My Exciting Life.

I very much forget that I need to unburden myself. I live so much inside of my head that I forget what it’s like to actually speak with other people about what I feel and what I think. Too often, whatever I say ends up coming back to bite me later. I may be able to think conscientiously and write in same form, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that my mouth works in the same way. I’m a fast-talking jerk a lot of times. What makes it worse is that I’ve found when I’ve been discussing things of a personal nature – ideas and thoughts, beliefs, and emotions – I’ve had this, also, thrown back in my face. That, at the core, is why I stopped writing here. Too often, I found that what I was saying was being used against me in personal battles and I realized that by publicizing what I was thinking or feeling, instead of people asking for clarification, they used it later to their own advantage.

I don’t really have anyone to talk to now. This has happened often enough to me – the personal battles being waged – that I’ve felt the need to keep a lid on everything going on at home and in my life. This is probably unhealthy. Well, there is no probably about that, really; it’s really fucking unhealthy. But even though I may have learned the lesson to keep my big fat trap shut and to keep my fingers away from my keyboard when it comes to personal items, I know that I’m going to end up exploding if I don’t actually say something. I have so much going on that I need an outlet somewhere and I can’t, in my honest opinion, trust actual people to be the receptacles of all of that.

So, I need to dust this bad boy off and go.

Considering the high amount of stress in my life, and there is a large amount, I am actually doing okay, which is kind of amazing. I really didn’t expect to be able to say that, or write it, in any context. As much as I feel like I am going to explode because of work or home, I am not depressed, I am not having suicidal ideation, and I am not at the point where I make a REALLY BAD DECISION (which is my MO). I don’t feel like I need to seek out a professional and discuss going back on Welbutrin like I did before I was fired from Greed, INC. And that is kind of amazing in and of itself because I am pretty sure that I am under more stress than I was back then. I believe most people call that a “win” and I fully categorize it as such.

I recognize, however, that the background of where I work and the type of work that I do is high stress and is not healthy. The work environment is, well, to be honest, a real fucking nadir. There is no other description there. The woman that I work for is one of those very conservative Christian Tea Party people who think that people should be grateful she willingly gave them a job at $13/hr. Considering the company is based out of one of the states with the highest cost of living, there is, in my humble opinion, nothing to be truly “grateful” for. She has used the phrases “pull yourself up from your boot straps” to discuss people on welfare and has made it her mission to, primarily, hire single mothers with children, recognizing that this category of employees means hard workers who desperately need the paycheck. She doesn’t offer health benefits (she found out it is actually cheaper for her to pay the fines since Obamacare went into effect) and has only decided to offer other benefits, such as 401K and bonuses, in the last six months. Almost like she senses that I am deeply dissatisfied and the tables are turned (she needs me; she needs me bad), I was given a bigger raise than I was expecting and a 401K… six months after my yearly review should have happened.

My largest client is a task master and their desires are completely outside what we actually do. There are a lot of high level projects, which are mostly coming to a close. This means that I may finally be able to actually work within a supervisory role, as I should have been, and be able to actually onboard with other clients instead of spending 98% of my time for a client with only 50 sites under its portfolio. (This is versus the other person who was hired around the same time as me who works with a portfolio with over 600 sites across the country who are not even nearly as needy as my one fucking “all important” client.) Since the owner of the company has recognized my dissatisfaction, she has re-written our scope of work with my largest client and I honestly hope it works to my advantage.

I strongly suspect my largest client will be back within six months, needier than ever. (They are making large mistakes and we are all waiting for the explosion.) Whatever the case may be, I know that I need to find another job.

The problem is that the things I feel that I deserve are not required in this current economy and I recognize that. I feel that I should be paid more than $30K a year, especially considering the work loads that I am willing to take on. I also feel that I should be given to paid time off that I can use to my own desire, where as my current boss feels that sick time should be used for doctor’s appointments and vacation time should be used for vacations only (pretty sure it’s illegal for her to mandate that), and have access to benefits such as health insurance, retirement packages of my own choosing, and more than 6 paid holidays a year. I guess I’m greedy. What [probably] makes me greedier is that I want to feel like the person that I work for honestly cares about my situation, honestly believes that I am a human being and not someone who greedily demands a paycheck. I want to feel as though I, me, this person that I am, is recognized based on my worth and not on what it says on my resume or what it says in my cover letter or what it says on my application.

