Darn! I’ve been under the weather these past couple of days with something that feels like the flu but it’s not as bad as the flu but it’s wiped me out.
It started Saturday night after I came home from seeing an old Neil Simon play called, “Last of the Red Hot Lovers.” It was a good production – very funny. But, for about ten minutes before curtain and during intermission, I was craning and straining my neck to chat with people sitting behind me, like this:
I knew I was straining my neck, but never realized I’d disable it completely.
Only today has the pain subsided. But what it left in its wake is a horrible clogged throat and head and nose blah. It can’t decide if it wants to be a reasonably common cold, or a hateful and feverish flu.
So, I’ve laid on the couch and in the bed waiting for it to decide how mean and nasty it wants to treat me.
I think I’m getting better though. I finally got out of my PJ’s and into real clothes.
Now, for the good news…..
I got a job! I don’t have the written offer yet….so it’s not a completely done deal, but I have a start date! It’s February 20th.
And it’s a good one, too! I’m not going to jinx it by talking too much about it. I can tell you that it’s a good company, with super nice people!
Here’s the bad news though…. I had to tell Microsoft that I have another job. I emailed the recruiter today.
I was still in the interview process with Microsoft. I’d had 3 interviews and the 4th one was not scheduled until next week. This meant I’d have to stall on the job I’d just accepted to wait for Microsoft. I didn’t want to do that. Plus, if I had gotten denied by Microsoft and I’d put off the other job, I’d be the real loser.
I didn’t want to play games or gamble. I sent my Microsoft recruiter an email and said thank you for considering me and….. I hated to send that email.
So….I didn’t get this:
Then again, I love the job that I got – I am very excited about it – it’s a perfect fit in so many ways and I am very happy.
So, my “that’s life” file is looking pretty good.
(I still heart Microsoft.)
Although this little fellow looks somewhat miffed at being in the rain, I am happily enjoying the fact that it’s raining (opportunities) for me…
There’s one really good opportunity, with a company and people I really like, there’s still Microsoft, too….. I’ll have an update soon.
In the meantime, Happy Friday everyone…. I’ll be back with a story soon!
Here’s a quick splash of color to brighten up our Monday – in advance!
Monday – tomorrow – 8:00 a.m., I have my second interview at Microsoft – the second of four.
I’m nervous. So… well. Here’s all I really want to happen: When my mouth opens words come out. In perfect order. With colors as bright as this Passion Flower.
There are things in this world, especially when it comes to technology, that wow me. One of those things is something called “Jailbreaking.” It’s something you do to an iPhone that removes the restrictions that Apple adds to the phone and allows you to download a bunch of Apps (applications) for free. It even allows you to download Apps that were created for the Android market.
When you jaibreak your iPhone you can do so many things that you couldn’t do with the Apple version. You can change wallpaper and the icons on your phone; you can video chat, watch live TV, play games that require Flash – like the Facebook games, and so much more.
And, when you jailbreak your iPhone, you also “unlock” it. Unlocking the iPhone means to remove restrictions that keep you with the original AT&T or Verizon carrier. You can take your phone to T-Mobile, or just about any carrier of your choice. That’s a huge benefit because AT&T is so expensive. I can attest to that.
It’s going to cost you about thirty bucks to jailbreak your iPhone, but it will pay off in the long run.
I found out about all this unlocking and jailbreaking is due to signing up as a Consultant with a global outsourcing company called oDesk. I applied through oDesk for a job as a writer for a company that writes about this technology.
Let me tell you a little bit how oDesk works.
The oDesk folks provide the website and a listing of jobs that come from employers all over the world. The employer posts jobs and identify the skills required to do the job(s) they want filled, usually on a temporary basis, though some are long-term. The oDesk system matches the potential employees skill-sets with the skills the employer indicates he or she needs. If a job looks like a fit, the employee can apply to the job, and then wait to see if the employer wants to interview the prospective employee.
So, I applied yesterday to an employer who needs a writer. To my surprise, I got contacted by the employer who asked me to submit work specific writing samples. I had to write two articles about jailbreaking and unlocking the iPhone.
