Tuesday, April 19, 2022
More on Minecraft - some time later
Wednesday, April 14, 2021
Focus on Me - pt 4 - Minecrafting into 2021
Wow...it has been a long time since I've written in here, hasn't it? All the way through 2019 and through part of 2020 I was pretty much glued to my blogs, trying to get something updated once a week or so, and trying to help my mental health by getting things out of my head an on to "paper".
Now, it's been about six months later and things are, well, more or less the same. About the same time that I left off of the blogs I started into the game of Minecraft. It was a free solution to me wanting to create and decorate and explore the world around me (well, free in the sense that I only had to purchase the game but not the materials, that just took time).
I feel like I really need to dig deep into my new obsession with Minecraft. Here I am, about to go into my 42nd year, and I'm obsessed with this digging, building, and battling game. At first I played it only on the weekends, spending time with my friends on a shared server and eventually only my husband and I were on there for the most part until then there was me. My friends still helped me defeat the dragon, still worked on their builds, but eventually they moved on to other games and doing other things. We'd exhausted pretty much all there was to do - especially since they weren't into building and designing as much as I am.
And obsessed...yes, my evenings were spent exploring and building maps, finding beautiful scenery in this cartoon landscape and it helped me forget about how 2020 sucked. About the fact I could no longer play D&D with my friends in person, how I barely left the house but to occasionally go to the grocery store or the park to walk.
In this world... I was free. I could hang out with my friends (when they were there) or hang out with the NPC villagers which is what I spent a lot of time doing, coming up with small stories and going on adventures to build the most amazing things I could think of. Of course...this was before I started watching YouTube videos putting anything my mind had come up with to shame thus far...but that's for another time.
|My house recreated in Minecraft|
Since then I've played around with other resource packs (the picture above is MizunoCraft16 with some Ghoulcraft thrown in) but I'm pretty happy with how close I could build a replica of a house I live in. It's not perfect, but since I had the constraints of what blocks are available and not having a whole lot of extra mods...it's not too bad either.
Unfortunately, I feel a lot of the time that the push I had two years ago at this time, when I'd lost my job at the craft store and moved into attempting crafts full-time for the summer of 2019... it feels very far away now. I'm definitely a different person than I was then. I don't feel like the same excited, bright-eyed, "let's do this!" kind of person I was then.
But you know, dammit, even if people don't appreciate the time and effort I put into this game... even if they don't seem to care that I want to show them what I've made because it's not tangible...well, screw it. I AM PROUD of it. I find relief in these things, no matter how strange it might seem.
And I'll probably keep up with it for a while longer, because that's what brings me comfort.
Wednesday, August 12, 2020
Focus on Me - pt 4 - Anxiety
I think that talking to people would help, but anxiety makes it impossible. If you've ever had one of those issues that you've talked about over and over again and feel like you're bothering everyone around you by talking about it more than once, you probably have anxiety just like me. So, it makes it difficult. I have a couple friends, my husband and my mom and that's just about it. And feeling like I'm always complaining is a bad feeling.
So, that's what this blog is for, and I really don't want to sound like a "negative nancy" about it, but that's how things have been going lately. I'm tired. I'm exhausted. My work was pretty good at the beginning of the year because we had plenty of people on staff, but that has dropped off drastically to the point there's maybe a handful every day.
They gave me a job to do emails, which was kind of nice for a while, but the busier we got, the more stressed out I got. Then we started losing people so they expected me to do my job but also do phones, and I realized the other week when I was back on phones permanently, that it was the feeling of helplessness, watching that inbox fill up while I was on the phones that it was causing me the worst anxiety. We used to be slow enough (or rather we had enough humans to answer phones) that we could bounce between the emails and calls. Now, it's either straight one or the other with very time to do anything else.
I was going to start talking to my bosses about this, but then we had to cancel all of the meetings because of how busy we have been, and then they keep asking me to work overtime, and it all compounds. I don't mind my job, but the fact that we're just so overwhelmed makes me feel that way.
I kind of miss not having a job, even though I was anxious about that. But I look around my house every day thinking - I need to get all of this stuff done. But I don't have the energy to actually do any of it when I'm off of work. That stresses me out too because my husband makes a mess everywhere he goes and has no sense of urgency to clean it up after himself. So then I have that on top of me too.
Thankfully I do have a week scheduled off coming up, and I'd like to go somewhere in order to just get away for a while. But...we're still in a pandemic. I just don't know what to do about the stress overall.
Is this little complaint fest helping any? Maybe a little bit. I honestly don't care if anyone reads this but I just want it to be OUT of me. Even if it's on virtual paper. I miss people, I miss being around people, but I also am glad I don't have to feel forced to see them either. I really would like to just leave for a day. I'd like to just call off work myself and spend some "me" time, but it's been really hard lately because I also have a very strong sense of devotion to my job, even if it is the cause of most of my stress.
I miss earlier this year when I first started and felt good about everything. Sigh.
