Thursday, October 26

Changing Paces

The year I turned 50, our world had turned once more, & we were back where we started, almost. No money, no jobs, & a bit late to start out again!

We had come out the end of a long court case, sueing for unfair dismissal. We won the case, & were awarded almost the maximum amount we could get. But, the arrogant, miserable, boardering-on-insane, ex-employer, was not content to leave it there, & he insisted on appealing the decision, to our utter horror. And against all advice from his solicitors & other employees.

We won the second time also, & were awarded the absolute maximum amount this time, and the judge, who seemed appalled by the whole case, advised us to take our case to the open court, where he was certain we would be awarded a much greater amount, than we were able to be given in the Industrial Court. We had been dismissed on the spiteful whim of a cranky old man, who couldnt get his own way. It took away all of our potential for advancement, and any further career advancements, with other organisations/employers, which the judge recognised, & considered we should 'go for compensation' in open court.

It is very hard to describe the devastation we felt throughout the whole process, & the loss of self esteem. No amount of reassurance can give you back your standing when you are dismissed, at our ages, with no prospect of ever having the respect, or the same level of employment opportunities. No money can replace those things in your life. And no matter how 'Right' you are, or how much you are awarded, you pay far too much in emotional, & mental ways, and physical ways, to ever regain what you have lost. You pay far too much for mere money!

It was so soul destoying to watch GOM apply for postitions he was so qualified for, with no luck. Discrimination on the grounds of age is not permitted?? Haha, tell us another! It is never stated, as such, but you know,as soon as they find out how old you are, there will be no offer of employment.

For a man who had always been so damn great at his job, it was just so hard to realise he was looking at his life from the wrong end of the telescope. We considered returning to our homeland, but our children had put down roots, & we know that in the end, there is no going back. So he managed to find a job, in a related field. It was hard for him to watch silly mistakes made, when he had so much experience & knew the pitfalls. But he stuck it out, kept his head down & worked on -loyally, & long.

I was making a little money doing my dolls, but it wasnt enough to keep us afloat. We were renting, as we had already lost our house in a previous, disastrous, career move. (Really, this country has dealt us body blows we never thought we could withstand. What is it they say- If it doesnt kill you, it makes you stronger??)

So I decided to find another job. I had worked as a receptionist at a large Swiss owned company, & had really enjoyed that along with another job I had as a telex operator. I knew the running of Hotels, & Restaraunts, so felt I should be able to find something to do.

A friend told me the Bank she worked for was always looking for staff, & age would be no barrier. So off I went to apply for the job of Customer Service Officer. I had to go into the City for the interview, & enjoyed the day. I had walked to the station for the train, very early, & it was lovely. I felt quite comfortable with the interview, & when I got a call to say come along for another, off I went.Another delightful day out, with breakfast in the city, before the interview. We got to play games this time, & what fun! I loved the whole process of applying for that job. I enjoyed the team work we had to do, & the games & role playing! I felt I held my own with all the young applicants, & didnt even think about the fact I was the eldest. I even managed to pass the maths test- which is really my weak spot! I can use maths, slowly & methodically, but I have never 'understood' it, in spite of my BB stating otherwise. I guess I understand money, but I dont really 'like' it.

Anyway my next, & final interview was to tell me I had the position, & would be contacted and advised where I would be placed for employment. In fact I was allocated a position in a Bank quite close to where GOM worked, so I could take him to work, return with the car, & walk to the Bank.

I JUST LOATHED IT!! I HATE handling money, & was slow to count it up. The BYG- Bright Young Girl- who was to 'train' me, had a brain like lightning when it came to counting money. And she never disguised how bloody fed up, & impatient she got with me, being slow & careful, & all. She would hum, & hiss, & sniff, & shuffle about. I would get hotter & more anxious, & then something else would bother me-- terribly. Her feet SMELLED! Badly! It was so distracting it became all I could think about! And the more it bothered me, the slower I got. I dreaded balance up time! I was a blithering idiot. It was destroying my self esteem, totally.