He sent me the keywords and I had to strategically place the keywords in the content. The better the keywords, the better Google recognizes what the article is about and the higher they rank the article, thus driving business.
But, I thought, huh? What kind of scam is this?! Jail breaking???
But, I said okay, I’m open to anything.
So, I did some research, and wrote the articles today. But, I haven’t heard anything. I don’t know if my articles were good, really. I enjoy technical stuff, but it’s pretty boring to write about. So, I wrote one of my articles in a kind of a “dude-ish” slang, and the other article I wrote with lines borrowed from Shakespeare! In hindsight, I they may have been too creative. Oh well.
Well, I had no idea what the employer really wanted other than to use the words “jailbreak” and ‘unlock” in my articles.
So, I made them interesting!
I’m working really hard at finding a job. The thing about not working but looking for work, it’s a lot of very hard work! I’ve been working since the wee hours this morning and I’m still at it!
Well, I’m getting calls and responses. And I do have real irons on the fire. It’s all about patience. Finding and securing a new job is a long process and a juggling act, too. You have to keep a lot of balls up in the air hoping the best one will drop first. Nothing worse than saying yes to Acme Computer Company and then have Microsoft call! (I did apply to Microsoft, by the way….I can only hope to be considered….!)
So, it’s a busy time for me. But a good time, too. I’m in a good place with a lot of opportunities… the only thing I need now is patience. Not always my virtue.
I want to do the Post-A-Day Challenge for 2012, like I did in 2011, but I have decided it’s too much. Although blogging everyday has become a habit, it will be nice to take a night off now and then. So, that’s the plan! No pressure this year.
On a totally different note, here’s a present for your eyes! I took this yesterday while I was walking my dog. It was a beautiful day – birds, bees and butterflies were everywhere!
I’m not even keeping track of the news this week…. My brother gets the New York Times every day. I opened it only once this week.
I needed a break from all the bad news anyway.
Tonight we were watching old re-runs of 60 Minutes, and after about an hour, or so of watching, I got very depressed. It was painful to be reminded of how horrible the economy is; how gloomy the job-market has looked – though it’s getting better. But hearing all the sad stories of people without any money, no jobs, being foreclosed on….. Although it is always upsetting to hear these heartbreaking stories, it was especially very upsetting tonight.
Even though I am not worried about finding work, it’s very unnerving to hear the stories of people who have been laid-off for over a year and still have no work. And I actually RESIGNED from a job!
I thought for a moment tonight: Am I nuts? And I answered myself: Well yes, just a little!
Seriously, I’m not really nuts. And it was not nutty to resign from the horrible job I had! Truly, that job would send me to the grave earlier than necessary had I stayed one day longer. Either that, or I fought the system via the EEOC. I really didn’t want to do that.
I couldn’t pretend to be happy working there anymore. Just because it’s a job, is not enough for me. I can’t just have a “job” for the sake of a job. Why should I spend my working hours being miserable, working with people who are miserable – and with people who are just miserable period? It felt dishonest and it felt like I was purposely hurting myself.
A lot of people hate work. I want to love my work. I have always loved my work, and I still do. I was allowing the environment – the negative and demeaning environment – to cause me to hate my work, and to not want to give my best. I began to resent giving them my best work, when I realized that I knew I had to get out of there.
Too many people stay at a job because they think they have no choice but to stay. I understand that, but I cannot do it. It goes against my nature. And, if I don’t care about my well-being, who will?
So, that leads me to Creative Whack 13, Look to Nature. These Creative Whacks, you may recall, were
created by Roger von Oech, who has a few wonderful products that stimulate creative thinking. I love his Creative Whack Pack and plan to discuss all 64 of them here, eventually.
So, what does look to nature mean? To me, it means many things. Most importantly it means, not denying or defying your own nature and instincts.
“Let nature by your guide,” is the first sentence on the card. It’s taken me a while, but I understand now that I must follow my instincts. When I don’t follow my instincts I get into trouble.
It’s not easy to allow nature or intuition be the guide. I certainly don’t always make the right decisions or take the right road, that’s for sure. And, I can be impulsive. I always work on that.
My decision to leave a job that was making me so unhappy was something I had to do despite all the risks. I had to ask myself if I was being impulsive. I truly can say: No, I was not. I’ve spent the last four and a half years being miserable – too long.
