Tag Archives: job hunting

COVID-19 Chronicles: Days 47-56

I’ve spent the last week with Ormsby (or, well, he’s spent the last week with me), trying to get him situated.  We filed for unemployment for him (status is still pending… that could last a while) and applied for some things.  It was important to me that he not be on his own for the first week, so that he didn’t constantly have to look outside his window and see the place he used to work.  I don’t know if that helped, or if it prolonged the inevitable, because I did have to take him back yesterday.

Sometimes I wonder if he’d have been better off if I’d just left him in Louisville.  Possibly for the short term…at least he wouldn’t have had to have struggled for the first 2.5 years in a job hunt that he always seemed destined to lose.  But in the long term? I mean, this happened in Louisville too.  He’d have been in the same boat there as he now is here… there’s that.  I just wouldn’t feel so… responsible.

Even though I am not responsible.  I have to learn to stop taking all of this on myself. It’s going to kill me when it’s all said and done.  I have to keep telling myself I’ve done all that I can do.  And I have.  And then some.  More than many ever would.  That has to be enough… even when I don’t feel like it’s enough.  I cannot save the world.  I cannot, really, save him either.

The only person that can save Ormsby, is Ormsby.  That’s it.  I can help.  I can prolong what is, perhaps, the inevitable.  But I cannot be the only thing that keeps it at bay.

That is, after all, why we are living separately – so that I could stop being that wall.

It’s Mothers Day… I sent my mom and gift and then followed up with a card that I’d apparently had in my house for a really long time and had forgotten to send (or probably just found another one I liked better).  At any rate the gift arrived on time (because I ordered it 2 weeks ahead).  The card did not – but I also dropped it in the box on Wednesday afternoon.  So she’ll have that to look forward to.

I don’t usually go back up to Kentucky on Mothers Day, but that’s usually because I have plans to go up there at a later time – when I can stay longer.  There are no such plans this time, because I have no idea when I will be able to go back up there.  That makes this one harder.  I did talk to her (and to my dad) for a very long time.  It was nice.

They’re doing well… still social distancing.  I think their church is going to try to open soon, but I don’t think they will go in person for a while.  I don’t begrudge them going (even if I don’t) when it’s safe, but I don’t want them to take the chance that someone they know has it but doesn’t show symptoms and then one of them catches it that way.  That would be awful.

P.S. – This stupid disease is also why the ringer on my phone stays on at all times.

Florida has started opening back up.  I am not partaking yet.  I want to see what the case counts look like 2-4 weeks from now.  We did go to the beach one late afternoon down in Bradenton and we ate at Tibby’s on Friday (but it was empty).  But I am staying the hell away from everyone… like if there’s a human there, I walk the other way.

(This isn’t really that unusual… I do that even when there is no COVID.)

Good Stuff:

  • My mom LOVED her gift.  It was a wind chime that had a birds nest on top with a mother bird feeding her baby birds.  What’s funny is that I ordered it for her about a day before she called to tell me there was a nest of robins near their house that they were watching.  I smiled about that, because it was appropriate.
  • They started furloughing people at my office last Friday.  I was not furloughed.  I consider that a win.  For now.  I’m still not cracking into that stimulus money until either this pandemic has passed us, or until I absolutely have to for a personal emergency.
  • My sister and brother-in-law brought my nieces over to see my parents (from six feet away and with masks).  That was the first time they’d seen them in almost two months.  You couldn’t see anyone’s expressions, but you could seem my parents glowing in the photos.  I am glad that got to happen at least.
  • Aaaaand… finally… Ormsby and I turned my apartment into a photo studio while he was here and got some shots in.  I got back in heels for the first time in two years (paid for it a little later, but not too bad), and we got a few good shots.  I’m posting them below.

© IMJZ Photo

© IMJZ Photo

Complicated Decisions

I’m in a predicament… a situation… that I’ve never been in before.

