Monthly Archives: January 2014

15 Years (And Counting)

Today is my work anniversary – 15 years. I started with this company my freshman year of college answering phones/dispatching labor for our evening cleaning crews. The hours worked out very nicely with my classes, and the office was conveniently located between my house and campus. I loved having the reliable hours (that being the prompt that got me to leave my very cushy high school job where I could do homework if there were no customers.)

It did not take long to expand my role here. Familiarity with desktop publishing (sniffle, RIP PageMaker) and fast typing skills allowed me to move away from the entry level phone job and take on bigger projects for different departments. I could also fill in for data entry projects whenever I had extra time off school. Through initial years I worked in almost every department within the company as floater labor. Sure I wish I would have taken more initiative for higher wages back then, considering how much money I saved the company through efficiency, but I was grateful for the extra hours and work experience.

Eventually I made a more permanent relocation into our sales department. Finally I had an assigned desk and phone extension (yes for years I simply had a rolling cart with supplies and snacks that I wheeled to an open desk on a daily basis.) The opportunity of severe vacancies in that department – one rep had just been terminated and another was going on maternity leave – allowed me to be able to switch bosses completely. It was heavenly. I revamped our entire filing system and took over a serious role in our marketing as the company re-branded. When the opportunity to backpack in Europe came about, my boss encouraged me to take 6 weeks off work and my job would still be waiting for me when I got back. (I am still blown away by this.)

Right around this time things fell apart in other areas of my life and a full-time job was necessary. They made a position for me and I felt like I had found a home with a company that cared and treated employees well. After a lifetime of focus on early childhood development, the dream of teaching drifted away. I loved my boss and I was happy.

The recession hit our company hard and many positions were cut. I took on more and more jobs and never felt I was making any headway.  Our parent company had been pretty hands-off for years, as we were the cash cow of their portfolio. Now with revenue and profits being slashed left and right, they came down hard on us and our employee perks were slashed as well. On top of this was being constantly told with every grumble to be thankful we still had jobs at all in such a lousy market. Employee motivation at its finest I tell you.

My beloved boss was promoted into a new role and a new employee was hired to take over our department. This person was hired by our parent company using a head hunter and we had little input in the decision making. It was a horrible fit. He did not understand the sales process for selling service (vs selling a tangible product) and he was too arrogant to learn. Slowly his incompetence became an issue and more and more of his responsibilities were parceled out to others in an effort to not tank the company. This whole time there was a power struggle going on in the positions above him, and leadership throughout the company was hard to come by.

I stayed. Maybe out of a sense of loyalty, maybe out of optimism that things would have to turn around, maybe out of laziness and not wanting to give up my freedom to come and go as I please. I was not silently suffering by any means and I cannot imagine the frustration of those around me who constantly asked why I didn’t get a different job.

Fifteen years ago I never would have guessed I would still work here. In the months leading up to this monumental date I wanted to reach it even if out of sheer stubbornness. I am good at my job and I like the opportunities available to grow here. Every time I played with my resume or scanned job postings I was gritting my teeth. Why do I have to be the one to leave when he is the one in the wrong? Well 700+ rambling words later I can say that I won. There is still a lot to figure out and make right again, but the idiot was let go, and I came into work today happy.

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That’s A New One

I have lots to discuss, but I am getting nervous about posting every day in February so a bunch of things are sitting on the back burner waiting. This was too good to hold on though. Wait, maybe good is not the right word choice. Too funny? Too ridiculous? As a certain someone is not entirely comfortable with a social media presence I’m not sure it is fair to call him out to make fun of him on my blog, but 10 seconds after I started laughing last night he asked if this was going on Twitter. At the time I was too lazy (and busy catching my breath from laughing) to get up to find my phone so here we are.

Sitting on the couch he (damn, I should probably figure out a name for him) was messing with my eyebrows just to bug me. I mentioned they were out of hand and I needed to trim them as my eyebrows can get unwieldy. (This is also why I have never jumped on the Gimme Brow bandwagon. I have PLENTY of brow.) He agreed he has similar issues and that he also trims his eyelashes. Wait, WHAAAAA? I thought at first he misspoke and meant eyebrows. No. I found a guy who TRIMS HIS EYELASHES BECAUSE HE THINKS THEY GET TOO LONG.

I would go on, but it’s unnecessary. I’m simply going leave it there as no further explanation truly explains anything.

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All The Stuff

It seems that I, uh, have a lot of stuff. It is hard for me to see this as a problem since I can get rid of things – I certainly don’t need 3 VCRs. (Though if you come for my remaining long floral skirt from 1996 I may bite. That is off limits.) I live alone in a 2 bedroom duplex with a storage room in the garage. I have space and am not living among piles of garbage or hoarding animals. If I was moving overseas or downsizing to a studio, there is a lot that would need to go.

Maybe I am too close to the trees to see the whole forest, but it has been brought to my attention several times across Twitter that my belongings could be labeled as excessive. I hold onto things. If I get a new pair of mittens, I do not toss my old, still usable pair. This is how I end up with 10 pairs of mittens. Do you know what has been the biggest kick in my ass regarding this? Seeing it through the eyes of someone new. Someone who took one look at my spare bedroom (granted at the time full of piles from cleaning out my Grandma’s condo and bags full of purchased Christmas presents) and said I had a lot of stuff. I do. I own a ridiculous number of DVDs (though contained to 1 bookcase and alphabetized), I still enjoy owning physical copies of music that I purchase at a record store, (say it with me) and beloved paper books will always be superior to my kindle. My mail is often piled up, and recycling can have a tendency to form a balancing pyramid until I stop being so lazy.

