Posts Tagged 'Work'

The Sky is Falling!

“And she says, ‘oooh,
I can’t take no more.’
Her tears like diamonds on the floor.
And her diamonds bring me down.
‘Cause I can’t help her now.
She’s down in it.
She’s tried her best, and now she can’t win it.
It’s hard to see them on the ground,
Her diamonds falling down.

She shuts out the night
And tries to close her eyes.
If she can find daylight she’ll be alright.
She’ll be alright.
Just not tonight.”

~Rob Thomas (Her Diamonds)

I know I sound like a goddamn broken record, but that’s what depression does to me. I cannot let it all go; it really is just one big spiral to the bottom, and then when I get there, the floor opens and the bottom is even further down than I imagined. There is no light at the end of this tunnel, and there is no way back, because all those doors have been slammed shut. And I have no support network, because nobody wants to keep listening to me complain. Sometimes I try to but on the strong front (fake it ’till you make it), but then I just cry myself to sleep when no one else is around.

My therapist doesn’t offer solutions, he just nods his head and agrees with me. What am I supposed to do? How do I stop this cycle? Why am I paying this man money I don’t have to spend, if I don’t feel better? (For anyone keeping count, this would be strike three in the therapist department.)

I got into a huge fight with my father about a week ago. I emailed him a copy of the “new and improved” resume (version 4868.7), that was vastly different than any I’ve used before, but the old ones didn’t work, so it should be revised. He didn’t even get the concept; he preferred the old unsuccessful one. He’s an engineer, perhaps he needed the more black and white presentation of the same information. Then he proceeded to spend an hour trying to convince me to go back to school and get a masters in engineering. “There are always openings in this field. You could work anywhere you want, in any industry. You already have more math and physics courses than I ever took. There are lots of great schools and programs here in Boston. If you need the money…” Etc.

DAMN IT, DAD!! YOU AREN’T LISTENING TO ME! I hated high school; I hated university. If I thought there was another path I would have taken it. The traditional education system has failed me time and time again. How would another few years of torture fix that? I’d just end up sitting here in the same place collecting my unemployment five or ten years from now wondering why I can’t get a decent job with my “great” education. I already feel like life is passing me by, I don’t want to be in the same place in life five years from now. And why on earth would I ever move back to Massachusetts? The suburban sprawl is too claustrophobic for me. I don’t want to move in New England. If I move it will be to the other coast. But somehow I cannot do that either. And it is not just about the money. I’ll never be rich; I get that. I just want to pay my bills now and maybe have a house with a yard for a dog and a garden someday. Why do you think that by offering me your money, you can make up for the love and support you have never given me? And don’t you dare use this as a ploy to break up me and my boyfriend.

Yesterday at the grocery store I ran into a former customer of mine, who first tried to tell me to quit my current job in favour of the one from which she knows me. I had to explain that the two reasons I left that job are still in effect: it is only a seasonal job, and my back still hurts just thinking about it. The she tried to convince me that what I need is a PhD in nursing (she is a nursing professor in Boston), and I should do it at her school! Her reasoning was, people in academia believe that when times are tough, and you don’t know what to do with your life, you go get more education (and rack up more debt), while you “figure things out”. “There will always be jobs available in nursing. You can work anywhere you want. Your science and customer service background will give you a good leg-up.” Sound familiar? It is so devastating to listen to the repeated advice, when deep down I know it doesn’t apply to me. How do I see myself so differently than the rest of the world sees me? And if I take in all the world’s criticism of me, and if I always follow their path, I don’t think I’ll ever learn to love myself.

Other notes:
Boyfriend is on vacation with the kids. Gone to visit Grandma (who I still haven’t met). My new assistant manager wouldn’t let me have two days off to meet up with them.

A part-time job I’d been promised just fell through, because I won’t work with the chemicals the owner is insisting upon. I could really use that money.

