The Financial Confessions: “Trump Being Elected Is Going To Get Me Fired”

people-working-in-home

I’ve been working at my job for the past three years without incident. I’m a good employee, and even though the past year and a half I’ve been working on a slightly-reduced schedule (35-ish hours per week) to accommodate my Master’s program, which I go to in the evenings, I would never have thought a month ago that I’d ever be in danger of a firing. But now, just a week out of the election that shook our country to its core, I’m doing everything I can to prepare for an imminent new job search.

Since the news fell about Trump’s victory, I have not been able to work, plain and simple. My job, in administration for a school in North Carolina, requires me to do hours of fairly-tedious work, mostly on the computer. This means two big things: I am often bored, and I always have internet access. And in this time, when every social feed and front page is filled with the worst, most horrifying news imaginable (as both a queer woman and the daughter of two immigrants, one Arab, I am in extreme fear at all times), I cannot stop compulsively refreshing and reading. I want to stay informed and active, and even 10 minutes without an update leaves me panicked over what I may have missed.

Two days of last week, I pretended to be sick so that I could stay home, talk to loved ones, curl up in bed, and read as much news as possible. I have put my time and energy into other causes where I can, but given my airtight schedule and extreme anxiety, the most productive thing I’ve really been able to do is donate, to places like Planned Parenthood and the ACLU. When my semester ends in a few weeks, I’ll be able to do more, but for now, just getting by is brutal.

I work in an office that is, for the most part, very pro-Trump. I live in a highly red-state area, and the fact that I am half-Arab, for example, is something I try to downplay as much as possible. (The fact that no one in my family is a currently-practicing Muslim wouldn’t matter to them, the people around me pretty much generally regard all Arabs as “scary.”) I have long bitten my tongue on the prejudices and judgments that swirl around me here, because the job pays well, accommodates my hours, and provide good benefits, even at 35 hours a week (which I know is extremely rare). Now, when I look at the compromises I have made to stay in this job, I think of myself as a coward. I know that I can’t afford to leave this job, particularly as exams approach, but I hate myself for having stayed in it so long. These people would hate my father, and the fact that my last name “doesn’t sound too Arab” has more than once felt like a lucky thing to me. I feel complicit, and I am.

The fact that I have dated women before absolutely never gets mentioned, but I would be lying if I said that were as big a deal as the Arab thing — it’s not. You could say that the LGBT politics of my workplace have just gotten around to the Will and Grace era, where some of them even talk about it being fun to have a “gay best friend.” Shudder.

My Trump-induced spiral of anxiety, inability to work, and constant use of work computers for personal things such as reading news would not be understood. Even the people around me who did not vote for Trump (and though I can’t know who that is exactly, I have my guesses), no one liked Hillary, and everyone seems to agree that any kind of “change” is good for America, regardless of who might be collateral damage there. So I stay silent, while my work slips, and my mind slowly feels like it’s being chipped away.

I got a serious “talking-to” this morning, and my immediate thought was “I want to write about this,” because I had a serious thought of walking back to my desk and screaming at everyone while telling them that I was proud to be queer, Arab, and nothing fucking like them. But I slowly walked back and typed this up on my lunch break, because I still need the money and the health insurance.

But I don’t see myself getting better any time soon, so I am almost certain that this is going to result in me getting fired, one way or another. And I want to be prepared, so I have confronted the reality and I plan to go home tonight and start applying to other jobs as seriously as I can. Nothing will suck more than changing jobs at the end of a semester, or over the winter break I was supposed to be spending on activism, but I have to do what I have to do.

At this point, any job that will allow me to at least commiserate about the horror that has just unfolded in our nation will be an improvement, and perhaps let me breathe. To be surrounded by people who simply don’t understand how this could be devastating is crushing, maybe even more so than the news itself. But since I can’t say anything like that, I continue to read and scroll and get negative looks from coworkers who can tell I’m always on some news story. Until things get better, I don’t fucking know what to do.

