Sunday, March 27, 2016

Navis Salubris – Chapter Six – One War Over, Another Begun

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Navis Salubris Serialized Short Stories

This is the continuation of my Navis Salubris serialized zombie short stories. You have now been introduced to all five characters. Please scroll to the bottom if you wish to catch up on the story. 

We now get back to Abdul, who has been fighting for the wrong side in Iraq. His fellow officers have all been killed, and the camp has filled with zombies. 

At the last possible moment, he finds a ticket on the ground and has a good chuckle over his one way ticket to nowhere. Let’s find out what happens next.

A Recap:

He dropped his gun, and it fell down into the dirt. He pitched forward onto the ground and started crying. He wished he’d never left London to join this terrorist cell. What a mistake that had been. He’d been expecting active combat, but instead got sent to a prisoner interment camp. What kind of war was it when the enemy didn’t even have the honour of fighting?

He heard a scuffling noise in front of him. He calmed his sobs and looked up. Surely he would have been bit by now? The zombies were milling around him, but looking confused. On the ground in front of him he saw a black envelope. 

Abdul picked up the envelope, and tore it open. His face switched to a bewildered expression as he saw that it was a ticket. 

Abdul started laughing. 

“A ticket to nowhere,” he muttered to himself in between guffaws.  

Now onto Chapter Six.

Chapter Six—One War Over, Another Begun

Abdul tucked the ticket into his pocket, and punched his way past the zombies. The prisoners were chained against a wall. He was glad he’d held onto the key. He unlocked their chains while they watched, too frightened to move.

“Run!” he encouraged them. “The war is over! We now have a new war!” Abdul ran for the cover of a truck, while behind him, the prisoners scattered. Some were smart enough to find weapons.

Abdul had just hopped in the cab of the truck when three zombies came for him. He grabbed the door handle and pulled. It was enough. Two zombie hands were amputated, but he was safe as he pushed the lock down. He held onto the handle and made a silent prayer.

When he opened his eyes, he was no longer in the truck. Astonished, he glanced around him. He was in what appeared to be a ship’s cabin. It was small, but very clean. He felt the floor gently move beneath him.

“Hello,” said a voice behind him. He jumped, then reached for his pistol, before realizing that it was gone. He patted himself down, but even the knives were gone.

At first he thought someone was in the room with him, and then he realized that the television was on. He moved closer. He hadn’t seen a television since he had left London many months ago.

Blasphemy! It was a woman who was not covered. He averted his eyes.

“Hello, and welcome to Navis Salubris. I’m Sonya, the ship’s cruise director. We understand that you’re confused. Don’t worry, it will all be explained to you. But for now, we invite you to wash up, and join us in the ship’s canteen at noon.” The television went dark. 

Abdul walked up to the TV to turn it back on, but all the channels were fuzzy. He saw clothing on the bed, but it was infidel’s clothing. He would not wear it. 

But then he looked down at his long black robes. They were encrusted with the blood and guts of zombies. It soaked right down to his skin. Shrugging, his removed his clothes and found a small bathroom with a hot shower. It had been a long time since he had experienced hot water.

Later, he looked down at the clothes on the bed. Perhaps they weren’t so bad. The jeans were a dark blue, the shirt was long-sleeved, and there was a hoodie. He could do something with this. 

After dressing, he glanced at the clock and noticed it was nearly noon. Now it was time to find out if he was dead, or not. Either way, it did not matter to him as God had a purpose for him.

Next... Chapter Seven – Nell Onboard. 


If you enjoyed this story, please Like and Follow me on Facebook & Twitter.

You may be interested in these other chapters:
Navis Salubris—Chapter Four—Ritta
Navis Salubris—Chapter Five—Sam

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please learn more here.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Ruthless Job Exit Strategies



Don't Get Mad—Get Even! Plan Your Exit Strategy Now!

by Mel Dawn

I wrote this article a few years ago and never placed it. There are some links going around on Facebook about women leaving themselves an exit strategy. Since those articles better cover exit strategies involving sexual abuse, I wanted to cover exit strategies that may be just as psychologically damaging when they’re based on bullying, racism, threats, or any number of other tactics that corporations practice. 

The best reason for planning an exit strategy may be when you realize that it's better to leave your job than take even one more minute sucking up to your boss, or handling an abusive work situation that doesn't improve. This calls for some quick planning on your part.

Ideally, you should have a two-year exit plan in place. The single top reason why no one leaves their job now is due to financial stress. Everyone needs to pay their rent, bills and eat. Without a solid plan in place, you are either going to end up on the street, or worse, back at your parent’s house.

