Hitting the Jackpot

Fool proof, right?

Fool proof, right?

I’ve figured out a sure-fire way to improve my financial position. I’ve joined a team of 18 others who purchase lottery tickets on a weekly basis. Using the power of group purchasing over an extended period of six months, we’re practically guaranteed of winning Mega Millions, Super Lotto and/or Powerball. Don’t understand the differences or the odds of winning these games? Me neither. Since greed is good, all I care about is winning.

My lottery tickets to date have been limited to one-time group purchases with book clubs and colleagues from work when the payouts reached astronomical amounts. I’ve also entered the Ronald McDonald Dream House contest a couple of times. Year

My Rancho Santa Fe (SoCal) Dream House

My Rancho Santa Fe (SoCal) Dream House

One, the winning name – my name surely – was to be picked on a Sunday afternoon. In preparation for my winning, I sent out an email at work Friday afternoon explaining I would be late arriving on Monday because I’d need to pose for pictures holding the key to my new home. On “winning” Sunday, I happened to be at Cousin #2’s house in Topanga Canyon, which has lousy cell phone reception. Around the time of the drawing, I made sure to sit in the one area outside where my cell phone worked. When the call failed to come, I figured it was because the cell phone tower wasn’t working. Unfortunately, when I finally received cell phone reception, there were no messages. When I arrived at work on time on Monday, I was greeted not with derision but with sympathy. My colleagues apparently agreed that I had deserved to win.

The only other time I was absolutely convinced of winning was the lottery my colleagues and I entered in Spring 2011. Our circumstances would provide a heartwarming story of revenge, plus the visuals would be terrific.

Here’s why:

Following the economic meltdown in 2008, our company had been reduced from a staff of 24 to only 8. The workload, of course, remained the same. Perhaps we received more compensation for the tripled amount of work we were handling? Nope. Salaries remained where they were when we were first hired three of five or seven years previous. In fact, my compensation was reduced when the CEO, who we referred to as That Son of a Bitch, took away my monthly $50 cell phone reimbursement. Ask me whether I needed to use my cell phone for business. You already know the answer is an unequivocal “yes.”

Cedar Rapids flood of 2008

Cedar Rapids flood of 2008

In return for our increased work load, the company rewarded us by closing the office, which was in North Coastal County San Diego (think La Jolla and Carlsbad, California) and moving to Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The office would remain open for another 10 months and a select few of us would be allowed to move to Iowa – at Cedar Rapids salaries.

I actually was prepared to accept this offer. I’m from the Midwest, having been born and raised in Chicago. Ergo, know the true meaning of “winter” and “humidity.” Since I was two-to-three years from retirement age, I figured I could handle living through two Midwest winters and summers. The timeframe was finite. It wasn’t as if I was young, might fall in love with a local farmer or insurance executive, marry, have kids and then call Iowa my home. The days and months and years could be crossed off a calendar to mark the passage of time.  When the two years were up, I figured I could easily talk myself into surviving just one more year.

The only problem was that I wasn’t invited to Iowa. That’s another story, one that involves a typical corporate scenario in which the advice of a highly paid male consultant in his 60s full of BS trumps the years of experience and knowledge of an underpaid, overworked woman in the same age group. In case you’re not paying attention, that woman was me.  Oh heck – here’s a summary of the rest of the story: I didn’t do a good job of hiding my utter disdain for the consultant, who was hand-picked by the new, Cedar Rapids CEO (who we quickly dubbed SOB 2). When CEO/SOB2 asked me if I could support the Consultant, I heard a voice say, “No.” Unfortunately, that voice was mine. I was given a month to get my work organized for a replacement and then leave.

In the meantime, our adjoining office, which was 2,000 square feet and needed when there were 24 of us, was closed and all the remaining desks, book shelves, telephones, file cabinets, computers, printers, copiers, fax machines, scanners and other equipment were jammed into the remaining office, which was half the size, and occupied by those of us who remained. Empty cubicles and offices of those who had already been laid off were filled to overflowing with junk from the second office. Files cabinets were lined up again the walls, leaving us no more than a foot to pass through; desks were piled upon on each other; and electronics, stationery, staplers, tapes, pencil sharpeners, dividers, fasteners, file folders and packages of pens, pencils and post-it notes were placed precariously on top of the desks. The “break room” (hah – who ever took a break, plus now it was impossible to even get into it) ended up with two coffee machines. Neither one worked.

This, then, was the heartwarming back story of the 8 of us who would win the lottery. Plus the photo op would be absolutely terrific. The media could interview us on site among the OSHA-violating visuals. Oh, did I mention we were going to quit en masse? Being a conscientious bunch, we fully intended to leave “out-of-office” voice mails and automatic email responses explaining the reason for our sudden departure.

I spent the weekend knowing we would win. I passed the time looking at ads for a London pied-a-terre and found a mews that would be perfect for me. My main concern was that it might be purchased before I had time to cash my lottery check and make my offer.

I was stunned when our numbers weren’t chosen.

But now that I’m investing on a regular basis with an established group, I’m quite sure it’s only a matter of time.

My photo here!

My photo here!

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