What Comes Next

Written by Natalie Luhrs

I'm a lifelong geek with a passion for books and social justice.
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March 11, 2021

So I’ve made a decision or three.

Decision the first: I’m applying for SSDI instead of looking for a new job. The main reason for this is that FMLA doesn’t apply unless I work for a company with >50 employees, work for them a year, and work more than 1,250 hours (60% of full time). My health simply isn’t stable enough for me to manage that. I have too many doctor’s appointments and too many procedures for me to be able to take on a traditional job without getting fired for absenteeism. I really don’t want to go there.

Which leads to decision the second: I am open to a limited amount of freelance writing and coding work (more about the coding next). If you think you have a project that I’d be a good fit for, fill out this handy form and I’ll get back to you within 24 hours.

Decision the third: I’ve brushed up on my HTML/CSS skills and am learning Python and Django. I’m also planning on learning Javascript and how to code WordPress child themes (if for no other reason than the fact that this site needs a refresh). It’s been really fun and a good challenge, even if there has been more than a bit of cussing about git and GitHub. Once I get more comfortable with Python and Django I’m planning to look for open source projects that I can contribute to.

Financially, we’re okay for now. I’ve found that my need to buy random shit online has subsided since I stopped working. So that’s helping the budget tremendously. However, my SSDI attorney wants to wait until September to file, as Social Security wants folks to not work for five months before getting benefits. He thinks I have a very strong case–he was very complimentary about my organizational skills–and that I stand a good chance of being approved sooner in the process as opposed to later. So things are likely to get pretty lean later this year unless I can bring in a some freelance income.

So that’s my path forward, at least for now.

I’ve also been spending a lot of time reading. I’m currently working my way through Ibram X. Kendi’s How to Be An Antiracist and it’s interesting and quite challenging–but challenging in a good way.

I’ve also been watching a lot of Star Trek. Specifically Deep Space Nine. Can we talk about Kira? I’m really worried about her mental health and stability, especially now that they’ve killed off Bareil for entirely stupid plot-coupon reasons. Also when I watched the episode where Odo met his “family” I kept yelling, “They’re evil!” at the television (I have turned into that person who talks to the people in the talky picture box). Also I kind of ship Odo and Quark and that makes me feel like a very bad person.

Health-wise, I’ve honestly been feeling a lot better since I stopped working. I no longer have a feeling of dread hanging around me, I don’t get anxious when I go into my home office, and I’m just overall feeling stronger. Getting the space away from my former employer has really made me realize how abusive my former department was. My manager was able to make it such an environment because she isolated the analysts from the rest of the company–anything to anyone outside Engineering or higher than her on the org chart had to be mediated through her–and was able to impose her version of reality upon us.

Also! Also also also! After four and a half months, I am getting an insulin pump! It’s been shipped and everything. So the next time I get around to updating here, I’ll be a cyborg. I’m looking forward to having more fine-grained control over my insulin, as it’s pretty challenging to dose myself correctly with insulin pens that only dispense in whole units when I need to be able do fractional units.

Hope y’all are doing well, too.

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4 Comments

  1. Ridley

    Good luck with the SSDI application process. Unlike a lot of people, I had a really easy and uncomplicated time of it, so here’s hoping the good lightning strikes you too. Welcome to the funemployed cripple crew!

    • Natalie Luhrs

      I’m hopefully that it’ll go well. If nothing else, we can drown them in an enormous pile of paper.

  2. Victoria Janssen

    Odo and Quark should totally be doing it.

    • Natalie Luhrs

      THANK YOU FOR VALIDATING ME.

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