Three Years

On January 20, 2017, I resigned from my job working for the United States Department of Defense. I had worked there for just over 6 years, having started at the end of September, 2010. It was the second real job I’d ever held in my life, the first time I truly started earning a living rather than scraping by. It was far from the best job ever, but the people I was around made it worth it — for that first year, at least. Things slowly got worse as the years passed by, leaving me to deal with more and more bureaucratic types as time went on. This came to a head when my new supervisor told me that I needed to “learn to hear better.” After that, it was purely downhill for my last 6 months, going between the equal opportunity office (completely useless), my upper management (completely useless), my union (completely useless; see a trend here?), my higher headquarters (useless), and even my government representatives (thoroughly, completely useless). I’d had enough and by the time they finally scheduled a mediation between me and my director, I was ready to quit. I’d told myself that if the director could at least be honest with me, I would stay. He couldn’t do that. So, that very day, I tendered my resignation. I would not be part of an organization that embraces evil.

Evil comes in many forms. We tend to think of classical interpretations of evil: massacre, torture, rape, and so on. We ascribe it to demons and devils, placing it on a pedestal for supreme acts. The truth is that evil can be quite small as well, a tiny little thing that on the face of it may seem inconsequential. I always remember Grant Gilmore’s famous saying: “The better the society, the less law there will be. In Heaven, there will be no law, and the lion will lie down with the lamb… The worse the society, the more law there will be. In Hell, there is nothing but law, and due process will be meticulously observed.” That’s the United States Government: process, process, process, with no deviations. Rules, rules, rules, and more rules. Only in specific, favored circumstances is this ever abandoned, and it is almost always done by those bent by their own egos. There is to be no questioning of these rules, procedures, or policies; no explanations why they exist; no exceptions granted, unless one is willing to apply an oral fixation upon the proper superior’s posterior. Or if one is somehow perceived as “better” to these superiors. Truth be told, I was never aware as to why I had to go through so many hardships to bring my serious discrimination issues up, while my coworkers were able to simply move away from problem areas on simple request. Apparently the same process was not allowed for me.

In the time since I left my employment from the United States Government, I’ve written four novels, five short stories, published the bulk of my novels, created several pieces of cover art, taken a road trip to Seattle, had a hernia repaired (that sucked), lost my mother, and gotten back into flight simulators where I’ve made a bunch of new friends. I often find myself angry when I look back at how I was treated, but then I have to remind myself that had I remained, I would have lost out on an entire year with my mother — time that I never would’ve got back. I probably wouldn’t have completed those novels or short stories, never completed those art projects, or met those people in flight sims. I would have been contributing to evil, no matter how small, instead of breaking out on my own path. From that day forward, no matter how hard it’s been, it has been my road, my path, my future alone. And that’s something a federal bureaucrat job with benefits and pension will never be able to provide. I’m not beholden to the thinking so prevalent among many government employees: “Just a few more years and I can collect that sweet pension!” True, I may have to work until the day I die, perhaps at menial, pointless jobs; but no matter how dull, no matter how dreary they become, I can sit back and say I at least followed my conscience, instead of remaining slaved to the petty, evil whims of a bloated, overpaid, under-worked bureaucracy. And that counts for something.

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