Weird things to report.
So, a week ago Sunday, I asked for the day off at work. It was Tuesday before I found out, definitively, that there wasn’t going to be any way I could be given the day off. I forget the technical term for “allowed time off”, but given that I was hired on as a temp and didn’t get paid time off, I wasn’t even aware that there was anything beyond giving people a heads up that I was planning on not being there.
Anyway, so I try to see if I can swap shifts, and call in on Friday instead. I ask Nick what’s better for him (Well, for the department) – if I bail on Friday or on Sunday. Nick gets this pained look and tries to remind me about the talks we’ve had. Unfortunately, he can’t actually directly say “We’re going to fire you for this,” but I get the gist of it. He says he’ll get back to me.
So I figure I’m probably going to be fired for this, and have to weigh the value of my job against what I want to do with my time off – the problem being that I need to work either Friday or Sunday, but Thursday night Mom’s booked a room for us & Ceci at the coast, and then Sunday Don Crank’s getting married.
Anyway, the reality of my situation slowly sinks in; I’m an hourly temp, I have no medical benefits and no paid leaves, I have no job security and I’m not paid for any of the extra stuff I’m doing. And I get this strange detachment from the situation. I manage to become deeply indifferent to the outcome – if I get fired, I’ll get another job, if I don’t get fired, well, I love the people I work with and eventually they’ll have to hire me on full time.
Okay, so Wednesday morning I have a meeting with Nick and Mary (Mary is my technical supervisor, she works for the temp agency) and the quote of the morning is “If you want to keep your contract, you have to be here this weekend.” I ask if they’ll terminate my contract if I’m not there and they can’t answer. I still don’t really understand why all these conversations are so constrained all the time, or why I kept running into the “We can’t talk about this” wall. So the gist of the meeting is, we all like each other, we’re all sad, but whatever is going to happen is going to happen and it’s no surprise to anyone.
Then the surprise hits. Fifteen minutes before the end of the day (Wednesday, mind you), my contract’s terminated. No reason given, though I’ve been describing it as ‘Intent to Absentee’ to people.
This is where things go all surreal. My contract is terminated and Mary has to break it to me, and it’s totally surreal – I’m worried about the position I’ve put Nick in, and want to make sure people let him know I’m totally okay with all of this. Mary tells me to file for unemployment, asks for my resume to give to other temp agencies, and tells me she’ll give me a great reference.
Friday, I get a call from the Editorial department, with whom I’d applied for a job a couple of weeks earlier. Monday, I email Nick and ask if I’m eligible for re-hire, and ask if he’s comfortable with me talking to Editorial. I don’t want him to feel like I’m going behind his back, and I don’t want it to look like I’m getting around him in any way. So Nick writes back, says yes and yes, ad I call Editorial. We have a phone interview on Thursday, and it goes super well, and I’m waiting to hear back from them (they need to ask Nick to make sure that the issues with my employment were only related to attendance & punctuality, which as far as I know they were).
In the meantime, I’ve read a dozen books (from the Dresden Files which are incredibly fun and empty, to a Robert Parker novel which was just as empty, but nowhere near as fun, the last Harry Potter, &c, &c) and am currently reading The Ecstasy Club, by Douglas (?) Rushkoff.
The book’s about a cabal of ravers bent on immediate evolution to a higher state of consciousness. It’s essentially the concrete half of the story I was trying to write ten years ago. It’s really hard for me to read – the way these people talk and think is so close to me, and it’s bringing up questions about how I relate to spirituality and to the groups I belong to.
I asked a question at the meditation class last night (interesting note – I still don’t know what to call it. Shamata practice? Buddhist class? Temple? I don’t even know which tradition these people practice) about engaging in the world. I was given a long answer about the three turnings of Buddhist teachings.
I don’t really know much, but it seems like the first turning involves renouncing the causes of suffering, the second involves working for others to end the suffering of all sentient beings, and the third turning is that the world is pure and our minds are pure, and an error in perception is the cause of suffering.
It’s like epicureanism, something else, and then gnosticism. However, there’s no sense of engagement anywhere. I think I must be missing something somewhere, but I couldn’t get any sense of an imperative to live in the world. Maybe it’s the lack of imperatives in buddhism?
The discussion grew out of a quote Josh brought and asked about, something like “Make an island of yourself. Make your refuge of yourself. There is no other refuge. Make truth your refuge. There is no other refuge.” Which sparked the discussion because people said that this sounded like first-turning teachings, and centered around renunciation. Someone else read this like Emerson’s Self Reliance. But I was reminded of this thing I heard somewhere about Muslims – as part o the Allah Ackbar thing (God is great, there is no God but God), there were sort of iterations of equivalence that went on to say “there is no truth but truth” as though truth and God were synonymous. Also an iteration equating God (and truth) to reality. The idea of seeking refuge in what is seems realy appealing, even if it’s totally not the teaching I was meant to get.