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


Anonymous ali said...

it hasn't been the same since you left. seriously.

12:15 PM

Blogger Laural Dawn said...

So, of course I went and read this story. You know what? It was so boring that I barely got to the part where they referred to you.
Personally, I thought it was really tacky. And, the whole thing - who cares how many times they used the word "uber" in the paper.
And, besides all of that, I'm with you. Old jobs are like old relationships. You don't want to revisit them. And if you do they are always really disappointing.
But you shouldn't talk badly about the person. That was just mean!

12:22 PM

Anonymous GirlyGurl said...

I think they're trying to jusify to themselves what they did. "See, no one cares that she's gone!" "We really have our fingers on the pulse of what our readers want!" They are wrong, wrong, wrong. I frantically searched for your column for weeks. Oh, and when Christie B. left...that was a bummer too.

12:33 PM

Blogger AC said...

They are pathetic (just like the exes that won't let go). I always read your column and I haven't found anything that I enjoy as much. Except of course your Mommy Blogger column at the other place.

3:23 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This Rebecca Eckler fan cancelled her NP subscription and signed up with the Globe and Mail when you 'broke up'...didn't bother trying to get a letter to editor published for a newspaper I didnt want to read anymore...

Funny though, I received a 'free' NP on my door step this morning and saw your name (they must be trying to increase circulation)?Very poor taste, boring article and pretty much the exact same content as my 'local paper'!

As with all break-ups, the friends that were yours in the first place will always stick by you!!!!!

OMG...I cant remember my log in info. You were gone for WAY TOO LONG!!!!

Regards, Maddies Mom

PS HELP! I have to go back to work in a week and miss the BEBE already...

3:35 PM

Blogger Jen said...

Exes who try to drag your name through the mud or attempt to belittle you are those that you are better off without!

6:13 PM

Anonymous Sam's mom said...

Hello there, I read your first book a couple years ago and was SO dissappointed when I found out the paper you work for was the one I choose to never buy/read! I am so happy that you work at the Globe and Mail as that is the paper we buy every Saturday, and I always read the Style section first! I am very supportive of you moving on. (I also liked reading what you have written for Macleans and Chatelaine).

7:21 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a completely bizarre, out-of-nowhere, ridiculous line that was. What was the point of that? Pathetic of them, really.

10:03 AM

Anonymous Orchid Girl said...

I too changed my subscription to the G&M when you made the switch. Each Saturday the first columns I read are yours, and then your friend L's! Looking forward to next week's....

3:56 PM

Blogger hautemama said...

First off..I miss your more frequent blogs!

Secondly, it's their loss.

Thirdly, you rock!

5:04 PM

Blogger metro mama said...

Does anyone read that rag?

5:10 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I loathe that Paper That Shall Not Be Named.....the only reason I used to read it was for your column. I also searched for weeks before I gathered that you weren't there anymore. Haven't touched it since.

Mean people(and publications)suck. Very happy for you that you aren't there anymore. And happy for me, that I don't have to support that Paper anymore to be able to read a favorite columnist.

2:33 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am not a blogger, but I read your blog regulary and felt the need to respond to your posting. You can tell your Ex Place of Employment that just because we haven't sent in letters asking where you were .. doesn't mean that we weren't looking for you! Glad you like your new place of employment. You are "reading" candy! (if there is such a thing) Keep up the good work!

8:51 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

That other paper would have received a letter from me if only it were available in the boonies of eastern canada. At least we can still read you in the G&M which truly continues to be a "National" newspaper. Belated birthday greetings to Baby Rowan

10:57 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I too used to work at NP (notice why I'm posting as 'annonymous?').
Quite possibly the worst managed company on the planet.
Just like an Ex boyfriend, they can say what they like about you but knowing they were assholes makes you feel better knowing you've moved on.

11:56 AM

Blogger Sara Bingham said...

FYI, my brother-in-law missed you writing for the EX paper! I told him a few months ago (after "Motherhood is Boring" stage of life) and now he's happy, again. PS...good to have you back!

7:08 PM

Blogger Haley-O said...

I'm loving your analogy. Great post! That was really nasty of your ex -- looks like they're not over you, indeed....

8:48 PM

Blogger mad muthas said...

that's truly pathetic - you must have left a big you-shaped hole when you left (but they'd rather die than admit it!)

6:29 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You would THINK a grown up man (er..paper) would be a little more mature instead of trying to publish crappy attempts at digs (that you aren't even reading anyway)!

8:23 AM

Anonymous QueenieCarly said...

I wrote one of those letters. And I wrote an email for good measure so don't tell me no one asked for you!

That is all just so lame. What was the context? I just don't get why it would be said. What were they talking about? Why was it mentioned?

11:50 AM

Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

I saw their dig - I was disappointed in them, because I like the paper.

I was saddened by your break-up, because I thought that you were good together. But you're good on your own, too, and even with the new flame (who you make better - I was never a big fan of theirs.)

You're very gracious with your ex. Good for you.

8:28 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

a man ( i mean ex. place of employment) scorned is worse that a woman scorned. (hee hee)

5:36 PM

Blogger MommyWithAttitude said...

Well, if the ex is bad-mouthing you, it just means you are sorely missed!

11:20 PM


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