Friday, March 12, 2004

Getting beat up like the good old days...

When I was a kid, I got beat up a lot.

Imagine if you will, Ken as a nine year-old. At about five feet tall, I weighed all of 90 pounds... if that. I wore thick glasses, my clothes came from goodwill, and my hair (cut by a woman who had no idea how to cut hair - my mom) was never in place.

There was a big kid who lived down the street, just between my house and John Adams Elementary, where I went to school. He was easily a foot taller than I but probably was not yet in high school. He was fat, but I never thought of him as fat. I always thought of him as dangerous. Several times, he got me. He'd drag me behind a bush where no one could see and he'd beat on me as I cried. I think he liked the crying.

Later, I learned to be tough.

But even at 38 years old, you still get beat up.

Last night at rehearsal, I took a bit of damage. Unfortunately, when you're staging fights things can happen. When you're staging fights with female actors who get so far into their roles that they go a bit psycho... well...

At one point, she was supposed to come at me with a knife. I was supposed to grab the knife. She stabbed my hand.

At another point, we were supposed to fight for the knife and she stepped on my foot with high heels.

She was supposed to throw a big magazine at my back. She hit the side of my head.

She punched me in the stomach.

... can't wait for the next rehearsal...

Mind you, I'd arrived in a bad mood. I'd already taken a beating that was far worse.

As you may know, I work for a computer networking firm... let's call them... D-Linksis... not to be confused with Dukakis... (The name has only been changed to protect me, not those pricks.)

I was hired here four years ago. I took the job because 1) I needed a job to move out of the house with Rosa (boy, that turned out to be quite the decision) and 2) it was a job writing marketing material, something I'd been trying to get into. So, I took the job and Victor, the evil overlord, said that I would be the person writing the marketing material... but right now things are slow on that side. Can you do tech writing?

Sure, I said. I can try it. Little did I realize what I was in for.

So, I ended up writing mostly technical documentation and less and less marketing material. Then, I was put in charge of the tech team. Then, I was fired for that job for trying to do my job (and because someone accused me of sexual harassment - something which anyone who knows me KNOWS I wouldn't do)...

A couple of years ago, Mike came in as Director of Marketing. He moved me further into tech writing.

Then, all of a sudden, we had a contract for a radio commercial. No one here could write radio commercials... except ME! So, I wrote it. And they loved it.

I wrote nine more in the past two years, still strapped to my tech writing desk.

Yesterday, I had my yearly review for my 5% annual raise (if I'm really, really, really lucky). Mike said I was the best writer there and that my marketing writing (which only counted as 3% of my job) was the best.

I returned to my desk.

"Look at this," my neighbor said to me.

Posted on our job site is a Marketing Communications Specialist position. His job? Write marketing material - commercials and shit!

I went back in to Mike's office and said, in effect, "Mike, this is what I was hired to do. You said yourself that my marketing writing is good. Can I apply for this position?"

He didn't have to speak. Sometimes, you can tell from a person's posture what they're going to say. "Well, um, huh, um, er," honestly - he said this, "I, um, you see, er, huh, uh, um - NO." The NO was just like that, loud and certain. "Or, you can but I'd throw it away."

"Okay," I said slowly, reeling. "Why?"

"I want someone from an ad agency."

My gut was tight. I got up. It just didn't seem real. I turned back to him. "Is that it?"

"Yes. I'm sorry but you don't have enough experience to do this. I want someone who does this for a living."

My "pissed off" meter was bursting. "And to think, you don't even having your dancing shoes on," I said.

So, I can't do the job I've been doing because I don't have experience in doing what I've been doing.

I learned a long time ago not to cry when someone is hurting you.

Still, I wonder what I'm going to do. This has become the definition of the dead-end job. They have me where they want me. They're not going to let me out. I'll never move beyond tech writer here. After four years, it's pretty clear.

Yes, this is scary.

And, yes, I want to cry.

Where the hell's Rosa?

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