Lately I have been freaking out about income. We are currently able to hold indefinitely on the husband’s wages, even with getting breast augmentation, and the orchiectomy (even a vaginoplasty if I go that direction). They are all covered by insurance and he is doing awesome supporting me.
So I am freaking out about the FFS. That has to come out of our pocket… except if I wanted a nose job or tracheal shave, those are covered, but those are the two things I don’t need right now. So I am looking at the countdown clock to accruing a debt I don’t have enough to do more than make base payments for a year and hope I get a job.
This has meant I was reconsidering going back to the DoD. Incredibly toxic environment, I would hate the job and myself, but if I could tolerate 18 months I would pay off the FFS entirely, my husband’s car and the car I would have to get to be able to commute to it.
So I reach out to my immediate supervisor. To my knowledge I left on good terms. I am completely eligible to force my way in with my tenure (there was no marks on my personnel record). She was excited and wanted me back ASAP. She recommended I talk to the Station Chief who is the overall manager. She even contacted him and he told her to have me call him.
In the past working under the station chief, he asked me to not take another job with the VA. He needed me as a highly qualified auditor and we made an arrangement and I did just that (this was a couple of years ago). I stayed at a job I hated because he asked, and also because the hubby was still there and in all honesty it was more for that reason.
My expectation was to dicker over scheduling and my time off for surgery… I was wrong.
I called him and his voice was weird. It had a tone I had never heard before and I was bit confused. He immediately asked if I was still changing my name from Lucky… I told him no, when I change my gender Lucky will actually be on my ID instead of a nickname (along with Lucia). He got really quiet.
I knew I was fucked at this moment. He got weird a bit about things when I confirmed I was going to have surgeries this year.
Then all of a second he thinks it might be a bad idea if I apply back. He said there were some “unofficial” performance issues and that the Regional Manager was lukewarm to the idea of me coming back.
I have never had a performance issue, in fact I was given an award 4 weeks after I left the agency in a paycheck for MY PERFORMANCE.
I confronted him about this. I asked if any of this was in my jacket since I HAD NEVER BEEN TALKED TO ABOUT MY PERFORMANCE. He backpedaled but kept saying maybe the other set of offices (the “not my backyard” excuse) would be better. If my performance was bad then it wouldn’t just disappear if I applied at a different office 7 miles away. Nope that wasn’t this at all, this was “we don’t want transgendered people here”.
I knew this was all bullshit, and I tried to retract myself explaining no worries, it isn’t a big deal to me anyways I wasn’t sure if this is what I wanted to do. He kept me on the phone for 20 minutes and it was awkward (ok, I could have left anytime but I have my own issues about being assertive).
So evidently now that I am having “surgeries” and transitioning, my performance was an issue at my last job. However these performance issues are “unofficial” and are not in my records at all.
It does absolutely reaffirm the husband and I’s decision to leave when I started my transition. It would have been hell there and I probably would come home crying every day, or in trouble for becoming too aggressive in return.
So now I am broke, worried about a fiscal cliff, but reassured we still made the right decision. So if nothing else this upsetting incident also just reassures me there are no regrets from quitting that piece of shit job.
I am starting a new job today (one that knows I am trans and seems to accept it) so last night was filled with hard dreams.
I woke up from a dream this morning, around 2am. It involved me starting a brand new job in an office. It was incredibly regimented, and people were always freaking out. A coworker who sat next to me at another desk was a large black man who reminded me of my previous boss I just left (except she was a she).
He looked over at me and told me that I would have to take breaks at 1130am every day, no exceptions and it is required. I laughed my ass off at him at first and told him that isn’t true. He continued to demand it and I told him I am not “working at fucking mcdonalds” and you aren’t going to regiment me on every little thing I do.
At some point I stood up, told him to fuck himself he wasn’t my boss and we would be stepping up to the next person line of authority. That is where I woke up.
I can tell that relates back to two different people. The first was my previous boss. She wasn’t flexible on my start/end times. It was a silly rule because I couldn’t cover anyone else’s position (I am the only auditor in a group of accountants) and they couldn’t cover mine.