Thursday, July 2, 2020
Focus on my Career - pt 8 - Sleepless Night
The winter months went by smoothly, but then things started to roll in a different direction as we went from a team of 20 or so to just a dozen or so. There was quite a considerable cut in staffing at the beginning of the month, and I spent a sleepless night thinking about how I wasn't part of this one. Before, when that terrible retail place I worked for decided to make cuts I was almost always on the side that got cut.
My friend said it's because I have PTSD from my previous job and yes, I think in so many ways I do. I worry constantly about doing something wrong, making that one mistake that will get me fired, and having my heartbeat out of its chest every time I send off that email.
At first, my job seemed like a simple call center job, nothing special, help a person get access to their account, explain a bill, or something along those lines. I knew that I had to verify everyone, but it seemed simple and straight forward. Then came the quality assurance, which was okay at first until I got back my first results and realized I'd screwed up big time on something so simple and small as one piece of information. One mark on my record. I got two more before I could be fired for it. And each month they go over at least 7 such pieces, so in one month I could screw up and lose my job in an instant.
It kept me up all night after that first score, and I vowed to do better. My eyes crossed and I started to freak out about any little thing that didn't quite match, questioning every single email or phone call I took.
That was before the cuts were made where we lost some people, most likely due to some of those same issues. Then came another one last week which was a big shock to some of my coworkers. I just kept plugging along, forever anxious with every email and phone call that I still take, thinking about if I forgot to double-check something or should I trust myself that I would have noticed something wrong?
I finally took a day off for myself. It's been six months and I've only taken one other day off since the pandemic has made things impossible to go anywhere and everything I had scheduled has been canceled or closed. But today I wanted a day to sit in the house and not work, not think about my anxiety with sending that next email, and just wanted a day to let everything go.
Unfortunately, I'm also completely exhausted. I could barely sleep last night and even though I have all of these plans for myself, I also just barely can get motivated to do any of them. But maybe that's good? Maybe that's what I should be doing for myself? Just relaxing?
I've also been thinking about my friend who wanted me to work with her originally back in November. I had gotten a job offer, and I probably could have taken that job, but the one I have now offered perhaps less security, but more money and didn't give me (then) as much anxiety as that one did. I felt bad. My friend was disappointed. I think she thought I let her down, that I abandoned her, and possibly had favored another over her.
But I saw how happy she was at her new job. She had a cool new desk, new co-workers who had become her friends, and she had all of these new hobbies she was getting into. She was posting pictures of her decorations, games she played, and things she was doing. And her co-workers were starting to comment on her Facebook feed to the point that I know she had added them as friends.
And me? I have one friend who I've added on Facebook and that was long before I worked there. I haven't added anyone else, nor have I made plans with any of them, or tried to reach out in any capacity. I harken back to that PTSD, worried that at any moment I could lose this job and thus break all contacts.
They said when all of those people were fired that we could still "reach out" to them...but I had no way to do that. I had no contacts with them and thus no ability to say, "hey, how are you doing?" And that made me sad because my friend has moved on without me and has made all sorts of new friends.
It takes so much for me to open up to new people. I literally took nearly a decade to make friends with my co-workers at my old job. And now it feels like I just don't have the ability to reach out at my new job with having to work from home and not being able to get to know people in person.
I worry about losing the friends I have. We spent all this time playing D&D together and now it seems things are drifting away even though I've been really trying hard for it not to. Every time I start to tell a story with a person or a group of people we never seem to finish, and damn it, I really want to finish this one!
But... it's been over a year now since everything changed, and it's been about three or so months since the pandemic started. I know we can outlast the closures and the worries about being apart, at least we'll give it our best shot to! But I also worry about what I need to do to keep everything held together that I've worked so hard at.
And that's where my sleepless night came from. That's what ran through my mind over and over again as I tossed and turned. And hopefully putting this down will help me move past it and relax during the next four days I have off. I hope.
Sunday, May 24, 2020
Glenhaven's Son Enirch - pt. 4 - A New Mission
Friday, May 22, 2020
How I'm Dealing with the Pandemic
Saturday, April 18, 2020
Pandemic #2 - Video Conferencing Woes
Wednesday, March 18, 2020
Pandemic and Working from Home
I know it's a terrible thing that so many people are dying. I know that so many more will still die before this whole thing is over. People are panicking, buying up everything they can in case they are trapped inside for weeks or even months. I had thought about that sort of thing in the back of my mind when it first started showing up in other parts of the world, although like many of the other pandemics that have occurred, the USA has been largely spared.
Of course, no one thought it would reach as far as it did, and many of us were just thinking from time to time, what would we do? But I don't think any of us took it seriously (except some random preppers anyway!)
As for me, if anyone actually reads this, I was somewhat taking it seriously. I've always tried to be prepared for a cold and the eventual quarantine inside of my home. Heck, after I lost my job just one month shy of a year ago, I self-quarantined. I didn't have money coming in and I got one bad cold after another. Before long I'd dropped back on nearly all of my spending and had started a routine for myself.
