Are There Options?

When I started my first factory job I was 18, I didn’t do too well in school – drinking and drugging kept me out of class and unable to care – and factory jobs seemed the logical choice to feed my addictions. I was fired from a job where I worked at plastic molding injection machines I think because I was often late and fell asleep in the lunch room too long a few times. Another job I left for another job and that’s how that goes… when you’re young and stupid. Somehow or other I ended up in Winona MN at a silkscreen printing company, they printed on plastic bottles and I was a catcher – I would catch the bottles as they came off the conveyor belt, inspect them for ink in the wrong places (meaning there was a hole in one of the screens) and pack them nice and tight in boxes – a very easy job to do and the mechanics who set the screens were not too happy with my vision – I could see the tiniest of spots that didn’t belong – for a brief time back then I was wearing bifocals.

8066692-cog-wheels-work-pattern-seamless-by-vertical[I’m sitting here at the computer trying to figure out how I got to those jobs back in the late 80s… I didn’t have a car or a license and they weren’t right across the street – I actually can’t recall where Northern Engraving was but I remember where the other one was but can’t recall the name – the longer time goes the less I can retain I guess]

Those jobs paid well for the time and place and each job paid a little more than the other. When I had been there 3 months they’d offer me health care and i’d start to accumulate vacation and such… and I think I’d get a little raise to help offset the cost of those benefits. Now my memory isn’t what it used to be – see the little side note above, but I think that makes a hell of a lot of sense…. Hell it’s even more sense for a company to pay for health insurance for all their employees – keep them well and they’ll be able to work harder, longer, better… right?

So this morning all was going well and I had started to type a post about how well things were going and I deleted it… as I was writing it I got a feeling that it wasn’t what I was supposed to write, it was boring and lacked any emotional energy. it also seemed premature.

This morning at the office a coworker pointed out that they’re taking $160 of our paycheck now for mandatory retirement – that’s $320 a month if I get paid twice in a month and $480 if I get paid three times (biweekly). This is mandatory… 11.3% of earnings. You can’t opt out – I can’t go to them and say I’m pretty sure I’ve only got 12 more years of life (that’s the hope) cause it doesn’t matter a damn bit, it has to happen. MANDATORY¬†Suddenly I’m no longer getting $320 to help pay for bills and “fun” each month and it was a tight month already.

I had asked about raises at the job not to long ago and was told it was a thing decided by the state and had been quite a long time since raises had gone out, and I imagine that there is some rule somewhere that will say people who have been there less than a year don’t get a raise.

I found this out around 7:30 this morning and the mood plummeted – I’m trying to get out of it, I’m trying to wrap my head around what I can do and I am just running out of ideas. It’s frustrating, it’s maddening, it’s stupid… I almost cried.

The next few days I’m going to be with some people I trust wholeheartedly and I’m going to talk with them and see what ideas they have – I have a wild notion, but that’s what it is and it has no guarantees behind it.

Back when I was using and drinking, and even a when I was a few years sober I would just walk out of jobs without notice, without a plan without anything… but I’ve learned from those mistakes and walking out isn’t always the best option.

Trouble is, I’m not sure there are any options.

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