Yesterday I sat at work feeling numb. I felt numb all day. It’s not a good numb, it’s the numb of realizing that my boss and every boss before her, NEVER had my best interest in mind. When I got a new boss, she was so nice, I wanted to believe she had my interests at heart. I wanted to believe it so much. I wanted to believe when I was in school, that teachers had my best interests in mind. But only one of my teachers ever encouraged my writing.
When I graduated and tried to work in my hoped-for career field, I wanted to believe that volunteering in ministry was a way to get my foot in the door, to be considered for eventual career advancement. And it turned out that I was working for people who only had their own interests at heart, despite the clear instructions in Philippians 2:4-5. None of them wanted to help me advance. At every turn, it was great that I wanted to volunteer, but as soon as I mentioned my desire to find a career in ministry, as soon as I mentioned I’d like to be paid for my efforts, the resistance started.
I started volunteering with the thought of growing whatever I volunteered at. And when it grew, I wondered about making it a career choice, to continue doing what I was doing but do more. And instead of doing it out of the goodness of my heart (and that’s not saying much, despite the readers’ desire to deny the fact), I thought there was enough to pay me for the work. I realized pretty quickly, from being coached not to be myself, from being turned on and verbally attacked, from having what I set up get changed into less effective, or rescheduled to neutralize, or not advertised as had been agreed, or whatever. I broke. My dreams have broken, and I’ve given up. By the time my degree was a few years old, the hopelessness started settling in, as the more I tried to get my foot in the door to actually earn enough money for my family to live on, the more I met selfish ass holes who were very happy to have me as a volunteer, but for whatever fucking reason I wasn’t a good fit for a paid staff position.
So, not only did the church people I interviewed with not have my interests at heart, the ones I volunteered for didn’t either, and yesterday I sat doing my job, internally analyzing the ways my current boss has taken me for granted and loves my work as long as I work for woefully inadequate pay, that is less than new people are earning who aren’t trained or experienced, but as soon as I start talking about how I should be earning more than them because she’ll want me to train them, she starts attacking me by saying company policy this and performance review that as excuses for why she “can’t” do anything to help me advance financially or in my career with this company. I’m numb.
I was supposed to write last night but instead I got home at nine P.M. from a presentation. I got to present some designs I did for free, to a group of leaders who will use them in support of an organization I’ve been volunteering for. The designs were well received, so I’ll tweak them and customize the designs and send them to each representative, customized for use by their regional group. There’s no money in that at all. There’s no way to get hired because the whole organization is done by volunteer effort. I’m just contributing. But if I did hope to get hired in, if they hired and paid people for their time, all my prior experience with trying to volunteer to eventually get hired tells me everyone is the same.
I’m convinced that it doesn’t matter what I do. It’s all pointless effort, like the preacher said, “a chasing after the wind.” I used to dream that if you work hard people will appreciate it and in return they will take care of you, help you advance, maybe even befriend you, but it doesn’t work like that in my experience. The people I’ve fallen in with have shown me the darkest side people can show. The side that takes and takes and takes, and never gives. They love volunteers, they love underpaying for the value of work, they love how it makes them look good, but as soon as I ask to bask in a little of the glow, as soon as I ask if I can have a little help, a little career advancement, a little measure of success, they turn like a pig I’ve cast my pearls to. It’s not a question of discernment or wisdom. Wisdom tells me everyone is exactly the same. Full of shit.
I had hope, but I don’t hope any more where I am. Which means I need to get out. But if I redream, will it really be a different experience or will it be the same as it’s been for me for the last, entirely wasted, 3o years of my life?
Like the lyricist wrote:
“So these are my crimes
I lived and i die
I loved and i fall
I fall and i cry
I laughed and i loved
I loved and i lost
Till the victory is ours
The snakes in the grass”
I keep finding out the people I thought wanted to help me only want to help themselves, they look like sheep but inwardly they are wolves, they look like decent people but when you want a little help they reveal that they are poisonous snakes in the grass. They bite, they poison, they only want what’s best for themselves, not anyone else.
So tonight, I’m doing some more fundraising for the volunteer organization: fake my smile, put on my best actor’s face, after I do the same fucking thing at work. Relax, it’s not for a politician or political party. I already KNOW they’re all snakes in the grass.
At work, I have to act like everything is fine until I can get the hell out of there. I don’t even want revenge. I don’t want to hurt anyone, not even these ass holes who have disappointed me for the last time. I’ve set aside expectation of anything good. I expect to get either nothing, or less than I’m worth, for everything I do. I just want to quit, but I have to find a different job. I have to fake that my passion isn’t extinguished. I have to fake sufficiently to get into the next job, just to get away from these abusers.
After fundraising, I’m going to work this weekend to get my house in order and try to help my mum and dad. But tonight, I might just try to find out if I can make myself feel different. Anything’s better than the hopeless numbness I felt yesterday, that’s settled on me like an uncomfortable, unfashionable suit. Not the numbness of Post Mortem, but something that fits a little more comfortably.