One day BYG was off for the day, & I was given to another girl, for 'training'. She was a dropdead, beautiful, gentle, Indian girl, & I could have learnt a lot off her. She was so patient, & so kind. I mentioned to the Head Honcho Woman- forget her title now- that I felt uncomfortable with BYG. It did no good, I was informed she was the smartest, the fastest & considered the BEST.

I lasted 4 weeks. I spent every weekend crying because I would have to go back on the Monday. Finally, I gave myself a strict talking to! I said things like "What the hell are you doing?? You are 50 years old, you have had Bloody hard times!, you have earned the right to be happy!! You have earned the right to just do as you please!! Bugger the Bank! Dont go back!"

So I made a phone call, told the HHW I would not be returning, & that was that! She insisted I go to see her, "Yes" I lied, "I will." And I never went back. And I dont care. I spoke to the manager, who was a very nice man, I tried to tell him how I felt, & he never said much, but I think he understood. He was my age, & he had just had a change of career too.

I got another job- by invitation. It was a shop where I bought a lot of my sewing requirements. The girls liked me & invited me to join them. And I enjoyed working with them, & I was very happy! Ok the pay was less, but hey, it was money for fun!


His Office, My Studio said...

I know what you and your fmily went through. We are going through that right now. We have lost every thing and almost our marriage. This has been the year from hell. My husband lost his job, our son injuried his knee in gymnastics and had 2 surgeries, my mom passed away 3 months ago. I have cancer and can not work outside the house any more.

I once worked in a bank for 1 week and hated it too.

Your quilts and dolls are outstanding!

Your job in the shop is great!

Quilters know....When life throws you scraps make a quilt.

May Britt said...

Life is not easy all the time. You did right. Going to work and hate it is not easy. Working in a quiltshop must be the right place for us quilters. Have a nice day!!

Stomper Girl said...

Boo to BYT's with Smelly Feet. I know this through dancing, it is not being the best and smartest that makes you suitable to teach. You need patience, patience and MORE patience. Good on you for walking away, your work should not make you sick. I had a job that made me feel sick every morning (even though the people were perfectly nice) and in the end I told them! They can't argue you out of that!

molly said...

."..something stinky this way cometh!" Bugger the bank, the BYG and the HHW. The first rule is to be kind. Now if only I could follow that rule!

Anonymous said...

Her feet must have been really stinky if you could smell it through her shoes?! Lucky she doesn't work in Japan...where her shoes would be off!

nutmeg said...

You have really "lived a life". I really enjoy reading your stories. Through all the ups and downs you seem to be able to retain your sense of humour. I have a lot to learn from that :-)

LBA said...

Some of my best mentors went the way of "middle management". I basically signed my own death certificate ( or working for said company ) for sticking up for one and giving them waht for, as a BYT myself. Youth gave me the freedom to be aggresive and stick up for what I believed in.

With age comes meekness and acceptance, but it is good you left the bank. Work is a huge part of life, you can't live your life tearful of the next day's work ...

My float said...

You are spot on Meggie. There is absolutely no point in doing something that makes you so miserable. I'm with h&b, I was an aggressive know it all as a young person - today I just know I don't know anything, and that is very scary!

It's worth being happy, otherwise, what are we doing here? I have made the same decision today with someone who reneged on paying me what I was owed simply because he was from a different culture where they insist on bargaining and it's just not me to do it. Plus he's the best friend of a friend. So I've cut my losses and vowed to never do any work for him again. Amen!

meggie said...

Tks for all your comments, as usual.

The feet smelt so badly, because she wore sandals, & they were synthetic ones, & I dont know if you know about our hot hot summers, but obviously she needed to either wear full leather shoes/sandals, which tend not to smell, or use some seriously strong deodorant for her feet!

I have a 'thing' about bad odours & my sense of smell seems to be very strong. I once gave up going out with a really nice man, because his feet were so bad! I dont mind the smell of good honest sweat when a man works, but stinky feet...blech!