I fully realize that what I’m asking for is probably next to impossible.

While I have been job hunting, I have had absolutely no bites. Most of the jobs that my background qualifies me for, I am unqualified for as based on what their little “qualifications” section states. More often than not, they would prefer a college degree. This irritates me since most of my jobs have been in fields that a degree is suggested but not particularly required. And just because I’m not interested in bogging myself down in massive debt to get a degree that probably really isn’t going to give me too much of a leg above others in my field seems to be my undoing here. It’s possible that I’m a little morose that out of all of the jobs I have applied for in the last three weeks, I have heard not a damn thing back.

Stress is high in our household, too. We live in a very small place and it seems to only get smaller as the years go by. My son is growing like a weed and we need to buy him a new bed – he’s rapidly outgrown the bed he’s been using since he was a baby. (It was one of those convertible things with like four settings to it.) He’s also broken the hell out of it and his legs are to the point where they dangle over the mattress. I have the money, technically, to buy him a new one but it’s the space in his room that holds me back. His room is probably best described as “half a room.” There is no closet and we’ve managed to squeeze a few things in that room, such as toys, a bed, and a destroyed dresser. If I get him a new bed, I have to also buy him a smaller bookcase, find a better way to store his toys, and get a smaller dresser as well.

And to make matters worse, I have nowhere to store things. We have a basement that is infested with rats that the landlord does nothing about. Technically, we have access to the attic that we share with whomever is living in the apartment above us (it’s vacant right now). But because of lack of storage, we’ve had to block off our attic access to make room for things. I’ve seriously considered getting a storage unit for things like Christmas decorations and Easter decorations, but I can’t even afford that [added] monthly expense.

I think, maybe, things would be less “OMFG WHAT DO” if TH had a job. He was working for his uncle’s company and then made a really bad decision about a month later. I managed to not fly off the handle because of his bad decision making skills, but what was promising to be a benefit to us – new job, new car, money – is no longer available. There are, as usual, talks about him working with his father (again), which of course will put added strain on our relationship since most of the jobs will be out Boston way and he’ll spend most of his time at his father’s.

Rock. Hard place.

Where are my choices?

I can remember that I had plans for my life. I remember when I found out that I was pregnant with my son and after the shock had warn off, I had so many beliefs about what life would be like. I never took into consideration the amount of toil that would go into what I thought life would look like. As I sit back now, six years after my son’s birth, I have to admit that what I had envisioned for myself and what is actually happening are two entirely different experiences. I haven’t quite accepted that, yet. I don’t want to end up one of those mindless drones who just toils through until I hit retirement age. But I have to admit that, with the way things are money-wise and personal-wise, it looks like that may be the case.

Maybe, though, I can toil at a job that I like for more money, though.

That still remains to be seen, though.

Interpersonal Work Relationships.

I will, quite often, remark that the reason I must have lost my job from Greed, Inc was probably due to my being a bad manager. Whether or not this is true, I’ve decided that this is the best way to look at the situation. This allots for whatever mistakes I may or may not have made (that were never pointed out to me, after the fact or prior to the fact) that could be lumped into the “why” category. But this also gives me the ability to at least assume that I really did have some responsibility for what ended up happening. I’ve since learned that this is probably not the case and chances are, I’m a decent manager. Until such a time where I can test that ability out again, I have to assume that I screwed the pooch in some arena or another and I just haven’t quite figured out where that particular “arena” is.