It’s my own fault that I got here.  I have spent so much time over the last year beefing up my resume, making sure I was properly qualified for everything I applied for… and I succeeded.

I didn’t expect things to move this fast.

I’ve been applying (very early) for things back in Tampa, thinking it would take months even to get one callback.  Boy was I wrong.  Very wrong.

I don’t have a job offer yet… but I’ve been getting a lot of interest.  And… this is what’s happened:

On Monday I applied for a job with a company that really fits what I’m looking for in my next position.  They are friendly, laid back, easygoing, and the position is something that I’m really familiar with and I already know I’m good at.  During the first interview, the interviewer asked if I was interviewing with anyone else.  I said I wasn’t (which was truthful at the time, as I didn’t have any others scheduled).  He said he’d get back with me next week.  I felt like it went well… I felt like he was interested.  But I continued to wait.

The very next day I got a call about another position.  One that I’m equally qualified for and would be really good at also.  I sailed through that one, had a second one with them today, and have a third one scheduled for next week.  They are obviously moving very fast (and I was told as – such on the phone with the supervisor today).

Now the dilemma –

I told the first guy that I didn’t have any other interviews scheduled.  This was true at the time, but that status has now changed.  And I’m torn between whether I should send the original interviewer a followup letter just to let him know that the status has changed, or if I should just let the cards fall where they will.

Suddenly I feel like I’m being courted by two very eligible, very attractive men and I can’t decide which I should go with… the pretty dark one who has everything I’m looking for, that seems interested, but that is taking a little longer to make up his mind?  Or the blond… equally attractive, is moving a little faster, but just doesn’t “click” the way the first one did…

That’s a question I never really seemed to be able to figure out properly when I was dating either… no wonder this is so hard to do.

Both positions would take me to the location that I want to be.  Both are going to give me the salary requirements I need.  And, remember, I’m a good fit for both… I just fit a little more snugly with the first one.

I’m happy about having decisions to make… I’m overjoyed that the response that I’ve been getting for a move that would have, otherwise, been a big gamble is working out so well.  For the first time in my professional life I’m being given options.  I LOVE having the options…

I guess I just need to figure out what the protocol is.  I may never need it again in my dating life, but who knew that my professional life would become as complicated as my dating life used to be?

Scared Shitless

It’s exactly one week until the madness of school and work (simultaneously) begins.  With the release of one of my class schedules a full week early, I’m happily confident that the classes themselves won’t be a problem.  In fact, I think I knew that from the beginning… since my last experience with college was graduate school, and I’m going back for an undergraduate degree (so the work load will be significantly easier).  And, of course, there’s the fact that I’m majoring in something completely different this time (Communication vs the History degree I have already) that requires a lot less reading than before (one book per class vs. seven or eight in the History department).  And at any rate, I have always been good at school, having the ability to hear or read something once or twice and remember it, and the writing quotient… which is nothing.

No… school doesn’t scare me.

Work scares me.

It has been eight months since I left my full time job in Tampa and moved up here.  I’ve dabbled with Ormsby’s business, of course, played a whole fuck load of World of Warcraft, and have focused on my relationship – a needed change in my  life that required that attention toward the beginning.  I’ve had a lot of interviews, I’ve retooled my resume several times, and am happy to say that the last major overhaul had a fairly significant role to play in getting this new job that I start on the 24th.  I interview pretty well, too, as I’m well-spoken and am very good at giving clear, concise answers when asked a direct question (Dad used to say I had an answer to everything – he was right about that).

But you know what… now that I have a job, now that I’m starting said job, that I earned by the qualities of my resume and not because I was in the right place at the right time, I’m scared shitless.  But let’s begin at the beginning.

