Rat Race Beat Down

It’s been many moons since I have felt so grossly over-promised, recklessly misled, and genuinely mind-fucked in the workplace. Today marks 5 years, 10 months, and 21 days since my tenure commenced as a contract paralegal for the Bonneville Power Administration (a sub-agency of the Department of Energy, an agency of the executive branch previously overseen by Rick Perry of Donald Trump’s administration). In March 2014, I whole-heartedly embraced this opportunity (despite it being a step-down from my previous full-time employment as an attorney (in a firm where women were outnumbered 5 to 1 and sexism and misogyny governed like Trump was already president) that halted abruptly due to the birth of my child) because of the prospect of a financially secure and career-rewarding future.

For nearly the entire six years I have provided quality skills and services to Bonneville on a contract basis, I have been trying to land a permanent, fully endowed Federal position overflowing with vacation and sick time, long and short term disability benefits, highly subsidized health insurance, student loan repayment options, union representation, and a pension unknown in the private sector. Last week, I was told that position – doing the same work I have been doing for 6 years – was mine. Today I was told an error in the Human Resources Department was committed by an incompetent employee, and I will not be receiving an offer after all.

It is difficult to find the words to fully and accurately encapsulate what has felt like a slow-burning, psychological roller coaster from hell bordering on emotional torment. I am exhausted and depleted – not just because of my personal anguish (white person problem wanting to move from 100k contract gig to one with the benefits listed above, I know) but this is government in its current iteration. This is a symptom of the US Government under executive leadership that woefully lacks competence, compassion, experience, and vision. This is a symptom of the US Government under an executive deeply riddled in corruption, pursuing only gains that personally benefit him and his closest corrupt allies. This is a symptom of the US Government under an executive actively practicing and promoting racist, sexist, exclusionary practices and policies. This is a symptom of the US Government under an executive proudly gutting federal funding and oversight to enrich privacy sector third party entities emboldened to conduct business operations subject to no regulation. This is a symptom of the US Government under an executive unable and unwilling to conduct his job within the constraints of the US Constitution – an executive who believes he holds boundless power from the Pacific to the Atlantic and across the entire globe.

My heart pangs with despair and anger for the countless injustices being committed under the current executive. I will recover and move on from this job opportunity lost. But what about the child caged at the border and the family rejected for asylum sent back into the throes of violent drug-cartel controlled territories? What about the hundreds of wrongfully convicted men and women of color who sit in our prisons while Trump pardons and commutes the sentences of white collar criminals who look, act, and believe like him?

What will happen if we don’t stand up, speak out, and fight back? Fuck the rat race. We have a much bigger fish to fry.

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