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Monday, September 28, 2009

Große Freiheit

I couldn't think of a clever opening line, so I'll just jump right in.

I got laid off last week. It definitely sounds much worse than it actually is, because I was right on the verge of quitting anyway. The only thing stopping me from doing that was that it would kind of fuck up any potential unemployment benefits and I like not being homeless. Since the end of last year, things have gone (job-wise) from annoying to bad to worse to fucked up beyond belief. Up until about the end of July when I got my visa shit sorted, I was kind of just stuck. And since August, after I got my visa shit sorted, I wanted to make a new job search my priortiy. However, the new apartment search got in the way.

Job troubles are one of the shittiest aspects about immigration -- 'specially if you haven't married a native -- you're pretty much at the mercy of the system and your employer. It can be a tough situation when you want to leave your job, but can't because if you quit, you lose your work & residency status. At the same time, you hope they don't fire you, because (again) you lose your work & residency status. You have to decide between what's more important: being in the country or freedom from your company.

For me, being in Germany has always been #1. I still don't have a good reason for that...but I'm (more or less) living my dream. Yes, there have been the nightmarish parts, but if you were to ask pretty much everyone that's known me (I'd say from 16 or 17 years old and on), they'd tell you that I have this weird/unexplainable desire to live in Germany. That's really all that I've attempted.

I got my very first after school job at 17. It was after I spent the summer with my bestest friend Jeeds travelling around Germany and Great Britain. That was an awesome time. We met so many Canadians...and Kiwis...and Australians. A BBC film crew took interest in us and filmed us while we were in Liverpool (because I love The Beatles and had to see that city). I have no idea what became of the footage (probably somewhere in the BBC archives, summer of 1998). Anyway, in my naiveté (and lack of international experience) I made the huge mistake of calling my mom collect from Edinburgh, Scotland a coupleof times. The resulting bill was astronomical. She promised not to tell my dad, on the condition that I got a job and paid her back when I returned.

So that's what I did. I worked at a Catholic school/day care. A certain Sister Immaculata signed my paychecks. It was a pretty easy job where I could work after school. I paid my mom back and (as far as I know) my dad was none the wiser. I held that job through senior year of high school and the summer after my first year at Smith before quitting.

Most of my jobs have ended quite organically. I quit, but not because I didn't like them. I had/was about to physically (or emotionally?) move on. I gave proper notice, did HR exit interviews, etc. I only once quit in a manner that went against general quitting protocol. I hated that job.

This is my second time being laid off. The first time was from my dream job. I didn't cry when they informed me, but I sure as hell did shortly thereafter. Also I was pissed because I told me about 30 minutes before I was scheduled to leave for the day.

But this time, I was almost expecting it. At any rate, I really really wanted them to let me go. I hated just about every aspect about how the job had been making me feel. Basically starting in January, I've had to sit in a meeting at the beginning of every month, where I was informed that my position may or may not be cut from the budget. All of my ideas/plans shot down, my confidence and motivation shot, I dreaded entering the building each day. And when I got home, I couldn't think of anything else besides how much I didn't want to go back the next day. It was definitely in a rut...but like a rut full of shit and I couldn't figure how to get out.

So, when I got called in for a meeting last week, I was nervous that the cycle would begin again for October. But then I got canned.

Even though I had been miserable for the past several months at this place, a small part of me thought that I would break down in tears were they to let me go. Either that, or I would go on some crazy Scarface from Half-Baked type rampage...

Instead, it was such an awesome feeling. I listened to my boss say his peace. He made his profunctory speech about blablabla all the best for the future and whatnot. In my head, I was doing the fucking "Single Ladies" dance (ah-oh-oh-ah-oh...etc).

It seemed kind of fitting. Though I wouldn't marry that job if you paid me.

Anyway, I have the next five weeks off and still get pizz-aid....all around, no complaints.

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