The Struggle

Sports, seasons, semesters – everything we experience as children is finite. There is a clear beginning, middle, and end to everything we do, and it is usually strictly scheduled.

Adulthood throws that notion on its head. Setting goals like being married at 25, getting a house within 2 years, and being debt-free by 35, are overly simplistic and laughable. They are goals that are achievable for some people, but once you are out of school (be it high school or college, with or without a degree) you can’t simply advance to the next stage of life by doing everything on the syllabus.

Thus, after you strike out on your own, it is harder to set benchmarks. There is no grading system, no end of the season, and no real criteria for success. You enter the struggle of “adulting,” and when things work out, it’s just one sigh of relief that a part of the puzzle came together. After you finish your education, you are expected to work and actually live the life you’ve prepared for until you retire, and it can feel like you’ll be bushwhacking all the way to retirement, never knowing if you’re on the right path or if there is any path at all.

I always thought that I would feel this great sense of accomplishment when I got my first job that was writing-related in any form. But it was underwhelming – I knew it wouldn’t pay much and I would need an additional full-time job to survive, and then when I started, I had no sense of spiritual fulfillment of finally being somewhere I wanted to be. It was just a way to get my foot in the door to something better somewhere down the road.

I was taken aback when my brother asked me how it felt now that I had “made it.” I didn’t feel like I had achieved much of anything because it was such a small step. That’s partially why I started blogging again. I realized that I’m not going to feel any lasting sense of accomplishment from a regular 9-5 job, and I wanted to do something more while I am waiting for that opportunity to come along. Sharing my thoughts every day, connecting with others, and reminding myself of why I love to write is a new triumph that I celebrate every day.

via Daily Prompt: Triumph

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ES-CAH-PAY?

Have you ever had one of those days where life is so insanely unpredictable that even though it’s happening to you, it feels unreal and all you can think is this is really happening, isn’t it? Today was that day for me, but to fully understand the craziness, let’s rewind a bit.

Last night, I got stuck at work late because my last call turned into an escalation. The representative that talked to the customer yesterday had supposedly added an international plan to the customer’s account – she sent the e-mail notification that “the requested feature has been added to your account” and notated that she had actually added it – but when I looked in the billing system, she hadn’t actually done anything. So, I apologized for the inconvenience and added the plan for him. The customer kept saying he didn’t want to pay for the plan twice and I very bluntly told him that I was looking at his account history and no changes were made yesterday and he had nothing to worry about on that front. Then, because of course he now distrusted our e-mail notifications (which are not system generated and are generic e-mails that we send if customers want them), I texted him a confirmation from my COU phone. Even so, he escalated.

Side-note: the call center closes at 10PM, but if we have calls in queue, I have the shift that stays until the queue is closed. So, my shift “ends” at 10:15 if there is no one in queue. I think I took this call at 10:04-ish and when the queue closed all the managers who handle escalations close out of everything because they assume there is not going to be any more escalations or anything else they need to do at their desks. So, when I told my supervisor (not the one who takes escalations, usually), she told me to inform the customer that we would send feedback to the previous representative’s manager, hoping that that would appease him because everyone wanted to go home – it was my team’s Friday after all. Well, no, he was not satisfied with that.

So, an MI-60 (manager within 60 seconds is their title though usually it takes longer than that) plugs in to my call master to take the call which means I can’t leave. The guy rehashes the story and says I was great but blah blah blah I finally get out at 10:36PM. I am exhausted. I had an interview early in the morning two days in a row and was a zombie for the last few hours of the day. I start going down the stairs to get to my car and fall down half a flight of stairs. I don’t even care, I just get home. Before I go to bed, I make one of my super-rare Facebook updates and mention falling down the stairs. My aunt, who works for the same company but in a different state, texts me and asks me to call her.

So, this morning I call her. She was actually at work but we don’t get to talk often so I just spilled my guts to her and told her how much I really hate my job, etc. She tells me it is only going to get worse because last year, our company had a big merge and part of the agreement was that we could not fire employees from the merger company. Thus, there are a lot of people doing the same job and everyone on the original company’s side is getting let go because we can’t fire the other people. (My aunt works in the finance department and is in the know on these things.) She tells me that the representatives are really going to have the heat on us in the coming months because now there are just too many people and we are going to start taking over other departments. So, we go over what I should do. The Life Plan is to 1) get a different job that doesn’t stress me out so much so I can intern/volunteer on the side to get the experience that I need to do what I want because even though I have the degree, every writing/editing job wants you to be an expert on SEO or some publishing software. Anyway, we get off the phone and I feel determined to go out and do the things!