The reason I mention this is because it’s possible that I don’t know what quite makes a “good boss” because I, myself, was not what would be considered a “good boss.” Let’s keep that in mind as we continue…

I have a fairly decent relationship with my direct supervisor. She’s not actually a supervisor in the traditional capacity. She’s the lead on two of the largest portfolios that our consulting firm handles. She’s fairly busy a lot of the time because one portfolio has nearly 600 properties associated with it and the other, while only at 46 properties, needs a lot of hand holding. I support her on both of these portfolios, extensively, as well as have lead over my own sets of portfolios. (None of which require as much time and effort as the two she is lead over.) We talk regularly. We joke regularly. We complain about the same items on both portfolios regularly. All in all, I wouldn’t say that we were friends, per se, but I would say that we have a decent communication line between us. I have no problem telling her that my plate is too full for more items to add to it – since she turns to me first for delegating tasks – and she respects the boundaries that I set. I will admit that I don’t set as many boundaries as I probably should but, honestly, she doesn’t have many people to choose from. There are two other leads, of other portfolios, in the office and three support roles. I’m the quickest to respond when she needs something and, aside from one other person in the office, am probably the most capable for some of the stranger items that she needs me to work on.

All in all, I’m awesome.

But in all seriousness, I know what my job entails, I know how to do it, and I can do efficiently.

However, in the last week, she’s had some personal issues popping up. Frankly, I’m not going to discuss what the items are because they are numerous and convoluted. I know about her personal life because she feels like sharing, though I do not reciprocate because I’m a private person. (Not to mention, being a pagan in an Evangelical Christian’s office setting leaves me feeling that I need to keep most items private in case I misstep or misspeak and end up without a job.) I feel her pain and I commiserate with her over the issues she’s face. They are large. They are very important. And they are mentally and emotionally consuming. As I’ve mentioned to her before, she needs to get better about her spoon management when it comes to both work and personal life items. However, we are all different and how we go about working things out are entirely different from one person to another. As these personal issues have cropped up, I’ve noticed a marked difference in her personality, her habits, and her remarks concerning work.

Honestly, the job isn’t the best one to have. It pays the bills, but it takes a lot out of you most days. On days like that, you’re lucky if you can clock out ten minutes after the close of business. On days like that, you’re often day-dreaming about the really horrible things you can do to your customers and their needs because they are stupid, foolish, or a mix therein. On days like that, you are staring moodily at the clock, hoping for it to move faster so that the end of the day comes quicker. On days like that, you’re probably surfing Facebook or Tumblr to keep your mind off of how bad your day is going.

The rest of the time, you’re patting yourself on the back for a job well done.

Whatever is going on inside of her head, she’s been taking it out on everyone directly beneath her lately and it’s starting to grate on my damn nerves. At first, I was exempt from these peevish remarks. She made them in regards, mostly, to the new girl. “What does she do all day,” she’d snap at me. I’d have to explain that she was either doing side work for me or any of the other leads in the office. The girl has been there for not quite a month and is still learning. I hate to break it to my supervisor but she was pretty babied when it came to me. I came to her previously trained by someone else and I am a fast study. The two new hires haven’t been as quick studies as I was and so, it’s taking the full three months of training to get them up to snuff. Not only that, but they are all being inundated with requests from every lead in the office (of which there are four) for assistance with minor items like getting contract information, getting pricing information, and things of that nature. We all forget how time consuming that can be, but it really can take a while to get any of the carriers to give us the information we want. Sometimes, it means we have to call back 6 times before we get a rep that isn’t going to ask us stupid questions.

I think I really started getting snotty when she asked me, “Do you think she’ll ever grow up?”

The girl is young. She is very, very immature in the ways of the world. She is also very, very blonde. And I mean that in the nicest way possible, but she can be incredibly ditzy. It happens, though. We all make mistakes; that’s how you learn what you need to do. What makes all these snarky remarks about the new girl that much worse is the fact that (A) I don’t have to monitor her every movement or E-mail like I did with the other new person and (B) my supervisor is the person who made me like the new girl! When I found out how old she was and how little telecommunications experience she had, I immediately wasn’t to black ball her. But, now I have to defend her youth and inexperience to the very person who did this to me? I understand that my supervisor’s previous remarks were before she was tried and tested, but frankly, if you don’t watch her, help her, or even remotely look over her shoulder in regards to what projects she’s working on, you really shouldn’t bitch about it. And considering that the owner of the company has point-blank said to all of us that mistakes are healthy because they teach us lessons, I don’t really think getting pissy over the fact that she forgot to attach a document to an E-mail is really necessary.

