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." 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'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 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…?