Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Nope, no thanks

It turns out, I am an AWFUL judge of people at first meet.  And poker faces, I guess.

I thought that interview last week went great - both of the people I met with told me I would be coming back for a second interview with the COO this week. 

I got - hopeful - I even bought some new work clothes.

I had a great weekend, and even hummed my way through my Monday morning chores.

I got to Starbucks, turned on the laptop and sent an email off to the agency to follow up on the second interview.

And then I got the response.

The company had changed their minds.  They twisted one of my answers (on a "your strengths" question) into my weakness and said that was exactly what they were not looking for.
They said that I said that I am NOT a multi-tasker!
I am THE multi-tasker!  My entire "me pitch" is all about me being a multi-tasker!

I guess I really don't want to work for a place that would twist my words to make me look bad, but I was SO SURE this was happening.

Of course, I got this email in Starbucks, where I started crying and had to go home and crawl under the blankets and cry for the afternoon.

I spent the better part of this morning looking for health insurance.  I'm sick to my stomach over that.

I am so sad.  I am so tired.  I don't know how much more of this I can take.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Off topic, aka It's my blog, and I'll write what I want to!!

Not a job post!
A me making music post!!

I'm in guitar class right now, as always.  I've also joined the 60's Classics Ensemble at the school.  I joined this class to work on my vocal ability, and my harmonies.  I do not bring my guitar to this class, just me and a tambourine.

Both graduations were a week ago.

For guitar, we chose Just Like Heaven by The Cure.  I had known my teacher was awesome before I had signed up for class (she's a friend of mine), but when I saw that she had The Cure AND The Muppets in our song packet? I was excited.  I like my classmates - even though they had been together for months before I joined, they were very welcoming and friendly. 
So, I practiced and practiced and practiced the riff of the intro that I had been assigned. Our class is pretty big, so we had split up the intro into six parts. Two dudes and I had been assigned riff #1, which is awesome tab, but also is repeated throughout the song.  I already know ALL of the lyrics, because, c'mon, it's The Cure.

I had dinner with my teacher before class, as we do every week.  I told her I would be willing to sing, merely to sing OVER a super annoying and off-key ding dong in the class. Teach laughed and said ok.
We had about 20 minutes to practice before graduation.  No mention was made of who would be singing.
Our turn came up at graduation, and the program director asked who to mic.  Teach pointed at me and said "Von".
I had zero water and was a little tipsy. I'm going to sing?!
I turned it down, but ended up with a mic in front on my anyway.  At least there were also a few other mics around, so it wasn't just me.
I NAILED the riff, every time.  I was soooo excited.
I also lost my voice right after the first verse of the song.  I didn't care. 

For whatever reason, I compartmentalize my musical attempts.  Guitar is for guitar - 60s is for singing. I dunno, I'm just weird.

Two days later was 60s graduation which was at a bar.  I tried to tuck myself into a corner, I thought it would work, since we are a huge group. Nope.
This teacher looked at me and motioned me to the front - to my own mic.
I was terrified.
It was a blast.  I had a great time.  A few of my friends and a bunch of my family came. I was nervous and self-conscious at times, but I had fun.
The next day, I asked VonSis for critique.  Not that she is a music critic, but at least she's honest.  She said that I got self-conscious at times (true) and I didn't sing out like the rest of the group.

I thought on that for a few days.

It hit me like a ton of bricks.

As long as I can remember, I've loved music.  To me, it's like breathing, it's just always there and I need it to survive. I've also been singing as long as I can remember.  This was fine, probably, when I was a toddler, belting out to Fleetwood Mac and CCR, and Heart.  It was maybe even "cute"
Then, the 80s brought the invention of my life - a walkman.  That thing was surgically attached to me from the moment I got one.  Now, I was singing, but I had headphones on, and didn't realize how loud I was. I sang all day and all night.  VonSis would come in my room and tell me to shut up.  On long car rides, the whole family would tell me to knock it off.  I kept singing, they kept shushing me. A vicious circle of singing and shushing, shushing and singing.
I developed a compromise
I kept singing, but very very quietly.  Almost mumbly. Around all other humans.  All the time.
When I was 20, I got my driver's license, and a car.  I spent hours and hours driving around and singing. Alone. In my car.

