My One Year Freedom-versary!

All I can do is speak my truth when it comes to pain. I wake up every day feeling as if I have been beaten with a sack of hammers one at a time.


Yay! or is it yay?

It’s officially been one year since I was um, uh, “released” from my job. On one hand it was a blessing. Spiritually, I’m still grateful for this on so many levels. I still have to be careful with what I say because of all the NDA and Severance Agreements. (Grrr.) On the other hand, being broke is kinda not fun…

This is going to be another bittersweet rant on my part. I’ve still got plenty of emotional and psychological scars that may never actually heal entirely. I intend to put myself on a timeline for my greatest and highest good, but it’s been some serious work getting there so far. Therapy has definitely been super helpful.

Pain. Physical, mental and emotional friggin pain.

The physical pain is one thing, but…

All I can do is speak my truth when it comes to pain. I wake up every day feeling as if I have been beaten with a sack of hammers one at a time. As a result, sometimes I have to call in sick to work, or at least that used to be the case. It got to the point where I had to apply for FMLA. My body has been used and self abused enough over the years that it just doesn’t function as well as it used to.

Fibromyalgia sucks. Arthritis sucks. Exhaustion sucks. Pain pretty much sucks. There, I said it.

I fight depression a lot. It’s been a year long battle not to feel like a total failure. I know I’m not, but sometimes I need to remind myself of that. Not having a job has left a bruise on my ego- a pretty big one.

I think some things may have been said prior to my unfortunate separation from that company that are still gnawing on me even today. Without getting into specifics, I flunked a friggin PTSD survey for crying out loud. Or passed with flying colors depending on how you look at it. (Whichever result we didn’t want? Yeah. That one.) My therapist says I’m still hanging onto a lot of anger and resentment, too.

I still can’t deal with criticism. It’s not pretty. I don’t even like going out in public. I know it sounds terrible.

Healing following the end of any relationship, including a job, takes a long time.

I’m still coping emotionally.

I keep telling myself I’m past it. I’m over it. I’m good. I’m happier without it than with it. For the most part I am over it. Really. I’m good.

Then something comes up to remind me I have zero income. My pride kinda steps in to remind me I’m not a breadwinner in a family of six. My oldest son has started busing tables at a restaurant. My next oldest is mowing lawns all summer. I’m working on… I intend to be a writer.

I turned 50 less than a month ago. It’s been a rough year. Sometimes I feel like I’m getting better. I can almost go out in public sometimes, for a short while. I’m still not big on “people-ing.” as my wife and oldest say it. Criticism tends to start a spiral ending in my poor therapist. Yeah. My therapist is awesome, though.

Some days the bear takes you to therapy.

It’s not all doom and gloom.

My wife, Heather, has been incredibly supportive through this whole thing. I’m pretty happy and grateful every day because I’m living in a house with my family. We have enough to eat. The bills are getting paid. She’s a super mom when it comes to taking care of the kids. She’s also an A+ baker.

I appreciate her a whole lot. She’s very camera shy, so no pic. Thanks, Honey!

My friend Laura DiBenedetto once asked me to draw up a list of 50 things I’m thankful for. It’s a good exercise. When you’re down it’s not as easy as it sounds, though. I think I actually did a hundred once. It’s 25 daily if you’re following The Six Habits Workbook. Regardless, the idea is I have plenty to be grateful for. I really am grateful for each and every one.

This website, my blog especially, has benefitted from me not traipsing out the door to work every day. Once toxic corporate culture wasn’t sucking the creativity and will to live out of me, I became much more productive. This blog means so very much to me. It’s been a daily endeavor for me every day since I rebranded it at the start of the year. I love writing!

Heather, family, Laura, readers, Bimoji, anyone else who I forgot.

It was for the best all around, I suppose.

Large corporations…

Was I the best employee? No. I mean, they did gimme the ax, didn’t they? Sadly, it wasn’t an issue with my skills as much as my attitude and my willingness to call bullshit when I see it. I don’t imagine the FMLA helped, but of course we can’t prove anything or really speak of such matters. BUT, it’s nice not having to be out of the house for 48 hours per week and deal with all the Mcgarbage of corporate life. I guess they did what they thought was “best for the company.”

Personally, other than missing the paycheck, I don’t miss all the bull I had to put up with (no specifics.) One of my main objections to the job, besides having one, was that I was working in an industry known to be incredibly destructive to the Earth. It was tough to reconcile spiritually every day.

