Saturday, October 30, 2021

Leave of Absence

My company has a two-week paid crisis leave for COVID that you can apply for. It isn't just for people that have COVID. Is also for people who have to take care of others who have it, people who are affected by civil protests, people with serious health conditions that are affected by covid, etc. I have heard that a large number of people in my office have taken the leave.

This week I applied for the leave. Today someone from HR said they wanted to speak with me to confirm that I was choosing the correct leave option. I suspect that they found it strange that I was planning it two weeks in advance. I wanted my leave to be as least disruptive as possible. They also wanted to know more about why I was requesting the leave of absence. I told them that I didn't know how to answer that without getting into my personal health information, but that I could confirm it was related to an ongoing health issue that has been made worse by COVID. They then asked if I would be going to doctors appointments during that time. That question made me uncomfortable. Why? I didn't feel I could answer it honestly and have them understand. (For the record, they ended up approving my leave.)

For the last 20 months, Timmy and I have been sheltering in place. I have only left the apartment to get my vaccine, and to take cats to appointments. We even have our groceries delivered. So, for almost 2 years I have been waking up, going to work, watching TV, going to sleep. You start to feel like what's the point of it all? Why bother to get out of bed?

I started to feel this way a year into COVID. Thankfully, I was promoted at work and that made a tremendous improvement to my mood. I was getting to learn new things and do more challenging work. 

Then a few months later, I started a part-time internship at work. I was very excited as the internship is on the team that I was dreaming to join. I am still working part-time as an intern on that team. I spend half my day with them, and then the other half working my normal job. Shortly after I started the internship, a permanent opening became available on the team and I applied for the position. I thought that I had a very good chance since I had already been doing the job for several months, and had been told I was doing a great job. The position ended up going to someone else.

What I found the hardest wasn't that I didn't get the position but rather why I felt I didn't get it. I couldn't help but wonder if I didn't get the position because of my education level and previous work experience. While normally that would be an understandable reason not to get a job, it would frankly be a shit reason not to get a job you've already been doing well for months.  It made me feel like I had no hope of ever advancing my career. If you do a great job at a position for months, and they still decide they'd prefer to start over training an entirely new person, how do you not take that personally? How can you not be devasted? If I can't even get a job that I've shown I can do well, what chance do I have to ever get a job I like?

As for my current job…. My team lead is great, my manager is great, my follow team members are great. There is amazing energy on the team; it feels like we are always there to support each other. The problem? The job is in customer service. I find it incredibly hard to manage my depression while working customer service. People don't call customer service because they're happy. It's hard to see people as mostly good when you usually see people at their worst.

The trifecta of depression, sheltering in place, and not getting the job, has made it incredibly hard to get out of bed everyday. I can't give HR a reason they want. I am not taking leave to go to doctor's appointments or get medical treatment. I'm already on antidepressants that are working as well as they are ever going to. I just need a break from every day life. I need to feel like there is more to life than eating, sleeping, and working customer service. 

I'm mad at myself for feeling guilty. I'm mad

that prioritizing my mental health feels like not a good enough reason to take a leave of absence.

Sunday, December 27, 2020

Chorizo's first Christmas

This is our first Christmas after adopting a cat. I couldn't resist buying Chorizo this adorable stocking. The embroidery was done by FallenStarCoutureInc on Etsy.

The bow tie collar I bought him on Shein ended up matching his stocking perfectly.

We got him silver line sticks, catnip mice, and paw balm. He went bonkers over the silver line sticks.

Friday, September 4, 2020

Saying Goodbye to Ham and Pork Roll

This morning we had to give our foster kittens Ham and Pork Roll back to the shelter. (My previous post explains we adopted their brother, Chorizo.) I took the day off but had Timmy take the girls by himself. I knew I'd be a crying mess and didn't want to have to say goodbye in public.

The rescue is having more visitors coming in to adopt now, so having the fosters back at the shelter will increase their chances of being adopted quickly. If you are interested in adopting them, they are at the Tree House Humane Society in Chicago.  

This is our first experience with fostering. I knew going into it that letting the fosters go at the end would be tough. I have tried to remain focused on a few things:

  1. They will be going to their forever home with someone who will love them as much as we do.

  2. When a foster cat leaves our home, that makes room for another cat that we can save.

  3. If our foster cats get adopted, that means we did our job of socializing them well.

The first one was a big one for me. So, having to take them back to the shelter without an adoption already lined up has been heartbreaking. I don't want them to feel like we abandoned them.

I tried to make this morning as special as possible: lots of pets and cuddles, their favorite toys, and their favorite food. When it came time to leave, we did everything we could to lure them into their carrier. When that didn't work, we had to pick them up. The girls scratched us like crazy because they knew they were going into the carrier. They have never scratched us, despite being terrified of us at first, so, I know that they were extra scared. Then they were pressing their heads into the metal gate/door of the carrier trying to get out. I tried calming them down by petting them but it didn't help much.

This is the point where most people say "Why not just adopt them?" It is an understandable, but naive, question. Taking care of three cats is time-consuming and expensive. As people who don't own our own home, we have to consider how challenging it could make finding an apartment that will accept three cats. Three cats in an apartment is also not ideal. 

I am hoping that Pork Roll and Ham will get adopted together. Ham cried previously when she was separated from Pork Roll. Ham is a sweetie but still nervous around people, and I think she'd get lonely without her sister.

Fostering has been such rewarding work seeing all the progress the cats have made under our care. Fostering also allows shelters to save more cats. I'm sure that letting go will get easier with experience, but I'm just not sure I can emotionally handle more goodbyes. I have shed so many tears.

Thursday, September 3, 2020

Adopted Chorizo!

When we started cat fostering, I was pretty set on not adopting one. I love pets, but I wasn't up to the idea of caring for a cat for the next 15ish years.  I like not having to take care of anyone but myself.

But then Chorizo stole my heart. He is the chillist cat ever and he loves to snuggle. He may not have the best bathroom habits (haha), but he is the sweetest little guy. He brings so much love and joy to my life. I would do anything for him. We officially adopted him on August 15th.

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Meet our foster kittens tomorrow on Facebook Live!

Tomorrow, August 5th, I'll be taking our foster kittens on Facebook Live on the Tree House Humane Society's Facebook page. People from the rescue will also be there to answer any questions about medicial history, the adoption process, etc. If you are interested in adopting a cat in the Chicago area, please check it out. It will be at 1:00 PM Chicago time (Central Standard Time).

Click here to join us tomorrow, or to check out the recording later: