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Taking Care of Business

I know, I know… It’s been SO long since my last post.  Seriously, I’ve not been in the mood and nothing really happening to report on, that is, until now…..

The biggest news is that I FINALLY got hired somewhere after YEARS of searching for one.  This happened last week but I’ve not been called in yet to start working.  This makes me nervous but I don’t think I should be because I’ve filled out all the papers you fill out that very first day.  All the Human Resources stuff.  This was done, and took me almost the whole DAY to do because I was actually reading all this stuff.  The company’s procedures, policies, etc.  Thirteen sections… sheesh!  What I really should’ve done was breeze through it and simply save all the actually documents and then gone through it at my leisure with a cup O java.

I must say that while I’m elated and grateful to have been hired, I can’t help but think that it’s STILL not enough to support my family.  Minimum wage in New Jersey is $7.25/hr.  I will be working part-time so I know that it’s feasible to get another part-time job but to be frank, I’m afraid I won’t be able handle keeping three work schedules, two of mine and DH’s.   Wow.  $7.25/hr.  A far cry from what I’ve made in the past, but I’m grateful.  I’ve been under a LOT of stress for over a year and this somehow makes me feel better.  My worries now are not about getting a job but whether this family can hold it’s head above water…. But… I’ve got a job!

Not sure yet how I will divvy up my weekly, hey or bi-weekly booty but I’m just hoping that it will make a significant difference.  Maybe towards the rent?  Maybe towards a monthly bill?  Maybe start a bank account? Maybe, just maybe I’ll have some left over for a slushie or coffee on Social Skills night?

Whatever happens, all I know is that I feel better.

Green-Eyed Monster

Daily Prompt: Green-Eyed Monster

by michelle w. on August 3, 2013

Write an anonymous letter to someone you’re jealous of.

Wow.  This assignment is pretty much a license to whine all day.  Just for the record, I am not PMS’ing today.   I’m writing my letter to everyone out there who has a job. I’m jealous of all of you.  I never thought I’d say that and up to a couple of months ago I was not missing the work at all. Indeed, I am still loath to re-enter the workforce and giving my life to an employer who would most likely not look at me as a valuable employee.  That is the trend.  The climate has changed so much since I started working.  What the hell happened? It was a world in which employers actually valued their employees, invested in them; and if you worked for a good company, you could expect to spend your entire career there.  

I’m writing this post not because I envy people who have jobs (because I do) but because I’ve listened one too many times to people grumbling about their jobs.  I’ve witnessed one too many times incompetence.  Too many times waiting endlessly in a doctor’s office, listening to office workers happily gabbing, gossiping, complaining and not doing any work. Too many typos in professional documents and most of them coming from school administration offices, lack of professionalism, lack of pride in ones work. Man, the list goes on and on; and I stand here knowing I could do a much better job.  It simply kills me.  I guess that is where my anguish lies.  You got the job… earn your money!

I was brought up with workplace etiquette ingrained in me.  The generation my parents come from appreciated the opportunity to earn money.  My parents taught me to be a good, loyal employee to the company I worked for, to be punctual, to not steal company property and that included everything from office supplies to toilet paper.  It goes without saying I gave more than 100% of my professional efforts to my company.  I was not a clock watcher.  I did not stop work exactly at quitting time.  I did not take even a minute over my lunch time allotment, however short. I stayed until at least my task was completed, even if that meant staying an hour or more, depending what that task was.  Companies today do not value these qualities; or if they do, why do they betray those dedicated and loyal employees?  It’s like they are distancing themselves on purpose to justify not investing in their employees’ future, which essentially is the future of their companies. They pretty much expect a high turnover rate now a days, or more likely they are encouraging it so that they do not have to give pay raises and opt out of providing health benefits.  Oh, and lest I forget age discrimination. This is enough to discourage anyone, let alone myself who is definitely over the age of 50 and my prospects for any type of employment are little to none.  I’ve been looking for a job, any job, since 2008 and I’ve not had even ONE interview.

I’m not going to summarize my situation in detail, but it’s been pretty depressing for me.  My standards have been in a spiraling decline for this past year and still no luck.  I live in a city that discriminates against the English speaker.  I need a local job and my field is customer service, especially in the medical industry.  When my dentist heard this, he basically shook his head and told me to keep trying, but we both know the climate here.  Locally, those jobs would be in a doctor’s or dentist’s office and bilingual skills are required.  Can’t blame them since this is an immigrant city, but I feel a lot of resentment against the discrimination.  Currently, I’m looking for an overnight position to accommodate my husband’s budding teaching career… or hopefully, he will have a teaching career.  This has not proven fruitful as of yet; but I have hope.