It was the ONLY white collar job I have had since graduating going on 11 years ago that isn’t flexible on start/stop times. The advantage of auditing is there is no customer service, and as long as you are in at a core set of hours (many times 9-2, or 9-3) they don’t care if you come in earlier or stay later then that to make your full day.
She also wouldn’t let me work extra hours on some days to make up for medical appointments on the other. There was a whole ton of other small things, but those are the big one (and I agree not the worst in the world), but my Oppositional Defiance personality has a hard time.
The other boss is from the DoD. He told me to do things that were not what I considered ethical in testing on a DoD Contractor. He didn’t want to deal with the problems I was finding. I told him no, I am pursuing it and he really didn’t have the authority to stop me since that was my actual job.
He kept pushing and pushing and griping. Eventually I told him we could go talk to the station chief to clarify it if he wants. He talked big about we don’t need to bother him, I just needed to listen to the doofus supervisor (himself). I stood up, told him to fuck himself eventually, said we are going into the manager’s office and he could decide.
The shocked look on that person’s face was priceless. We eventually went in (stormed is probably a pretty good word) and I laid out what I had found. The supervisor all of a sudden started backing down in front of our big boss. Big boss agreed with me and that was that.
Now I realize it seems weird I can tell my supervisor no, but that is because I am an auditor. As an auditor I am responsible as a professional to not veer my audit on outside pressure, that includes my supervisor if I feel we are not following “due diligence”. That was what was happening, he didn’t want to find more problems and I told him you can’t just stop looking when you find problems.
There are a lot of other small things like this, but that is why I like auditing. I can pursue problems I see and have upper management usually back me (now, whether they support it because the contractor has lobbyists is a different story, but above my paygrade and not something that was my issue).
There you have it, an anxiety dream taking two different incidents from my last two jobs to make me anxious for my new one.
A lot of people don’t understand why I am not satisfied with my current employment. I get paid more than I probably ever will again, for a job that is much easier than any job I will have in the future. I have many reasons I am not satisfied, one of the reasons for my dislike is the travel.
I realize it is normal for a lot of couples to spend time away from each other. I hear from some people “that’s healthy”, but not for me. Before this job, over 22 years of marriage I had only been away from my husband for maybe three days at most. Since I started my job in 2014 however I have spent 4+ weeks a year away from him, the pay, the ease of job isn’t worth it to me.
It is probably partially because my parents didn’t spend time away from each other. The only time they did was when it was forced by outside forces (primarily if my dad had to do any time in jail). Other than that, in their entire 46-year marriage they never spent a day away from each other.
I hate being away from him, I would rather work in fast food, living paycheck to paycheck then to spend a night from him. Eventually I will be in a position to change this situation. I won’t wait for some “future date” when all my student loans will be paid off, it will be sooner than later, much sooner.
However, for now at least I have to take a flight this morning to Atlanta where I will stay for five days (one weekend day and four weekdays). I will just be counting down the hours until I can come home to him.
My actual profession is an auditor. Right now I audit large defense contractors for the D0D. Before that I audited state and local governmental agencies, employers who are “underground” (meaning they are working off the books) and was a senior accounting analyst for a large county.
None of these jobs ever require certification. Many of the jobs require years of experience, but getting an actual accounting certification isn’t necessary and I have never seen where it actually means that person is more capable then someone without a certification.
However, that being said it sometimes looks better to have certifications, even if they don’t actually mean you are skilled enough or even smart enough to do the job. So I have been looking over my CPA study materials, trying to figure out if I want to go this direction, or get a CIA (Certified Internal Auditor) and CFE (Certified Fraud Examiner). The CPA is a lot of study, a lot of tests and can take up to 18 months. The CFE and CIA could both be taken in that time, with a lot of time to spare.
CPA has most flexible overall (but I don’t plan on ever working for a CPA firm where its the most use) but this is a better $$ option. Most people when they hear the title CPA they have an idea that you are smart, can do anything for them accounting wise, etc. The fact is I can do that right now professionally without the certification and would charge a lot less is a pretty funny side note.
