Friday, November 22, 2019

Focus on my Career - pt. 6 - More Interviews

    It's been a busy week since I quit my job.

    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

     There's a lot to unload here so I hope you'll be patient with me.  If you're reading this, then kudos to you, and good luck getting through it!

     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


     I’m fairly certain that I need to get moving on getting a different job. There were so many different red flags that popped up about this current one, but I just ignored them because I needed some money and it was the first job I’d been offered.
     But the red flags...so many! Waving in my face to the point that I should have just walked away. First, a manager that can’t concentrate on an interview more than a minute or two. She never once asks me about myself, instead just talking about herself the entire time that she wasn’t being interrupted or answering the phone every few minutes. The fact that at first she’s offering me a full time job but then gives me part time hours. Then explaining there’s no benefits for when I do go full time...but when?
     The place is a mess and she doesn’t show up the first day to set me up with my payroll passwords. I almost walk out at lunch time, but I was also so curious about this business that I wanted to know more, so I stayed. I went back the next day and it was a bit better, but I never did get to do any training videos. I had some hand’s on stuff but I had to ask question after question and eventually I just sat in the office doing digital restoration which is something I taught myself years ago, but there’s so little information about it out there and no one knows anything about it, so it’s all up to me.
But it was a job, it was a paycheck, so I tolerated it. I tolerated being forced to drive all the way out to Dayton for the day and getting back well after my time to go home was up. I tolerated having to go to Toledo a week later for a nothing job that didn’t result in anything because I wasn’t actually trained to do this job and had no idea what they were expecting.
     I’ve put up with the manager’s daughter-in-law (maybe? Her granddaughter’s mother at least) trying to be a second boss. From what my supervisor said, the owner wants her to be a supervisor, but the manager wants this gal to do it. So there is a split in who is in charge, and the other three of us are just sort of following along with whatever we’re told.
     All along my supervisor keeps saying that I should be in her position, that she just wants to go back to cleaning, and honestly I don’t blame her for wanting out because our manager is pretty terrible. I feel really bad for her because I know how it is to work under someone that says they don’t micro-manage but they do, and then are just disagreeable with everything you tell them.
     Then last week happened and we’re suddenly being told that business is low so that they’re going to have to put some people on restricted hours. I don’t get this mass text (TEXT!) that she sent out to the employees so I went down to talk to her myself. I’m told not to worry about my hours, although just a week before she’d told me she was going to up me to full time and then give me an extra dollar an hour. Now we’re told that we’re all being trimmed (except me but I won’t get that promotion thing) and one gal was basically fired, and another decided to quit and take unemployment.
     So now I’ve been in this job a month and have driving to Dayton, Toledo, then on Halloween in the pouring rain to Kentucky… I’ve cleaned dozens of pieces and seen my co-workers go from five of us to just three of us. And the one besides the supervisor is the worst kind of person I’ve ever met.
     Let me tell you about the girl named after a tree. She’s the first person I’ve met lately who definitely thinks that everyone should have children to take care of them. She’s the first “bingo” I’ve gotten, because the others, they totally get not having kids. But this one has at least two, not married, spending most of her time dealing with the deadbeats who gave her these children and working with welfare and all of that while at work, all while sitting there not actually doing work. And then the other day screaming at some poor woman about her daughter’s bus being late. “You told me 7:42, now you’re saying 7:43...” I guess it was ten minutes late? But she was screaming at this woman who has no control over the buses and there are so many different variables, but the rest of us sitting there didn’t dare say anything. I just put my headphones on and turned up the volume because I just didn’t want to listen to this horrible gal I have work with.
     So many red flags that I keep ignoring. But why? Because for some reason this job is pretty interesting. I’ve cleaned so many things and helped to fix a whole lot of items and to me that’s awesome. I think they’ve just come up with a bad way of doing things.
     For one, they split up work by a dollar amount per person. Instead it should be a teamwork kind of thing. Yes, everyone should do their share, but it should be done as a team so that every member is pulling their weight. And there should also be a collective goal, a prize, or something along those lines. But instead of doing something like that, they forced a few people out and now I’m wondering if I really should leave because now I feel rather bad about the gals who would be left.
     I think that’s the worst thing about this place. Yes, a manager should be concerned with making money, but should not berate the people below them. They should keep us all on the same page and be open and not say “no, you can’t tell anyone what I’m telling you.”
     Because, that’s totally what she did to me the other day when she said she’d probably save me for last if she had to get rid of everyone. WHAT? I should have been the first one to go because I was the newest one… well, maybe, the one they actually got rid of wasn’t cut out for the job to be honest.

     That’s where this leaves me right now. I probably need to just update my resume and then move on with my job applications again. This job really could have been a winner had it not been for how poorly run it is. I’d like to help but I really don’t think I can…?

Friday, October 4, 2019

Focus on My Career - pt. 4 - First Week

     So, I only have a little time to write this so I'll try to be as brief as possible.  I'm not sure what to think of this new job yet, only that I can physically and mentally do it, but I'm really not sure what I've gotten myself into and whether or not it's going to be something I want to do for awhile.

     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."

WUT?

     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!
   

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Glenhaven's Son Enirich - pt. 3 (Short Story)

   The Winter Winds were already starting to come to Glenhaven.  Enirich was used to Winter coming quickly upon the heels of the final harvest and most of the town was already finished with laying in the crops and stocking up the wood.
     There were many more here in this little village now.  So....so many more.
     From the northern area where they caravan parked four times a year and then extending out into the farmlands to the East, cobbled huts and tents were everywhere.  People whose faces were a pale to deep dark grey, walked among these homes, eyes shaded from the sun when it actually came out, wrapped up tightly against the cold winds that had begun to blow from the Northern mountains.
   
      Enirich's grandfather told him once that nearly five hundred years before the Drow lived here.  The ones that no longer could stand the darkness of the deep came here, dug out the mines, created the town, and worshipped their goddess.  The statue in the middle of town was once Elistraee, the Goddess of the Moon.  They were successful and eventually outgrew this tiny town and extended down to create the city of Waterfordshire, and also built villages to the far Northeast.
     That city grew large and successful.  Drow lived in peace on the surface, hired humans from the surrounding lands and sent them north to Glenhaven where they would help with the mines.  And for a time, perhaps two or three hundred years, the Drow had their region, the Elves to the South, the Dwarves to the West, and other races to the far East, and to the far, far South, the Dragonfolk.
     But something happened.  The great city of Centralia was leveled.  A powerful human wizard with the help of devils and dragons destroyed them.  The Elves went into hiding.  The Dwarves fought back until they were able to drive the evils back and secure their city.  But the Drow had nowhere to go but back into hiding underground.
     Kratos ruled above the region in a giant tower that floated on a cloud.  He despised the other races and wanted more than anything to destroy them.  For nearly a century his tower could be seen in the sky above the cities, sending evil magic to take out his enemies.

