Friday, July 31, 2009

July, July

So, I guess this is the last day in July. What I thought would be a week off of work has finally turned into a month and possibly more, but I can't really complain. I spent most of this month wondering how people manage to work through their first trimester, pulling their tired ass out of bed after a long night of strange dreams, feeling as though the very minimal contents left in their stomach overnight are determined to make their way back up, and as if that wasn't hard enough, you still have to manage to get through the rest of the day without crying for pretty much no other reason than you just feel like it. How does one hide all this? How does one pretend it's not happening and live life normally?

Perhaps I would feel differently if I had a job on the line. Maybe it's having that distraction of work that would make all the difference for me. Maybe it's all in my head. Who knows?

Anyway, 31 days after being laid-off I have my first interview with a company on Monday. It's through the temp agency, of course, so I'm interviewing to be hired on as a temporary employee, but at least it's something, right? It's also a phone interview, so I don't have to worry about squeezing into the $7 dress slacks, only that I can locate the room in the house that provides the best signal to my cell phone. How embarrassing would that be to drop a call, or repeatedly ask, "What did you say?" during an interview.

July has been a long, exciting, and tiring month, and I can only hope that August will bring a little more peace into our lives. Wasn't I saying the same thing at the end of June? Sometimes it seems as though no matter where I am, the chaos always finds me.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

That Would Be "WOOT" in Gamer Talk

5 positions. She had 5 open positions to forward my resume to the employers. They all sounded like an excellent match AND they were all within 25 minutes of my house, 2 were even closer. I could be jinxing myself, or getting my hopes up for nothing, but I'm pretty sure I'll have a job soon.

Test scores came back excellent. Scored advanced placement on both Microsoft Word and Excel. Typing was 50 words per minute with 99% accuracy. Not too shabby.

The only negative thing I can take away from this morning is this: remember those fantastically cheap yet practical dress slacks I purchased earlier this month? Well, I literally had to stuff myself into them this morning, and I won't be able to do so much longer, next week may even be pushing it. I wish I could blame it all on the baby, but alas, I think Frito-Lay is the number one culprit.

Monday, July 27, 2009


Last Thursday I received an email from the staffing agency I've been working with. The email began with the premise of bad news and good news. The bad news was the job I'd been very excited for did not want to interview with me, but the good news was the agency had another position they thought I would be very interested in. The description of said position went a little something like this: Individual will drive company vehicle through eastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania to deliver packages to clients. Individual must be able to lift 40 to 50 pounds to get packages in and out of truck. Hours would be Noon - 9pm and must be able to work last minute OT and weekends if needed. The position paid 2 dollars an hour less than what I've been asking and included a 40 minute commute to the main offices.

The email came through on my Blackberry just as I was getting into my car to meet Jon for dinner. I was so dumbfounded by how someone could confuse my office/customer service background with a position like this that I couldn't remember how to start the car for the a few minutes. It almost felt like a joke. First, nonchalantly telling me that the only remotely promising opportunity they've had for me in 3 weeks was a bust, then offering me something that was the complete opposite of what I've repeatedly described to them as an acceptable position for me, and lastly, fooling themselves into thinking I would actually be interested?

I'd been doubting this particular company for a while but this was really the icing on the cake. They either weren't being honest about the opportunities they had available or they were stringing me along as some sort of experiment, waiting to see just how long I'd be dumb enough to fall for their shenanigans.

I wasn't sure how you go about firing someone when not a penny had exchanged hands either way, and believe me, it was so tempting to reply right then and there with a simple email screaming, "You're Fired!" or "I'm sorry, but you must have sent this to the wrong person. I wouldn't be interested in this position in a million years," but I bit my tongue. I spent the rest of the evening trying to decide how to handle the situation, and I finally settled on saying nothing to them for now. If they are annoyed by my silence, too bad, do I really expect them to find something for me anyway? What I did do was sign up with another staffing agency, one that specializes in placing people with my particular skills. They are obviously well known as they have been recommended to me by multiple family members and friends as well as having their name and positions plastered all over job boards with temporary positions. The kicker is that after signing up on their website I performed a job search and found a dozen positions that would work for me, as opposed to the agency I've been working with whose job searches always came back with the dreaded "No search results found."

The new company I applied to called me back today, less than 24 business hours later, sounding extremely excited to have me come in for an interview and testing tomorrow morning. The representative even eluded to having a couple of current openings, in my area, that would be a perfect fit according to the application I filled out.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed once again, but one thing I know for sure is that this is a move I should have made weeks ago, and I feel so much better now that I have.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Your Salami Stinks

I've been waiting for something better, something a little more positive to write about, instead of constantly complaining about how badly the world smells (most notably fabric softener, dog breath, and salami), how the only foods I ever want to eat are Nacho Cheese Doritos and Chicken McNuggets, and how often I want to cry simply because my husband looked at me strangely. Life is not easy right now, and that's not even taking into account the fact that I am looking for a job in a very depressing and limiting market.