Now, here I am, nearly 40 and wanting to sing.  But my vocal muscle memory tells me to shut up, to shush, to mumble.

I'll have to relearn to sing out.  To belt (a little).  To remember that I love it, and even if I suck, the joy outweighs that.

Plus, no one thinks I suck but me.  It's that whole "listening to your own recorded voice" thing.  I hate it when I hear my recorded voice - like when I hear a voicemail I've left, or a message. Yuck.  It's the same thing with my recorded singing voice - the lyrics? correct.  the key? correct. high C for 8 measures? correct.  In tempo? correct.  I just hate it.

At least this is a flaw I am working on with determination.

Friday, May 2, 2014

A People Person

I have been working since I was 15 years old. 
My first job was at the local pizza parlor that was owned by two brothers-in-law.  O and L.
They were tough bosses, fair.  The uniform was ugh - white pants and their flimsy logo'd tshirt.  White pants?!?!? What chubby 15 year old wants to wear that? But I did.  And I answered the phones and fell in love with the pizza boy. I was always on time and always worked my shifts.
I picked up a delicious pizza there last week.  I walked in the door and L said "VON!!! How are you? How is your family?" Yep, they still love me.  They don't ever, ever want to hear that I am nearly 40, but they have a soft spot in their hearts for the chubby little blonde who worked there for two years when she was in high school.

When I was 16, I got a job at a hardware store.  I was a cashier. I was always on time, fell in love with the lumber yard dude.  I wore a gold smock with the logo on it - a big smiling beaver.  I worked a lot, was always on time.  I moved on up to the service desk.  I still had to wear the gold beaver smock, but I learned how to price out lumber and custom doors and do mathy stuff.  On my last day, three of the lumber yard guys sang "End of the Road" by boyz to men as I walked out.  They gave me flowers.  I'm still friends with a couple of people I worked there with.

When I was 19 I decided I didn't want to go to college anymore, I was going to go find a real job.  I signed up with an agency and quickly found a job working as a file clerk at an  insurance company downtown.  The big leagues!! VonParents were happy for me and bought me a lovely business casual wardrobe.  I had pretty dresses and even a trench coat.  I took the el every day and went to the Art Institute for lunch breaks. 

Right around 21, I was an asshole, and I got fired.  I was on the phone with my boyfriend and friends all day. This was stupid. I learned my lesson.  I'm still friends with one of the people I met there.

I got fired in August, so I took a month off and hung out in exbestie's pool. All day. Every day. I still lived at home and didn't really have bills, so I wasn't worried.

September I walked into another agency in answer to an ad they had placed for some job in a bank.  Instead, they hired me to work there, at  the agency.  I was 21 and placing people 10, 12 years older than me in jobs, and fixing their resumes.  We drank beer on Friday afternoons.  I'm still friends with both of the awesome women I worked with there.

When I was 22, I started to look for something else, I liked my job, and the people, but I needed more money.  I found a job at AutoParts Place really quickly. 
I was 22, and a receptionist with a 10 minuted commute. 
I LOVED that job.  I was there over 10 years, and I kept moving on up the food chain.  I went from one job to the next to the next to the next.  I went from a department of 12 to just me in Chicago and the rest of the department in Boston.  I fell in love with a warehouse dude, got engaged to him, and called off the wedding and the relationship all while I worked there.
I held out for more - money, responsibility, whatever - until I couldn't anymore.  I decided on 1/1/07 I would look for a new job.    I found one in July.  The CEO of AutoParts Place even flew out before I left, and visited me.
"So, where are you going?"
"Big Stupid Company"
"Ah. I can't talk you out of it then."
**hindsight makes me wish he had**
I am still friends with MANY of the people I worked with there.  As far as work families go, we were/are extremely tight.  We weathered business changes, great joys, horrible sadnesses, crazy people and crazy times.  I feel fuzzy warm love for several of the people I worked with there.

I loved my last job.  I did.  I learned so much from some incredibly smart people - smart women.  Women who I admire and will remember.
But, I'm not sure I'll be friends with many of them.  Not by my choosing.  I haven't seen M since December.  Lots of empty promises that we WILL see each other, but even those are getting less frequent.  There are so many people I do not miss (see yesterday's post). 
Is it because I worked with a lot of sales people? And in general, I distrust sales people? I don't know why. 