     Then one day, it stopped.

     The history books were vague about what happened.  Enirich had tried to research it in Waterfordshire but the libraries at that time were destroyed as well.  The verbal history that remained said that the humans left on the surface took over Waterfordshire and their self-appointed king, a powerful man of magic himself, was able to help rebuild the city.
      Even in the Academy Enirich had been told the king was once a Drow himself, able to save his people, who, even now, lived more or less peacefully in the catacombs below the surface.  The soldiers would drive them back underground or arrest the ones that were more dangerous, but otherwise, they were left alone.
     Kratos' tower had landed in the mountains to the East.  Those that ventured there never returned, but some said there was a Queen there who looked down upon the villages below from a tower window.  Others said Torganzantine the Queen of the Reds had brought the tower down to its final resting place.  Others yet said that the old Wizard had just died, and that's where the tower landed.  No one really knew, and it was so hard to get there that only the most hardiest adventurers attempted the journey...none would survive it.

     In Glenhaven, so the story went, Enirich's great great great great grandfather had hidden with their family within the mines of the Drow, and sealed off their escape hatch into the mountains.  The Drow would not be able to return to the surface the way they came, and he took advantage of that to take the city for the human race.
     Thinking about it now, as Enirich looked around at the many Drow who were living here now, he was rather ashamed at his ancestor.  These people just wanted to live as he did.  They wanted to live in peace and harmony, and yet...

     The Underdark was coming.

     The first signs were in the early spring, Caspian told him.  An opening to the underground was open, and the first small creatures had started to arrive, even as he was starting his third year at the academy.  Myconids and giant spiders were getting lost on the surface.  A dryad had gone crazy, and the unicorn in the forest had fled sometime that summer.  The magical fountain where it once lived had dried up.
     In the middle of the summer, Maribel and Matthew had gone hunting for herbs for a potion for someone who was sick and had discovered a newly hewn entrance...or perhaps exit was the right term, from the Underdark.  A darkness spell covered the area, killing the trees and plants.
     Not long after had Enirich returned to his home town to find that the Drow from Waterfordshire were on their way.  They were a rag-tag army, but they had been driven out of the catacombs... Immense creatures were pouring through the underground system.  Driders were hunting and killing and kidnapping those Drow that remained.
     A man whom Enirich was once told to capture, X'Granth N'zul was leading a caravan of immigrants North that Autumn.  He looked exactly like the wanted posters that bore his name.  He explained that they had nowhere else to go, but they would fight and protect their original home.  A few of these Drow, including himself, had grown up in Glenhaven as children.  Back then it had been called "Havenwoods".
     X'Granth took long journeys south to Glenhaven, pulling more of his people out, but by then the darkness from the woods had begun to extend down the valley, blocking off the road and access to the city.  It was dangerous to travel the roads now unless you could see in the dark as the Drow could.  Enirich was afraid of leaving, but he also had too much work to do as they fortified the city with more wood, large stakes, and closing off all entry points that they could.
     Caspian warned, time and again that they might have to fight all winter and to collect more stores of food for the people here.
     X'Granth volunteered to take a party south to Centoria, see if they could come back with more.  He didn't say he'd try to get help, he doubted his distant cousins the High Elves would help, and knew the Dwarves would not either.

     Just a few days ago word returned that Centoria was no more.  Caspian was seen in his shop performing a very long and daunting ritual and no one was allowed to see him for a few days.  When he was finished, the knob on his door no longer had the color which led to Centoria.  Instead, it led to some other place Enirich had never seen before... Caspian said it was in case they had to evacuate the city, but said no more.
     X'Granth sent word that he was on his way back to the village, but that the darkness was spreading further South now, and with Winter upon them, it would be a few weeks before he could make it back.

     Enirich's uncle the Mayor had hoped now that the snow was starting to fall that the Underdark would leave them be, but he was wrong.  A platoon of Duregar and creatures they had never seen before came from the caves, slaughtering a band of warriors from their village until they were finally pushed back.  Enirich had been with the band, and he was seriously injured until a lovely Drow woman came to him and healed his cuts.  Most of his soldiers survived, but the city was on edge now.
     Tra'Laga visited Enirich's bed a few different times over the next day or so as he recovered.  She brought him maps of the valley and they sat in his home, pouring over the notes.  Matthew and Maribel came to bring them food and give them more intel.  The cliffs surrounding the city were almost all completely shrouded in magical darkness.  The Drow could fight in it, and they were also the ones who came and went from it with information, but the humans were at a loss here.
     "We may have to escape," Tra'Laga looked downtrodden, her long white hair covering her lilac eyes.  Enirich could only just barely remember what it was like to be against Drow...he thought they were rather beautiful, once you got a good look at them.  Their grey skin almost sparkled in the daylight.  It could be just his hormones too...he wasn't really all that sure.
     "Caspian wants us to wait for X'Granth.  He said he has been slowly working at enlisting more help as they travel North.  But he's not sure if anyone's going to come."
     Maribel, sitting at the small chair nearby looked up, "Maybe our heroes will come?"
     Enirich shook his head, "I doubt it.  I took them as murderers, and they see me as their enemy, so I doubt they'll want to help this place again."
     The young girl looked downtrodden and Matthew patted her shoulder from where he stood at her side.  "I doubt a little group such as that could help something this big.  We'd need an army for that."
     "The army isn't coming..."  A new voice stated from the doorway.  Everyone turned to look at the small figure of Ellabee.  She pushed the door closed as a sharp wind filled with snow whirled inside.  Pulling a the hood down from her cloak she shook her head.  "Sorry to barge in so suddenly, but X'Granth just sent word that Centoria is in ruin.  The Black Shields and Golden Circle are on their way to push the dragons that have invaded out of the city, but it will take time.  Something drew multiple dragons there..."
     "Torganzantine has roosted again?"  Enirich leaned back, his brow creased.  "I mean, I know it's been around a hundred years...my textbooks said..."
     Ellabee stomped her feet and walked into the room, "No...  Caspian doesn't believe so.  Something much worse... A Dragon Lich."
     Maribel laughed awkwardly, "That's silly...there isn't such a thing."
     "Maybe not before."  The room went silent as Ellabee helped herself to tea from the fireplace.  She turned with both her hands around the small clay mug.  "There's also word that Tiamat is stirring from below... Bahamut has come to the land.  Caspian..."  Ellabee takes a sip slowly, swallowed it, and then continued, "I shouldn't say anything, but the Balance has been shifted.  Evil knows this is the time and they can draw on that to take over.  Something is causing it, something has created this evil and unless it is stopped, the planet is in danger."
     Enirich could feel a sharp pang in his stomach.  The cold breeze that had blown in just moments before was not the cause of his goosebumps this time.  "But, what can we do?  Run away?  We have only a handful of magicians and other types and Caspian isn't doing anything.."
     Ellabee waved a hand at him, "Oh he's doing plenty.  It doesn't seem like it but he's concentrating on spells right now to keep us in the daylight..."  She drifted off, "I probably should get back to him to make sure he actually eats and drinks something.  He forgets to take care of himself.  Even an Elf needs to meditate... recharge..."  Setting her mug down she pulled the hood back up over her head.  "Right now the immediate danger is the Underdark.  We need a plan to get that opening closed up again.  Then we'll worry about...whatever else comes."

