Archive for January, 2009

What I Accomplished Today or How I Kept Moving Forward

1) I called Office Manager at old job to confirm the details of my remaining owed benefits and earnings. I will be receiving 4 more regularly sized paychecks over the month of February. I also have my health insurance covered through all of February.

2) I cleaned my bedroom. The laundry had been piling up. Please note, I still have not washed said laundry, but I will need to soon.

3) I went to the library. I emailed a few people to spread the word that I am very actively looking for a job. I also asked some specifics, like about substitute teaching opportunities from a local educator.

4) I wrote a list of things I need to take care of, immediately, next week, and longer term.

5) I updated my resume. Duh. It didn’t take long to change a few verbs to past tense.

6) I searched local classified listings, and a few job sites to get an overview of what exactly is out there. Actually I was encouraged by this; I can see myself doing many of these jobs.

7) I applied to one job. Yes, just one. It looks like a real good one: 4 positions at a NPS visitor center in my local NP. The deadline ends today, so that became a priority.

Tonight, I’m going to watch my DBF’s son play basketball. He’s been injured for much of the season, but he’s supposed to play tonight. Hope I don’t turn out to be bad luck. Again. Then I’m going to get some warm food and drink, and hopefully sleep more than the two hours I got yesterday.

Tomorrow, I’m going to pay my rent. I’m now the longest running tenant in my building, so I also have an obligation to my neighbors to be the one who complains about the crappy plowing lately. I also want to go to the gym. It should help me relieve some stress and maybe sleep well tomorrow night.

Sunday, I have our second band rehearsal, although I haven’t practiced a bit since the last. And I’m going to make some phone calls: to my former Operations Manager who also got the axe of unjustice, and L, the guy I was promoted to replace.

Monday, I’ll hit up the local staffing agency, and be back at this searching thing full force.

Wish me luck. Good Night

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Yep, it Happened. I Got Axed

Add my name to the looong list of the unemployed.

I’m in absolute shock right now, and although I’m still shaking, the tears have mostly subsided. I’ve also been through a brief period of anger, but I know I still have more of that inside of me. I hope I can channel that into something productive…begining tomorrow. For tonight, I choose to wallow.

How did it happen? I just don’t understand.

Yes, the company’s workload has been slowing down; many of us saw the need for changes, but me? The company has now laid of 8 employees, or 13% of the labor force. I cannot believe  that I was in the bottom 13% of the company; I am a valuable employee!

I get nervous about everything in life, so I’d been worried about this for a long time, including back last fall when the company was hiring new people (btw, they are all still employed). For months, I heard reassurances that my job was not in jeapordy. And why should it be? After all, I consistantly had some of the best employee reviews in the whole company – above expectations across the board.

I was given a promotion a few weeks ago, after layoff round number 1. The company selected me to tackle that job and was willing to spend money to get me up to speed. I thought I was doing pretty well! What a blindside.

I’m not the only one, though. The Operations Manager also got cut. I’ve never felt that I had a particularly close relationship with him, but he is my number one ally now. And I feel he was mistreated in this instance, too.

The Assistant Operations Manager (who I’ve known for years, as a friend, before we worked there) will be promoted, and her first order of business was to lay people off. That selfish bitch looked down her uppity nose and handled it very badly. Our friendship will never be repaired. She called me into the office in a “oh, by the way” sort of manner and then BAM! I tried to negotiate. I tried to understand. The company decided to cut altogether the position I was promoted to. I was laid off in favor of keeping the “lifers”, even though I’ve been there three plus years (which is longer than her) and some people have only been there three plus months. I held myself together for a while and manged to get a week’s severance pay (I was initially only offered today and tomorrow). I was also told not to expect pay for the two weeks vacation time I have. This decision was later reversed when someone suggested it was illegal to withhold earned vacation pay.

I did cry in the office, though. I lost it when I thought about my boyfriend, who (thankfully, still) works for the same company. What scares me most is the thought of losing him. We’re so accustomed to seeing each other every day. He doesn’t really like being around me when I’m super stressed out. And what if I have to move to get a job? Financially I’ll survive, but I’ll never forgive them if I lose M.

I promise regular updates. Please promise me your love and support.

From My Email:

Email #1, received at 4:05pm:

“We have received and reviewed your application for the position listed above.