However, I don’t like the environment of most accounting firms, or other employers that look for CPAs. It pays really really well, but its like this little slice of hell. Filled with more politics and bootlicking then actually doing your job. Also it is mostly cubicle work. I hate both of those things, and I have Oppositional Defiance Disorder, meaning I don’t respond well to authority like figures. However, I will admit that I do like the flexibility in where I can work and the money. That wars with the fact that I hate routine, I dislike having to sit beside most people for long periods (my husband is the single exception to this rule), and I get bored with accounting in general.
On the other hand the CFE is part of what I love doing (auditing) but a lot more niche. It is a lot more interesting. I don’t like the day to day minutia of accounting, the cycles and the getting into the deep details. I prefer digging into accounting, finding if there are problems and basically telling people where they are wrong.
Auditing relies on a person being able to be assertive, able to handle people hating them, being quick on your feet, and most importantly flexible. I am not assertive in most parts of my life, but auditing is a definite exception. In addition I need to have things happening quickly, and I love being flexible. Most importantly I have no problem with conflict, which is a lot of auditing. People push back, yell at you, throw cans of pop at you or threaten you with a pistol (I have had those all happen to me).
That means the CFE is awesome. It just reinforces my credentials in auditing and would expose me to more jobs that are in that direction. The problem is like I said earlier, a lot more niche. Then again my whole professional history is pretty niche (and I do get head hunters after me several times a year for that niche). However, it is still limiting to where I can go and who I can work for.
Since Auditing is what I like, the CIA I will get eventually no matter what so that is just a matter of putting it in order. It will add to my credentials no matter what I do and it is fairly straight forward.
I guess the hard part for considering the CPA for me is I have audited dozens of CPAs and they are absolutely no smarter or more knowledgeable then accountants without that classification. Its purely to charge your customer more. When I was in school and asked why the “5th year rule” was enforced, the idea that a CPA needs a 5th year of college, and my teacher who helped with the CPA test design was specific and said it was to limit the pool of CPA candidates so they could charge more.
I wasn’t really shocked by that, but it really goes at the heart of my experience with the CPA. Of course there are exceptions, but the general rule that has been backed up by ten years of auditing CPAs fits right in there. I do have to say that they get really uppity when a non-CPA audits them, nails them and they get caught being wrong (sometimes doing it on purpose, sometimes they are idiots).
I will play around with the CPA study materials, but the 600+ hours of study needed to take it might be beyond what I want to do. I guess I will just talk to the hubby and get feedback.
This last week or so I have been held up at home, unable to go many places due to the walking boot, broken foot and a lot of swelling.
Not that it is a big deal, it looks like since its an on the job injury I might get paid for my downtime, although the Department of Defense doesn’t use the normal Washington State Labor and Industry Insurance, which means they use the US Department of Labor instead.
This requires an MD to sign off on everything. The sad part about this, is this is not how medical services work. Nowadays most interactions are with Physician Assistants (PAs), Nurse Practitioner’s (NP, or ARNP in WA State) or straight up RN’s who do the hard work.
Their signatures (the non-MDs) are acceptable for anyone else evidently, except the Department of Labor. So I had to go back yesterday to the ER to have a doctor countersign the paperwork from the day of my break, and now that they countersigned I may need to go back and do more with the doctor, who never saw me or my case (and that is normal, they use the lower paid staff to do most of the work, unless its life threatening I am assuming).
In addition this week brought some highs and lows with the injury.
The high was once again seeing how lucky I am to be married to my husband. He wants to take care of me, and even when I annoy him because I am not the world’s best patient, he still shrugs it off, loves me and is willing to go out of his way. I am damn lucky to be with him and I love him more than anything.
He was willing to drive me anywhere, go anywhere for me, or just listen to me whinge about my foot. He is absolutely amazing.
The low was realizing this was the first major injury or incident that I didn’t have my parents clucking over me and worried about me. It was a little depressing to not get the constant phone calls checking on me, worrying about me or reassuring me.
I realize I am a 46 year old man, but it was crushing to only get silence when I normally would get a hubbub of concern, and love. I realize the hubby gives more than enough, and this doesn’t take from that at all. I know part of it was my parents were fairly young (they would only be 68 and 67 this year) and it has only been a little over a year since they passed.