Maybe I’m just feeling a little weird because I don’t see it from my supervisor’s perspective? I saw the very same things as she did when it came to the guy who entered our office. He’s really just not worth it and they should have removed him before now. However, with all of us working on HUGE PROJECTS, we need someone to do the little things like get pricing, create documents, and call for contract information. But we were both in total agreement about how he is not cut out for this job and any work besides the basics. All of a sudden, we’re at odds over a new person because she’s doing her job but making mistakes (as I did and do) during the learning process. It just smacks as… well, it sounds like a pretty shitty way to go about being a boss.

And if there are legitimate worries and issues she has with the girl, then she should probably have those discussions with the person in question instead of making snarky comments to me about it.

Today, however, I got kind of slammed into the “snark zone” with her commentary. And now, I’m kind of angry.

As a quick remark: I only work 30 hours a week instead of the 40 like everyone else. And in those 30 hours, I have to do the same amount of work as everyone else in the office. Since I am as quick and efficient as I am, I can do this. However, if you start inundating me with requests to do things before I even walk in, then things are going to slide.

I walked in this morning to an E-mail request to reach out to a site that was having computer issues. We don’t actually treat any computer related issues, but we do deal with Internet items. So, I was tasked to reach out to this site. Then, it was asked that I very carefully and personally handle a billing discrepancy for a site that has been having issues since they went from standard phone lines to a hosted phone system (voice over Internet). It took me an hour and a half, amid meeting with various people in the office to discuss the issues at hand that were a little out of my relatively new-to-hosted viewpoint, creating the documents that the site would need to understand my investigative findings, as well as working on my own projects. I had repairs to complete and check the status on today. I had my own portfolios to follow-up with, ongoing projects to work on, and billing disputes to file. I’m sorry, but I’m not going to drop my stuff to come running to fix an issue that wasn’t caused by me and I’m sorry if I don’t give a shit if some guy needs computer help.

“Have you called them yet?” She asked me about 2PM.

“I’ve been working on the billing issue you needed me to work on,” I explained. “It’s taken me a while to figure everything out to report back to the site.”

“Ugh.” And if that response wasn’t bad enough, the stomping out of the office to take her lunch, the angrily punching out, and the slamming of the door behind her was kind of an indicator that she was in a pissy mood.

Well, you know, I’m sorry that things don’t move as quickly as you want them to, but if you really wanted that dealt with before the sensitive billing issue, then you probably should have said something.

What really aggravates me about this is that she knows, clearly, how busy I am. I know she goes into my task tracking document and sees how many projects I’ve been working on. Many of the open tickets in our repair/project ticket program are mine. I update each one of those tickets at least once a day. It’s not like I’m sitting around with my fingers up my butt and singing the National Anthem off-key to myself. I am legitimately busy. I am legitimately doing things. I am legitimately stopping those things and teaching the new girl when she has a new question or needs assistance. I am legitimately doing my fucking job and if it was that fucking important then maybe speaking up was in your best interest.

And what makes this all worse is that I know this is because of her personal issues. She was fine up until last Monday when she told me about her myriad of personal issues. I know that the change in behavior is specifically related to her personal life and that drives me insane. As much as your life, at home or with your family, may absolutely suck, you still have to go to work. There is no one else who is going to pay your bills if you get suspended for bad behavior or fired because of bad behavior. You need to keep your personal things at home where they belong. It’s one thing to joke around about how you got a sunburn on a cloudy while at a craft fair and entirely another to take out shitty fucking personal things on your employees because your personal life is really shitty.

