December 30th, 2010: Ashleigh Dickins

One year ago today I became unemployed.  I’m not a victim of recession, I wasn’t “let go” due to downsizing.  I was fired.

Really it felt more like a break-up as I tried not to cry and my now ex-boss murmured clichés like “It’s not you, it’s me;”  “It’s just time;” and “At some point we just became unhappy together.”  I’ll say.  That point was when I discovered he’d been skimming money from my pay checks and reported him to the labor board.  A total of over $1,650.000 over 4 years; from a man I almost considered family.

To say I was upset is an understatement.  To say I was angry is also an understatement.  I was those things and more on such a large scale, I was a ball of emotions.  Worse than a woman on menopause.  Upset, angry, hurt, betrayed, embarrassed, ashamed, it was all there and it stays with me to this day.  I tried to remain numb as I drove, not home from work, but to join my parents for the New Years.

At first I took on more in both worlds, trying to distract myself.  I thought it’d be easy since I’d just been elected to the board for the Second Life Surfing Association.  Unfortunately I found myself floundering and struggling as I battled my ex-boss for what I was owed, and the insomnia that plagued me since that day.  I became lost.

One year later, and nothing has changed; and everything has changed.  I’ve moved to my parent’s house in SC, finished my term on the SLSA board, and opened an etsy shop.  Those are the good things, but there are also some bad.  I’ve withdrawn into myself, been rearranging priorities ad nauseam, stressed and worried myself to the point of physical sickness, and continued battling both my ex-boss and insomnia.  This month the labor board finally finished, but didn’t find in my favor.  Now I’m suing him in small claims court, and have reported his behavior to the state bar. So despite a year’s worth of time and so-called progress, I feel stuck in quicksand.  I keep fighting, because that’s all there is left to do.

____________________

Ashleigh Dickins is a 27-year-old unemployed, non-college graduate, who lives with her parents in South Carolina and realized just now how bad that sounds.  She’s been in Second Life since 2006 and owns Basics.  She also blogs her adventures and fashion as well as raises bunnies and surfs, which led to her beginning to write for SurfWatch in 2008, now she is their in-world editor for the quarterly SurfWatch Magazine which is working on Volume 8.  Often she’ll be sitting alone in her bunny garden on SL while watching TV and working on items for her etsy shop. Come January 26th she’ll be nervously presenting her case in front of a magistrate, going up alone against her ex-boss, who happens to be an attorney.

 

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