I screwed up at work today. Again. We got a new computer system in the middle of June and I’ve been having huge problems ever since. It’s become a joke to everyone else, but I was so determined that this month be better, that I almost had a breakdown when I discovered another problem today.

What To Do?

My new employer offers tuition reimbursement for related courses and/or required courses for a related degree. Since my paycheck is so small, I am considering taking advantage of this opportunity. I’ve learned the hard way that the degree I already have is way to obscure to help me get any sort of job, but maybe I can transfer many of my previously earned credits and be halfway to another degree. Business courses are nice and generic and may help convince someone that I am qualified to work in an office.

I met with an adviser at the local office of our statewide university system about a week ago to discuss these thoughts with her. Courses start this week and I was thinking about signing up for something (anything?). I didn’t particularly care for higher education my first go around or my second (which was with this university). I really really don’t want to be trapped in a crappy no-respect low paying job for my entire working career, but that truly seems to be the direction I’m headed.

The adviser did her best to talk me out of taking more courses. She thinks I need to figure out what exactly I really want to do (yeah, like the current job market affords anyone that luxury), revamp my resume (again?…*eye roll*) and be applying to different sorts of things. Um, hello? What exactly does she think I’ve spent the last few months doing? I’ve given up on that road; I’m looking for a new one. She also thinks that with a little searching, I could find a great secretarial job, because nothing says successful career like secretary. I don’t know what I want to be “when I grow up”, but I’m pretty certain my life’s ambition is not to be a secretary; I want to have a secretary.

I haven’t signed up for anything. I think what I really need to sign up for is little white padded room.

The New Job Started Today

It’s not having what you want
It’s wanting what you’ve got

~Sheryl Crow (Soak Up the Sun)

My primary method of applying to jobs has been through online applications. Most of them disappeared into the computer and never generated a response. Eventually, I tried something different and tried going directly to HR at the places I knew were hiring. Most of these people said, ‘nice to meet you, but you’ll need to fill out the online application’.

Of all the applications I filled out, only one generated a response, and it was one I wasn’t particularly excited about. I had my interview at the office in the town north of here for the part-time position (afternoons only – as if that could possibly work in conjunction with any other part-time job) which I had applied for. The manager who interviewed me also said we should discuss the supervisory position because of my previous managerial experience (in a completely unrelated industry). He got my hopes up, then took it back because I don’t have previous experience in this industry. Well, duh, but he was looking at my resume when he said it the first time.

The interview went well, and as I was leaving, the manager introduced me to everyone else in the office, as though it was assumed that I would be getting the job. I spent the next several days frantically trying to follow up on all my other applications in attempt to find something better. It didn’t work. I was torn: should I say yes, and although perhaps unethical, keep quietly looking for something? Should I say no, on the basis that I have over five months left before my unemployment benefits run out, and I’m sure I could find work in May when tourist season starts?

The manager was so impressed with my interview that he decided to offer me an unadvertised full-time position in the office around the corner from where I live. Work’s, work, right? I took the job.

On the positive side, this job gets me in the door into the office world, which is part of the reason none of my other applications generated interest. It also gives me a reason to get out of bed in the morning. The company (a large international organization which will remain unnamed) offers benefits including health/dental/life insurance, more than two weeks annual vacation, a 401K plan, and tuition reimbursement for related education (business courses). Supposedly there is also room for quick advancements for anyone eager enough.

On the negative side we have two issues. First, everyone I talk to thinks I will be bored out of my friggin’ mind. I’ve been trying to put that thought aside, but it has really been drilled in there now. Second, the pay (to put it nicely) sucks.

The weekly pay amounts to just slightly more than an unemployment check (or just over half my old salary). I cannot pay for rent, bills, and food on what this company is paying me, never mind an appropriate wardrobe. But work’s work, right? I’m still hanging on to the side work I’m doing for my friend, and that may generate additional similar projects. I expect to be working at least sixty hours a week for the foreseeable future. That’s why I don’t really have time to discuss this.