Obviously some situations call for you to leave immediately. Anything involving physical abuse for example. In those situations I suggest you contact a lawyer, so you can at least have a solid termination package in place, covering expenses and healthcare while you look for a new job. 

The rest of the people may be on the cusp, meaning your job is so awful you can't take it anymore, but someone else might be rushing in to take your job from you. Generally, people don't leave bad jobs, they leave bad bosses. People work bad jobs that have great bosses and colleagues.

What you must do is plan your job exit accordingly. You must be ruthless. You have made one of the most difficult decisions of your life and now you must follow-through. Let's hope you can eek out your work existence for another two years. If not, one year should give you enough of a cash cow for you to survive, until you can find a better job.

It goes without saying that right now you're going to need to be ruthless and cut all your utilities. Decide which is more important, cell phone or home phone. Cancel all internet service, cable service, alarm monitoring plans, and cell phone data plans. Toss out those magazine or online subscription renewals. No more gaming, nor more magazines or books. 

Keep some used food jars and save them for your cash. Each month set up three jars. One for rent/mortgage, one for food and one for utilities, etc. Place $100 in each one, except for rent, that needs to be the exact amount. When those jars are empty, stop. You are not buying anything until the next month.

Can you do it? Yes you can! You can visit the library where there are shelves full of free-to-use books, CDs and DVDs. Why buy those anymore?

Once you have your expenses in order, you must start placing money in your savings account. Ideally, this needs to be one entire paycheck per month. Yes, that's right. You must learn to live on only one pay check per month. Because when you're off work, you're not going to have much to live on. After you have set aside your one paycheck, and the other paycheck has been divvied into the jars, what's left is going to be used to pay off any of your other debts, such as car loans or school loans. And that all needs to be gone in one year's time, leaving you debt-free.

When you start despairing of this, remember how you spent the last seven nights for several hours curled up in a ball on the bed crying about your job. It'll all be worth it in the end.

The next thing you need to do is change your meals. No more eating fast food, meals out, or junk food. Shop the healthy aisles at the grocery store. Remember that library? They have some great cook books. Whenever they have free lunch day or free donuts at work, load up. Pack up some to take home. That will take care of some of your meals. Pour some coffee in your thermos for when you wake up in the morning. It's not that bad. 

Now is the time to ask for a reference from human resources. Of course you're not asking for a job reference, you are asking for a reference to return to school. Once you’ve left, they won't have an issue with confirming your employment, as you have already asked.

The “return to school” explanation is also perfect if someone starts questioning you. They can, and will notice a change in your attitude, mainly, the “I don’t give a fuck anymore” attitude. It can simply be explained away by long nights of night school, homework, and being broke. You’ll also get brownie points from your manager as employers love employees that pay for their own schooling. 

It must also be said that you should be documenting any abuse that you’re experiencing from a manager or supervisor. You’ll also document any emails, letters, or correspondence. Be sure to show your side of things, and how you attempted to fix the situation, perhaps with human resources, another manager, or the CEO. Keep all your records at home. This may be the difference between being able to apply for EI—Employment Insurance—or not. 

Many countries are taking a stance against bullying and abuse in the workplace. Having a valid excuse for quitting your job will still qualify you for EI, but you’re going to need to have documentation, and possibly letters from physicians. And, having some extra cash coming in while you search for your next job will help ease the worry that your landlord may dump you on the curb because you have no money for rent. Never feel bad about being on EI—your employer was an asshole, not you. 

Make sure you write down email addresses and phone numbers of people you wish to keep in contact with. These may be people that you'll need a reference from later. Get all the info now, so you won't forget later. Start cleaning out any personal information from your email or computer. You’d be surprised at how little you'll need to do once you put in notice on your last day.

If you have a chance, ask for a raise. The more money you can save, the better. Be sure to max out all your benefits. Need fillings, caps or braces? Take care of that now. New glasses? Physical exams? Minor surgery? Do it now. Use up all your paid sick days, if you have them, as most companies don’t pay them out when you leave. If you have paid vacation coming, don't take it. If anyone questions it, say you are saving it for a big trip to Europe. No one will question you. When you leave, they have to pay you out for it. Having four weeks of vacation paid out is going to give you one month of living expenses that you won’t need to worry about during your job search. 

These techniques will have you well on your way to a well-planned job exit. No one will see it coming! You'll be out the door and giving yourself a nice little vacation for a while. One of the worst bullying techniques is for an employer to threaten you with job termination. But you've planned for it, so you will not play their game. You are well-planned, and your bank account looks great. The joke’s on them. Best of luck! 


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You may be interested in these other articles:

The Devastating Effects of the Vancouver 2015 Earthquake

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