A letter to my former employer

Dear (insert female name),

I have had 48 hours to reflect on the decision that you and (insert male name) made about laying off three of your “family” members. I use your name first cause I know you make most of the operating decisions and (insert male name) just agrees with your data and goes along with what you say should be done. I don’t dare say employee since I never heard you ever refer to me as an employee. You called us family. Well, in my opinion your idea of family is pretty damn distorted and I thank God that I was never actually a part of your actual family.

I understand business decisions that have to be made and I respect that you both faced me and discussed this with me and the other two “family members” involved. However, in my family we don’t treat other members the way you treated us. Some of us had been saving all year for the hard earned PTO that we were planning on taking. I personally was 24 hours away from using my PTO that I had been saving for over a year and now since you have laid me off, I wasn’t able to use that PTO that I had earned and will never see a single dime of it. This is the epitome of a power move of all power moves that any boss can do. Your “use it or lose it” policy is a f**king joke. You approved my PTO 6 months prior and then the day before I was using it you take it away with my employment in one giant slash. Considering the fact that I had three annual reviews and every single one you (female boss) gave me glowing reviews but not once did you increase my compensation. I thought that was bad but oh no, you actually figured out a way to make yourself look even worse in my eyes. Nice job.

One of the items you made us all remember was that your company focused on integrity. Well, your actions this last week completely lack that integrity that you had all of us always focus on. You have none. Not a single ounce of it. No company or family as you referred to us as so many times would pull the shit that you did. I am pretty sure your current “family members” that are working for you still are second guessing your actions. They probably feel that what you did was just awful and sick to their stomach about the company they are currently still employed by. This is all speculation but I am pretty sure I am right. If I was still there and you did this to three other people I would feel the same way to work for a company that treats employees like they are intricate parts of the team and that the company needs them on a daily basis and then turns one day and drops them to the curb, without any warning and not paying their earned PTO and not even giving them any type of severance package. Classy. Way to go.

I still can’t believe that (insert male name) actually told me in the meeting we had that “I certainly can’t get rid of (insert female name), can I?” Want my opinion? Yes! I may not have all the experience and schooling she and you have but I have learned in business classes that if something goes really wrong with a project or a change in direction set by the CEO and COO when that fails, you don’t fire the people that were carrying out your orders. It’s time for new management, but neither of you will see that since you are both such close friends. Neither of you will ever let the other go and that’s going to be in my opinion the ultimate demise of your company that you tried to build. Also, you treat your customers like idiots and do everything possible to get money out of them just so you can have another check to cash. Your lower level management were amazing. I can’t say anything about them at all except that they kick ass and know how to work hard. They always have, you say you recognize this but I don’t think you really do.

I am going to end this by saying I don’t hope you fail. I still have friends that work for you and I know that they are probably scared to shit about their jobs and stressed that they could be the next job that is on the chopping block at the last minute. I do hope you get your shit together and start treating any new employees you hire with more respect than you treated me and the other two employees you laid off one week before Christmas. Also, stop calling them family members. Your actions don’t give you the right to be able to refer to them as that. You are lucky you get to call them employees in my humble opinion.

Halfway to 70

On November 24th, 1978 at 8:08 am, I was brought into this world. Still to this day I never thought I would have as wonderful of a life as I have. I also didn’t see the heartbreak, sickness, sadness and depression I have battled through either. Even after all of those things I came out on top. I have gained so much in that time and can’t wait to see what the next 35 years holds.

I spent today building a dresser and crib for our future baby that we will adopt someday. Hopefully sooner than later. It was fun nesting and preparing a room for someone who don’t even know yet but will be investing our whole lives in raising. It’s just crazy to think about sometimes. And by “sometimes” I mean every time that I think about it.

I am so filled with excitement on this 35th birthday of mine. I am filled with love from all my friends and family. I am so blessed this time and I can’t even believe it.

Please, come in!

Cleaning machines. That’s what my wife and I were this last weekend. Every nook and cranny. All the baseboards. Vacuuming, sweeping, scrubbing and then more scrubbing. Why all the cleaning you ask? Well, we had our “house visit” which was the final part of our home study for our adoption. Once our home study was complete we could then start having adoption agencies promote us as family to place a child in.