So, in a way, last year's joblessness was a preparation for this.
One day I cleaned up my desk, made enough room to work on painting and posting items on my website (which I need to work on again during this time probably) and then scheduled a routine. Get up, have breakfast, do a few chores, then go to "work" for about four or so hours a day, painting, doing other things and just overall making sure to keep "working".
I also suffered from a lot of depression, a lot of anxiety and had a lot of moments of loneliness even when I knew I had people in my life who could come over and I could talk to. But I did make it, and I pushed through.
Now I'm working from home, quarantined from work until the end of March. I set up my desk much like I did before (although now I have two computers, so painting is on hold for the time being). But it's a lot like it was before. Take a break from time to time, get lunch, read, and keep an eye on the queue and answering calls.
A week ago they started murmurs about whether we would have to work from home. I'd already started hearing talk about it so I started buying things for it in preparation. Then they mentioned closing down schools...and by Friday we knew we'd have to set up to work.
The weekend went by after that and the stores emptied out, people were emptying them out. Toilet paper and towels were gone, food was gone, milk, eggs, bread and meats were gone. Then the restaurants started shutting down all but take out and delivery. People who worked for those restaurants got laid off. Other stores started shutting down, not allowed to keep pushing forward, then the Governor started shutting down libraries, waterparks, museums, and anywhere else that a bunch of people could go to. He stopped us from voting yesterday, pushing it off until June.
A few smaller stores plug along, still open, not knowing what else to do. People who vend at conventions are having online sales in hopes they can make ends meet. Everything is shut down and the gas is cheap and the roads are empty.
And even though, as I said, I know this is a terrible thing to be certain, it's also rather good in some ways.
Pollution has gone waaaaay down. Critters are returning to areas that have been chased out so long ago that people are surprised to see them there. People are starting to do things for one another. The government is actually thinking about doing stuff for the people instead of the businesses. It's actually rather amazing.
And yet, we still have to deal with being stuck inside our homes. We have to worry about catching and spreading the virus. I still worry about my Mom a whole lot because I'm not sure she's taking it very seriously since she doesn't like the news and has never been very up on world events.
But, little bit by little bit, I think this might be a blessing for our planet. I know, it's terrible who this virus might affect by the end, and sure, I could definitely be one of them by the time this is all over.
I think, though, that I'm prepared. Mentally I've always thought that I don't want to contribute to the world going up in flames. I'd much rather not be part of the problem but the solution, even if I'm not entirely sure how I could be part of it.
So, as I work from home waiting for that next phone call or that next email from someone who I more worried about things that aren't the worldwide pandemic, I'll sit here and be glad that the world is still moving on without us. The trees are still getting ready to bloom, the rains are coming to make the grass green again, and the birds and other animals are enjoying their time outside where they haven't been able to be in decades. And I'm actually okay with that.
And if things get worse before they get better, then I'll continue keeping on because even with all of this because panicking never helped anyone.
Sunday, March 15, 2020
Focus on Me - pt. 3 - Low Self-Esteem
But that's not what I'm here to complain about, what I am whining about is how things are going at my job. Training was sort of rough because there was a lot of information to focus on, but after a few weeks of stressing out about it I'm slowly growing accustomed to the crazy stuff. Then they gave me an opportunity to change time periods and I didn't realize they were limiting this time period to only two people. That's fine, but I barely sit near that person, and when they re-arranged our seats I'm almost completely alone and feel little to no teamwork now.
Everyone keeps saying how I'm rocking the calls... Well, I have no distractions, no one to talk to, and have no need to do anything but take calls. Of course, I'm going to take more. None of my other teammates barely say a word to me and I feel somewhat like I'd abandoned them to go to a different time so I feel bad about that and don't even really bother.
Then there's the fact that I've started to notice some of the people who aren't doing as well as me keep getting to focus on other projects. They're even getting time set aside to work...on what, I have no idea. No one tells me. I was starting to look forward to having a project myself but come to find out it's only on a quarterly basis I guess...? Everyone around me leaves for hours at a time, but because I'm seated near a bunch of supervisors I also feel like maybe I've been singled out...but I'm afraid to read my books when I'm bored too because I'm worried about what they think.
So I've been just a huge bundle of nerves lately.
Focus on My Career - pt. 7 - Anxiety and Job Offers
I think the earliest attack came around fifth or sixth grade, so I was probably 8-10, it was winter time and we were all bundled up at recess (because back then they still sent us out in the cold and snow!) and I remember wanting to avoid everyone, so went out into the middle of the field, plopped myself down, huddled with my hood over my head and stared at the snow. Or was it actually summer, and I was looking at flowers? I honestly don't recall for sure, but I remember not wanting to deal with anyone. It took a teacher coming over to me to haul me to my feet and take me back inside.
Spending a lot of time in the secretary's office, with a "stomach ache" was another favorite pastime.
