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phone monkey July 23, 2007

Posted by introspectreangel in education, marriage, work.
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So, I’m employed again.

I have a limited ability to multitask, and having stress from being 1) approved for unemployment and then 2) finding out that my former employer is appealing the decision is one layer of it that I had the ability to remove, and so I have. It’s not a great job. It pays very little.  But having a job will give my days (well actually, nights in this case) a rhythm again, something that I have sorely missed, and it’s fairly low stress and I can leave the work at work. It’s something to do while I figure out what is going to happen with my marriage, and what my future educational plans will be if the relationship can be put back together, or not, as the case may be.

As far as the job itself – it is providing telephone customer service for a cellular service provider. Like I said, fairly low stress. I’ve done this kind of work before, and I rose to a trainer position very quickly. If that happens here, great, if not, well…that’s okay, too. I can be a phone monkey with the best of them.

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Well…I went to meet with an adviser this morning… July 16, 2007

Posted by introspectreangel in education.
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…at the school where I enrolled in the Health Information Management (HIM) degree program for this fall, to see if she could clean up my schedule and give me some more information about whether or not she would accept my Microbiology credit in place of General Zoology. She wouldn’t, and furthermore told me that I’m probably looking at 3 years to complete this degree instead of a year and a half, simply by virtue of the fact that classes aren’t offered every semester, and there are no HIM classes offered in the summers, period. This is obviously causing me to re-think my going back to school strategy. I mean, I could get a master’s in 3 years. Don’t know what I’d get one in, but I COULD.

So, new plan: I’m heading out to the local call center tomorrow afternoon in pursuit of a full time job. Paying the bills is paramount at this time. They will probably hire me (although as I have definitely learned by now, there are no guarantees), since I know how to dress professionally, have prior call center experience, and am willing to work nights and weekends. The pay isn’t great, but if they take me on, once I’m fully trained, it will be more than the unemployment that I am probably about to lose anyway, and it’s enough to support us. I will do this until I have more answers about what is happening with my marriage. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of sense in undertaking a 3 year degree program in the middle of all these unknowns about what the future holds.

Sorry, Eileen! I definitely buy into the idea of more education and training improving one’s life, but now just doesn’t seem to be the right time.

Plans July 14, 2007

Posted by introspectreangel in education, separation, unemployment, vocation.
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Well, here I am at all KINDS of loose ends. Unemployed. Separated from my husband. The possessor of an utterly useless college degree in hospitality management (I managed both a restaurant and the reservations department of a hotel in a major metropolitan area, and did each long enough to determine that I loathed the industry, the hours, and being responsible for others’ mistakes). Most recent job experience in social services, a field that I cannot be re-employed in because a) I don’t have a degree in social work and b) I was sacked. Believing that I have a call to the priesthood, but unable to effectively pursue it because all this chaos in my life definitely will not make me an appealing candidate to the powers that be who are in charge of these things. Living in a small town with a small 4 year state university and minimal job opportunities…at least jobs that would allow me to support myself and our son adequately. Most recently, I’ve been turned down for the youth ministry position at my parish. I serve on the vestry, wrote the job description, suggested some recruitment tactics (because this is a very, very small town and we would have to bring someone in from somewhere else). Thought about it, prayed about it, sought advice from friends and mentors, and decided to have a go at it myself, and was ultimately told that the vestry wanted to take their time and interview other candidates.

So, long story short, no job, no partner, no prospects. Very, very alone, and very, very discouraged. 2 short months ago, I had all of the above. But then I tell myself, I didn’t REALLY have a partner. Partners participate in the business of marriage, and he had checked out awhile back.

So, since I’m in somewhat of a holding pattern at the moment, I’ve decided to go back to school for a second bachelor’s degree. The husband asked me about aspirancy, and I told him that God was being funny and had yanked the carpet of stability out from under my feet, possibly in an attempt to let me know that it is obviously not going to happen on MY timetable. In the meantime, I need to earn a living, and I need to choose a growing field that will allow me to find a job no matter what or where I live. So, BS in Health Information Management, here I come. I actually worked in a hospital medical records department for over a year when we first moved to this state, and I got to know the coders pretty well and see what they do. I saw firsthand that you can go into hospital administration with this degree if you choose, but you can also make a perfectly decent living just doing coding and billing if you don’t want to manage others. It’s a highly technical degree, so it will take a bit longer than if I was going to get a second degree in another business field, but I figure that’s okay.