     The four sat in silence long after Ellabee left them.  They could hear what sounded like a blizzard blowing outside.  It was traveling fast.  Matthew said he was pretty sure it would be done by morning, as he remembered storms like this one.  It would be headed to the mountains, and perhaps would give them a day or so to breathe from the attacks.
     "Too bad we don't have a way to destroy that cave..."  Tra'Laga mumbled, tapping the spot on the map.  "I'm sure it would take time to dig out...give us more time."
     Enirich and Maribel suddenly turned to one another.  Cousins of the same family of miners who had been blasting in the caves for centuries..."Blast powder!!"  They both exclaimed at once.
     Tra'Laga and Matthew both jumped, "Wha-what?!"
      "We just have to get into OUR mine!" Enirich jumped up from where he sat, leaned over and gave Tra'Laga a long hard kiss right on the mouth.  "You're brilliant!"  He turned to Maribel who already was pulling her coat on.  "We just need to get to the mine using the storm as cover and blow it up!"

     The two cousins were already moving to the door in sync, the first time the awkwardness had finally evaporated.  They had, as children, played as sister and brother, being only a year or so apart.  But they had spent a lot of time in the mine with their fathers as it was the town's main source of income, but also its biggest secret.  Matthew had learned of it only a few months ago, but had not known how the mine worked...blasting powder was the secret. 
     "We'll need your help Tra!  Neither of us can see in the dark..."  Enirich pulled on his coat, tossing his friend hers.  "I practically know the route by heart, but it'll help to have someone with us who can actually see."
     "And cast faerie fire?"  The Drow was still sort of in a daze from her first kiss.  She didn't know it was that nice, quite honestly.  But she was always business first, pleasure later, as her father told her.  The Black Fist was a hard business to run, but she helped out when she could.  "Let's go.  Faster gone, faster back."
     "Not without me!"  Matthew said, finally following the others.  He took his bow from a hook by the door, strapping on his quiver.  "You'll need someone to watch your backs."
   
     The group pushed its way into the blizzard.  It would be a long night.

Focus on my Career - pt. 3 - The New Job

     So I start my new job on Monday morning.

     I applied to the job months ago, got an email from Indeed saying they had received 30+ applications and closed the job.  I didn't get an email, no interview, no phone calls, nothing, so I just wrote it off and went on my way.
      Then on Thursday, I received a message from them that they wanted me to come in.  I emailed them back saying I was open any time this week and after a confusing letter saying "I'm not available tomorrow but Monday" (I never mentioned being free Friday) I suddenly had an interview.

     "Interview" isn't actually the right term really.  I went in, learned about the past history of the GM and the business, we discussed my availability and then she offered me the job.  This happened over the course of an hour, and the majority of my words were just agreeing and saying "that's okay" over and over again.

     So... why did I take a job where no one even asked me about my previous experience?

     Maybe because I felt needed.  The other jobs I have applied to over the past few months haven't needed me.  I'd become just another number and yet, they still didn't actually want me and I haven't figured out why.  Maybe because I wasn't needed.  Is my personality too strong?
      The thing I saw around me as we toured the warehouse was a disaster zone that felt different but also very familiar to the frame shops I've walked into over the years.  It rather felt like I was walking into a shop where they kept getting returns and the shop head just said "nope" and walked away (which, apparently, was fairly accurate, as the last guy left back in April.)
      So, feeling needed and feeling like maybe I could actually help these people really got my interest up so I accepted the job and we'll see where it goes.  There were a few other appealing things, like being able to choose my own schedule and it's sorta full time but could probably get there eventually if I ask for it.
      But there's also the downfall of very few benefits due to the owner sorta just treating this as his piggybank but I have a feeling allowing it to fall apart.  The only reason it's working out is the GM but she's overworked and trying to hold it together and because she keeps bringing family members in to be bodies they're all just sorta getting by, putting their hands in this piggybank too.

     I might be walking into a real horror show.  I'm fully prepared for something big to happen and for me not to have a job much longer, but as long as I can keep at it until I can finally find something else, it will fill in my resume a bit more for now.

---------------------

Originally this blog was a lot longer but I realized that I should probably just keep it all to a minimum until I have a better understanding of this job and actually have my first day there.  I don't want to shoot myself in the foot either because again, I'm writing this blog and it IS out there for anyone to read.  So, I took out a lot of the actual discussion that took place because it might be too recognizable for where I'm going.  Just minimum details for now.

I realize that I'm going to have a hard time not stepping on anyone's feet.  The GM told me that those working under her were just "okay" and she "has no problem moving someone from full time to part or vice versa if they aren't working right" - so at first, I was thinking "oh crap, you mean I gotta really bust my butt to make this work."  The more I think about it though, the more I begin to think about the employees I saw there that day and the complete and utter lack of work they were doing...even though they were supposedly behind.  So, what I think she was actually referring to is that after a month if I'm doing well she'll drop someone else and I'll take over for them.  Apparently, my cover letter had actually really impressed her that much.

I can already see myself going in and taking over, cleaning and moving things around and getting things in order and because unlike my previous job where I was hired to do that, I don't want to create enemies so quickly.

She just kept saying "it'll be nice to have someone in that's older..."  Well then.

We'll see.

Currently, in my mind, I plan on being there for at least the next few weeks, feel it out, see what's possible, get a feeling for the place, and then reevaluate whether I should go for another job soon.  I need to get through Tsubasacon first though.  I know for a fact that unless they start turning things around and being more professional that I'll have to leave anyway because there's no way I can work there very long without paid time off and a 401K...although I may just start making one of those on my own.

