A Saturday of the blahs

Let me start by saying, I hate not having a job. Yes, I hated my last one. And because I’m logically looking at our situation, I know we will be financially ok for the next 8 months.

But I don’t feel like I’m “contributing”. I get up at 5 every morning. I take Jenny to work, go take care of the animals, run errands so Jenny doesn’t have to go anywhere when she gets off work. I do stuff around the house (laundry, dusting, vacuuming, cleaning, etc). I’ve taken care of dinner most of the nights and I take care of Louie’s extra stuff when she gets out of school.

So I do a lot. And I am getting a paycheck. No. Not unemployment. An actual paycheck. Because I had a contract with my last employer, they have to continue paying me. At least for a while.

I had my interview and I’m still looking but my pride and sense of responsibility have me feeling like I should do more.

I guess it’s the whole feeling of uncertainty. I told Jenny last night, “I don’t mind not being able to start working for a week or two, I just wish I knew where I’d be going to work at.”

I know me. I’ve worked 3 jobs before to take care of everything when Shemp was in rehab. If it comes down to it, I’ll get 2 jobs to pay the bills and give us a cushion. But I’ve promised Jenny that for now I’ll wait and see if I can get something in engineering before I do that.

Today we have to go get another vehicle. I know we can afford a car payment easier than we can afford 200 a week in gas because we only have 1 car. But again, it’s another reason I feel I should be working.

Oh, the frustration.

My big day on display.

Yesterday was my first big interview. Let me start by saying that I’m fairly confident in my abilities. I’ve been building roads and bridges for 20 years. I’ve seen the industry change and I’ve been able to embrace most of those changes.

I’ve won awards, been asked to help write specifications for materials and even taught classes to those new to this field.

That being said, yesterday threw me. I got to my appointment about 10 minutes early. I was directed to wait in their breakroom until I was called. When I got in there, 2 others were also waiting to be interviewed.

Shortly after I got there, one of the men was called back. It took another 40 minutes for me to be seen. Yes, it was a little unnerving because it felt like we were on display. Employees were coming in and out, getting snacks, eating lunch and watching “The young and the restless” on the tv in the corner. Each one would look at us and size us up.

I wondered what was going through there minds. They knew that one of the people coming through, would eventually be their boss.

An hour after I arrived, I was called back. As I walked upstairs, I stepped into the conference room to see a panel of men sitting behind a large table. There were 5. The first was a husky, blonde young engineer about 28 years old. The second was a nondescript gentleman in his early forties. Third was a man that was older. He had gray, thinning hair, looked as if he hadn’t shaved in several days and wore an expression of pure boredom. Then there was the African American gentleman. He was dressed more casually, but smiled eagerly when I came in. Last was the Hispanic man who was clean cut, looked very professional and put together and also seemed pleased to meet me.

As with most government positions, they had a list of questions already prepared for all of us to answer. They explained how the interview would be conducted and began.

The first question? “Can you define what FMLA is?” Ok. A labor law question. I knew the answer because being in a supervisor position for several years, I had to be familiar with them.

In all, only 2 questions were actual engineering questions. Most were like the first. They wanted to make sure I wasn’t going to get them sued. A few asked about my supervisory style. How I treat employees. How I’d react if I had to enforce a policy I didn’t agree with. How would I handle situations with irate citizens.

Lastly, I was asked to write a brief paragraph about the last vacation I took. This one actually made me feel a little more comfortable. I used to do a similar test to my perspective employees. Only I’d ask that they describe their first pet. The reason? I wanted (and they did too) to know if the person can effectively communicate in the written form. Can they spell? Can they get their point across?

During the course of the interview, most of my questions were answered in their questions. That made me feel a sense of relief. I didn’t have to whip out my long list and start firing off my own queries.

All in all it went well. I noticed a stack of applications, so obviously there’s a healthy amount of competition. Being “attacked” from all angles by a panel made me feel a bit intimidated but after a few minutes, I settled in and proceeded.

How did I do? I think I did well. By the end, the surly older man was smiling and heartily shook my hand.

I know I’ll hear back, because it’s policy to at least tell you that you weren’t chosen.

If I am chosen, it could still take several weeks for me to start.

Until then, I’ll continue to submit resumes. Fill out applications and search for jobs that I think I could be happy with.

Today is a big day!

Today is the big day! Yesterday was exactly one week that I’d been unemployed. When I first moved to Houston, I didn’t know anyone. Had no professional contacts and didn’t even know the city.

