Absence Note


I haven’t been blogging for the past month, even though I enjoy writing more than I ever realized. My career, when I was employed, was working with computers and financial statements. Numbers are cut and dry and programming and designing databases, require a logical forward thinking approach.  I had a successful career and this vocation seemed to suit the way my mind worked, or so I thought.

Now after being out of work and on disability 4 years ago to the day, I realize that even if I were to return to work, what I did for 28 years is not what I would choose to do now.  My nephew is starting law school in the fall and is so passionate and excited about being a lawyer.  I was never excited or passionate about being a financial analyst.  It was just the logical thing to do after I received my MBA in finance.  I didn’t even interview for any other types of jobs and now I wonder why.  Why was I so focused on the analytic career path?  And once I landed a job, the career seemed to form itself and then an opportunity opened up for me to start designing databases and I started doing that and enjoyed it.

I was very content in my career.  I had 3 jobs over a 28 year career and 1 of those jobs was only for 11 months, so basically I spent 27 years with 2 companies.  I must have been content otherwise I would have made different choices.  I felt challenged, loved my work family and was very nicely compensated.  Maybe that’s why I didn’t even think of doing something else.  Most people have to reinvent themselves when they are challenged to do so, just as I have been since I became ill.

Writing has been a very different kind of enjoyment.  Writing is personal, writing is subjective, writing is relaxing and writing is solitude.  So why haven’t I been writing lately.  I’m really not sure.  I know I’ve been in my own head much of the time over the past month, trying to figure out ways to learn new things, meet new people and start enjoying life as I have to live it.

There are many paths people can choose when faced with a difficult life situation and I know I have handled mine with grace and dignity.  No one can take that away from me.  Maybe now it’s time to try and add in a little fun too!



December 7th, a day marked by history



Today is a sad day in the history of our nation as it is the anniversary of the devastating surprise air attack on Pearl Harbor by Japanese forces in 1941.  But it also marks a sad anniversary in my personal life.

Three years ago today, my employer, whom I had dutifully and tirelessly worked for since 1999 ,fired me.  They terminated my employment on the day my short term disability ended.  Funny how these days stay in our memory and it’s made easier when they fall on national holidays.  I went out on disability on Labor Day weekend and got fired on Pearl Harbor Day.

I had never been fired from a place of employment before and I remember when my HR director casually told me that this happens to everyone, at least once in their lifetime and I was due.  We had this discussion way before I got ill, so it wasn’t like she was predicted the end of my time at this company.  She just matter of factly stated this.

I know I wasn’t fired for poor performance or anything related to the quality of my work product.  I was fired because I was ill, which makes it worse because I had no chance of fixing anything.  My illness dictated what my body was capable of doing.  I couldn’t work harder or longer hours to change the situation.

My workplace had accommodated my disability for as long as they felt they could.  I was given an ultimatum of sorts, come in to work 5 days a week or be replaced.  For the months leading up to my termination, I was able to work at home most days and come in to the office 1 day a week.  The type of work I did could basically be done remotely and with phone conversations.  People would call me at home and we’d discuss what needed to be done and I would complete it at home.  My day in the office would be for necessary meetings.  This worked for a while, but then people started gossiping, as people do and I suspect the rumor was that I was milking the situation and was really able to come to work.

So on the 1 day I was in the office, my HR director called me in and basically said, “You either come to work 5 days a week or we will have to replace you.”  I said, “I guess you’ll have to replace me, as I can’t come to the office everyday. I barely make it in 1 day and then recover until the next time I have to come back here.”  She said, “Why don’t you take some time to think about it.”  I replied, “There’s nothing to think about, it’s not possible.”  And that was that.

A place where I had spent the majority of my 40’s had let me go because I was sick.  I couldn’t believe this was happening to me.  I had heard all the stories of people who were ill that lost their jobs, it’s just something you never think will happen to you, but it does happen to you.  And when it does happen, you deal with it, as I dealt with it.

You wake up the next day and nothing is different except you have a lot of free time on your hands and aren’t getting a nice pay check. But you are the same person.  Work shouldn’t define who  I was and shouldn’t change who I am.  I probably would have handled the situation differently, if I was my employer, but then that’s just me.