Through the Dark Woods

dark-woods-opt
I post this picture because it is a metaphor for my misfortune. I feel like I have been walking in a dark wood trying to find my way out of an unhappy situation.

 

My dear readers and followers,

I am sorry that I have been absent from my blog for the past few weeks. My blog does not have a huge following, but the people who follow my blog are loyal visitors who come by to see my posts week after week. Some of you have even become my friends, and I value your friendship very much. That is why I feel I need to give you some explanation about why I have not been blogging lately.

Conditions at my current job have been deteriorating for the past few months. First my project manager disappeared. He took some kind of computer coding boot camp course, and then he never returned. Then one computer in our office disappeared, and then a second one was taken away after that. Eventually the office phone vanished too.

My graphic design work assignments soon disappeared after my project manager did. After a few weeks with literally nothing to do, I started looking for another job. It has not been easy trying to find another job, and I did not want to quit until I found one. The weeks stretched into months. The only promising job lead I had after sending out countless resumes and applications resulted in an odd job interview at a marketing firm. It was close to Halloween, and most of the people in that office were wearing Halloween costumes. I was interviewed by someone wearing footed pajamas and a pacifier hanging around her neck as well as another person wearing a karate outfit. They seemed interested in my graphic design work, but I did not get a call back. I guess I was not weird enough to fit in. This month I was finally able to land a freelance writing job, but it required me to do a trial assignment and then work on two writing projects with tight deadlines while I was still working at my graphic design job. It is more of a side gig than a full-fledged job, but so far it has been going well.

I am thankful to have this side gig after what happened today at work. Today the FBI raided all of the offices of the nonprofit organization that I work for. I was detained along with the rest of my co-workers in an assembly hall. The FBI agents did not say much about why they were there. The only explanation that I could gather from my co-workers and the FBI agents is that it involved the immigration and adult adoption services provided by my employer. Some of my co-workers and I were released after about an hour or so because we did not work in the immigration and adult adoption services department and had no knowledge of what was going on there, although the FBI agents required us to leave contact information with them in case they want to question us later on. While we were detained, I told my supervisor that I quit.

I need a little recovery time, but I hope to catch up with people and post some new material on my blog soon. Until then, I hope you have a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

 

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24 thoughts on “Through the Dark Woods

  1. Merry Christmas, first of all, and my condolences on the setback. I appreciate your sharing your story. It must have been frightening for you to have to answer for what someone else was doing behind your back. I hope that justice will be served and that you will find a good job very soon. Best wishes.

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    1. Thank you so much for your sympathy and support as well as your wishes that I get a better job. 🙂 It took me a while to decide whether or not to talk about what happened to me on my blog, but I thought I should just tell people the truth. After my project manager disappeared, I was wondering why my co-worker and I were not laid off if my supervisors did not have any actual work for us to do. Now I think that we were probably just part of the window dressing to cover up what was going on behind the scenes.

      Being detained was indeed a confusing and upsetting experience. Some people were quiet, while others were focused on getting coffee and snacks. What I thought was really strange is that some of the people that were released with me wanted to pose for pictures with one of the FBI agents. They asked me to take pictures of them with the FBI agent, which I was not able to do because I did not know how to operate their smartphone cameras. Why did they want to do this?

      I was told everyone could pick up their paychecks tomorrow (Wednesday), and I have no idea what to expect when I go there. Will the offices still be open, or will I just find a sign on the door? If I do manage to get my paycheck, will it bounce? It is hard to continue working for an organization that I can’t trust and may possibly be involved with illegal activities, so I thought quitting was the best thing to do.

      Merry Christmas to you too, Sabiscuit. 🙂 I hope all is well in your life. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. All is going well with me, or so I hope. Thank you for your warm greetings, in spite of everything that has happened. It is bizarre how your colleagues behaved in times when they should be concerned for the future. I am concerned about the sensationalism and lack of sensitivity that is displayed at times. However, I see you running your own NGO in future. There is funding where you live in the US and if you persevere, you will find support for a cause that is personal to you. Best of luck.