Another was being JUST stubborn enough that I wasn't allowed to go out to recess and stuck in the library during lunchtime. Just me and the librarian, browsing books and looking outside and just being happy.
After researching anxiety in children over the years I can definitely see myself in almost all of the different clues that are now accepted as anxiety. But no one knew what that was, I was made fun of, I was more sensitive to all of that, I clung to adults who could give me solid answers and didn't judge, didn't give me trouble, and in this age, they would have gotten me into counseling. Not as if I didn't try to do it myself, but I was only allowed to go about once a month, and after elementary school, there wasn't anyone to go too.
Wednesday, December 25, 2019
Focus on Me - pt. 2 - End of 2019
I rather liked that metaphor. I saw this as a sinking ship, all of the crew were desperately attempting to follow the Captain's orders, but as First Mate, I saw the bigger issues, the giant gaping holes in the bow, and instead of getting the sails ready and hoisting the anchor, I wanted to stop the water from getting in. But the Captain thought I wasn't listening to her orders as she told me to swab the decks and fix the nets... or something stupid along those lines. She wanted me out of HER way and didn't bother to see what work I was doing to help.
So, instead of just seeing my point of view or even seeing the things I wanted to do as relevant, she literally set up a plank...then made me walk it...then dumped me overboard.
I swam in that rough ocean for a long time. Miserable and wet as my crew tossed me ropes and well-wishes (they tried their best, I have no doubt they would have dragged me back if they thought it would help).
A day or so later one of them jumped ship after me. She knew what she was doing and had a little dingy (she is a super talented artist, I should compare her to having an actual escape boat).
I continued to swim, looking around for other ships, an island, anything I could. All the while I would hear about the ship as it continued to sink, or just barely float. The crew was managing somehow and I heard about it across the sea as I paddled and looked for a way out.
And then one day I found another ship. It was also barely holding together, but it was something and they all welcomed me on board. But then I realized they also had a Captain that wasn't doing a good job - nope! This one stayed in her cabin and shouted orders, didn't want help and didn't want to actually leave her cabin to see what was going on outside on her ship.
I've never wanted to quit a job that quickly before. I willfully jumped off that ship! I swam as hard as I could so they couldn't come back to get me and I realized I was happier in the ocean then attempting to do something for that ship that was never going to happen.
Now I think I have found a proper ship. And I hope they're heading to a nice sturdy island where I can finally set my feet on solid ground again. I worry about it, of course, as I've only been on this ship for a few weeks. But the Captain is out on the decks on a regular basis, he has multiple first mates, everyone has a job to do on the ship and everyone talks to one another and helps one another.
I have a very simple, but also very convoluted job on this ship. I guess the best comparison would be a cartographer. I had no idea what I was doing, but I was shoved into a small area, showed all of the maps, compasses, and drawing instruments, and then told that at any moment someone might run in and tell me where they wanted to go or where something was, and by the way, you have to also learn how to read the stars too because we're in the middle of the sea.
Sure, the job at its heart is reading maps to people. But it's so much more complicated than that because of all of the different factors that are involved. I had a little over a week of training and then I was left in the room alone with the map and the people who were supposed to stand over me and guide me were too busy with their own jobs.... so yeah, sometimes I feel a bit left out to dry. But at the same time I've caught on to most of it so perhaps I tell someone East when I mean West, but my anxiety comes from worrying I'm stuck doing this one job, even though it's important, if I stay in this one place I'll never learn how to raise a sail or swab a deck or drive the ship.
That's a whole lot of metaphors for a call center job. Hahaha. I was told that this wasn't a call center, it's less than two dozen people, and everything is moving and shuffling. People are great to me, and everyone attempts to help me, but I think I've caught on faster than some people, I just need the speed. Thankfully everyone said it's fine, the speed will come in time, and I can already tell that they're right, but I've always excelled in jobs I've been given over the years, so being patient is difficult for me.
Especially when all of my other jobs were a frenzy of activity. This job is me, sitting at a desk, answering phone calls and emails all day, and in between times just staring at my phone (I need to bring books) but when things get ramped up for the year it'll just be answering phones and after just a few days of doing it on my own, I realize I'm not sure my mind will be able to handle the sheer boredom of that...
At least with tedious chores like folding paper or ringing registers or framing pictures, I got to do something with my hands. I worry about myself in this job even though it pays so damn well.
So, as I mentioned, at the beginning of the year I was riding a sinking boat. Now I'm riding in a boat that keeps growing and moving and changing and I'm blown away by how quickly I've started to get used to that world even though my brain is still anxious over it.
What will 2020 bring? I have a week left and my first paycheck coming in a few days. I have a comfortable home, a loving husband, and I know that everything in my life has changed so much. Maybe because of all of the trouble I've gone through, I worry about myself thinking everything is too good to be true now. I can't relax. But I want to.
