Depression is The Inability to Construct a Future.

I haven’t been in the best of moods lately. Since I’ve noticed it, I have watched how everything is impacted by these emotions. As far as I can tell, this has held me off from doing much of anything. I’ll reiterate: My bad mood has infected me so thoroughly that I don’t want to do anything, in any way. I don’t want to read, write, take pictures, eat, sit, stand, clean, mother, blog, shower… in other words, I’m pretty fucking miserably depressed. I just want to be in a single, dark place and stare moodily.

I’m pretty fucking good at that.

I really began to notice the change in mood about a week ago. I chalked it up to a lovely cased of seasonal affective disorder. Everyone, I believe, suffers from it if they live in an area that “enjoys” winters with snow. There’s just something dark and depressing about the little to no sunlight, snow, hail, and temperatures low enough to freeze the snot in your nose. There’s some fun, of course. There’s sledding, snow forts, snowball fights, snow angels and snowmen. But, the all-pervasive glum can ruin any kind of good mood. Just ask anyone who lives around here come February.

To stave off true depression, I went about rearranging my cabinets.

This should have been a very clear indication that my depression was more than just a little seasonal thing. When I begin to rearrange things in my house, it’s usually caused by feeling out of control, as though my life has been suddenly wed with chaos and no one is stopping to let me off the merry-go-round. This, in turn, makes me crazed with worry and stress, which in turn, makes me crazed with the need to rearrange my entire house. I figure it’s kind of like: I have no control over my life right now, so I’ll force some control on the items around me. It’s cyclical. It’s unbeatable. And it’s a clear fucking sign that my depression has an actual cause this time around.

A part of it is the job. It really does get to you. At first, it was because of the horror stories that I continuously heard. There’s only so much of the most horrific moments in a person’s life that they can relive before they begin to break down, which makes you break down alongside them. I’m not the only temp who has had this issue. There’s at least two other people who are having difficult times listening to the sob stories. However, now, it’s worse because the initial claims have been pretty much taken. Now, we’re getting nasty remarks from the people who filed the claims who have still not heard back from a claims adjuster. A part of that is because of how much damage there really was and another is because there isn’t enough man power to go around and mostly, it has to do with the insurance adjusters being douchenozzles. I can’t tell you how many calls I’ve had to field because an adjuster’s phone was disconnected or they don’t return phone calls or they can’t even remember who they’re talking to or they don’t show up to appointments… Yeah.

But now, I keep getting sent home early. This is part of the job. I’m a temp; it’s a call center. They have full-time employees that can handle the queues when a natural disaster or BP doesn’t fuck up. It’s part of being a temporary employee. Our contract is up with this particular company on the 30th. No big deal; a new job on the horizon and… But, nope. There aren’t any new jobs on the horizon. There is literally nothing in our area for the temps that our at this job. (Well, for the agency I work for.) All they do is administrative and office staffing. And there is nothing for the ten of us, or so, that work at this job. Let me reiterate that: AFTER THE 30th, I AM UNEMPLOYED AGAIN.

Gee, I wonder why I’m getting so fucking depressed.

I mean, I’ve been looking. I had a bite a while back from McDonald’s, but we couldn’t get our schedules to connect for an interview, so I had to beg off. Aside from that, I’ve been trying. I’ve been trying so fucking hard that, fuck it. LOOK. I FUCKING APPLIED AT MCDONALD’S. That’s where I’m at. And as of Friday, I’ll be right there yet again. What am I supposed to do in the mean time? I get to be that asshole that hopes the state will give me enough money to help me pay for rent. I can figure shit out for other bills; I will go hooking if I have to so that the bills get paid. But what do I do? What am I supposed to do now?


The Land of Claims.

I think one of the major reasons this job grates on me is the bureaucratic bullshit I’m hearing about. I get about three to four calls, a day, in which I have to listen to an irate policy holder complain to me. They almost all are usually demanding to know when an adjuster will be coming by to view the damages to their home or calling to set up an appointment to come by to see the damages to their home. From what I’m seeing and hearing, not just from these people but from other people in the center, it would appear that this particular company is sitting on their ass and busily doing nothing.

