TEN YEARS AGO TODAY: Commemorating The Day I Changed My Life And Decided To Pursue Writing

Photo courtesy of droidtvnews.com

 

RELIVING THE DAY I DECIDED TO CHANGE MY LIFE ONCE AND FOR ALL

I remember it well;

On this day in 2008, I was in pretty bad shape emotionally.

In fact, I was in pretty bad shape for the past few years, as I was pathetically trying to hold onto my life working with young people in education and sports.

For the previous five years, I was miserably failing at being gainfully employed, either quitting or being fired from every one of the six jobs that I had, ranging from being a tutor in East Los Angeles to being on the coaching staff for a high school softball team, to being a playground aide – a job where I lasted only a few weeks – to my last gig as an after school teacher.

Looking back, it was evident that I was depressed on a fairly pronounced scale, even threatening suicide at one of those jobs when my supervisor was, at least in my warped mind,  picking on me for something.

It all came to a head during that last after school job when my supervisor – a young lady who was half my age – lectured me due to something I did.

Which I deserved in retrospect, but my mind was so messed up over having to kowtow to someone who could have been one of my students or athletes that I felt humiliated, among other negative things.

I fell into SUCH a depression that I stayed home for the next three days, rarely getting out of bed.

Which brings me to that fateful day – this day – exactly a decade ago.

I had finally realized once and for all that the effects of my being on the Autism Spectrum Disorder – having Asperger’s Syndrome to be precise – was never going to be conducive to me working with other people on a daily basis.

Not only that, I had realized that I absolutely was sick and tired of working for and answering to someone else.

I hated having to impress and please people who I honestly felt saw me as an inferior, not an equal human being in my mind.

I realized that I desperately needed my freedom, my independence from being at the mercy of someone else; for that someone else to determine whether you were going to be able to eat, buy clothes, and pay the rent through their employment of you.

 

 

Considering all the work I’ve done these past ten years, I suppose it’s safe for me to say this. Photo courtesy of dreamstop.com

 

Which was causing a stress that was quite unhealthy.

And most of all, after remembering how people had told me over the years that they liked my writing and my essays in schools and such, I realized that my talents were in that field and that I needed to pursue that wholeheartedly.

Or forever wish I had.

In short, being an employee was virtually – and perhaps literally, being that I had threatened suicide more than once during my time in the workforce  –  killing me.

I began that February 6th by meeting the softball coach I was under the previous spring at a Carl’s Jr., telling him of my plans.

Then I journeyed to the school where I was working at to take my stand against those oppressors, I mean employers.

To formally quit not only my job, but the “Kid Business” in general, ending my life in working for young people.

To in layman’s terms, tell the overseers, I mean supervisors, at that after-school job to “Kiss my ass” (not literally of course; I had a little more class than that).

And to begin my life as a writer, which I did a few days later when I found a site called HubPages.com and began writing different articles about my experiences with having Asperger’s and other things, which I got paid in royalties for.

Which led me to joining another writing site that paid royalties, Triond.com

Which, being a sports person who liked to give opinions about such, led me to writing for Bleacher Report and Fansided, helping to start GoJoeBruin.com, a sports blog covering my alma mater UCLA, on that network.

Which eventually led me to starting two blogs of my own:

SoCalSportsAnnals.com, on this same WordPress network,

And this blog.

Which I will have had for three (for SoCal Sports Annals) and four years this July (for this blog) respectively.

Along with working on my book describing  my struggles with being on the autism spectrum in a non-autistic world, “WALKING ON EGGSHELLS”, which I am on the verge of finishing as I have done a fourth draft and am going to do some final editing on one chapter in particular.

 

 

 

I thought it would be nice to include a picture of Charlie Brown’s dog doing his writing here, as I grew up on “Peanuts” and consider it the greatest comic strip of all time. Image courtesy of  jdspero.wordpress.com

 

 

In Case You Were Wondering:

No, I have NOT gotten rich from this now decade-long career – FAR from it.

