The Lunch Break From Hell

Yesterday as I was exiting the parking lot at my job I hit the curb and blew a hole in my tire. I was coming out of a roundabout that leads away from the campus parking lot and turned to sharply. I felt the car hit the curb for a second, and when it came back down I felt something give and heard a flapping noise. When I eventually turned out into the road, the flapping of the tire became more audible and I cringed. I pulled into the next available parking lot: a small playground next to the community college campus at which I work.

Now, this may come as a shock to you, as this is usually considered one of those things that all adults know how to do, but I have never changed a tire in my life. So, like a boy scout who doesn’t know how to light a fire without hurting himself, I called my dad to see if he could help me out. Just as we had worked out a time after both of our shifts where we could get everything settled, I noticed a sign near where I had parked in a hurry. It read:

Parking for Playground Only
No College Parking
Tow Away Zone

My dad, still on the phone, told me that I should try calling the city police and explaining my situation, because I did not want to have to drive on the rim if I could avoid it. I did so, and the police officers were, fortunately for me, very understanding. I just had to leave a not in case any officers who hadn’t gotten the memo happened by, and I should be safe from having my car towed. I didn’t have any paper on hand, so I tore off part of an old McDonald’s bag and wrote on that.

By the time all of this was finished, my lunch break was already over, I was late getting back, and I hadn’t actually gotten a chance to eat anything. I explained all this to my boss, who was very understanding, and finished off the day, then immediately went back to the spot to find that my dad was already there and that he had already changed the tire. All I had to do was help him load the old tire back into the trunk of my car.

As I was getting ready to leave, my dad told me that I might get an alarm about the pressure in my tire since I was driving on the spare. I nodded and proceeded to drive home. As I was driving the car began to rattle and vibrate and a loud dinging came from the dashboard. I assumed that the dinging was the alarm my dad was talking about, and that the rattling had something to do with the spare tire, so I just took it slow going home and tuned them both out.

When my dad and I got home, my dad told my mom all about the particulars of what had happened while I chowed down on some reheated leftover chicken. Suddenly, my dad gasped and exclaimed “I left the emergency brake on!” I looked up from the drumstick I had been eating, finally realizing that the rattling hadn’t been the tire. I had driven the whole ten miles home with the emergency break on.

And that was how I ended my first week at my new job.

Happy Anniversary, Unemployment!

Today marks the one year anniversary of the day I lost my job testing software. One year ago today, my manager called me to schedule a meeting. Naturally, I was a little nervous about what it might be about. One of the co-workers who I shared a cubicle with was very nice, though, and she assured me that I did good work and that I probably didn’t have anything to worry about. So I continued working at my desk and tried not to dread the meeting, figuring that there as no point in worrying about it until I knew what it was about.

Imagine my surprise when my manager brings me in to the office of the Vice President of Quality Assurance. Obviously, this was not a normal meeting. To top things off, the representative from HR one who originally interviewed me for my job, was there as well. Consider yourself fortunate, dear reader, that you already know how this ends, and thus are free from the confusion and fear that was gripping me at that moment.

My manager motioned for me to take a seat next to the Vice President while he went and sat on the other side. The Vice President then looked at me and very calmly informed me that they were going to “separate my employment” (their words).┬áTo be fair, my manager, the Vice President, and the HR representative were all really nice and cordial about things. My manager even walked me to my car and talked to me to make sure I was going to be OK. This did not stop me from cussing him out on the way home, but it was a nice gesture nonetheless.

I’m celebrating this unfortunate anniversary by doing the same thing I’ve been doing for the last year: by filling out job applications and following up with the places that I’ve already interviewed at. I’m not looking at anything glamorous (and I’m definitely not looking at doing any more software testing), but all the applications I’m filling out are for steady work and that’s really what I need right now, even if it doesn’t pay as much as I would like. Some days are harder than others, but most of the time I’m able to keep my head above water and stay positive. With any luck, this will not only be the first anniversary of my unemployment, it will also be the last.