I want to reduce the hours I spend at my job.

money-happiness-scale

In order to pay my bills and keep a roof over my head, I currently work for a housecleaning company. I actually don’t mind the work but the job can be VERY physically stressful (though it does keep me in shape and saves me the expense of a gym membership). I also don’t like the way things in the home office are run (I will not go into details here) or the blatant favoritism I have to deal with constantly (which seems to exist in most service jobs).

The office politics really stresses me out and as with most of the other service jobs I’ve held, I’ve reached a point of burnout where I really dread even going to work anymore. I do not really want to look for yet another crappy service job, and writing jobs in this area are practically nonexistent, unless you have a journalism degree which is required to write for one of the local newspapers. Obviously, I’d rather write for a living. I actually used to, when I lived in the northeast about 20 years ago.

If I could, I would write all day, every day. I want more time than the weekends and evenings to do this (because I’m simply too exhausted sometimes to write as much as I’d like). Sometimes I wind up staying up until 2 or 3 in the morning to catch up on reading and posting, but of course then I’m in no condition to be at my job at 8 in the morning. At my age, trying to get by on 3-4 hours of sleep is very unhealthy and then I go to work feeling like absolute crap.

So until something better comes along, I’m considering going from fulltime to part time–working only 4 days a week instead of 5. The job doesn’t offer health insurance anyway, so I really wouldn’t be losing anything except a day’s pay.

My conundrum is that even working 5 days a week, I barely earn enough to pay my bills. I don’t even have cable TV anymore because I can’t afford it (not that I need it). I never go on vacations, not even weekend getaways. I can’t even afford the movies. I drive a 13 year old car with expired tags because I can’t afford to have the repairs done that would get it to pass inspection. My disposable income is almost nonexistent–it actually qualifies me as “poverty level” according to the national tables. So obviously I really can’t afford to lose a day of work.

On the other hand, why should my life consist of spending most of it doing something I don’t really want to be doing? Our narcissistic Powers That Be would like to keep most of us working like dogs, earning slave wages, and possibly dying an early death due to work-related stress with no health insurance or safety nets at all should we become ill, but dammit, I am sick to death of being one of the sheep that feeds their coffers but gets nothing in return but a bare-survival income that does nothing for me but keeps me from being on the streets.

I need an extra day to relax and write as much as I want, and even start writing a book. It’s hard to squeeze everything I’d like to do into weekends and evenings. But the money situation is worrisome too. So I’d like to get your opinions on what YOU would do if you were in my shoes.

Is “survival money” more important than doing something you love, even if that thing you love pays nothing? Or is it better to take the risk to chase happiness and have faith that somehow, even with less time spent working at a humdrum job, the money you need will still be there?

Please do not suggest I approach my family for help. That is not an option for me.

Restaurant Service Opinions

The blogger who wrote this article (it’s the only article in their blog) has made some incendiary remarks to commenters in my article “Restaurant Customers who Don’t Tip” and has even resorted to namecalling and insulting my readers. This blogger evidently has issues with restaurant servers and really shouldn’t be eating out, since someone like this is unlikely to ever leave a restaurant happy, and probably makes both wait staff and management miserable with their nitpicky demands.

Although I welcome dissenting opinions on my blog, trollish behavior is never acceptable, and I have warned this user that any further trollish comments will be edited or removed. I want to keep a peaceful website.

Out of curiosity, I clicked on Spring1’s profile and found their blog with its single article. I was shocked at the venom spewed toward restaurant servers and thought it should be called out, so I’m reblogging it. I find it interesting that it’s their first article and has 112 comments but not one Like.

I hope I’m not opening a can of worms here. Until I published my article about customers who don’t tip, I had no idea this was such a controversial issue.

Springs1's Blog

http://boss.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/10/29/one-hundred-things-restaurant-staffers-should-never-do-part-one/

I have some comments about this blog and since on that blog they are no longer excepting comments, I would like to see if anyone agrees or disagrees with the comments I have for it

I agree with these:

“24. Never use the same glass for a second drink.”

YET, servers all the time pour tea from the pitchers when they can get you a fresh glass with FRESH ICE(not watered down) and not some tea in the glass sweetened already.  The servers should get you a new slice of lemon(if you want lemon with your tea that is), served ONLY on the rim of the glass NOT EVER in the glass as the seeds can come loose in the tea,  and a new glass of tea.  NEVER should the server pour at your table, especially risking spilling it on the table. 