It's just going to be nice to have a purpose for a while I guess.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Focus on My Mental Health - pt. 26 - Introvert vs Extrovert

     I think everyone falls on that line between being an extrovert and an introvert.  They say that even introverts crave human attention from time to time, and yet, get worn out by it.  Extroverts, on the other hand, feed on that human interaction and the more they get the more they want.  That's why many who are extroverted are self-centered oftentimes because they just want to be the focus of attention.  (Not to say extroverts can't be loving, caring, devoted people, because many of them actually pay more attention to others to keep conversations going.)
     Introverts, to a lesser extent, are also self-centered, but mostly because they reflect internally upon themselves more than on others.  Mind you, these self-reflecting creatures can also learn to look outward and care about others as well, and they know the right questions to ask and the best topics to keep others talking, so they don't have to carry a conversation!
     I wonder about myself, and if an extrovert can actually be made into an introvert by simply being made to think that way about themselves.  Could I actually be an extrovert that has just been so coddled over the years that I can't help but get worn out by social interaction?

     The reason I'm writing about this today was because of a thought I had yesterday on my way to lunch with one of my friends.  I had been sitting here at the computer wondering what I was going to accomplish for the rest of the day and also feeling lonely.  After an anxiety-ridden moment, I dropped my friend a message to see if she was going to be free for lunch since she had the day off of work.  Well over a half-hour passed and I did as most anxious people do, I clarified what I meant by meeting... Only if she was free, only if it wasn't out of her way, that sort of thing.
     Then my anxious brain took over and I started thinking about being turned down again.  I keep getting turned down for doing things with people.  I ask if people want to get together, I'm asked whether I want to join someone and when I say yes, they say nevermind.  Things like that make my brain just start really messing with me.
     Take for example today, (I know I'm going on a rabbit trail here) but a friend said they weren't planning on looking at my shop today because they're saving money for this weekend but maybe next week... and I went into a pit of endless Facebook scrolling for a half hour and deleted the entire blog entry I'd already started.  So... yeah, it really messes with someone.  I crawled out of my hole fairly quickly, but I'm still in that place of, 'no one likes me'.
     So, that was my thought, because I realize that even though I've spent most of my life thinking I was introverted, most of the people IN my life thought I was extroverted.  And I, when I get to start hanging out with people, really want someone to hang out with all the time.

     I don't think my friends realize that as they're having all of this fun with other friends, I'm feeling very left out.  I want to have friends with them and their friends.  I'd like to be invited once in a while.  I have so little human interaction lately since I lost my job that I'm going batty here in the house.  I'd really like to be able to get out and do things and talk to people besides my husband and the groups of people that come over once in a while. 
     I spent about eight to ten years after I moved into a new city having very few friends.  I'd met a few people at work from time to time, but after a while realized that no one wanted to do anything with me outside of work.  While other co-workers were going out to lunch together, I was having a packed lunch all by myself in the breakroom.  When others were doing quilting get-togethers after work, I was going home to watch TV and be miserable.  It took a LONG time to get friends again who would want to do things with me again.
     And now that I have a few friends, I'd really like to spend more time with them.  I'd like to go out on the weekends and be asked to go out to lunch.  But, it doesn't happen.  I crave for it to happen, but it's so rare to be asked... and yet this craving doesn't go away.

     So, I might have a tinge more extrovert in me then everyone I know has thought over the years.  I think they believe I'm introverted and I'm completely happy just staying at home and doing things on the internet and not having a job.

     It's actually quite miserable.

     At least for me.  I think a couple other friends I know who don't have jobs are doing okay.  They have their bad moments, but I think overall they don't seem to be miserable by not working.  Unlike me who thrives on hard work and lots to do and maybe that's why these last five months have been so hard on me even though at first I thought it was going to be a great thing.
     I think I really needed all of that social interaction throughout the day, really needed that so I could just go home and relax and be introverted the rest of the time.  But I got that attention, I got the talking out of the way, I got to spend time with my friends, and even though we don't do anything with one another the rest of the time, it was okay when it was like that.

     So, am I really introverted or extroverted?  I have no idea.

     But maybe we're all on both sides a little bit and it just depends on how we're leaning each particular day.

     Meanwhile, on a whole different topic, I'm almost off all of the medications I had been taking.  I'm just sorta wondering what it will feel like to be off all of the fake stuff I keep putting into my body.  I'm still really worried about going off birth control (I never really needed it to keep me balanced, just to make things easier with my husband...)  I know I'm going to be worried again but at least I can see if any of this depression or numbness was because of the pills.  I guess only time will tell.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Focus on My Mental Health - pt. 25 - Need to Declutter

     I'm beginning to feel surrounded.  I can feel the clutter all around me and it's starting to really drive me crazy.  Every September it starts to get bad around here as the convention stuff starts to encroach on every day life and the boxes start to pile up around the place and everything just becomes this huge slovenly mess that I have to walk around or trip over.  It spills in from near the front door and slowly makes its way around the living room and into the kitchen.  Dust bunnies begin hiding behind the boxes.  Cat hair takes up residence on top, below, around, until it's hard to tell where the boxes end and the floor begins.
   
     I can't stand this clutter.

     I just want to leave the house and stay outside because I'm so tired of looking at all of the boxes.  And then when I think, 'Oh, maybe I'll clean and get some of this stuff out of here.' I start to find other things that have nothing to do with the convention - things that my husband brings in, things that he refuses to throw out...the mess is so maddening that I start throwing things out willy-nilly.  I know he hasn't looked at this in over a year...goodbye!  The problem is, I know he knows these things are there, he just doesn't want to deal with it.  He hates throwing anything out and it's driving me nuts because not only won't he get rid of it, he won't find a nice neat organized way to keep them either.  Give me a crate and I'll wrap up all those cables and get the all stored correctly, but in truth, most of what's left he's never going to touch ever again... so there it sits, not being used.

     I just want to go full-out AGGRESTUKO on the whole thing and scream at the top of my lungs.

   
     So, here I sit writing about it and trying to vent at least a little.  I realized that I didn't sit down and write yesterday like I had been doing on a regular basis because I had decided to try making a painting video for the first time in awhile.  When it was all said and done it looked pretty good and I was fairly happy with it.  The narration was mostly clean and I rambled a bit, sure, but it sounded almost natural as opposed to me just reading, which was what I was doing.  I haven't looked online yet but a few people shared it so I was happy that way.
     But, my husband didn't say anything and he sure as heck hasn't 'liked' it so I'm not feeling anything coming from him right now.  Again, like I mentioned in the last blog, this is the time when his "baby" takes precedence, and I just become a glorified maid and secretary.