But that’s perfectly OK as my mental well-being has improved in the past ten years since that day I walked away from the “Kid Business”

I don’t pretend that I have arrived as a writer; I’m definitely haven’t had any success on any best seller lists whatsoever.

But one thing is for sure…

By having these two blogs and this soon-to-be published book (by no later than the end of this year), I feel that I’m being more a contributor to society.

For lack of a better term, I feel that I’m more in my niche.

And that I will have left something worthwhile to be remembered by when my time in this world is over – if people care to remember me at all.

Which I think is a big part of living your life.

 

All Right, Here’s My Main Point:

It all began ten years ago today.

And it wouldn’t be right to not mark the occasion in these Hartland Chronicles of  mine.

Of course it’s my hope and prayer that my life in writing will continue to be fulfilling.

And if it becomes lucrative, great!

But to be honest, making a lot of money was not on my mind when I decided to do this.

It was to become happy in my life’s work – or at least happier.

Which I of course thank God for as I’m convinced He was leading me to this.

It’s been a pretty good ten years doing this writing thing.

I only pray that the next ten years are as good if not better.

Perhaps I’ll work on a young adult novel when “WALKING ON EGGSHELLS” is done and published; I have a few ideas swimming in my head.

I know I’m going to grow and evolve SoCal Sports Annals, as that’s my business for all intents and purposes.

I also know that I’m not where I want and need to be as a writer, and probably won’t be for a while.

But at least I’m not where I used to be those past few years working for someone else, especially mentally.

And that’s something that I certainly thank the Good Lord for.

 

Photo courtesy of writehacked.com

 

Advertisements

STRUGGLES IN THE WORKFORCE: Excerpts From Chapter Eight of “Walking On Eggshells”

This seems like a decent image of the hard times I had while in the mainstream workforce. Photo courtesy of yourstory.com

 

 

A brief update on the progress of my book, “WALKING ON EGGSHELLS”:

It’s getting closer to being done!

All ten chapters have been edited for the third (or fourth, I’m not sure) time and been printed.

I just have to go back to one chapter and possibly replace the name of a place where I used to work with a pseudonym, in case such place takes offense at its mention, the way I described my experiences there.

The next step? Getting my manuscript into a sort-of book form at the local UPS store and (finally!) sending it to Lulu.com for self-publication.

As I’ve mentioned on my Facebook page, if “WALKING ON EGGSHELLS” is not in your hands by December 31st of this year, then I will consider myself as having failed at this endeavor.

 

As For Now…

I thought I’d give another excerpt of the struggles I had as an adult in the workforce due to what I know now stemmed from having Asperger’s.

My (mostly) bad times during those years toiling for a paycheck were so many, like my high school days I divided them into two chapters.

These excerpts are from the chapter I call “Failures In The Workforce, 1991-1998”:

 

As I obviously needed a job and it was, as Mom put it, “desperation time”, I went in, asked for an application, filled it out at home, brought it back, and a few days later I got a phone call from them saying I was hired. I remember promising Mom that  I would “work hard and do whatever they say”, feeling a sense of relief that I was gainfully employed again and was able to find something relatively quickly after such a monumentally terrible experience at Grant School.

That feeling of relief evaporated like water in Saudi Arabia in the middle of summer as my job as a salesman fast became what I call to this day “The Eight and a Half-Month Prison Sentence”, realizing quite rapidly that working in retail was even MORE of a wrong profession for me than education was.

I hated the concept in retail of “There’s always something to do”, even when no customers were in the store and all the luggage and counters were clean, polished, and stacked neatly.

I especially hated it when, just before the 10:00 p.m. closing time, which was the shift I was always given, what seemed to be a load of customers would come into the store and I would be forced to stay after having been there for eight full hours, gritting my teeth on the bus home and doing everything I could not to scram in anguish over slaving away at that plantation; for the record, it was the only full-time job I would ever have.