What I need help with is strength. Staying strong. Staying the course without undermining my success with fear of the unknown; or maybe, fear of success?
In order for nature to help, it’s important to clarify what the problem is.
I do need to think with a bit more clarity about what problem I need to solve. I’m pretty sure it’s going to be strength to get me to my next job – my next big thing.
The roots of trees say strength to me. I love trees, especially the big, old ones
The root systems that support the great Cypress trees and support all the things that live within the branches of the tree: The birds. The bird nests. The leaves. The squirrels that make the tree home. The animals and the insects that trust the tree. That is a good model for me.
Now, there’s something I need…..
It was a marvelous day!
I thought I would wake up with some regret at resigning yesterday from my “real” job. I didn’t! Not a one.
Well, the paycheck…. ? Nope. Not even that has me worried.
I did the absolute right thing by resigning. The moment I decided to stand up and walk out was not something I even thought about doing before it happened. It was as if my entire being, all of my senses, converged in that moment and empowered me with a certainty and a conviction that I rarely have experienced.
It needed to happen. If I were a man, you could say I’d “grown a pair” in that moment. Hah! 🙂
That workplace had become far too toxic. It has been from the beginning, five and a half years ago, but I always hoped it would change. Waiting …. Waiting…. Waiting…. Nothing……….
After five years, I think it’s a forgone conclusion that change won’t happen. Employees will continue to be treated horribly, nothing will ever change until the leaders are held accountable for the messes they make.
The leadership is old-fashioned and ultra conservative. But, it doesn’t fit with what’s going on in the academic side of the university. I always wondered how the administration could be so backwards and old-fashioned when the university is so forward-focused…
The Vice President of the university I worked for, has a conservative 1980’s mindset. She’s stuck there too. The kind of training and development she expected was what we were doing in the 1990’s, when we didn’t have any tools, and our (the industry’s) understanding of Adult Learning in the workplace was just beginning to make sense.
When people don’t know what they don’t know, it’s one thing, and it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re ignorant. It means they have a deep refusal to change, or improve or adapt. It may mean that they have not been exposed to new ways of thinking…. maybe. But, when people know they don’t know something and still make no effort to change, or understand, it’s either ignorance, stupidity, or laziness – probably it’s all the above – in toxic amounts. Regardless, it’s not an effective way to run a business in today’s changing world.
At my level in the organization, to be “written up” for being two to three minutes late, when I work well over 50 hours a week, is beyond the pale. I guess I have come a long way, baby….. I’ve taken a big step with regards to self-respect. No one will demean me the way they’d demeaned so many other employees for such a long time.
Can you imagine? They have actually fired people for being a minute late more than three times?!!!
I kid you not.
Maybe that’s why they thought it was no big deal to write me up? I think that’s why they tried to talk me into staying. Did they think giving me a “write-up” is the best way to handle an issue that happened more than a month ago? It’s true. They actually think it’s a positive thing!
You see why I had to resign?
If I had stayed there, my self-respect would have flown right out the door.
I slammed the door behind me as I left. Like Nora in Ibsen’s The Doll’s House. I did it. I had my say.
And that is why today was a VERY good day!
Every day the wonderful folks at WordPress send us ideas to write about. Tonight’s suggestion has to do with bravery. A good one.
But, I rarely use the suggestions because always have something specific I want to write about.
And tonight, I have something specific I want to write about and it happens to be about bravery. I’m writing with the mind and the heart and the soul of someone braver than me, but who is me.
The topic sent by WordPress writer, Scott Berkun, is “Where do you go to be brave.” Bravery is a place, I found out today. It’s a place of intuition and knowing.
Bravery is also knowing when to break a pattern after you realized it’s too harsh to be vital, too rigid to be kind, too unhealthy to be loved.
It was the classic way to quit.
I stood up and said: “I’m not going to put up with this! You’ll have my resignation before the end of day.”
I even slammed the door on my way out!
No crying, no remorse, no dramatics. I just did it.
“No, Andrea! You don’t have to do this,” the Employee Services Director said as I turned to leave….