At the time of this astute observation, I had yet to see where he was coming from (3 cheers for a guy who took on the 30-minute commute for every date for weeks on end.) Despite a 3-bedroom house, owning 25+ pairs of jeans, and having a VCR in the closet, he really has minimal possessions in comparison. I also have far cheaper/warped particle board/open storage for all my media and knick-knacks, whereas he has solid wood (ahem, adult) furniture with drawers and doors further adding to the illusion of minimalism. (though certainly something to be said about easier dusting that way) What really hit me in the gut about all this is that he made a joke about calling a hoarding TV show for me when he had never seen what I do consider shameful: my garage storage.

My garage storage room is about 6×10 feet and is filled with rubbermaid bins. Most are opaque yet I can tell you what is in every single one. Holiday decorations, old towels, canning supplies, sports equipment, and electrical cords and such. Normal storage stuff. This is where the shame begins.

  • Bins with computer stuff. Like a desktop computer and 2 laptops. Non-functioning, obsolete ones. Mostly built by my brother, who died in 2009.
  • Camping/yardwork clothes, despite not camping once this summer (nor am I responsible for any yard work at my current house), I still have a bin of clothes that I don’t care about (or are quick-dry/adventure clothes from backpacking days), just in case.
  • A bin of sentimental t-shirts, with hopes of someday making a quilt (6 years and counting, no quilt has been started.)
  • College textbooks, mostly early childhood development.
  • Awesome rolling litter box for brother’s cat that hasn’t lived with me for 4 years (my old house setup needed 2 litter boxes, one was sent on with the cat, one remains, WHY? I held onto it in the beginning thinking there was a good chance the cat would end up back with me.)
  • Shower games for bridal and baby showers – seems there was a 5-year period where I feel like I did the games for showers every couple months so I have lots of supplies that feel like an investment. Clipboards and folders and such would serve a better purpose being USED somewhere else.
  • Childhood stuffed animals. I know that having them in a bin does not give them importance/love. I have parted with 3/4ths of them, but about a few special ones remain. Is this why people have children so that they can justify holding on to such things? Almost seems worth it. (or maybe every one else gets to keep these things at their parents’ houses?)

I know there is more (several bins more since I didn’t even touch on all my kitchen stuff that doesn’t fit in my kitchen) and that it is unnecessary to keep all this stuff. I think what really makes me hang my head and admit I struggle to let things go is that I moved all this stuff to this place. I have joked for years that I would fly Jen out as a lifecoach to help me if I ever had to move again. I’m not really joking. Well unless I get to live somewhere with a big enough kitchen for all my delightful tupperware and baking supplies. Then all bets are off.

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The Big Chill

First 5-day work week for me since early November and I am CRANKY. The crazy cold temperatures (polar vortex, coldest temps in 20 years, blah blah blah) are not helping at all, what with having to actually leave the house combined with the inability to leave said house with my standard/super professional wet hair. Yay for twitter friends for crowd-sourced problem solving and ideas for dry shampoo. Too bad it is too cold to go search for hair product that would save me from having to blowdry my hair in this cold, but still a win. Maybe. We’ll see. I have not had past success with dry shampoo.

Can we go back to the weekend please? I am so much happier during weekends. This weekend I got to finally see Christmas Vacation for the first time, (bonus points for after Christmas viewing?) drove past the happy barn, got to take an unexpected, snuggly afternoon nap, and was the recipient of some hilarious drunk-texting from an old friend during the shitty Packers game. All in all a pretty delightful time. Significantly better than sitting in my cubicle with cold toes, terrible network access, and fighting off menstrual cramps.  Sigh.

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Happiest of Holidays

Yes, happy holidays – encompassing Christmas AND New Year’s Eve/Day since I cannot be trusted to do timely individual updates. It was only New Year’s Day yesterday and it already feels like a long time ago. (Possibly due to yet another Badgers bowl loss, possibly due to a severe sleep deficiency.)

There were so many reasons to be blue this year (nasty cold/plague, missing my brother, typical money concerns, 1st Christmas without Grams the matriarch, etc) and instead I had a really outstanding holiday and time off from work. Family time was as sweet as I could have asked for under the conditions that exist – there was no yelling at Christmas Eve dinner, no mushrooms in the eggs Christmas morning, plus a hilarious, vulgar afternoon of Cards Against Humanity with my cousins that kept us from dwelling on those missing.  Although I don’t believe your happiness should be dependent upon another person, I have to say write, when the stars align it can be pretty flippin’ sweet.

This is a roundabout way of disclosing there is a certain someone causing a twinkle in my eye. I probably shouldn’t go into details, (jinxing and whatnot) though even if I wake from this dream it should be documented for posterity and awesomeness. Whatever side of the fence you fall when it comes to feminism, chivalry, and whatnot, it is necessary to take a pause and acknowledge with appreciation when one party takes on the majority of heavy lifting for date driving and meal paying. It is also so much MORE than that (though fancy New Year’s Eve dinners are amazing and well worth putting on stockings and heels in 5 degree weather). It is all the little things like hand holding, and coat assistance, and ice cream delivery, and buying the pulp free OJ that make a girl feel so special. Bringing over a Rice Krispies treat train kit to do together also goes a long way.

Verdict: We both need to go to train painting school.

Verdict: We both need to go to train painting school.

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