And I REALLY hated it when, on a scheduled day off which gave me a most blessed sensation throughout my being the phone would ring and it would be the store ordering me to come in and work because someone had called in sick, whom I would think would be faking so I would be tortured at that personal hell hole; there I’d be, so looking forward to a relaxing day at home watching TV and what not, and I’d be forced back into the salt mines.

And on top of everything else, in the tradition of pouring salt on what in my heart was a painfully gaping wound, there was one other thing that made tat place of retail a maximum security prison hell: A certain co-worker who, like Marlon roughly 15 years before, was a flat-out bully and a word-that-rhymes-with-witch.

I’ll call her Gina*.

(Gina) was short in stature – not quite like Snooki, but in that Jersey Shore girl’s league – with pale, pasty skin and long, wavy brown hair. She had an ever-present stench due to her being a heavy smoker, reeking of tobacco as a prominent image of mine regarding her was standing outside of the store with a pack of Marlboros in hand, dirtying her lungs, other people’s lungs, and the air with those wretchedly foul cancer sticks.

I’ll never forget one particular day when she pushed me too far and I snapped, going into one of those meltdowns which are common to at least some folks with Asperger’s…

Gina and I were standing behind the counter next to the cash register. I wish I could tell you what Gina said, but like so many other incidents before and since, I’ve blocked it out of my mind due to the extreme post-traumatic stress that it would cause to my psyche.

One thing was for certain: I was feeling low and depressed and Gina must have called me some bad name or made some bad gesture that pushed me over the edge. I do remember her putting her hands in her ears like Bullwinkle and making a taunting noise after I had told her to leave me alone.

 

 

A more accurate illustration of how I felt during my years working for someone else in the workforce. Photo courtesy of businessinsider.com

 

 

The next thing I knew, I was throwing some balled-up piece of paper at her and she reciprocated by spitting her Marlboro-laden saliva at me. No, I didn’t make any move to hit her – however much a word-that-rhymes-with-witch that Gina was, at least I had enough presence of mind and respect for females to not let it come to that – but it was another albatross around my hellish luggage store neck.

You would think that my experiences at that store would improve by leaps and bounds after Gina was finally fired for her evilness a few weeks later, the owner of the store dramatically pointing at the door and telling her those two words that I so wanted to her for the longest time, but nothing could have been further from the truth as my miseries went beyond that little Lady Voldemort.

That’s why it was a foregone conclusion that I would be relieved of my duties right before Labor Day, though in all honesty they beat me to it because I was planning on marching into the owner’s office right after that holiday and tell my oppressor, I mean employer, those two little words that I had desperately desired to tell him for so long:

“I QUIT!!”

I’m quite positive that many of you are thinking this right about now…

“You should have been glad to have had that job! You were just an ungrateful, spoiled little baby who need to suck it up and grow up!”

I can certainly understand that sentiment, and despite what it seems it’s not my intention to use my Asperger’s syndrome as an excuse for my fucking up at that store – and nearly every other job I had before and afterwards. I know that many Aspies have been successful in retail-type gigs and other professions where service with a smile is required,.

However, I’m about as far as those Aspians as one could get as not only is any gig of that persuasion isn’t any place for me, I knew even before that horrible experience that I was 1,000 times more successful in situations where I was allowed to do my own thing at whatever work I was involved in.

It’s like if I had a little plot of roses growing in this huge garden, and it was my responsibility to take care of those roses in that plot, keeping those American Beauties watered and the ground insect-free.

When an overseer, I mean employer, would criticize me on how I’m doing or micromanage me, he/she is – figuratively speaking – stepping on those roses of mine for what I see in my mind as no reason other than to be a mean bully.

That’s how I felt and, to be brutally honest, still feel. Even though I understand that employees need supervising and constructive criticism in order to achieve maximum performance, I couldn’t, and still can’t help from seeing that as bullying.

That was why I HATED evaluations…at least in my mind, evaluations were always a way for bullies, I mean bosses, to remind me that I was a lesser being in their eyes, which essentially and eventually ruined me as a person with ability to sustain gainful employment as far as working for someone else.