It really does feel like I’m starting my life completely over. Last night, I bought a futon for my living room because I didn’t bring any of the living room furniture with me, since it was purchased together. I told a friend that I was chatting with that I was pretty sure I had read somewhere that futon ownership is a requirement if you are enrolled in even one undergraduate course. I’m sure there are other requirements as well, but I’m definitely gonna draw the line at waiting tables again.

I just bought husband’s textbooks… January 6, 2007

Posted by introspectreangel in education, life.
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…for the spring semester through the bookstore link on the University website. How cool is THAT?! You order, they gather, you pick up! EVEN COOLER: he has the same textbook for two different classes. I suspect as soon as one professor figures that out, they’ll change their textbook selection. Can’t have the students actually saving money now, can we?

construction time again AGAIN, or "aren’t we there YET?" September 27, 2006

Posted by introspectreangel in chaos, education, life, work.
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Last night as I stood on the back porch of our new house, I was looking at the sunset, feeling sorry for myself as usual, and thinking once again (as I have a tendency to do) that the chaos never seems to end for us. Here’s the rundown – these numbers include both husband and myself:

Number of years married: 4

Cities lived in: 5

Number of residences lived in: 6

Number of jobs held: 7 permanent, 3 temp positions

Number of churches joined: 4

Every time we’ve moved, we’ve sworn it was going to be the last time until….but we let the “until” trail off, because we knew that the minute we tried to tie ourselves down, our old friend Change would come roaring up the driveway ready to uproot us. Here’s the thing: we’re still relatively young, and though Change has usually been unexpected, I have to say we’ve done a remarkable job adapting. A new place to live has never been difficult to find, a new church has always welcomed us with open arms, and a new job usually follows right when we need it. But it’s only recently that I’ve stepped back to take a look at the larger picture, and I’m wondering what God might be preparing me for. I DON’T believe that my life is out of my control or that I’m a pawn in a divine chess game, but I do believe there is a purpose and a plan that I can’t perceive at this moment. I know this move isn’t the last – when husband finishes his degree, we will move again if I am sent to seminary, and then again when I finish, and probably several more times in the course of my ministry. I don’t expect that we will be in the market to buy a home of our own anytime in the next, oh, let’s say 10 years or so. I have to decide if I’m really, truly at peace with that. I *think* I am – we obviously haven’t been in a rush to get our lives settled into any type of permanent situation so far, so why start now, right?

We have both spent years laboring under the notion… September 22, 2006

Posted by introspectreangel in education, marriage, unemployment.
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…that education was going to be the key to our financial success and stability, and it hasn’t worked out that way. We both put ourselves through college and had to work hard to maintain decent grades. We have not been materially rewarded, and it makes us both angry, and while we both know the other person is not the one to blame, we are each others’ closest and easiest targets. We know the right words to use with each other to cause maximum pain in minimum time. We also know it’s not healthy or productive or any of those other “therapy” words, and after the explosion of cruel words that we wish we could take back, there are always apologies and forgiveness and a moving forward. But I love him, and I love the life that we have scratched and clawed and built together out of pieces that from an outsider’s viewpoint seemingly aren’t meant to fit. Sometimes I think, “What I would GIVE to avoid these fights” but then, just as quickly, I am reminded that peace means nothing unless you have experienced pain, and so I know it is all a part of the jigsaw puzzle that we have created and will keep on creating, one puzzle piece at a time.

The unemployment claim was approved, even though the agency fought it and said that husband was terminated for misconduct and therefore not entitled to unemployment. But we provided the unemployment commission with a copy of the grievance that had been filed with husband’s side of the story laid out in full, and the ultimate decision came down in our favor – the determination said that the employer had not adequately proven that misconduct had, in fact, occurred. This was good – it means we can still pay our bills while he continues to look for work. On the less positive side, an admin who answered the phone at the grievance department for the state of Oklahoma said they didn’t receive the grievance paperwork by the deadline date, and therefore will not be setting a hearing. The packet was mailed two day priority mail two days before the deadline, but we never received the return receipt back – so we can’t prove they ever got it. I don’t accept “no” answers very well, and when I mail something return receipt and certified and priority, I’m on top of it and looking for the signature card to come back to me. But I didn’t mail it, husband did, and he wasn’t looking for anything except another job. He can’t even find the receipt that had the tracking number on it so we could maybe look online and see where it got lost. Needless to say, I’m furious.

