Category Archives: Work

The Month That Wasn’t

The Month That Wasn’t

A lot can happen in a month.

And a lot did, but it was all overshadowed by the new job.  It took two months, but I finally started to pick up all the steps and start gaining some speed.  Then April hit.  At the beginning of the month, we got DOZENS of requests all at once from one client without any warning.  As we were trying to get through all those while still keeping up with the regular work load, the other new person, who had started just the month before I did, left.  So the team that was already down one person and had two people who were still under supervision, which took extra time from one of the staff who did know what they were doing, was now down another.  It made for a long month.  I worked through lunch a lot, stayed after half an hour-45 minutes, and was cranking through so much work that I was physically exhausted every night and was dreaming I was still working.  It’s really hard to focus on anything else when you feel like that.  I stopped hanging out with Nikki, I didn’t go anywhere I didn’t have to, and the things I did have to do I couldn’t get a lot of enjoyment out of.  It was the 25th before we finally broke the back of it, and I just about burst into tears.

It takes a while to recover from an intense period like that, but unfortunately it ended just as real life is getting its own kind of intensity.  I won’t have a weekend at home until the 21st I think.  A lot of it is good stuff, but I still need to find time to recharge.  Sleep in, watch TV, knit, run or ride a bike, work in the garden…

My list of things for fun almost sounds like a work list.

Anyway.  I have a list of catch up posts.  In June I am setting myself a Blog Every Day challenge.  But for now, know that everyone is well, things are green and growing, and life moves on a pace.

It’s a new month.  And a lot can happen.

Or not

Or not

Yesterday ended up less like the first day of school and more like those nightmares you have where you have to go back to high school, never mind that you’ve been to GRAD SCHOOL, because of that one math class you failed your junior year. Except no one will give you your schedule, you don’t know where your classroom is, and you don’t have the combination for your locker.

I can’t be the only one who has that dream, can I?

The people I met with were very nice, and from what I saw, the work will be interesting and well within my strengths and abilities. But. They’re getting a while new database week after next, so there’s no point in training me until that goes live. And they don’t have any place to put me. They literally have no more empty cubicles in that part of the building. (And OMG, the cubes down there are TINY. I’ve been spoiled.)

So it looks like I’ll be spending the next week in my old, now empty cubicle with no work to do. Which, yay? Except I hate feeling like a slacker. I don’t mind farting around on the Internet once I’ve gotten my work done. Then it feels like a reward. But doing it instead of working? Sets off all my guilt responses.   *sigh*

Maybe I’ll get some writing done, eh?

Working for a Living

Working for a Living

I spent a lot of time around the new year driving all over and planning a New Year’s post for the blog.  I was going to talk about years of learning and years of doing, and how I thought 2016 was going to be a year of doing.  How I was taking the bike repair class and a photography class, the camping trips I planned and the bike rides and the races.

Then my life got totally turned on its head, and I’m still reeling from it.

I work for a company that does a lot of government contract work in the healthcare industry.  The peril of that is that you’re rather at the whims of the government.  Every time there’s a threat of a government shutdown or budget battle, we all hold our breaths a little bit.  Unfortunately, sometimes the government can be even more whimsical than anticipated.  Tuesday we found out just how much so.  The contract we’ve been working under for the past 5 years not only wasn’t being extended, it wasn’t even going to be rebid in the immediate future.  They loved our work and rely on us to help in preparing for the new request for proposal, but effectively our jobs were done, as of…immediately.

I sat in that meeting trying really hard to keep it together.  I must have been white as a sheet, and my stomach was in knots.  As a solo income, if I lost my job, we were basically done.  Unemployment wouldn’t cover the mortgage, let alone all the rest of the bills.

Fortunately, our managers weren’t done.  The VP of my group was in that meeting, as was the head of HR.  the VP insisted that they valued us too highly to lose us, and so had been working since before Christmas to find us other jobs in the company at our current salaries.  Which was amazingly generous of them, and one more reason I really love working for this company.  Unfortunately, they were still working out the details, so it would be a few days before they could tell us what our new jobs would be.  So I came out of the meeting still nauseous, but at least comfortable in the fact that I’d still have a paycheck.

Of course, then the washing machine broke, the cell phone debacle went down, and possibly the freezer stopped working.  Still not sure about that last one.

Yesterday, I found out about my new position.  I’m going to be a writer/database person in a different group in the company.  Which is exciting, as it’s a new position, so I’ll get to help shape it as I’m learning it.  But I’ll be on a different floor, so I won’t be seeing the same people I’ve been working with for the last 6 years, which is kind of overwhelming to this introvert.  Since I didn’t interview for this position, I don’t even know my manager or the leadership team.  I looked at the pictorial directory of the company, and I only recognize the faces of two or three of the other team members.  And so many of them are YOUNG.  Oy.  But it will be good.  They’re excited to have me, and I think there will be more room for me to advance there than there are in my current position.  I don’t have a medical or science background, which the current group requires but I suspect the new group will be more flexible about.  And with a little luck (and my usual stellar work ethic!), when the time comes to move to Maine, I may be able to take the job with me.

But right now, I’m still in freak out mode.  I’m writing this as I wait for my first meeting with the new team, and then the fast descent into the new position.  Supposedly I’m starting to train for it this afternoon, but I don’t know any details.  I’ve packed up most of my cubicle, so I’m ready to go at a moment’s notice.  As soon as I know where I’m moving to.

God, no wonder I’ve been comfort eating like a mad woman this week.  Hide the donuts!