I’m irritated and insulted. I have 10 years of customer service experience. I have a degree from an internationally acclaimed university. At bear minimum, I should be making $12 an hour. Have the last 10 years of my life meant nothing? I could have had this job at this pay as a high school dropout. Of the seven other people I now work with, not one has a higher degree, and six work at least two jobs to make ends meet. And I’m really fucking sick of hearing about how it’s all because of the “economy”. OK?

Where is my Fairy Godmother?

Edited to add lyrics!

Its a pretty good crowd for a Saturday
And the manager gives me a smile
cause he knows that its me they’ve been comin’ to see
To forget about life for a while

And the piano, it sounds like a carnival
And the microphone smells like a beer
And they sit at the bar and put bread in my jar
And say, man, what are you doin’ here?

Oh, la la la, de de da
La la, de de da da da

Sing us a song, you’re the piano man
Sing us a song tonight
Well, were all in the mood for a melody
And you’ve got us feelin’ alright

~Billy Joel (Piano Man)

I must have watched one too many Disney movies as a kid. I really, honestly, and truly thought this life would turn out better.

Every little girl has dreams, and I doubt she dreams of one day becoming me. I never knew what I wanted to be when I grew up, but this isn’t it either. I thought I’d be someone. I thought I’d matter. I thought I’d have something useful to contribute to society. It thought I’d do something(s) noticeable. At the very least, I thought I’d be happy.

A friend hired me to do some work for him. Actually, I think he took pity on me. He and a partner are working on a hobby/restoration/”investment” project and have now hired three others (all of whom would be otherwise completely unemployed) to do the dirty work. And it is very dirty. But it gives me a purpose and a reason to get out of bed in the morning. The pay is decent, and since I’m only part time, I can still be searching for something permanent.

But I hate, hate, hate the work. The best thing about getting laid off was thinking that I would never have to do this shitty work again, and for this project, I’ve got the worst of it, because the other two wouldn’t do it. But I’m so torn, because it puts food on the table. Beggars can’t be choosers, right? And I’m definitely a beggar looking for work.

I want to work in an office. I want to sit at a desk and not have to work in awkward places or contorted postures. I want to be clean; I want to feel pretty. I want to stop inhaling chemicals “known by the State of California to cause cancer”. I want to employ my mind, because someone once told me I was intelligent, instead of continually abusing my small tired body.

Unfortunately, there are also lots of qualified people looking for office work against who I must compete. I’m finding that it is simply impossible to convince a hiring manager that I am capable of switching occupations.

So, I’m sitting in my local bar (b/c they have wireless internet) and drinking whiskey, while a part inside of me dies. And tomorrow I’ll get up and do it all over again. Yeah, this really is the life.

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 believeĀ  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.

Bah Humbug!

My employer has officially lost his f***ing mind. Everyone has always said that Big Boss is such a nice guy who cares so much about his employees and how lucky we all are to work for someone like that. Bullshit. Two incidents recently have transformed our wonderful place of employment into one of anger and panic.

The first is related to my post a couple weeks ago, when suddenly we were informed that some of us may lose our jobs, as we run out of work. The rest of the company was given the same speech about a week later. On Monday, Big Boss introduced his latest charity case – in the form of a new employee!! Some companies donate canned goods to food pantries or work a soup kitchen, or sign up to sponsor a struggling family at Christmas so the kids all get presents. Not us. We just give the charity child a job!! This kid, “J”, is a high school student at a local alternative high school (although he lives several counties away, who knows how he ended up here?) and must be on some sort of work-study plan. I don’t know what hours he studies, though, because he is with us from 9-3. He spent the first two days sweeping the floors, going round and round the building, while everyone else continued doing their thing, which involves making a huge mess. Normally, the whole crew stops creating the mess on Friday afternoon and cleans up, together.