I thought by getting out of my old job that I'd be able to be happy again. I'd be able to enjoy everything again. But Halloween came and went in a frenzy. And now Christmas is here and I don't feel the way I used to. Mind you we're home alone this year because my Mom is sick. But it's also super warm outside and we took a walk and I hung around outside with my cat for a while, wearing a short-sleeve shirt. So, it's weird.
I didn't go shopping at the stores for a bunch of stuff. I didn't bring anything but a couple of new Hallmark ornaments home. I didn't drive around looking at Christmas lights. I didn't get out of the house much. I'm looking at my life a whole lot differently than I used to. I don't want a bunch of things.
I think I need to learn how to live again. And also enjoy living.
Maybe that's my real New Year's Resolution - look for joy. Find the island in this ocean.
Friday, November 22, 2019
Focus on my Career - pt. 6 - More Interviews
I don't regret getting out of that other situation. In fact, I'm happier again. I've been writing more, painting more, cleaning more, and reading more. I've been planning things again and baking again. Things that were a chore before are fun again. And it's only been a week since I got out of that situation.
If you've been reading any amount of these (which, according to hits, there's only been one or two, and most likely someone just dropping by to spam my comments) you'd know that I have been having a bunch of rollercoaster emotions over the past eight months. I started with anger at losing my job of 17 or so years, then sadness, depression, then a sense of relief and excitement and eventually back into the pits of despair and feeling less than independent. It's nice to know that I have someone I can depend on, but the guilt of that, even after I try to remind myself that he had gone through something similar when we'd just met. But he never had to depend on me, so I feel like I shouldn't force him to go through the same thing.
So, the night before I quit I fixed up my resume and submitted it to a few places that I said I was going to back in October, over a month ago. I should have just cut and run with that previous job the moment I got there, but I was trying to stick it out because they say you have better chances of getting a new job when you already have one. I stuck it out much longer then I should have because I was getting miserable a whole lot faster then I had at any of my previous jobs.
I had applied to both of these places before. The first one I didn't bother to announce that fact because I had been denied twice already. I understand the reasoning now, but was pretty crushed then, especially since no one bothered to say "hey, you're not good for this position but we think you'd be good for this one...apply for it instead." I think if I was a person hiring for a company I'd be more encouraging. But I guess I'm different than most people.
The other job I had also applied for, but they were only hiring three people at the time, so I didn't get it. So when I applied for that one again I said so and said I saw they were hiring again so I'd try again.
Over the course of the next few days, I had two phone interviews set up for Tuesday of this week. Surprisingly they both went over just fine and before I knew it I had two in-person interviews set up, one for each place.
The interviews began yesterday, and I drove up to the place that I had gotten a phone interview before but hadn't gotten any further. The building itself was so intimidating. People were coming and going out of there so regularly that it was making me nervous. How many people work here? A whole lot, that's what. I walked past the first office, did a turn, then went back and checked in, thinking someone would come to collect me right away. A few other people left with their interviewers and then I was collected with another fellow and they dropped him off and then dropped me off back on the first floor, although I really don't think it was worth me walking around with them. I sat down in front of two people who tag-teamed me an interview the talk went on for half an hour. It wasn't bad, but by the time I left there, I wasn't excited.
The next interview is the following Tuesday. I'll have to write about it later once it's happened, but I've had an in-person interview with this company before. I don't think it went very well, but it was only the second live interview I'd had in over 10-13 years. They were conducting this particular type of interview only for the first time, so we were all new and it just didn't come through as well as it could have. I've been a bit salty about this for a while, but the fact that they're giving me another chance means that I can do better this time.
And I think I'd decided which job I would like the most IF I get either job. I'd like to be given the possibility at both of them, but now that I have been within both environments at least briefly, one is definitely more comfortable for me than the other. But I can't have a final decision until I've been offered at least one of them.
The problem is if I'm offered the one that starts in January, I hope I'll be offered the other in the meantime so I can choose that one instead.
Now it just becomes a waiting and planning game. Trying to 'ace' the second interview in order to get that one. I want to get started on my new life. I want to get started learning the ins and outs of this other world. I'm a bit perplexed why one bothers me more than the other. In essence, they're both call centers, so why is one more exciting than the other?
Well, if all else fails, I can move on to something else. I'm a bit ashamed that I don't have a job during the holiday season so I'm feeling a bit sad that I wasn't further along by now. But, on the other hand, I can't spend my life being miserable either. I need to find something I'm HAPPY in. And how can an artistic person be happy at a call center? They literally asked me that at the interview yesterday...and I said: "oh no worry, I get my creativity out at home." But...is that really true? I started realizing that maybe it wasn't. Maybe I lied. Would decorating my desk at work be a good enough creative outlet? Or will I be miserable?
I wish I could just work on my online business and make that a career. I haven't found anything even in my personal life that I could just sit and do on a daily basis and not get bored of it. So I've put myself into a lot of different things. So how would working in a place where all I did was take phone calls all day long be satisfying?
So...we'll see. One more interview to go.