My tenure in Tampa began with a document management company.  I started as their receptionist and had aspirations of moving into Accounting, because I’d dabbled in that before during Louisville Part I and liked it.  I liked the self-reliant aspect of it, the fact that with those numbers in front of me, I could get lost in them and not have to answer phones or talk to anyone.  It’s a good profession for an introvert (as long as I made my math-phobias get out of my way).  Receptionist was not so much, but they didn’t get many direct calls to the line, and I spent my very short, ten day tenure, as a receptionist there making tea for the owner and running personal errands.  My only beef was that they would not let me drive my own car and, as I have serious anxiety about driving any car but my own, that wasn’t a good fit, but I needed a job.  It wasn’t a great paying job, but I needed it.  And it was enough to squeak by for awhile.

Ten days into the Receptionist tenure, the Trainer quit.  Rather than hire a new one of those, and I guess recognizing that I was more intelligent than what was required for a Receptionist at that company, I was offered the job and a raise.  I took it because, I mean, hell… more money.  It’s a no-brainer.  I was scared shitless of training people, especially since I didn’t really know my way around a computer (and still don’t for the most part, but I’m better now than I was in 2010).  But I took my test account home one night and learned that program backward and forward.  And then I blundered through the first few trainings with live clients.  In a month or two, I was relatively comfortable with it.  And by six months, I was training in my sleep.  Because it was the same program every day… three times a day… I repeated myself so much that I didn’t even have to look at my computer anymore.

The company I worked for was pretty lax.  And by lax I mean that they served alcohol pretty much all day, YouTube and Wii were highly encouraged during working hours, and the pranks that we played on each other during vacation times were over the top (and funded by the owners).  Work didn’t feel like work because of this, and also because I could dress casually every day.  Like jeans and a T-Shirt casually.  And barefoot.  Or flip-flops if I really needed shoes.

Two years later, one of the systems that the Document Management company had developed was sold to a larger insurance company and thirteen of us, myself included, went with the acquisition.  I got a fifty percent raise and more vacation time than I could ever use (at least that’s what I thought then), simply for taking the job offer and continuing to do the same job I’d done every day for the last two years.  The culture didn’t change (though maybe it should have… because the sexual harassment at work started with that transfer) in that we were still able to wear what we wanted, but we couldn’t drink anymore and the pranking fell by the wayside.  There was no onsite HR and management was overloaded and understaffed, so people still pretty much got away with anything and everything.  I didn’t really take the time to consider whether I was doing things that made me worth the 40-50 thousand a year I was making.  Because that was just what it was, and I was lucky to have a job like that.

I moved back to Louisville, though, eight months ago, feeling entitled to something that was the same as what I’d had before.  I mean I’d done it for four years, I had (presumably) been worth that salary (and had gotten used to having extra money in my pocket every month).  I wanted my life back.  And finally, after a lot of interviews, and a lot of hoping, and a lot of wondering why the fuck that wasn’t happening as easily as I thought it would, I found it.  And I start it on Monday.

But now that I have it?  I realize just how lucky I was to find what I found in Tampa.  Luck is not a translatable skill, but you know what, Luck is how I got that job there, and Luck is how I got that transfer.  It had absolutely NOTHING to do with SKILL, and that’s the point.  All of my other jobs I’ve gotten either because they were brainless and needed to be done and I applied for them and got them for no particular reason other than the fact that I played World of Warcraft (seriously, this got me the job at the document management company, as well as the job at the plumbing company in Louisville in 2009) or because I happened to be in the right place at the right time (in other words, Luck).  I got this new job based on merit… merit that I’m not really sure I deserve, despite what my resume says (because let’s face it… Word will be still and let me type ANYTHING on it).

I’m scared shitless that I’m going to walk in there a week from today and I’m going to find that I really have absolutely no idea what the fuck I’m doing, that I was being overpaid in my last position, and that I would be better off settling for a $12 an hour receptionist position because I suddenly find that there is no way in hell that I can do this on a bigger scale (webinars vs. in person training; one technical manual vs. ten very specialized ones).

