Archive for the ‘Work Skills’ Category

Facebook & A Short Update

Sunday, December 21st, 2008

My blogging time has been drastically reduced because I seem to spend all of my fun online time hanging out on Facebook these days. Man, I love that site. I’ve reconnected with quite a few people from my past – going all the way back to elementary school. This week my best friend from high school signed up, so I’m fairly certain I’ll be there more than ever now.

In other news… I’m off from work until January 5th! That’s 16 full days off in a row. I’m really excited to have a block of time to just relax and take it easy and do all the things I would do if I were a lady who lunches. Unfortunately, I’m only off because my company imposed a forced furlough for all of that time. There’s been a rash of good news/bad news the past few weeks regarding mine and Rob’s work. Witness:

Good news:
Rob got a promotion and a huge (huge!) raise

Bad news:
My company announced a forced furlough due to the downturn in business & softening economy

Good news:
I have enough vacation days to get paid for all of my time off during the furlough

Bad news:
All employees at my company are getting a temporary (3-month) pay cut effective January 12th. The amount of the cut was based on salary and the ranges were 5-15%. I fell right in the middle there.

Good news:
I still have a job and Rob’s raise makes up for what I lost.

All in all, I’m grateful for where we are standing at the end of 2008 especially relative to where we were at the end of 2007 – both of us laid off due to our company going bankrupt and closing. I am seeing a lot of heartbreaking stories concerning people losing jobs and not having money and I know we’re among the fortunate for today. I’ll take our lot and count my blessings.

Are you all ready for the holidays?? I have a few small items to get and then need to finish up wrapping. All in all, I’m in good shape and really looking forward to the big day. Merry Christmas to those who celebrate if I don’t get back here before then!

The Flu

Tuesday, November 25th, 2008

I got my first flu shot this year. Prior to getting it, I polled everyone I knew. “Should I get the flu shot? My workplace is giving them free to all employees.” With the exception of just a few, the response was overwhelming: get the shot.

Well guess what? The majority rule are a bunch of dummies. Two weeks from the day I got that shot, I came down with the flu. It’s been two weeks since I came down with the flu and I’m still recovering. It’s been a rough month.

An aggravating result of getting the flu was the setback of my physical therapy progress. My neck and shoulders are now back to the level of pain and loss of range in motion I was experiencing 6 weeks ago. It’s pretty frustrating. It’s been 3 months since my accident. I never would have thought I’d still be feeling the effects all this time later. It’s changed my quality of life without a doubt.

Anyway, this week is Thanksgiving, and I need to focus on gratitude. I do have much to be grateful for in my life and so I’ll end this post with a gratitude list – something I haven’t done nearly enough lately.

I’m grateful for:

  • the pain in my neck, shoulders, and back – for it means I’m not paralyzed
  • my physical therapist – he is great at what he does and has an engaging personality. I enjoy my visits.
  • my sponsor – she reads my lengthy emails and listens to meandering phone calls moaning about my life’s problems and responds with love and tenderness
  • the women I sponsor – they remind me on a daily basis what a gift and miracle recovery from addiction is
  • my job – it’s definitely not something anyone can take for granted in these economic times
  • Rob’s job – he went 8 long months without one, so we definitely appreciate him being employed now
  • my immediate family – I love all three of my guys so much. The boys are so funny and different from each other, and Rob is always such a loving supporter.
  • My extended family – between my parents, my siblings, my nieces & nephews, and inlaws, I’ve got a full plate that provides me with a lot of joy most of the time.
  • Facebook and the resulting rekindling of friendships from my youth
  • the Internet, TV, and books – my three main sources of entertainment
  • Music – I’m not much of a musician, but my life has always been surrounded by music in one way or another and without it – I start to wither.

I suppose I could go on for a while, but those are the things that are really present for me today. What are you grateful for?

Count Your Blessings

Tuesday, November 11th, 2008

My mom used to say this to me all the time when I was growing up. “Count your blessings. You don’t realize how fortunate you are. There are starving children in Africa.”

Of course, these sentiments fell deaf on the ears of an ignorant, indulged middle-class white American girl. I honestly thought quite the opposite was true; I had to be one of the most unfortunate people in the world, didn’t I? I mean, my parents were strict and at times physically abusive, we didn’t have a lot of spare change lying around and I had to wear non-name-brand clothing a lot (gasp!). How could anyone have possibly had it worse than me? Okay. Maybe a few people could have possibly had it worse than me. But, not many – trust me!

My, how times and perspectives have changed. Today I count my blessings on a regular basis, and I still don’t think I’m grateful enough. I do frequently question the good fortune of my life, though. How is it that I was not only lucky enough to be born in America – arguably one of the greatest nations in the world – but also, born to parents who loved me unconditionally (albeit in their twisted way at times), born in modern times where I don’t have to worry about when my next bath will be, being persecuted for being a woman, or dying from the whooping cough? I’ve also never experienced racism or bigotry directed at me to a large extent because the color of my skin is white. About the only way I could have been more blessed is if I was born a male to an affluent family. Not that I consider the opposite sex better than my own, but being a female does mean I’m a minority and there are some drawbacks associated with it.

I think about the people in other nations – the women especially – who are suffering atrocities every single day: female genital mutilation, repeated rape, forced prostitution, arranged marriage, starvation – the list goes on. I could have very easily been born to a lifetime of such horror. But I wasn’t. And I need to recognize that fact on a regular basis, lest I find myself reverting to the thought processes I had as a child.

Yesterday we were given some startling and troubling news at work. The company is looking at cutting costs in a number of ways, some of which could have a negative financial impact on some employees. I understand this sucks. The whole damn economy in the US sucks right now. We’re living in precarious and unsettling times. Yet, we still remain fortunate, in my opinion.