      It's not as if I have anyone knocking down my door either trying to give me a job.  I did have a call today but when I looked up the company (since I hadn't applied there myself) I quickly found out that they were one of those phony scam things so I just told them I wasn't interested and hung up.  I'm always surprised that fake businesses still exist when there's so much information flying around about them out there.  But I guess there's enough people who don't look them up that they make a profit somehow.
     I'm just disappointed that I can't get a phone call from one of those companies I did apply for, because there were so many.  Probably by now all of the files have been cleared and no one is looking at my resume.  I have yet to do a stream-line of it like I was wanting to.  There's actually a lot of things I haven't been doing that I should be doing for myself but the money issue is creeping up into it.
     For example, I'm on my final week of birth control pills and then I'll be free of the hormones but that'll make things go back to stressful if I engage in any activity it's just going to be one freak out moment after another.  I wouldn't worry so much about it if I didn't know my grandmother had given birth at 45 so I have at least another 5 years where I could definitely possibly become pregnant and that freaks me out even more.
      It's not as if I haven't gotten onto a new insurance, because we have gotten things going, but I was getting $60 bills pretty regularly from my doctor to just visit and I'm supposed to get some of those other tests that women get once they're in their 40s, so I'm rather not looking forward to spending that money until I know I've got some coming in.... and who knows when that's going to be?  Even the second table at a craft show that I sent the check in for has yet to be cashed and I haven't heard a word from them so I'm starting to wonder if I was even selected or will even have a chance to go.

     All I can say, is that things have been really rough, even more so since I stopped looking for a job.  There are all of these things that I think I should be doing but if I don't write them down they just sort of drift away like dandelion fluff.  I'll sit and think about it for awhile and all of those ideas are just gone somehow and then I get depressed and just take a nap in the middle of the day.  Even if I haven't done an ounce of housework or spent any time online, I'll just fall asleep and nap.
     I know that has to be the depression.  I know enough now to recognize the signs but it's super hard to be able to pull myself out of it.

     I keep trying to come up with a way to focus on the good things again.  I had started doing that a bit at first but as the months keep rolling by with no changes, nothing seems to really be working.  Then I fall into the pit of eating because I'm bored or stressed out... and that's just worse.

ARGGGGGG!!!!!


Maybe I need to just declutter my life.  Maybe I need to just get RID of a bunch of things that remind me of my misery.  Maybe if I could just sit in a nice, clean, sterile space for awhile, maybe things will even out for me for a bit.  I just don't know.  I wonder if it would help though?  Perhaps?  I'm so sick and tired of feeling like the walls are surrounding me and there's no way out.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Focus on My Mental Health - pt. 24 - Raising the "Children"

     As of yet, I'm not sure what to title today's blog entry.  I suppose I should come up with something by the end, but if it's still titled "24" you'll know what happened.

     This past week has been a roller coaster of things.  I started out things on a rather drab note, but because I had company coming over early in the week and I'd be gone during the weekend, I decided to concentrate on all of the chores that were necessary, and attempted to move away from my career.  It rather started something like this - be miserable but slog through the weekly chores.  Keep forgetting things because I didn't have a list written down, get more miserable for forgetting to take things out of the freezer or forgetting to go to the grocery store.
     Make myself more miserable by realizing that we shouldn't be eating out all the time for dinners and then guilty because that's what ended up happening a few days this week.  All because I couldn't come up with a grocery list and I keep trying to come up with new things but I only remember the things I've done recently and I didn't want to re-do them all again... or should I?
     Scroll through the job listings and get even worse than before until finally my husband said that even one of his old co-workers said maybe it's best if I just stop looking for a bit.  It's not doing me any good and I'm just miserable doing it because I keep getting turned down.  And he was worried at this point if I got into a job then suddenly I won't be able to help with the convention and I've been doing a lot of that lately and we think it's helping.  (Not that I'm doing any of that today, but I'll get to that in a bit.)
     So, I agreed and decided that maybe I should attempt to convince myself that THIS is what I want to be doing with the rest of my life.  That taking care of the house, being creative, and helping out with the convention is actually better than working and I should be happy having the time to myself.

     A true introvert probably would be happy.  I don't think I'm a true introvert, so instead of making me happy like I always thought it would; I'm miserable and alone with my own thoughts and the only time that I'm relaxed and not depressed is either when I'm writing it all out on paper or I'm doing some task that is so mind-numbing that I can't think about other things.  So sometimes, like today for example, watching TV, cleaning the house and mowing the lawn are my mind-numbing things but then I forgot to go get groceries and plan dinner, and thus I'm behind again; even with a list out on the counter I've started to cross off as I get things accomplished.

     Last week was a mix of all of that.  Wanting to search for a job, convincing myself that it was okay that I didn't, and eventually just getting caught up in having a stomach flu of some sort that I felt miserable and just wanted to watch TV when I wasn't running back and forth to the bathroom.  But I also started to feel a bit better about myself.  Got more things done for the convention, got more painting done, had an order from a family member that I got to mail off, got out of the house and did some shopping.  Got excited about doing things for the weekend.
     Then I tried to pump myself up for the convention stuff and I was kind of excited about all of that while we were having our meeting.  I was pretty happy at the excitement for the artwork and all of the advertising and such and that was pretty cool.  That, after spending a day sick to my stomach and feeling like crap.  And oh yeah, getting yet another rejection letter after all of the time I spent just having no clue why I wasn't hearing from any of the job applications I still had out there.

     And yesterday I really wanted to have a good day.  But I'm miserable because I've gained weight and my outfit was too tight.  I was miserably hot.  I was running to the bathrooms every few hours because of whatever flu it was that still isn't going away.  And I was miserable because I have no job and thus feel like I can't spend anything...and then I allowed myself to get talked into buying this hat that I really didn't like and wished that I could just instead walked away and bought something else I actually wanted...but I wondered if I would feel better.  I didn't.  But I wanted to.  I wanted to have that excited feeling I got when I bought my first potion bottle or when I bought my crystal ball, or perhaps when I bought the outfit that I wore and it was a small and the woman was amazed how well it fit and now it's just too tight because I'm nearly 20lbs heavier again and it was just miserable.

     I really don't want people worrying about me.  I really don't want to tell them that I feel useless.  Sure, maybe I catch someone's eye by posting stuff online, but it's not MINE.... let me explain, as I came up with this idea earlier today.

     My husband, back when we had just met, had taken on the convention just earlier that year and his friends were all pushing him to do his best to grow this thing.  If you wanted to compare it to a child, let's say someone had this kid, then after it turned two years old put it up for adoption and my husband and a couple of his friends took it to start raising it.  I met my husband right about that time and started throwing in my two-cents of how to raise this 'child'.  I didn't have a hand in it myself because I lived too far away, but they took my ideas and got it through its third year.  I didn't really start raising it myself until half-way through it's third year and got to celebrate its fourth birthday.  But, still, I was only helping it in little bits and pieces.  It was still my husband and his friend's 'child'.
     Skip forward to its teenage years and I spent most of my time helping to raise it with my husband and yet his friends (or rather, the vice chair) still acted as if it was HIS and that I had very little to do with it.  Even though I spent hours and hours of my time devoted to clothing, feeding, and bathing it, it still wasn't mine.  Now it's very nearly grown out of its teenage years and I see how much it has grown, that it isn't a child anymore, but here I am, still helping bathe it, still feeding it, still cutting its hair and dressing it, and only just recently have I started to get some of the credit for it.
     Look how much attention its getting on social media!  You're sharing all of these pictures of it and look how popular its getting!  What proud parents we are for watching it grow and doing so well for it!  But, you know, it's HIS kid...  So yeah, it's still my husband's "child" even though I've raised it and helped him nurture it and protect it from all of these people who sought to do what they wanted it.  But, it's not MINE.

