Posted in etcetera, work

photoblogging, travel edition

I’ve started a photo essay to document my business travels. Alas, since it is business travel, I’m not getting to see many sites, so I look for those little things that are the “essence” of the trip. The first shots are posted at my fotki account:

Posted in work

I’ll fly away

Last week I took the second business trip of my new career — the second of many, I’m told. Since that’s pretty much all that’s going on in my life, I’ll recap the highlights… hmm, let me put that in quotes… “highlights” of the trips:

Trip #1 – Seattle, Washington

  • After my longest flight so far, then riding to the hotel in a vehicle with atrocious New Car Smell, I had more than a little travel sickness for the rest of my first day there. (Apologies to the Hampton Inn for what I did in your lobby trashcan…)
  • During meetings about the project, I met about thirty new people and had considerable trouble keeping their names straight. (Does no one wear name tags anymore??)
  • There’s a lot of… waiting… involved at these meetings. That may be the hardest part. (Thank you, Tom Petty.)
  • Actually, the hardest part is being new and having to learn what the heck everyone is talking about. Until then, I try to listen, look thoughtful, and not say anything to embarrass the boss.
  • One of the guys on one of our teams is very cute and nice. He’s also very taken which should go without saying because those are typically the guys I find attractive!

Trip #2 – Augusta, Georgia

  • I was thrilled to be closer to home.
  • However, my room overlooked a noisy four-lane highway, and I got little sleep the whole three nights we were there.
  • On the bright side, my room had a Jacuzzi tub, and yes, I *did* make time to soak in it all three nights we were there. I credit that tub with helping me keep my sanity, because…
  • From something the boss said during our pre-meeting meeting, I concluded that he wasn’t impressed with my report from the first trip. I found the thought that he was writing me off after one experience very, very frustrating, and I was stressed about it for the better part of the trip.
  • Then the first day of meetings started with a walk in the cold (albeit light) rain from building to building looking for the correct conference room.
  • I think I’m catching on to learning new people. I was in charge of recording attendees’ names in the meeting minutes and that helped me put names with faces.
  • A nice part of these trips is going out for dinner with our team of five to eight people. I’m pretty quiet – as usual – but there tend to be some good conversationalists in the group.
  • On the trip home, the boss said – without prompting from me, because I was afraid to ask – that it seems I’m catching on to what I need to be doing. That really helped put my mind at ease. I mean, I know I’ve got much to learn; I just want to feel I’m at least moving in the right direction!

Jeff said that some people he works with are impressed with my new traveling job, and my first thought was, “Obviously, they’ve never traveled like that, or they wouldn’t be impressed at all.” It’s true that traveling is taking some adjusting to, but I’m trying to make the best of it. I just remind myself that I could stay at home all the time – and still be unemployed.

Posted in etcetera, work

now that’s a delayed response

Two days ago I received a rejection from a job application. Since I’ve been at my new job for two months now, I knew that the company’s response was at least that old.

Curiosity got the better of me, and I looked up in my notes exactly when I had applied: August 7th. So this rejection is about four(!) months(!) past due. Thanks, Camber, for (finally) deigning to give me an answer, but you know, I kinda already figured out that I was not the candidate selected for that esteemed Administrative Assistant position.

But seriously, thanks for the reminder that job-hunting is beyond frustrating, and that I’m so, so blessed to have actually found a job.

Posted in websites, work

a website oversight

Work is going well! Mostly, I’ve been reading to get familiar with the business, their software, etc. and that can make for a long day, but it’s a necessary first step. Happily, I realized yesterday that all of the reading *is* serving its purpose, as I do feel more familiar with the material.

In other news, this week I was finally able to check one of my (twenty or so) old email accounts. It had – I exaggerate not – over 4000 emails. Of course, 3996 of them were spam. Of the four valid ones, one was a test email I’d recently sent, which is actually what inspired me to do the work to check that account. But the other three non-spams were warnings from Apparently my MacGyver fanlisting was on the troubles list, and since I didn’t respond to their two warnings, they wrote to say that it was removed from the network. And this happened back in October of 2007. Oops!

I would’ve sworn I checked the site not long ago to be sure my three sites were still listed. I guess I checked the two I thought were more likely to have been removed. Oops again.

This is not a tragedy. I think of the MacGyver site primarily as a fan website, and the bulk of its traffic is from people who are looking for MacGyver information. Still, I am embarrassed at this oversight, and after checking to see that there isn’t a new Mac fan listing, I applied for mine to be it again.

And if they say no, the new layout was made in such a way that it’ll be very easy to remove the fanlisting related links from the menu.

Posted in feelings, work

rhymes with “fired”

That would be “hired.”

