Monday, March 22, 2010

The One Where Neal Quits Shaving and Wears His PJ’s All Day

Well, I can finally report that I no longer want to put my rubber cowboy boot up the "exit only" of an agency director and her wingchick. But it took me almost 5 days to get there. I cannot even begin to express how grateful I am for your all's positive thoughts, prayers, and general rock-it-till-it-hurts comments. And y'all are right…God closes doors and open windows…but until He pops the lock on a Pella, it really kind of sucks. I won't go into the whole who/what/where/why/how the Hell could you's of the situation. I will simply say that:

  1. Neal is not a sugar-coating individual. If you want rainbows and fairies blown up your ass, you don't ask him for it. You get it from somebody else. But if you want the facts, served up with a side of vision and ambition, he's your guy. And Neal had, up until Thursday, only had 3 jobs his entire life. He just celebrated a 40's birthday. So, obviously this approach worked for the majority of his employers.
  2. The directors in this particular agency tend to last about as long as a mild case of poison ivy. Therefore, they spend very little time starting from scratch on personnel, projects, and goals. The last director skipped over the meet-n-greet and asked all of his general managers to complete a personality profile. Neal's was alarmingly spot-on and I wish I had read it before we got married (just to skip over the arguments about money, cleanliness, and deadlines…not because it would have kept me from marrying him). If the agency director and her cohort had bothered to spend 5 minutes reading it, they would have known exactly the kind of person Neal is and not expected him to prance into their office and spray a nice coat of gold over everything. But some people get lost in the forest and end up using the trail map for toilet paper. That's unfortunate, considering it could help you get to your ultimate destination.
  3. This will end very well for Neal and very badly for them. If you choose to "dismiss" the driving force behind a department for 16 years, especially one that is constantly changing (like, say, technology, for example), you could easily deflate morale to the point that your only choice left is to hire a whole new crew. And this is what leads to the vicious cycle that is state government. It tends to go a little something like this:

    Why do I have to go to (insert state capitol) to do this? → Why can't I update this information on a website? → State government is SO inefficient. → An agency director comes in and immediately starts making drastic changes, including firing a very progressive and motivated general manager of technology. →The entire staff of the department begins to fear for their own jobs, thinking "if they fired HIM…." →Staff begins to look for new jobs. → Staff leaves department to take on new, more dependable jobs. →Agency director must begin filling all of those slots with fresh college graduates who are far less experienced than the staff that had been there for 20 years. →New staff starts at Square One which, usually, does not involve progressive and innovative projects. → Why do I have to go to (insert state capitol) to do this?


    And round and round we go with tax payers complaining about their wasted dollars and strong employees like Neal sit at the house and update their resumes. La Cycle of Life.

And here's what I know:

  1. Neal quit being happy at the agency the day they quit respecting his ideas. When I met him, he nearly skipped into work every morning. He worked on his BlackBerry the entire time we were in St. Lucia and on our honeymoon….ignoring all of my passionate pleas and finally threats to launch his CrackBerry into the damned Caribbean. When he came home at noon on his birthday, I knew it was just a short journey to unemployment or complete madness.
  2. Neal is very marketable with skills that are in high demand right now. He will probably be employed before I can relax long enough to actually enjoy having him home all day.
  3. I am not giving up Daisy & Elm. For about 10 minutes when he got home on Thursday, I played the "well I guess I can go get a job at Hobby Lobby or Cracker Barrel" card…but the truth is, I love my business. I am 31 years old and I've had 36 jobs (I know this as fact because I had to go through a security clearance once and list them all. That was a very dark day). I love making beautiful and affordable jewelry. And I would have to say that I'm no worse at it than I was at anything else (including cleaning cars, answering phones, personal training, being a massage therapist, and waitressing at a truck stop). Plus…I work all of the time. I would work in the car or in a bar…near or far or for a Czar…And I owe this little piece of realization to Shana @ Fumbling Towards Normalcy. She just finished The Happiness Project and has been re-evaluating her own happiness. Her thoughts on the matter caused me to evaluate mine and I decided that I would rather sell our house, our cars, our big, expensive furniture, and a kidney before I give up Daisy & Elm. So…that's kind of saying a lot, considering I probably need both kidneys to offset the abuse of my liver. Good-bye tanning bed package, cable TV, wine club membership, Champagne Fridays and perhaps my BlackBerry…but hello doing what I love and loving what I'm doing (and not dreading Monday mornings, for a change). It's so easy, it's hardly a sacrifice.
  4. Neal now understands what my days are like…which does not include lying on the couch, watching One Life to Live and finding out how many licks it takes to get to the center of a tootsie pop. SCORE!


