telemarketing for a guy I worked with at the first telemarketing job. Liked: I was treated as a valued and respected member of the team; boss knew the job was psychologically difficult and saw to it that I took care of myself after rough calls (which most bosses NEVER did.) Earned a good chunk of money that went towards the next year of school’s tuition, and got me away from an increasingly invasive and nasty mother for several hours at a time. Disliked: It was telemarketing. Working with the girl who would deliberately break my toys in elementary school.
Wal-Mart Cashier $6.00
Liked: Not ending up homeless when I moved to Mankato.
Disliked: My co-workers. Walking about 5 miles to work and back every day. Did I mention my co-workers? Oh, and the total non-support for staff when a customer screamed at me for no justifiable reason.
Radio Station – Engineer, Operator, Fundraiser $6.50
Liked: I could study while I worked, it was a fun job, very stable, my home through some fairly rough years.
Disliked: Was not fired but was also not forgiven for some botches my first month working for the station. Had an overboss who refused to let me test or further my abilities. Liked my main boss (who prevented my firing) but he and his wife were a strange pair – always coming up against inner noise and assumptions from his wife, and he reminds me in retrospect of Robert California on the Office. Did do a damn good job as their assistant development director, but I suspect that overboss was a bigger bitch about my mistakes than she needed to be. Especially compared to behavior I saw from other hires. Really hated it when the international students that worked there would have study parties during my shift – it was disruptive, especially when they played loud music. They also frequently used Ramadan to behave like disrespectful jerks. Got stuck with more than one extended shift because a guy with a show could not be bothered to show up on time when it was a woman working after him.
Layout Designer $7.50
Liked: Working with Quark, cool team manager. Disliked: Baby pictures everywhere. Weird internal meltdown that made it impossible for me to do work properly. Religiously invasive behaviors by corporate culture (you could only get promoted if you attended the manager’s church.)
Marketing, tiny defunct Internet Company $8.00
Liked: My co-worker Bryan. He was really cool and sweet. Disliked: My delusional headcase of a boss. Pulled all kinds of sociopathic communication bullshit and then failed to understand why people were not “holding up their end” in business partnerships. Called me on the carpet for helping the receptionist suggest improvements, and further reprimanded me for not reading minds and not predicting the future.
Customer Service, Class Action Line $8.00
Liked: Having some kind of job, and some of my team members were really sweet.
Disliked: Fundamentalist invasive manager bitch; getting screamed at by callers and not being allowed to divert from a script even when it was clear that was what was needed; the hour commute to work every day; no hope at all for health insurance.
Customer Service, Rebate Line $8.00
Liked: The rare occasions where I was allowed to read between phone calls.
Disliked: That job.
Liked: Books! Awesome co-workers! Book discounts! Working with another lit student that was also a friend.
Disliked: Moody manager that cut my hours during the holidays to punish me for taking a second job. Moody assistant manager (who was later put on notice) that actively lied about my performance to prevent me from getting a deserved promotion. Dealing with the “other Pagan” that got hired and who was, as far as I could tell, completely incapable of actual work.
International Graduate Assistant/Advisor $16.65 + free tuition
Liked: My work partner, Chelo. Organizing the unorganizable. My sense of accomplishment every time I managed to resolve an issue, help someone navigate the visa system, or helped someone deal with United States culture better. Meeting amazing human beings and learning about the world and their experiences.
Disliked: The students that had no interest in learning about the US, only in taking advantage of its citizens and their money. The racism directed at me and towards each other. Working while 9/11 happened. The stress. The creepy boss that would try to cancel reservations made for parties and then blame me or my partner for it, among many other weaselly things he did like demanding I pick up material from a printer during an ice storm. The slightly unbalanced office manager who had a lot of white racism in her. The nice-guy head boss who was just SURE the problems with the assistant director were just a “cultural misunderstanding” when they were in fact his assistant trying to undermine us because he didn’t like women in our position. There was a sexual harassment thing, too, that got ignored.
