Tag Archives: work

2015: Year End Job Hunt

I’ve updated this blog approximately four times this year. Once to ring it in. Once for a blog carnival. Once, mid-year, to say “hey, maybe I should update this again?” And now finally, again, to say goodbye to 2015.

There are still two weeks left in the year, but by most people’s standards, it’s over. End of the year lists are out. Christmas is in less than ten days. Holiday gift exchange deadlines are coming up. (My first one is on Friday.) The year is effectively over.

This year I made more money than I ever have at a single job and then was let go due to financial strain. Strain I can’t help but feel I may have caused. Now, with 15 days left in the year, I’m still job hunting. I hope I don’t have to ring in the new year jobless, but it seems possible. I also just don’t want the stress of worrying about it over the holidays, as the holidays already cause undue stress, but I guess that’s just what’s in the cards this time around.

 

There are two things I’ve learned about being unemployed, and they are:

  1. You get very bored. There is very little to do when you don’t have a job and when you’re not applying for them. Even with TV shows to watch, books to read, apartments to clean, you run out of things to do.
  2. You get to see a lot more of your area. In the last two weeks, I’ve been to San Francisco more times than I have all year. I visited a city 45 minutes away and took four different freeways to get there. I passed this place and didn’t go in, but I might now that I know it’s there.

In 2016, I hope to have a job. That’s really all I’m shooting for this year. It’s not a New Year’s Resolution – I just need it to survive. Maybe my NYR should be updating this blog again, but eh. We’ll see. If I could see into the future, I probably wouldn’t even be writing this, huh? :P

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Why Being a Quitter is Sometimes Good For You (An Overview of the Last Six Months, Part 2 of ?)

Is Batman hiring?

I’m out of here. I’ve got better things to do. Like save the world.

I got a job in April of 2012. It was an office job. It wasn’t much different from any other sort of office job: There was filing, answering phone calls, data to process, uncomfortable desk/chair combinations and short lunch breaks. I always tended to like my coworkers, and I hung out with many of them outside of work. In fact, I still do.

In December 2012, I quit this job.

I don’t want to spend a lot of time musing on the economy. I don’t care that much, and I am lucky enough that I could leave without financial problems too terrible. I’m lucky, I’m aware of that. No, I want to talk about how good quitting made me feel. This job had a turnover rate of one person per month. Now, this wasn’t a service or retail job – I understand why those have high turnover. This was an office job, and I probably could have gotten somewhere the more the company grew and the longer I stayed – or, anyway, that’s what my bosses would tell me.

There’s a trend in the current job market, that because there are so few jobs and so many people trying to get them, that employers are seeing potential and current employees as “disposable.” Why hire one or two people to do a job at a good starting rate when you can hire four interns, pay them diddlysquat and then fire them in a few months? I don’t know, saving money or something. I don’t know if that actually works, especially in the long run, but it’s what people do nowadays. And it’s what kept happening in my office.

Losing one person per month was jarring. Not only did I lose a person who I enjoyed the company of (pun not intended), but also all of their work was either dished out to those of us left, or put on-hold indefinitely until someone new could be hired and trained to take it over. Not to mention, it put the bosses in a sour mood, so not only was there more work, but it had to be done under the watch of an upset supervisor. And we all know those are the best kind.

There was just something about losing people so often that made me cagey. Sure, I tended to get along with everyone we hired, but what happened in a few months when they inevitably moved on and I was still sitting at my ergonomically-challenged desk?

I’ll tell you what: Bad morale. And it affected a lot of things: my health, my work and my desire to continue with that work. My health suffered the worst, probably; I’m prone to sickness, and feeling frustrated and abandoned didn’t help. My worked suffered in that I was missing more and more days due to my mounting sicknesses, and I felt more and more like blowing work off than anything. My coworker’s felt similarly too – diseases spread around the small office quickly, and I would find many of them starring at their phones instead of their spreadsheets.