Last night, we went to the college town about 45 minutes from where we currently live and to which we are going to be moving to look at houses to rent. We found a few prospects. We made the phone calls and are supposed to be looking at the insides this evening. I’m ready to put down a deposit and get moving, literally. Because I knew we were going to be moving so Will could go back to school, I began looking for a new job closer to the new town. I found one with quite minimal effort actually, and I am happy to say that after a process of testing and multiple interviews, they made me an offer this past Monday, which I accepted. I start on October 2, and I would like to be moved by then, but I don’t know if that is actually humanly possible.

edited 9/29/06: So guess what? The grievance DIDN’T get lost after all, because in today’s mail we received the form letter from the director of the grievance department stating that it had been accepted and forwarded on to the agency’s director of field ops for further action, action that must take place within 20 calendar days. Wheeeeee!

well, we’ve reached the end of our first income-free week… August 27, 2006

Posted by introspectreangel in education, life, unemployment.
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and i’m no less terrified than i was 7 days ago.

the unemployment claim is still pending investigation. the grievance packet is awaiting one more reference letter from a former supervisor to arrive, and then off it goes to the big bad city. the official college transcripts have arrived, so the process of applying to grad school can move forward beginning tuesday.

day care assistance was turned down because the determination is based on the income reported from the last two months…and we had plenty, then. however, the day care has agreed to work with us and only charge for the days he is there, instead of the whole week as is their normal policy. so, when there is no interview or job-search activity taking place, gabe is home with daddy…not understanding as he tries to engage daddy in play that, as much as daddy loves him, daddy draws much of his self-worth from being employed and would rather be at work than sitting on the floor playing cars.

we just got back from a weekend trip home, where we broke the news to my parents and watched their faces fall in disappointment. that might have been the hardest part, i think. the long and short of it is, we moved to this state a little over a year ago in the midst of another experience with job loss, and after a few months living with husband’s parents, we were able to get on our feet relatively quickly, which made us and everyone who loves us breathe a sigh of relief. the past year has been one of reevaluating the direction we thought our lives would take, and coming to peace with life in this rural place instead of the metropolitan area that is my home. we reached that peace, dealt with some fairly serious issues in our marriage, and focused on being loving parents. then, *BAM*! here we are again. same story, different chapter. the icy cold fingers of anxiety are slithering through my veins and squeezing my heart.

My husband was fired from his job on Friday. He i… August 20, 2006

Posted by introspectreangel in chaos, education, unemployment.
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My husband was fired from his job on Friday.

He is a social worker by profession, and the agency he worked for had (in my opinion) a ridiculously long probabtionary period of one year. As of Friday, he had been with them for 11 months and two weeks. In that time, he has had three different supervisors, two of whom sung his praises for his dedication to what is sometimes a very stressful job, and a third who is extremely…difficult…with everyone. He was called into the office of the director and handed a letter that said his employment had been terminated effective that day. Attached was a policy statement that advised that probationary and unclassified employees are generally not afforded the benefit of progressive discipline and can be let go at any time for any reason, without having to resort to the system of verbal warnings, written reprimands, and pre-termination hearings that accompany the firing of a permanent employee. When he asked the reason for the firing, he was advised that it resulted from an incident several weeks prior when his third supervisor had asked him to assist another employee after hours. He had simply asked, “why” he was being called when it was not his turn to be on call, and there was another employee who was carrying the pager for after-hours incidents such as this. The next morning, the supervisor informed him that asking “why” was insubordination. He apologized, and said that it would never happen again. Everything was ok. It was the first and only disciplinary incident he experienced.

He intends to file a formal grievance with the agency, as is his right, but I think he will lose. “Probationary and unclassified employees can be let go at any time for any reason” is pretty straightforward. However, word spread quickly in the community, and his two previous supervisors and several other professional colleagues (including a judge and the county D.A.) have offered to write letters to support his grievance. We’ll see what happens.