I am terrified.  And I’ve never wished for time to slow down more in my life… because I feel like I could use a few more weeks to find my (figurative) balls, pull the badass out of retirement, and prepare for the inevitable… whatever the inevitable will be.

The Start of Something New

I’d really been missing Tampa lately.  And for the life of me, I couldn’t really figure out why.  Because the weather in Kentucky during the summer is just as hot as (if not a little smellier than) it is in Florida.  The humidity is still sticky, the roads are just as crowded.  And of course, when I was in Tampa, all I ever really wanted (or worked for) was a stable relationship… and I never truly found it.  But, then, I had enough income there to keep me satisfied… and so the only thing I really NEEDED to work for was finding a relationship that was great enough to keep.

Some days I’d miss the weather (who wouldn’t?).  Other days I’d miss the Dunkin Donuts that I’d stop at once or twice a week on my way to work.  Or I’d miss getting to hang out with my friends on weekends. Most of all, though, I’d miss my apartment.  It was the first place that I’ve ever had that *really* belonged to me.  That I had outfitted all by myself.

I’d walk in the front door, into my living room.  My TV, with its cable box humming happily below as it recorded stuff on the DVR, would be the first thing I saw, sitting next to my five shelf bookcase.  To my right would be my constantly-extended futon (it seemed more practical to have it in bed mode instead of couch mode) with my laptop sitting on top of it, waiting for a World of Warcraft session.  On the far right wall would be my seven foot tall bookshelf, and the floor to ceiling (pretty much) windows) – a lamp in front, on an antique table, my grandmother’s old trunk at its base, as well as  book overflow that did not fit on the two bookshelves. (Books organized alphabetically by author’s last name.)

On the left would be my dining area, with my kitchen table (circa 2002 – when I got my first condo) set up neatly… sometimes looking as if it were a dining room table with tablecloths and placemats.  Or, sometimes, depending on the phase of the moon, would hold my altar cloth and candles… oils… tarot… whatever I’d be working with that month.  The kitchen existed next to the dining area, with a fridge full of whatever it was I’d be eating that week, and a pantry that held not only dry and baking goods but also my laundry machines.

Further back you’d have my bathroom, decorated in Alice and Wonderland décor (most of it things I created myself).  And my bedroom… with its red and black comforter and sheet set, my filing cabinet, my nightstands and another (much older) TV with my Roku and Netflix for watching before I fell asleep.

And let’s not forget my balcony… a screened in porch that sat off my living room, where my cat and I would sit, watching the water spray up from the lake behind the complex… she’d be watching the ducks.  I’d be painting.

You could walk in the door and you’d know, immediately, that I was a girl who liked to read.  I was a girl that would occasionally relax with the television (for select shows) but more often than not spent the evenings whiling away her time on the patio with her paintings and creativity… or gaming… or else cooking up something in the kitchen. And that’s what Tampa stood for to me… it was a life I’d created all on my own, it revolved around me and what I wanted to do, and my house, like everything else, reflected who I was and the things that were the most important to me.

But then I realized… when I really got down to it, when I really thought about it, it wasn’t TAMPA I missed at all.  It had very little to do with the town itself, but more or less the fact that I was missing the things that I had created, had specifically chosen, to do because they represented who I was.  It was going to the places downtown that I loved because I loved them.  It was having my little quirks and hobbies.  It was having my apartment, full of my stuff, that I had created into a refuge for myself to exist in, on good days and bad days.

I’d chosen to leave it for Ormsby.  And I don’t regret, not even for a minute, doing what I had to do to make Ormsby a permanent fixture in my life.  Because if I had not moved, he and I would not be doing this.  Life with him has been worth it.  But that’s the thing… my life has, at least since I moved, revolved around him.  Around his business.  Around his hobbies.  Because I have to save money; I still have to pay my bills (particularly my storage one, because some day I WILL have my space back, and I will want all of my things). Until then, what I had was World of Warcraft and the running that I do.  WoW was paid for.  The running is free.  It wasn’t everything, but I was pretty satisfied.