 

No, this wasn’t where I had such a horrible time but as it’s a place that serves the public, it’s in the same league as that luggage store where I toiled. Photo courtesy of themountaineer.com

 

 

 

 

“Work Is Not Supposed To Be Enjoyable”: AN EXTREME REBUTTAL

An illustration of someone who evidently enjoys her job. Photo courtesy of teflonline.teachaway.com

 

WHO SAYS YOU CAN’T ENJOY WHAT YOU DO FOR A LIVING?

I remember a few years ago reading something online about people who were stressed out, burned out, and generally unhappy in their jobs, the article offering suggestions on how to cope with that.

I also remember reading one particular comment in that section by someone who apparently was a miserable jerk because he wrote that those who were miserable in the workforce were nothing but whiny crybabies who need to understand…

A. That work isn’t supposed to be enjoyed, but is supposed to be difficult, which is why it’s called work, and,

B. People who feel otherwise are losers who need to get over it and feel lucky they’re earning a paycheck.

If I ever came face to face with this guy, I would tell him in no uncertain terms that he is nothing but a mean bully who a firm believer in misery loving company.

And who is just plain wrong.

Bluntly put, a career need not be eight hours of hell following orders from bosses who are essentially schoolyard bullies or supervisors with the mind of and who behave like slavery-era overseers.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand that sometimes a person has to do whatever is necessary to survive, and to keep a roof overhead and the family clothed and fed if he or she has one.

I know this because like probably 98% of the world’s working age population, I worked at jobs l absolutely hated, ranging from telemarketing to working in retail, particularly at a luggage store in the early 1990s that felt much like a prison sentence, I hated it so much.

The minimum wage salary I made peddling luggage and handbags felt like blood money, as I felt that the only difference between me and a slave on a plantation was that I got a paycheck.

Those dark days were the product of me believing that making money however possible was the most important thing, and I eventually learned that nothing can be further from the truth – at least as far as I am concerned as I can’t speak for everyone else.

That luggage salesman gig taught me once and for all that you have to like what you do for work, else it’s just not worth it in the long run, and especially when you factor in mental health as I suffered from a couple of nervous breakdowns and some suicidal thoughts stemming from my unhappiness in some of the jobs I had.

There’s an old saying…

Do what you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life.

No statement can be more truer than that.

 

Here’s my point:

A person needs to have a passion for whatever job or career he or she may be involved in.

Happiness, enjoyment, and work satisfaction are essential or else bitterness and depression will set in; I know this because that’s what happened to me.

It was wanting to enjoy my work – as well as being able to work without some bully or overseer, I mean boss or supervisor, micromanaging me and telling me how much I need to improve or flat-out suck, looking for faults and reasons to fire me – that is the reason why for almost ten years I’ve been an online writer with two blogs (including this one) and working on a book about my life and struggles as someone with Asperger’s Syndrome in mainstream society called WALKING ON EGGSHELLS.

Which is getting closer to being finished and ready for (self) publishing, by the way.

While it hasn’t been the most lucrative venture, I can safely say that I very much like what I do and am pursuing my passion.

My message for all you folks who are hating on their jobs is this…

Unless you would definitely be on the street if you quite your hated job today, you don’t have to suffer through misery, because life is too short.

Go paint or work with kids.

Write a book like I’m doing.

Or anything else that you have a passion for.

Find your happiness.

It may the thing that will restore your mental health and save your sanity.

 

It’s my hope that everyone can find this. Photo courtesy of idealistcareers.org

 

 

NOTE TO DEMOCRATS: How To Win Back The White House In 2020 (and Congress in 2018)

No explanation necessary as to what this place is. Photo courtesy of nbcwashington.com

 

THE STRATEGIES I WOULD TAKE IF I WERE RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT, THE SENATE, OR THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

 

I have recently realized that I haven’t written about politics on this blog for a while.