To all the objects of my jealousy, DON’T COMPLAIN ABOUT YOUR JOB~!  Be grateful that you have one.  Be grateful that you have a roof over your head (I know that I am) and whatever food you have in the fridge.  Be grateful that compromising your child’s nutrition for a cheap meal is not on YOUR plate.  Be grateful that your next meal will not be a very big glass of water.  The last time I gained employment, 8 years ago, I pledged to give my church a good part (or maybe all, I forgot) of my first paycheck with that next job.  I felt that my prayers were answered and I handed my pastor a check.  I was so happy… and so life goes on.

Okay… time to put the monster away….

Sweet Sixteen… 43 Years in the Making

Life is ComplicatedWhen you were 16, what did you think your life would look like? Does it look like that? Is that a good thing?

Wow.  Something for me to think about.  In a way, my life has turned out exactly as I thought it would at sixteen, but the downside is that it took me just about 30 years to get here.

My life is a good one, but it definitely has not shaped up as I had envisioned way back when.  Growing up in the seventies did not provide hope to this sheltered, painfully shy girl.  I grew up with the understanding that all girls get married and stay home to raise a family, period.  Not one thought rested on the idea of going to college and having a career because back then the only career open to women was to be a secretary… or so I thought.  Career Day in high school didn’t have anything directed toward us girls.  I loved science, but was woefully inept in anything but the very basics in math.  I just did not get it and it was my understanding that to be able to do anything in science, you needed to be good in the higher math which was calculus, chemistry, geometry, ALGEBRA… Well, it was hard work, but I did eventually pass algebra and I needed a tutor to just pass geometry.  I just didn’t get it and that dashed my hopes of ever pursuing a career in the sciences.  So, with my illustrious science career raking in the coals, I turned my attention to the Domestic Engineer, meaning wife and mother to some very lucky guy… heh.

There was just one problem.  I was not high on the list of conquest for any male my age. Those suckers!  But I digress.  I did work at a series of clerical jobs, none of which I could deem “career worthy,” yet I managed to learn a lot during those years.  Lessons that I would carry with me throughout my life.  Well, to make a life long story short, at the age of 42, I finally met and married my husband and we now have a seven year old boy who, I’m sure, is the love of both of our lives… outside of each other, that is.  I have the life now that I had envisioned for myself–34 years later!   Ironically enough, I am a stay-at-home mom, but sadly looking for work at this time.  Back in the seventies it was the accepted norm… and expected that women would have their babies and stay home.  Now, after a couple of decades of women keeping their jobs after having babies, more women are returning back to the old ways of staying home with their broods.

I actually love being home.  My son is going to school full-time and I do have the whole day to myself, basically, to do whatever I choose whether it be cleaning or just writing this blog.  I volunteer at different places and last week I had that extra time to drive quite a ways to teach seniors how to crochet.  If I had a nine to five, I definitely could not do that.  I value my time and love to give it to volunteer where needed.  I spend a lot of time doing research on autism since our son was diagnosed with it when he was six years old.  However, I am in a position right now where we need me to go to back to work.  I find myself at actually another fork in the road, mentally.  I am loath to the idea for many reasons.  One being I feel I need to be home for the “just in case” something happens in school and I need to be called.  Huh?  Yeah, this is not something that would happen on a regular basis, let alone a tremendous long shot of it happening even once.  Another reason is that I am hating the corporate world right now and the devalued status of employees now-a-days, in general.  Everyone is dispensable.  Companies are almost looking for a reason to fire you almost as soon as they hire them.  Get the job done for cheaper, and no employee is safe from being cut from the ranks.  So this is the frame of mind I have right now concerning prospective employers.  On the other side of the coin, I really need to chip in right now and find a job that brings in some money and we also desperately need medical insurance.  This month, I’ve been putting in applications, taking online tests and what have .  I don’t have the luxury right now to take a part-time job.  DH is  Still, waiting for his degree from which the graduation is listed as Jan. 20th 2013 on the university’s registrars’ web page.  I know that we have not heard anything from the university, yet they have our money for graduation for over a semester now.  grrrr, another tangent.