The hubby is my only close support network left, and honestly while I have a lot of friends to help (and who always are there if I ask), no one else is close enough at the moment that I can let in to fill that.
I anticipate there will still be scattered feelings like this that might lessen over time, but I know from talking to my parents in the last couple of years that even as they approached 70 they felt the same. No one told me this growing up, that there is no switch that clicks and makes you different. You are still that 17 year old that wants your parents affection, doesn’t want to deal with people’s bullshit and who hates being stuck in situations that you don’t like.
That has been my week (other than playing Max Payne 3).
This week I have been assisting with a class on data analytics. So as not to bore you, that is just reviewing data given to you by who you are auditing, sifting through it and finding things they don’t want you to find. I am fairly good at it too.
The weird thing, after watching our teacher who is a great guy, and reading the rest of our agency’s policies, procedures, etc. I am probably the most qualified in the agency to do this. With a CS background (mostly theory), experience doing the actual data analytics with other agencies, and experience using SQL designing websites for businesses in the past I am fairly sure I understand the concepts, the needs, and the uses more than anyone in our federal agency.
The hubby comes in close behind, he has the theoretical knowledge, just not years experience with other agencies doing it. Even our experts aren’t as knowledgeable about how to implement it, that is the scary part.
That feels weird, and while it does mean I probably know a lot, it means our agency is about 15 years behind where they should be. They won’t buy the equipment, not even just extra power cords for our computers. I don’t know why I am expecting them to buy a hard drive, RAM or anything else we might need, just for every day use of the computers. The agency doesn’t even wan’t to pay for more than 750gb hard drive for an office of 20+ auditors (hell I have a 5 terabyte drive for $100 at home).
This has resulted in a week of annoyance. Not the helping people with their classwork, but with how much we could do, but also how much we could save the taxpayers.
We are still waiting on the hubby hitting his five year mark so he can vest in a tiny retirement and then definitely I need to see about finding a job more satisfying. Don’t get me wrong the money is great, but it feels pretty empty.
My first couple of days have gone really well in San Diego. I figured instead of doing a “daily” update that I would just update every couple of days. It really isn’t that exciting. The one thing of note, it is now Tuesday (start of Day 3) and I it has not gotten above 59 degrees, pouring down rain and cold (that 59 was only for a short while). I feel like I am in Seattle.
Day 1: This was probably the most interesting day so far. I got up early, hung out with the hubby until he dropped me off at 6:45am.
While I was waiting at the Alaskan Airlines terminal things got a little surreal. About 10 minutes after we were starting to board there was still no plane at the gate (I was sitting at the window right where it should be). We all assumed no big deal, it was probably late coming in. That is when they announced that “they couldn’t find the plane”. You heard that right, not that it was late, but that they couldn’t find it.
After the initial murmurings happened from all of us customers they made a second announcement confirming “that the plane was not late, they still just haven’t found the plane.”
It turns out that the plane was one of several Alaska Airlines jets sitting on the tarmac overnight. It looks like someone forgot to bring it out in the morning. Talk about a surrealistic way to start your day.
The flight itself was pretty smooth, I definitely prefer the 2.5 hour flights as opposed to the 4.5-5 hour flights to Atlanta. Once we landed I successfully secured myself a rental car. I was about an hour behind, having arrived and secured my stuff at 2pm. I then decided to go visit the USS Midway Museum on the San Diego Harbor since check in wasn’t until 4pm. I will post about that separately as I have a lot of pictures I have to go through and I want to post.
Finally I got to my room, dropped my stuff off and went to In-N-Out for attempt number two. I figured the place needed a second chance, since everyone has a bad day. I got there and ordered a regular cheeseburger without tomato.
Of course it came with tomato, so I had to pull tomato bits off of it, I am definitely not impressed with their ability to modify orders. The people ahead of me evidently got their order after me and went back up to yell at them for something. I ate the burger and found this burger a lot better than the Double Double I ordered in Los Angeles. Even so, I wouldn’t really put it above a good McDonald’s burger, and definitely above a Dick’s burger.
I figure next time I will just go get two cheeseburgers from McDonalds for a little less than a single cheeseburger here and not be as disappointed. I then went by a grocery store on my way back to my room, worked a little then went to bed.