     So, that's why I started making up my own business.  This one could be MINE.  This could be my tiny child that I raise up from nothing... but because I'm starting from scratch, it feels so lonely and I feel like I have very little ground to stand on.  I've had to push myself to do this thing - put together the stock and make the website and go to the craft shows and promote myself - all while having this "teenager" hoisted upon me... make him behave.  Watch it, feed it, keep it happy...
     But it's a teenager.  This is a baby - well, rather, this project is so new it's only a few months old, and in order for it to grow I need to spend a LOT more time on it, and yet here I am being stuck raising both, and we all know that teenagers need just as much attention as babies do in their own way.  But what suffers?  The little thing I want to do because I keep having to be forced between one or the other, especially when my husband now has a new job in order to take care of my dead-beat ass.

     Sorry, but that's how I've been feeling and it's a pretty good analogy.  So I figure, maybe I can see things through and maybe once I've gotten past the convention this year I can concentrate on my own project.  Maybe then I can find a job.  Maybe then I can be happy with whatever it is that I can focus on...I just don't know what anymore.

   

Monday, August 26, 2019

Focus on My Career - pt. 2 - Getting Nowhere Fast

     Going to be a fairly short update today as I don't have a lot of stuff to share.  I think I've said that before though and then went off on some tangent; so you really never know now, do you?

     So last week came and went and I completely re-vamped my resume and started to get pumped about submitting it for another job.  About once a week I get really excited and that usually lasts until the moment I go to submit the resume or application.  Then my anxiety gets the better of me, and if the whole process is short, then I usually get through it, but if it takes too long, I sometimes chicken out, doubt myself, and back out of the whole process.  Unfortunately, that's happened a few times and at least once last week.
     I had that resume all written up beautifully, put the cover letter together, and finally hit that "send" button and then held my breath as the webpage reset and I got the email reply.  'Okay,' I think, 'Here goes nothing.'
     It's been not quite a week now, and I'm pretty sure I was right... nothing.
   
     After a few days of waiting for anything besides a generic email to come back, I started to look for jobs again and found a couple more I thought about applying for, but by the time I got through the ridiculously long application process, I gave up because I realized I wasn't sure how to approach the straight-forward question of, "if you were fired, why?"
     I turned to Reddit for an answer and received just one reply: "don't tell them the truth, just say you parted ways with the company."
     Great, that's so helpful.

     The weekend came and went and I couldn't look at the job postings again.  I concentrated instead on having a good weekend because most likely I wasn't going to hear anything form anyone during a weekend anyway, and I was correct.  It was phone/email/radio silence (so to speak).  I almost started wondering if I should check to see if my email wasn't blocked off completely out there because no one seems to be sending me anything except for junk mail from the various job websites where I've applied.

     Of course, my days seem to be filled with working on things for the family 'business' - or rather, 'our baby' - which is the anime convention Tsubasacon.  It's basically a child we've been raising for 16 years and it still hasn't graduated and moved out on its own yet.  Maybe another year or two?
     Since I haven't had a paying job, this has been my life for the past few months and since we only have a month or two left to "go time" I've been working on graphics and social media and all of that other fun stuff... Well, fun isn't exactly the word I'd call it, but I don't want to be crude either.  I don't mind doing convention stuff, but I think I would have been so much more excited about it had I just quit my previous job to do it rather than having it shoved at me by my husband since I have yet to find another actual job.  Sorta like - if you're not working - here's a bunch of work.

     (On another note, he also makes me do almost all of the housework and cooking and all now that I'm off so I hardly have time to submit applications and try to get things done for my craft table as I'm constantly working on all of this convention stuff and household stuff all the time.)

     Then, there's my friends.  I am really attempting to pull myself out of this funk, but each time they post a picture of their desks at their new jobs, every time they talk about some great thing they did at this company they hired on at, each time they talk about their Monday-Friday schedules...I just want to cry.
     I never wanted that sort of lifestyle but it's all I can think about now.  I want to feel needed.  I want to feel like I'm of use to someone.  I hate this feeling of rejection and feeling stupid.  I guess it's my fault for internally always feeling high and mighty for being so smart...I'm not smart.  I'm an idiot who didn't follow the right path for schooling and now those friends who may be in debt at least have jobs in which to pay it off, whereas me with no debt have been ignored because no one gives a crap about some retail chick who got fired because who wants to hire someone who's only been in crappy jobs for the last 20 years?
     I know my friends are showing me these things because they are excited and happy for themselves and they're trying to get me to come work with them.  But when those places aren't even looking at my resumes or treating my interviews with any amount of interest...and all I get are "sorry" responses...I just don't know what to do.

     I know that I should feel happy because all of those 20 years I spent working I wished that I could not be working.  But I wanted it to be my choice.  This was not my choice.  This is me wishing I could be doing something else about now.  Or at the very least having my chosen profession being my crafting hobby and getting something out of that... nope.
     And I pray over and over that I'll hear something and I feel more and more left behind by my friends and useless and I really don't want to feel like this because I'm sure I'm not all that fun to be around when I'm whining so much.  But I just don't want to settle for some retail or service job again because I'll be even more miserable with everyone happily hanging out at their desks while I still don't have a desk (besides the one I'm typing at here at home right now) because I'm too stupid to get an actual job.

     So...that's it.  There's not much else to report.  I'm plugging along with various things and trying to fit time in between all of these design tasks I keep being given (for no pay mind you) to submit resumes and then getting nothing back for my trouble.  I just don't know what I'm doing wrong.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Focus on My Career - pt. 1 - Starting Again from Scratch

     After writing twenty-three entries on my "mental health" I realized that most of them have really been more about my career focus; getting a job, interviews and the search.  So, starting today, some of these entries will be more focused on my future career plans and how that is working out.
     This particular entry will most likely be fairly short as if you've read this far you have a pretty good idea about how my career has gone so far.  But, for those of you who have not, this is where I've been so far:

  • Started education in the field of writing and received a Bachelor of Arts in English.
  • Found a retail job at an art store selling posters and random decorations.
  • Worked on novels and attempted to have them published.
  • Moved into a retail job working with art and custom framing.
  • Started teaching framing, drawing, painting and crafts.  Started selling my paintings and artwork for commissions and artist fairs/conventions.
  •  Continued working with conventions and learned how to design graphics and work with media advertising and copy, merchandise design and social media.
  • Trained as management and learned supervisory jobs.
  • Started my own online business and had my first true craft fair experience.