Admin Assistant for a Nonprofit $25k/year
Liked: Training volunteers, listening to the receptionist go crazy, editing grants
Disliked: The poor communication, expectations of mind-reading, and people dumping work on me only because they didn’t want to do it. I was also told I “screwed up” when material got copied onto the wrong color paper – this is despite having to fight other staff for printer time and other work conditions that made my job impossible to do perfectly. I actually did an adequate job, but was treated constantly as though it was inadequate. Accused of stealing $15 when the finance guy put the check in the same envelope WITH MY PAYCHECK and I didn’t catch it. Additional problems with “friend” ignoring my work hours and, looking back, I’m pretty sure she was trying to sabotage my life. Her little sister was great, but the more I think about P., the more I reason what a rotten egg she really was.
Loan Processor $17/hour
Liked: Mostly cool team the first time around. Good money. Able to walk to work.
Disliked: Company kept its “top employer” rating by hiring and firing bulk temps, since it was not held accountable for temps. Over complicated system for processing, and on a brief hire back no attempt to train me on updated techniques. Final boss actually went out of her way to fire every woman on her team except the obviously pregnant one – and the pregnant one took me out to lunch and warned me she was going to find an excuse to do so. So at least I saw it coming, although boss resorted to lying about my performance to get me off the team.
Phone Company Customer Service Rep Don’t remember
Liked: Total insurance coverage, fun people on my team. Lots of free perks.
Disliked: Ridiculously strict attendance policy; my manager belonged on a sitcom she was so absurd. Call routers were deliberately sending us repair calls instead of sales calls, and I could never get adequate help in those situations.
Admissions Counselor $16/hour
Liked: A couple of my team members were pretty cool, as was my boss.
Disliked: Following a script (made it feel like a con.) Daily sales meetings that were essentially just diatribes about how we weren’t working hard enough – while preventing us from working. (When my performance visibly improved the week they didn’t have any meetings, it was not welcomed news.) Long wait for health insurance. A couple really obnoxious team members. Messing with peoples’ lives.
IP research lead $12/hour
Liked: My boss – he was cool, encouraged me to learn things, to teach things, to be creative. Reading magazines. A lower stress job than I had previously enjoyed.
Disliked: My initial team was three women that had organized themselves into a nasty little beehive. They didn’t like it when I got promoted over who they had chosen to promote from within, and they got angry when I was calling prospective clients despite the fact that they did not have to do it. There was also an inappropriate power dynamic between the research team and the sales team that conjured up politics when just trying a different way for a little while would have worked out better. People created a battle where none needed to be; the company had been forged around female social violence and eventually it put the company out of business. I just got hired in right before that happened. No one just did their fucking jobs – there was an appalling culture built up, bad enough that taking it down was the only thing that made sense in the end.
Lead Generator $14/hour
Liked: The challenge of research; one of the other sales assistants, ones of the sales women. Disliked: Pretty much everything else about that job, from the owner who threatened to fire me in our first meeting by way of introducing himself to the meeting where I was informed I should be putting in 60 hour days for what I was being paid. Messy database and ultimately the service the company offered was pretty slimy.
Site Manager, Movie Surveys $8 base plus commission
Liked: My co-workers, most of the time. Even watching the movie previews.
Disliked: No insurance, worked while sick except when I couldn’t walk and/or speak, the proselytizing Muslim co-worker who refused to do his job when a cop was around, the head guy that would call me at 8:30 at night and ask me to find a 40 year old woman so he could get a bonus for my two hours extra work, and the general indignities that come when you have to badger people minding their own business. Asking for people’s phone numbers. Also, we were not allowed to use white boards and hold up signs – which would have made the work a LOT easier by encouraging self-selection.
Desktop Publishing $33k/year
Liked: Working downtown, co-workers in another department, extricating myself from at least my consumer debt, occasional perks like concert tickets, learning esoteric tricks with Word that were never meant to be used, having my own office (although it was constantly under threat of removal.) Health insurance and flex plan that allowed me to order meds in bulk.
Disliked: First manager that lied/misrecorded days I was out of the office that were intended to compensate during overtime freezes – same manager was later put on involuntary leave for a nervous breakdown during a staff meeting; the business applied “Perception is Reality” to internal business operations (where it DOES NOT BELONG) and thus created a system that was outright abusive to all support staff; co-worker with high competence who did not recognize her lack of promotion was due to her refusal to take responsibility for her wild and inappropriate mood swings whether pregnant or not; saw men forgiven for professional mishaps when women were held doubly accountable for them.
Since then, it’s been self-employment.
Filed under: Money Drunk Money Sober