So, while it’s possible I don’t know how to be a lead and direct underlings, I have to say that not taking out your personal life on your underlings is probably top of the fucking list.

A Year in Review (Better Late Than Never).

I have been debating about this entry for a while. I haven’t really wanted to write over here, actually. I’ve been told that all I do is “complain.” Even though I have a little caveat on the side bar that clearly indicates that is the point in this entire blog, I’ve been keeping myself away even though I’ve been at near-explosive levels of irritation and rage in the last month alone. I’ve also been accused of using this blog to belittle and angst at people. Again, I have to point out that it clearly states on the side bar that if you don’t like what I have to say here then don’t fucking read it. With that, let’s talk about this passed year.

There is no other way to put it: 2012 sucked for me.

For almost the entire year, minus the month of November, I have been unemployed. Most people would assume that being unemployed would be “fun.” I’ve heard people discuss the whole unemployment thing like it was a game. “A bit of time off to get your head in order and then you find a job.” The reality is that unemployment is extremely boring and beyond terrifying. For months on end, you are endlessly hunting for something to replace the last position you had, at a similar pay rate and with similar hours, only to find that there are twenty people in line with you for the same position for the same reasons. And invariably, you don’t get the job and you’re left angry, depressed, and beyond upset at the callousness of your situation.

It may take a while but the “joy” of having some time away from work is quickly replaced with nothing but negative emotions that you have to try to constructively get rid of, otherwise you’re bound for depression town with no way out. Medication is all well and good, but to remove yourself wholly from the depression, you have to get out of the situation causing said depression. How do you do that when 7% to 9% of the entire country is in similar boats? There is, unfortunately, no quick fix for these situations, either. The government keeps going on about how they’re “fixing it,” but the reality is that most of the unemployment numbers are as low as they are because people have lost their benefits and are no longer eligible for any sort of assistance outside of state welfare programs.

I bet if anyone stopped to look at the numbers of welfare programs, state by state, we’d see the reality of the unemployment numbers. I wrote about this in October or so, in which I wrote about my frustration and angst. I was lucky, unlike a lot of people in that situation. A job opened up with the temp agency I had been “working for” since August and I was able to actually take it. For a glorious month, I knew where the money to pay my bills was coming from. But then, the unemployed thing happened all over again, only that time, I wasn’t eligible for state unemployment benefits.

What has made our situation all the more devastating is this fiscal cliff shit that has been going around and around. I watched as the unemployment aid that TH was receiving completely dried up. That’s right; for the last half of December and thus far into January, TH has not had any unemployment benefits either. In all honesty, I think unemployment for construction workers, painters, and other trades should be calibrated differently than other workers but they aren’t. So, we have been literally living entirely off of what is left in my savings account. It got us through Christmas; it got us through no state aid in health insurance, food stamps, or cash assistance. Every now and again, I think ruefully of being denied Head Start funding for my son and wonder, if things had been this dire in August, would we have gotten more help?

Throughout the entirety of 2012, I have felt very much as though a large round mill stone has been around my neck in one form or another. Aside from constantly going to interviews – success; someone wants to talk to me about my qualifications – I have had more rejection E-mails than I can count. All of that has really added up to fray up my confidence. I’m not exactly the most self-confident person in the world, so in either receiving the “thanks, but no thanks” E-mails or no responses at all… it’s added up. I’ve constantly felt as though I am completely inadequate, unable to take care of my family, and just a complete failure in every sense of the word.

What really irritates me about this whole situation is that I have only, ever, applied to jobs that I felt I was qualified for. Occasionally, on a whim, I would fill out for jobs I had no business looking into. Mostly, I’ve been looking in the customer service sector since I know that job backwards and forwards. And for the most part, I’ve been informed that since I don’t have a college education, I can’t possibly get the job. Since customer service really has no business being a college course, I’ve been at a complete low ebb, flowing from anger and irritation to depression and inadequacy.