In a very general sense, I believe it best to put people before profits. I also think it’s better to promote creation over destruction, which some industries globally are pretty horrible about. Last, I prefer prosperity for all over greed. Despite any company’s lip service, win-win usually doesn’t happen.

Side Bar: Some people mistake me for a Socialist or a Communist. Now, to be fair, I have studied about both quite a bit over the years. If we’re being honest, some tenets of a socialist democracy do appeal. Unfortunately it’s prone to abuse, corruption, misinterpretation, and ultimately suffering. So, love our government and economic system in the US or hate it? Still better than the alternatives as far as I’m concerned.

My happy place.

Flowers grow in shit, too- metaphorically and practically. I ought to know. I’ve seen enough of it.

I’m grateful I’m no longer working in that awful place, or any awful place for that matter. I love my family a lot more than I hate dealing with big businesses. More importantly, being on my own in the “workforce” has been a huge blessing!

Think about it. No job gets me more time with my family. Theoretically a cleaner house. (Still working on that. See also, kids.) I get to go to ball games and roleplaying games that I wouldn’t have gotten to otherwise. My wife loves all the attention she gets these days, I think.

Not to brag, but I get to rest on the pain flare days. No one freaks out when I say I have to stay home. On the days when everyone is in school (my wife is a teacher) I get the whole house to myself. Just me and the cats. Still… I get to meditate, nap, eat stuff out of the air fryer, write, play video games, and run errands. It’s freakin amazeballs!

If anyone thinks I’m ever going back to a corporate environment of any kind, they’re sadly, tragically mistaken.

Startups, small businesses, local endeavors, individuals are more than welcome to invite me in/ hire me. (<gulp!> I guess.) I’ve been known to bend over backwards to help doing volunteer work back in ye olde days. These days, I’d work for credit on the right project. I’m not sure about working pro-bono these days, but I might consider it for the right person.

The one thing I will never go back to, short of a corner office and a six digit salary (LOL!) is a large, unfeeling, uncaring, nameless, faceless, rotten corporation. (Which ones are rotten? Umm…)

About the time anyone started talking yearly performance reviews, big meetings, (forced) peer interactions, or any of that other corporate Mc-culture crap? I’d be out the door. The last thing I want is to put myself in a position where the review makes waterboarding seem like a summer olympic event. I will never do harsh criticism again without going off and I will happily die on that hill before I let anyone tear me down.

That is one nervous breakdown I do NOT need ever again. You could call me into a meeting with six or seven people to tell me I’m employee of the year and I’ll be f’kn absent as Hell or fightin mad. I don’t care. If I even sense it in the air, I’m gone!

Jeffco’s Employee of the Year.

Let’s be honest. Working for myself is where it’s at.

Yeah, my profits have been down since January. It’s easy to claim $0 on my taxes yet. However, we’re into July without any pesky profits. It’s like we’re selling money repellant around here. Oh, wait. Okay, we’re giving away too many free samples of money repellant. Check.

(I WAS JOKING!)

All joking aside, better times are on the horizon. I’m working on new ways of monetizing my endeavors. I intend to have some kind of income flowing within the next year. It’s going to get better. Seriously, that’s the next hill I’m willing to die on so to speak.

I truly love being my own boss. I haven’t applied to work at someone else’s business since February. Really, it’s the best way for me to go. I’m happy like this. I’m free to do just about anything I set my mind to. I wish I had come up with a plan to do this years ago.

I’m going to consider doing some freelance or contract work in the coming year. It’s similar to working completely for myself and it pays better. I’m also going to get something published one of these days, even if it’s small, electronic (pdf) publication to start getting myself out there. Part of the key to getting discovered is appearing somewhere, right?

THANK YOU FOR BEING HERE!

Seriously. I can’t think you enough. I appreciate you being here. I love having readers. I love having people visit the site. You’re awesome! Thank you!

I love you all!
You ARE valued.
Photo by Katie Rainbow ud83cudff3ufe0fu200dud83cudf08 on Pexels.com

Please practice kindness. Embrace joy!

I bet someone scrolled down this far to see if I posted a different picture of me in a unicorn costume. Mmm hmm.

Author: Jeff Craigmile

I'm a tabletop role-playing game writer and designer from Des Moines, Iowa always looking for more work. I'm the father of four boys and human to three cats.

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