So I quit. Two weeks before I left, I had gotten sick in the middle of the office. A week before that, I had a headache so bad I went home and slept through to the next morning. The day after I quit, a stomach bug manifested and ruined my viewing of “Rise of the Guardians.” (And – not to get too graphic, but – probably the viewings of a few children, too.)

But now? A month later, I feel a lot better. I haven’t gotten sick since the movie theater fiasco (touch wood), I’m sleeping more and I’m stress-eating less – which, yes, was also a problem, considering I was working in an area full of fast food places and other suspect eating establishments, not to mention the less-than-healthy snacks we always had lying around the office. And would you believe it, I actually feel like exercising? (Doing it, of course, is something else entirely.)

There’s no moral to this post other than “Thank God that’s over,” but I would like to say this: Does your job suck? I’m sorry. I hope you can quit soon.

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“For When Dreams Die”: Giving Up on Dreams, Part II

Sweet Dreams by QuiddityBoom on deviantArt

A while back, when I first started this blog, I mentioned I was working on an unusual project: I was learning how to forget my dreams.

A quick recap: I used to have a lot of stress dreams. They came in all shapes and sizes, from ones about losing teeth, to being sick, to horrible nightmares in which I couldn’t control anything.

Needless to say, these dreams were having a serious impact on me. I would wake up at points during the night, because they had rattled me awake. They left me feeling uneasy during the day, and I would dwell on them, trying to pick apart what they meant and why they had been so frightening. And finally, I found out from my dentist that I was grinding my teeth at night due anxiety, which was causing tooth pain, as well as making one of my fillings come loose.  These dreams were leaving me in bad shape.

I tried to read up on how to “forget” dreams, but I didn’t find much material. Most books and web sites about dreams were more interested in interpreting them than helping you forgot about them. Anything I found about forgetting “bad dreams” were the same things your parents teach you when you’re a kid: remember dreams aren’t real, breath deep, try to relax before going to sleep. A couple new age sites suggested trying lucid dreaming, but that was too complicated and impossible for me.

Instead, I did exactly what I told myself I would do: forget. When I woke up after an anxiety dream, I simply tried not to think about it. I focused on other things, like tasks I had to do that day, or I indulged in a form of entertainment. If images from my dreams came back to me during the day, I would allow myself to focus on the image for a few seconds and then put it out of my mind. I simply forced myself not to think about them.

Easier said than done, right? Well, not really. I’m an anxious person, and I’m on medication for it, but I know what does and doesn’t set me off. When I first found out I was grinding my teeth at night, it was during an job search. I had just moved, and though I wasn’t doing much else, looking for a job was secretly eating away at me. I have since found a job, which is one stressor out of my life. I’m still looking for more employment, but knowing I have a little income really helps me rest at night. And now, I try to keep in mind what does and doesn’t bother me, so I know to avoid it, if I can. I’m not going indulge my stress, because now I know it comes out to haunt me at night!

I have also seen a few experts about it, including a physical therapist and a chiropractor. Being able to manipulate my body into feeling relaxed, even when I’m not in my head, makes my brain slow down and calm down. I’ve been doing various exercises to both relieve pain and reduce stress. I’ve found my body’s natural reaction to most things is to tense up, and the less tension my body holds onto, the less anxious I feel.

And has it worked? Definitely. I still have the occasional anxiety dream, but I’m not having them as often as I used to, which was usually every night! Instead, I tend to have more pleasant dreams, or at least more forgettable ones. If I do have an anxiety dream, it’s become more natural for me to just get up and get on with my life, instead of dwelling on hidden meanings and scary images. The meaning isn’t hidden, anyway: I’m stressed, and I need to relax.

These are just things I’ve done so far. I plan to continue looking into “forgetting dreams,” even if my research takes me in an entirely different direction, as it kind of already has. If anyone out there reading knows of any anxiety-less sleep resources, please feel free to let me know. :)

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The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach

I rarely have the money or time to read new releases, but I’ve been lucky lately. I’m employed by a writer now, so it’s a part of my job to occasionally read a book for her. Usually, I read things pertaining more to what she writes, things written by people she knows and the like. This time, I had to read a book about baseball.

