Hey Sunshine, I’m having a really rough time mentally right now. Started at my new store Monday morning. It’s twice as far to walk there, and it’s a tiny cramped store. Some of the other people transferred there came from a slightly bigger store, so they know how things get done around there. I’m completely lost though. Instead of pallets and forklifts, we have a conveyor belt into the basement and have to hand-bomb everything. There’s no cardboard baler, so apparently, we have to walk armloads of cardboard to the recycling a dozen times a day. Everything is different there, and I’m having a really hard time adjusting.

To top things off, the Amazingly Awesome Boyfriend brought home a tiny kitten named Sketch McCaffrey. The very solitary Bowser Kitten was very much not pleased. I’ve had to spend my days trying to follow the two of them around and force them to interact, or else Bowser Kitten just stands on counters hissing and growling at everyone. He was even mad at me!

I’ve had a lot of major changes happen in a very short amount of time, and none of them were changes I have been working towards. I still haven’t found a second job, which means I still can’t look for a house or apartment just yet. The goals I set for myself seem to be going nowhere, while the universe just keeps throwing giant steaming turds my way.

Having a hard time getting out of bed every day, and not just because my knee is so damn swollen from suddenly walking twice as far to work and going from 4 hours a week to almost 40. Been crying in the shower a lot. Not eating much. I just….. don’t know……. anymore.

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Life with an Alcoholic

As long as I don’t pick up a shift, Sundays are usually our lazy day. Yes, we can get a tonne of errands and cleaning done. But we like to sleep in, laze around a bit, and just plop down in front of the tv at the end of the night to watch so old Bar Rescue reruns.

And, there’s alcohol.

This past Sunday we had to go visit the Amazingly Awesome Boyfriend’s father, about a 45-minute drive from here. So he got up a bit earlier than me and had a few sips of whiskey and a beer for breakfast. When I hopped in the shower a little bit after noon, he was sipping on a Snapple cooler. And just before we left, he finished the last half shot of whiskey.

Then we had to stop and buy more booze.

After driving for 45 minutes, we pulled up in the driveway…….. and he pulled a cooler out of the bag in the back seat to “slam back a quick one” before heading inside. Another cooler while we sat around and chit-chatted. Then it was off to dinner. We beat his dad to the restaurant, which meant he had time to sit in the parking lot and slam back a radler. Then there was a pint with dinner.

When we got home afterwards, my shoes were barely off before he was cracking open another drink.

And this all leads to more intense discussions and fights about his drinking. Some of the fights are long, drawn-out duels of stubborn quiet and harsh looks. Others are loud and frightening, ending with me bawling my eyes out and him sleeping in the other room. And sometimes, like last night, it just takes one or two comments to set a timer in him, waiting for me to do one thing just slightly not the way he wants it so he can explode.

Last night, I heard music coming from our room after he went to bed. I poked my head in the door, expecting to find that Bowser Kitten had hopped up on my desk and turned on Spotify with the keyboard again. He seems to have a thing for Talk Talk and Violent Femmes. Instead, I found AAB laying in bed watching a video on his phone. Then, I walked away to go get ready for bed.

When I came back, AAB was in a mood. He accused me of being “uppity”, meaning I wasn’t acting the way he wanted me to so I must have some sort of attitude problem. I told him I was just trying to pull some blankets out from under me, and flipped. Grabbed his pillows and half-yelled something at me about being “uppity” when I saw him laying in our bed because I apparently didn’t want him there. Then he stormed into the other room. I had to go in there a few minutes later and tell him I was just checking to see if my computer was on, and was surprised to see him still awake. His mood did a complete 180 and he crawled back into bed with me.

And this was a pretty normal weekend for us.

I will be perfectly honest with you: life with an alcoholic is anything but easy. It’s frustrating, maddening, depressing, and makes you doubt everything you ever thought about yourself.

Between my college and university friends, my line of work, and my family and friends outside of that, I have known a startling amount of people with alcohol issues in my life. You would think that I, of all people, would know better than to get romantically involved with someone with an alcohol problem. It wasn’t even like his problem was a secret: I worked at the store he came into twice a day to buy his booze. That’s how we met.