As I look at all these words, I realize that no matter how confident I think that I am, I have fear in me.  My view of the working world out there is that they carry standards too high for me to live up to.  A lot has changed since I was a young person out there in the real working world.  A world that was and still is a very intimidating place.  Inside me I know that I have a lot to give, but freak out while wondering what an employer will expect of me now, in this day and age where youth is celebrated over the older, more experienced person… especially a woman.  I feel pressured to present myself in the youngest possible light and that is not so easy anymore.  I have more aches and pains than when I was in my 20’s, 30’s, heck even 40’s.  I have more outside-the-job responsibilities than I had back then, too.  I now have a school aged child that needs me at home when he gets here.  Back then, I could win an employer over with my receptivity of staying later than my quitting time.  I always stayed until I got the job done.  I just don’t have that freedom any longer.  Ah so, I’ll have to close.  I can ruminate about this all day, but I’ve got to let this go at some point.

Have a great day and keep warm!

Daily Prompt: You Asked for it…

Describe your last attempt to learn something that did not come easily to you.

Okay, this doesn’t really answer the question above, but I’m keeping it here.  I suppose, though, that one must learn this as much as any other skill out there… so here goes:

The thing that is very hard for me to do is find a job.  No matter what, no matter when.  I’ve always had a hard time going through the process. I am the proverbial “Jack of all trades, master of none.”   I have tons of experience, but I’ve not been working for almost seven years, not counting a few months working as a part-time cashier at Shoprite.  I have a pretty decent working history, except for those 7 years, and varied experience, got along with everyone, always gave 120%, loyal, a worker, a rule person…. that is to say I never abused breaks and always finished the current task before even thinking about going home.  Wouldn’t you want to hire me?  Sadly folks, these are not desirable traits anymore.  Nobody wants to see these things listed on a resume.  They are now assumed.  A lot of experience and skills are assumed now, like working with computers and programs.  It used to be great to have this kind of experience on a resume, but that was back in the 70’s and 80’s.  Man I feel so freaking old right now.

My first experience with computers was back when I worked for the US Army in the Transportation Department at Fort Hamilton in Brooklyn, NY.   We transported all personal belongings, from freight to contents of whole houses.  I learned computer basics and transferred a whole paper-based file system onto a database and got it to automatically send out various letters to clients.  They offered me the position of supervisor of the “whole” department, but I was the only one in that department because the two other people who trained with me bailed.  Long story, short my ex-husband pressured me to leave there and go to work in the city, Manhattan.  It was the worst decision I made, but then he had made it for me and I suffered for it.  From having job security to going from one job to another because nothing fit right.  Ah, experience, right?

Anyway, over the years I’ve done lots of things and the one I loved the most, and had room for growth was customer service in the billing dept. at a Labcorp call center, but that was THE most stressful job I ever had, and certainly can not do that again.  That was my first experience of feeling betrayed by an employer.  They led us on, talked about a new space being built for us, for years.  Then it finally got built and nine months later, we all got canned.  They dissolved our department and God knows, probably outsourced it to foreign country for all I know.

Anyway, that is part of my problem.  I value myself a lot.  It’s ingrained in me to be loyal to a company, to basically give myself to an employer and do whatever they want me to do for that paycheck.  I mean, no questions asked.  I am the person who ALWAYS has the “why” word hanging off the tip of my lips, otherwise.  My first marriage broke up precisely because I could not follow the whims of my ex without knowing the whys, and without believing in his views.  That upset the man-child and he divorced me.  Well, I was never put into that exact situation professionally, but I’m a company person.  Back in the day, that meant something.  Now, they want your blood.  Companies today do not value their employees at all.  Everyone is indispensable.  One time I got fired because of my weight.  After having the job well over 2 years, I was brought in and was told that my appearance did not convey their image.  I was the receptionist at an office building, but not in the lobby… WAY back out of public view.  The parent company was a PARKING LOT/GARAGE company.  I wish I had the balls I have now, but back then.  Instead, I was crushed and vaporized out of that office after leaving a flood of tears all over the desk.  <spit>

I am finding it really hard to put myself out there now.  Not because of my body weight but because I don’t want to give my valuable time to just anyone.  They have to deserve me, you know?  I just don’t believe I’ll find a good situation where I’ll be valued.  I guess that’s it right there.  Of course, I still will need to find a job, and the best paying one with benefits that I can…. but it’s making me cry inside.  What am I going to have to do to get something?  Oh, my friends try to help and they send me job opportunities they see around, but mostly, I need medical benefits and, well, good money.  I also need to work around DH’s work schedule… well, that’s when he gets one.