On the bright side, the nausea has mostly subsided and only rears its ugly head once or twice a day when I haven't eaten enough or maybe eaten too much. I walk a very thin line with food, but as long as I don't veer too far left or right I generally have it under control. The fatigue is also letting up, which is nice, and leaves more time in the day to waste away on the time stuck that is all things internet.

Jon accused me of depending on him too much lately. He said I waste my day away watching television, using the internet, and doing anything else to space out until he can come home from work and rescue me from my own boredom. I was so incredibly insulted when he said this to me that I didn't even look at him for hours, but the truth is, he's right. I don't know what to do with myself during the day. There's only so much job searching you can do. There's only so much housework you can do, although I really could do more if my attention span would last longer than 10 minutes.

I don't know if it's the pregnancy or the depression or the anxiety or sheer boredom that has me feeling like a maniac in slow-motion, but I want it to stop. Today.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Living Nightmare

If you had told me as little as 24 hours ago that I could be in my old office building, sitting in my old cubicle, working on my old computer and doing it as soon as today, I would have laughed hysterically and then rudely spit on your favorite shoes, because I would never, in a million years, let that company take any more of me than it already has. Alas, it appears I would have been horribly mistaken as my confident demeanor would have stepped aside as soon as the last remaining sister company still residing in that building called in for my help. I buckled and I agreed to come in for only a couple of days to help get the company out of a backlog.

I honestly can't even say what made me do it. It's not the money, 2 or 3 days will hardly be worth it. It's not that I feel obligated, they sucked me dry and were now coming back to beg for more. If I had to guess, I'd say it was Jon and his convincing argument about why I needed to get out of this house, away from this computer and every job search engine known to man, before I drove myself completely insane. He also played the value card by convincing me that I must be even more valuable than we thought if a company that knew me, but I never worked for, was desperately seeking my help. He tried to get me to imagine how awesome that would sound to a prospective employer when mentioned in an interview. I, on the other hand, pointed out that it may sound great in an interview, but it's pretty useless when prospective employers don't call you back for an interview in the first place. He acted like this was hogwash and so I went to work today.

It was odd, very, very odd to be there. I'd left almost 3 weeks ago with a little skip in my step and I was perfectly prepared, even excited, to never see that building again. Yet here I was in eerily similar, but blank and alien surroundings trying to be productive while voices of co-workers past lurked in the dark, humid, and silent call center.

It was not a particularly hard day, just...odd. And you have my word that after this short, little stint I will never agree to this again. It is beyond time for me to move on with my life and I can't do it until that place is my past, not my today.

In other news, the temporary agency finally contacted me with a very promising position. It is nearly perfect in every way--close to home, temp to hire, well known and trusted company, something I'd be good at, and the pay is not too shabby. It's going to require a bit of song and dance on both my and the agency's part in order to get me in there but I'm up for the challenge and I think they're tired of trying to please me and my "impossible" job requirements. Please keep your fingers crossed as its pertinent that I find something soon, before companies can begin illegally discriminating against my soon-to-be round belly.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Do You Believe in Magic?

If you've been following my blogs for a few years now, you may remember this one in which I found out my little sister was pregnant, and I spent a good deal of it crying because it was supposed to be me, and because she wasn't ready, and because God had gotten it wrong. I wrote at the very end that God works in very mysterious ways and if I had known just how mysterious He really operates, I might not have spent the last two and a half years fretting whether or not I'd ever have children. I would have just quit my job, or done something equally life-altering and terrifying.

On July 2, 2009--two days after being laid off--I discovered I'm pregnant.

Jon and I are both ecstatic despite the circumstances. When you've been trying to have a baby for 3 years, with no luck, you can't be too picky about the surrounding dilemmas when it finally does happen. I've also spent the last 3 years calming myself with words such as, "God will let it happen when it's supposed to happen," and who I am to accuse God of getting it wrong twice? Apparently, it was supposed to happen now--I don't know why just yet--but we'll make it work somehow.

I'm only 2 months along and I've lived in constant fear of a miscarriage. I'm afraid it might permanently break me to have finally made it this far only to see it slip away due to no fault of my own. I've made drastic changes to my life, even in just the last 2 weeks, to be more accommodating for this baby, and I really hope I've done enough.