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        1. I am glad to hear that, Sabiscuit. 🙂 I am trying to get on with my life and not let what happened to me get me down too much. Yes, I cannot understand the behavior of some of my colleagues. I can’t believe some of them saw the FBI raid as a cool photo-op. Don’t they realize that the place could be shut down and that they could be out of work if the FBI finds out the company has done something illegal?

          I might as well give you an update about what happened when I went down there to collect my last paycheck today. There were some staff people at my workplace, but they were there only to inform other employees what was going on. One of them told me that the company was “exonerated” and that they were “good with the FBI.” I have no idea if this is true. However, he also told me that the offices would be shut down for two weeks because the FBI confiscated most of the computers and they could not get any work done because of this. This news did not change my mind about quitting. I once again reiterated that I was resigning, and he told me that he would let the CEO know about my resignation. Unfortunately, the paper checks were not ready today, so I have to go back there tomorrow to pick up my check. If I manage to get it, I plan to go straight to the bank and cash it right away while it still has value.

          I appreciate your idea that I could run an NGO. I have actually thought about starting a nonprofit, but I have trouble figuring out what cause to support. In addition, some causes have more grant funding available than others. Well, I have more time to think about it and perhaps do some research now that I have quit this job.

          Thanks for the good luck wishes and Happy Holidays! 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Thank you for responding. I appreciate the update. I am happy that you feel some hope for the future. Please be pragmatic and start out with what gets most support first as these are the issues where your input will be of highest value. It will take time but I know that with your diligence, you will make the best of it. Keep in touch. Warm wishes.

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  2. Oh boy ! Arleeeene !!!! This post woke me up ! I’ve been ploughing through my emails, eyes almost glazed over and wham ! You poor thing ! You definitely did the right thing in quitting, for working as you did was crazy, especially your last day. I am praying that a great job will drop in your lap soon. Big hug my friend ❤
    Is a Merry Christmas a bit lame ?

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    1. I know what you mean, Ralph. I was unhappy staying there longer than I wanted to while I looked for another job. And what happened to me yesterday definitely surprised me too. Unfortunately, it was an unpleasant surprise. 😦

      Thanks for your wishes for a great job and for the virtual hug. 🙂 I hope I will find a better job too, and I will try to be more careful about the people I work for in the future.

      Merry Christmas to you too, Ralph! 🙂 I don’t think Christmas greetings are lame. And a belated Happy Birthday to you! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I added lame to my Merry Christmas because I was worried that Christmas would be the last thing on your mind at the moment. Reading your reply I’ll amend my comment by wishing you a Merry Christmas Arlene 😀
        BTW I hope you got paid.
        Hugs ❤

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        1. Now I understand what you meant by lame, Ralph. 🙂 Yes, what happened to me is still fresh in my mind, but I am trying not to let it completely ruin Christmas for me.

          Yes, I got my check, but before I went into the bank, I noticed that it was not signed! I had to drive all the way back to my workplace a second time to get that problem fixed. Then I returned to the bank and cashed the check right away, so I got paid.

          My supervisor was there when I returned to my workplace to get my check signed. He told me that the door was open for me to work there again if I want to return. I don’t think I will. When I got home this afternoon, I heard a news story about my company on the radio! I also checked online, and there was a story about my company on the local news. According to the news story, a lawyer has filed a class action lawsuit against my company for fraud. Apparently people were paying $5,000 to $10,000 with the expectation that they could gain U.S. citizenship through adult adoption. Some immigration lawyers interviewed for this story said that adult adoption does not guarantee citizenship, so these people paid a lot of money to my company and did not get what they paid for. My supervisor and the other upper management people did not tell me or my other co-workers that they were being sued for fraud. They just kept blaming the office manager for all of the illegal activity. It was all his fault, and they had no knowledge of what he was doing. I have no way of knowing if what they are saying is true, so I just better stay away from there.