It drives me insane.

It’s not that I’m being yelled at (although that is extremely irritating) but that I can’t assist these people. They are calling me for the answers that I have absolutely no access to. All I can do is give them a telephone number (usually the one that they called to get a hold of me to yell at me) and update the information to be sent off to the main branch. I can’t give them absolution or a time limit on how long the travails will be happening to them. And usually, that’s all they’re looking for. They want to look at their shit time as being finite and I can’t tell them that.

I am really good at customer service, if I do say so myself. I know how to foster a relationship. I know how to smile even at four in the morning when I’m dog tired. I know how to troubleshoot. But, here, I can’t do that – my hands are completely tied. I can only respond with, “I don’t have that information. I apologize.” And then, give them a useless fucking telephone number that will probably bring them back to someone else in the call center.

It’s fucking maddening.

I am rapidly beginning to realize that I am a “soft touch” as Tony from The Tenth Kingdom would say about his daughter. I want to help these people with their problems. I want the good feels of a job done well. I want to be able to say, “Hey, I know this is awful right now, but it will end around this time,” and have it come true. I want to help, help, help.

And I just don’t feel that I will be able to do that here.

After work, I am just completely grateful that I survived another day.

And that, my friends, is a huge fucking problem.

Breaking Away From Modern Feminism

There I was walking through the mall and I happened upon Ambercrombie store. The big poster thing at the door was all romantic and such, featuring a girl wearing a plaid shirt and some jeans being held in the arms of a faceless man, who thankfully is indeed wearing clothing:

I thought: “Hey look! They’ve changed their advertising! Good for them! Yet I walk just a little bit farther and find another Ambercrombie store sporting this picture:

Now is it just me, or does that look a little like she’s about to, I don’t know, ravish him or something? And not in a good way.

Come to find out, they have separate stores for the men’s clothing and the women’s clothing. Why? Space issues? Or maybe they just wanted to continue this stupid campaign of naked men but on a bigger scale. A cursory look inside showed more mostly naked…

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The Interesting World of Insurance Claims.

After feeling like the largest failure for having been on unemployment long enough to actually stop receiving it, I got a phone call from the temp agency that I’ve been “employed with” for the last few months. Every time they would call me, I would be unable to do what they requested. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to because, you know, bringing in an income is really fantastic. However, they always seemed to forget that I’m a single parent and that I can’t just drop everything to run to work. I have to make provision for my son and set up things like that. And I know how competitive it is to be working for a temp agency, so I had no illusions about them “holding a spot open” while I settled my son into an unfamiliar new environment. Since TH is now out of work, I can drop everything now.

The job is… well, it’s very taxing.

I work at a claims outsourcing group call center. In effect, if you have an accident or something happens to your home, then you call me and I end up boring you with a hundred questions about where you live, your number, and the incident in question. Then, I give you a temporary claim number until a real adjuster can call you back and make everything wonderful again. The reason I’m working for is because of Hurricane Sandy. So, while I would normally just be sitting around all day and listening to people talk about car accidents or bitching about their neighbors’ children throwing a rock through their window, I now get to hear every possible scenario of horror story out of Staten Island, Long Island, the Jersey Shore, and various other hard hit areas. Most of our calls are out of New Jersey and New York.

Everyone else in the country gets to watch the news and read the newspapers to click their tongues at and feel absolute sympathy for these people. I get to do it while speaking with these people. To say that I come home completely drained is an understatement. There is no diminishing of my well of empathy or sympathy for these people and that’s why. As a friend of mine said a while back, some people are cut out for this kind of job and some people aren’t. And I am woefully not. I’m sure, over time, I’d begin to develop a clinical type of detachment to the stories. But, in reality, I just don’t see myself as that kind of person. I spent a lot of my childhood filled with clinical detachment. For whatever reason, I finally actually have some kind of sympathy for others – I’d like to keep it.