Friday, November 15, 2019
Focus on Me - pt. 1 - Change of Plans
At the beginning of October, I had the opportunity to get a job again. There were so many red flags to this though. First off, I'd applied to this job months before and had forgotten mostly about it because they closed the job listing and hadn't responded to me. Then I get a poorly written email wanting me to come in after hearing my passion for art restoration. This was a job with a listing that was for art restoration, digital restoration, needing an art degree, and even though I didn't have an art degree I'd been around art for years and wrote this letter detailing how excited I was to learn the craft.
I thought it was a craft. I went in with these super high expectations and my interview was the general manager talking about her life, her ambitions and barely asked me about me. I should have just said I'll think about it and left. But I'd been searching for a job for six months and this was the first decent bite I'd received in a while. So I took it, started my job the next week, and immediately regretted the decision.
Nothing was organized, nothing was clear to what I should be doing and no one was informed about what my job actually entailed. By the end of the week, I was being sent out on jobs to talk to people, driving in a large truck for hours at a time to all corners of Ohio and even down into Kentucky. I wasn't told that this was part of the job, and at first, I thought it would be a once-weekly thing, for jobs that would be high-end art where they didn't know how to talk to these customers. I thought, okay, I can handle this.
But then it started to be just basic jobs, go by myself for hours and hours, trudging through these poor people's homes that had burned or had small fires and pulling artwork out, packaging it up and then driving hours again. This was not in the job description. Then it became twice a week, and I thought maybe I could handle it, but I started working 9, 10, even 12 hour days.
My allergies started acting up because of these places, the smoke, the soot, the dust, the smell. I'd come home and take a shower, change clothes and take allergy meds, hoping not to get sick. I had a few fevers and then there were the chemicals we used when we were actually cleaning some of these things. I enjoyed the few hours a week of doing that work, but I was sure it wasn't good for me.
I trudged on because the others were trudging on. But I was starting to get those anxiety attacks on the way into work again. I didn't want to go. I'd wake up and want to call in sick. I didn't, but then I started realizing that my co-workers were ALL suffering from the same thing and they were starting to call off. That left ME doing all of THEIR work.
And none of this work was what was on the job description! I was doing pack-outs and driving big box trucks (a skill I didn't know I had until a week ago, and I haven't tried backing them up yet but I could drive straight pretty well.) But that wasn't what I was told the job was.
Everyone who worked there was miserable. The general manager spent 60-80 hours a week and kept saying 'I can't imagine not being here for everyone all the time.' I sat next to her briefly and I just squirmed and felt uncomfortable. I wanted to be out of there, I realized that no one was happy, and even though most of them were there because they needed the hours, I didn't want the hours I was getting... in fact, I was being forced to work these hours suddenly and if I had been given full-time I'm not sure I would have lasted so long to begin with.
So after getting through a 12-hour day, getting home over 13 hours after I'd left home that morning, listening to yet another co-worker complain about where we were working (and I had never heard a positive thing about this place in all of these weeks) I was done. I went home and told my husband I was quitting the next day.
Now, maybe if I had been able to make a final delivery, seen the happy looks on someone's face once their items were all back to new again and happy...maybe it would have been bearable. But I never got to do those runs, never got to see anyone pleased.
No, I got to be called a 'douche' by another pack-out company two days ago. I pulled the Transit into the driveway of this nice little old lady's house and asked the people inside where she was. "Don't know, she left ten minutes ago. Who are you?" I'm the art person. I've come for the art. The what? I pointed at the paintings, those. Oh. The group of five women all sorta looked annoyed that I was invading their space.
I finally met the homeowner and went upstairs to work out of the way of these other women. I started to over-hear them complaining about my truck being in the way, that they wanted to go to lunch. I finally spoke up and said, let me know and I can move to let you out. So they finally did and I moved my vehicle into the driveway where I could more easily pack up. But then they got back and were eating, no one said anything about me moving. I kept working on the main floor now, they knew where I was. I took some paintings out and I hear over the last remaining vehicle in the driveway on speaker "That douche won't move her truck. She's blocking the whole drive and we can't get in again." There was more but by that time I was so surprised that she would be talking on the SPEAKER where I could hear her clearly OUTSIDE of the truck... I hear, "Oh she's outside finally" (I'd been on the first floor in plain sight of everyone while they were eating) and the lady comes out, "Are you going to move?"
"Sure, I was just getting wrapped up," I said, then as she glared at me and another truck pulled in saying "Because we can't park on the lawn" and then glaring at me from the truck, I finally stopped and said, "And by the way I can HEAR EVERYTHING YOU ARE SAYING." And I walked in and took my time packing up the rest of everything before moving out of the drive.
There's nothing like being glared at for doing my job and never being spoken to but behind my back. The owner said she was next door, so I pulled into that driveway (where I'm sure the other workers could have pulled in this whole time) and went in to talk to her. The lady was as sweet as could be and her neighbor had given her the run of the house while her house was being worked on. I felt bad that such disagreeable people were in her house pawing through her things. I just left. I had more things I could have packed up and I found out later that the other guy who had come to get the electronics picked up the rest and I was to check all of those things in...
