The old cliché, "the first day of the rest of your life," feels so overused and trite, and yet that's pretty much how I feel right now.

Monday afternoon, I sent my boss an e-mail saying I wouldn't be present. My signature contains a cutesy little perl script, and unbeknownst to me, his mail filters pick up on the code and decide it's a virus and chucks the notice into his spam-box. I get no report of a bounce, but he doesn't know where I am, so he calls my apartment and gets no answer. He gets no answering machine either, which should have suggested he mis-dialed, but no matter, he gets escalates things to his boss, who has HR call me. They reach me on the second ring and ask me why I didn't tell anyone I didn't come into the office. I tell the HR representative about the e-mail, and she asks for a copy. I forward the message to her, headers and all, and she says it looks like I sent it when I said I did and the matter's between me and my manager, not between me and HR.

Thursday, I had a meeting with a different representative from HR, my manager, and his manager. I received a formal written warning stating that I had failed to follow the guidelines established and not properly notified my manager of an outage. During the course of the meeting, everything about which I had been having problems came to light. She said that the manager I had considered to be one of the best I'd ever had was in fact a very poor manager, that my unusual schedule had been his poor handling of my time, that the job for which I had been hired had not been moved to development but had in fact been disbanded for the foreseeable future and that my new job was to be at work on time and handle any tasks assigned to me as they arose.

She even went so far as to say that I had an excellent skillset for many other departments in the company. I've never had a manager try so hard to convince an employee to quit. Every grievance I raised was dismissed as
"a personal problem, not a company problem," and ultimately I had all the blame for everything dumped back on me, shy of the things my second-line was willing to take pride in doing.

My job duties now involve... sitting. I have to be here at 09h30 every day, have to sit for seven and a half hours waiting to see if someone gives me something to do, and then I can catch the train home. I feel like I'm in
high school again.

If the internet weren't filtered at work, I'd be jobsearching on company time. As it is, I play a lot of Freecell.

I hate coming to work now. I hate getting up in the morning, hate the ride into the office, hate the seven-and-a-half hour wait, hate the ride home and only start to feel normal again once I've entered the apartment. I was so out of it this morning that DEVO only made me feel worse and I started crying at a snippet of OMF-Battlegrounds music. I've been more and more prone to random fits of tears for no reason. I haven't been missing any rounds with my hormones, so I don't want to blame that. I'd rather not believe it's stress, but I can't figure out what else it is.

The worst part of this is that I feel like I should do my best to wait it out, at least until Jessie and I have our plans to move into a house finalized and settled next April. I don't want to do anything to jeopardize the chances of getting approved for a home loan. Meanwhile, we really do need both incomes to get ahead fast enough for either of us to feel like we're doing something positive and not just sitting around stagnating in debt, meaning this is something that will be around for a while.

My parents called on Saturday, and I told them about all of this, and they had their own bout of it when Dad was working and Mom was going to evening classes. They survived it, and I think I can, too, but it's still very

I only hope the day does come soon when we don't have to do this any more.

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