Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I have fantastic friends

So, last night at my Monday Women's Drive Through Meeting, my peeps just poured the love on me. One gal gave me a check to cover the December Cobra payment. Two others stuffed cash in my hand - and while I was crying, another gal came over to me and said that the day after I told them I'd been fired for insubordination, SHE got fired. For insubordination. I stopped crying because it was so flipping funny.

Okjimm, you're right - plan the days. Network. I'm sending out resumes daily, have been since it happened. I've been talking to everyone, from unemployment to attorneys to travel people - just putting it out there, and it's not just me. I've been looking daily to see if they've started hiring again at the place, and it appears that I was just part of the November/December housecleaning that they do every year. They'll post again in January. It sucks, but oh well.

And it appears that I qualify for the reduction in Cobra payments that Obama signed into law last February: as I am not eligiable for any other kind of health coverage, and have no income, I qualify for an 80% reduction in my payment - so the check my friend gave me will actually cover 3 months of Cobra. Full benefits, too. And if I have to move back to Chicago, I'm willing. Not happy, but willing.

These are tough times. But at least I'm nearly at my goal weight, and my hair looks good, you know? It's all about looking good, not feeling good...

Monday, November 16, 2009

Depression would be a step up

Seriously, I have become immobilized. I can't seem to function well at all. In August, 2008, when I left SlavesRUs Travel, it was on my terms and I knew the risks. I managed to stay afloat but it was difficult. Eventually I began working at MicroManaged Cruises, and was doing well - catching up on debt, getting ahead, and doing my job very well. I felt some degree of hope.

And then, Friday, November 6, 2009. I was fired for insubordination. Why? Because I was frustrated that the slackers got rewarded and people like me, who actually answered the phones, were punished. Let me explain:

MicroManaged Cruises is a Call Center. Reservations Agents are paid a salary and earn commission, but the commission is based upon a very peculiar two-fold system. That system makes people afraid to answer the phone. Here's how it works: to earn commission, you must sell a minimum of $250,000 gross each month. For me, that's a slow week. The second part of the system is that you must convert 30% of the calls that come in on the "new call" line into bookings.

So, if an existing booking comes in on the new line, it counts against you. If a brochure request comes in on the new line, it counts against you. If a caller calls in looking for a bus trip to Arkansas, it counts against you. I had a person call in who only spoke Russian, which I don't - could not communicate. It counted against me.

The slackers in the office manipulate the phone system to stay off the phone queue: they put people on hold for an hour while they check Facebook, Twitter, and text their friends. They call Travel Agents they work with to chat about the Twilight Saga, and how they can't wait for the new movie. They avoid calls.

On Thursday, Nov 5, my co-worker was on the phone from 5 PM until 7 PM, on one call, chatting with a Travel Agent about a particular actor she'd had a crush on since she was 11. I ended a call and took myself out of phone queue to send an email to a client. My supervisor asked me to get out of revision and take a call - I said sure, as soon as I finish the email. The Director came to my desk, told me to get out of revision - I copped an attitude, but did it. And yes, it was an existing call on the new line. Meanwhile, Slacker Girl is still chatting away.

I finish the call, phone rings again, and it is another existing on the new line. I put the agent on hold and walked over to the supervisor and expressed upset that my coworker was avoiding calls - the supervisor told the director I was yelling at her. The director called me into her office and said that I was wrong. Meanwhile, coworker has moved on to the Twilight movies, same call.

And then, on Friday, I was fired. For insubordination. For doing my job.

It is 11 AM, and I am still in my pjs. I can't seem to function. I feel defeated. My Cobra payment is going to be $451 per month, and I have no income. My unemployment is not enough to cover my mortgage. I feel humiliated, and unable to move.

So, now what? In this economy, now what? I'm 61, no savings, negative equity in my home, debt, now what?

I am so bloody sad.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Well. Back to the drawing board

So, apparently, I am not suited to work in a company which micromanages employees.

Me: "Please, Ms. Supervisor, may I sign out to go to the restroom?"
Supervisor: "No, Diva, you cannot. There are too many calls waiting."
Me: "Actually, Ms Supervisor, you legally can't tell me no, and it's rather humiliating to have to ask."
Supervisor: "You seem to go to the restroom a lot. Try not to drink so much water."

It seems they think I don't respond well to being told what to do and when to do it. So, back to square one.

Will probably get to visit folks again, assuming there's anybody still out there.


Sunday, July 05, 2009


Thought I'd poke my head in and see what's around. Completely forgot about the previous post - and here it is July, months later... Working still. Barely staying afloat financially. Still, grateful to be working.

Visiting my granddaughter and daughter this week. Life has sweet moments. Just so far from being angry.

Saw Public Enemies, was actually underwhelmed. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. XXOO, Diva Jood.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Happy Birthday, Alan Rickman

Yes, he draws too. And he is numero uno on my lamintated list. Yes, I need to get a life, I admit it, but I've adored Alan Rickman since 1988 when Die Hard came out. He was such a sexy bad guy! But that's not all he does. He has played everything from romantic lead to comedy to actual persons living or dead. He's sung, danced, and worn prosthetic devices. And he's a serious activist for peace.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

I have a job! Yay

I just got offered a job, no, not as the new Governor of Illinois, but with a River Cruise Company. I start Monday. My mortgage is all screwed up, but with a real income stream I think it will all work out in the long run.