The thing you have to understand was this job is a number of things. Dealing with the multiple insurance companies, pack-out companies, cleaning and renovation places, and the poor homeowner who is just trying to get their house back to normal. The place might have had a small fire that smoked up the entire place and now everything smells. Putting out the fire might have caused water damage which, if not taken care of properly, might turn into mold and mildew. The house is covered in soot and water, drywall, insulation, and then there are all of these people who come in to take it all out to clear the house out and start over.
Basically, the job they gave me was to drive wherever, pack up anything art related, bring it back to catalog it, and then when the insurance companies gave the go-ahead, we would clean it, pack it up, and send it back again. The houses were filled with soot, dust, insulation, dry-wall and who knows what else and all I was given was a paper face mask and some rubber gloves.
I came home smelling of smoke, and not just from the job site but from every single employee who smoked cigarettes at every free moment. My allergies from all of these things were acting up every single day and on Friday when I would be home, I'd just sit around feeling miserable all day.
After a long, sleepless night, my throat hurting, my sinuses draining, nose running, no sleep and just plain exhausted after a 12-hour day, I got up and went to work. I took all of the shirts they gave me in a bag, wrote up a couple of letters, and set it on the pile of paperwork with the key on the pile in the GM's office and just left.
They'd recently cut a bunch of hours but were saying I'd still get all the hours. Oh, and we'll get you a raise once we get going too... I think it was all this matter of "don't leave us, we have no idea what we're doing." And I'm thinking this whole time that I should have been trained. I should have gotten to watch videos on how to do things. I should have been getting jobs from museums and art centers and spending time working on items in the office.
I knew if I spent any time telling them I was leaving rather then this method, I'd be guilted into staying...we'll give you anything... No, well, here's the thing, you got rid of two people who had been working here for over a year, not the person who was here for a month. You gave me all of their jobs to do. This was not in the description. This place is a mess and I don't see any changes happening any time soon. I'm sorry, my body can't handle doing EVERYTHING.
Those feelings of anxiety I had when I saw the piles of stock at my other job just building up and my old manager not letting me work on any of it because she knew better and she wanted me doing this nonsense instead... it was all flooding right back to me again.
I'm headed out here in another hour or so to go do a walk-in-interview somewhere else. Maybe they won't want me (I've tried applying twice here already) but I'm going to try again. I just want to work in a clean environment that's organized, where I get training, where people are glad I'm there and I am glad to be there.
I realized this morning as I drove to work that never once did I celebrate getting this job. From the very first moment, I didn't want to be there. Everything inside of my head said, "you can't stay here." And that's not the job for me. Even though I could have handled it, I didn't want to put myself through that anymore.
My husband has been supportive. I know he's kind of freaking out inside that here we're going into the holiday season and he's feeling a bit more secure in his job but he still doesn't feel completely comfortable there yet. I'm sure thinking about money is hard and I know that it is troubling, but if I wear myself out I won't be able to get another job. And at this point...it's not worth it. I need to have the motivation to do something new and find the excitement again.
So, change of plans... onwards to a better future!
Tuesday, November 5, 2019
Focus on My Career - pt. 5 - First Month
Friday, October 4, 2019
Focus on My Career - pt. 4 - First Week
I mentioned the interview and then bright and early on Monday morning I reported into my first day of work. The general manager who was supposed to do all of my application and everything had called off after breaking her toe the day before and wasn't going to be in all day. Immediately I wanted to just leave, but one fellow let me into the art portion of the business and told me to sit down at a computer, the internet was on...although what he thought I'd do on a strange computer with internet... randomly Google things?
I wandered the rooms for a bit and took a mental inventory of a lot of stuff and then sat on my phone until the first person walked in...not the supervisor...someone else, also not the supervisor... finally she walks in and immediately gets frustrated with her log-in (she gets very frustrated with computers in the morning) and then took me on my second tour, almost as if she was trying to get me to tell her what should be done to get things cleaned up.
Eventually I managed to get her to start teaching me things until I finally went to lunch out in my car, nearly had a nervous breakdown and proceeded to message everyone I knew that I was going to leave, that this wasn't working out, I wasn't even getting paid and who knew when the manager would be back... Everyone patiently responded that I should wait it out for a week.
I went back inside and they gave me a key to the place and sat me down at their computer where they do digital restorations (or as I found out later, all of the old supervisors did but no one there could) and also to fix their very nice photo printer.
With something I was finally comfortable with, I spent the afternoon working on getting the computer up and running, getting to learn the brand new Photoshop program they had (but had been screwed up by the previous users) and cleaned out a little piece of metal stuck in the photo printer and got it all working...digital restoration one, complete. Not perfect, but everyone raved over it, so I guess it wasn't all bad.
