Let me begin this story by saying that for a couple of months, now, I have been extremely stressed. The prospect of quitting my good-paying job to chase after what has eventually seemed to become some sort of a pipe dream in my imagination (student teaching, or, just teaching), has left me laying awake for hours on end at night. Like most young people, we are not without our share of debt, mostly college loans. Most of the time, and barring any unforeseen incidents, we are able to make ends meet…just barely. The idea of quitting my job, even with the prospect of a better future, is none the less nerve-wracking.
And it is mainly for this reason that, just before Christmas, my doctor gave me a prescription to help me sleep at night. It also happens that another doctor gave me a prescription for Amoxicillin that caused one of the worse allergic reactions I’ve ever had to deal with. For two weeks my hands and feet were both swollen with a phenomenally itchy rash and the only way I could sleep at night, despite the sleep aid given me by my regular doctor, has been to take Benadryl. Without taking both of them, sleep was impossible.
So you may imagine that I have been sleeping REALLY HARD at night, which is true. I have also been waking and moving through the days like a zombie. Owen, angel that he is, has taken care of Sam most nights so that I can sleep. But I still wake up as though I’ve been on a 3-day bender – absolutely exhausted.
This is all led up to the fact that I became an unwitting embezzler this week. On Monday night I chose not to take either pill in an effort to try to begin to pull my weight at night with Sam again and, as a result, I got less than 4 hours of sleep. Tuesday afternoon, in a fog of exhaustion, I put the wrong number on the office bank deposit of approximately $3,000. Of course, I didn’t find that out until today, when the bank finally posted the scan of the deposit slip to MY online banking site.
The money had mysteriously appeared in our account a couple of days ago. But until the deposit clears, all it says is “Pending” and you can’t get any more information about it. We called the bank, insisting that it was a mistake as there was no way we could imagine that we should be getting that much money in our account. They told us to wait and see what came through in the scan. Imagine my horror when I opened the link only to discover my office savings deposit slip.
It bears mentioning that just last week an employee was fired for allegedly stealing money out of purses and petty cash. Though no hard evidence was found to my knowledge, and she was my friend who I thought very highly of, she was fired on suspicion alone as “We can do whatever we want – we’re an at-will employer.” Additionally, when my boss was in an irritable mood yesterday and claimed, “I’m in the mood to fire somebody,” she wasn’t joking. I was informed that I would be firing the cleaning lady today with no notice as well, because our contract with her stipulates that we may do so at our discretion.
And so that is the second part of my terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. I was made to fire a woman who cleans for $65 per week, and who needs the money so badly that she comes in to the office in a panic on Monday if her check doesn’t get there by Saturday. She cried in my office and I blankly apologized for firing her. She asked me why and I scrambled for answers. “They’re just not satisfied.” I felt terrible. I felt like I let her down. And yet, I was told, “If she needed the money so badly, she should have done a better job cleaning.”
If it weren’t for the fact that I have to meet and do paperwork with the new cleaning lady this afternoon, I think I might go home sick for the rest of the day. My head is pounding and my anxiety has blossomed into a vague, bland numbness. All that remains is my exhaustion and the desire to spend the rest of the day in bed reading or watching TV.
Incidentally, I called the VP of the bank as soon as I discovered what had happened with the deposit and had him transfer the money back to the agency account right away. In a move that made me feel filthy and criminal, he called the office to be sure the accountant knew what had happened. She already knew because, as my friend, I had told her in a panic the moment I realized it had happened. She told me I still had to tell my boss about it. Fortunately, by the time my boss got in, the error had been fixed.
There is a part of me who wishes she had fired me so I could go home too. And a slightly bigger part of me who wishes she had at least yelled at me so that I might lose my temper and yell back at her in my own defense, and in defense of my friend who I feel was very unfairly fired.