Day 2: Monday was less exciting. I woke up at 4am and starting working. Then around 7 I went to my Data Mining using Access class and it wasn’t bad. Honestly it is a helpful class, and I am not unhappy to get the info. Actually I am happy to get it, I learned some things already that will help with the “work session” I got for the SAS program last week.
We got out of class and I found Von’s, a grocery store that is evidently owned by Safeway, my Safeway card even worked so it wasn’t too bad. I then went by Carl’s Jr and was also disappointed.
So then I went back to my room, played around on my computer for an hour and a half and then fell asleep unexpectedly.
Thus ends Day 1 and Day 2.
The last two days in Los Angles were quiet. There wasn’t much to say except I went to class on Thursday, went back to the hotel and talked with the hubby for about an hour. Even though I found Yum Yum donuts the night before, I have to say it was still way better talking with my husband then eating heaven on earth.
Friday was a 3/4 day of work. Don’t get me wrong, there has been things I have learned, however it is called a “work session” and so there were many hours of just rerunning programs with no real goal. The highlight of this last work session day was going to lunch at chipotle across the street. It was like a contest, it had been raining heavily all day, and I had not realized that L.A. does not have the same kind of drainage that Seattle does and the streets were literally flooded 3-4 inches deep. The topper for our trip out, on the way back a truck slammed into a mud puddle beside my supervisor and I and a wave of water 4 foot high (no, that is not hyperbole) swept across us. The annoying part is I heard and saw him coming, but it was slow motion and I couldn’t get out of the way.
We finally got back to the class and I was soaked. I couldn’t dry off either because my clothes were packed in the car a couple of blocks away. So I sat there in the class for three hours and dripped. Funny enough my lightweight coat was soaked the whole flight. So by the time we left Friday I couldn’t get out of there fast enough. We ended up driving back to the airport and it only took about 35 minutes on the freeways, so we were fortunate.
Once at the airport I had time to look around. The first thing I noticed was how run down the terminal. It was a bit dirty everywhere, things seemed to be falling apart and it was lacking in any real food/store selection. The Sea-Tac and Atlanta airports both have several stores, restaurants and fast food. There wasn’t any fast food at all in the terminal I was in at all. The biggest disappointment though was the swag in the airport shops. I tried to find the hubby his travel spoon from Los Angeles but no luck. There was only two shops in the area to begin with and they were bare of almost anything I was interested in. That was a real disappointment and the first time I couldn’t find a spoon.
The flight back was ok. It was very short (only about 2 hours and 12 minutes in the air) but this was a Boeing 717 which means absolutely no leg room. Seriously I never once could touch the ground with my feet when my legs were straight forward. The flight was short though, and I had the aisle so I did survive it.
Finally I rolled into the Sea-Tac Airport and the hubby picked me up. I can’t tell you how much I missed him. We crawled in bed, talked for a long time then fell asleep. He definitely made everything all right.
There are probably a few little stories I forgot to tell. I will probably bring them up later. However, overall my trip wasn’t the worst. I definitely like Los Angeles better than Atlanta. The people are very similar to Pacific Northwest, with a bit of gun loving that was a surprise. Tomorrow morning (today is the Saturday after coming home) I fly back down to San Diego. I will post more about that as I go.
I flew down to Los Angeles yesterday for the first time. Work decided I needed training and I needed it “NOW”. The flight down was definitely a delta flight that had a bit of anxiety inducing mechanical sounds grinding. It reminded me of the first time I flew to Atlanta a couple years ago on my first flight ever.
The first thing I noticed upon landing is that it was low 60s. Obviously people here consider that a cool temperature as the guy at Thrifty Cars was wearing a sweater/hoodie under his yellow safety vest. My two coworkers and I both from Seattle were already warm, so the difference was interesting. The one thing I have noticed is I don’t mind the weather down here in January. This would be a good time to go to Disneyland.
The next thing I noticed are palm trees. I have never been to a place that has palm trees that grow naturally. I mean I grew up on 80s tv that showed California and Florida palm trees but I had never seen one in real life that wasn’t in Seattle, freezing and on life support because it couldn’t survive. I am not sure why that caught my attention specifically, but it was interesting.