While I have not yet started clipping coupons (which is mainly because I forgot to pick up the Sunday paper yesterday), I have given up my clothing budget and pillaged my house looking for crap to sell. And in the process…I found my oil change coupons!!! So, that's like making $60. Maybe I can bring Champagne Friday back for just one encore?


  1. Sounds like you have a good attitude about the whole thing. Enjoy your time together while you can - it sounds like he'll be gone again soon.

  2. I love that you are looking on the bright side of this. I'm happy that my minor breakdown and subsequent re-emergence as a shiny, happy person is helping you.

    I'm glad you are sticking with Daisy and Elm, because your stuff rocks and the world (and my neck) would be a less beautiful place without it. I'm also glad you are giving up your tanning bed package, because those places cause skin cancer and you are too awesome for skin cancer. When things turn around you should bring back champagne Fridays, but definitely not fake and bake tanning.

    You should totally start clipping can be a big savings for very little effort. I have a sick sort of love for grocery shopping and I am oddly proud of myself when I save bunches of money with my coupons.

    Chin up, young person. This too shall pass...

    (I'm starting to be so shiny and happy I can barely stand being around myself!)

  3. I learned last year with my job loss, that reasons for letting talented people go rarely make sense and corporate politics BLOW! It sounds like champagne Friday won't be gone for long (although I'm all for an encore).

  4. What positive steps you have taken just since Friday - good work! You may well need to cut a few corners for a few months... or maybe not. Neal's skills will get him noticed, even in this lousy economy. He can probably start working his network and be amazed at what falls out for him - that's usually the way with talented folks.

    And, you are one of the strongest women I've met on the blogworld. You will be find, it may just take a while. Beer on Fridays will do for a while and then we can all welcome back the champagne!

    Hang tough!

  5. You rock....did I ever tell you that? I'm looking forward to a few D&E pretties of my own soon. Gotta support a friend when she's down ;-)

    Praying Neal finds a great job very soon! Until then, enjoy your time together even if it is bittersweet.

  6. Man. No doubt in my mind that he'll find something else in no time. I mean, from what you've described, he's one super smart dude. And hopefully said new job will fit him like a glove and he'll be happy and sparkly with rainbows shooting out of his eyes all the time. Can you imagine how much fun that would be?!

    Enjoy the time you have together in the interim. And be prepared to accept the good wishes that I'm currently sending your way...

  7. I love you.

    You're both going to be ok.

    In fact, you're going to look back (not tomorrow, but someday) and see this all as a blessing. Really.

    Hugs. And prayers. Because suck-a-docious is a bitter pill to swallow.

  8. It really does seem to work out for the best and certain opportunities that wouldn't have presented had he stayed where he was will now surface. Office politics do suck. It will all work out to be better than before but it's just hell getting there! Hand in there. You've got the right attitude. It's just hard to watch when the truly good guys and the responsible hard workers are ones who this happens to. Glad you are keeping your shop!

  9. We seriously were separated at birth. Although, I've only had 31 jobs to date. So I'll have to play some quick catch up. I have also given up cable, clip coupons, buy literally no clothing or anything extra all so my husband and I can work in jobs/capacities that feed who we are. And my big dream is to someday work at home so I can be with my kids. Thanks for reminding why I budget and scrimp by. Its all totally worth it.

    Hang in there!

  10. I'm glad to see how far you've come since getting the big shock last week. It's unfortunate, but we are not guaranteed good bosses, and every so often we get truly awful ones. Or ones who just do not "get" us. Since he was so unhappy, this will definitely be for the better...but nasty while you and he are going through it. Glad you're going to keep creating with those beautiful beads! Be well.

