I set myself up for this.

I had a revelation this weekend, my friends:

I am meant to be single because I have spent the past 26 years setting myself up for it.

After this post/last week’s events, I spent the past couple days doing some serious thinking and had to get myself in check by asking: “Lauren, are you swearing off relationships ONLY because this fool just destroyed/torched/annihilated your heart?” The answer was a resounding no…which triggered a montage of my life happenings over the years that all have a common tie. And I suddenly connected the dots:

  • I went to my senior HIGH SCHOOL PROM…ALONE. just let that marinate for a minute. You read that right. I did it like a boss too – rolled up in there with a blinged out tiara, duh. If I’m going solo, I’m making every effort to be cute – not cute for a date…just me. AND WHAT A SCENE IT WAS: I will never forget it…all of the school administrators, the principal, and the poor teachers who got pulled into volunteering, all lined up along the entrance to the country club…RIGHT where everyone’s limos were dropping them off. So all of the girls stopped, shook hands, introduced their dates, etc. Me? I rolled up in the parking lot in my little Saturn alone…got to the entrance…and upon seeing all of this welcoming committee stuff – had a COMPLETE meltdown. Mascara allll down my face – not even kidding. Hyperventilating crying. It was all too much for me – the strong girl fell apart, and all of the teachers starting patting me on the back and handing me tissues. All of the “it’s ok, dear”s in the world couldn’t help me. Pathetic. But you know what? I didn’t sit home crying because I didn’t have a date. I knew I’d regret it on some level, so I went. Had a shitty time and sat down most of the time, but I went. Alone.
  • I bought my house when I was 24-years-old. Who does that?! Especially alone. The NORMAL thing to do is to wait until you get married – marriage and a new house go hand in hand – it’s symbolic of the life that you are starting together – such a huge purchase/responsibility taken on together, a shared responsibility…where you envision raising your future children together; planning out a nursery and where are all of your family photos are taken. NOT ME. A few years ago I thought: 1. Rates are mad low, yo. Now’s a good time to buy. 2. I refuse to live with my parents but also don’t want to throw away money on rent, and 3. YOU WILL NOT BE GETTING MARRIED ANY TIME SOON, so don’t wait on the dream that likely won’t happen. And what a GREAT choice that was. Because here I am, 26 (and a half), I’ve been single for a year, have no prospects on the horizon, and honestly no longer have a desire to find “the one.” It’d even be different if I had been dating someone for a year or were engaged – I know people in those situations that are buying houses together because it’s going somewhere – they’re making plans. I can’t even say I was an idiot that had been dating a guy for two months and assumed we’d be together in a year, so why not think about a house. Just trying to reiterate how extremely far from being in an actual relationship I was when I bought my house. And you know what? I can’t even tell you how many people said I was nuts. One of the guys that works for the development: “Wait, sooo you’re buying this house…by yourself? And you’re single – like really single? No boyfriend or fiance?” Yes, asshole. I know I’m pathetic, and I’m going against the grain here, and thank you for pointing out how single I am. But it doesn’t bother me, and surprise – women can like…buy houses and stuff. Home purchases don’t solely happen when a woman has a man holding her hand. Grr. I could have punched him. And it’s funny because we had this discussion at work today – a girl refuses to buy a house until she has a significant other to share it with – she and her boyfriend (of a year mind you) are crazy perfect for each other, so I wish they’d stop bullshitting and just do it, get a place, and have perfect babies. You’re making me gag.
  • I had my first kiss/date when I was like 16. LOL not even kidding. I started having crushes on silly little boys when I was in 4th grade, but I was definitely a late bloomer when it came to all of the other stuff. All of my friends were moving a little too fast for me – I remember a game of truth or dare in eighth grade where I got called out for not having “done anything” with a guy. So embarrassing. But I didn’t get it – yeah, I was all about the cute boys, and writing notes, and staying on the phone all night. But everything else made me bashful! haha What a nerd I was – but an age-appropriate one, mind you. I didn’t think my friends were sluts, and clearly I was the one behind the times, but I just thought that stuff was for when you were a little older lol Ugh, I guess my parents did a great job of striking fear into me, er, I mean, teaching me to act my age? Sure. BUT, I don’t regret it at all. Everyone goes through things differently. I