First off, I had to text someone from work to see if she could be my second witness because we totally forgot about needing to have those for the wedding ceremony. She agrees and I inform witness 1 about witness 2 (because we are all friends from work). Jason said he would schedule the appointment with the judge so I tell witnesses that I will let them know the time ASAP and get ready for another interview.

I get to the interview about half an hour early, go to 3 doors before I get to the right entrance to the building and get led into a meeting room where I am told to fill out the internal job application and fill out the pre-interview questionnaire. I am maybe 10% of the way done and had just gotten out my phone to look up a phone number for one of my previous positions when the first manager comes in to ask me questions. She tells me they have two positions available. One is ops support and you have to do hourly reports among other things and if your hourly report gets behind then the CEO of the company will get on your case. I start thinking to myself wow, the CEO actually works in the same building… that can either make or break you, and it sounds pretty dang scary. Then the interviewer tells me that the jobs can be very stressful and that she personally has started crying twice at work. Oh man, do I really want to work here? Am I just going from the furnace to the frying pan? One of the interview questions went something like this: How would you react if the CEO came up to you and started yelling, “what the —- are you doing, why isn’t that report done?”

My response: I would say that I am doing the best I can, what can I do to improve and is there any additional training that I could go through to improve my performance?

We got to talking a bit after that and there was also another position available where you would be largely unsupervised and the job is less stressful. She asked me which would I prefer. I said I thought I would prefer the less stressful job, so she brings in the manager for that position. She tells me that right now she has 7 open positions and she is looking for someone who can basically leave the building, get the drug screen done, and start working tomorrow. I told her I’m getting married tomorrow so… Monday? She congratulates me and asks what hours I’m available. Right now my schedule is Saturday through Wednesday 1:15-10:15PM. When I told her that she look flabbergasted and was like no, this is a Monday through Friday job and I actually got to pick my hours. She told me I could do 7AM-4PM or 8AM-5PM. I was shocked. She then told me she was going to send in the lady from HR who would give me directions to get the drug screen done. I said alright and went back to working on the application and questionnaire.

I was feeling pretty apprehensive before she came in, but the first thing she told me is she looks out for her own and anyone who wants to talk with one of her employees needs to talk to her first. That, plus not being on the phones, plus better hours made me think yes, I am going to risk it and take the pay cut and go for it. The CEO is here, I could really make something of myself.

The HR lady comes in and gives me the directions and tells me that for the drug screen someone actually follows you into the stall to watch you pee and would I be comfortable with that. Let me think…

No.

So, she’s like okay, when you get there, call me and I will tell them that you can do the test unobserved. Then she leaves, I finish the application and “pre-interview” questionnaire and go out to the front desk. I thought the second manager I talked to was going to come back because I still wasn’t clear on what I would actually be doing and what time I was expected to show up for training and my hourly rate was still up in the air. Nope. The receptionist calls that manager and she tells me to come in to the same place at 7 – the shift I picked – and that she will leave a note for someone to let me in on Monday because usually no one is there until 8. Ok, but, I still don’t know what I’m doing. Then the receptionist starts telling me about some of the different jobs there way more in-depth than what either of the managers told me.

I get out to my car, call the Jason, and tell him what’s up. I go get the drug screen (which was unobserved, thank goodness). I go home. I watch Sword Art Online. I text Jason if he’s going to be home soon (he had a work lunch and then actual work) to schedule the appointment. It’s right around 5. He said he’s going to be a bit so I call. Court is already closed for the day. Court closes at 4:30PM.

I’m not getting married tomorrow. With my new job hours, there is no chance of me being able to get married until I have vacation time.

As a last resort, I text another friend from work who is an online minister and can marry people. He can’t get someone to watch his son and can’t do it. Devastated, I text my witnesses that we are going to have to reschedule the wedding. I text my best friend and tell her how upset I am and how horribly depressing and awkward it is going to be to tell all the people that I work with (both at current job and the new one and all my other friends) that we couldn’t actually get married because we suck at adulting. She comforts me. I love her.

I get a text from online minister friend. He can do it for $50. I jump up and down in escalation. I can get married! I text my witnesses. One of them can’t make it now – she signed up for overtime because she thought the wedding was off. I am stunned. Again, I can’t get married. I text my bff. I tell Jason to go outside and make friends with the neighbors and make one of them be a witness. He does. We have a witness. The wedding is back on! Bff asks me how far it is from the airport to my apartment. About an hour… What time are you getting married? 11AM.

My best friend is flying in from across the country, getting a rental car, and driving here to be my second witness for my wedding.

This is real life, and I cannot even.