Also, even for soft drinks, sometimes some…

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My day in Aspie hell

workweek

Aspies sometimes have problems getting ahead in life. We may be intelligent and creative, but because we don’t really play well with others and are easily stressed and overwhelmed by social situations on the job and most of us aren’t good at schmoozing with higher-ups and playing the political games that are required to move up in an organization, many of us overlooked for promotions or just treated badly, as if we are mentally deficient. Many Aspies are underemployed, especially those of us who have an exceedingly low self image due to having been badly damaged by our psychopaths. If we were cursed with psychopathic parents, we were never given the tools other children were blessed with to succeed in life. Someone with Aspergers entering the workforce without life skills and survival tools is severely handicapped. It seems like some sort of cosmic joke that Aspies and malignant narcissists seem to be thrown together so often. It happens often enough that there has to be something more there than sheer coincidence, but I’ll save that thought for another time.

I read a study recently (I will find the link later) that found that people who are quiet and don’t talk very much are seen as less intelligent than gregarious, outgoing people. Many people with Aspergers are painfully shy and don’t make small talk easily. When forced to socialize, our attempts can be awkward and sound stilted or just weird. Unfortunately that probably makes us seem kind of slow. Socializing and engaging in small talk are extremely draining for someone with Aspergers, because it’s hard work. It just doesn’t come naturally.

In a way Aspies are like narcissists in that we have to “rehearse” how to act. The difference is a matter of conscience and emotion. The narcissist has no problem assessing a social situation and the appropriate way to behave, but for them it’s all cognitive. They are chameleons. When it comes to empathy and emotion, however, they are at a total loss. Since they can’t feel anything, they have to first decide which emotion is appropriate and then “act” like they feel that emotion. Aspies have the opposite problem. We can feel empathy and compassion, but have trouble expressing it. We are not good at putting on masks. We might seem cold and aloof but we are not. That’s why so many of us prefer solitude, where we don’t have to be “on” all the time.

Currently I work part time in a company where we are sent out in teams (or sometimes alone) to clean houses. It is a low level, grueling job, but I chose this over other service jobs because it seemed to require less social interaction than most of the others. I could just go to a house, clean it, and leave. I wouldn’t have to deal with customers in my face all day, or with office politics. It’s a good set up if I’m working alone (which I prefer) but most of the time I’m sent as part of a two person “team.” My regular partner is great, and respects my odd personality and knows I do a good job. I still get to work independently and she never has to check up on me.

Today I had the worst day an Aspie can have. My regular partner was off, and I was assigned a “special” (first time cleaning) that requires a lot more than a regular spiffing up. These specials can take all day. I don’t mind the extra work (and they do pay quite a bit more), but I was partnered with someone I knew I was going to have a problem with. She’s a very loud, extremely outgoing, rather aggressive personality and she is only 19 so she isn’t very mature either. Just being in her presence was triggering and causing mental overload. She just kept talking, and talking, and talking. I really didn’t know what to say, so I made polite noises and felt very triggered and overwhelmed. My stress levels were reaching dangerous levels–when I become sufficiently stressed, not only do I get pounding headaches, but sometimes my natural passivity and agreeableness breaks down and I snap and say something I regret. I wanted to jump out of the car and run away. By the time we got to our assignment, I was almost ready to quit my job. It didn’t help that I hadn’t been able to smoke in her car, and was having a major nicotine fit.

stress

When we got inside the house, I started with the master bathroom, attempting to stay out of her way while she did the dusting. I let my mind wander to other things as I cleaned, such as what I might blog about tonight, and what I could cook for dinner. But my partner kept coming in and asking questions, or worse, telling me I was doing my job wrong. She is not my boss, but I’ve noticed some of these young girls act like they know everything even when they don’t, and try to tell people what to do when they have no business doing so.

Like most Aspies, I dislike confrontations, so I let this pass the first few times. But by the 3rd or 4th time, I had enough and snarkily told her I knew how to do my job and she wasn’t my boss. She didn’t seem to like that, and whined that she was “just trying to help.” That made me wonder if she is a narc.

She kept talking and talking and talking. I wasn’t even listening to what she was saying. I had a pounding migraine and I felt like a raw nerve. The car ride back to the office was painful. She seemed like someone with ADHD, with all the fast talking and jarring topic changes in mid-sentence. But even worse was that she was constantly checking her phone WHILE SHE WAS DRIVING. She kept asking if her driving scared me. When I told her no (which was a lie), she started talking about how she likes to deliberately scare this other girl when she drives because she acts so afraid. Yep, I think this girl is definitely a narc.

I was so stressed and keyed up on the ride home that all the muscles in my face and back of my neck hurt and I thought I was going to throw up. For an Aspie, having to deal with a person like that all day feels like a day on the battlefield. It’s very debilitating.