No Money Mo Problems.

The aftermath. It’s shit.

But financially, it’s becoming a real problem. I don’t understand why rap stars don’t write about it more often. Throw your bills in the air like you just don’t care. So much more relatable.

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0 + 0 keeps not equalling $1,000,000. I don’t get it.

I’m a relatively financially responsible person. Boyfriend and I have a strict budget and each month we sacrifice allocate money toward various savings accounts. We don’t spend a lot of money eating out or in bars or lounges anymore; our careers leave us far too exhausted to want to recuperate from hangovers these days. Also, I am old as balls so staying home is my jam.

I am a credit card points whore, but usually pay off my card balance each month. I am not, aside from that, the best saver, so I rely on automatic withdrawals from my paycheques to retirement savings plan accounts to save for the future. If I don’t see the money in the first place, I am not going to miss it.

But overall, I’m used to indulging my desires. If I want some new article of clothing, I buy it – but I’m a sale junkie. I take up J Crew’s 40% off sale items offers, and scour places like Marshalls for last season’s discounted (or grey market?) Kate Spade. I also like my Starbucks and my pho. I imagine that the majority of my frivolous spending is on lunches, actually.

At Christmastime, I blow through my budget faster than Trump blows through administrative staff. Buying my loved ones the perfect gift is my favourite. It brings me so much freaking joy. Boyfriend in particular lights up like a little child when he opens gifts from me, and I live for that look on his face. I have a picture of him on our first Christmas together, and it makes my heart smile.

But I’ve been on government assistance, for the first time in my life, since October. It’s a pittance, being less than half my salary. Since Boyfriend is footing the bills right now, I’m not immediately responsible for much. But my therapy bills swallow up about half of that paltry sum, and I’m still paying for things like my cell phone. And, I have an ever-mounting debt to him, which I will be paying back to him when I can.

And so, I essentially have no money right now. I’ve depleted my savings, and am afraid to look at my credit card bill because I’ve only been able to manage $100 payments per month.

I can’t spend money on anything, and Christmas is only weeks away. There are several family birthdays this month, too. I was abashed when my mom emailed me telling me not to buy her anything for Christmas this year, since she knows my situation. It’s humiliating that Boyfriend has had to foot every single bill for the last two-and-a-half months. I dropped an eyeliner into my shopping cart a couple of weeks ago, and felt immediate guilt that he was paying for it.

I’m stressed out because I’ve completely depleted my insurance resources. Realistically, I can’t actually afford my $160 therapy bills.

But the other day, I was reading a fellow blogger’s post about mental health taking its financial toll on him and his family. Check it out here. As I read about his experience, and those of other people’s experiences in the comments, I felt somewhat ashamed for having anything to complain about.

I am lucky.

I am lucky that I have Boyfriend, who’s still employed, financially sound and who pays our mortgage and grocery bills.

I am lucky that he has extended health insurance through his work that I have been added to. Not only does it pay for extended benefits (things like psychologist visits, physiotherapy appointments, and medication cost top-up), but it also pays for my mandatory provincial healthcare premium. It’s allowed me to recoup the costs of my therapy, and has also cut my monthly bills by about $75.

Finally, I am so incredibly to live in Canada.

Canada has amazing health care.

If I didn’t make a decent salary, my health insurance would be free. My prescriptions would be free. I’ve had this since I was born. There’s no such thing as co-pays (I’m not even 100% sure what that is, to be honest), or being aware of what prescription drugs actually cost, or pre-existing conditions. Signing newcomers up for health insurance is something I did at my old job; our governments don’t seem care if you come to Canada with a brain injury. You’re covered. In fact, in the province of Alberta, you’re covered as soon as you step off the airplane, which I found especially wonderful.

In Canada, I can walk into the doctor’s office every day of the year and never pay a cent. I have never paid more than about $10 for prescription drugs, and that was only a few times when I was uninsured through work. If I get hit by a car tomorrow and spend a week in the hospital, my bank account will be none the wiser. If I am diagnosed with cancer, my family will not have to pool together funds to keep me alive. If I get pregnant tomorrow, I will not have to make decisions based on whether or not I’m okay with applying for a second mortgage.

Canada is a wonderful, wonderful place. It is magical. It is a dream.

Yes. Being off work has its drawbacks. But my necessities are covered. I am clothed, warm, and fed. I do not live in fear that my family will ever lose everything to medical bills.

I need to remember that so, so many people do not have this luxury. That this is a luxury.

It pains me to think of how many people are not as fortunate. Do I wish that my government paid for all of my therapy? Sure. Do I wish my old paycheque were still being deposited into my bank account? Yes! Of course I do!

But if I’m honest, most of that money that I’d be saving would be going toward things I don’t have to have. I don’t need a manicure, or new shoes, or a dinner out.

I need the basics. I need my family to be healthy and happy.

I have those. I am so, so, so lucky.

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Office Space.

I’m freaking out.