was too busy being the awkward band geek/soccer/piano/basketball/track/mock trial/volunteering nerd that I was. Oh and Girl Scouts – can’t forget that I was hustling cookies for 10 years. (Badges like what?) Sure, I was always “popular,” but I always knew I was more reserved. Which is weird because the popular girls are always the ones…doing things. LOL But I was always just cool with all of the guys – some liked me, but I definitely wasn’t “the hot” one, or trying to impress them with my lip gloss or short skirt. I kinda looked at those girls like “Really, boo? You look silly. You’re trying too hard.” I didn’t want to be that girl, like throwing myself at a guy. I still don’t to this day. I don’t try to be noticed – and that is how I set myself up to be single. When it comes to guys, I more or less blend into the background. I HATE being the center of attention with anyone, and I feel awkward when guys approach me. It throws me off because 1. Shouldn’t they be hitting on the bimbo over there? She’s clearly begging for attention. 2. I’m not dangling anything lol Don’t get me wrong – a girl will throw on the freakum dress and feel good wearing it, but I don’t do it for guys. I’ve never understood that – you look silly trying, like you’re trying to dangle bait to get guys’ attention with too much makeup/jewelry/boobs/hair. I think that if you’re really thebomb.com, anyone can see that regardless, and you don’t have to draw attention to yourself. Just sayin. I will say that I’m proud that I was able to “get” guys’ attention then and now just by being a “good girl,” and clearly that’s what they came for because there wasn’t anything else (ahem naughty). Not knocking naughty – time and place for everything LOL And I do notice that I’ve gained a lot of confidence over the past four years and it’s made a huge difference in both the quantity and type of guy I attract. Yeah, guys like a confident girl, but I still don’t get it when they hit on me haha So basically my club/bar outings are something like this: guy sees a confident girl “working” her dress and smiling, he approaches; best friend discloses that I own a house and have a Master’s degree, guy sulks away saying he can’t offer me anything. Or at the gym, people think I’m 16, or have a conversation with me and think I’m going to support them. Trash all around. I can’t. I could say that I’m going to withhold information about myself, but then again – I don’t think I’m the shit/act like it – I make a man feel like a man and don’t throw anything in anyone’s face – that’s not cute and there’s always someone better than you; I shouldn’t be ashamed of anything, I’ve worked hard; they all “say” they want an independent girl  but when it comes down to it, they don’t know what to do with it; I don’t need anyone in my life that hates on me instead of supporting/appreciating me – I’d need someone doing their own thing and not resenting me/trying to take advantage of me. And no, I’m not going to try online dating – again, this isn’t “I can’t find anyone, you just need to look in the right places.” It’s “guys are awful/even the good ones go bad/I like the idea of having a stress free life without someone else’s crap thanksbye.” Call it a defense mechanism, whatev. And no, I’m not depriving some great guy of his chance just because others f’d up/taking their actions out on him – he just missed out. Sorry – it was like a really good sale and everything’s all gone now.
  • I’m an only child – yeah, I play well with others, but for real – I am used to and really enjoy being by myself. I can spend hours, days even, on end just in my house…in my quiet. Having fun. I like hanging out with friends sometimes, but I also like to be alone with my thoughts. Yeah, everyone needs some alone time, but I think I have an elevated tolerance. The weird thing is though…when I look back on some relationships, I often spent EVERY WAKING MOMENT with my boyfriend. I never got tired of them, and when they left for a few hours, I immediately wanted them back and missed them. So you gotta be special if I don’t get tired of you and don’t put my beloved me time before you. All in all – I think my “only child-ness” has cultivated my ability to be single, and maybe even promoted it. That, and my parents (mainly my mom) encouraging me to be Miss Independent and not to rely on anyone. Yes, this clearly wasn’t always the case if I at least dated in the past, and YES, I am well aware that only children get married every day. But I just think now everything is settling – I was given my dating experiences just so I can “say I did,” and to show me what I’m NOT missing out on lol I couldn’t fairly knock it til I tried it, right? Now I know. Some things in life people can’t just tell you about – you have to live them firsthand. So now I know. And unfortunately for my NAGGING parents – they won’t be getting any grandchildren…except the canine variety. Instead of being a cat lady, I have my pups. And I’m ok with that 🙂