Image via Pexels

TFC_thicker-1024x144

  • Summer

    This is a tricky situation. On one hand, it’s easy for a reader like myself to think, “okay, this isn’t ideal, but maybe just suck it up and do your job at least through the end of the semester so you don’t make things even harder on yourself?” but on the other hand, I fully understand how difficult it is to stay on-task and give even the smallest shit about work when the cards are stacked against you in so many ways. I was thoroughly unproductive for nearly all of Wednesday and Thursday last week; doing the same things you described: endlessly refreshing social media and news sources, communicating with everyone I know to ask, “did this really happen?” Admittedly, a week later, the news has sunk in for me and while I’m still not happy with the result, I’m mostly back to my usual routine. My eye is on the news more than ever, sure, but aside from that, I can get my work done and I can think clearly. But, I 100% acknowledge that I am white, straight, and I live in Germany, so I’m much further removed from the immediacy of the situation than if things were different in those regards, and I do not at all purport to know how you or your family feels right now. In terms of advice on your job dilemma though, I think you know it’s best if you don’t let the situation get to the point where you are asked to leave. By all means, start looking for a new job, perhaps even consider turning in your notice now if your savings account will allow you the slightest bit of leeway between employment, but getting fired isn’t great if there’s any chance (and there will be) of you needing a reference from that job sometime. Actually, if you’re truly that confident you’re going to be fired, I’d cut them off at the pass and turn in your notice next week. Even if they say something like, “actually, two weeks won’t be necessary, you can leave now,” then you at least have a better chance of getting them to agree that this is a mutual separation and you can perhaps salvage that reference. Best of luck to you, I know this is tough.

    • you always have great comments, Summer!

      • Summer

        Thank you!! That’s really nice to hear. 🙂

  • Court E. Thompson

    I agree with Summer that leaving before you’re fired may be the best option.
    But, I would also say to get into therapy ASAP! Or find a support group – even online since your environment is so inhospitable. I know time and money are tight with your grad program, but finding an outlet for yourself is important!

    • Isabel

      I have joined a Facebook group of women who are fighting to continue the legacy Hillary started. It’s been a lifesaver.

      • Court E. Thompson

        I’ve read of some of those groups’ (like PN) local chapters have had physical meetings or have friended each other online to be supports! It can go beyond facebook!

  • Summer Fulp

    I want to be sympathetic here but it’s difficult. I understand how you’ve been feeling this past week, and I think taking a few days off is reasonable (mental health is just as important as physical health), but I also think that once you go back to your job, what you need to do is your job. Even if you plan on leaving. It seems to me like you are psyching yourself out. I say this because it sounds like your coworkers don’t know you are half arab, so therefore probably white passing. It also sounds like they are somewhat open minded about your lgbt status. I understand that you don’t want to feel complicit but remember that battles are fought in the workplace too and drowning in the endless streams of media are not part of that battle. It’s showing your coworkers that you are a hardworking american no matter who is president. I feel I should also say that I am a very obviously brown mexican american who is also surrounded by people who are pro trump. I understand it’s hard but you can’t give up every time you face opposition, it makes it that much harder for the rest of us.

  • Mar

    I don’t have any concrete advice, but thank you so much for sharing. My office has been similarly very, very overtly and covertly pro-Trump the last few weeks, to the point where one woman said she would run protestors over with her SUV if they got in her way. It’s hard to know that your coworkers don’t have empathy for you, or for people who will be directly negatively affected by this election/the rhetoric in our nation right now. To me, at least, it’s made my work seem really unimportant in the grand scheme, and I’m absolutely itching to do something else more impactful where I don’t have to “shut off” my personality, my opinions, and downplay my existence just to scrape by. I totally understand the quiet desperation of being financially bound to your job. I hope you find a new position that puts you in a better place to use your energy for activism (and saves your mental health!). Thanks again for sharing, this was a very thoughtful article and you’re not alone in feeling this way.