I was literally, starting from scratch. It took me from November to January to start work for the company I just left.

I was hired before Christmas, but wasn’t able to start until after the holidays. So, roughly 2 1/2 months.

In this economy, not such a bad deal.

This time around, I had more training and areas of responsibility to put on my resume. I’d learned to deal with irascible people without losing my cool, and I’m more familiar with the way things operate within the Houston infrastructure community.

So, I’ve submitted at least 9 resumes and filled out several applications. And Monday I got a call.

It is actually for a position I applied for before my lay off.

They wanted to interview me. So I got dressed, and headed down town with the requested documents. It went well. Well enough that they asked for a preliminary drug test and a release to run my criminal background check. I left that day feeling a little more confident about my future.

They told me that after they ran my background check, they’d let me know if the Superintendent would want to schedule an interview and I could expect to hear back by the beginning of next week.

Well, I didn’t have to wait that long. The next morning they called. “We want to conduct interviews and was wondering if you could come in on Thursday?”

Hell yes, I could.

So I got the directions, the information for the person I’d be interviewing with and asked what documents (transcripts, licenses, certifications, etc) that I’d need to bring with me.

I was on cloud nine.

Then reality sank in. Just because this reads as a “perfect position” doesn’t mean it will be. It also doesn’t mean I’ll get it.

After all, I was excited when I got my last job and it turned out to be a nightmare with a paycheck.

So, I’m going today. Eyes open, realistically prepared. Praying that I remember that what I want, and what God has planned for me don’t always match.

I’ve prepared a list of questions to ask regarding what their expectations are regarding the person they hire. How much intellectual authority would I have? What administrative duties would I be responsible for overseeing? What percentage of my time can I expect to be spent in an office and on the job site.

Yes, I know some people will probably think I’m being too critical. But the biggest lesson I learned at my last job was that it’s not always better to make a lot of money, if you’re miserable doing it.

So, say a little prayer for me. Keep your fingers crossed, or just send good vibes my way.

I’ll let everyone know if I bombed or if I dazzled!

I shouldn’t be happy. But I am.

Well, I have now been in the world of the unemployed for 3 days now.

As I was riding home on Tuesday (the truck I had was part of my employment package. When I got laid off, I had to return it) I was wondering just exactly when I would go into panic mode.

I’m not the type of person to be content just floating from day to day. I’ve had a job since I was 16 and have never left a place without a back up.

This is the first time I’ve every lost a job. I’m the one that quits. But, that was always the reason I stayed at TxDOT as long as I did. The pay sucked, but they seldom had layoffs.

I’ve gotten up every morning and dutifully looked for work. I’ve applied at 9 firms. Beefed up my resume and called contacts to see what the industry is looking like here in Houston.

I even filed with the unemployment office. That was surreal. I filed once before but was back to work before I ever got my first check. Hopefully, that’ll be the case this time.

I have noticed something that caught me completely by surprise…. I’m happy. I was always content but I am truly happy.

I used to think that I didn’t want to go to work in the mornings, mainly because it was so damned early. I’d sit on the patio with my coffee and give myself a pep talk in order to get motivated.

I still get up at the same time, because we have pigs to take care of. But I’m in a good mood.

Even Jenny commented last night that I should have, “gotten laid off months ago.”

Yes, my future career is uncertain. I have a good reputation and 20 years experience. I’m still getting a pay check for the next two months and the unemployment would last for 6 after that. So financially, we are fine. I do feel like I’m not being productive, but that’s simply my ingrained work ethic.

I don’t have to deal with someone that is hostile, verbally abusive, argumentative and just a fucker in general. So I drink my coffee with a smile, run errands without feeling overwhelmed, and I am enjoying some of the best sex that Jenny and I’ve had in a very long time!! (this is where she’ll probably be blushing)

My relationship with the people that matter most to me is so much better!!

Fingers crossed that I do find something soon and that it’s in an environment that is a whole lot more productive and professional than the last!

24 hours ago, I had no idea I’d be writing this.

Every morning on my way to work I pray. Seldom do I ask for anything. I do give thanks for my children, Jenny, a home, clothes, job, food and my health.

Here lately I’ve simply stated, “I know you’ll provide me with the opportunity I need to improve our lives when I’m ready.”. Basically, I’m talking about my job.