The news yesterday was an announcement of some upcoming changes that will definitely be happening, as well as some changes they are only thinking about implementing. The company has a policy of being open with their employees, and I appreciate that, probably more than most given my history. You see, I worked for another company for 8 years whose policies resembled nothing of openness and candor. Everything was clandestine and hush-hush. If there were going to be layoffs, you heard about them as you were being escorted out the door, and those left behind were given shoddy explanations. This is why, even though the news yesterday wasn’t great, I’m still grateful. I appreciate the advance notice and the respect given to the employees here. As an employee, it increases my loyalty and faith in the company itself.

Not everyone has the benefit of walking in each others’ shoes, though, and I’m seeing evidence of that today. There’s a lot of bitterness and complaining going around. My viewpoint seems to be in the minority. I want to preach to certain people the same way my mom did to me as a young child. “You don’t know how good you have it. Count your blessings.” I won’t do that. But, it’s a good thing I have a blog. ;-)

Now go count your blessings. (And thank a veteran!)

It’s Been A While

Sunday, February 10th, 2008

I just haven’t felt the urge to blog the past couple of months. I guess times of turmoil and drastic change bring out the isolation and hermit in me. I’d rather retreat quietly to my cave and lick my wounds to reemerge after a period of healing than to stand in public and announce my trials and struggles. Thank you all for the wonderful comments and emails of support, I really do appreciate it. I even (kinda) appreciate all the comments of support from people who are obviously just trying to get a link back to their sites.

To update those of you who I don’t communicate with outside of this blog – I started a new job this past Monday. I actually landed the job the last day of work at the other place, which made for an easier departure. I’m now working for a pretty large company that manufactures all sorts of manly things like screws and locks and hinges and the like. It’s an excellent, global company that has been around for over 100 years, providing me with a pretty deep sense of security. I now have the means to financially plan for the future with a generous 401K and retirement plan in place.

As pleased as I am with the company, though, it still sucks to start a new job. And there are blows to my ego with this position, too. I’ve taken a step down in title and responsibility, but not in pay, so that eases the blow a bit. I no longer have an office, which really, really, really sucks – however hardly anyone has an office there. The corporate culture is radically different than what I’m used to. I feel better when I meet with higher ups who have been with the company for 10+ years who don’t have an office, but the fact remains that I still miss mine very much. The other thing I have to get used to is the commute. I was traveling 3 miles to work each day previously. Today, it’s 39 miles one way. That’s quite an adjustment. I’m trying to make the best of it by listening to a combination of phone calls, good music, and compelling talk radio. I listened to my first ever Christian radio talk show the other day on FM and I just loved it. I want to try some books on tape, as well, to see how that works for me.

All in all, I know I made the right decision with this job. I had 2 other offers on the table, and I chose this one because my heart was telling me (loudly) that I needed to go there. I knew the minute I pulled up to the building the first time I went there for an interview that this was going to be the place. I couldn’t believe it because the whole time I was driving there, I was of the mindset that I’d never take this job because the commute is so long, but that I’d go there to get some more interview experience under my belt. Joke was on me, apparently.

Rob is still looking for something permanent. He’s got a couple of side jobs for right now, so we’re okay financially until spring – so hopefully in the next few weeks, he’ll land a permanent gig, too.

Now that I’ve gotten the first post (after a hiatus) over, maybe it will be easier to post here on a more consistent basis again. I guess time will tell!

Strange Days, Indeed

Saturday, December 15th, 2007

I keep meaning to get over here and post this, but the past two days have been fabulously crazy.

You all will never guess what happened on Thursday. I was sitting on my couch in my pajamas, it was already around 11:30 in the morning and I was just planning on taking it real easy my first day of being laid off when the phone rang. It was my boss. She said, “Do you want to come back and help us close this place down?” I said, “Are you kidding me???”

Apparently there was some web stuff that the owner needed done and he asked Rob why it wasn’t being done. Rob said to him, “Um, because you laid off Amy???” The owner was like, “What? No! She shouldn’t have been let go! Can you get her to come back in??” So I was mistakenly laid off early. Is that a trip or what? Which meant I had to get up and get dressed and stuff to go into work Thursday afternoon. Good times.

In the meantime, I was also working with three different recruiters as well as a couple of other prospects, one of which asked to see my portfolio. Portfolio??? Ha! I had nothing of the sort, so I had to put that together. It was hard finding a few of the things that I had worked on over the years to give screen shots. And after I completed it I realized I had at least 2 more things I could have added to it before sending. I guess the next company will get to see those, if need be.

Everything is so surreal right now. Going into the office is like walking through a ghost town with all the empty offices and cubicles – and the few remaining employees’ office contents are all boxed up, too. It’s weird to be at work and openly talking about the job search. “Did you get any calls today on your resume?” “I’ve got an interview!” “Oh, be right back, this is a recruiter calling!” Strange days, indeed.

I’ve got my first interview on Monday at 10 am. I didn’t have a suit in my size since the last time I had to wear business attire was 3 or 4 years ago and I’ve lost probably 20-30 pounds since then. Thankfully my mom’s next door neighbor is an expert seamstress and has time to alter the suit for me. I ran it over to New Jersey last night and got fitted so I won’t look completely frumpy on Monday. I haven’t been on in interview in over 8 years. I’m nervous! But, I’m also really, really, really excited. Having been in the position of interviewing lots of people for jobs over the past 5 years, I think I have a fair shot at this. But, wish me luck anyway, okay? What I really want is to have a few different jobs to choose from so I can make the best choice for me. I want these employers fighting over me, damn it! And they should. Because, well, I rock. HA!

Stay tuned.