Alcoholics are not bad people. They’re just people who are not able to control their cravings and need for alcohol, to the point that it changes their mindset and their behaviour. Many people can have issues with alcohol, get help, and go on to live very normal lives. Some people have to abstain from alcohol altogether for life, while others can have a few drinks every now and then without relapsing completely. But being with someone who is in the deepest throes of their addictions, someone who is not in control, can really take a toll on both you and your relationship. Before you get involved with someone with an alcohol problem, consider a few things that I’ve learned in the 2 1/2 years that AAB and I have been together so far.

1) They will lie to you about almost anything.

“I swear, I didn’t have anything to drink before we got to the restaurant. I just didn’t eat today, so those two drinks hit me really hard.”

“I only hit the beer store today. I didn’t stop at the liquor store because I didn’t want any hard liquor.”

“I’m not day drinking. I just had a quick drink with Harry after our shift, that’s what you can smell.”

“I’m putting money aside so we can take a vacation together this year. It’s all coming out of my former drinking money! Aren’t you proud?”

Over time, an alcoholic becomes an expert had lying and hiding things from loved one. They’ve had years, maybe decades, to practice their excuses. They’ve gotten away with things to some extent for so long that they think no one can see through their wall of bullshit. With this mindset, it takes more effort to tell the truth than to lie to someone’s face, no matter how much they love them.

No matter how supportive of them you are, they will lie to you. No matter how much they say they won’t lie to you, they will lie to you. You will reach a point where you have to question every single thing that comes out of their mouth, and question what isn’t coming out of their mouth.

2) You better like guilt trips

I’m pretty sure I hear the words “I just can’t win with you” more than “I love you” these days. AAB will tell me something that he knows will upset me, but try to frame it in a way that makes he sound like he was trying really hard to be good. When I’m still upset, he makes it sound like there is absolutely nothing he can do right in my eyes.

I’ve known alcoholics who guilt their friends and loved ones over anything. It’s a way of deflecting negativity away from them. If they can make someone else feel bad for the way they treated them, then maybe they won’t notice their addiction.

Also, AAB has made sure I can never leave him because of the ultimate guilt trip. While his drinking is still really bad, it’s better than it was before. Instead of a 60oz bottle of vodka and a few beers a day, he has a bunch of coolers and maybe a mickey of whisky. And he’s made it known that if I ever try to leave him, that’s all it will take for him to snap and go back to his old ways. He’ll wind up drunk and be living on the streets, all because I couldn’t just be supportive of his struggle and put up with his “bad habit”. He’ll be a drunk on the street and it will all be my fault.

3) You are constantly doing too much and too little for them, even if you’re doing exactly what they said they want you to do

I once knew someone who drank themselves into a ridiculous amount of debt. They maxed out credit cards and took out payday loans that they just never paid back. When they got into a relationship, they told their partner to take complete control of the finances. Together they drew up a budget, settled on an “allowance”, and even looked into starting to pay off debts.

This lasted almost 4 days.

Then the yelling started. “You’re too controlling. You’re such a nag. Why can’t you just treat me like a real man and let me live my life?” All their partner had done was do exactly what they were told to do, and apparently, that was all wrong.

I go through this with AAB quite a bit. He’ll tell me to hold him accountable for his drinking and the things he says and does while drinking. Of course, the second I actually do that I’m suddenly “uppity” and “a nag”.

These plans they make are made with good intentions. That’s as far as they’ll ever go through, usually. The second any of this interferes with their ability to drink at will, it all goes out the window. And the second you try to stick to the plan that goes against them being able to drink at will, you are the enemy.

4) When you think about everything you’ll miss out on because of your partner’s drinking, you’ll start resenting them, even if you love them. Especially if you love them.

My friend I mentioned above will never be able to buy a house with their current partner. They can never get married because that would mean legally joining their finances which would ruin his credit score because of his partner’s ignored debts. He’ll never be able to take a vacation, or buy a new car, or enjoy pretty much any of the nicer things in life that he had hoped for. Instead of joining finances towards a common goal, he has to keep a tight eye on his finances while his partner squanders away his own paychecks on booze each week.

And I’m in that same damn boat.

There were things I wanted in life that I know I will never have as long as AAB and I are together. He’s in the same drunken debt hell as my friend’s partner. Even the little things in life that I had wanted, I know I’ll never be able to have. Like I always wanted a little mini bar in my home. I had the beginnings of one when AAB and I met, and he drank his way through that. I can’t even keep booze in the house for myself without hiding it.

Speaking of that…..

5) You’ll start hiding things.