Job Leads...

  • Bold Penguin - a website company that specialized in Insurance for small businesses.  Job was $12/hr but had no parking options... only downside.  No dress code, 9-5, great benefits.  I was stupid and should have gone in for the second interview.
  • Quantum Health - an Insurance company with a focus on ease and personal care - had a phone interview for an Assistant Pod Manager job, which apparently was out of my league and I should have applied for an entry level job.
  • Beam Dental - a dental Insurance company - had a great phone interview, a great in-person interview...but got passed over for someone with call center experience and the job listing was taken down.
  • Supply House - Plumbing and home improvement supply warehouse - interviewed for a secretarial job, but the latest update is that they were still taking applications and interviewing.
  • Quantum Health - I bit the bullet and applied...again...but for a Junior RFP Writer position, but in my cover letter mentioned I'd be open for any position even though I was applying to that particular one.

     I think in total I've applied for over 20 different jobs since April.  I've literally had four bites, which has really depressed me.
     When I first lost my job I was so excited and confident.  I just KNEW I'd get a new job and when the first place I applied for (well, one of the first) I got both a phone and an in-person interview and got called for a second...I was so confident in my potential to get a job that I turned it down since it wasn't quite what I was looking for.
     Now, nearly every day I kick myself for not following that path, at least for a short time.  I feel like an idiot because since then I have had no other confidence builders and that push and excitement has now dwindled.
     By the time I had my last interview I was so miserable that I couldn't show the excitement that I first approached those interviews with previously.  The confidence I had when I was applying for jobs has changed to anxiety and the feeling of inferiority.  Will this job even look at my application?  Why would they?  What do I have to offer to someone at my age?  Why did I go so long without trying for a job elsewhere that could use what I had to offer?  Why did I suffer?  What will people think when they look at the gaps in my resume?

     So, here are some of the things I'm going to be looking at over the next few weeks:

  1. Re-evaluate my Resume and bring it up to date.
  2. Work on writing a concise cover letter for each job application.
  3. Research education paths - writing or information/internet technologies?
  4. Get a better wardrobe to present myself better.  Dress to impress!
  5. Practice Interviews - find a better way to explain how I lost my job.  "I was let go due to policy changes."
  6. Try to find new contacts for job possibilities.
  7. Stop being so depressed about my situation and get working on what I CAN do.

     Now I need to process all of this, and report back as I manage to overcome some of these hurdles!

Monday, August 12, 2019

Focus on My Mental Health - pt. 23 - New Routine & New Tasks

     Today starts a new chapter in my life.  No, I'm still sans an actual job...  But my husband started his new job today, the first new one since we moved to Columbus.  In a way he'll still be working with the old job, but it's something brand new and I was pretty proud of him to finally make that jump.
     But as I said goodbye to him this morning after breakfast, I couldn't help but think about the fact that it wasn't me leaving for a new job.  I have a few different applications out there still, but haven't heard anything at all today, and I'm trying to just keep my chin up and keep looking.
     Meanwhile, I decided I needed to get up off the couch and get moving to do things while he's gone.  Mind you, we've spent almost every single waking moment together since I got fired since he was working from home from around Christmas.  I know he's been super worried about me since before that point as he'd leave for work and come home on my days off to find me still on the couch where he left me.
     So, this morning I made it a point to tell myself over and over again that I have to be the supportive wifey, and I also need to make sure he doesn't feel like he has to worry about me while he's gone.  To do this, I hurried up and got around this morning and went downstairs to make coffee and fix him breakfast and send him on his way, cheering him along by messenger and getting other people on Facebook to cheer for him as well.
     Then after breakfast I got to work on my to do list.  Pulled apart the fridge and cleaned it out, got rid of a bunch of expired stuff and re-organized the pantry and I still need to do a bit more overhaul, but I think I at least know what we've got in there since the kitchen is going to be my territory again very soon.  The next few hours were spent doing various cleaning, watering, dishes, gardening, pulling in my recycle bin and mail, and taking Olivia out on her leash for a short time.
     Painting was also on my list of to-dos today, so get a bunch of things finished, some figures done to the extent that I felt satisfied (some figures I just don't go overboard on since they'll be on the table top for only a few minutes at time).  And then upstairs to take care of all of the social media posts for the next few days.
     My husband told me to hold down things with the convention, so I took care of answering questions - didn't realize they had so many throughout the day.  Don't have access to the email questions yet, but the Facebook thing is pretty regularly every few hours.

     Okay...so this was more of a journal entry of what I've done with my day rather than telling you about my new routine.

     But, in a way it IS my new routine.  I think getting up early in the morning, getting things taken care of for breakfast, and then writing a to-do list for the day.  After that, actually DOING that to-do list.  Then, making dinner and relaxing with my husband and hopefully convincing him he doesn't have to worry about me being depressed at home.

     Yes....I'm depressed.  Not so bad today (or rather the last few days, I really need to make sure I go for walks out at the park more often) but I can't help but feel bad about myself not having a job STILL.

     I am being a wee bit stubborn with what kinds of jobs I'm applying for... I feel like every where that my friends recommend for me never seem to work, so I keep trying at other places, but everything feels set against me.  I started out being super anxious about the actual interview but then feeling really good after it happened...and then I get turned down for the job after I've convinced myself that I AM RIGHT FOR THIS JOB... only to be slammed down - NOPE.
     I worry that I had too much luck with my jobs growing up - I got nearly every job I applied for - so suddenly I'm getting not even ONE job I applied for... (well, except for the one I regret a lot and am too stubborn to go crawling back to)  And I hate this feeling that I'm not that kind of person who people want to hire anymore.  What happened?

     Meanwhile, I'm trying to sell things online but so far that's not happening yet either.


Sigh.

