Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A Day of Contrast

The photo above is one of the two signs at my former place of employment. In July or August 2010, I actually repainted the sign because it badly needed it. A few months later, I no longer worked there. In fact, I'm approaching the one year anniversary of my departure. What an amazing and happy year it has been, too!

On Tuesday, I heard the news that another lawsuit was filed in a Multnomah County courtroom against the local council of this "family values-based" organization (having worked for the organization for nine years, I can attest that the organization failed to live up to the moral values of this liberal / progressive!). Like the successful lawsuit in 2010, this latest one is on behalf of four men who were sexually molested as young boys in the 1970s by an adult volunteer leader in this organization. I can imagine that the morale at the office is probably pretty low right now (not that it was ever at healthy levels. It was the most miserable place to work and suffers from some of the worst negative energy I've ever had to endure).

I consider this karmic retribution. Good for them! I hope the hits keep coming. The financial hits will hurt the organization, especially if people don't make donations out of fear that the money will go into paying the liability and punative damages. Well, potential donors should not fear at all. The money they donate mostly goes to pay for salaries or the bills to keep the office running. There was a lot of fuzzy math when I worked there. Based on what I saw, I wouldn't give them a penny.

This news made me happy, because I want to see that awful, awful place pay for the negativity they traffic in. The lies and secrecy, the hypocrisy and the lack of compassion. Teaching boys values that no one abides by at the office. That the news came on September 13th made it additionally sweet for me. Granted, its not Friday the 13th, but its still the 13th! On that day, the worst place I ever worked was hit with a multi-million dollar lawsuit.


Twenty years earlier, on Friday the 13th of September (1991), I learned that I was going to be assigned to Submarine Squadron 22, which was considered the most coveted job that anyone could get. It was a high profile job (I often encountered shipmates who knew where I worked even if I did not know who they were or where they worked). Interesting that on the same day, twenty years apart, I would get great news. What a wide gulf between the best job I ever had and the worst one. The best one was an all-male working environment, military, and based in La Maddalena, Sardinia (a paradise!). The worst one had an over-abundance of unhappy, middle-aged women with more drama than a typical soap opera. The job I have now (my first day was also on the 13th...of December last year) was everything I had been looking for: gender balance, racially diverse, my own cubicle, a supervisor who does not micromanage).

To mark such a great day, I want to share an excerpt from my journal.

Friday the 13th of September 1991

Today was my lucky day and how great that it occurred on a day considered "unlucky" by the superstitious. When I went to the Captain's Office in the morning (the Administrative office, NOT the actual office of the captain of the ship!), I was informed by the leading Yeoman that Squadron 22 wanted me, so I would be TAD--whatever that means. My going to Squadron 22 deprived another yeoman (Niehaus? I think his name is) of going there and I don't think he was pleased.

I found out that no one on the ship knew I was coming because they never received my orders. Every one I met seemed pleased to have a Yeoman, because 3 offices wanted me. The leading Yeoman said that I'm lucky because working in Squadron 22 was a lot better than ship's company. I was introduced to the YN3 from Squadron 22, named Albiar. My first thought when I saw him was, "Who is this tall Mexican?"

YN3 Albiar brought me to the Squadron spaces a few decks above the main deck, where I met the YNC, Jasperse. Chief Jasperse asked where I was from and when I said "Atlanta," he asked if I liked the Atlanta Braves.

"No, they suck" I replied all too quickly before realizing that they were his favorite baseball team and doing pretty well this year. Not a good introduction on my part!

I met the rest of Squadron personnel and their office spaces. I was given my own desk, in an office with chiefs and officers. Our office is a couple doors away from the office of the ship's captain and I got a chance to meet him. He told me not to come into his room unless I had mail for him.

I was explained our duties in Squadron, which includes phone watch while in port (once every 6 days) and duty driver to pick up people at the airport. And back in La Maddalena, we live in the barracks -- not the one I spent the night in my only night in Sardinia, but another one, which I'm told is a lot better.

They are giving me SECRET clearance since I'll be exposed to it while working in this office where conversations could contain secret information.

The biggest shock of shipboard life for me are how dirty the silverware and glasses are (even though "clean" and dry for use) as well as the toilets. I don't think I could ever get used to living such unsanitary conditions, but I'll have to.

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