I haven’t made any secrets about how I feel about asshat or the way our corporate office allows him to jeopardize the company. I go to work and trudge through each day. I walk in and brace myself emotionally for a day of confrontation and unprofessionalism.

Today was the last day I will ever feel that way. Thanks to the elimination of several positions within my company, I was laid off today.

Yes, as of 3:17pm I am now unemployed.

Am I worried? I don’t know. I feel relieved. I honestly feel as though God was saying, “since you won’t get off your butt and find a better job, let’s get this ball rolling!”

I was given a generous severance package. A decent benefits package. And several letters of recommendation.

I have a good reputation in my field and with my education, experience and abilities, I know I’ll be back to work in no time.

Until then, I guess I’ll be pounding the pavement looking for gainful employment so Jenny and the kids don’t worry.

Tomorrow is a new day. And hopefully the start to a bright new future.

Fingers crossed my friends.

Just call me Mary. Typhoid Mary, that is.

Yesterday I knew that I was rapidly descending into a miserable illness. It had taken me over. So much so, that at 1:30 pm I couldn’t take it any more. I threw up my hands, clocked out and went home. My beautiful, Jenny fixed me chicken soup and gatorade, and allowed me to slip into a fever induced coma.

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Now, after reviewing my symptoms I was relieved to discover that I fall short of having all the requirements for a swine flu diagnosis. Actually, I knew way before leaving work that any type of flu wasn’t what I had.

I’ve managed to work my immune system to nothing before and actually did contract swine flu. It’ll kick your ass like you never thought possible.

This morning Jenny wakes up and apparently I have now infected her. She’s feeling pretty icky in general. I’m the type of person that likes to snuggle at night. Especially, with her. But, in retrospect, I probably should have either slept at the other house or wedged a pillow between us.

I really do feel bad. As I’ve stated before, I’m a bear when I’m sick. So last night a few things rubbed me the wrong way and I wasn’t very pleasant to be around. So, on top of being difficult to share space with, now I’ve contaminated her.

Today, I’m back at the office. I had originally planned to come in, wrap up a few reports, sign any documents that needed authorizing and head back home. Where Jenny and I could lay around in our pj’s, sipping Gatorade and tea while dozing in and out of consciousness.

Instead, I’ve been informed that my 7 hours in the office yesterday seems to have been just long enough to infect the other supervisor. So, while he is at home, wallowing in his own fever induced delirium, I’ll be at work. Again, trying to just make it until 4.

In the meantime my focus has gone from trying to not kill anyone to not infecting anyone else.

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Wish me luck. I’m sure I’ll need it. And bless you, Jenny. I’m sorry I can’t fix you chicken soup and Gatorade today.

Monday

It’s MLK day. Jenny and all the kids are home because schools are out for the holiday. But me? Well, I’m at work.

I’m not sure how I feel today, in general.

I can tell that I’m getting sick. I have a sore throat and my stomach isn’t my best friend right now. Last night I didn’t sleep very soundly, so every time Jenny moved, made a noise, or I had an odd dream, I woke up.

Today will be one of those “just tough it out until 4” kind of days.

I’m really bummed out that I feel this way, too. We had a good weekend. Jenny and I sat down to take a long hard look at our budget, and were relatively pleased with what we saw. We put a plan together and have put that plan into action.

I got my big flat screen hooked up and superbowl ready, we looked at houses and are happy to see that there are quite a few options in our price range in the neighborhood we want.

Louie met a new boy that seems nice and she seems to like him. And the other kids all seem to be in pretty good spirits.

So, outside of my feelings of ick, all is right with the world. Now if I’d only had the good sense to stay home in bed, I’d probably be in a much better mood.

The thing that makes these days hard is that everything seems to irritate me. My boss is even more abrasive than usual. I feel even more rushed to get things accomplished after work. And I don’t have a lot of sympathy or patience with anyone.

I’m a bear. I told Jenny from day one that when I’m sick, it’s best to just let me hibernate until the worst is over.

Being at work makes it hard to do that, so right now I’m trying to focus on not verbally attacking anyone for interrupting my Dayquil high.

Maybe I could keep myself preoccupied with other thoughts that don’t involve the drawing and quartering of Asshat or my techs.

So far I’ve played “Zombie Farm”, a little “words with friends”, looked online at houses, checked Facebook, and made a “to do” list for the household chores I need to catch up on this week.

All this while trying to avoid any human interactions. Can I keep it up? We’ll see. If you notice my face on the news tonight, it’ll be because I snapped. So wish me luck.