It Is Only Fate Part 1

In the following story names have been changed to protect the innocent and the idiots and in this case most of them are idiots.

I don't believe in Karma. Yes, you have to face the consequences for your actions. You have to take responsibility for your misdeeds. But that is what happens in the physical world. There is no spiritual component. You are not rewarded or punished in this life by a force unseen. It is only fate.

It happens when I am at the grocery checkout and this one cashier asks if I am okay. She is an extremely nice women who always asks but during this one day she was particularly interested. It just happened to be the day that I told her that I had cancer, the day that I had to buy groceries with half my hair gone. Her response was that it wasn't fair. She repeated it a few times and then asked me if I screamed, complained, and jumped up and down because I got something that I didn't deserve. She told me that is what she would do. I told her I didn't do anything and just accepted it and she was impressed on how strong I was. I never told her that I cried.

So, this brings me to a story. A true story. A story of a dream, of a passion, for a career that turned into a nightmare. When you are an outpatient receiving chemotherapy spending as much as four hours sitting with your iv you get to know the people around you. Each time you come in, you see the same faces. It becomes a community of warm beautiful people that are drawn together by a dreadful disease. It is here that you listen and talk and relate, and yes, hear the stories of people's lives. One particular story stood out. It was the story from a man that I will call Frank.

When Frank was young, he wanted a career. One that wasn't based entirely on money but more based on passion. “I simply wanted to do something in my life that I would be thrilled to do each day. I wanted something that would make it easy to get out of bed each morning,” Frank said.

But nearly three decades later that would never happen. Frank got his degree from a prestigious university and he even got a graduate degree some time later in an attempt to jump start his career, but in the end, it didn't work. He ended up with only two degrees and nothing else. He ended up with a story with one bizarre twist after another from his very first job to his last that sent him to the unemployment line because of the present bad economy.

Now, here is his story:

The First Job And Hope For The Future

For Frank, the interview itself was foreshadowing of what was to come. It started out, at first okay, but soon spiraled into disaster. At the time, his father was forced to close a long time business. Because of their financial situation they only had one car so Frank's father decided to drive and take him to the interview while later he would go to his business to make arrangements, preparing to move everything to a new location. Frank got to the interview on time at the company that I will call HEMS. He was first sent along with another candidate to see the human resources manager. There, they were given an itinerary for the morning, showing the upcoming interviews. The atmosphere was positive. The company representative was warm and engaging. She stated that people who were selected for interviews were the ones that they needed. They were the ones that had the necessary backgrounds and talents.

“She was very nice and she really made you feel like you were the person that they wanted. She made you feel like you were part of an elite group. I was surprised that I actually had two interviews, one at the present location and the second at a facility 16 miles away.”

The first interview started immediately after in the same building with a manager I will call Ken. During the time there, Ken gave Frank a tour, showing him what they did in general and what their department did in particular. But the interview didn't go too well.

“He just didn't warm up to me despite how hard I tried. No matter what I said, it just wasn't working,” Frank said. But an innocent question next would result in a lie and a coincidence that defied the odds. While Frank was growing up he mowed the lawn of a neighbor every summer while they were on their usual month long vacation. He knew him fairly well including the rest of his family.

“Eric was a very nice neighbor with a very nice family.” But Eric was not only a neighbor, he was also a talented and smart engineer working at HEMS.

“That was the one single mistake that I made that unfortunately would haunt me for the next twenty years,” Frank said. “Kind of out of desperation I took a shot. I asked Ken if he knew Eric and I told him that he was my neighbor..” The odds were incredible. Out of tens of thousands of employees scattered across a number of facilities, Eric was sitting only about thirty feet away.

“Not only was I shocked to find out he was here, Ken was surprised also, and not in a good way,” Frank said. “Ken got up and together we went to Eric's cube where he was surprised and happy to see me. Then, suddenly, Ken insisted that Eric not help me.”

“He has to fly on his own,” Ken said shaking his head, and then he repeated himself. “He has to fly on his own. You can't help him.”

“I understand, I won't,” Eric said with irritation. He repeated himself also.

“I thought they were going to get into an argument and I knew right then that I was in trouble. At least I had another interview to go to. So there was hope,” Frank said.

I have to agree with Frank on this one. He shouldn't have to pay for what he did. How many of us can say that we have not met someone or someones that got their job from a friend or a neighbor or a family relative. The corporate world is ripe with nepotism and it isn't all that bad. Sometimes very talented people would never have had a chance were it not for someone that they knew. On the flip side some very stupid people got jobs they should not have had. However, in Frank's case he was the former and not the latter.

But for Frank, there was no hope. After the first interview, Frank and his father were suppose to go to the second building but for some unknown reason Frank's father decided to stop at his shop to take care of the business that he wanted to get done that day. He probably did this because it was on the way. Therefore he wouldn't have to drive all the way back. By the time that they were underway again it was still possible to make it on time but it was going to be close. But then, for some reason unknown, Frank's father got on the wrong exit on the freeway. It was as if he had no idea where he was.

“To this day I have no idea what happened,” Frank said. “It was as if his mind went blank. He didn't know that he was going in the wrong direction. I don't know. Maybe he was under pressure to get me there and he knew he didn't have much time.”

By the time they got there, they were more than a half an hour late. Unable to get past the front door he used the intercom and a women's voice that came across said that she would check in to see if the person Frank was suppose to see was there. A few minutes later she came back saying that he already left for lunch, since it was already five minutes past noon. Frank can't remember exactly what happened after that. He isn't sure how long they waited hoping that he would come back from lunch.

“I think he refused to see me.” Desperate to make amends, Frank and his father returned to the original building and contacted the human resources manager that Frank initially met with. But when she entered the lobby to talk, suddenly she was not very nice anymore. “I could tell that she was mad. I tried to explain to her what happened and I asked her if she could set up another time with the other manager. She said that she would try but I could tell she wasn't going to do anything. She was furious. She quickly turned around and walked away.”

So that was it. Possibly one of the greatest days for everyone else that interviewed during that time happened to be the darkest for Frank. For days after he refused to talk to his father. He was angry for what he did and Frank was convinced that he was now going to have to move out of state to find a job. But out of some miracle, the job offer came and a week after, Frank started his first job.

Next time, I will continue the story, where this miracle really wasn't a miracle. Where Ken would try to get Frank fired and in the end, a neighbor would commit an act of betrayal.

Note: The statements that Frank made, written above, are approximate, as best to my recollection. I did record the names of Frank's colleagues that he met over the years so that I would not accidentally use their real names.

Disclaimer: Frank has given me permission to write this story about him. He has no interest in writing it himself but is interested in getting the story out. He says with his luck, if he tried to write it, no one would read it, or if someone would read it, he would then get hit with a falling piano.

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