“You don’t have to do that, Andrea.” I shot back, “Oh, yes I do have to do this!”
I’d had it with their 19th century Scientific Management-like sick rules. I was done.
Well, I’d made my decision a while ago, but I was too afraid to give up the pay check. That was the only thing between me and freedom – that damn paycheck.
I needed a push and I got it today. I needed to be humiliated out of that inflexible and harsh environment.
Today the last straw was handed to me like a gift.
Things happen for a reason.
I needed the push and I got it.
I needed to get out of there. It was a prison. Literally.
The stark truth is, when a whole department of people use words like Concentration Camp, or Nazi Germany, and they are dead serious, there’s a problem.
I would describe it as: having a harsh culture, punitive, inflexible, anti-team work, and consciously putting employees last….
For me, it’s about principal and common human decency.
When a person, like me, who is salaried, works like a maniac, evenings and weekends to deliver on a really great project, but in the past have occasionally been 1, 2 or 3 minutes late…. only once I was 7 minutes late – does it makes sense?
“It’s our policy. You broke our policy, Andrea.”
I was at my desk, deeply concentrating on a project, when my (now former) boss tapped me on the shoulder and said she needed to meet with me. She said we’re going to an upstairs conference room. At first I thought they were giving me a raise, or a promotion, or something wonderful! Well, that thought was brief. My intuition told me something was wrong.
I asked, “Is something wrong? Did I do something?” Nothing, she said. It’s nothing.
On November 10th, apparently, I was two minutes late to work, and that was the final straw. I was given a “write up.”
There were fourteen instances of my lateness on the write up. September, 2 minutes. October 1 minute. October 3 minutes. October, SEVEN minutes – that was the worst. November 10, that was the final one on the list. (I’ve been on time everyday since then because the traffic-clogging construction ended.)
So, I was last “tardy” on November 10th. Today is December 13th. “Why the delay?,” I asked. Because it takes that long to have Human Resources do the paperwork.
It’s true. I’ve seen them take two months to fire someone. It’s true.
An employee was allowing someone else to punch them out of the time-clock that hourly employees use. When it became known this had happened, a time or two, they talked to both Administrative Assistants. They both thought they’d surely be fired. Then, nearly two months passed and nothing happened. They thought they were free and clear. Then, one of the women was called in and was fired for allowing someone to punch her in and out.
Ah, you’re probably thinking, why fire only one? Shouldn’t the other woman get fired, too? Well, you’d think so, wouldn’t you?
It didn’t happen.
Why? Favoritism. The one Administrative Assistant worked for the university for nearly 30 years. And, her daughter worked there, too. If Mom got canned, the daughter would leave, too, and she was too valuable. So, the one who should have been fired was not.
I was an Associate Director. And, salaried – Exempt! Exempt means, “exempt” from overtime pay. As a salaried worker, I don’t get overtime for the extra twenty hours a week I generally worked.
So, I’m free.
I knew immediately that resigning was the right thing to do.
I know, I know! The economy is in the tank. I am not worried. Not in the least.
I have thought and thought and thought very seriously about quitting for the last six months. What stopped me? The paycheck. And even though I hardly have any money to my name right now, I am not in the least worried. I’m not sad, I have no reason to worry or cry, or moan, or anything.
I did the right thing.
Tonight feels like the first day of the rest of my life.
Something wonderful is coming….. It’s just around the corner….it’s gonna be great.
Some nights I can’t think of anything I want to talk about. Well, that’s not entirely true, there are nights that I just want to bemoan about how tired I am after working a full day teaching. Teaching kids would be so much easier. I teach adults which is more difficult; especially when adults act like children. That’s when it gets really problematic. I teach a new hire class of new employees at the university. It’s a two-week intensive training that wipes me out. I wrote all the training I teach, and I conduct the training, too. Usually one person creates the training and another person delivers it. I prefer to create the curriculum and not train it.
I have been a one-person training department for nearly five years; now I have a boss to split the work with, and that’s nice! But, it’s going to take her another year to get up to speed on the curriculum, so the training is all on my shoulders, still. My boss helps, though. She puts all the participant guides together for me – and that’s a crummy job. She also assigns which project I need to develop next, and does all the preliminary setting up for me.