Our home visit went great. It was mostly an in-depth talk about our answers to our 175 questions we had to answer. She got to know us more intimately and we also were able to give her more detail to our questions. We then shared some coffee and small talk and proceeded to walk around our immaculate house. I was kinda bummed cause she was just making sure it was clean, had a fire extinguisher and smoke alarms that work. I really wanted her to get down to the level of the carpet and start inspecting the fibers.

After the walk through of the whole house she came back to the dining table, looked at some paperwork and then told us about her vacation she would be taking. There was a lull in the conversation so I just blurted out “So did we pass?!” Her laughter and a big “Yes!” with a smile is all we needed. I immediately hugged my wife and kissed her. It’s the small battle you have to fight to win the war and the home study process was a big battle but it was far from winning the war.

Placement of a child. That term still scares the hell out of me. Everyone has fears when it comes to big life choices like this. But now that we have done all the paperwork, fingerprinting, background checks and interviews it just seems so surreal. We talk about how we thought this process was going to take forever and we would never make it to this point. I always assumed by that point I would be ready. I am ready now but I still have those fears. The fear of being matched with a birth mom and then having it taken away. The fear or just waiting in limbo for a birth mother to come along and see our photo and say “them, I would like to meet them.” I fear these things and many more.

Now we begin to look for adoption agencies that will take our home study and begin the process of finding a birth mother that finds something special about us and hopefully our life will change. Or we could get a call in the middle of the night saying a baby boy has been born, would you like it? We have prayed on this whole journey and our prayers are being heard and it’s just giving us both feelings of joy and grace each day! We just keep praying and hope the Lord blesses us through this process.

Thanks Hurley!

Have you ever wondered how much about life you can learn from your dog? I remember the day we picked up our dog Hurley from the Humane Society. He was no more than 15 pounds and was still learning how to walk properly. He was just 3 months old and was just a ball of packed up energy. He came up to my wife and I and started licking our faces. At that moment we knew he was going to come home with us. This dog was going to become part of our family. He was going to be a member of our family that we would feed, train and love. This little brindle bundle of joy was my first glimpse at what adopting our first child was going to be like.

When my wife and I were told I would not be able to conceive children, we immediately began to talk about adoption. The topic of adoption was brought up frequently in conversation and we would discuss everything that would be involved: home study, building a profile book and raising the funds needed. However, these were only items that would get us to that day of adopting our first child. We hadn’t discussed other items that were going through our heads. Would our first child be a different race? What age range would we like our first child to fall in? Are we open to adopting from a different country? These were all things that seemed weird to discuss when talking about a child.

When my wife and I finally decided on getting a dog, we filled out the proper paperwork. She and I went to our local pet store and purchased the necessary items needed for a dog. We began to get our house ready to accept this new individual as a member of our family. Once our home was ready we headed to the Humane Society. At first, we just walked around and looked to see what dogs were available for adoption. Then, we saw him. A little brindle puppy that came right up to the fence as if saying “Hi there. I am ready to go home with you guys!” We went home that evening and talked about the different dogs we saw and which one we thought would be the best fit. We kept coming back to that one brindle puppy that was so happy to see us. We knew that he was right for us and that we needed to bring him home. Hoping that he was still available for adoption, we went back to the Humane Society. They put a hold on Jackson (his name at the time) and we were told they would have him neutered and ready to go on Wednesday.

I worry about adopting a child sometimes. I think about how I will treat that child. Will I treat him/her the same as I would a child that my wife had conceived? Will the child accept us as his/her parents? Can I love a child that is not physically related or part of me? I am pretty sure these are questions and thoughts that every person or couple has when contemplating adopting a child. Having these thoughts scare me to death when I talk about having a child. Not because I am scared of myself but I want to make sure that the child that my wife and adopt is shown the love an affection that he/she deserves. My dog Hurley has helped me to understand that that is possible.

We brought home a dog that was not something that my wife and I had created. He was different from us. Yet, we knew the moment he licked our faces that we had fallen head over heals for this little puppy. It was like a switch had been flipped and we were now dog owners. We were responsible for this little life that was going to be living with us. We were now his “parents”. We were now the people that would show affection to this little puppy and raise him to be a well-trained dog.

Adoption is scary to me. Not because I don’t want to be a parent. It’s the “unknown” factors that cause me to worry when talking or thinking about the subject of adoption. But then I look at my dog. Hurley reminds me that it is possible to care for and love something that is not from you. Seeing my dog reminds me that no matter what race, color or age our child we adopt is that I will still be able to love that child unconditionally. My dog has taught me so much.