After observing what our President-who-will-continue-to-not-be-named and his people have been up to these past eight months, with his approval ratings remaining at the lowest of any commander-in-chief,

It surprises me that no one from the Democrats has talked about strategies regarding how to take Capitol Hill and the White House back in 2018 and 2020, respectively.

I don’t pretend to be an absolute expert in politics, and I’m aware that it would be a bit more complicated, but here is what I would do if I were running for the Senate or the House in next year’s midterm elections;

Or more importantly, the presidency in three years, where the way things are going, it would mark a GOLDEN opportunity to tell President You-Know-Who two words that he has told many people on that reality show of his…

“YOU’RE FIRED!”

 

ONE OF THE ULTIMATE GOALS: To see a lot less of this…

 

1. HIT THE MIDWESTERN/RUST BELT STATES AND HIT THEM HARD.

The reason why our President-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named is sitting in the Oval Office?

The states of Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin.

Having been blue (going for Democrats) for over thirty years, it was their voters switching to You-Know-Who and turning their states red that was the difference last November.

Which I will always say was completely Hillary Clinton’s fault, as she completely took those states for granted; former President Barack Obama (I’m quite proud to mention his name!) said that while he took twelve trips to Michigan to campaign for the former First Lady and Secretary of State, she didn’t make one appearance.

This is why I’ve said that You-Know-Who did not win the 2016 election; Hillary lost it.

I would not make that same mistake!

To say that I would have a constant presence in those three states – plus Ohio, as that’s always been and will always be a crucial swing state – would be an understatement as I would have campaign office in as many cities as possible and hold rallies and town hall meetings in cities such as Pittsburgh, Detroit, Milwaukee, Cleveland, and Columbus so often that people would get tired of me.

I would also sent folks such as Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren to those states, particularly hitting the smaller towns (as would I).

Those folks need to know that the Democrats are for them, which they didn’t feel in 2016.

Which is why they went for He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.

 

2. BORROW A CAMPAIGN PHRASE THAT WORKED FOR A ICONIC CONSERVATIVE IN 1980

I remember Ronald Reagan, during his campaign for President in 1980 amongst crises like inflation, the gas shortage, and those 44 hostages being held in Iran, saying something like this during a commercial,

“Are you better off now than you were four years ago (or two years ago if I was running for Congress)?”

“Do you have a secure job with benefits?”

Do you have solid healthcare?”

“If so, then feel free to vote for my worthy candidate. “

“If not…”
(I’ll let you figure out the rest)

With tensions between the U.S. and North Korea at its highest in 65 years, You-Know-Who and Kim Jong Un threatening to nuke each other’s countries,

And with the homeless issue now at a crisis, tensions between the different races and ethnic groups at an all-time low, and employment not greatly improving among other things,

It’s safe to say that for the working class folks in particular who supported our President-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named in droves,

Things are not any better for them personally then they were when he took the Oath of Office last January.

Which is why I would state the phrase “Are you better off now than…” every chance I got; every campaign rally, every town hall meeting, every debate.

 

3. VOW TO CUT TAXES FOR THE MIDDLE CLASS – AND PROVIDE JOBS

This is for all those who tend to vote Republican because they hate being taxed.

Cutting taxes for people and families making (just throwing numbers out there; it’s obviously something that would have to be worked out) between $50,000 – $200,000 would rebuild a middle class that has been all but eliminated.

It would do wonders for the economy as such folks would have more money to spend.

And yes, taxes on those who can easily afford it – millionaires and billionaires – would be raised, with a list on what those funds would be spent on: Infrastructure, education, programs to “teach a man how to fish” rather than “give a man a fish”, to coin a Chinese saying.

As for providing jobs, which was a huge issue in the last campaign…

I haven’t seen any news saying that loads of people have gained employment since You-Know-Who took office.

I would hammer home that unlike him, I would fulfill that promise by providing programs to re-educate the working class, so rather than depending on steel mills and coal mines to provide them a living, they could do other things.