Finding employment, at least until this last week, has been a challenge.  And so I re-enrolled at the University of Louisville as a full time student last month, hoping to get a second degree that would make finding a job easier.  I’ve been looking forward, since then, to having those classes… having something that I could do on my own.  I kept applying to places, but was content to settle with a part time job that would coincide with school.

At least until last Friday.  I got the call that changed everything – a law firm that I’d applied to and interviewed with two months ago called me at 8:30 to offer me a position.  It was exactly the position I’d been looking for ever since I moved – Training and Technical Writing… full benefits… and a salary that is equal to the salary that I left behind in Tampa.  I thought about it for a weekend… only because I was dead set on school and I wasn’t sure whether I could balance them both.  But today I accepted it.  And I downgraded my school schedule from full time to part time… I still want that degree.  I see the benefit in HAVING that degree. For the sake of making myself more marketable in the field I’m in now, but also for the possibility of branching into others.

I don’t intend to move out of the apartment I now share with Ormsby.  This was only supposed to be until I got on my feet, but we like living together. And to be honest, I can’t imagine my life without him anymore.  But I have the essence of myself back… or at least I have the part that made self-sufficiency possible.  Because, see, I like being with Ormsby because I CHOOSE to be with Ormsby… not because I depend on him for survival.

My stuff is still in storage, yes, and it will stay there for the foreseeable future until I can pay down some debt and recoup my finances from eight months of job seeking, and until I can find a bigger place for us to live.  But I don’t have to consider which necessities to sacrifice for others.  I don’t have to stay away from Victoria’s Secret or Smoothie King anymore.  I can, in essence, afford the little things that make life pleasant, and therein, be more satisfied (even though I will be crazy busy).

Everything (school and work) starts August 24.

I can hardly wait.  🙂

Finding Translatable “Luck”

I haven’t posted in a while.  I’ve been busy, but that’s not the real reason. This move has been more difficult than I thought it would be.  Now, don’t get me wrong.  It’s been great being closer to my family for the holidays, and I can only imagine how upset I’d have been if I’d been in Tampa when my sister’s dog had had puppies I couldn’t have played with as frequently as I did.  And being in a healthy, thriving relationship is absolutely fabulous (and I still feel like I’m living someone else’s life).

But the relocation has also been very hard.

The winter, you see, wore on my mood.  I wasn’t surprised when that happened.  It had always done that in the past.  And while that was not the only reason I moved to the land of eternal sunshine and traffic, it certainly played a part in my decision-making process. At first it wasn’t TOO bad… the early part of the winter was very mild.  But in March, after several feet of snowfall, shitting my pants in a car, and experiencing cabin fever, I began questioning my sanity when I realized that if I had stayed in Tampa, it would have been 80 degrees already.  Granted, now it is warmer here, that problem is behind me, and no matter how cold it gets in the winter, I know that one will always be fairly temporary.

But it’s really the job search that’s been killing me.  When I lived here before, finding a job wasn’t easy… but I found one eventually.  And since I’d had no work experience, really, beyond school, I was happy to find what I found: a low-paying, uncomplicated clerical-type job that had some accounting duties worked into it.  When I moved to Tampa, I took something similar, but that soon spun into a Technical training position.  I didn’t make much at it at first – which I thought was fair, because I’d had no idea what I was doing at the time and was sort of “learning as I went”.  But after two years of that, I was comfortable in it.  I could do it in my sleep And when I transferred to an even bigger company (one that gave me a fifty percent raise and a ten thousand dollar signing and retention package) where I was still training but also doing technical writing, I thought I’d made it.