The Music of Life

When was going through my depression phase, I didn’t want to have anything to do with anyone. I came home from work, sat at my computer with my headphones on and I would zone out from the rest of the world. I didn’t want to have anything to do with them. They were my friends and I wanted nothing more than to shut them out. I would go to my room in the house and I would hide out with my headphones on and just zone away. My music would help me. I had certain CD’s I knew that would pull me out of my hole for a bit or I had other CD’s that would help me with my current feeling.

Music is a door for me. I can put on any song or album and I can be transported far away from where I am at that moment. It was a way of escaping. To this day I have certain songs or albums that will take me back to a specific moment in time and for just a few seconds I can remember everything about that moment. Driving down foothills highway on a sunny afternoon. It was 80 or so degrees outside. the window on the VW Thing was down and the doors were also off. My friend Brooks and I were just free. The wind blowing through our hair and we were rocking out to “Say It Ain’t So” by Weezer. It was the second verse and we were ready for the big kick into the chorus. That day was a good day.

I remember being upside down in a 1986 Honda Accord, the windshield smashed. My mother and I were still in our seat belts being suspended upside down and having to listen to “Hey Hey We’re The Monkees”. We got out of our seat belts and had to get out of the car. I told my mom that we “have to roll the windows up” to get out. She looked at me like I was crazy but when you are trapped in a flipped car, you have to roll the windows up  to get them to open. This was my moment of clarity. I wasn’t crying. I wanted her and I to be safe. As soon as I stepped out of the car that was a different story. I started screaming and yelling for help and sobbing tears. The was a not a good day.

Music is there for us no matter what. At times it will be the soundtrack to our lives. At other times it can soothe our souls to bring us back from a dark place we don’t want to do to. Music will always be there for us no matter what.

I see the baby bump photos on Instagram and Facebook. I combat this with an unfollow or by hiding the feed. I am happy for them but I don’t want to see something that my wife and I want posted everyday, right in out faces.

It’s not their fault. They are going to experience something amazing and wonderful. I am truly happy for them but I just can’t take seeing photos blasted everywhere of them and their new babies.

My feelings are very up and down. Peaks and valleys and right now in my life it’s a deep and dark valley. I am slowly climbing out but the slightest nudge could send me toppling down the hill and back into that dark valley. I do everything I can to hang on and climb one or two steps out a day. closer and closer to the top.

Your pictures make your lives look so perfect and I want nothing more than to either smash them or to steal your life. This jealousy mixed with envy makes me want it even more.

I feel that we are being left behind and soon none of you will want nothing to do with us cause we don’t have a baby that can play with yours.

I see others just having a baby trying to catchup so that they will still be relevant to the rest of the group. It’s so easy for you isn’t it.

But our time will come. We will have first child. Adoption or by a miracle have a baby born from us. No matter how we attain this child we will love it unconditionally. Ours will just have to take more time. This is our journey and I couldn’t have picked a better partner. I wish i had a magic wand to help with our situation but I can’t. Yes, I know that we will make it through this and when we hold our first child it will be the most monumental moment in our lives. It will be glorious.

 

Challenge Accepted

As my wife was getting ready for bed and we were discussing how I was going to stay up and blog. She said that would be a great idea but that I should try and blog without using the word “like”. She wasn’t pointing out that I use that word a lot (at least I don’t think she was) but she was merely making an observation that a lot of writers out there use that word a lot and that there are other ways to write without using it. So, here I go.

I am on break from school right now. I should be getting my grades for my classes within in the next few days. A friend of mine, Katie, got her grades for her first two graduate level classes. She knocked it out of the park with two A’s. What makes it more impressive is she is doing graduate school full time, while holding down a family and taking care of a 1 year old. To me, that is just amazing. Inspiring. My friend Mark is also attending grad school, while holding a full time job and also keeping his marriage together and raise their 1 1/2 year old son. He received 2 A’s and a B. Again, inspiring.

These two people have inspired me to new heights and where I want to be with my college degree. I am trying hard right now to balance work, school and spending quality time with my wife. It’s tough, but we make it work. I am going to try even harder this next term. These two have inspired me to take my going back to school to the NEXT LEVEL!

It’s amazing how something someone else does can have an effect on someone to push them to try even harder. My wife does this everyday and now Mark and Katie have given me another refill on my inspiration tank.

Thank you all for how you inspire me to try harder and just basically kick ass! I can’t thank you enough.

- Jason

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