As for Blago, I am delighted to learn he can never, ever, ever hold public office in Illinois ever again. See what really bad hair can do for ya, Rod?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

More thoughts on Rick Warren

In the film, Gran Torino, Clint Eastwood plays a man who is as racist and hate-filled as they come. He hates the Priest; he really hates his Hmong neighbors. He flings every possible epithet there is during the course of the film - it's really difficult to empathize with his character, except to see how his neighbors continue to include him and through that process of inclusion he is changed.

In The Big Book Of Alcoholics Anonymous, there's a phrase that says "we are people who normally would not mix." But through the process of recovery and the inclusive nature of AA, we find ourselves embracing people with whom we disagree on other issues - and they become close friends.

President Obama ran a campaign of inclusion - he embraces people with whom he disagrees, because he knows at the deepest level that only through intense dialogue can people be touched. Asking Rick Warren to give the Invocation is just such a moment - perhaps, with enough dialogue and exposure to various people he despises, Rick Warren can be changed and his heart can be opened. Even if just a little, it's a step in the right direction.

I don't like Warren, nor his message of hate - I disagree with him on so many levels - but I would be a fool to close the door on dialogue. I've got friends who hate homosexuality, and voted for Prop 8. We disagreed. We discussed. We are still friends, and I am sorry for THEIR closed-mindedness. It is their loss to exclude people. I find my life is made richer by the inclusion of people who are completely different than I am.

President Obama inherited a nation that is in deep trouble, courtesy of an administration that was filled with haters and people who excluded so many. But he is practicing a principle that we in AA must embrace and live by, which is to recognize we are all in the same boat and unless we put aside our differences and find a way to work together, we'll all sink in the same boat.

I would like to think that this sort of attitude and behavior can have a positive effect on people like Pastor Warren. Apparently, Clint Eastwood thinks so too and showed it in Gran Torino.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

President Obama's Inaugural Address

"With hope and virtue", he quoted George Washington. "With hope and virtue," President Obama calls on us to honor and seek our higher selves to try to do better. Listening now to Rachel Maddow, waiting for MSNBC to go to the Balls, I'm thinking about the nature of President Obama's campaign as well as some of his controversial choices along the way.

Mr. Obama is all about finding our similarities and building bridges. His focus has never been on our differences, but on all the wonderful ways we can connect with one another to create a better nation. He asks us to contribute our selves, our actions, to a greater good - a call to service our nation. Along the way, he embraces people who are Liberal and Conservative; he calls on women and men; Gay and Straight; White, Black, Brown, and everything in between; people of all Religious beliefs (or not). He embraces, and even when he disagrees he does it with respect for other ideas.

This day has been a little surreal for me - I feel such joy and yes, pride again to be an American citizen. Mr. Obama, his administration, Congress, and all of us have a hard row to hoe ahead of us, yet I feel hope and virtue because I believe we can find our similarities.

And this inclusive stance, for me, includes being able to listen to Rick Warren's invocation today - I don't agree with him on the issue of Gay Marriage - but it is his right to believe that marriage is between a man and a woman. Rather than attack him for his beliefs, I would rather discuss with him the necessity of keeping his religious views away from the legistation of marriage. I would prefer a dialogue rather than an outright dismissal of him and his message. Because as I listened to him, he was all about the absolute beauty of the moment - that this nation has finally elected an African American to the highest office of our nation. He emphasized the beginning of the end of racial division - and I appreciated that sentiment.

Mr. Obama brings together so many different points of view because he believes in the necessity of listening to all ideas. How else can we learn, and get to understand each other if we don't listen and debate, and keep our hearts open? And our minds, open?

Today, I feel hope in a most extraordinary way. Let's embrace the spirit of his message and move forward.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Coming up for air

Dear Gentle Readers - I apologize for being scarce. Really, for not being around at all. It's so easy to hide with Facebook, as there are games (Mob Wars, Scrabble) to distract - and that's what I do.

Income has been scarce since I went independant, and finally I filed for Unemployment. It looked like I was going to lose my condo, but on 12/31, Countrywide sent me a re-worked deal that saves my home and I will be able to meet the mortgage payments. It's quite amazing, really. But in the meantime, I am trying to find a steady job to suppliment me while I try to build my business.

I've never seen an economy this bad. It hasn't been this bad since the Depression, actually, and it hasn't bottomed yet. Nevertheless, I have hope for our future. Without hope, there's no reason to exist.

It has been hard, really difficult and I won't pretend otherwise. The end result for me is that I tend to isolate and really circle the wagons. And I am grateful to all of you who check in from time to time - eventually I will be able to get back to this more regularly but right now, it's all I can do to just keep above ground. Please continue to check in; email works (jkblue AT cox DOT net is the email). Lots of love to you all.