Okay — so I took a few weeks off, and the demands are surprisingly pouring in from –YOU. I guess I’m kind of flattered. It means that people are reading what I’m writing.
So, here’s what’s been going on with me. My patience is being tried. My good deeds are being punished and Karma is really not playing fair, or more importantly, following my rules.
It started with a text that my friend/coworker sent:
Hey, did u c our checks? We got our bonus!
December 10th: I was supposed to get my “bonus” — which if you really must know was supposed to be a .05% one time lump sum bonus, that was cut down to .038% before being taxed – but hey, money is money. It would have come to a few hundred dollars. I wait all year for this sad little bonus (because if I’ve failed to establish this already, I am a writer and I have bills to pay).
I spend this money eighteen different ways before it even travels the electronic pathway to my bank account. I might buy a pair of boots from England– the leather is so fine and soft. My husband even caught me, sitting on the floor with the open box of the first pair I had ever ordered and inhaling the smell of the leather like a huffer with an empty can of whipped cream. “Just smell them,” I offered, but he shook his head and walked away. I once dated a man, who smelled like leather — and weed, but mostly leather. I can’t help, myself.
But then again, boots are kind of lavish, and with Christmas almost here, I could use the money to buy our holiday dinners. I could feed my friends and family a seriously nice meal. Oh, or I could buy my husband an i-pad, or maybe hire that photographer I met at my friend’s wedding to do some family pics, or I could maybe not spend it on other people at all…
Not that it wouldn’t be noble, but I could do something crazy — I could pay my cable bill, or my electric bill, or that stupid credit card that raised my interest for no reason and never told me, so I had no idea until that one day I was supposed to be writing my novel and instead started researching the interest rates of my credit cards… (believe me, this is not even a remotely strange way of procrastinating when you are supposed to be writing), I could do something practical. P-R-A-C-T-I-C-A-L.
This money would be spent — that was certain.
But when I logged into the system we use to view our future paycheck, instead of seeing my raise, I saw that this particular week I was making once cent less than my previous paycheck.
Obviously, a mistake had occurred.
“Maybe HR was going in alphabetical order and hadn’t reached me yet,” my coworker offered.
“But our names are six letters apart.” Even HR, had to work faster than that.
I asked another colleague — a colleague I loath, but knew might have some knowledge of the paperwork that surely contained an error. She was slow to respond about her “bonus” — which should have been equivalent to mine, but later confirmed, that she too had hers. She suggested that perhaps, I was never intended to get a bonus, that perhaps my department didn’t think my work was worthy of an award. I ignored her like I spend most of my days.
I wrote an e-mail to my director. I used caps and exclamation points. I pointed out that I had a letter from the Chair indicating that I was getting .038%
Minutes later, both men appeared in my office — red faced and apologetic.
“It was an oversight in the paperwork.” He took responsibility and apologized twice.
I was relieved. “So, you can fix it in my next paycheck? That’s wonderful!”
He cleared his throat, “Umm. No. I’m sorry.”
These bonus funds are limited and the money had already been allotted. He promised to make it right next year — a WHOLE year away. Another year in which I wouldn’t get a raise. Another year in which my salary was slashed, thanks to an awful contract negotiation with the Governor of New York. Another year, in which my taxes, childcare, utilities and tuition will rise.
My husband with his good timing called me and offered to take me to lunch.
Indian food made me feel better. The apologies from men making well into six figures even provided some solace. I could live with the loss of a few hundred dollars because in a way I was blessed that this money would not be a detrimental loss to me, but rather an annoying glitch. I returned back to the office with some sense of peace at the wrong I had felt earlier.
Then Fang (affectionately named by another close friend and colleague of mine who has not met her in person, but knows her reputation) –the same woman who had gotten her bonus returned, sat down in my cushiony chair and proceeded to tell me that a mistake had occurred to her as well. That somehow through the same error that had cancelled out my bonus, she had accidentally received a bonus that was THREE times (yes 3 x’s) more than she was supposed to receive.
She was upset though because the same man, who had turned red and apologized profusely to me, informed her that she wasn’t supposed to get so much. In the end, she felt disappointed that the amount was not a reflection of how much she was valued here, but an error. (Play violins here then beat her over the head with them).
She came into my office six more times that day to gloat. This same woman who makes almost $30k more than I do for sitting at her desk and playing Candy Crush all day. This same lady, who delegates her work to others, even though she is no one’s boss. Yup, the same lady who has personal packages of ugly shoes and terrible fashion choices delivered to the same office that she ordered them from (on her work computer) — was compensated for, her, rewarded even for doing almost no work all year — because of a typographical error??????
Suddenly the peace I felt evaporated and the naan in my stomach expanded. It made me sick to realize that all of my hard work — of getting stuff done, of staying until I’m the last person in the office, was simply — unappreciated (well financially). That the bonus that had been meant for me, had instead ended up in her bank account. That all of my hard work was about to buy her another ugly pair of flats.
Where was Karma in all of this?
My friends like to tell me that Karma takes its time. Decades even before someone gets their due. But I want Karma to be instantaneous. How else will someone know they are getting retribution for their awful deeds? How does Karma teach anything if the lesson comes so late?
What if, this is Karma paying me back????? And for what?
We need some sort of system. Karma needs to leaves notes on your car windshield.
It needs to say, “Hey, that shit that just happened to you was from that time in 1986 when you knocked your brothers eye glasses in the radiator and they melted… while you were on vacation… because he wouldn’t let you play with his matchbox cars.”
And maybe my brother would get a card from Karma, that said “Hey, we got her back.”