Repetitive, pointless conversations


Am I the wraith at the party?  It’s hard to say.

When I lived with the Roomie, even though I never missed a rent check or other shared bill, my being out of work or between consulting gigs drove her crazy.  Seriously crazy.  My being out on disability is more of the same, even though we no longer live together nor share any expenses.

I was visiting her home for “Survivor” last night, and in between segments, she was focused on what happens next.  What will I live on.  How will I survive.  My explanation that the HR woman was useless didn’t help end the conversation, and my explanation of benefit entitlements just caused more confusion and made her crazier.

“Seriously?  You get paid whether or not you go to work?  100%?!!!???”

We’ve talked about the “Freedom Plan” before, where I don’t earn vacation or sick days, but simply take what I need due to the underlying company belief that we’re all workaholics, and won’t rest until the job is done, regardless of the impact on our health.  It’s part of the core belief at my former company (since acquired by the Borg*) that we all have an investment in ourselves and our career success, so we won’t be slackers.  It’s a different way to fuel one’s various passions and (supposedly) have work/life balance.

Since our former CEO sold the company to the Borg* for $3.5 billion in 2011, and it’s also the operating theory under which Richard Branson (Virgin brands) operates his firms so successfully, I guess it works out well enough.

However, after an acquisition and a complete overhaul of processes to achieve closer alignment  (but only partial  updating of manuals and policy guides), it’s a bit confusing for the remaining survivors of the merge as we’re talking to the Borg* and continue to run under two separate and very different HR policies.

So, it’s hard for me to explain something I only understand on a partial level myself.  Truly a case of hoping for the best while working blindly.

After my explanation, though, the Roomie got angry / frustrated with a conversation she started, and for which the answer was ok for me.  So far, I am not short of funds.  If I do this right, I could get up to 55% of my salary for whatever time I have left.  Plus profit sharing due to my prior contributions.  Plus my RSU’s (cash for stock options).  Even if the answer turns out differently than originally estimated, and my payout benefits are reduced,  I still get profit sharing for 2015 on a partial basis (since I worked for 9 out of 12 months this year), and my RSU’s will continue to pay out over the next 3 years because they are part of my salary plan and are only revoked if I’m fired.  Anyone laid off or on disability keeps those benefits, which makes the Borg* crazy as money is their God.  It’s not made them crazy enough to change our seperate operating policy, though, so I may get a windfall.  It’s truly too soon to tell.

So, then she got around to asking how long these salary benefits could continue, and got incensed when I said “Life.”,  and added the qualifier of 3-5 years.  Trying to say there is a timelimit to calm her down doesn’t help to justify that I paid into and have earned my benefits.

Truly, I’m likely to have to find a way to live on $2,500 or less each month.  The Roomie would be ok with my “punishment” (my phrasing) of living in Silicon Valley at poverty-level wages, but if I end up with more money coming in from my former employer than what she makes working full time, she’s going to be p*ssed off.  It’s not my problem that she’s worked for the same mom and pop business for the last 25 years.  We all gamble on our employers, and with any luck, I’ll be ok.

The forecast for my disease progression is 3-5 years before it gets rocky, and I’m ok with that.  I’d rather not outlive my assets, and I don’t want to spend my final days worried about how I’m going to keep the wolf from the door.  If I worked for her cheapskate boss, I would have been underpaid all these years, and tossed out on my well-padded hiney when my birth defect got to this point.  That’s just how benefits in the US work.  We all gamble and try and get the best options possible, with some ending up screwed, and some ending up very lucky.  And, you never know what you have until the game is over.  At this point she gets mad, like I’m harping on the end of my life, when SHE started the conversation.  It’s crazy / frustrating, but I just don’t know how to talk to her to try and end the conversation peacefully without a timeline when she’s asking timeline-like question.

Denial of a specific timeframe neither causes things to happen, or happen faster, nor does it prevent this desease from running its course.  It’s simply a best estimate, that is what it is.  Neither good nor bad.

So, why do we keep having a pointless conversation on income and time limits if I don’t know anything new or more than what I thought I knew weeks or months ago?  No answers here, but I’d love to stop the pointless, repetitive conversations that end in frustration.

  • = Borg.  A hive-mind of humanoids linked to the mother ship through technological adaptations to the human body to create a living computer component.  Character backstory credited to JJ Abrams, producer and sometime writer of the television show, “Star Trek, The Next Generation” fantasy series.

2 thoughts on “Repetitive, pointless conversations

  1. I had a friend (she is now former for other reasons) who had the same sort of attitude when I announced that I was throwing in the towel. And it does piss her off that I probably make more than she does – but she isn’t willing to take the same risk either. I also demanded and got my full retirement out of the last company I worked for, I didn’t let them hold on to it and hope there was some left in the kitty when I needed it. She wouldn’t do that either if she were in my shoes. I finally had to say to her (for my own closure on the subject) “Why does this bother you so much? YOU’RE not the one who will be out in the street if it goes badly. I have paid my dues and I refuse to let you make me feel guilty about claiming some of them back.” She didn’t like that answer, she went out of her way to try to make me feel lazy and like I was a leech for the entire rest of the time we associated. Finally by mutual consent we have decided that speaking isn’t in either of our best interests…she’s too negative about everything (in my opinion) and I’m too “lazy” in hers. Not saying that your ex-roomie is in any way like this woman I knew, but it does provide the context for something you’ll encounter on this journey you’re undertaking: What to say when someone asks you why you quit working “and you’re so young” blah de blah (variations on a theme…ENDLESS VARIATIONS) the pitying looks, the subtle hints that you aren’t ‘doing your part’ and the guilt. For myself when I’m asked what I do with myself now that I’m not part of the hive any more…I say I’m working hard on being a nuisance. A burden to my family. Or I ask the askee why they’d ask me such a personal question when we aren’t that well acquainted. None of those are polite answers, nor perfect, but I come away feeling like I stood up for what is a very personal choice. Nobody can understand it the way the individual DOING it does, and nobody has the right to inflict guilt or whine incessantly about how that individual who decided for health reasons to stop working is somehow at fault and is a slacker. I personally think that part of it is the hardest because it never seems to end. There’s always someone else who comes at you determined to make you see the error of your ways. Particularly if you don’t “LOOK” sick. (I always wondered how one needed to look to look ‘sick’…does one need to have a green tinge to their skin or have such bad palsy they can’t stand up or what?) …. My support is with you as you know. And sorry for hijacking on your blog…. but this kind of thing really pushes a button

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hijack away – you make me smile and know I’m not alone.

    My favorite comment from many: “but I’ve never heard you breathing!” like I’m some sort of Darth Vader teakettle, sounding a warning when I simply exist.

    For the most part, I don’t meet many new people, so it hasn’t been an issue for anyone except those close to me. Mostly, if someone asks how I can afford to do this, I just tell them “I’m lucky” and give them a winning smile. So far, they haven’t know how to respond, so that seems to shut the queries down.

    My swim coaches have noticed a difference in my ability to keep up in class, now that I’ve changed my meds again, and I give them an explanation if they try and push me to do more. They are the few who back off immediately, and accept the “I’m lucky it’s not worse” comment at face value.

    Can’t wait for the next 6 months to be behind me, so that I can see how far I’ve come, and what successes I’ve had getting through the disability vetting process.

    I mostly think Roomie is going to worry I’ll come knocking on her door, and she’ll feel obligated to care for me. But that’s never happening. The kindness of strangers is truly the goal for the last little bit.


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