Endings Intertwined: Saying Goodbye
I don’t think I’ve ever cried this much before. I’ve cried enough that my eyes feel dry. I cried myself to sleep this morning and when I woke up, there was still my crying left to do. I’ve had a lot to mourn these past 24 hours.
Right around 4 PM Wednesday night, I got a call telling me that I was fired. Not because of poor performance or because I fucked up or anything so deserving as that. No, I was told I was fired because they had found cheaper labor in other countries. Worse still, they had brought them in several months ago and made us train them. Yes, I saw this coming, but no, I was not prepared. I figured they would at least do me the courtesy of finishing out my contract, they owed me that much. I was one of the best damned moderators that they had.
I never once applied for the job. I joined the forums back in August of 2009. Back then, I was just an avid player of a pretty awesome game <name withheld>. When I first joined up, I would mostly lurk, and read, and get to know how things worked there. After a bit of time, I finally started posting. First it was just to ask some questions I had had, then it was to answer questions that others had. Eventually, I got in the full swing of it and was spending nearly as much time on the forums bullshitting and answering questions as I was playing the game. I loved it. The game and the forums were helping me through my depression. I finally had a place to express myself, talk with others, and help.
After a few months of doing that, the Community Manager for the game contacted me and asked if I wanted to be a Volunteer Moderator. I jumped at the chance as I had been secretly working towards it for about a month. I never asked anyone, but I did what I could to emulate the moderators without going too far. I was so excited to be asked and get to do it! I had set a goal and accomplished it. I had not done that in quite some time. It was an exciting time for me. I got to spend my day plying the game I enjoyed and answering questions about it in a semi-official matter.
I did the volunteer gig for 9 months, right up until they decided to discontinue the volunteer position. At that time, the current CM for another game asked me to put in a resume to be considered for the Super Moderator position. Within 24 hours of submitting my resume I they were doing a background check and I had a job, provided everything looked alright. Which it did. After 3 horrendous years without any income whatsoever, I had a job. Things were finally looking up.
When they brought me on as a Super Moderator, they put me on a different game, <name withheld>. It was an awesome placement for me. I had been playing the game since the first hour it was live and all of my mod friends from <name withheld> were now working there, so it was like a reunion. I loved it. I was working 55+ hours per week and making decent money because of it. On top of that, I was modding a far more active forum and answering even more questions. It was probably the single best job I’ve had so far. The hours were rough, but the pay made it worth it. It allowed me to start doing stuff for myself, which I hadn’t ever really been able to do at any point in my life.
In all, it was a great time. The only sour part was that I ended up having to take a 3 month hiatus after one year because of some bullshit law regarding contract workers. That was tough, but I made it through, barely. After my 3 months was up, I reapplied and was immediately brought back on. During my absence, they had enacted some new styles of moderation, which were difficult but not impossible for me to work with. The real issue for me was my placement. I got a game that I didn’t care much for, but a forum that had a vibrant group of posters that I could care for. So, in spite of not liking the game, I came to love the forums. I had inherited them from another, but I tried to make them my own. I think I did a good job of it and I enjoyed my time there.
After a few months back on the forums, they finally asked me to do something that I had been waiting over a year for: to take over a game’s forums from the inception. I was finally given a game from day one and given some free reign to make them my own forums and help mold the community. I cherished the opportunity and did what I could to make it a great forum while still working on the previous forum I had been assigned to. Overall, it was a fun time for me and I would have loved to keep doing it, but after a couple months longer, they offered me a promotion, though it was just in title only (no pay raise or anything).
This is when the end game was enacted though. They brought in other moderators from outside of the US and moved us to another new moderation style that pretty much nobody wanted but would provide better coverage. Everything was changing. Initially, it seemed like it would be for the better, but things changed. Eventually, we started to see what was happening, how we were being pushed out. I tried to overlook it, tell myself that I was seeing things and that they wouldn’t get rid of us. And then I got that phone call. In that moment, it all came crashing down and I saw the man behind the curtain. They had manipulated us into training our replacements and getting them ready to take over for us. It was a sickening feeling to realize all of that.
I’m not overly bitter about it though. It was handled poorly, but the company had still given me nearly 2 years of employment which had been a big part of my healing process from my deepest depression. The job had also lead me to a lot of people that I will forever call friend. It was tough saying goodbye to the job and knowing that I wouldn’t get to see everyone every day any longer. They were a part of my daily routine and I knew it would be tough without them.
However, that wasn’t the toughest part. Compared to what else I had to do that Thursday, everything else was easy. After work that Thursday, I had to say goodbye to a good friend; my first.
It wasn’t something I wanted to do. I didn’t want to say goodbye to her. I wanted to stay her friend and have her around, but I wasn’t being her friend. I was waiting for her to change her mind and realize that she wanted to be with me, and it was killing me. Waiting for her and knowing it wouldn’t happen caused me pain every day. Every time she signed in, I hurt. I couldn’t do it any longer The only possible solution was to say goodbye to her for a time, no matter how badly I wanted to avoid it (and had avoided it).
That may have been one of the most difficult things I have ever done. The whiskey definitely helped it happen, but I knew it had to be done. I didn’t even remotely keep myself together for the conversation. I haven’t cried that hard in a long time. We weren’t even together and it was tearing me apart. It’s times like that that I wish I didn’t care, or at least, that I cared for the right ones. I have a hard habit of falling for women that will never be with me.
When it was all said and done, I ended up just crawling in bed and sobbing myself to sleep. She was never mine… but it killed me to say goodbye. I never wanted it, but what I wanted was never going to happen. The hardest part was that I shared a part of myself with her that I don’t let anybody see. I showed her my soul. I let her see just who I am inside of all of this. And that’s the part that hurts. The part that knows she could accept it and be okay with it but could never love it. And all it wants is to be loved. And it is the part that still hurts today, though it doesn’t hurt nearly as much. We weren’t together, I can’t devote long to mourning our parting.
If I had done this sooner, these last few months may have been very different. I might have been able to make some progress like I had been doing before she came into my life. I put a lot aside to pursue her, and even after she told me it wouldn’t happen, I still tried. I couldn’t help it. There’s a very lost little boy inside of me that just wants to be loved and he will attach himself to anything he thinks will give it to him, regardless of what I think or feel about the situation. I tried so hard to change things, to make sure I didn’t get hurt. The only thing that really changed was that I managed to tell her I wanted to fuck her and that I was able to end it. It didn’t matter though. I still got hurt. That doesn’t mean I won’t try again, it just sucks knowing I have to try again. Who knows, maybe this next one will lead to a girlfriend.
I just don’t know how many more times I can be hurt.
And now, I’m hurt and adrift with no real direction in any part of my life. The only constant I had was taken from me because they found someone willing to work for less money. I’ll survive – I always do – I’m just not sure what levels of survival I will have to use. The last time I got laid off it took me three years and a shitload of luck to get a new job. I hope it doesn’t come to that again. I might not survive it. I barely made it out the last time and I am nowhere near where I was before it happened last time.