  11. i love your attitude. growing up i always cut out coupons - i loved cutting stuff out for some reason. i used to cut up every piece of paper we had in the house; my mom got so irritated with scraps of paper all over the damn place, she got smart one day and threw me a stack of coupons from the trash and was like, "have a field day, kiddo." and let me tell you, a field day it was. please feel free to enlist me and we will cut coupons together. i haven't done it in years, but i'm sure it's like riding a bicycle.

  12. Ok, so here's my thing. When the same thing happened to us and I was unemployed, people went out of their way to be kind and gracious to us. So it's only right to pass that along and I will pimp your jewelry biz every second of the day just because 1) you're a kick ass chick and 2)I've been there and know how it feels. And maybe I can get some others to buy some beautiful and affordable jewelry!! :)

    It really is sad that this kind of thing has to happen. It's always the good workers who get sent out to pasture. It's sickening, really. But like you said, something will happen soon for someone who obviously cares about his profession and is a really great worker AND has all those skills.

    God's gonna open that window, I promise. Until then, enjoy having your hub home until he drives you insane. :)

  13. Well, I have to say--if Neal wasn't happy there, then this has to be some sort of blessing in disguise! My DH was SO unhappy at his last job--administration was unbelievable, the stress was through the roof. He loved his JOB per se, just not with that department. He made the switch from city to university/state doing the same thing, but with a whole new department (which in turn caused stress for ME--we had a 6 mos waiting period for health insurance, LOL!), but the difference it made in his life was worth it. He was also the start of a mass exodus from that department, they BLED officers for about 3 years (hmmm, yet the powers that be couldn't see a problem?). Anyhow, a happy hubby is pretty important and now he can get to gettin' in that department with that albatross off of his neck, monkey off his back or insert whatever tired cliche you'd like here:___________________ More (((HUGS)))

  14. Listen- I'm so proud of so many aspects of you, Allyson! You're clearly a dynamic couple who are so in love. I love how you are backing up Neal 100% and how he supports you staying at home to counts the licks. I love that you guys are making it work, and making sacrifices for the better of your marriage and to be happy. I love that you realize what happiness is.

    Seems to me like you've already gotten through the hard part.

    Sister. I'm a coupon queen. You need sweet tips for coupon cutting? I'm your gal. and you might not have to skimp on your clothing budget baby. I don't remember the last time I paid full price for anything.

    Enjoy eachother for now, because, like everything else, (and like what you said) it will be short lived.

    Don't forget to look for a jobin Buffalo. Because then we'll be real life B.F.Fffffffffff's. xo a million and lots of high fives to neal.

  15. Hey Girl. Just checking in and reading the news. Send me Neal's resume, ok? And in the email tell me what he is looking to do. I will see if I can get any good leads for him. I have to hook him up with a job so he can buy me aloo tikki.

  16. Allyson, DON'T, under any circumstances even feel like you should be giving up your know why? Because it's after a long long time that we finally figure out what we love, and what makes us happy...since this is your thing, you deserve to let yourself keep it.
    I'm heartbroken after hearing that Neal lost his job...keep me updated about what the next step is going to be... Love you!
    Btw, please let Eliza know on fb that I've replied to her on the email of hers she provided me with for the Sisterhood project. Thanks!

  17. Sorry I'm late on this...

    I'm glad to hear that you are mentally getting through this with stars and stripes. You are one strong lady! I'm also very happy for you that this whole experience probably made you that much more passionate about your job and your gorgeous jewelry. That's admirable, to say the least.

    After everything you've said about Neal, I have no doubt in my mind that you're right when you say you won't even be able to begin to enjoy his being home because he'll already be back to work. Technology is an awesome field to be in right now since it seems to be the only one hiring. So good luck to Neal and many prayers for you guys as you journey through this together. I know you'll make it out better than you came in. (Because you're rock stars like that.)

  18. i already kno how many licks it takes to get to the center of the tootsie pop.

  19. BTW, I like how you made this blog post like an episode of FRIENDS (The one where....)...I don't know if that was intentional or not but I thought it was funny :-)


That's it, let it all out....