I’m trying to tell myself I’m worrying over nothing, that these are just feelings that aren’t a part of me, and that this will all pass.

But I’m freaking out, and it’s all about work. As usual.

One of the first things I ever did when I was hired a couple years ago was compile an Office Wish List, as instructed by my boss, for myself and all of my coworkers. We were beginning to outgrow our office space, and they were planning on moving. Fast-forward a couple years later, and it’s finally happening.

In fact, when I return to work (after 7 weeks away), I will be walking into a brand new office.

When I say brand new, I mean brand new. My boss purchased the building, and it’s being renovated to suit our needs precisely. The space is pretty enormous and has been under construction for months, now. It’s pretty high-tech and progressive, with lots of fancy bells and whistles. Bells and whistles that I don’t particularly need or want.

Everyone asked for similar, boring things when I sent around the Wish List – more space and storage, privacy, security. Things like that. No one said they needed anything fancy or silly. I need and want more filing cabinets, a bigger desk, and a working table because I push a lot of paper. That’s all I asked for in my Office Wish List.

When I first saw the layout plans, I was excited. They’d tentatively assigned me what I wanted and needed: an office with a lot more space in it. As it stands, my office is tiny. It’s very cramped; to the point that I suspect that fire marshal would not be pleased with it. I have three large filing cabinets taking up the majority of the office. If they’re open, I can’t get out from behind my desk. So when I saw that my office would definitely have room for a table, and perhaps some built-in cabinets and shelving that would take up less space, I was thrilled.

To me, the size and location of my office suggested that they valued and respected my work. As a severely anxious individual, affirmations like this are a big deal to me. I am working on detaching from these things, because they can come and go in and out of my life without notice. It’s hard to deal with the disappointment that accompanies not getting it, or losing it.

Which is what happened.

A few weeks later, the plans were revised and my office size was cut in half. Not only was it smaller than the office I currently have, but it was smaller than all of the other offices in the entire building!

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Yup. I am Ryan Howard from the Office.

Feelings of dejection and embarrassment swept over me like a tidal wave. I immediately felt stupid for ever thinking they’d assign me a nice office that would actually fit the work I do. I felt like they assigned offices based on how much they valued people. Honestly. I don’t even TV in mine, like many others do. Clearly, they do not like me too much.

But somehow, I began to make peace with it. I reminded myself that the plan wasn’t final (although, it was), that there were many other ‘collaboration’ spaces I could use if I needed them. Plus, I was one of the few people who was getting a window.

And you know what? I didn’t want to be that guy. The one who bitches about first world problems and can’t see the good in anything. I knew I needed to be thankful for what I was being given: a brand new office. I still get to work in my own office, not a cubicle. And it’s not outside where it’s either crazy hot or crazy cold.

After a while, though, I was given a bunch of shitty news within a couple of weeks. One was that we were not getting bonuses this year. Another was that some of us (myself included) would now be responsible for paying for parking. Finally, they denied my request to be paid out a bunch of overtime I was entitled to.

I felt slapped. They’d hired some fancy design firm and builders for our office space. It’s got silly things like plants growing out of the walls, a java cafe, and TVs inserted into the walls that cost 6x the amount of a normal mounted TV.

They cut down a thousand-year-old tree to make our boardroom table.

When my boss told me we weren’t getting bonuses, I actually told him directly that it was very disappointing to hear this, especially when I knew how much money was being spent on a new office with a lot of pricey non-essentials. The conversation did not go well.

Now that I’m on the eve of returning (less than two weeks away), all I can think about is how small my office is and how it’s a reflection of their feelings toward me. How cramped it will be. How my stuff won’t fit. How I will still have piles of paper and files on my floor since I’ll still be out of desk space. I still won’t have room for someone to actually sit in my one guest chair for a meeting.

Now all I can think about is how shitty this new office is. I just want my old office back. It was shitty and small too, but at least so was everyone else’s. At least parking is free.

And I’m worried. What if they set up my desk with my back to the door? That would make the most sense space-wise, but it causes me a lot of anxiety. I can’t handle that kind of vulnerability. And what if my door is glass and transparent? One thing we talked about in one of my reviews what that I needed privacy since people tend to just barge into my office all of the time.

Now I’m picturing myself spending the first few days moving shit around and buying a crappy curtain rod so I can hang up a curtain in my doorway (I am 90% sure it’s a glass door).

I’m already picturing myself hiding in my office, not wanting to talk to anyone, just wanting to get my work done and go home. Work. Home. Work. Home.

I don’t want to see the stupid java station, or see the gorgeous dead tree in our conference room. I don’t want to look at my boss’s 4 in-wall TVs. I don’t want to walk several blocks to get to work after paying for parking, only to see my boss pull up into his free parking spot, even though he makes 4x my salary (if not more – who fucking knows).

It’s just shitty.

Today is a shitty morning. I’ve dedicated 3 hours to thinking about all this crap. I don’t feel like working on myself today.

I just don’t want to go back to that silly office.

It’s stupid.

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