Monday, August 5, 2019

Focus on My Mental Health - pt. 22 - Craft Show & Intense Anxiety

     Back around the end of March, I made some plans with a friend to head to Indianapolis to watch the Critical Role Live Show.  If you don't know what that is, then you're not as much of a nerd as I am, and that's okay.  It's basically watching a bunch of anime/video game voice actors playing Dungeons & Dragons in front of a live audience of some two thousand or more people.  We happened to get tickets to be two of those people.
     Then the two of us stressed out for weeks hoping that we'd be able to get the time off together and that our terrible manager wouldn't throw a wrench in our plans by telling one of us we couldn't go (because, as I've mentioned so long ago, she didn't want us being friends or spending any time outside of work together...miserable woman.)
     Then just a few weeks later, I got fired and suddenly didn't have to worry about having the day off.  Well, sort of since I'd really hoped I'd have a new job by then and would have the worry about asking for it off instead of worried about what our manager would do to us.  So, with that off the table for the time being, I ceased worrying too much about it.  Then a few months later, my friend got away from that woman and her new job told her it would be fine if she went, she'd just have to do her test a day early (which she passed after only missing one question, so go her!)  Meanwhile...still jobless, I still had no worries with regards to whether I'd have a day off or not.

     Skip forward to May.  After a few weeks of being miserable (and coming down with colds TWICE) I pushed forward in my plan to make money somehow, by actually going after a spot at a craft show at a local church brat fest that I'd been thinking about for quite some time.  I finally got a table!  Got the payment turned in, got the confirmation, I was so excited... and then I realized that the two things were on the EXACT SAME WEEKEND.

     Well....this is awkward.

     I pushed forward with both plans even though as the days crept closer I started to freak out more and more that I couldn't pull it off.  But I had a lot of craft stock done and even though I took time in between to work on my D&D stuff, job application stuff, failing at unemployment stuff, and website/social media stuff...I somehow managed to get enough stock for the craft table and that was pretty awesome.

     But how to cover a table when I'd be out of town and they were very specific about having to have someone there the first day?  Thankfully, that's where my husband and my in-laws came in and we started preparing for them to set it up and run it on day one and then to tell everyone it was a last minute thing that I got tickets to this show and had to go.  Okay, it would have been a lie, but later once that Friday was over, he'd never had to tell the lie even once because no one asked where I was.
     The picture above was the prep setup I did so my husband could take pictures of it and have an idea how to put everything.  He actually sold quite a bit that first day (more then I sold on the last day to be quite honest) and it was a relief to me that no one ever asked about me and for all the staunch rules I was given at the outset - we were still given a form for the next show, so I guess no one actually missed me at all.

     Meanwhile, I was facing a challenge of taking a road trip with someone I'd never taken a road trip with before, hitting all of these stops along the way, and getting to that Live Show I mentioned in a city I'd only visited a few times when I was much younger.  
     I was a bit nervous about it all, but the drive was easy (I'd done 90% of it before) and we had lots to talk about and there were only a few lulls in the conversation but never enough to turn on the radio, and I was super amazed because it's been a long time since I've had a friend with me in a car for a three hour drive that wasn't my husband.  And even longer since I'd stayed in a hotel with someone that wasn't family.
     But it all turned out okay - we made our stops, we got to our hotel in time (even though the payment system online is really lame and was supposed to be paid for in advance but in reality they don't take any money until you check in...so weird).  And we even managed to find a parking spot in that crazy town when the stupid venue parking was filled with food trucks......  Not a happy camper about that honestly - it was so nerve wracking to get back to the car in the middle of this big city after midnight.  I can't say I've done that since my 20's.

     In the middle of it all though, I get a phone call from a job I'd applied to.  They leave a message.  I get to the hotel, I get a busy signal.  Then another...  really?  In this day and age?  Then I get an answering machine.  WUT.  I leave a message.  I have 45 minutes in the hotel room and hear nothing.  I get on the road and am driving in circles around Indianapolis trying to find a parking lot somewhere and they freakin' call back.  I told them I was traveling...  They shoot back they'll be there until 6pm.
     At the restaurant my friend convinces me to call back.  They answer, they schedule an interview - no other talk, nothing - just, can you make it on Tuesday?  Hmmmm.  They'll send an email confirmation.

     I don't get this email until I finally thought to check my Spam three days later.  Not entirely sure this place is on the up and up, if you catch my drift.  I start to worry about whether I should even go.  I'm having a full-on anxiety attack of - nonononononono - but at the same time I think, "but it might be a job, right?"
     And then another friend tells me that she found out the reason I didn't get hired at the other place was because I didn't have call-center experience.  I almost lost it.

I wanted to scream.

     Like ALL those years in retail weren't experience with dealing with phone calls one after another after another??  Do you have this item?  Can you tell me this price?  Why isn't my online order going through?  Can I sign up for a class?  What's wrong with my gift card?  Can I speak to a manager?  ALL WHILE TAKING CARE OF PEOPLE RIGHT THERE IN FRONT OF ME.

If ANYTHING... my job was a LOT HARDER then some stupid call center job!!!!

But...I don't have experience in a call center.

Bullshit.


     So... between that and this interview which I feel is going to go no where like every other stinking job interview I've had - plus it's a half hour drive away - the only thing that's even vaguely making my consider still going is a morbid curiosity to go into an area I've never been before.  Apparently it's right next to Amazon or something.  But once I really read this job description, it sounds like this "receptionist" job is actually just "warehouse mom" because you have to man the phones, keep the breakroom food stocked and the supplies stocked... help do shipping when needed, etc etc.
     I have no idea if I'm even going to feel like it tomorrow.  Especially when I'm balancing my husband having these wild swings between - you need to get a job now -  to you shouldn't go to this one... you should help me with the convention - you should do all of this work for me and I'm stuck doing even more housework than normal because his new job will have him away so I'll be back to cooking and cleaning and doing all of the stuff I usually do in my normal housewife fashion...and I honestly am getting so many mixed signals right now.

     Does he want me to help with the convention and keep up the house to keep up my side of the household?

     Or does he want me to get a job and make money and take care of things like we used to do?

     I just don't have a single clue because he swings wildly from "we'll be fine" to "you need to get insurance NOW."


     And I thought that maybe doing this online business thing and craft shows might be a good way to pass the time and start my own business.  I had an enjoyable time listening to everyone (on Saturday and Sunday once I got back from my trip) tell me that things were "cute" or "did you paint these?  They are really good."  And all of those compliments were awesome even if I didn't get as much business as I'd hoped I'd get - it was about what I expected overall.
     But I don't know if I can spend time working on that any more.  And if I get a job, I definitely won't.  Sometimes it really doesn't feel like I have enough time in the day to do all of the things I want to do, even when I force myself to really work, suddenly my day goes from noon to dinner and I have no idea what I accomplished during that time sometimes.


     As usual, this blog was an attempt to square away some of my feelings about things.  I want to feel really excited about stuff but I haven't actually felt relaxed enough to feel happy and in the moment as I would like.  My mind is always on the next thing and worried about getting through it and maybe a moment here and there I really can stop and relax, but I'm starting to get afraid that my body has been so tightly strung it can't unwind anymore.

Help.