She’s like my agent setting up “gigs” for me. I hope that pretty soon the work will even out and I won’t have to be in the classroom as much going forward. It’s exhausting to orchestrate the learning activities of a whole classroom of adults for seven hours a day. The funny thing is, when I’m in the classroom and working with my students, I love it. I completely enjoy seeing people learn. I enjoy the fun we have in the classroom, too. Fun, you may wonder? Yes. Adult learners need to enjoy the experience of learning and it is my job to make them laugh and enjoy themselves because it enables their learning.
So, I enjoy the moment to moment interactions with the participants, and they respond well to me, which is really helpful. What I have trouble with is waking up in the morning and starting the day. I would rather be doing so many other things. I’d rather be writing. I need to start listening more to what I want to do, I’ve realized now. My passion does not involve being in the classroom. My “work” passion involves writing training programs; it’s fun and creative, but it’s also not what I really want to do with my life, for the rest of my life.
I want to write stories, a book, and try play-writing, and photography, too. But it would mean quitting my job, most likely.
I want to read more. I have so many books lined up to read. I’m reading Wendy and the Lost Boys, by Julie Salamon, right now. It’s wonderful and I’d like to be reading right now, but there is this blog to write.
Will the earth open up and swallow me if I don’t write my blog post every night? No. It’s become a habit now. But a good and nice habit – usually.
I get hooked on things, and I’m hooked on blogging. I used to be hooked on smoking – about ten years ago. I’d come home from work, sit in my comfortable chair and smoke and read and drink soda until midnight. For a while it was difficult to read because I really wanted a cigarette to go with my book.
I am really conflicted right now. I am overcome with “shoulds.”
I should find another job (I like my boss, but the office environment I work in is toxic). I find it sad how unhappy the employees are who work in the office, and yet, at least 25 percent of the employees have worked there over 10 years. Why would you work in a place for so long and be miserable?
I don’t want to live in a state of long-term misery, that would be an awful way to live.
People think it’s prestigious to work for a university, and I suppose it is. And, it’s wonderful to be a part of the excitement that goes on at a university. On that level, it’s really great.
So, I’m torn. I could continue to work at the university, get a Ph.D., and be well-educated but would that make me happy? A Ph.D in my pocket would allow me to teach at a university level, but I don’t want to do that, so I guess the Ph.D., wouldn’t be the best thing for me. Well, I could do research articles and publish with a Ph.D., and I like research writing a lot, but I like creative writing more.
I love the law. At least three times a week I think about throwing everything to the wind and try to get into law school. But, then I come to my senses.
My real passion has always been the theatre and writing. I am a pretty good actor, but I wasn’t sure if I could write. The last couple of years, especially since beginning this blog, has helped me realize I can write, but need so much more practice.
I think I’ve figured out what I need to do. Well, I know what I need to do, but do I have the courage to do it? That’s the sticking point. (The bottom line is, I am full of too many doubts; and my ego needs a kick in the pants.)
Should I throw caution to the wind and follow my dreams? How will I pay the bills?
Maybe I am where I should be right now and I shouldn’t try to ruin a good thing. And here’s the rub: If I did quit my job and go out on my own, would I have the same kind of regrets as when I left the theatre?
I tell people I had a great career as an actor – and it’s true, I loved every minute of the work. But, I do have regrets. I do. The regret is that I didn’t stick with the theatre longer. If I’d just given it five more years, moved to NYC, things may have been different. My friends were making it, the only reason I couldn’t? Self doubt. I took the safe way out, quit while I was ahead and got the things that many theatre people don’t have: A nice car and a mortgage.
But, did I leave the theatre so I could have a nice car and a mortgage? Yes, I did. And I left the theatre because I was tired of working as a waitress after a show ended and before the next one began. The time in between theatre jobs could sometimes be months. And I couldn’t stand waiting tables. I really despised the work with every ounce of my being. I still have nightmares about being forced to wait on tables again.
So now I’m asking myself, what the hell am I doing and where the hell am I going??
The only answer I really have right now is I need to get off this computer and sit down with my book and relax.
I’ll figure out my future tomorrow – perhaps.