Plus I would fight to keep auto factories – and other factories – from moving overseas.

 

 

The skyline of Detroit, Michigan, a KEY state which the Democrats MUST take back. Photo courtesy of detroitunderground.com

 

Yes, these strategies seem simple.

But I still say that any Democrat with aspirations for the White House or Capitol Hill,

Who uses these tactics,

Would have a good chance of winning in 2018 or 2020.

 

An anti You-Know-Who protest after last November’s elections…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Work Is Not Supposed To Be Enjoyable” – A Rebuttal To That Notion

Stressed Woman Working In Office

A good illustration of someone experiencing unhappiness in the workplace. Photo courtesy of noticias.r7.com

 

WHERE DOES IT SAY THAT YOU CAN’T ENJOY WHAT YOU DO FOR A LIVING?

 

A few years ago I was reading an article about people who were unhappy and burned out in their jobs and how best to cope with those issues.

As I read the written comments at the end of the piece, one comment upset me quite a bit.

This particular comment said that folks who were stressed out and miserable in the workplace due to things like too many hours, not enough pay or having bosses who were bullies, were nothing but whiny crybabies who needed to understand that work is not supposed to be enjoyed; that work is supposed to be difficult – which is why it’s called such – and people who feel otherwise should get over themselves and be exceedingly glad that they have a job with a paycheck.

That is an opinion that I vehemently disagree with.

While it’s true that people who are gainfully employed should be glad about that, work does not have to be an eight-hour hell in the salt mines.

It has been said that one spends a third of their lifetime in the workforce, which is a lot of time.

So if that’s the case, my stance is that one better be sure that what they are doing for a job or a career is something they want to do.

Don’t misunderstand me – I get that sometimes a person has to do what’s necessary in order to survive and feed his/her family if applicable.

As an illustration of this, during my first few years in the workforce I worked at a number of jobs which I absolutely loathed, most notably as a salesman at a luggage store for almost a year in the early 1990s. It felt like a minimum security prison sentence, and in some ways I was glad when I was eventually fired, but at least I was earning a paycheck.

I used to feel that money was the main motivator for getting and staying employed, but after being miserable at too many of the jobs I held – some of them leading to suicidal thoughts – I learned a very valuable lesson:

 

eisnstein-quote

A quote from Einstein that pretty much sums up the point I’m trying to make here. Image courtesy of ffbsccn.wordpress.com

 

You have to like what you do, or else it’s just not worth it.

It was that luggage salesman gig in particular that taught me that, as I never worked in retail again after being let go from what I felt was being a paid slave at a plantation, the salary I earned peddling suitcases and handbags feeling like blood money to me.

Wanting to get enjoyment out of my work is the primary reason for me becoming a writer and online blogger, posting stuff on sites such as this one. It’s something that fits my personality well in that I can express myself freely and do my own thing without some bully or slavery-era style overseer, I mean supervisor, breathing down my neck.

I’ll be honest – the money I have made in this endeavor has been extremely minuscule.

But it has helped my mental state as for the past eight years that I’ve been writing and working on my book, “WAKING ON EGGSHELLS”, I can safely say that I have enjoyed what I do.

Despite the lack of financial compensation.

If I can say anything to those people who are suffering in misery at their jobs, it would be this:

“You don’t have to be feeling like crap and dreading going to work every day; you don’t have to feel like you’re entering a prison cell. If you would much rather paint, captain a sailboat, become a coach, write a book (like I’m doing) or whatever it is that you’re passionate about and would make you happy, I’ve got two words for you…”

“DO IT!”

In other words, go ahead and find your happiness. It will do wonders for your mental health and just might save your sanity.

 

“Choose a job you love and you will never work a day in your life”    – Confucius

 

 

African American Woman - unhappy office worker - unhappy employee - unhappy women   Original Filename: sb10069708d-001.jpg

Another good illustration of someone experiencing unhappiness in the workplace. Photo courtesy of onthe job.45things.com