Based on the information you submitted, you have been determined to meet the minimum qualification requirements for this vacancy. You will be notified of the outcome of your consideration as further information becomes available.

We appreciate your time and effort in our application process and thank you for your interest in employment with the Federal Government.”

YAY!!!

Email #2, received at 4:06 pm:

This is to notify you that your score/rating was not high enough for you to be within reach for referral to the selecting official for this vacancy. Therefore, your name was not referred to the employing agency/hiring official at this time.

If we receive a request for additional candidates (for example, if a large number of candidates referred decline or are not available),  your application will again be reviewed for possible referral.

Thank you for your interest in employment with us.  We appreciate the time and effort you put into the application process for this position, and hope that you will apply for future opportunities.

Thank you for your interest in Federal employment.”

DAMN!!!

City Parking

As any city resident, past or present, can attest, one of the worst things about living in the city is figuring out what the heck to do with your car. When I lived in Montreal, I left my car parked in my parents’ garage, because I figured public transportation and the occasional Greyhound trip would ultimately be cheaper than parking tickets and impound fines. Even counting the two times I rented a car, the price was well worth not having the daily hassle.

Now I live in a much smaller city where the the Greyhound only makes a couple stops a day, and my car is a necessity, but parking remains a nightmare.

My apartment building has a small lot behind the building. The store on the first floor owns four U-haul type trailers, and a big black SUV, all of which make homes in my lot. Additionally, we lack appropriate signs designating it as a private lot, so there are often random visitors taking up our few precious spaces.

Vehicles cannot park overnight on any of the downtown streets. I have, on occasion, forgotten that I just meant to park there for a short while, and then left my car on the street over night, incurring a $10 fine. On nights when there is a lot of snow, I fully believe the town would tow cars on the street and in the way. In the past, when my driveway/parking lot has been messy or full, I’ve parked at a nearby motel. But due to the economy, they’ve shut down for the winter. Their lot is still being plowed, but it could be a tow-risk. I had thought that a government owned lot slightly farther away could be an alternative, but they charge to use the lot. I don’t know how much they charge; it is probably similar to the $10 fine, but certainly less than a tow. But if I went in after they were closed and got out at 6:30 in the morning, it is possible that I would not be noticed. Sometimes the best option is the one where you’ll have to pay the least, when the police decide that you have parked illegally.

So, last week, my parking lot was a skating rink, and two of the three short, steep driveways were like icy waterfalls – dangerous and nearly impassable, even in my AWD car. Then it snowed. A lot. Then it rained on top of the snow, creating a heavy dense mush. The plows took their sweet time getting to us, and the street plows began inadvertantly pushing more slush down the waterfalls. And I needed to get out.

I cleared off my car and headed for the middle driveway. It is the shortest and widest of the three, and typically has the best flat acceleration area at the bottom. There was a white truck parked in the acceleration zone, but I tried to make do with what was left. I got halfway. Then, with all four wheels still spinning forward, I increased speed backwards down the hill, toward the white truck.  I had no steerage, but I would have only been able to steer into a building anyway. I managed to stop inches away from the truck and seriously considered leaving a note on his windshield. Dude! What were you thinking!

Shaking, I contemplated my next move. Was I trapped? The south driveway had a huge plowbank at the top. If I survived the hill, I wouldn’t be able to pass the bank. I went for the north driveway. This one isn’t flanked by buildings, and has the gentlest grade. However, it has a curve at the bottom – no room to accelerate and no room to slide back down.

When much to my surprise, I discovered a gift from the government! There exists a chain link fence between my lot and the pay-to-use government lot, but a segment was missing. I was able to drive through, and then get out up their plowed driveway. I also got home via the same route.

The following morning (yesterday, Monday) I went out to my car, pissed to realize that no effort had been made to plow the lot or any of the driveways (the significant precipitation had stopped more than 12 hours prior, and they really should have come when it was raining when the temperature was above freezing, before everything became cement, and then was covered with a pretty, but deceiving dusting of powder). I noticed the tire tracks of three cars, all of which had attempted to get out that morning. None had been successful; all had returned to their spaces. I brushed off the powder and drove off through my open fence and was one of the first people to arrive for work!