  • Isabel

    Such a relevant topic right now. I’m also in a master’s program and looking for a full time job by Jan 1. I have already contacted Planned Parenthood (they offered me a volunteer position, which i figure is a good first step) and I plan to contact ACLU and Southern Poverty Law Center and GLAAD as well for positions. Also working on a few more TFD pieces bc I believe honesty is revolutionary. You can do it!!

  • Stevie

    I’m sorry, but you not doing your job will get you fired. Period. This is ridiculous.

    I did not vote for Trump, but am very surprised by the Democrat response to the election results. Honestly, I’d be equally surprised and upset if Republicans were acting the same way if Clinton won.

    I know how difficult it is to work in a harsh environment. It totally sucks and is draining on every level. Two years ago, I started a job in an actively oppressive environment with my co-lead on a project. She was campaigning for my dismissal within a week and a half of my first day (and after moving across the country for the job). She chastised me for the work I was doing, took credit for said work in front of our boss, and told me I wasn’t allowed to speak in meetings with our boss. What did I do? I did my job and dealt with her as best and as professional as possible. I pinched pennies, saved money, applied to jobs, and left six months ago on good terms with my boss and the rest of the team. It would have sucked to be fired, but I was determined it wouldn’t be because of poor job performance on my part. It sounds like your coworkers, while they may have different beliefs, aren’t being actively oppressive against you.

    I don’t want to discount the fear that you are feeling. But know that many Americans, Democrat and Republican alike, are willing and ready to fight for the rights of all Americans. We have too many checks and balances for one man to topple our country.

  • Megan mckeen

    I’m going to be quite blunt here:

    When I saw the title of this article, I was excited at the prospect of being able to relate to it. I work for a union, and my job is very much at stake due to Donald Trump getting elected. If he decides to gut unions and national Right To Work campaigns spread across the country, my job will most likely not even exist in four years. The status of my employment is literally vulnerable, and it’s not because I can’t tear myself away from reading election news. We are all devastated by the election, and it will surely have implications for all of us (especially women, Arabs and people in the queer community). However, this is happening because of the choices you are making. Your job is not in jeopardy of being eliminated because of his policies, but instead because you can’t be an adult and focus on your job when it matters. Consider that privilege before you decide to read election coverage before tending to your job duties – the job that offers you good pay, a flexible schedule and decent benefits. Consider that privilege before you write an article in this sad sack, “poor me” tone.

    • RIA

      This was a little mean.

    • Sara

      I don’t agree with the tone of this comment, but I will say that I thought the title was a little clickbait-y (almost always not the author’s doing) and I also thought that it was going to be related to someone losing their job because of the kinds of programs that are in jeopardy under a Trump administration.

  • Kaye

    I have high-functioning anxiety, and I’m going to speak up because I think that a lot of the other commenters are being unnecessarily callous, and there’s a big difference between having anxiety and not knowing how to be disciplined/focused. There have been instances in my life when I’ve been so aroused (in a state of anxiety) that it has been nearly impossible to focus. It’s not something that a person can just turn off.

    I grew up in a Red State, and I was bulled for 11 years until I was able to get out and go to school back East. The end result is that school bullying sucks and it’s a miracle that I can function at all as an adult because bullied kids often fail to thrive as adults if one looks at the statistical data.

    What has worked for me over the past week (and during any time of high anxiety arousal) is changing my social media passwords and not writing them down (but using an auto-generated non-password passkey for Facebook Messenger’s app on my phone and Google Hangouts). I also keep my desktop background boring, use RescueTime to limit how often I check problem web sites, and keep a print to-do list in a bullet journal that my eyeballs are always on. Last night, I did some yoga before bed, and that was also really good. What I find is that I can get into a feedback loop of awfulness because no one is there to pull me out of it, and disrupting that spiral however I can helps me re-center. I have some awesome online friends who are willing to be patient with me, too, and social support networks and friendship are amazing things.

    I did make an angry playlist called “Unf*** the World” to listen to during my commute last week, too.

