Rebecca Eckler is one of Canada's most talked about newspaper columnists, the author of Knocked Up: Confessions of a Hip Mother to Be, which has been translated into nine languages. Also the author of the bestsellers, Wiped!, Toddlers Gone Wild, and Rotten Apple, the first in a YA series. Random thoughts on life in the competitive world of modern mommyhood. Blog will be loved by trendy mothers who still feel, or often feel, that the most important word in "mommee" is ME!

Friday, October 27, 2006

Why Ex-Jobs are like Ex-Boyfriends

Dear Ex Place Of Employment,

So, about - god, has it been almost a year now? - I was told by Human Resources at my Ex-Place of Employment that I would no longer be paid my salary.

For the haters, it was, 'Hey Eckler was fired!!!" I love the haters. (Trust me, if you are a writer and don't have haters, you are doing something wrong.)

Well, I suppose it was a firing - sort of - but I was also told that I could still write for them as much as I wanted, could keep my column, and would get paid per story and column as opposed to my (admittedly) large salary for what I did. (Same as was told to almost every other columnist who was also sort-of-fired-but-asked-to-stay-on.)

I suppose I could have stayed on to this day, as could have numerous other columnists. For some of them, who I remain friends, it was a point of pride. "They don't want me. I don't want them." Kind of like liking a guy who doesn't like you.

Why the hell would you want to be with them if they don't want to be with you? (Except this guy paid me many months of severance when he sort-of-ditched me, which paid for a new car, a trip to the Four Seasons Maui, and many pairs of designer boots.)

But, for me, for a long time, I was unhappy at my Former Place Of Employment.

It was like being in a relationship with a guy that's ok, but has no spark, and you kind of just coast along for months and months and months, thinking, "Isn't there someone better out there? I need to shake things up. God, I'm so bored."

Now, that's not to say I wasn't at one point in love with my Ex-Job. God, was it fun at the beginning.

We had chemistry. And, even two and three years into my relationship at the Former Place of Employment, I was still in deep-like, all through the changes, watching all my friends move on (get fired), and all the editors I loved move on to other publications, finding their own new loves.

It was kind of like watching all of your best friends getting married, while your stuck thinking, "When is it going to happen to me? It's never going to happen!"

Then there was that call, that day a year ago, where I was told I could stay on but we won't pay you as much, and I suppose there was a pride moment/issue for me too. I told The Fiance to cancel our subscription immediately, which we did.

Like getting dumped, you get rid of all reminders of that person. (Even worse, is to be dumped by someone you didn't even like that much anymore. You kind of want to yell, "Hey! I was going to dump you!")

The Former Place of Employment was also like a guy you break up with but keep in your life - until something (someone) better comes along. I kept plugging away for them - having break-up sex with them, you could say - while planning to sleep with someone else.

I knew what I wanted (like most girls know WHO they want) which was to work at the Globe and Mail.

Why? Because I had also grown up over my time at the Former Place of Employment.

I was no longer Single in the City girl. I was a mother. And there was a whole wave of readers that I feel I grew up with, and who grew up with me.

They, too, were no longer single, but mothers too. I had a new life - and while I wasn't going to get a new haircut, I wanted a new job.

I knew that I wanted to, and needed to, move on, which all women in relationships know is a very difficult thing to do, even if it is the smart thing to do. It is easier to just stay in a relationship, then find a new guy, right?

But there is nothing worse than listening to a friend moan for years about how she hates her boyfriend, but sticks with him. Likewise, there is nothing worse than listening to people moan about jobs they hate, when they can find another.

I thought it was a good break up with The Former Place of Employment, as good as any break up, after 7 years, can go.

When people asked why I wasn't writing for them anymore, I told them the truth.

When people who worked in the past at Former Place of Employment, or still did and do, complained about the Former Place of Employment to me, I would nod and talk about the good times. I didn't really care to talk about my Ex at all.

Like most breakups, there's a cooling off time, and then people generally move on.

To say I've moved on, is an understatement.

Do I miss the good times? Of course. Do I still think fondly of my Ex sometimes? Sure.

But everyone, in every type of relationship, eventually moves on and forgets the good and bad times and concentrates on their present relationships. You wake up one day and you think, "Hey! I haven't thought about my ex in months!"

