My job at Multnomah County had its ups and downs, just like any other job. Most of the downs were political in nature: my boss was scared of me and I was always under pressure to shape up. Perhaps I needed that pressure; I had been fired for cause at Powell’s, after all. I wasn’t the best employee.
Despite MultCo being a union job, in the first year, there are no protections for an employee. They’re on probation for a whole calendar year. How did I survive?
Friends and co-workers. When tensions with my boss reached their height, many of my co-workers stepped in and talked to my boss and her boss, defending my skills and knowledge and explaining my personal situation, to explain why I was acting the way I was acting.
And about a year and a half from my hire date, my mom passed away from a long, drawn-out bout with lung cancer. Mom was always on the smaller side, but by the end, she was positively skeletal. Goodbye, mom.
The first thing my boss said to me after I returned from my bereavement leave was a reminder to fill out the paperwork to account for my time off.
Shortly thereafter I became a shop steward for AFSCME Local 88. Unions are a net good. They’re the only democracy allowed in the workplace, which is why they’re constantly under fire by authoritarians and capitalists alike. But that’s a story for another day.
13 years. That’s how long I worked at Multnomah County. It’s my career record—unless you count all my years as a flibbertigibbet. I quit because I felt I was spinning in place. I may have quit because of grief or depression. My nephew, someone who I grew up with and thought of more as a brother, died, also of cancer, in 2010, and it broke me, badly. Goodbye, Kevin. I miss you every day.
When Kevin died I lost a person to whom I had always shared stories. When we’d played as kids, we were telling stories to and with each other. He grew up to be an improv actor and comedian. He always encouraged me to write.
I wanted to write. For the next year and a half, I survived on barely any income at all and tried to write a novel. I did not finish it. I have not, yet, finished that novel. I still work on it.
So I had to get a new job, and since I had a lot of background in IT and computer support, that’s where I landed. Again. Did phone support for one of the largest banks in the country, and am now providing tech support for a small town down in the Willamette Valley. It’s paying my bills.
I still want to write, however. Which is why I’m here, pounding out 500 words every day. Training for the big run. Or several smaller, but paying, runs. Hire me, and you’ll get that passion and experience put to good use.