We then drove down from LAX to La Palma where my office is. Its about 26 miles so we drove the freeways and it took 40 minutes. I was surprised, I have heard how bad traffic is here in LA, but I-405 in Seattle is WAY WAY worse at the same time of day. It would have took me half again as long to get that far on I-405 in the Renton Curves. Funny enough one of the highways we took down here was also I-405.
I got to the La Quinta. A bunch of my coworkers were freaking out we had to use them. I found it a little worn around the edges. It obviously had a heyday sometime in the 90s or earlier, but honestly its fine. The bathroom was the tiniest bathroom I have seen in a hotel, but still not bad. The people who work here are nice. The biggest advantage is lots of cheap restaurants/fast food within walking distance. I appreciated that.
Then later in the evening we went to get food at a store and dinner. We decided to stop at In-N-Out. I have heard nothing but people extolling the virtues of the restaurant. I mean that is all I hear “you have to go to In-N-Out and get a double double”.
I ate it, and found it wasn’t bad, but nothing special to write home about. In fact I still much prefer Dick’s at home. I also noticed that “the greatest sauce ever” as it was called by others, was actually only Thousand Island Dressing. Seriously, I like Thousand Island, but its Thousand Island… not really a secret recipe. Maybe next time (if there is one) I will try just a cheeseburger, something that is more equal against a Dick’s cheeseburger.
Finally we went to the grocery/warehouse store next to the In-N-Nout named Smart and Final Extra. It seems close to the Cash and Carry’s that are near where we live, except there are more single serve items as well. It was funny, when I originally asked the hotel staff if there was a grocery store nearby they said the name and I asked if it was a bodega, for some reason the name just didn’t fit with a preconceived notion of what a grocery store was.
Finally I got home, worked on a couple of credit hours for work, and went to bed.
I have been quiet for a couple weeks because of work. I got selected to become our office’s Data Analytics Expert. I am good with this, it will be really nice on my resume and I will get to do what I like and dig into data. The hard part is the training. I have a lot of experience with data analytics at my prior state jobs (it hasn’t been done before now with this fed agency) so I have seen it. However, I am out of practice by several years so I can use the training, even if it is at a bad time.
The frustrating part is most of my coworkers are reluctant or even hostile to the idea of focusing on analytics, data mining, and other forms of analysis. They just want to do what has been done for the last 20 years even though it is slower, longer and not as effective. Doing analytical procedures will help sift through the multi-gigabyte size exported files. Personally I think it is a great thing. I look forward to it, but I hope that it isn’t avoided by everyone else and this turns out to be a pointless exercise.
There is however some issues with the timing of this. As seems to be the case for all things in my agency, things need to be put off and off and off, then all of a sudden they have to be done NOW! They decided to give me the data analytics expert position more than three weeks before they even told me. They had “forgotten” to tell me, so it was a last minute decision right before Christmas that we need to have all this training. We are currently on a very restrictive deadline for our forward pricing project. We have to have the audit done by end of February. The hard part with my new position is the almost 100 hours of training I have to get done in addition to be done with my portion of the audit.
I have spent a week at work doing online training (the prep courses) and I got some of my auditing done. However, next Tuesday I have to fly down to Los Angeles, stay there and fly back to Seattle on Friday. Saturday I will have off with the husband and then I fly back down to San Diego Sunday and will be down there until the following Friday. I won’t really be able to touch my audit until after the first of February, meaning everything is tight at work. Although I am fairly fast and I suspect I will be ok. I just hate the idea of being behind by 100 hours worth of work.
I am thankful for several things though. The first being that I stay in the PST time zone. I absolutely hate trying to get used to getting up at 5am EST (2am my normal time, that is even earlier then my actual early wakeup). Second, and more importantly, I am excited I am not in the deep red south. I don’t think I could handle being down there while I feel like I am in a week of national mourning for the inauguration day next Friday. It will be hard enough in our conservative agency, but to put up with the red south this month isn’t going to work (and honestly won’t work for me for at least the next four years). Let’s hope we all survive the coming apocalpyse