Someday, when I own a house, I want a short, flat driveway, not on a major road, and a garage. Ok?

Just Hang On

Just hang on, hang on to the vine
Stay on, soon you’ll be divine
If you start to cry, look up to the sky
Something’s coming up ahead
To turn your tears to dew instead

And so I hold on to his advice
When change is hard and not so nice
You listen to your heart the whole night through
Your sunny someday will come one day soon to you”

~Pink Martini (Hang on Little Tomato)

What a way to start the new year.

First of all, I’m sick. Boyfriend had a nasty cold/flu thing just before Christmas, which got him out of having to meet my family. I wished really really hard that I would get it too, and miss the whole holiday crap myself, but it came too late.  Ugh. And I’m supposed to work tomorrow, to do some really nasty work that nobody else wants to be around during the normal workday.

Second, the heat and hot water are out in my apartment. Again. What terrible timing! I’m always the one who ends up calling the landlord when somethings wrong with the building, so I always feel like a whiny brat. There are at least six other tenants, and the guy who runs a business on the street level. Why can’ t one of them call for once? But I’m the sicky one, so I’m sure it will be me again. What can I say? My tolerance level for this crap happens to be kinda low at the moment.

Third, Did I mention I have to work tomorrow? With dangerous chemicals. They’re so bad, in fact, that I’ll be earning my hazard pay, which is part of the reason I agreed to do this in the first place. I’ll be wearing a respirator, and I’ll be sure to change the chemical cartridges a couple times during the day, but it is really really hard to blow your nose with a respirator on. I’ll have to go outside every ten minutes! Boyfriend, and perhaps you all agree with him, thinks I’m nuts, but there is a reason behind this. By working Sunday, when nothing is open anyway, I can take a weekday off and get things done.

Fourth, my to-do list is a mile long. And being sick has slowed my productivity rate significantly. There are things I want to do. Please note, these are not New Year’s Resolutions. I firmly believe that if we want to make changes in our lives, the best time to start is immediately, not at some fixed, yet mostly meaningless point in time. There are time sensitive items on this list, so I guess they are the priority. No, blogging is not one of them. Yes, I am wasting precious time and energy.

Fifth, one of the items on my to-do list. My license expires in May. Not my car drivers license, that other drivers license. I’ve been real reluctant to do anything about it. There are a number of steps, some of which cost money, others that just cause hassles, and some that cause both. I haven’t been through this process before, so I don’t really know what to expect. Most of my friends can’t help, because they got theirs after me. My former employers have been through it several times each, but getting advice from them is like pulling teeth. I feel all alone in this. And I’m not entirely committed to renewing; I’m not sure there is a point. I’ve never really used the darn thing, and I hope my life path leads me farther away from ever needing it. But the economy is crap, so who knows where I’ll be next month or next year?

Sixth, and I like to think of this last one as the bright spot right now, I am revamping my job search efforts. No, I have not been laid off, but I can’t handle the stress of constantly believing that any week could be my last. Despite assurances from the company that I have nothing to worry about, I can’t help freaking out. I cannot live like this. So I’m actively looking for a Plan B, which depending on what I find, could potentially become Plan A. I’m back to using USAJOBS, a site that has caused me much difficulties and no luck in the past, but I’m looking at a different department. I’m currently looking for a job in a national park, preferably one in the Rockies, the West, or Alaska. Many of these job opportunities are temporary appointments, which would give me the chance to get out of here for a while and see something new. What happens after the temporary time is up (probably September)? I’m not sure yet. Perhaps current job will still exist, particularly if people do get laid off for the summer and we have some work again next winter. Perhaps the current state government hiring freeze will no longer be in effect, and I could use my experience in a national park as a bridge to say, the Department of Conservation. Perhaps I don’t return here.

I do have other bright spots in my life. My new yoga class starts on Monday, and after the holiday break, I feel like I sure do need it! My saxophone is currently in the repair shop, but I will have it back this week, and the repair guy is going to help me find a new mouthpiece, which will hopefully help to correct some of my tone issues. And then the first rehearsal for my new band is next weekend! I’m also thinking of doing some volunteering at the local hospital. In high school, I was a volunteer in the O.R., and I think it is a great way to branch out of my little rut, meet new people, and gain new experiences.