Monday, May 2, 2011

How to Make Your Partner Mad (or, Midlife Crisis #8)

I almost left. I was going to quit my job. There is nothing wrong with my job, not really, except for me. The pay is good. I genuinely like my coworkers, and I know that's not always easy to find in a work place. And the stress, consistent as it may be, is at a pretty minimal level.

But my numbers have not been as high as my boss would like them to be, for more than a few months now. I am weary of being so ineffective, and I was ready to leave. I came very close to announcing my two weeks' notice.

I wanted to give notice right after I was offered a sales position with a solar panel company. I also had an appointment for a job interview with a famous weight loss company (Kirstie, Valerie, Sara, and even Jason have been their celebrity spokespersons), just in case.

I hadn't said anything to Domestic Partner about it, not until the first job was offered and the appointment had been made with the second company. I opened up the conversation with, "I need your advice about something."

He was not pleased. His first response to me was, "I don't think you would do well, trying to sell solar panels." He became even more upset when I told him that the pay was commission only. I told him that was why I had an appointment with the famous weight loss company. He was not appeased by my back up plan.

I told him that if I was single, I would have jumped at the chance to take either job. I would take the risk without giving it much thought. But since I'm not single, and since I had to consider how the consequences would affect us a couple, I wanted to know what he thought.

Be careful what you ask for.

Domestic Partner told me, not unkindly, that he feels he has been carrying me for the last dozen years or so. That was not the first time I had heard him express that feeling. He just hasn't said it in a few years.

When we first met, I wasn't even employed. I had just been fired from my server job at the Olive Garden. I was performing as a Kit Kat girl in drag, in the musical "Cabaret," and I was making $7.00 per show. This was in the mid 90's.

Why did he want to continue dating me? Why did we stay together? I secured better, more consistent employment after "Cabaret," including another restaurant job and a Disney gig for their sports entertainment (cheerleader!). But I also went away on contract as a dancer, more than once.

Why does someone, knowing what you are and what you are not, want to stay in a relationship with you only to try and change you?

Now I'm just ranting . . . the changes that Domestic Partner wanted/wants for me have benefitted me. He is good for me. If we weren't together I would not have even gone back to school. My pending retirement would be even more pathetic than it already is.

As I have said before in this blog, he is my stability.

I asked him why he was so upset, why he was taking my proposal to change jobs so personally. Domestic Partner is only 51. He may have the opportunity to take early retirement in five years, so he is still waiting for me to catch up to him financially (and in other ways) so that he can afford to take early retirement.

So that he can afford to stay in a relationship with me.

Our conversation ended well. He said that when he retired in a few years, maybe we could consider moving to Hawai'i, as we have been talking about for a while now, and just rent a small place. If I want to change jobs, I should just wait until we move to the islands.

That made me feel very happy. It was a wonderful consolation prize.

Instead of giving notice I went to work the next day and told my boss, without going into detail, about the previous night's conversation. I told him that I had renewed commitment for my job responsibilities.

I turned 45 this past weekend. Maybe it's having another birthday that has been making me want to do something impulsive. So, instead of quitting my job, I got a haircut (I also bought my first smart phone, my birthday present to myself, after using the same flip phone for the last seven years).

I still think I would have rocked as a sales person at the famous weight loss company.


karenpurplequeen said...

oooo, you look so BUTCH!

Peter Varvel said...

Karen, as Boy George once said, "I can do anything. In GQ I posed as a man." ;)

Cheryl said...

When I read about you wanting to be a free-spirit artist, I'm all, "You go, Peter!" And then I read about DP watching out for your collective financial stability and I'm all, "You go, DP!" Life is not fair. If only applause paid the bills....

Peter Varvel said...

Cheryl, yeah, I really thought I would have that balancing act figured out by this age . . . maybe in another 20 years? In the meantime, I'll just keep reading Bread and Bread to see how you and AK manage to do it! :)