So then, yesterday I was searching for a missing tool attachment, and noticed J working in a back corner, but he wasn’t sweeping. He was doing an easy, mindless aspect of… wait for this… my job. You know, the job I might lose, because there isn’t enough work. Today, I was asked to teach him, so he could keep going with that project!

I about lost my mind. I tried to politely ask a couple higher-ups what was going on. If there isn’t enough work for “us”, how is there enough work for him? I am not ok with running out of work, or teaching my potential replacement! The response from both higher-ups was the same: “we aren’t running out of work, and he’s just a kid who wants to learn something.” Wait. I’m confused. Didn’t they just recently tell us otherwise? What the hell?

The other incident concerns our Christmas vacation, and I use that term very loosely. This year, the company is giving us the 25h and the 1st off, paid. That’s it. Granted, our employee handbook only guarantees those two days off, but every single year there have been more paid holidays. Last year, we were given the whole week between the holidays off and paid. As a conservative, bare minimum guess, I would have expected to get Friday the 26th off this year. That’s what everyone thought and made travel plans accordingly.

Big Boss decided in the beginning of November that we would get the day after Thanksgiving off, for a four-day weekend. This happens some years, but not all. We thought that was great! The announcement for Christmas was made following Thanksgiving weekend(during the same meeting when they told the rest of the company they might lose their jobs…a meeting now referred to at “the sermon”) . So those of us that already had other plans (I think, this is most of the company), now have to use a vacation day(s).

“Oh, and don’t forget everyone, the annual Christmas party will be held at a local restaurant on the 19th, please make sure to turn in your dinner choices by next Monday!” Let me get this straight. We can’t have one extra holiday, because we have no work, and we are now paying an extra person to do my nonexistent job? But we can have a big party? Boyfriend is trying to talk me into boycotting the party. He’s fed up and doesn’t see much to celebrate. I think he’s right.

Bah Humbug.

I’m Scared

I thought my job was reasonably secure. “We have work.” “We’re not overstaffed.” “You are not about to lose your job.” Although I’m currently still employed, the managers were either lying or delusional.

Every other company that does what we do, in this state and probably down the whole eastern seaboard, has already laid people off. As of two weeks ago, that tally also included my brother. For whatever reason, we held out a little bit longer.

Until yesterday.

Yesterday (how nice of the managers to wait until the week beginning of the holiday season!), my department of nine was called into the office for a meeting. Annual clients have cut down on the number of requests for the year. Our competitors are trying to steal away our clients. We are overstaffed. It is likely that we will not all still be employed by the spring. The people who keep their jobs will be the ones who produce high quality work in shorter-than-average times, which will keep the clients’ bills down.

I was, and still am, shaking. How many people are going to go? My quality and productivity are probably somewhere in the middle of the nine; I’m nearly certain I wouldn’t be among the first two or three to go. I’ve also recently taken on some other challenges within the company and completed them successfully, proving that I am a versatile and adaptable employee.

I also don’t want to work for this company forever. Nobody ever believed I’d stay a year, much less three! Maybe I can take this news as a push to find something else, although I don’t care for fear as a motivator.

So I’ve done a little searching online tonight and got to feeling a bit depressed. There aren’t a whole lot of jobs in my area, good, mediocre, or otherwise. This is not entirely due to the global economic troubles, but that sure doesn’t help. I’m willing to commute; the state capital is about an hour away, but there aren’t many jobs there either. I’m not willing to move.

I’d like to work in alternative energy. With my science background, I think this could be a good fit, and I see this as an industry poised to take off during my working life. I’ve been told that Maine is already on the leading edge, but I suspect this is mostly due to power generation off of small scale dams, not the newest technologies. I believe the state government will be a good place to find new jobs in the energy sector. But unfortunately, Maine state government is under a total hiring freeze, effective a month ago through the foreseeable future, as Maine deals with continued budget problems while the economy continues to fall apart.

Yeah, I’m scared.