Work and Transition Venting.

This week has been incredibly busy, multiple doctors appointments scheduled and a job interview. The job interview was the thing that took a lot of energy from me.

I have never been this anxious about looking for work, and while I did just get a very good paying job I have found a lot of issues dealing with my transition and the job in general.

The Problems:

The new employer had HR present a new Employee Policy Handbook last year. This included recognizing Gender Identity as a protected status. This is expected as it is state law. However, the council voted to NOT adopt it, because “It would send the wrong message”. They didn’t want to bow to pressure to let “men use the women’s bathroom”. I talked about this here in my “Settling In” post so I won’t go further about that specifically.

There is absolutely no flexibility in my position. I am going to have to have a lot of doctors appointments and surgeries coming up. My boss was quite clear that she only wants us working 8-430 in a solid set schedule. This might seem normal to some, but in the last 10 years and 5+ employers I have never seen this. Normally you are given core hours you need to be there (say 9-3) but you could adjust it to come in late or early (6-3, 9-6, etc). This flexibility does not exist here.

The strange part about the flexibility is that my job isn’t done by anyone else and I can’t do any job others do. I am the only auditor/monitor in my area for my group and no one knows the job so they can offer me no coverage, but even more so I can’t cover them, they are accountants and its a totally different job. This means it’s useless to have me there to “cover for others” when I don’t do their job at all.

This follows up to another point about my coworkers. There has been a lot of jokes about “men in skirts”. They don’t address transgender men but I assume that is because those men often can disappear into society easier after transition so people don’t realize they are there. They even joke around this to me when I am married to someone they know is transgender (but a man… right?).

That combined with the fact they want me to fix things, but not really means this job isn’t a fit. It especially isn’t a fit when I get full FFS surgery, breast implants and an orchiectomy and will need to miss a lot of time. I don’t feel safe there, so it isn’t a permanent spot for me.

Fast forward to Tuesday’s appointment. My old boss at a state audit job asked if I would be interested in a supervisor job. I said yes and applied last month. I got called last week and asked to come in for an interview which I did, and I think it did well.

The job has incredibly flexible hours. After my training as supervisor (this is my first fully titled “supervisor” job, but I have ran audits with up to 8 auditors under me so it actually isn’t new) it sounds like I can telework 3 days a week (60%) and more if needed. The hours are what I want them to be daily (of course this has to be reasonable), and I can take off whatever time I need for medical.

It was a very friendly interview with her and two others. So much so that I was upfront about my status. I explained that I now present as male, but that is changing and I am transitioning. There wasn’t even a hesitation, they said they want me and they would protect me. The state is incredibly protective over LGBTQIA so I don’t doubt it.

They said they have to talk about it, and talk with HR to see if they can get close to my salary I had before (they won’t be able to come close at all, probably 65% of it). I reassured them I know the state pays a lot less, but I want to work at a place I feel does a good job for the citizens, for its employees and that will protect me.

I am hopefully going to hear an offer today, but I am quite aware that bringing up my transition status may torpedo the job offer in the end. I figure I would rather not get the job then work for people who have a problem with it. I am already at a job I can hover at for a long time that pays better but treats people like they work at McDonald’s. I can make that work until I start getting surgery if I need to.

Settling in

It has been a month since the mic-drop and things have been great.

It is true, the move, the new job and settling in is always stressful, but I didn’t realize how stressed out and depressed being at the DoD was. I had already gotten better by stepping out of my egg, but moving down here has been a blessing.

The new city is pretty accepting. We see rainbow flags everywhere. They had an LGBTQIA pride festival (sadly I couldn’t go) and there seems to be a lot of tolerance so far. Don’t get me wrong, there is still a lot of #MAGA stuff here, but I do believe it is a minority.

What I was surprised to find out at my new job is things aren’t as friendly in the LGBTQIA sphere as I had hoped. It isn’t as bad as the DoD but the government I work for had its board shoot down making Gender Identity a protected thing (like sexual orientation). What is weird is that it is a state law for it, so you think they would just take it in stride. However, enough of the council didn’t like it that they torpedoed the entire HR update just so the wording for gender identity didn’t make it.

The other aspect is the people. They are really nice, and nothing bad has occurred. However there are a lot of jokes about men wearing dresses and playing make believe. My supervisor is fairly conservative Christian. She has been nice to me, but she always has this look of confusion and standoffishness when she sees pictures of my husband (I have pre-transition and post-transition pictures). Oh and she is very very confused that in one of the pictures I had coke can red hair. That was also hard for her to understand. She kept asking if it is real.

I am pretty sure I wouldn’t dare come out here. Not that I would be fired or anything, but I am suspecting with the amount of petty things I see with others that I will be the subject of many. Doesn’t mean I am quitting now, and it is still FAR FAR better then the DoD. It does mean I will keep an eye out for other options. 

I am hoping at the very least to work enough to pay off the hubby’s new Kia. I think that is a reasonable goal.

I do have a list of things I want to talk about, my goal is to not let a month go by again without chatting at you a lot more.

