Posted on April 24th 2009, 7:19 pm
The time has come!! And by that I mean I finally got my blog working again. Apparently a plugin for twitter broke things somehow. Now you won't see the "Tweet this" button. Oh well. Maybe it'll come back later when it's fixed fully.
The latest news in my life...I'm unemployed! I know I know...you're thinking "What?!! When did this happen?!! Why?!!" Well let me tell you the story. Three weeks ago today I was walked into the office yet again. I was surprised because it was a total blindsiding. I had to speak directly to HR via the phone. Apparently someone had reported my freelance work anonymously, and since I was doing work with a home builder, there was concern it was a conflict of interest.
They asked me to describe my relationship to the client and why I never reported the work to management. The work I took was video editing for a local client. I made my decision to take the work based on several reasons. The client had recently dropped a big production house contract. So they weren't interested in working with another big house. Specifically, they wanted freelancers. They didn't have the budget to pay that much. So I knew they couldn't pay the rates the company I worked for charges. Most importantly though, they wanted Full HD utilizing a very modern camera. The company I worked for did not have the capacity to work with the footage at all. So it was in no way competing with my employer. I felt very assured that it wasn't a conflict at all. So I never reported it.
I explained that to HR and they took the information and perused over it for several days. They came back to me the following Wednesday, April 8th. They said that they did believe it was a conflict. I was presented with a memo that stated that I would have to drop my relationship with my client and sign to continue my job. I took a couple hours to figure out if this was what I wanted to do.
I truly felt that I had made the right decision. I did not feel this was a conflict of interest at all. I even had my logic confirmed to me by management locally. So I was at a loss as to why corporate felt differently. In my heart, I knew I had done nothing wrong. To add to that, I really enjoyed my freelance work. It was about the only thing in my life revolving work that actually fulfilled me creatively and personally. Plus, I needed the extra income. This work was basically digging me out of a hole that I needed to dig out of. My budget was monthly in the red without the work. So I had to choose between financial difficulty or more financial difficulty. For me it was a catch 22 all along.
What it came down to for me is a moral decision. I felt that by signing the memo, I would be admitting wrong doing. I couldn't do that when I know I didn't. I realized that no matter what, I had to be happy with myself. Anyone that had been talking to me a lot lately knew how unhappy I was working there. So with both my morals and my happiness in question, I chose to not sign knowing full well I'd get fired.
I came back and told them I wouldn't sign and why. I thought I'd be pretty much fired that day. Instead, I was told that it had to go back to corporate for them to think about again. Here I'm going...ok...what's there to think about. Turns out their was, and I will respect the wishes of the company and say nothing other than the next day I was told information that changed things. I was given a few more days to figure things out. I had until Monday 13th to decide.
In that time, I was contacted about a possible job in Eau Claire, my college town and also where my best friend lives. So Thursday the 9th, I drove all the way up to EC to go to a job open house. Turns out it wasn't my cup of tea, but I decided to take a vacation day and really think about the situation over the extended weekend. I sought the advice of close friends in the EC area, like a former professor and some close advisors. They seemed to reaffirm my feelings.
So I came back home and on Sunday night, I wrote out my official statement, which was two pages long. Basically it just fleshed out my reasons for not signing. So..I went to work on Monday and low and behold...my boss was out for the day. So...I used the day to get my software into shape knowing that I wasn't going to be doing much more work on it now. Tuesday rolled around and I finally got the chance to sit down with the management and give them my statement. I could tell they weren't thrilled by my response. Again, I was expecting to be fired right there, and nope...it had to go back to corporate again.
For the rest of the day I found myself twiddling my thumbs. There wasn't any reason for me to start working on anything knowing it was my last day of work. Turns out it wasn't. We didn't hear back that day. So I prepared to go to work on Wednesday the 15th. On my way in, I got a call from my boss saying I didn't need to come in. They hadn't heard back yet, and really there was no sense in my coming in with nothing to do. I was told I'd still get paid. Ok...no problem. Later that afternoon I got another call. Turns out legal was out until Friday. So, I didn't have to come in Thursday with pay either, and I'd be called when to come in Friday. It surely seemed this was dragging on at this point. We all knew where it was going.
Friday I was called, and I was told the decision everyone knew was coming. My employment was terminated. I was able to come in and pick up the last of my stuff....I had already packed it up anyway. I said my goodbyes. I actually choked up a bit when saying goodbye to the two editors. I'm going to miss them. I may have had my issues with the job and so forth, but for the most part, the people were great. It's unfortunate the company treats their employees the way it does though. That's another topic for another day.
So...I left. I have to say, too, that despite what most people would feel upon getting fired...I have no remorse. I'm thrilled its over. I've wanted to get away from the job for at least a year and a half. It's finally done. It didn't happen in the way I had wanted it to, but all things happen for a reason. I've gotten a few more freelance gigs, and quite honestly, I love the freelance lifestyle. I feel so much more freedom and control. I'm still making money, and I'm feeling fullfilled creatively. I'm not feeling tied to a cubicle. I can take a break if I want to. I can sleep when I want to and get up when I want to. This is what I've wanted for so long. It just took me getting fired to get here. I'm actually really happy now.
Before I move on, I do want to say something important. I don't know if Scott or Julie are reading this, but I just want to say thank you. I know you both pulled for me with corporate. I especially want to say thanks to Scott because I heard some of your back and forth with HR, and it told me how much you cared. I really and truly appreciate that. I wanted to express my thanks to you in person, but unfortunately you weren't around when I came in to say my good byes. I'm sure we'll talk again, but now it's officially in writing.
So...where do I go from here? My plan for moving in with Chris is moving forward a bit earlier than expected. I'll be moving in mid May instead of late June. I've got a part time job lined up that starts in July. I've also got plans to talk to some people about using the city business incentive programs in the Chippewa Valley to get myself a camera. I also plan on moving forward with my non-profit. So, I think it's time to let my dreams happen. I'm very excited.
In the meantime, I'm working on getting my new web hosting lined up. After that, I start work on my professional websites. Then I get genderverse underway. At that point, I start the book. During that time, I want to podcast again. I'm looking forward to it all.
So that's part 1 of this 2 part series. Stay tuned for part 2...