Something else, is that I need a local job.  I need to be available for my child and need to be home for him after school.  Living in Elizabeth, NJ does not help that one bit.  First and foremost, I have two strikes against me before I even fling myself into the game.  I am not bilingual. and I need to be home well before a normal job would let their people out.  Also, maybe the third strike is that I would need to leave by a certain time, without the option of staying later if needed.  Oh how they love to keep you working past quitting time.

Oh shit.  I’m quite aware that this should not be my mental state while trying to woo a prospective employer, but this is what it is.  Personally, I would love to find a great situation, contributing my talents, skills and creativity to getting a job done.   I love that I just wrote quite a few paragraphs about why I shouldn’t “apply” myself… HA.  I have a lot of fear of the unknown.  Fear that I’m not good enough anymore.  Fear that I was never any good and maybe I was deluding myself and exaggerating my value.  Oh my God.  Yeah, I should just trust in Him to get me a  job…. a Good one.

So yeah.  The hardest thing I ever had to do, and I don’t do it nearly as well as I should is finding a job.

“Because You’re Worth It”~NOT

This is a bit of a vent and not sure who will see this, but here I go.  The Drake has worked for this company, played by the rules, THEIR RULES, and they might still screw him over. He’s been there for 30+ years, a real company man, working in their factory, amidst safety violations, ignorant, arrogant management, but he plodded along using his experience and being safety minded.  Everyone knows that when the Fire Department inspects the place, it’s a set up.  How do I know?  Because before the F.D. gets there, everyone is made to clean up the place…. yes, I know I’m not getting to the meat of it. I need to give background.  Think of management asking you to NOT following the rules, to NOT follow procedure just to get product made faster.  Like any other time you are cooking a good brew, you need to follow a recipe.  It’s no different for making shampoos, conditioner, and hair dye.  I don’t even want to tell you want goes into this stuff.

Remember when you conducted your own chemistry experiments?  Mine was bleach and ammonia.  Remember what happens?  Toxic, burning fumes, smoke, and the inevitable running out of the bathroom because your lungs were burning…. yeah, that was me… every time.   Fast forward and think that the factory workers know of this wonderful cause and effect magic.  Think of management who doesn’t have a clue.  Further, they want you to mix bleach and ammonia because it will cut out a few steps and the product will get made faster.  Forget about the fact that it will burn off the consumer’s hair and burn off skin from her scalp.  I can hear the little man giving sound warning and describing just what will happen if they do that; and I can also hear cartoonish management scoffing at those warnings and coming down hard on the person who will not follow their instructions.  Imagine the gestapo cutting down anyone who gets in the way….. LOL… yes, a bit colorful, and just a little bit dramatic, but this kind of stuff happens all the time.  You have young upstarts, just out of college who want to make their mark.  They will do anything to get noticed so that they can climb a little further up the corporate ladder.  I’ve heard of someone who was well liked by all, advanced, then people heard that he changed production numbers to make himself look good.  He was no longer a supervisor by that time, and was in higher management.  What were they going to do?  Nothing.  The guy who took over his position got canned because his numbers, the real numbers were significantly lower than the ones that were, shall we say, tweaked.  WTF?

So, getting back to the reason for my post.  The Drake’s employer announced that they were going to lay off about 20 FACTORY people, UNION people, BTW, the union sucks.  They decided to offer a buy out package to anyone within retirement range.  The Drake was also offered the package. We thought about it, and he decided to take it.  They just announced that 19 people took the package and so now they were not going to lay off anyone.  Yesterday, he comes home to say that the company made another announcement.  They are going to “temporarily” lay off everyone in the factory for a week.  According to the union contract they are supposed to give a good notice for “shutting down” the factory for whatever time. In fact, they used to annually shut down the factory in July for years. Now, all of a sudden they will “Lay off” people, except, of course, when people are laid off, they lose their benefits, um, what’s wrong with this picture?  ALSO, they could very well decide that when they bring back people, they will NOT rehire those who took the package. This has gotten me very scared. The Drake should at least call the union to see what they will say about it. At this point, personally, I don’t trust the company OR the union… but it’s his job, not mine.  I can’t go in there like a storm trooper!  I’ve blogged about various things that have been going on over there, but this one really hits home…. OUR home!

More venting might be necessary.

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