Mic Drop

It is over, my last day at work was last Friday and while part of me is freaking out about possible financial crises that may arise in the future, I have not felt this good since before I worked at the Department of Defense. I was worried I would feel bad as I was escorted off the secure facility, but not at all, I was extremely excited and happy.

I didn’t realize how much stomach acid burning feelings of dislike I had. I don’t have to worry if someone notices my hair growing out (it is much longer now then it was normally), or when I wear nail polish, bracelets, etc.

I am now adopting most of all that as my daily style. This means whatever job picks me up this will be my “normal” look. Until I am officially out (when my hormones and external work get to a point that I appear at least moderately feminine) I will be that “fabulous” gay guy. That is ok too for now.

DoD no longer has Pride announcements, thanks Trump.

I didn’t realize how much driving onto a secure facility with checkpoints bothered me, even if the outsourced security (btw the same security company I believe that provides security guards for the mall and my understanding is they rotate) was the biggest joke you would ever see. Seriously, my site ID badge has me 60 pounds heavier with short short hair, I am now way lighter, wearing a lot more casual clothing and my hair is down to my shoulder blades and I look different enough that people that knew me for years don’t recognize me right off the bad. These are new guard so they don’t even know me. That my friends is an example of our security at our “secure” facilities working on classified projects.

Or having defense contract workers glare at us for being auditors, to be fair we glared back because they were privileged asses, so I guess that is a wash. However I won’t miss having to deal with a group of people so out of touch with the rest of the workforce that they assume they are somehow more special. Hmm… I guess I really didn’t like the site did I.

Overall, while my gerbils freak out about illusionary money issues, I haven’t felt this good about my soul in years. I think only part of that is transitioning, the other is not working for the war machine.

It went smoothly

It has been a few days since I posted about giving my notice and I just wanted to update that it went incredibly smooth.

The two supervisors I spoke to I was completely honest about transitioning, about the toxicity of the DoD and about my inability to be able to work there. Both of them were incredibly supportive about it. They had wondered if I had lost weight (As of now its 50+ pounds but I hold weight well so it doesn’t look that extreme) and I was awfully happy.

They are both giving me good references (I know they have already talked to one of my options giving me good reviews). I do think however they were understanding of my situation as they are both minorities. One an African American man and the other an Asian woman and they both confirmed the toxicity and discrimination against anyone minority that is becoming obvious in the rank and file civilian workforce.

It seems like everyone is taking the excuse of Trump in office to have no filters and to be as blatant about their racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, even non-Christians.

I am making sure to leave on the best foot possible. You never know if I will be in a pinch and need to work for the feds. I have worked long enough for them that I maintain the right to contact HR in any fed agency to see if they have a job opening that I qualify for. If they do I take preference over any competitive hires (and this is before the job even is announced to the public). I won’t be working there, but you never know if something changes.

I am nervous about this, a lot of changes and I will miss the money, I will miss a couple of the people, but I won’t miss the place. It went smoothly.

Stress Day… Freedom Day?

This morning is going to be big, I am giving my notice to the Department of Defense. I am probably committing career suicide with my changes. Transitioning even at its most successful will reduce my privilege by a lot, and if the transition isn’t as successful as I want then it will impact it even more.

That being said, I can’t work for the toxic Department of Defense. I listen to fellow auditors talk about “guys in dresses”, make fun of Caetlyn Jenner and Chelsea Manning and just talk shit. I am fortunate, they have never talked shit about my husband who is FtM and they knew it, but “he was different then the rest” is how it feels coming from them.

My hubby got harassed a lot by certain members of management. They even sent out an email to there management saying that the hubby was “crazy because he had the lower surgery”. Hubby was brave, he filed a complaint and three weeks later the person in charge of the “investigation” said there was no proof it was harassment. The things that supervisor did would have gotten anyone fired anywhere (and it didn’t help that they were already under investigation for racist harassment of others).

That told me all I needed to know. I have been on hormones for a little over two months, and I can’t be here. If nothing else I need to stay sane, plus I am tired of participating in the production of weapon systems designed to kill others (usually in an unjust war on top of that). 

phobia

So the decision is good. I am going to have my soul reclaimed by doing this. However I will lose my seniority and probably not make that much money again. I am hoping I can earn half that with any jobs up coming (now there have been some frustrations on interviews as well, but that will be a different post).

We are moving to a cheaper apartment, and soon the husband will be the only one working. I am going to cash out my retirement and come close to paying off all our short term debt. If this occurs (the DoD/Fed government takes months to cash you out) it means he can support us, actually he can support us with only part of it paid off with my vacation payout.

I don’t mind being poor, but he is stressed, I am stressed and his car that we still make payments on but doesn’t have a warranty is having problems. I gotta figure something out. Maybe I can work from home if I can’t get hired on somewhere.

Well this is the start of my “Freedom Day”…. maybe? I will report back on how good or bad it went.

Insurance process has started!

I am very fortunate in my situation. I live in a state that has a lot of transgender protections, including requiring insurance companies to pay for transgender care. The only negative right now is I work for the Department of Defense which as we can all see is rolling back things due to Trump, and they are the only employer that can supersede the state law for medical care.

