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!
   

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