:pause for anticipation of joyful news:

That’s right: I am HIRED! And I’ve gotta say that the eight(!) and a half(!) months(!) of looking were *well* worth it because I got a lot of my wants with this job. It’s close to my mom’s place. It’s not in the industry that I left in January. Best of all, it’s still in engineering but more on the business side and less on the oh-so-frustrating, who-do-I-have-to-kill-to-get-a-straight-answer design side. Excuse me while I weep for joy.

Really, it sounds like such a good opportunity that I’m almost afraid of saying too much about it at this point for fear of jinxing it. Maybe I’ll just move on.

I start to work this coming Monday, so there will likely be a slight lull in website work while I get settled into a new routine and find a new apartment.

Oh, and in sharing the happy news with some former coworkers, I finally revealed the location of my websites. So if any of them are reading this: welcome! Yes, I have a blog, and yes, I may have talked about you. And if there’s *any* chance that might hurt your feelings, may I suggest that you peruse one of my other sites instead?

But if you’re feeling strong – got your big girl panties on? Good – and are not afraid to hear another point of view, then read on.

And actually, I kid. There’s no need for anyone to brace for some scathing attack. I feel pretty comfortable exposing these writings because a) as I’ve written before, when I write something to post on-line, I keep in mind that anyone could read it, so I try to be as objective as possible. Also b) people who’ve spent time around me should recognize that I am overall a positive person, and c) on the occasions that I’ve ranted about coworkers, I didn’t use their real names. Combined with d) it’s been about a year since my last work-related rant, surely the objects of any rants will have forgotten and won’t recognize that it’s about them. Hopefully, they don’t journal. 😉

Posted in etcetera, feelings, work

I pity the fuel

This morning as I drove in to the gas station, I noticed a former co-worker fueling up. I parked at the adjacent pump and called out a greeting as he was headed toward the building. He came over and gave me a one-armed hugged.

He asked what I was doing now. Upon hearing that I’m still unemployed, he gave me such a pitying look that I actually get embarrassed when I think of it. He was all, “I just hate how they did you…” While I do appreciate the sympathy, I absolutely do not think of myself as cause for pity.

Okay, I had plenty of pity parties myself right after I was fired, but now I’m feeling more optimistic, and I tried to convey that. I told my former co-worker that I *could* have a job now, but it’d be something I didn’t want. “I don’t mind taking my time and finding something good,” I insisted, to which my former co-worker gave me another oh-she’s-being-so-brave-about-all-this look.

He’s still working at that company, and he said that business is picking up. He asked if I’d consider coming back. He’s in no position to hire me, nor do I reckon that he has any influence on those who do. And really, it doesn’t matter what I would or wouldn’t do; since I was fired for less-than-stellar performance, I’m fairly positive they wouldn’t hire me back anyway. But *just* in case, if any of the higher-ups bumps his head and starts to think about me, for the record I told my former co-worker that I would not come back.

On the way home I heard “I Will Survive,” and I mentally dedicated it to my former bosses, especially the first part: “At first, I was afraid. I was petrified! Kept thinkin’ I could never live without you by my side. But then I spent so many nights, thinkin’ how you did me wrong, and I grew strong…” Yeah, getting fired threw me for a (gargantuan, industrial-sized) loop, but I’m past that now, and I’m really looking forward to the new opportunities I’ll have.

So, my former co-workers, please spare me your pity. If you want to show your support, join me in happily pondering the good things the future holds for me. Or buy me some lunch, if you prefer to give something more tangible. 😉

Posted in etcetera, feelings, work

money not for nothing

Re: the topic in the previous entry, I’d just about made up my mind: I wasn’t going to volunteer in my teacher friend’s class. The primary reason being that, as I approach eight(!) months of unemployment, I really need to start considering some source of actual income.

Ah, but then! Today I learned that I was actually approved for unemployment compensation. :shocked: I applied at the urging of another friend, but I really, truly, utterly believed that I would be turned down. My only experience with someone even attempting to get unemployment compensation was when my sister tried for it seven or so years ago. She was fired for her cash drawer (at a fast food place) being $3 short. Although she had worked there over ten years, because there had been two other instances of her drawer being short, she was denied UC. At that point, I became convinced that “those people” went out of their way to deny claims.

I figured that since I was fired because my “performance did not meet expectations,” I would be turned down. I figured it wouldn’t matter that my many requests for help/training went unanswered or that my ex-employers hadn’t given me a single performance review before suddenly kicking me to the curb. That’s why I waited all this time, and I ONLY did it now so that I could silence people who asked about it with a curt, “Yeah, I didn’t get it.”

But I did get it! And I actually find myself somewhat inspired by it. Before, job hunting was quite disheartening, with all the looking and finding no opportunities. But now, it’s as if I’m getting paid to job hunt, and that makes even the fruitless searches seem like just part of the process. For the first time since I got fired, I feel as if I haven’t been forgotten. (And, wow, does that feel nice.)