Ahhh, but then today.....I heard from a colleague at Macleans magazine. She wrote, "Do not be upset about what they wrote about you today. They are stupid and mean and that's why they are going down."

To which I responded, "What did they write?"

I have not read the paper of the Former Place of Employment in a year. In fact, no one brings up my Ex with me anymore.

When I move on, I do move on. I sometimes will log on to the site to read Shinan Govani (Thanks to a password of a friend - I do not pay. You do not help your Ex find a new girlfriend, no matter how fondly you think of them.)

So what did my Ex write about me? - something about "0 published letters asking for the return of Rebecca Eckler."

While, for anyone who can read between the lines or has a brain, there is a difference between "published letters" - why the fuck would a publication publish letters asking for the return of someone who works now - happily - for their competition? - and letters they have received that have not published.

I have no idea if they've recieved letters or not. Ok, I do know they have. I do still talk to friends of the Ex - a woman will always have mutual friends with their Ex.

Personally, I have received letters too. But that's not the point. It does not make me feel good or bad to know that people miss me. (Ok, that's a lie. Like most women, even when we are over our exes, it's still nice to know they miss us.)

The point is, after so long, why is my Ex writing not so nice things about me? Obviously, someone has not moved on. I say this because I do not think, in my day to day, ever about my Ex (Place of Employment.)

I sent an e-mail to a former colleage at The Ex Place of Employment (who still works there) asking why they would bother. I mean, don't people in all relationships think about Karma - there's relationship Karma and there's Career Karma, both which will bite you in the ass.

Women know if they get dumped meanily by someone, it's usually because they treated someone else like shit at some point in their past. Women know not to talk bad about the Ex, if they want their next relationship to be a good one.

Our mutual friend's response (from someone who still works at My Former Place of Employment) "I know! That one was totally out of my hands. Another section did it - and it was gratuitously mean and just not classy. I apologize on their behalf....And I happen to know there were plenty of letters asking where you were."

So, dear Ex Place of Employment, write whatever you want, if it makes you feel better (Try cookie dough ice cream - it works too!). I have long moved on. In fact, I have to write something now for my present place of employment, a place where I am very much in love.

I still wish you well (ish.) And, maybe one day, we can be friends.

Rebecca Eckler

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Who is THE ONE You Trust?

The other day I starting to think about trust and who I trust completely and utterly. This post is about trust and love and how the two go hand in hand..

I started to think about trust because I told a friend something that was totally innocuous and she told someone else, because what I told her was so not important, but it got passed on and then got back to me.

I was in awe that, in a matter of two days, something I said in passing (trust me, it's nothing at all juicy. "Pass the salt please" would be more interesting.) actually got back to me - all the way from Vancouver.

Since it was nothing juicy or mean, it was just weird to me how people talk. It was more like, "I heard you were at..." one of things. Anyway.

Aside from my family (They don't count - because they are family, so of course I trust them) there is only one other person that I trust completely, 100 per cent, which is The Fiance.

This morning I was talking to a friend and I asked him the question, "How many people do you trust?"

He said, "Including family?" I said, "No."

He said, "It's interesting. Um, there is one person. Yeah, that's weird." The thing is, I don't think it's that weird.

I trust the fiance with everything. I can tell him anything and everything and know that it won't go anywhere, no matter how boring what I tell him is, or how juicy it is.

I mean, we all have friends who we know pass on things even after we say, "You can't tell anyone!" No one is that naive to believe that there's not always a change whatever secret you tell them, it will be passed on - maybe not immediately, but one day, months or years from now...

Also, a few weeks ago, someone asked me how the fiance proposed to me. I'm not going to say. But I am going to tell you why I love him. In fact, I invite all of you to share the little things your man does for you that makes you love him. Please do. Because it's nice.

When I was an advice columnist, people always asked how do you know when he's THE ONE?

There are big reasons I love the fiance, but it's the little things that add up, I think, that make him THE ONE.

1) If he picks me up from home, on his way home from work so we can go for dinner, and I get in the car, he always makes sure my station is already on. He turns it to MY station before I get in the sweet is that? Even though he hates the top 40/hip hop/Sexy Back music I love.

2) He never makes me attend events with him that I don't want to go.