The scariest moment thus far had to have been last Saturday morning when I woke up feeling exceptionally well. I wasn't nauseous, my boobs weren't sore, my head wasn't pounding, and I wasn't starving. I woke up feeling perfectly normal--more specifically--I didn't feel pregnant. I was convinced--so convinced that I had Jon convinced--that I was going to miscarry at any moment and life would never be the same again.

I spent the next two days crying sporadically and asking God why He got his kicks from beating me while I was already down. I mean, seriously, I don't have a job anymore and I'm pregnant? Why force me to come to terms with such a frightening situation--get me excited for it even--and then take it all away at the drop of a hat? I was very, very angry with Him in case you haven't noticed. But then everything changed on Monday when my little sister and I went out to lunch together and I almost vomited in her car afterward. Suddenly I felt like my new self again. Suddenly I was overwhelmed with the feeling of pregnancy and the assurance that everything would be okay. I quickly began apologizing profusely to God.

It felt like years had passed, but Tuesday (yesterday) finally rolled around and Jon and I were off for our first prenatal appointment. I had trouble sleeping I was so anxiously awaiting the moment I could see our tiny blob on the ultrasound monitor and the flicker of the baby's little heartbeat.

The appointment lasted nearly 3 hours. We provided our family medical history, had dozens upon dozens of questions answered (and they weren't even phased by my symptoms randomly disappearing and reappearing) and finally we got to the ultrasound. When the technician zoomed-in and pointed out the tiny heartbeat I heard Jon suck in a huge breath. I realized two things at that moment: he'd been scared, really, really scared about what we would find, and he was hiding it from me/for me, and I also understood that he finally realized what was happening--it was finally official--he acknowledged that he was going to be a dad with that sharp intake of breath. It was quite possibly the most magical moment of my life thus far.

I'm 8 weeks along. 4 more weeks and my chance of miscarriage drastically declines although I'm not so afraid anymore. I'm pretty sure I know how to do this now. I'm pretty sure I know what this baby needs in order to survive: it simply needs to me to calm down, be healthy, and enjoy the marvelous ride. My due date is February 22, 2010, 6 days before my 28th birthday, which means its entirely possible I will share a birthday with my first born child. It also means Jon has finally found a birthday gift for me that is larger--oh, so much larger--than our house.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Clarity, At Last

I have to say I'm pretty impressed with myself today. My first day without a job and I've been very proactive.

I woke up early this morning to get ready for a 10:00 appointment with the staffing agency. They had quite a bit more paperwork for me to fill out, videos for me to watch, and questions for me to answer. It all went pretty well, though. I was a nervous wreck before hand, but once they gave me my test scores I realized I've been very hard on myself these last few months, feeling very incompetent and unworthy of employment, but those scores were, well, impressive. And when I asked if they recommend any tweaks or adjustments to my resume, they said it actually looked great just as it was. The whole experience was eye-opening, and I could finally see that I really do have what people are looking for, it's just unfortunate that not many people are looking right now. We'll see how it goes and what comes of it. They couldn't give me a firm time line of when something will be available, of course, but my whole reasoning behind going to a staffing agency was simply to get my foot in the door somewhere. My skills and work ethic can take me from there.

Other than crossing the t's and dotting the i's with the staffing agency, I've also started my claim for unemployment. I'm not exactly sure how it's going to work given my very generous severance package, but that's why I called it in instead of filing online so the unemployment office would be aware of my situation. And even though it was frustrating to be on the phone for over an hour, I figured this way I won't find myself in debt up to my eyeballs because they paid me too much or in prison because they think I tried to screw the system. They'll be sending me more paperwork to fill out and some specifically regarding my severance pay which is a relief to me, because it's this particular phone call that has been boggling my mind for a while now. For some reason filing for unemployment looked like a gigantic mountain lurking off in the distance and I wasn't sure if I could climb it. Once I got started though, I realized it was only a small foothill.

I've also found quite a few more jobs to apply for. I'm keeping my options open, but what I would really like to do is be an office assistant. I'm definitely open to more customer service--I'm really good at it--but I enjoy the clerical aspect of the office more. I like spreadsheets and fax machines and daily reports and keeping things tidy. I would love to do all of these things for a small, locally-owned company. These positions seem to be few and far between, but they are ideal for me.

And last but not least, I have my new pitch, so listen up all you employers: I, Kate, am a very valuable employee. So valuable that I was part of only 20% of my company that was asked to stay an extra 4 months to help close the company. I am so dedicated, competent, and good at what I do that I was 1 of only 2 non-management positions given the opportunity to continue working.

That really says a lot, doesn't it? Those 4 months were so nerve-wracking and wild that I was unable to see what staying behind said about me--as a worker, as a person--until I was finally outside of the situation.