This whole post originated with the thought that I MUST have value, I MUST be a good person, or friend or something, or else why would all of these people, going back 25 years, even want to stay in touch with me?  I may have lost that direction along the way as I typed.  It became kind of a chronicle of jobs.

Whatever, it's Friday. So I can do what I want.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Looking back

Ya know, I'm getting over my last job. Finally.  Sure, I miss the people (most of them), and I miss the perks and hours and all of that.
Yes, I had it GOOD.  And I know that.  I worked my ass off, but I had four weeks of vacation, seven "summer Fridays", two personal days, a bunch of holidays, an hour lunch, an unenforced dress code.
And much, much more.

But, here's the thing.  They let ME go, and kept Lazyoldbitch?
Lazyoldbitch is 900 years old.  She'd use a steno machine if she could.  She's lazy, rude, nasty, and evil.
And, they fucking KEPT her. 

At my job before the last one, the President used to ask of his people - "What are the working hours I am getting from this person?"  That stuck with me.  I'm going to be totally honest.  When there was work to be done, at both of my last jobs, they got 95% working hours from me.  Yes, I internetted, and chatted with my bestie.  But I worked my ass off.
Even though she was forced to come in and be at work 37 hours a week, she still got out of actually working. She would waddle in the door at 7:58. Then she would stink up the bathroom for about 20 minutes. Then she'd have to chat with her buddy (who also did much less work than I did) for another 30 minutes. Then, as her people started to arrive, she'd sit at her desk and have her second breakfast of the day.  Her own people told me that they "knew better than to speak to Lazyoldbitch before 9am!!"
Um, even though her start time was somewhere between 8:00 and 8:30?
She would then shuffle some stuff around her desk, say nasty things to me, chat with her family long distance on the phone and on facebook.
Lunch time was always a treat.  She'd shovel food in her face while playing solitaire (God only knows how she got to keep that on her work computer, while everyone else's had to be removed).  She would then make sure her people weren't paying attention and would them put her feet up and read her book for another hour.
She only ever moved quickly at  the end of the day.  She even had permission to leave early every three weeks to have her nasty stringy frizzed out hair done. Um, what?  Her "working hours" were about 1.5 to 3 a day.

So, as I look back - I have stopped being sad and saying "why me?" and started getting angry and saying "why NOT HER??"

If that company thinks she has more value than I did, then it's a damn good thing I am not there any more.  She's a piece of shit. 
If karma is real, I'd love to be there when it bites her in the ass.

I'm hoping to see her again someday soon.  I just want to walk up to her and tell her she is a hateful, ugly and lazy bitch.  Then I will walk away and never give her another thought.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Brighter Days?

Thanks to my commentors for making me feel better.  I am selfish, I value the comments.  Y'all rock.

So, here it is, another week. Well, mid-week.  I think it's Wednesday?

I had an interview yesterday at a cool place for a procurement/operations coordinator position.  This is a direct hire job that I am interviewing for through the agency that does not hate fat people.  First, the office is a five minute walk from the train station (big ups!).  Second, it's in a cool old building - all exposed brick and natural light and stuff.  I met with the hiring manager who was all kinds of sweet and lovely.  She's a self-proclaimed perfectionist, well, so am I!  I also met with the VP of finance.  She was smart and quirky.  They both mentioned it is a work hard/play hard environment.  They also said they work a lot of hours.  I'm ok with that if the pay is right.
They want me to come back next week to meet with the COO, who is the hiring manager's boss.

I'm very hopeful about this one.  Not because it's all that I have right now, but because I think it would be a good fit.  People don't leave this company - their turn over is very low.

I also just turned down an opportunity to become a part of a start-up.  The main reasons I turned it down are that I don't think it's good for my mood/brainz to work from home right now.  I've been home the better part of three months, and it's messing up my head spaces.  I need human interaction. Remind me I said that next winter, as I wait for the train.....
The other reason is I'm not too keen on the instability of a start-up right now.  I need to play it safe for a bit, I think.
Nice guy, a friend of friends that I trust.  I did offer to help him write the job description, set up a time line, and pre-interview candidates for him.  I'm not sure he'll want my help with any of that, but we'll see.

