The Big Dream

So, this is an extension of my last blog that covered work.

Basically, last time, I put the vibe out there that I wasn’t exactly thrilled with the job I have that makes me money. By and large… Yes. That’s a fact.

I do have another job that fulfills me in every way a person could possibly imagine. I wish every day that it could be my paying job.

I am on the board of a non-profit organization called Crossroads Universal. We organize and host two very large community events every year: Cleveland Pagan Pride Days and The Cleveland Witches Ball. There are so many other dreams we have for the organization, but these two events are very solid, though, due to the ‘rona, we had to cancel the Witches Ball and we made CLE PPD a live-stream event.

Every summer, the weekend of PPD, I am with my true tribe, with my people. There is such a spirit of community, togetherness, and pure magic. It makes every ounce of work we put into it so worth it. Just having someone walk up to me and thanking us for all our hard work and sharing about what a wonderful time they’re having… well… it’s a very special time.

Watching children dance along with the drum circles, friends who don’t see one another often hug, laugh, and pose for a selfie together… it’s truly the most wonderful feeling, for me. I know the rest of the board and the planning committee agree with me.

Part of me wonders if I’d still love it the same way if it were my paying job. Part of me says yes because I could move the organization into so many different directions and do so many wonderful things for our community.

No… not part of me. All of me.

Time to figure out making this happen.

For Money

Week 2 of the Daily Om writing course involves work.

For money, I am an insurance follow up representative in the billing department of a very large, world-renowned hospital system. That should make me proud. In actuality, it does not. To be perfectly frank, I have never worked in such a … well … toxic environment, and that really says something.

See, I started this job after the pandemic introduced itself to the world, so I’ve been working from home since day one. I’ve never experienced their “in office” environment, but if it’s anything like the “at home” environment… let’s just say I’m going to have to actively pursue other avenues.

Most of my adult life was spent in the medical billing field. I gained all of my experience from a good company that cared both about their patients and about the people who run their processes and make things happen… you know, the workers. Every day I worked there, I felt valued, appreciated, and like what I had to say mattered. Where I’m at now? I have none of these things. In fact, it’s not a matter of simply not having them. Personally, I’d call it less than zero. In my world, that is a possibility.

Life tends to sling shit around, so, for the sake of practicality and for the sake of my sanity, I had to leave the job. I walked away from a great paycheck, excellent benefits, people I loved being around, and feeling cared about. Sure, I was a cog in the machine, but I was well-oiled and tended to. Any accumulated grease and grime were of my own doing, and they had a lot more to do with me and my own personal issues than they had to do with what I did to make money.

When I left that job, I took some time off to see if I could figure out what I truly wanted to do. I ended up working technical support for a huge company. I spent exactly one year of my life walking retail workers through the process of restarting their cash registers. For a lot of reasons, it simply wasn’t my thing. See… in the medical field, sure I was billing outrageous sums to people who may or may not be able to pay, but in the daily battle with insurance companies and with the “powers that be,” I, more often than not, was left feeling like I was genuinely able to help others, so I decided to go back to that.

Currently, I’m left wondering if that was the grandest idea I’ve ever had. Not because the specifics of the job don’t resonate with me, but because of where I am.

People and their attitudes about other people and life, in general, matter. You’re never going to have a good and easy time in life when you encourage adversarial relationships with people and entities who can make your lives easier or more difficult depending on your approach.

There are a lot of avenues to this “work” topic I’d like to explore, so there will probably be several posts for it. For now, I’m tired of writing and am struggling for words. This is the last day of my long weekend, and I don’t want to spend it bemoaning what I’ve lost and dreading what I get to go back to tomorrow.

Have a great Sunday!

Jobs Schmobs

I mean, we all have to do something for money, right? Something to get us from day to day, week to week without having to live in our cars or under a park bench, (no disrespect intended toward those who do) right?

I suppose it’s always ideal if you love your work. Currently… I enjoy my job enough to not want to slit my wrists. The more I feel like I know, the better it gets. Plus? When I do go off the deep end one day, I have fantastic insurance. Taking care of me always helps in the satisfaction department. Now if I could just get someone to rub my neck and shoulders.

Thinking about job satisfaction this morning took me back to 2005 when I worked this temporary assignment for the XYZ Corp (names changed to protect the douchebaggery). This job was, by far, the most. When I say “the most,” I mean the most ridiculous, the most horrifying, the most ick-inducing, and (I’m almost ashamed to say this) the most entertaining.

My job was to listen to voicemails on the phone line for a popular televangelist’s “prayer line.” You’ll see why I put “prayer line” in quotation marks soon enough. Basically, I was to listen to people’s prayers, transcribe their demographic information, and (here’s the horrifying part) then delete the messages.

So… where’s the part where these people get prayed for?

Ooooo…. oooooh… I know! I know! Pick me, teacher!!

THEY NEVER GET PRAYED FOR.

As it was explained to me, I was the only person to ever hear these messages. Well, me and the other few people who were on this project. None of us were told that we had to pray. I’m not sure any of us would have, but I do know we were never asked to.

We were told to transcribe these people’s names, addresses, and phone numbers so that they could be solicited for monetary contributions at a later time.

That’s the part that made me feel completely filthy. That, along with knowing these miserable jackasses were not fulfilling their part of the bargain and, you know, actually praying for their callers. Somehow, I found this worse than any act committed by Ted Bundy. Then again, good ol’ Ted was also a pro at pretending to be something he wasn’t.

Most of the callers wanted prayers on their behalf so the could find a husband/wife/significant other, and these requests were the amusing part of the job. Amusing = cute, not a “laughing at them” kind of thing. Some people needed jobs, cars, homes, money for bills, or to find their car keys. Yes. Before you ask. Yes. And these calls came from all over the world.

I often found myself playing a mental “Dating Game,” wishing I could introduce Gina in California to Henry in Zimbabwe. (names/location changed)

It was heartbreaking to hear some of these folks’ prayer requests… sick spouse/child/parent/friend, homelessness, you name it. It was even worse to know what the final outcome of the call was going to be.

In case you didn’t understand when I said it before, allow me to repeat myself:

final outcome: NO PRAYERS.

That was the longest two weeks of my life and was exactly why I shied away from temporary assignments after that. Very soon after that travesty, I was fortunate enough to end up at my last job, where I stayed for 13 years. That came with its own issues. I was going to say at least it never left my soul feeling filthy, but that isn’t true. Sometimes, it did, and that’s why I’m not there anymore. There are things I will miss about that place forever, but feeling like a shitty human being is not one of them.

But back to Henry in Zimbabwe and Gina in California… I hope you’ve both found your true loves and made lots of babies. I remember you both wanted that. I always shot out a kind thought for people like them. It just seemed like the decent thing to do. If I knew you both in person, I’d have introduced you.

Jim in Oregon was the best, though. All he wanted was a cat. And isn’t that fantastic? Jim stands out to me because that day is the day I adopted my asshole cat, Tuco. There were times I wanted to ship his angry little ass off to Jim, but I never did. Somehow, I saw Jim as more the Persian cat type, or maybe a Siamese.

Oh, and Bob in Tennessee? I hope you found those keys.