As it turns out, I’m no good in December. Even if I were to abstain from sneaking glances at a calendar, I think that I would still know when the clock ticked over to December 1st. This month seems even worse than other recent Decembers. Like last year, I left a job. Of course, I left due to some family reasons (a similarity with 2014), but also because I’d thought that I’d locked up a new job. Knowing me, however, it comes as no surprise that it seems that I somehow managed to blow the final interview (as I am amazing at speaking to other people), thereby leaving me to face another January in which I am unemployed. Sure, I wouldn’t have been working anyway, as the Bear’s Lair is shut down until mid-January, but if I’d played things a little more conservatively, and if I hadn’t felt the need to stay at home to make sure that my wife could get some rest, I could have stuck it out for one more week, and been eligible for seasonal unemployment, thereby freeing me up to sit at home and write without feeling guilty about it. In all fairness, I have been writing (just not on the website that I own), but I find it difficult to free myself from the sinking feeling that I’ve screwed everything up again. Go figure.
There are just a few days left in 2015, and I cannot help but think that it didn’t really go according to my plan. I took six months off to try my hand at writing once again, and for my effort was rewarded with literally tens of dollars. I’m not complaining, mind you, as those were tens of dollars earned doing something which I’d always dreamed of doing, but it’s hard to feed your family or even pay the smallest bills with that kind of money. Even the thing I’m writing now is basically for practice only, as it’s been over twenty years since I’ve written anything cohesive which lasted more than 5,000 words. As of now, I’m at 14,000, and, assuming that I don’t find some excuse to keep myself from writing, I’ll probably add another couple of thousand words before I go to bed. Mind you, this is the most positive interpretation of how things have gone since I quit my job at Blondie’s.
I found myself working at Big Lots for minimum wage and a schedule of less than thirty weekly hours. Of course, as the work was physically demanding, and I have dedicated my existence to the pursuit of a sedentary lifestyle, I wound up spending almost the entirety of every other paycheck on visits to the Doctor and prescription medication. Just when I thought that I could take it no longer, I was offered a promotion (which would have meant full-time and a raise of a couple of dollars). I wasn’t thrilled about the money, but that, combined with nearly double my regular hours, would have given me enough spare cash to consider paying off some of my growing bills. But, because my life is rarely bound by just one single narrative, I was contacted around that time by someone whom I had known through my previous employer. And, because my life seems to run off of some sort of omnipresent snark, the day I interviewed for the promotion at Big Lots (wherein I had to reassure the higher-ups that I had no intention of leaving), I had another interview in Berkeley for a management gig back in restaurants.
I’ve got an interesting relationship with restaurants, and I’d honestly believed that I was done with them, but my experience demands a certain wage, one which I realistically cannot demand in any other field. That interview went wonderfully, and the guy who interviewed me really sold me on the idea. They were resurrecting the Bear’s Lair after a four-year absence, and I would have a part in it. My experience in Food Service Management, not to mention having helped to open a restaurant from Day One, would be of enormous help in this endeavor. It was the chosen job. And the best part was that I was to attend a Management Retreat in just a couple of days, with my time there being paid. I said at the end of my interview that I would need to give my notice, and it seemed that I would be able to balance the handful of hours that I was pulling down at Big Lots with the full-time prep work I would be doing for the Bear’s Lair. But, after the Retreat, I realized that we had a lot of work to do, and I didn’t want to be hamstrung by a job that would only, at that point, serve to distract me from the job which would finally allow me to pay the bills. When I got home, I wrote up a letter of resignation, and delivered it to work.
Having worked in the industry for as many years as I have, I should have paid more heed to the red flags which I noticed almost immediately. I don’t want to get into a lot of detail, as it really was a wonderful opportunity for me, one which allowed me to pay off my credit card debt which had amassed during my sabbatical. But, ultimately, it was a difference in philosophy which caused us to part ways, which is a shame, because I almost believe that there has been some progress of late, and that the future for the Bear’s Lair may be brighter than its past. Of course, no matter how things wound up turning out, if I hadn’t felt that my dream job (in that industry, at least) was a total lock, I would have stuck it out, and gotten on unemployment. I know that this will merely be an opportunity for me to take another path which I might not have otherwise seen, but there are times when I get tired of the constant tension within my shoulders which always leads me to land upon my feet.
But, hey, at least I’m writing!
Also, sometime over the next couple of days, I will be reviewing “Not What I Meant” by Leah Pape. And there is a small possibility that I will give away a copy of this album to a lucky reader of that post. Just leave a comment, and you will be entered to win!