I took Monday off this week, from all jobby things.  I ran errands, took a nap, watched tv.  It was so needed. I felt like a million bucks yesterday.  I was all confidence and not cocky during the interview.

So, a short updatey post this week.  I'm in a good mood. I'm going to spend this afternoon reading a book, I think.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Size blocked and other fun shit

Sorry, folks, but this blog is going to be out of order, time line wise.
Because today, I want to tell you about this week. Because FUCK what a week.

Last week, OffMgr gave me a direct lead at a placement agency.  There was a job that really sounded perfect for me.  She thought so, I thought so, one of the reps from the agency thought so.  I contacted the person who's info I was given.  Communications happened, and a meeting was set up for Monday morning.

I got all dolled up, I wore a dress that was both interview worthy and comfortable.  I did my full face makeup, all of the details.  My hair was clean and brushed and neat.  I was clean and brushed and neat.

I arrived 15 minutes early - a little too early, I admit - and gave all of the information to the front desk ladies.   I was ushered in to a small room and waited. 
My first meeting was with the contract to hire rep I had spoken to on the phone.  She was lovely and delightful.  I gave her my best sell of me, she gave me her best sell of the agency.  I felt confident I could work with this person.  Sure, she is young, but I'll give her the benefit of the doubt and make a partnership with her. 
She then asked me to remain in the room so I could meet with the direct hire rep who was repping the job that I felt would be perfect for me.  M walked into the room.  I stood up and shook her hand and sat back down.  She did a full on look me up and down twice; sized me up, literally.  She made a 'tsk' sound and pursed her lips (it was disdain, clearly). She spent about three minutes with me, had no interest in anything I had to say, and told me "We have nothing for you at this time. Thanks for coming in". 
UUUUMMMMM but you do, bitch, you totally do.
As I was walking out it hit me, hard - the looks, the sounds, the posture - She's sizeist.  She saw me, and found me un-marketable, and therefore not worth her time.  The only other possible explanation would me that most of my tattoos were visible during the meeting.  But, that is something that can be properly discussed.  If that was the issue, she should not have had a problem saying anything.

Bitch, please - I'm fat, I have six tattoos, most of them visible.  I also can run circles around you in professionalism, tact, and even your job.  Hell, I DID your job when I was 20 years old.
So, fuck you.
I'm still considering working with the contract to hire rep, but the direct hire rep is dead to me.  She could beg, maybe.

That was just Monday!!
So, I hear that Threadless is hiring, a position I can totally do, and would be great at.  I use the FB for it's intended purpose, and put out a status asking for any help with contacts there.  I know that a lot of my friends from Old Town have contacts there, so the post was mostly for them.  A kinda friend writes a comment on the post that I should email or call her, she knows people.
So, I send her an IM letting her know that any help would be greatly appreciated, and that I had already applied via the website, as per the job link's instructions.
Her response flabbergasted me.
She basically said that she would ONLY reach out to her contact if I would start seeing life as the glass half full.  She was concerned about my "negative and sad facebook posts". 
1. I went back over the last batch of posts I had made, and very very few of them were negative.
2. WTF do  you know?!! I can't glass half full, because I CAN'T EVEN AFFORD THE GLASS
Let me state, she's a stay at home mom with a master's degree.  She owns an apartment building and travels plenty.  I'm guessing she doesn't know what real money troubles are.
And to throw conditions on top of a favor? What kind of friend does that?!
Thankfully, I have other, true friends who have connections at Threadless who were more than happy
to put in a good word for me, WITHOUT ANY CONDITIONS.
I want her to spend one week, hell, one day in my life, and then she can tell me just how I "should be living".

On the ups - I did have a great meeting at another placement agency on Wednesday, and a great call with another Thursday.  I'm in a good mood today, and hopeful that this is the start of things turning around for me.

Unrelated - Tomorrow is my "gig" with my 60's Ensemble class.  We are playing 10 songs at The Hidden Cove, a local karaoke bar.  It is my shining light for the weekend.

Thanks for reading - all job leads appreciated. Unless they come with conditions as to how my personality should be.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Start at the beginning

Seems like a very good place to start.