3) He will sit through watching the Gilmore Girls with me, though he hates it, just because he says he likes to "sit with me." He will also sit through Bachelor Rome with me, though he hates it, just to spend "quality time" with me.

4) He will always pick up my phone call - even if he's on the line with an important client or in a conference call.

5) When we go to a party, he will ALWAYS tell me after that I was the prettiest girl there, even though I know he's lying.

And these are only five of the many very little gestures that make me love the guy. Now, share your top five. Because I love these stories....

Friday, October 20, 2006

REWARD!!! If anyone is still reading this....

Sorry, no, you don't get a reward if you are still reading this. Although, it's true, you deserve one because I haven't posted in like, um, a year...

Who would have thought - because I certainly wouldn't have - that throwing a 3 three-olds birthday party could take up YOUR ENTIRE LIFE?

In the weeks leading up to the party, it seemed I was constantly on the phone with caterers, balloon-makers, cake people, answering regret-only calls....It was never-ending.

One woman who's daughter I had invited called me to tell me all about her daugther's "pooping" issues at school. Seriously. Just because my number is on the REGRETS ONLY part of the invite, I really don't need to know about your kids potty issues.

The party was fun - but also kind of never-ending. I swear, the party started at 4 p.m. and 18 hours later, it seemed, I looked at my watch and, doh!, it was only 4:45 p.m.

But I'll talk more about the party at some other point. I think I have post-stress-birthday-party-disorder. In fact, we haven't even opened the presents yet.

I want to talk about rewards, because well, I was in Toronto the last few days (I was a presenter at the Gemini Awards - now THAT is a whole other post that will have you laughing your asses off....I swear, I'll post that one next week.)

Anyway, I was at the Toronto airport, heading back to Calgary, walking to my gate. In the middle of the floor was a black wallet, which I, of course, picked up.

I, of course, looked through it too. There was cash (about $60) a couple gold credit cards, some other cards for gas stations and the such and a driver's license.

I know what a pain in the ass it would be to lose all that stuff. So, nice me - yes, nice me! - spent 25 minutes trying to find a customer service desk so I could give this wallet to them so they could find the man who lost it.

While at the customer service desk, which I finally found, the dude there opened the wallet and found the man's card inside. He suggested I call the number on his card.

So, there I am, calling on my cell phone this guys office, to let him know not to worry because I have his wallet. He was from Calgary, so I could have easily brought it back with me.

I get a call back, five minutes later, from one of his co-workers, telling me this dude who lost his wallet is on the same plane as I am. Customer Service dude tells me to take it to the gate and give it to them.

Which I do.

Then I hear Gate Person calling this man's name out. I watch as Man With Lost Wallet goes to gate and is handed his wallet. I overhear him say he didn't even know he was missing it.

I suppose it was kind of nice that he asked Gate Man who it was who found the wallet, and Gate Man pointed me out.

So the dude, with his lost wallet now in hand, comes over and says, "Yeah, thanks. You know, my wallet was stolen from my car just last month so this would have been bad."

And that was it.

Then he leaves. Now, I'm not saying that I wanted a reward, but isn't that what people do when they find your wallet? Or do people not do that anymore?

I'm telling you that if someone found my wallet and got it back to me, I would at least offer to give them some cash. I would never have taken the cash, but I'm just's what you're supposed to do. Or ask for their business card so you can send them a nice little thank you note.

When I think about it, it cost *me* money, and time, to get this guys wallet back to him - long distance call to his office, incoming long distance call from his co-worker, and the fact that I spent 25 minutes of my time finding customer service when I could have bought US Weekly instead.

I once found a high powered CBC execs wallet in a cab. Not only did I get a hand written thank you note, but he sent flowers. That was nice.

I wonder if this dude whose wallet I found has ever seen the movie Pay it Forward. Since the dude, whose wallet I found, never Paid It Forward, I told the gate man while boarding my plane that maybe I should be upgraded because I did a very nice deed and now it's Air Canada's time to Pay It Forward to me.

Well, I'm not going to tell you how it ended for me on the plane. Let's just say it was a nice flight.

And let's just say if someone finds your wallet, with gold credit cards that they could have bought a shit load of expensive stuff with, you should maybe at least show a tiny bit of appreciation.