Sunday, May 20, 2012

156 Days Later

Pink Apartments in the Mission
"I've realized that Seattle has nothing more to offer me. It's been fun. Time to move on. I'm thinking...Bay Area." I posted that on Facebook on December 16, 2011 at 5:19 p.m. Three days later I purchased my plane ticket to San Francisco and never looked back. In the 156 days since I first declared that I intended to move away from Seattle so much has happend.

Let's start at the beginning...

For 19 months I worked in an office that was populated by fucking idiots and kiss-asses; the CEO was an asshole; the wages were unfair. In the beginning of November, days before our annual performance reviews (the time when we're typically supposed to get raises), the decision came down to lay off 30 people (seven percent of the company's workforce). According to several seasoned employees this was in order to prevent people from getting raises and weed out the people that weren't doing the company any favors (financially). This came the week after I was spending significant amounts of time merely sitting at my desk weighing the pros and cons of simply getting up and walking out on that piece-of-shit job.

Our floor manager got us all together and informed us of the news. "If you're at this meeting, then you still have your job. It sucks (having this dark cloud over us), I know, but let's just get back to work, people." It's really fucking difficult watching a grown-man cry in front of his employees. (Note: this was the only manager that I could tolerate; he was one of the only reasons why I managed to stay there as long as I did.) We all went back to our desks and commenced in the obligatory gossip: "Who got canned?" "Why do you think s/he did?" You get the point. I went to my desk and decided that I wasn't going to keep working. Instead, I decided to make the decision about whether or not I wanted to work for a company that engaged in all of this bullshit. You have to stand up for yourself at some point, right?

I put in my headphones and found a song for inspiration: "Paradise" by Coldplay--don't judge--blaring it until I nearly went deaf. Now trembling with anxiety, I got up from my desk and walked into my manager's office and asked to speak with him. "Not another one," he said. As clearly and coherently as I could, holding back my emotions, I explained to him how I felt and what I was doing:
"I'm done. November 14 is my last day."
"Can I ask why?"
"Honestly...I fucking hate it here..."
"I have nothing against you. You've been a great boss, and I'm sorry if I've been difficult at times. But I fucking hate how this company is run, and the people upstairs can go fuck themselves. I'm not working here anymore after the fourteenth."
I shook his hand and proceeded to make my rounds around the office letting people know the news. (As a side note, a handful of other people quickly followed suit and quit.)

Did I have another job lined up? No. What I did have, however, was a part-time job that I could easily convert into a full-time job, as well as a chunk of money saved from said job. I started valeting on Fridays and Saturdays back in mid-August in order to pay down debt faster and just to have some money saved in the bank; living paycheck to paycheck is a real bitch. My original plan was to utilize my valet income and savings to stay afloat long enough to find a new full-time job. What really happened was that I became lazy and applied for maybe three or four jobs max. I interviewed for one, but I didn't get it. In hindsight, I'm glad that I didn't; if I had, then I would probably still be miserable, and the rest of this story would not have come to pass.

I was in a rut. I needed something new, or else I was just going to perpetually take on the same shitty office job that pays the bills again and again ad infinitum.

Earlier in the year I made two trips down to San Francisco: once in May for both a vacation and a good friend's wedding, and again at the end of July to run in the city's marathon. I wish I could explain what drew me to the city, but I can't. I was just drawn to it. It was different and exciting. Perhaps I could have wound up in a different city if I had traveled elsewhere (Chicago, New York City, Boston, Portland: major cities).

To be continued...

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