There had been rumblings and rumors since last year about another mass layoff at the company I worked for.  The public knowledge was that the portion of the larger company I worked for was going to be spun off to its own entity some time in 2014.  This meant new CEO, new C levels in a lot of areas, and, of course, "restructuring" and the like.

I had been with this company over six years at that point, and had already survived several mass layoffs.  It became kind of an eye-roller for my family and friends when I would voice concerns that the writing was on the wall and that I may be laid off this time.  I had been saying that pretty much every year I had been there.  So, they stopped listening. (Story of my life).

For five years, I had been a rock star on the small team I worked with .  I have a $650 watch and $300 bottle of scotch to prove it; these were bonuses/perks I received for all of the awesome I had been doing.

Then, in October of 2012, things took a turn.  We were being reorganized with a similar division.  In one day, I learned that my job was pretty much eliminated.
"But don't worry Von! We are giving you to the Client Services team!"
I was sat down with my VP and the Client Services Director to have this conversation. The Director was someone who I had fought with for five years about any number of things.  Even though that was the case, I still respected her, and was (once again) happy to still have a job.  I learned an entirely new position in a few months. I cut off contact with my former boss as much as I could, because I was instructed to do so.  I adapted, and happily so. I resigned to the fact that I was a pretty-good fish in a really fast-paced smart pond.  No longer a stand out, no longer a rock star.

Things went along.  I learned how to be a part of a team that was in another state.  I received little direction and no kudos from my new boss, the Director.  I really only heard from her when I fucked up.  I was lonely, yet I made the best of it.

In December of 2013, my former boss/mentor/friend was let go.  It was an awful, terrible day.  I knew then that I should worry and start looking. BUT NO - the Director assured me that this event had no impact on ME, or my career, or anything.  Blah blah blah. 
A smarter person would have started looking then and there.  But no, I drank the koolaid, and went along with the party line that I would be fine.

Again, I adapted.  I missed Rep terribly, every day, but I kept my mouth shut and my head down, as instructed by higher ups in the office.  I tried to become friends with my team-mates.  Like I said, I was lonely.

January came, and the talk ramped up to a frenzy.  It was pretty bad.  Every day was tense. 

February 4th, 2014.
It was a Tuesday.  Large Company loves to layoff on Tuesdays.  They probably paid big bucks to some consultant to figure that one out.
Office Manager is a friend of mine, she had let me know on Monday that layoffs were going to happen the next day.  I was soooo busy, had so many projects to complete, or start, or review.  For the first time in my work life EVER I was super-confident that I was going to be safe this round.
Still, I had a queasy stomach.
It was snowing that day, badly, so OFMGR mentioned that it might not all happen in the morning due to flight delays.  Hm, good point.  I was also finally able to get out of her that our office was expecting four layoffs.
Four, I thought, that's not bad, considering we had two full floors of people.
Heard from Friend mid-morning about two of the people. Both I knew, but were sales people.  One had volunteered back in October. The other was told a little in advance, so he was not surprised.  Friend and I decided to go out to lunch, just to get some fresh air. 
We came back from lunch in under an hour.  We went in the main front door.
I noticed two things right away.  1. The lights were on in the main conference room, they had not been on before. 2. The curtains in the conference room were partially closed, they had not been before.
Friend walked ahead of me.
I looked in the conf room, curiously.  My VP of $ was sitting at the table. Alone. On his phone.
And he waved me in.
I offered to come back, he waved me to sit. STILL NOT GETTING IT.
He got off the phone.
"This is a pleasant surprise VP of $!"
"Well, Von, it's a surprise"  and he pulled a blue folder out of his bag.
I lost it.  I'm not going to lie, or try to pretend I was better than it.  I LOST IT
I don't even know what he said.  I just sat there, sobbing.  Of all of the big shots of my group. VP of $$ was someone I respected, trusted, and admired.  Here he was - ruining my life.
The first thing I said
"I thought I was doing a really good job"
This was also the second and third thing I said.
He told me more or less that it had nothing to do with performance.
He told me to apply for unemployment half a dozen times.  I don't know why that was his go-to, but it was.
He told me my last official day was 2/14, but that 2/4 would be my last day in the office. 
At some point, I told him I was not going to go postal.
I needed to speak to HR, but he could not get her on the phone at that moment.  We were both at a loss.  He asked me what I needed, and I told him that Saggie and Smether needed to not be at their desks while I packed up my stuff. (More on those two some other post/s)
He looked relieved/shocked. But at least, he could do this for me.  He removed the two bitches and the rest of their team, just to make the area completely clear.
He left the conf room to make that happen. I texted VonSis and Friend "Laid Off".
He came back and let me know the coast was clear and I could go start packing.  I got MailroomGuy to help me pack up.  MRG was/is my true friend.  My desk phone rang while I was packing. It was VonSis
"Oh my God"
"sob sob sobby sob"
"Can you pick me up?"
"Where? Downtown?"

