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. 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.


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 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.


     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.