No, is too much…

No, is too much…

Well, that was a wild two weeks.  Sorry for the long radio silence.  But the grocery shopping is done, dinner is in the crockpot, and I can now sit down and focus on writing many blog posts to bring everyone up to date.

But as the title implies, let me sum up some of it.

The new job kicked off with much more of a bang than I’d expected.  We have a huge deliverable come in three weeks ago that’s due at the end of September which requires a LOT of new documentation, so I’m pretty much still doing the work I was doing in the old job, just in the new group.  Which is fine.  I know this stuff in and out, and can crank it through and out to the writers pretty quickly.  It just means I won’t be doing much if any writing until October.  Honestly, I think the only reason I got to go on my vacation is because I had planned it ahead of getting the new job.  Otherwise I think it wouldn’t have been allowed.  Which is fine.  Needs must and all.  But you’d better believe I’m booking next year’s trip way in advance, too!

All of this was interspersed with getting ready for the big trip.  It’s a lot easier now that I’ve got all the camping gear organized so I’m not trying to pull stuff together from all over the house.  I did finally start building a permanent checklist, though.  When I was a kid, my mom had this mimeographed camping list that had everything on it that needed to go with us on every trip.  A part of me has been a bit resentful that she didn’t pass a copy of it down to me!  But now that I’m getting more serious about camping, I decided it was time to start building my own.  Off to Google Drive!  I now have a four page checklist, one that’s all the gear, one that’s everyone’s clothing and personals, one that’s specifically for going to the cabin in the winter, and one for menu planning and food packing.  Everything needs tweaking, but at least I’ve got it started.  And when my kids go off on their first solo camping adventures, they’ll get a binder with pockets to keep info on all the campgrounds they go to and copies of all these checklists.

Realizing I could take the back seats out of the car to pack for these trips has been the best thing ever.  I can Tetris a packing job pretty well, but this has given me a lot of freedom to not be as careful.  Even so, I still have no problem seeing out the back now, even with the bikes on.  This trip I experimented with putting our clothes in flip top boxes to make packing easier and help keep things dry.  After the last trip, dry has become important to me, although my success rate is mixed.  But more on that in another post.  So by Thursday night, we had all the clothes packed, all the gear dragged down to the living room, the seats out of the van and I’d started loading the food totes.  Friday was the last minute scrambles and getting everything but the cooler and the bikes loaded.  The kids have gotten really good at helping me with loading and unloading (as long as I don’t make Xander and Morgan work together), so we got it all done in about 45 minutes.  Then it was just a matter of packing up all my knitting projects and loading my ereader and getting a decent night’s sleep.

Last night…

Last night…

was my last night at the Y.

It was…well, frankly, it was bloody busy.  and annoying.  But some of my favorite people to work with were there, so it was good to see them, and I got to meet the girl who is replacing me, who was really interesting and I would have loved to get to know her better.  We had a killer thunderstorm sweep through and lost power for about 5 seconds, which was enough to have everyone on edge for the rest of the evening, so that was kind of fun, too.

And then it was over.  And I went home.  Just like any other Wednesday night.

I thought I’d feel more elated.  Don’t get me wrong, I am not going to miss the manipulative members trying to squeeze every last drop of blood they can out of a service non-profit.  But the Y has been part of my life for the last three years.  Yes, I’ll still be a member, and yes, my kids and I will still be going (especially after the renovations are done), but it’s different when you aren’t behind the scenes.  Not part of the family any more.  It’s…well, it’s kind of sad.  Bittersweet.

It probably won’t sink in that I don’t work there anymore until Saturday when I wake up at 7:30 and start getting ready to go to work before I remember I don’t have to.

But at least then I’ll be ready to go to the Farmer’s Market for the first time in three years…

A Door Opens

A Door Opens

Life is made up of big changes and small ones.

This one could be either.

My new position is finally official.  I transfer into it next Wednesday.  It’s not a big raise, but it’s a raise, enough for me to be able to quit the second job.

I’m not sure if you understand what a big deal this is.

For three years, I have worked every day of the week.  The only way to get time off was to find people willing to cover a 7 hour shift on Saturday and a 4 hour shift on Sunday.  Or to go into the hospital.  Which meant no spur of the moment trips, no “Let’s do something this weekend”, no nothing.  And that’s fine.  You do what you have to to take care of your family.  But what it meant, at the heart of it, was that I *wasn’t* there.  I know there are experiences that I would have wanted Morgan to have that I couldn’t give him, skills I wanted to make sure he learned that he didn’t, because I had to scrape for money.  I’ll never be able to make that up to him, although I’ll try in the little time he’s still at home.  And I’ll make damn sure the other two have them, knowing from experience that Morgan will be hurt that he didn’t have the same opportunities.

Putting aside the opportunities this is going to bring me (training, certification, work experience, promotions), this is going to make a major change in all our lives.

Which is kind of overwhelming. And a little bit scary.  There’s a voice niggling at the back of my brain saying, “Don’t fuck this up.  You fuck this up and you’re out on the street, and then what will happen to those kids?  They’re counting on you and you know how you are.  Don’t fuckin’ fuck this up!”

I hate that voice.

I gave my notice at the Y last night.  We’ll see if they keep me on as a sub.  My manager hemmed and hawed, but I don’t care.  I can afford to keep the membership even if I have to pay for it myself.  I didn’t burn any bridges, but one of the lifeguards who also gave her notice and I had a moment of “Hallelujah we’re free!”  It’ll be good.  It’s the right choice.

And I’ve already made plans for my first weekend of freedom.