Monday, March 4, 2013

Jane Gets a Job, Episode 10

Vivian did not contact me again after her last, markedly short, email.

At first, I didn't know what to think about this. I believed that if she needed me to come into the office, she would reach out to me. When she didn't, I told myself it was because she didn't need me (... or want me...). I thought this meant her office was better off without me -- after all, she didn't have to pay me anymore! And she still had Edith and Erica to take care of things, after all they had pretty much taken care of everything even while I was still working there.

And, hang on, she would contact me if she needed me, right? That's what I told her to do.

I let weeks go by. I started to let myself believe that this is what Vivian and I both wanted -- an easy out. No hard conversations, no bad feelings, just two people who need to go in different directions. My grandmother had given us both the perfect excuse: it's not you, it's the situation.

Even if all the while we were both thinking, "but actually.... It's you."

I may have been slightly worried about this for a while. What did it mean that Vivian hadn't reached out to me again? Was I supposed to contact her? Was I, though? Really? Because her last email hadn't invited much of a response. Shouldn't I wait for her to contact me? She would let me know if she needed me, right? Isn't this just better for both of us?

Because to be perfectly honest, this ending suited my current needs and I truly believed she felt the same way. I needed to be at home; she needed to not be paying me anymore.... And we both had a lot of other concerns. I needed to be at the hospital caring for my grandmother and my family, I needed to be at Elizabeth's caring for her children, I needed to be recovering and caring for myself. She needed to be running her business.

So I let it go. I let weeks pass with ease. I took on more and more babysitting hours, and my grandmother finally started to get better. April became May became June...

I should have known better.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Jane Gets a Job, Episode 9

After Elizabeth was fired, I didn't quit my job in the same hour -- which would have been my impulse. In fact, I ended up sticking around for a few more weeks. I had an untried reputation to worry about, and I didn't want Vivian to think I was taking sides against her (though, in my heart, I completely already had).

But, as it turned out, the end of my working relationship with Vivian sort of... took care of itself, without my having to worry about it or put any work into it.

In March, Vivian went on a vacation to Florida for a week, thus missing the beginning of my family crisis. On the day she returned, I wasn't supposed to come into the office (it was one of my days off), so the other girls filled her in on what happened in my family.

That day, I received an email from her saying something to the effect of, "I am so sorry to hear about your grandmother! Please don't worry about coming in this week -- you should be with your family and taking care of yourself. However, we are having a party at my house this Saturday to celebrate my company's anniversary!! I would love for you to come! Please let me know if you can come! I know Jillian and Ben would love to see you!"

I didn't write her back right away. I KNOW -- MISTAKE. But I was already off until Wednesday, that was my schedule, and it was only Monday. I figured if I wrote her back on Tuesday... no one would be the wiser!


I got an email from her on Tuesday morning. It was very short. All it said was, "Jane - did you get my email?" Now, it can be kind of hard to tell what people are thinking over email. But you know, sometimes it's not that hard.

I wrote her back right away, something to the effect of: "Yes! I got your email. Thank you for being so understanding. However, I am happy to come into the office this week, and next. Please let me know when you need me and I will be there. Unfortunately, I can't come to your party this weekend, I have family obligations. But I will be there in spirit! But please do let me know if you need me to come into the office. Thank you again, Jane."

The email I got back was very short. Very, very short. Awkwardly short, you might say. All it said was, "We are all good here, just take care of yourself."

I wasn't quite sure what to think when I read it. The delusionally hopeful side of me piped up, "Maybe she does just want you to take care of yourself..." The realistic side of me reasoned.... probably not.... but I decided to ignore that side. After all, I had a lot of other things to worry about.

And I TOLD her to let me know if she needed me.... So, she will.

Jane Gets a Job, Episode 8

All at once, shit started hitting the fan.

First, I noticed a marked change in Vivian's attitude towards me once my hours were costing her money. No longer was I just "that adorable, young intern" she wanted to take under her wing. No, now that she was paying me, my worth to her company was in question.

I should have realized my mistake. I admit I was pretty naive about this sort of thing at the time. SO, NOTE TO SELF: if you are already wondering about your position in a company and whether or not you have anything to contribute... THAT PROBABLY ISN'T THE BEST TIME TO ASK FOR A RAISE. Lesson learned.

Second, I was babysitting more and more for Elizabeth. Her children loved me and I loved them. Furthermore, Elizabeth appreciated me -- a lot -- and as a result, she paid me very well. Basically, I was rich! The only problem I had at all with the arrangement is that I was tired from working two jobs.

Third, at the beginning of March, my grandmother began suffering serious heart problems and was placed in the hospital for an extended period of time. Suddenly, I was very much needed at home, with my family.

And all together, the relaxing semester at home I had imagined was rapidly becoming stressful and exhausting. My time was a valuable commodity. Everybody needed a lot of it and no one was getting enough of it, especially me. It wasn't long before I was wondering which of my obligations I could give up, which of my jobs I could quit... And the answer was obvious.

I loved working for Elizabeth, and felt that she relied on me. Plus... it was very lucrative. I definitely wanted to keep that job.

I knew my family needed my help caring for my grandmother, that was a given. In fact, they already needed way more help than I was able to give them.

So what was left? Vivian. Well, she hardly needed me at all! She would probably be grateful if I left and stopped costing her an outrageous $100 a week.

But what about working towards my future? I insisted to myself that I couldn't give in to the urge to leave, I had to hold onto this job so that she would help me get my next one. But then, oh why was she acting more and more like she liked me less and less?

And then Vivian did something that made it so I could never look at her the same way again. After a mere two months, she unceremoniously fired my friend, Elizabeth.