Rant

Today I’m living up to my “out loud” handle.

I’m seething. Not pissed, mad, or angry. Seething.

As in, you could probably see smoke coming out of my ears right now.

Today was one of those crappy days at work that left me thinking:

1. I’m INCREDIBLY grateful to only be in this hell hole for another 4 days

2. I really can’t believe the crap that goes down in this company – how was I blind to this for so long?

3. I’m holding back on just writing something and exposing this company – but then they’d have me put in a cave for life or something.

…Because they can really do that, I’m sure. It’s one of the biggest banks in the world. Everyone knows the name. So what would me writing something “exposing” this company actually accomplish? Probably nothing. If it got big enough, it would hopefully at least damage or dent the reputation. Which we all know ties directly to how much people trust you and their money. So less trust = less money. Now that, they would care about. Some girl whining? Not so much.

I know you’re thinking: it’s not like they physically abuse us or treat us like slaves (debatable); at least they provide a lot of jobs which helps the economy; get over your “middle class problem;” there are plenty of people looking for jobs and would gladly work for the firm regardless of the treatment; and again, please shut up about your “middle class problem” because there are real problems like KONY 2012 going on in the world.

I get it. Really, I do. I realize that I’m lucky enough to have it pretty good. But it doesn’t make it right. Some could argue that this is just my introduction to the corporate world. Like “Oh, dear. You’re so young with so much to learn – this is just the way things work, you’ll see. You’re making it out to be a bigger deal than it really is.”

Well, you see – I don’t think it’s that. It’s not the craziest idea in the world for well, someone to actually like their job and be treated fairly. And yes, I too would dismiss me as some whiny girl if I were only basing my opinion on my own shitty experience. However, the bad taste in my mouth has come as a result of 2.5 years of personal experience AND lots of observation. That’s just me – I observe everything, over-analyze it, and am crazy over details. I’m constantly listening, just what I do. So I take it all in and process it.

For example, the fuel behind this post (besides 4 customer service nuts and my manager driving me crazy) was a conversation I had with a lady in the elevator when leaving work. She’s about mid-fifties, and so, so sweet. We actually go to the same hair dresser (so you know she’s awesome). We both had that heavy feeling/tired look and sighed when talking about how our days had been. When she asked what area I’m in, I told her that I’m in blah blah but will be moving next week. Her eyes got big and she told me how she’s been applying there, wants out of the department she’s been in for 6 years, and how she got screwed over. This is where my ears perked up. She told me that she applied for another job internally, got the unofficial offer, and started saying her goodbyes. But when senior management had to sign the final paperwork, they snatched it away at the last second. Why? Because they were basically moving people over from another department that was being disassembled. Ok, whatever. But then the same thing happened again a few months ago with no valid explanation.

Now, just because I think she’s sweet, I’ve never worked with her. She could be the worst worker in the world and have a bad performance review/track record. I don’t know. But I doubt that since she’s been there so long, and they likely would’ve kicked her out by now. And she’s not the only one. Another woman in her late sixties in our department, has been applying to get out for literally 2.5 years – since I started in the department. She basically runs our area but isn’t a manager after 6 years. Again, she has a good review and I know she works hard because she never leaves her desk, knows the answer to everything, people always go to her, and she works from 7 to 7 every day. It’s nuts. But she’s been held back because they can’t afford to lose her. Some people think it’s because she may come off as a bull in interviews, but she knows her stuff and it’s sad to see someone sit at their desk and cry every day from being overwhelmed when they deserve better (like I did).