I didn’t think I’d have any issues finding a job when I came back to Louisville.  I mean I was educated.  I had work experience.  Wasn’t that what I hadn’t had during my 2010 job search?  Sort of.  But not really.  Apparently my education (a degree in History which, admittedly, is more akin to a degree in Trivia) is not the CORRECT education for doing technical writing and learning and development.  I find myself not only overeducated in useless information but also overqualified to hold even the clerical type jobs I had when I lived here before.

It’s been frustrating.  No.  That isn’t the correct word.  Let’s try that again.  It’s been depressing.  It’s depressing to go into interviews for things I’m overqualified for, but still not get the job because they’re afraid (and probably rightly so) that I wouldn’t be satisfied in a lower position (and before you ask, yes, they’ve said this to me – and while I try to argue to the contrary, I suppose my arguments aren’t as persuasive as they should be, but then why would they be? When I say I’d be satisfied with clerical work, I’m blatantly lying.).  And while I  love being here with Lord Ormsby, and while I am, for once, very happy with the relationship aspect of my life, I can’t help but feel a little jilted. Because in order to have happiness here, I had to give away the level of financial and professional comfort I had there.  I have been unemployed now for almost six months.  My savings are completely depleted.  And I’ve started to wonder whether I’m meant, always, to have one thing I want, but not the other.  I know you aren’t supposed to have it all, but seriously… throw me a bone here.

I ended up finding a job that I’ve held before.  A temporary, seasonal position scoring tests for a company called Measured Progress.  When I called about it at first, I got the job right away.  It was a relief.  I was beginning to wonder how I was going to pay my storage bill, credit cards, everything.  This wouldn’t have fixed the long term picture, but it would have given me enough to live off of for four more months while I continued my search.  Things started to get shaky though.  The start dates changed.  My hours got cut.  And finally, for absolutely no reason, Kelly Services (the temp agency that found me the job to begin with) called me to tell me that I was no longer eligible to return.  When I called to ask why, I was simply sent to voicemail. This happened TWO WEEKS before the assignment was scheduled to begin. TWO FUCKING WEEKS.

I was fucked.  Seriously.  And I did what I do when I’m fucked.  I started looking at the shit I’d had in Tampa and wondered if I was out of my mind to leave it in the first place.  Probably not the most constructive thing to do, but I’m not at my most constructive when I’m fucked and severely depressed about being fucked.  I also did the other thing I do when I’m fucked (and depressed): I ran a lot.  The weather here has improved.  Getting outside, if it doesn’t help my mood, at least gives me a change of scenery.  And running helps me think.

Here’s what I’ve figured out:  The work experience that I have was something I acquired largely by luck – not personal or educational merit.  I was literally in the right place at the right time.  The company I worked for first in Tampa needed a trainer.  I was there, smart enough to figure it out, and I handled it (because that’s what badasses do).  The second Tampa employer needed someone who could train on the program they’d newly purchased.  That was me.  And only me.  And they took me because of that reason.  If I’d simply applied to their Learning and Development department in Chicago, I doubt they’d have ever called me for the same reason the companies here don’t call me: I’m not educated or trained in the areas I need to be trained in.  Luck, as I’m finding (albeit painfully), is not a translatable skill.

And so I’ve gone back to the University of Louisville – not as a student (yet) but on some recon trips to advising, financial aid, places and people I need to see to find out just exactly how much another degree would cost, how feasible it would be to get it, how long it would take.  The advising answers were satisfactory… the jury is still out on the financial aid part. I don’t qualify for grants anymore, since I already have one degree, but the picture of my financial situation on my taxes is not an accurate representation of my situation now… where I was making $45k before, I’m making absolutely nothing at the moment.  I don’t know how to report that on my FAFSA.

And of course I still have bills to pay.  Storage.  Car insurance.  Cell phones.  Credit cards.  A part time job will take care of that, and that’s even feasible with a part time school schedule.  But I have to figure all of that out now.  And I have to get my own head out of my ass and out of this funk long enough to do it and to do it correctly.

Because that’s what badasses do.  I just have to remember that I am one.