          I hope you have a Merry Christmas too, Ralph. Thank you for your concern and support, my friend. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

          1. I am so pleased that you eventually received your check Arlene. That must be a relief ! I do hope that karma will catch up with whoever has ruined your work.
            Merry Christmas my friend 😀

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          2. Yes, I am glad too. 🙂 On the day after the FBI raid, I also went to the bank and cashed three other paychecks to make sure I got the money. It is possible that the company could shut down and its assets could be frozen if it is determined that fraud has been committed.

            In case you or anyone else is curious, here is a link to the news story: http://www.kcra.com/news/fbi-investigates-sacramento-adult-adoption-agency/37110742. Watching the video will give you an idea of what the CEO is like.

            One thing really bothered me about this news story. The nonprofit that I worked for is supposed to help minorities and disadvantaged people. Why is it offering services that cost $5,000 to $10,000 to people who are poor and probably struggle to support themselves? That amount of money is a lot of money even for a middle-class person.

            It also does not make me feel good that I worked for an organization that could be scamming people. The investigation is still in its early stages, so I do not understand how one of the staff people could say that the company has been exonerated.

            Anyway, I hope you had a great Christmas too, Ralph. Take care, my friend. 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

          3. Thanks for the full story and video Arlene. I am glad you have your money and are out of it. Yes, I did have a great Christmas and I’ll be doing a post on it in about a week. You take care too. 😀

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          4. You are welcome. Sadly this news story and video were the only ways I could get a better idea of what was going on and why the FBI raid happened. The CEO’s responses to the interview questions made me uneasy. 😦 Yes, I am glad that I was able to get my money and get out of there. I am going to stay away from there and start over.

            I am glad that you enjoyed Christmas, Ralph. 🙂 I had my Christmas dinner a day late because I did not have time to cook Christmas dinner on Christmas Eve. I spent Christmas Eve driving back and forth to my workplace because of the unsigned check, going to the bank to cash my check after it was signed, getting some fish and shrimp for my dad, and waiting for my brother and his family to drop by so that my dad could see my new niece who was born last week. I was so tired from the week’s events that I was able to cook only vegetables and mashed potatoes on Christmas Day, and then I finished cooking turkey, stuffing, and gravy this afternoon. I am glad that the food turned out better than the food I cooked for Thanksgiving. 🙂

            I am following your blog, so I will be able to see your new post in my WordPress reader. Thanks again for your support and friendship, Ralph. And Happy New Year! 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

          5. I am so pleased to read that you eventually made a wonderful Christmas dinner Arlene. I am sure everyone enjoyed it.
            I do hope your New Year is a fresh start and a lot happier for you my friend. ❤

            Liked by 1 person

          6. Yes, I am glad too. 🙂 I also hope this coming year will be better for me than this past year has been. What a nightmare ending! Things were kind of tough for you too with the acupuncture treatments not working out, so I hope this coming year will be better and happier for you too. 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

  3. Really sad tale my dear, I hope you come out fighting at the other end and land on your feet, Merry Christmas to you! I hope, wish and pray for your physical, emotional and economic wellbeing!

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    1. Thank you for your sympathy and your thoughtful wishes and prayers for my well-being, AB. 🙂 I told you that life is constantly surprising me. I just hope that the next surprise will be more pleasant than an FBI raid. I doubt that I will be questioned by the FBI or have any legal problems because I was not involved with the day-to-day operations of the immigration and adult adoption services provided by my company. I was kept in the dark with little to do. I do not like all of the uncertainty surrounding that place. I just need to stay away from there and start over.

      Now that the initial shock is over, it is time for me to move on to better things instead of feeling sorry for myself. At least now I will have more time and energy to focus on doing things that I really care about. I also think that I can probably find a better job than the one I had if I keep trying. No more windowless offices for me! 🙂

      Thank you for the Christmas greeting. I hope you enjoy Christmas Day too. 🙂

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