The point is that yes, everyone’s situation is different. But there’s a pattern. Those two ladies; my own struggle of applying for 10.5 months even being one of the most qualified and hard working people in the company (sry for tooting my horn); and my manager that just left. He was in our department for 6 years and never promoted. They kept promising it to him, and he got screwed. Again, worked harder than anyone with 12 hour days often. So he peaced out. Can’t blame him. It’s not just me. It’s not just my shitty department. It’s the firm as a whole. It’s a complete joke and it makes me ILL to see stuff published about “one of the top companies to work for.” Lies. Who did they poll for that? The bankers that make $238481019 a year but don’t know how spell or the basics of finance. That makes complete sense. We get calls asking the dumbest things and we sit there like “Really? You get paid all that money, and don’t know shit; I know a lot more than you (for the most part), and I make crap?” Totally makes sense.

I can’t begin to tell you how many people at this company are like that. People that are dumb as hell and have no business in finance, but they are because they know people. Mommy and daddy got you in with their friend. The banker got his job and does well in his job not because he’s qualified or knowledgeable, but because he’s good at schmoozing people and making promises that we have to then somehow deliver on. The same goes on the lower level. A number of guys got to leave our department before me but were complete idiots. I put them to shame. But LITERALLY the only way they were able to move was because they kissed some serious ass. I know because 1 told me and I witnessed it. It makes me sick. Why does anyone bother working hard then? All you have to do is sit back instead and make the right friends.

Again, this isn’t me completely coming from the angle of a disgruntled worker. I was actually nominated for a volunteer group organized to promote the fact that this bank is a great place to work because they encourage employees’ movement within their careers. What was I told by insiders? That we have to cover up the fact that a lot of moves are made by someone being tapped on the shoulder and moves being made on the low instead of the standard apply for a job, interview, etc. Straight from the horse’s mouth.

So yes, I’m jaded. And yes, you bet your ass that I’m still applying outside of the firm because I don’t want to work for such a company. I’m not naive enough to think that office politics aren’t in play at every firm. I get that. But I guess it blows my mind that one of the biggest banks in the world could be such a joke. I expected more. I was so enthusiastic when I started – like yes, I’m going to take this job to get my foot in the door, finish grad school and make moves because if anyone does, it’s going to be such a prominent bank that values my hard work and degrees. False. Instead I was told a number of times that I’m overqualified, and witnessed the crap referenced above.

But hey – I guess that’s the power of being so big. You have the luxury of an endless supply of labor because everyone wants in. Like the line at an exclusive night club – anxious party-goers have no idea what it looks like on the inside, they just know they want in. But once you’re in, you’re like “umm wow, this is corny and sucks; let’s bounce asap. I’d prefer a smaller, more intimate scene.” But my coworker pointed out – that’s the comfort people fall into. Although people aren’t treated well politically and pay-wise, they tolerate it because there’s stability in the firm. They keep dropping crazy earnings and everyone in the world trusts them, so they aren’t going anywhere soon. (2008 financial crisis, cough cough) But with some mom n pop place, you gotta worry a little. It’s much easier for them to go down. But it is interesting – in my job search, this and the other big banks pay less than the smaller places. My eyes were like $-$ when I saw the other places. Another misconception – I always thought bigger places paid you more because they can afford it. Not so much. Seems like the smaller places have a smaller budget, but less people to spread it over, so you get more. Again, people don’t mind it here because they’re just happy to be in the club – they don’t care if the dj is awful or the drinks suck – they’ll take it.

Ugh. I already have zero passion for finance so tolerating all of this corporate world crap on top of it is making me gag. And rethink life. Still trying to come up with alternatives. Now’s the time to figure it out; gotta love your twenties…

(And how much do you love my club analogies? Leave it to me…such a hot mess. But relevant/relatable, admit it.)