In early December, I loss a childhood friend who was very dear to me. I’ve written of this friend before. She was “BFTX.” Since she started her path into Christianity, I’ve been waiting for the inevitable fall out that would happen between us. I am distinctly pagan, specifically polytheistic, in my practices. I’ve known that there would come a time when I would lash out or she would. I tried very diligently in giving her advice regarding her “darker moments” and I had tried very hard to maintain a friendship that was slowly falling away into a crumbling heap mess. I won’t get into the specifics, if I ever will. But, the loss of my childhood friend because of a difference in religion really hit me square, center over my heart.

I always thought that our friendship would slog through every possible hook that could be thrown our way. We past through hell, ten times over, together and we managed to come out, not whole, but at least relatively safe on the other side. We stopped talking to one another quite a few times since we started our friendship at eleven, but no matter what, we’ve always managed to pass through the sinkholes and come out all right. In this one, however, I don’t really think that could possibly happen. She’s since blocked me on Facebook after claiming to have apologized for being a bit of a jerk regarding our differences in opinions. Since the words, “I’m sorry I was a dick,” have not reached me, I don’t consider anything she has had to say on the matter properly closed.

I have yet to heal from this loss, in all honesty. It still tweaks at me in ways that I cannot convey. When it comes to soul mates, you just think, Forever and ever, but that’s not always the truth of it. There must be reasons why we are constantly searching for the soul mates. And even sometimes, it doesn’t really matter what the situations are… maybe you find them and maybe you don’t. That doesn’t mean that you’ll be with them forever. Fairy tales have passed out of this world for a reason and reality is a lot of things from happiness to pain. In this particular instance, pain is what I’m learning and what I will, hopefully, one day be able to recover from.

In the mean time.

This past year has been literally awful in so many different ways. I’ve felt, very often, misunderstood, unwelcome, disliked, and unqualified for various reasons. I have felt like a complete failure in religion, friendships, family life, and on a personal level. I have felt as though everything was going to fall down around my shoulders and without my being able to fix it. I think after time goes by and I move further away from this past year, I’ll hopefully be able to look at it more subjectively than I have in this entry. Right now, I simply can’t. There has been too much heartache and too much pain for me to look for all the good things that have happened. Good things have happened in various ways, but the overwhelming feeling of 2012 has been a complete nadir.

As everyone else in my situation has said, or people giving advice to me have said, it can only go up from here.

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?

WHY IS THIS MY LIFE.

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.

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.

The Reality of the Unemployment Situation.

I called a friend of mine up in a panic today on my way home from submitting applications and feeling true despair at the totality of my situation. She told me that I wasn’t allowed to panic. We would brain storm about things later together. And then she said to me, “Just don’t panic; you can go on Don’t Panic, but you can’t actually panic.” So, here I am.

Yesterday, I received the news that I knew was coming from the office of unemployment. I was no longer eligible for unemployment benefits and now, I have to become a “welfare bear” in the hopes that my family and I can survive the harsh reality of our situation. I cried. There’s no other words for what my reaction was. I just cried. I cried and I cried and I cried. And I can’t help but wonder how many other people are in my situation, crying their eyes out as they try to find something that allows them to survive in a country that has “no jobs” and is itching to cut the very benefits that will keep people like us alive? I can’t help but be angry at the situation – it sucks – but in reality, I feel very betrayed and disenchanted with everything this country is supposed to stand for.

We hear the politicians talk about how unemployment rates are lower than they were. All right, yes. I’m sure the rates are lower, but the only reason is because people have passed their extended benefits and are no longer eligible, whether they are employed or not. The break down isn’t discussed. You just hear this magic number (I believe it’s 7.8%) touted about and everyone pats each other on the back. “Look what we did! The unemployment rate is down!” But how many of the people who have fallen from unemployment are still looking? How many of those people are living off of state aid in an effort to stay with a roof over their heads and food on the table? I seriously doubt I’m the only person in the entire country facing this crisis.

Did you know they did away with the third tier benefit? And that’s probably the real reason why the unemployment rate is so low.