This may sound corny, but also while I’m considering myself on the government payroll, I plan to make it part of my “duties” to try to be a better citizen, more of a – dare I say it? – do-gooder. And part of that just might be helping out in that teacher’s classroom.

Posted in etcetera, feelings, work

liars, bad liars, and list-makers

As of today, I’ve been unemployed for five and a half months. Between you and me, the novelty is starting to wear off.

As you may or may not know, I live in the vicinity of Huntsville, Alabama, and just this week, I saw it ranked on yet another list of cities that are “thriving” despite a bad economy. Is that right, list-maker people? Well, you couldn’t prove it by me. I’ve been applying to job openings in Huntsville (a.k.a That Marvelously Flourishing City) repeatedly for these five and a half months, and I’ve only had one interview. Apparently all the other job seekers in these neighboring, non-flourishing cities are applying for the same jobs.

The result is like actors in Hollywood: applicants are a dime a dozen, and employers can pick and choose their perfect candidate. Meanwhile, the rest of us wonder what is so powerfully wrong with us that we can’t get hired in such a hotbed of opportunity. :rollseyes:

And while I’m exposing the dark side of economic hype, I feel compelled to mention how my mother and my sister work for a company that frequently places high on lists of great companies to work for. One such list bragged how this company has never laid off a single employee. Maybe they haven’t terminated anyone – and that’s a big maybe, btw – because of low business levels, but they *do* drastically cut the hours of their part-time people. For example, this week my sister is only working two days, and my mother isn’t working at all. A job with no hours is a lot like being laid off, and, needless to say, plenty of people leave voluntarily, taking jobs elsewhere because they need more income.

Moral of the story: don’t believe everything people list.

Posted in etcetera, feelings, work

overly unqualified

Right after I wrote the last blog post, I was surprised with an invitation to interview this week. Since this was the first interview I’ve had in the three months that I’ve been unemployed, I was thrilled. And I can honestly say that I felt I was the best prepared I’ve been for any interview that I can remember. I had found a long list of potential interview questions on the Internet, and I prepared answers for almost all of them.

But at the interview, the lady I talked to spent most of the thirty minutes explaining what they do there. She even brought a sample of their paperwork. She was very nice, but the first thing she said (while looking at my résumé) was that I’m overqualified. She said lightly, “Oh, my, you’ll be so bored doing what we do here.” Then she talked about spreadsheets and completing monthly reports. I tried to explain that that was *exactly* the kind of thing I did when I was an admin assistant before, and being an organized person, it’s actually something I like to do. In any case, she said it’d be at least a week before they make a decision.

That always sounds to me as if they’re trying to put me off. They know that at that moment I’m hopeful, but they see that I haven’t got a chance, so they vague out about their plans, I guess to try to take the sting out of it. As time passes, my dream of being hired slowly dies, so that by the time the rejection letter comes weeks later, I’m pretty much expecting it.

Anyway, my preparation did pay off: I *knew* that my interviewer would ask something like, “Why do you want this job when you’ve got an engineering degree?” So I had prepared an answer about “choosing engineering because I knew that its reasoning and problem-solving skills would be an asset in any career.” (Hopefully they bought it!) However, the minute she said I was overqualified, I wanted to scream. Every one of the engineering places I’ve applied to has apparently found me way UNDERqualified, because they won’t even interview me. So I set my sights a bit lower and what do I get? “You’re overqualified.” GAH!

I understand why employers are cautious. In these tough times, they know that some people are looking for any job they can to pay bills, but the employers don’t want to waste their resources training someone who will leave when a better opportunity comes along. I just don’t know how to make them understand that that is not my intention. My experience in the engineering field – the lack of training and job security – has left a bad taste in my mouth. I must be getting lazy, or old, or something, because I can’t stand the thought of having to start over and over, moving around to find opportunities in my that field. (I already feel that my whole life has been starting over!) I can’t say that admin work is my dream job, but if I can find something steady, I plan to stick with it.

Posted in work

one door closes

I was fired from my job this afternoon.

Maybe there was something to that good feeling I got about that job opportunity that I wrote about in the previous post! Needless to say, I’ve already sent that co-worker an email.

I’m actually not all that devastated. I guess I’ve been prepared to leave since the company changed owners back in September.

A co-worker told me that “everything happens for a reason.” And I actually believe that, and I have for the longest now. So far, I haven’t been proven wrong. 🙂 Obviously it’s time for me to move on. Sure, it may take a while, but my bills are pretty minimal, so I should be okay.

Another bright side: maybe I’ll have time to catch up on some website stuff!

I’ll keep you all posted on the new job search.