I suspect there will be no pride month this year.

That being said, I am leaving the DoD at the end of June. My hubby is starting a new job with good medical (actually same medical we currently have, so we will just be transferring our insurance plan). So I don’t have to worry about any transgender “riders” on the insurance.

Our current and soon to be current insurance does assign people a transgender case manager to help with all the hoops you have to jump through. We have been assigned a very wonderful lady named Rae. The incredibly great part about this is she is the same one that helped my husband through his FtM process, she is the sweetest person and will fight to get you what you need.

She has already set me up in the system, and gave me a referral to a mental health specialist. This one disadvantage is the insurance company requires me to get a sign off before they will pay for HRT, voice training and implants. The implant possibility will happen two years after I am on HRT. This is to see if enough growth has happened, and if it hasn’t they will approve it.

The insurance may start covering other things like facial feminization, and laser hair removal in the future and while I will probably have my beard lasered off before then, I want everything else.  I am still debating SRS at the moment (bottom surgery) but I want to see how things progress before making that choice.

Couldn’t find a non-misogynistic/anti trans image with a guy and laser surgery. So here you go with a hopeful ending for me (face not shaving) 🙂

Rae has just been on it for me. She is so great she even gave me a list of specialists that are in favor of informed consent. Not all are like the advertise and I will complain about that in a future post.

Informed consent means you are given HRT once you have shown you understand the possible consequences of receiving it. You are basically just acknowledging you understand what its effect on you may be and you give permission to proceed. 

A lot of specialists still require you to have endless sessions and they still may decide not to approve you for a variety of reasons. This is a form of gatekeeping to determine if people are “trans enough” and unfortunately a lot of times their decision isn’t based on the person they are caring for, but their own outlook. I don’t want to waste my time doing this because someone needs to get inside me and know me deeply. I only allow my husband inside me… or maybe someone really cute.

Dear god, I am 46 years old. I have been like this my whole life.

So I have gotten an appointment with the same specialist that worked with my hubby and who believes in informed consent. The specialist was awesome to hubby, and the specialists is already being awesome with me. If things work well, I will go a week from Tuesday (the 27th) and an hour after that I will have the sign off so I can make an appointment with a doctor to get HRT.

Oh, another cool thing that Rae has done is set me up for voice training lessons, even before I saw the counselor. This caught me off guard as the speech office called me up and asked when I wanted the appointment. At first I had no idea what they were talking about until they explained what was going on. That made my day right there.

I am pretty excited (and anxious) so much is happening so soon, the insurance process has started!

Weird Trailer Diner (dream)

Just woke up from a weird dream freaked out, even though nothing too scary happened.

A group of us had arrived at a diner, it was an incredibly busy and was tiny, maybe 7-8 tables packed with people. These were more like small kitchen tables shoved around then actual diner seating. The weird thing is the shape of the diner and the way it looked had a resemblance to the living room/kitchen of the mobile home I used to own. The big difference was a lot more windows, and there was a side door that went out on the side of trailer towards where the pond would have been.

A group of people cut in front of me after it was my turn. I was frustrated and wandered around this cramped diner trying to figure out where to sit. The people that cut in front of me included a shorter, stockier blond guy who sort of reminds me of a coworker who likes to insert himself into everything… in the dream he just smiled at me and sat down to eat. I was so damn angry at him for cutting, especially since he knew he cut in front of me. However I didn’t want to make a scene so I kept looking around.

Meanwhile the rest of my group had taken their seats and ordered and begun to eat.  I am by myself pissed as hell, trying to figure out where I can squish when the food I ordered appears in my hand (I can’t remember if it was a waiter or if it just appeared). I find a corner to stand in and begin to eat, pissed off the whole time. I couldn’t even tell which table my group had sat at.

That is when there is some sort of commotion. People are freaking out about something, but whatever it was I haven’t seen it. People start sneaking out of the diner through that side door I talked about. Some sort of blueish creature seems to be wandering around and people are getting caught when they are outside and hauled up to the side of the diner, under what would be our overhanging roof/porch area.

Asshole guy gets up and starts freaking out, running around. Meanwhile I sit down and just start eating, thankful that a place finally opened up and I can just relax a bit. I am uncomfortable and I know its dangerous but its a nice break. The lights in the place go out and whatever that thing is comes into the diner itself (or maybe it was there the whole time, I couldn’t tell) and starts doing weird martial arts side flips going after Mr. Ass. He freaks out trying to get out while I keep eating, debating how I want to leave. The whole time I was hoping the thing would eat Mr. Ass’s face… that wasn’t nice and not my normal reaction.

Then I wake up actually a lot more freaked out then I felt in the dream. Heart pounding, wondering what time it was and what was going on. I realize this is probably me working out what is going on with work, but still it was annoying.

Travel

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.

Certification Alphabet Soup

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.

Last week or so

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.

Definitely painful bruising, but sadly more painful further down where its swelling a little but not as noticeable.

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).