I went home that afternoon and had another anxiety attack and tried to work on finishing up dinner with tears running down my eyes because I was just so frustrated and anxious about all of it and I wasn't sure what to do. After I ate dinner I started to feel better but I was still not liking this job at all because I felt like they all had this idealized view of me all of a sudden and I wasn't sure where it came from. Sure, I have framing experience and a little recovery, but I've never been in this business before and they're all looking at me like I've been doing it for years...where did they even get this impression???
Second day, still anxious but the general manager had returned and we were able to not only get my log in information, she input my previous day into the computer so now, hopefully, I'll be getting paid. I felt a bit better. She also said, "Don't worry, we're going to keep you even if we have to chain you here."
I had only worked one full day and not even with her (and barely talked during the interview, remember?) and they're already crazy attached. I started to get another anxiety attack, but calmed down and worked at what I was now paid to do - cleaning up artwork that's sooty, smoky and came from someone's house fire.
That's what the job pretty much entails, I was able to really get the gist of it this day as they showed me around (again) and I started reading the tags - this one from a fire, this one from a lightning strike, this one from a flood.
Basically someone's belongings get ruined and they call in the insurance adjusters who decide whether to just give them money to replace these items or get them repaired if it's more cost-effective and/or if it's something that just can't be replaced.
Our place gets called in to do quotes or just take everything back with them, the insurance decides whether it will work, then we get to work. Some things can be repaired, some things can't and we call them "total loss" and they go back to the homeowner. Sometimes things come back to us again if it's screwed up and then we lose all the money (so they're trying to fix that) and once everything is gone through by the owner the insurance or owner pays us.
They're backlogged due to some guy who screwed it all up royally and didn't want to do things the way the company was supposed to do them so we keep getting items back and thus the supervisor was freaking out about it.
The whole second day I wound up doing digital restorations until my eyes were sore and I should have quit because things weren't coming out on the printer like I wanted them to, but that's something I'll have to deal with later. I already started making a mental list in my mind what we needed to ask the owners of these photos about their images and expectations.
I felt a bit better going home that day since I had a D&D game to clean the house for and dinner to make and I was able to relax by nearly dying in the game - AGAIN.
Third day I was warned I'd be going on a trip on the fourth day, but most of it was spent working on photo albums. Because, yeah, we do that too. In this case it was removing and cleaning thousands - and I mean THOUSANDS - of photos from this owner's albums and getting them placed in nice clean photo boxes so she could deal with them later. It was a stress-free day, the gal I don't like wasn't there and except for the supervisor talking a mile-a-minute ALL DAY LONG... I saw a squirrel go by and that's something that I never saw at my previous job.
Fourth day, we were supposed to leave around 7am but my supervisor got there late and traffic was horrendous through town all day long (we have no idea why) and I ended up having to learn to drive this big "Traverse" (it's what they called it whether that's actually what it was) clear to the other side of the state. Supervisor talking ALL DAY LONG - AGAIN - I swear there's only a few things about her life I don't know about yet...
We went to a place that had a dishwasher fire and had sent smoke into the main living space. The owner didn't want us touching his art though the insurance adjusters did...we both did our job by making the quotes but we both prayed we wouldn't have to touch his stuff because some of these paintings belonged in a museum... 17th century - easily. Amazing...but stressful.
Now, IF we had a nice clean storage area with nice clean work areas to use, maybe.
Headed to lunch and my supervisor said in the middle of talking about her personal life that "I shouldn't be saying this but to be honest, you should be in this position and I should be in yours."
You know where I said that it felt like I might get moved up in a month if I stayed that long...? I'm very much wondering if that won't be the case.
I guess they've been discussing something along those lines already, that they know I have all of this experience but if that's the case...I don't really know what to do. I don't really want to make a 40 hour week of this job if I'm not getting any benefits out of it... I just don't know.
Second place we hit was this couple's split-level that had a garage fire and we had to catalog the whole inventory of artwork inside the house and that took awhile to get it all done and packed up and taken out. I hoped I wouldn't have nightmares and thankfully I didn't. I used to have really bad anxiety over fires but I guess the more I'm starting to learn about them the less I'm scared of them.
We didn't get back to town until 5pm which made my fourth day a 10-hour day plus the hour or more of drive time back and forth.
So...what do I think of this job? I don't know. I mean, I really wish they were more organized and I think the place could do with a whole lot of cleaning up. Do I think that's worth doing at $14/hr...nope. With no benefits? Nope. But, it's interesting and easy and so far I've been able to catch on to the way things work around there, just wishing that the general manager didn't have so many family members working there because some of them are sorta worthless and I know even if I were to get into a higher position I'll never be able to say anything to them.
But, I guess for now it's a nice change of pace and I know a surprising amount of stuff about this job even without realizing how much the overlap was. It's just a LOT and the drive is stressful which was part of the reason I had moved where I did some 8 years ago, to make the drive shorter.
Oh well... I guess I'll have to report on week 2 later!