How I got rid of $500 I never had

One of the great misfortunes of this blog (of many) is that I can not talk freely of work. It’s a self-imposed rule. I’m not all that bold when it comes to work details…I’m a lot of bark and tiny nibbles when it comes to speaking openly of my job and the nuances, to put it kindly, relating to people I work with. Despite the fact much of my material is hatched during my 8 hours of daily wage slavery. This is unfortunate because tonight I want to talk a little about work because the central focus of this post has to do with work, but I will refrain from overt description. Sigh. It’s kinda like the marriage dynamic where you come home to vent to your spouse after a long day at the office. I don’t have any one to do this with so you are my spouse tonight. Don’t worry, after the post, I will not ask you to fulfill other sordid wifely duties (although if you are up to it, I won’t refuse).

Let me back up for some background. For the past 3 months, work has been very intense and unbearable for one reason specifically which I will not detail. The reason we find ourselves in this situation stems from the fact my manager took the position long before she was ready for the job in all aspects of maturity and social intelligence. It is because of her pathetic and clueless molding of the department that we find ourselves in our current hell, and there is no relief in sight because the culture of today’s workplace precludes certain and swift action when “situations” arise. Some people finesse and bleed the system for all its worth and skillfully back organizations into a position where their balls are to the wall, they are rendered helpless. David outmatches Goliath.

Also, we must consider the fact my manager does not like me. She has never stated as much for obvious reasons, but I’m perceptive enough to see this less than subtle feedback. I have a friend who works in the department and she concurs with me in case you suspect I may harbor paranoid delusions. So my manager dislikes me, has used subterfuge and evasive inaction to stunt my progress or improvement within the company’s vertical ladder while rewarding other incompetent imbeciles who take up space in the department. Since 2007, my industry has been hammered by many extraneous events as well as having undergone tremendous sea changes in technology and job hunting is a harsh dead end. Perhaps I might have tried harder, but the point is, I have had no luck escaping this shithole. Every day I go to work my thankless and unappreciated void stares me back. Clocking in is a reminder of the futility of my work existence. It’s only by virtue of the fact that I have a “unique” temperament that I’m able to continue working under such condition while remaining essentially unscathed. I recognize what a piece of shit situation it is, but I’m able to remove myself from the situation and view it dispassionately.

Flash forward to the present: yesterday, our manager, in a hollow tribute to our trials over the past 3 months, gave us each two $250 gift cards. I have no idea why they were assorted this way, but I have my suspicions. Her story was that it was in our best interest not to receive the $500 as a payrolled bonus since taxes would take about $250 (rubbish). The other people in our small departmet were giddy even though some of them didn’t deserve a thing because not everyone has been carrying their weight for 3 months. I told my friend this is “hush money.” I was rewarded equally as someone else who has been routinely out or late for three months. Skating along while I’ve been working like a dog. And we both get an equal-sized bone.

Last night I stewed in the lies and empty gratitude on the part of my manager and the company. I’ve been thoroughly fucked by this person over the past 5 years. This morning, upon awaking, I made the decision I would not keep the money. I gave one of the cards to my friend who, despite comical protests to the contrary, finally accepted it with great relish. Early tonight she invited me to dinner, undoubtedly to be paid with the privileged treasure we had been rewarded. I was not in the mood, I told her no thank you. Sometimes when you’re taking the bus home you don’t want to talk or think.

Earlier, I took a walk to my parents and gave them the other card and my mom’s protest was a little more urgent. She repeated, 3 or 4 times, “David, you’re crazy, just take it!”

I made it clear that my decision was final. That money was bullshit and I would have no part of it. It was a bloody bribe. I told her that I was not going to be a whore, to which she replied, “Well going to work is being a whore, isn’t it? You’re being their whore?” I thought of it a little and chuckled. After I left, I realized the distinction. The whore effect from the $500 happens because of the ulterior motive and feigned kindness and phony thanks behind it. It was an effort to keep us quiet and working. Whereas going to a job is just a job and no one likes the other half of the necessary evil equation. That is more like a sinister duty slash slave relationship. Everybody gets a little but no one is really fucking anyone. Unlike the $500 which are purely salacious and thinly veiled manipulation.

I experienced a pang of regret earlier tonight, but really, what the hell am I going to do with $500? Buy some stupid crap I don’t need? Anything I want, I’ll just buy. I have my expenses under absolute control. I have no debt. I actually have my shit together and thus, less enslaved to the cosmetic kindness and mimicked benevolence of others. I am empowered to walk away from crocodile tears.

$500 would certainly have lessened the load for a little while but I’m willing to live as if I never had that money. I’ll do fine. But by ridding myself of the false cloak of thoughtfulness from my boss, I owe nothing to anyone, figuratively. Fuck them and their $500. It feels liberating to say that!

I feel that by accepting and using this money while harboring my slighted feelings of distrust and hurt is hypocritical.

Now, if I had REAL balls I’d take the 2 cards and give them back directly to my manager with a succinct explanation. Ah well, I’m not that tough.

Just $500 poorer.