Monday, May 23, 2005

A Sense of Direction

Where should I be heading? How do I get there? These are some of the questions I’m asking myself. In the last year or so my life has undergone unbelievable changes, so much so that sometimes I feel lost. The biggest, of course, was my STBX’s actions and their immediate consequences. I’ve moved, and my recent job loss leaves me in a pretty precarious position. Nearly every aspect of my life has changed.

If I had some savings I’d be much less nervous, but unfortunately my STBX pretty much left me with virtually nothing. My old company and I are in a dispute right now also. When I finally received my severance I found that it was quite a bit less than I was expecting. It took a couple of phone calls to find out that they had only paid me for 5 vacation days. I had not taken a lot of vacation time because my manager had told me that there was a lot of concern that I was out of my territory too much back in November. I wasn’t too concerned about not taking it, but I should have been. I had at least 12 days accrued, and the HR person I spoke to asked me if I was aware that I had lost a lot of vacation time at the end of March. She was very embarrassed to tell me that the company has a policy of “Use it or lose it”. So I found out that at the end of March, with no notice, I lost at least 7 days of vacation. I decided to do some research before I called back. I looked at Massachusetts state law concerning vacation time and found that first, employees must be aware of the policy, and the employer must not prevent the employee from taking the vacation time. I called back and left a message asking them to fax me any information on the policy and any documentation they had sent me on the policy. I received a call back and was told that it was company policy. I explained that I had not known about the policy, and she got annoyed and said that every employee in the company knew about the policy. I responded that I did not, and that at least one other person in my district who was also relatively new to the company did not know about it. She was definitely angry at this point and said that she’d gather the information and have it sent to me. I think my next move is to contact Massachusetts and find out how I can force them to pay me for my vacation time. This is important to me because it’s a significant amount of money, something I can’t afford to give up right now.

Once I’m through this period, once I have a job and some income I’ll be alright. It’s just a matter of getting there, however. I’ve heard of people who have gone months without jobs, and that scares me. I do have some family to fall back on, but their resources are limited also. I’ll get through this, people get through things like this all the time, but I don’t know how I’m going to do it yet.