I grabbed all of my snacks and practically ran them over to Friend's desk. I kinda threw them at her. Apparently, she had not read her text message from me.  I told her what happened, I sobbed, I left her there.
I finished packing up so fast, I couldn't risk running into the bitches.  I spoke to HR, got my instructions from her. 
I said goodbye to VP of $$. Because I am a deeply emotional person, I want to say, and I hope - that this was hard for him to do.  I don't know, even now I look for the good in all people.

Mailroom Guy went downstairs with me to wait for VonSis.  He carried my boxes and patted me on the back. VonSis and VonBrotherinLaw pulled up in minutes.  I can't imagine how fast she was going.
VonBroinLaw jumped out of the car and took all of my boxes and bags and got them in the car. I hugged MRG, and looked back at the shitty, rusty building that I was so sure I was going to be retiring from down the road.

I got in the car.  VonSis handed me a 16oz adult sippy cup of ice and Rumchata. VonbroinLaw handed me a box of kleenex and took my car keys.

Thus began the shittiest time in my life.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Well, I'm back

I'd been tossing around the idea of bringing this monster back.  Who still reads blogs? Who would read/find/care about this one?

Then, 2/4/14 happened. To me. 
I got laid off in a national news mass layoff from the place I thought I was going to retire from.

Now, I need an outlet. Somewhere to throw things, and rant and rave.  Apparently, the gainfully employed really don't give a shit about their unemployed friends.  I don't mean to offend, it's not my intent.  I'm just getting the feeling that some of my friends are tired of hearing about my troubles. 
And, if I have to hear "You'll find something way better soon! You'll see!", I might punch a bitch.


Here goes.

I've been working full time for over 20 years.  College was not my thing, and I jumped into the working world early.  I was 19 when I got my first full time job.  Each job I got after that was easy to get. When I was ready, or needed a change, I looked for a job and took whichever one best met my needs at the time.  I have never been fired, downsized, laid off until this year. 
I'm such a good worker bee that I am still friends with people from every job I have had.  Every. Single. One. 

When I finally had the stones to leave a job I loved, but was stagnating in, after 10 years, I jumped for joy when I got the job of my dreams - in advertising, for an amazing and popular major publishing company.  Sure, the industry is going in the tank, but I was confident that I was working for the first, best and likely will be the last one standing.

The older (and wiser?) I've gotten, I've learned to really appreciate what I had.  I'm single, no kids, no man, my work was what defined me.  If I was awesome at work, I was awesome.
Every night that I prayed, I thanked God for the job that I loved.  I was grateful to be there, and I asked God to let me continue to be there, or at least let me leave on my terms.  Aside from some awful, sub-human "co-workers" (to be fully explained in future posts), I was so very happy and never complained.  I had great hours, amazing benefits.  I admired my boss, respected my superiors, and genuinely cared for my team mates.  I could not have been in a better place.  My whole life was perfect.

For the first time in my working life - I was so very confident that I was safe for this round of layoffs.  I was so busy! I was so involved! I was well liked! I was totally necessary!


I will never again be cocky or feel safe, and that's a sucky way to live, but I'm just being honest.  My confidence is shattered, my mood is numb at best and super scary dark when I can't control it.
Hence, the rebirth of VFN. 

I think that every post I write will be about this current sucky phase in my life.  Because if I don't get it out of my head, I'm worried ....... well, I'll just say I'm worried.

Totally not a cry for help - my family is so close to locking me up in a padded room.  They keep an eye on me waaaay more than I think is necessary. 

I know this is a  ramble, and I do apologize.  I am pretty rusty, and hope to have better structured posts in the near future.

Thanks for reading. V