    • Emma

      I agree, this sounds like anxiety or a tendency to be anxious that has been (understandably) exacerbated by really terrifying circumstances. I hope the person who wrote this can get some counseling or other help (sometimes those things are offered through work here, I’m not sure if that’s a thing in the U.S.?) and possibly develop a strategy for not being so immersed in the news, which sounds very stressful.

  • Mj D’Arco

    what do people seriously think trump is going to do? hide under your bed and take you to some other world in the middle of the night? are you a documented immigrant? there is nothing for you to be afraid of, do you not go to a radicalized mosque? you have nothing to be afraid of… also i’m not sure what’s the concern about the lgbtq community with trump.. i don’t think he’s ever said anything against them (and no, not supporting gay marriage is not the same as wanting to harm someone.. i.e. saudi arabia, iran, etc.) people seriously need to read something other than huffpo sometime

    • Emma

      You’re obviously not aware of Mike Pence, Trumps vice president. He is an advocate for conversion therapy for gay and bisexual people, which is widely considered not only ineffective, but psychologically and possibly physically harmful (it often involves electric shocks).
      In Indiana, he also introduced a law that made it a felony for gay people to just APPLY for a marriage license. And Trump has even said himself that Mike Pence is going to be the most powerful VP of all time. So yes, the danger is very real.

      • Mj D’Arco

        thats indiana… not the whole of the us… and even as a vp, his powers are limited

      • egust01

        Trump has made it very clear that he will not be reversing the Supreme Court’s decision on gay marriage- so that is kind of a moot point.

        • Colleen

          He doesn’t get to decide what the Supreme Court does and doesn’t reverse. If he appoints a very conservative justice (which his entire proposed list is comprised of), Obergefell could very well be overturned just like Roe vs Wade and nothing he says or does can stop that.

      • Bekasina

        And when was that…? Besides, that was state-level. States are empowered to have more pull on sociocultural issues. He won’t really be concerned with anything like that as a federal official…that’s how it works. If he wanted to keep fighting for the Christian agenda he would have stayed state-level

  • RIA

    I really appreciate you sharing this. It was probably really difficult to be so honest. I wish you all the best of luck.

  • Emily

    Trump being elected isn’t going to get you fired, YOU are going to get you fired. Don’t blame your preventable mistakes and problems on others. It’s time to grow up and take some personal responsibility. Sorry if I sound harsh, but come on, this article was beyond ridiculous. And I say this as a Democrat who voted for Hillary and is appalled by Trump’s election…

  • Bekasina

    Hmmm…..addicted to news…. I think this is the most telling Trump-panic story I’ve seen. It seems to inadvertently center the media and how the media has profited off of turning Trump into the scariest monster ever. You know what I find frightening and anxiety inducing? Liberal media’s reporting about all things Trump. You know what I finally forced myself to do when he got elected..? Watch a few full rallies and old interviews of Trump. Seeing him in context, in full, made me realize how far the media has strayed from even attempting an accurate portrayal of him as a candidate. He’s not wrong when he talks shit about the press on Twitter, they really did a number on him and it really did amount to lies and misinformation. The Trump I see now, based on his actual speeches and proposed values, is nothing like the Trump you see when you’re refreshing your feed over and over while worried about literally losing your job because of a media addiction. Who’s profiting here? Trump, who now so many people don’t trust because of the mass misrepresentation, people like you who are terrified, or the media, who makes money off clicks and off your attention?

  • Theresa Healey

    Thank you for sharing. I was in a really similar situation recently: feeling defeated by the election and in a huge rut working for people who are simply not feminists.

    I’m happy to say that my job search paid off and I am now working at a better paying job in an office of 11 women and only 1 man.

    I don’t blame you for not quitting until you have a new job. You need the benefits and you have to survive. Before I left my last job, I really tried to not “check out”, but my heart wasn’t in it anymore. Some people may have noticed my change in behavior, but I didn’t sweat it. Gotta do what you gotta do.