In any case, regardless of the outcome of the grievance process, we have decided that he will go back to school in January to pursue his master’s degree in counseling. So really, we just need to figure out a way to get through the next 4 months until we can move to the nearby town where the University is and get some financial aid.

Needless to say, I’m pretty effin’ angry.

instant mashed potatoes… September 20, 2005

Posted by introspectreangel in cooking, education.
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…are the BEST INVENTION EVER, i mean it. those wonderfully flaky flakes just poof up like you wouldn’t believe, and all it takes it a little milk and butter and hot water! crazy! i’ve been fixing instant mashed potatoes for years, but i don’t think i ever truly appreciated how wonderful they are until now. besides being convenient, they are incredibly tasty as well. they go with everything, and you can serve them with butter, cheese, or gravy. a resounding two thumbs up for instant mashed potatoes!

————————————————————————————————

i’m back to contemplating school options again. i know i want to go back, but i’m having a hard time deciding what i want to study. see, the simple fact is, i’m not brave enough to try and study anything i might be “passionate” about, nor am i ethically-challenged enough to say, “i’ll follow the money, regardless of whether or not i have any actual interest in the subject matter.” so far, i’ve applied to programs in dental hygiene, respiratory therapy, and health information management. the first is a BS program with many, many prerequisites to be accomplished before even being considered for actual “acceptance”. eh. the second is a community college associate’s degree program, supposedly designed to put you to work immediately upon graduation. the third is a BS program in what is supposedly one of the fastest growing occupations ever, according to the bureau of labor statistics. i did a quick look around on careerbuilder.com and typed in each potential job title along with the area i want to be back in. “dental hygienist” returned 4 results, “respiratory therapist” returned 26, and “HIM/medical coding” returned 25. so i think i can rule out dental hygiene.

oh, i know all this whining about school is SO LAME. if only i could be a professional student and get paid to go to school and just take classes in anything i wanted, WOW, that sounds awesome!

BUT is it as awesome as instant mashed potatoes? i’ll have to think about that one…

A BRIEF HISTORY OF MY POST-COLLEGE CAREER: 1. wo… June 8, 2005

Posted by introspectreangel in education.
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A BRIEF HISTORY OF MY POST-COLLEGE CAREER:

1. worked my ass off as an entry level manager in a restaurant – which i hated, and couldn’t help showing, and so was very politely asked to rethink whether or not i was a good fit for the company, and to their eternal relief, i decided indeed i was NOT.

2. went to work for a hotel, but not in a highly gratifying and well paid position as i had PLANNED when i selected hospitality management as a major in 1995. nope, by this time (2002) the industry was TANKING due primarily to 9/11 and corporate travel cutbacks. so, instead i was a glorified secretary, with loads of accountability and no authority. i gained great administrative skills, which are currently qualifying me to interview for $9 an hour clerical positions. if my mother was jewish, she would say, “so this you went to college for? oy vey!”

3. temped as a client service rep for a brokerage firm, but was let go along with 25 other temps when the competition began offering $7 equity trades. yikes.

4. moved to this state, where the travel/hospitality industry is nonexistent, and all the available jobs are in the medical, allied health, heavy equipment/warehouse, and construction sectors.

what’s a girl who made both a poor choice of college majors AND jobs supposed to do? go back to school, of course!

i can’t believe this, but i have hopped back on the academic merry-go-round – i just applied to the dentistry program at the state’s largest public university! they have a BS program in Dental Hygiene that i’m interested in. the coursework is actually completed through videoconferencing on the campus of the local technology center here in town, and the clinical training takes place here in the community as well.

now comes the fun part, as any of you who have attempted higher education can attest. the application has been submitted (for the fall 2006 semester, to give myself PLENTY of time to arrange financial aid) and the transcripts from all previous colleges have been requested. the next part goes like this:

-~-
dear angel,

remember that parking ticket you got in 2001 when you double parked in front of the library because all you had to do was “run inside and print out a copy of your final paper”? and the one you got from parking in the faculty lot for your night class in 1999 because you “just didn’t want to walk that far”? WE DO!!! so, we hear you want an official transcript to send to a NEW school. we will be happy to process your request. the total amount due, with penalties, comes to $2 kazillion dollars. have a nice day!

love and kisses,
the registrar’s office
-~-

heheheh.