The last time I left I job, I took all the shirts associated with that job, put them in the barbeque pit, soaked them in liquor, and lit them on fire. John said that when they had let me go, he knew it hurt, but when he saw me burn the shirts, he knew it was bad. Yah, it was bad. I worked for a church. In fact, it was a church that I attended.
Things had started out well enough. I volunteered to do power points for the worship arts director. Eventually, I was asked to come on part time. Awesome. I was going to school part time and being a stay at home mom part time. This would be extra cash. Cool.
The secretary, and there had been 3 since I started going to church there, -should have been a warning- found a higher paying job after the annual talks of having to possibly make budget cuts had been made. You can guess who got promoted right?
Well, it was a sweet gig for a while. I was paid great money, got benefits for free, and was kept relatively busy. It took me no time to streamline processes that had taken the previous secretaries all week to do. Having done that, well that left me available to do more.
Having time to do more and having a boss who is a control freak that suffers from megalomania is a problem. And yes I did just describe a priest. He would give me things to add to my routine and then next thing you know, he was doing them again. To this day I don’t know if I did it wrong and he just didn’t know how to tell me or he just didn’t know how to let someone else do it.
It came time for the annual budget planning. Every year letters were sent out saying people had to commit to certain amounts or there would have to be cuts made. Everyone was on the chopping block except the pastor.
We squeaked by that time, but every year the discussion was the same. It’s hard to work under those feelings of insecurity. It would be just a matter of time.
And that’s what it was…just a matter of time. First my salary got cut by six thousand dollars. Ouch, but I still kept my benefits. Next year my hourly rate got raised, but my hours got cut to twenty. Guess what happens when you go below a certain amount of hours per week; you lose your benefits.
Not only was my physical world being slowly dismantled, but my spiritual world was being dismantled. I saw the worst examples of human beings in that church and in that church office. I began to understand why many people wanted nothing to do with
I was miserable and it showed more and more, in my attire, and my lack of effort. Still, it was a job that allowed me to go to school, so I was just gonna stick it out. Besides, the pastor was moving to Maryland and maybe things would get better. Maybe the church that had slowly begun to dissolve would recover.
One day I came in and the handwriting of the secretary (2 secretaries back) was on the message pad. Her handwriting was unmistakable. Had they called her in the fill in for the day I was off taking care of business? Then I saw notes on what was expected and things to be done and how to use certain programs. In my heart, I knew what was coming. It was just a matter of time.
I called the business manager at home and asked her what was going on.
“I don’t know. I told them I didn’t want to know because you’re my friend.” She said. I could hear the stress in her voice. She knew it was coming too. She just didn’t know when.
My heart pounded. I didn’t know what was happening. The pastor would be in shortly and maybe he would say something. ANYTHING would be better than this.
He came in and said good morning. He went about his normal routine. Back and forth he crossed in front of me doing stuff until I could stand no more.
“When are you bringing Kara back?”
He stopped. He wasn’t expecting this. He closed the door to the main hallway, which always meant do not disturb. He pulled up a chair next to me.
“I didn’t mean for you to find out this way. The board of directors decided to replace you after I leave.”
I sat there shocked and trembling, but I worked hard to maintain my stoicism. I never saw this coming.
Had he stopped there, I probably would have been ok, but then he continued on:
“You know Michele, you’ve pissed some people off…”
I threw up my hand. What was the fucking point of telling me that? I had never received a write up. I had never been reprimanded. I never knew there was a problem.
He continued on. “Kara and Marvin [the president of the board] will be here at one. Kara pretty much knows how to do everything like she did before. I just need you give her the passwords and to show her how to work the copier.”
I looked at him like he had lost his mind.
“It’s up to you. You can choose not to help, but…” and I don’t remember what his insane rational was. I just turned around and started to copy, paste, forward via email and delete.
I was trembling with hurt and anger, but still I held stoic until Kelly [business manager] came in.
“They are firing me” I said and fell apart in her arms. We both cried. I tear up even as I write this. After all the crying, I gave Kelly all my keys, the passwords, and then hugged her and left. She said we were friends and we would keep in touch. Yah. Ok. Whatever.
I quit my job today. I felt the same restless spirit coming upon me. I felt the same feelings of lack of caring. I felt the same feelings of a business slowly spiraling downward. My previous hurt was enough to give me nightmares. I’d be damned if I went through that again.
I am certain that your success as a runner, and in all things is due more to the strength of your fighting spirit than anything else. Seabee