The Art of Fielding has quite a story behind the novel. Written by Chad Harbach over the course of ten years, revised and edited often over that time and mostly ignored by publishers until this year, the 500 page novel was picked up by Little, Brown in a bidding war won to the tune of $665,000. That’s a lot of money for the paper publishing rights in this day and age of e-readers and digital copies. You can read a little more about it here.

The book itself is quite a story as well. Set mostly in this past Spring 2011 semester (according to my calculations, anyway), it follows a handful of college students and one college president as they all come together on the (fictional) campus of Westish college, to live, learn, love, et cetera; but mostly, they play baseball.

What I truly appreciate about this book is the writing itself. Harbach has a clear, consistent, flowing style. He can insert superfluous lines about the weather or the character’s surroundings, and it makes complete sense for those lines to be there. I can see a lot of effort went into this book, and after ten years of rewriting and editing, I think it paid off.

What I’m not buying about this book is that it’s the next great American novel, or whatever cliche title critics want to give it. Certainly, it’s a well-written book. I can’t judge the baseball portions, because I don’t know much about baseball, though it is apparently the great American pastime. But what really bothers me are the characters.

The characters themselves aren’t so bad, but I feel as if I don’t know them well enough to decide if I like them or not. One character, who the others refer to as “Buddha”, appears to have no real character flaws. He is mostly described as beautiful and brilliant, through the inner-musings of another character, whom he is having an affair with. The other character, by the way, is an older man, which makes his thoughts on Buddha look like the homosexual version of the trope of the woman being defined by the man she is in a relationship with.

And speaking of women, there are very little to speak of. One of the main character is a woman, but all the other females fit into stereotypical roles of wives, sisters, mothers and caretakers. Not that these are bad things, but their roles are rarely expanded upon. The one female main character bounces into the care of one man after another, though I guess there is little else for her to do in a book with so few female characters. The book also doesn’t pass the Bechdel Test, as Pella, the female main character, only has one conversation with another women, with whom she discusses her father. A different scene is alluded to in which she spends time with another female character, but Harbach does not actually include the scene in the novel. I can’t decide if I’m relieved I didn’t have to read another conversation between two women gushing about a guy, or insulted that the author didn’t bother to put in their interaction at all.

Not that Harbach did a complete disservice to women writing this novel. Quite the opposite; from what I could gather about her, I liked Pella, and according to those calculations of mine, she and I were born the same year. Harbach even occasionally includes an observation on being female that I wouldn’t think a male author would necessarily understand. The men also showed and admitted to much more emotion than I would have expected. Baseball is, apparently, a very emotional sport.

For the most part, I did enjoy the book. It took me a little while to struggle through it, but most of that had to do with baseball terminology I didn’t know and had to look up. I’m still not sure what “coaching first base” means, but to be honest, I don’t really care.

That my boss had me read this book probably has more to do with the hullabaloo surrounding it than anything else. I don’t think she knows much about baseball either. But I suppose it’s safe to say it’s worth reading, if only to see if you can determine what all the fuss is about.

Now if you’ll excuse me, 1Q84 arrived yesterday and I still haven’t finished it.

The Art of Fielding on GoodReads.

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Things I Love Thursday #4: Job Getting Edition

➡ That’s right! I have a job! Hooray for employment! Or anyway, partial employment. I have one part time job, and might be able to snag myself another to supplement the first one. I should find out soon. I just need to start making appointments for getting background stuff done for the second job, and I’m sure things will get figured out. Frankly, I’m just glad things are finally coming together. That two month job search was really grueling. I know I should definitely feel lucky to have any kind of employment in this economy, too. Remind me to write some thank you card to numerous deities.