When you’re filing for unemployment or are living off of the state assistance programs, they actually make you go and take classes at your “local career center.” This is a euphemism for a dark, shadowy place of imprisonment that has absolutely no desire to help you find a job. They tell you about the classes they have and they tell you about using their computers and they update their job postings every day! These are half-truths and outright lies. For example, I have applied for the same job three times via their resource list that cut off hiring in August. In August. (I keep applying because by the time I get that low on the list, I’m drunk with typing and thinking.) Their computers need to be signed up for days in advance, but that’s no big deal. And the classes? They’re typing 101 and they’re how to write a resume 101 and all the next levels to these classes. How are they supposed to get you a job?

Why not have a class about what to wear to an interview? How about a class on proper E-mail etiquette when you’re fishing for a second interview? What about a class on how not to feel like a complete fuck up and loser while you’re going through this crisis? Why not offer counseling services for your mental and emotional well-being instead of all of these “skill set” classes? For the most part, I have to assume that they get enough students for the classes. And I have to assume that they are well received by the local and federal governments because the local career centers are still getting aid at the state and federal levels. So, obviously, this is all well and good in the eyes of politicians who don’t understand what it’s like to have to worry about where the next meal is coming from and what’s more important: gas in your car or toilet paper for your ass.

I am so angry and frustrated all the time. I hate feeling this way. I really feel very similarly to how it was just before MEH and I officially broke it off. I am angry. I am frustrated. I am hurt. I am bewildered. I am scared. And always the same advice from friends and family, “when the doors closes, a window opens.” What they forget to tell you is that you didn’t bring a flashlight, the window is probably a thousand miles down some tight corridor, and you have to find it in the pitch blackness of reality. I hate that phrase right now almost as much as I hate the phrase, “have some hope.” Have some fucking hope?

Everything is wrong and evil and stupid and I am so fucking angry. I am beyond angry. I want to hurt that company so badly. I want to stick it to them. I want their pens to dry up; their computers to be attacked by viruses; their questionable fucking practices investigated on a state level; and I want them all to suffer. I want everyone who threw me under the boss and everyone who still works there and everyone who kisses ass over there to hurt and be angry and know what it’s like to be thrown under the bus after nearly two years of committed service. I want every single one of them to know what it’s like to get interview after interview that lead to nowhere. I want every single one of those selfish twats to see me crying as I panic and worry and have anxiety attacks about how I can’t possibly raise or take care of my family.

And I hate feeling this way.

I’ve worked a very long and hard time to gain adequate control over my emotions. I’ve probably taken that control a little too far, to the point where crying actually physically hurts sometimes because I just… don’t. But I prefer to be in complete control over my emotions instead of being the insane raging beast that I used to be. I much prefer this to that, in all honesty. And the fact that I am always angry, hurt, bewildered, scared, anxious, and panicking drives me fucking insane. All of this drives me fucking insane.

The politicians who think they’re doing a good job.

The people who think they can give advice when they really don’t know the situation well enough to give me advice.

The people who offer me the same old platitudes.

The people who aren’t around to watch me suffer.

The people who did this to me.

I am so fucking insane with rage that all I want to do is shake someone or something all the time. (I suddenly understand BFMA’s intense desire to throw shoes at a door whenever she gets upset on such a better level now.) I don’t do this. I scrub the counters. I scrub the toilet and the bathtub. I do load after load of laundry. I sit down and I fill out endless applications. I sit and I fret, but I don’t shake anyone or anything. I don’t throw shoes at a door. I end up crying instead and have panic attacks.

This is the reality of unemployment, people.

Keep that in mind, too, when you vote on November 6th.

P.S. In case it’s not clear, this isn’t some random “VOTE FOR ROMNEY” ad or anything. Romney can eat a bowl of dicks. I lived in MA when he was governor and he was next to useless. His stance on things like Planned Parenthood, abortion, and his belief that his “business savvy” make him ideal of president are laughable. What I’m saying is DON’T VOTE REPUBLICAN.