I've been putting off this tale of woe for weeks now but I finally have a spare moment and I suppose it's as good a time as any.
I started my job on the first Friday in October, 1994 and had my last official day on the first Friday in October, 2009. Most people get a raise, an extra week of vacation and maybe some kind of pretty shiny thing for their 15 year anniversary. What I got was let go without the typical 2 week severance pay and in fact my boss owed me 2 months and 1 week of salary plus I don't even know how many months of payments into my 401K plan. Let's not even discuss the nightmare of the 401K plan. Or whether I'll ever see my back pay. On top of it I practically had to beg him to let me go. I'm no genius MBA Business Man type but I do know that if I'm going to work and I'm not working on any actual work and I'm 2 months behind in getting paid and the phone is not ringing at all with any new work that that's not going anywhere good. Plus the other engineer in the office has practically stopped even coming into the office and my boss is not doing anything about it. Not a good sign. My boss wanted to cut my hours in half but he'd already cut my pay significantly so I was effectively being paid for part-time work but being required to work full time hours so half of what I was making was about what I would make on unemployment. And cutting my hours doesn't help if there's still no work to do. I told him please just lay me off and let me collect unemployment because some money coming in is better than going to work for no money and no prospect of money anytime soon. Also, I can move on with my life and maybe, just maybe, somebody out there will have some work for me. And there was the situation with the co-worker not ever coming in for a full day, if at all, and we are struggling with not enough work and my boss cuts my pay and still keeps this unreliable guy on and clients are complaining about him and the whole thing was aggravating and stressful and I'm so glad to be out of that situation. There was a lot of other stuff going on too that was aggravating and stressful, the past 2 years have been rough, but I won't go into that here. Suffice to say it was starting to feel like NADAC where one person is in charge of the game and, well, we all know how that turned out.
The problem is that I'm in the construction industry (structural engineer) and we've been on the front lines of the recession for over 2 years now and it's not supposed to recover for another 3 years. A year ago last June I offered to work part-time because we were so slow (my boss refused). I've been informally looking for work since probably last January but maybe even before that. But there's a reason that my firm had no work and that's because there's very little out there. A big part of the problem is the credit freeze. We had a zillion projects under contract but all of them went on hold in large part because suddenly no one could get financing. Even people who were good risks. The banks took all the stimulus money and sat on it or gave out bonuses or whatever. The bridge engineers are doing o.k. because of the stimulus money for infrastructure but I'm in buildings so that doesn't help me. I'd happily switch to bridges but so far all the places that I've found that are hiring want people with at least 5-7 years of specific bridge experience. A friend suggested working for free for a bridge company at least until the unemployment runs out but the problem is that if I was offered a paying job I'd leave and then I've created some ill will. And is 5 months enough time to build up enough experience to get a real job?
Anyway, it's been 15 years since I've worn pantyhose and that was only to interview for jobs. The 'What Not to Wear' t.v. people were making fun of some poor woman for wearing them and at the time I thought, yay, those horrible things are out of fashion. But now I'm thinking I can't seriously go into a job interview with bare 45 year old knees that looked in their 40's when they were in their 30's can I? We're talking elephant knees being held together by scar tissue and lots of nice blemishes from multiple bouts of frost bite brought on by the super cold ice pack I use on a nearly daily basis. And I bashed my shin into the dishwasher this morning and have a nice long trail of scabs running down the front of my leg. Oh and I have an interview tomorrow. Not for an actual job but a local company liked the look of my resume and wanted to meet in case maybe the economy might improve for reals some day and they might have real work for me. So I consulted my good friend the Internet and it told me that yes, pantyhose are passe and you're a total dork if you wear them unless you're going for a job interview. In that case, yes please wear them, especially if you have 45 year old elephant knees and scabs running down your shin. Phew. For once common sense prevails in the fashion world. Now if only I can learn to walk in heels by tomorrow.