Alternative Press Expo is this weekend in San Francisco and I am going to be there on Saturday! The one and only Kate Beaton will be there too, and I am really excited to meet her and get her to sign, like, everything I own, regardless of whether it was created by her or not. I was warned I should probably get there early and bring something to read, because the line will be waaaay long. And I bet it will be! She deserves tons of awesome fans.

Also, the above print of Emma Frost/The White Queen, by Kevin Wada, will be available at APE too, along with three other X-Men themed prints. I’m trying to decide which one to get, and it is very, very hard. I hope they don’t sell out before I decide!

The Pinkie Moon shirt is now available in women’s sizes! I am also loving this one. Why must these shirts be so expensive? ;~;

➡ All of my shows are returning! Summer hiatuses suck, because the only show I watch during the summer (besides anime) is Warehouse 13, and Hulu decided to stop uploading the episodes after the first two until just lately. So I was pretty bored this summer, as far as TV shows go. This season, I’m continuing with Castle, Community, Fringe and Parks and Recreation. I also picked up Pan Am, because out of all the 60s set/inspired shows, it wasn’t boring (Charlie’s Angels) and it doesn’t (or anyway, hasn’t so far) try to make sexist bullshit look glamorous (The Playboy Club). I actually refuse to bother with the latter, because I don’t need that in my life. Oh well~

➡ I bought a planner today! I haven’t had one in so long, and I’ve been wanting one for a while, despite not having anything to put in it. But now that I have employment pending, I’m going to have to start keep track of things. I had to settle for an academic calendar (July 2011 to June 2012), because it’s the end of the year, but that’s okay. I am going to make this planner gorgeous. I’ll be using organizers @ LJ for inspiration!

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Things I Love Thursday #1

Things I Love Thursday is a weekly list bloggers make about the things they’re loving at the moment. Here’s mine for the week of June 23, 2011!

Finishing College! As of today, I have gone to my last ever college class. I have a couple things to finish over the weekend, and a final on Monday, but I’m almost done! I walked out of class today wanting to sing, that’s how happy I was. I’ll only be officially graduating in August, but for all intents and purposes, I’m done undergrad! Wahoo!

Alice: Madness Returns Also known as Alice 2, Alice: Madness Returns is the sequel to the 10+ year old game American McGee’s Alice. Fans have been looking forward to the sequel about as long as the first game has been out, and rumors of movies have also cropped up over the years, but sadly nothing’s come of them. (But you’d think with the need Hollywood has lately to grit-ify fairy tales, Alice would fit right in! Personally, I’d love to see Alice played by Summer Glau!) I haven’t actually started playing the game yet, and I told myself I’d wait until classes were over, but I might have to cheat and start it this weekend. The internet is making me so excited to play it!

Watch the first 10 minutes of the game above! WARNING for graphic violence, though. Don’t watch if you have a weak stomach!

Getting Paid I had a bit of a debacle at work over getting paid, and I had to go sort things out. I actually need to be back-paid for the last six weeks, and though that won’t be in this week’s check, I think I have it all worked out to get some seriously fat checks from now on. And I finally won’t feel so bad about buying brand new video games and clothes because a lot of my old ones stopped fitting. Speaking of which…

Leggings Which is not something I would have said a couple weeks ago, but I recently took the plunge and bought some. And I’m glad I did because they’ve been saving my ass when it comes to wearing dresses and skirts lately! Most days, I go from and hour and a half in a cold classroom, to the freezing subway, to a sweaty 15 minute walk to walk, to 4 straight hours working on the ground floor where it is VERY cold, to another 15 minute walk back to the subway, to a freezing subway car, and a sweaty five minute walk home. The hot and cold contrast has been killing me! But now that I have leggings I can easily throw them into my bag for when I need them and store them away when I don’t! I don’t know why I didn’t latch onto this trend earlier.

And that’s it for the edition of TILT. But you know what I don’t love? My kitchen being invaded by fruit flies. ):

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