The last time I left a full, unopened bottle of my favourite whisky (which I have to go across town to find) on top of the fridge, AAB drank it and then hid the bottle behind other bottles so I wouldn’t notice it was empty. I’ve lost count of the number of bottles of liquor he’s stolen from me. He once even stole a Christmas gift I got for my dad and drank it.

Now, I have a collection of little make-up bags full of mini liquor bottles hidden in my sock and underwear drawers so he doesn’t drink them. I have my good booze hidden in my closet and my knitting bag. I have my emergency cash hidden in envelopes taped to the bottoms of drawers because he’s taken money from me. And I know I’m not the only one who does this.

I’ve known people to hide alcohol, money, prescription medications, even cold medicine from their addicted loved one.  It’s not because any of us want to hide things from them. It’s because if we don’t hide things like these, they’ll get stolen. The money would be taken for booze, booze would be drunk, cold meds are taken when booze isn’t available.

And it really sucks, knowing that you have to do this.

6) They’re probably going to get pretty damn mean

After a bit too much whisky, AAB gets mean. He flat out admits that he’ll say things to me that he knows are hurtful, just because he knows they’ll hurt me. When he’s drinking and I do even the slightest thing wrong, he’ll want to mentally and emotionally hurt me as bad as possible.

A few of my very close coworkers (my work family) know a bit about this. They’ve seen it in him, and have seen it affect me. They also know that I’m very accident prone, and have been showing up to work with random cuts and bruises since long before I met AAB. Still, Sugar has pulled me aside multiple times to make sure I know that she’s there for me if any of those injuries are from him. All it takes is one bad night for him to go from screaming to slapping someday.

And that scares the hell out of me because I’ve seen it happen way too many times.

I have nightmares about the day he finally snaps, and this seems to be a common thing among some of the people I talk to in online groups for loved ones of alcoholics. I know people who won’t leave their loved one home alone with their kids, or even their pets because they don’t know how they’ll treat them once they’ve had a few drinks. Me, I have nightmares that he finally snaps and hurts me real bad. The worst dreams are the ones where he hurts me and the tiny adorable Bowser Kitten too.

7) You’re going to worry all the damn time

A lot of the alcoholics I know drink during the day, even when they have to work. Quite a few of them drive vehicles. A bunch of them work jobs involving heavy machinery. One even worked in medical settings at one point and was responsible for distributing medication to patients. Can you imagine knowing your husband or wife is going to be half-drunk, behind the counter in a pharmacy-like setting, and their job requires incredible focus and accuracy to make sure they don’t give out the wrong meds and kill someone?

I worry when AAB gets behind the wheel of our van because I never know what he’s had to drink beforehand. I worry when he’s at work, whether he drinks there or not. I know other alcoholics work there because they were customers of mine too. I worry when he shows me pictures on his company’s website of the machines they use because there could be a drunk person on that machine right this very second while he’s working with it. Sometimes when he passes out in the afternoon on the weekends, I worry that his body is just going to give up on him after a decade of heavy abuse and he’s just going to die right there in front of me.

 

Don’t get me wrong, AAB is a great guy….. sometimes. If he wasn’t, I would’ve walked out on the first date. He’s smart, sweet, artistic, caring, and generous. But alcohol destroys all of that and leaves him a tired, cranky, mean shell of the person he was before.

I don’t know what will happen with the two of us. I have dreams of leaving him, of starting over again, but I can’t do that to him. He’s already said that would drive him to drink more. I feel like I’m trapped; like there’s no use in trying to figure out my feelings for him because I’m stuck with him no matter what.

If you’re with someone who has a drinking problem, or any addiction problem at all, know that you’re not alone. A quick Google search can pull up support groups and hotlines for your area, where you can turn to deal with how their drinking is affecting your life. And if you’re not ready to reach out like that publically, I’m always here. You guys can all reach me at TheFailedGrownUp@gmail.com anytime you need to vent, need to cry, or just need to know that you’re not alone out there.

Until next time, Sunshine.

Updates

Wow, I really forgot how much I hate having random roommates. The creepy roommate left for 8 weeks to go visit his family and came back very early this morning. I’ve been hiding out in the bedroom all morning with my homemade granola, trying to avoid him before I’m sufficiently caffeinated to deal with the world.

I have to talk to random people all day at work, where I’m awake and chipper and full of flavoured water and bubblegum. I don’t want to have to do the same thing here, not even showered, with someone who thinks that every time we pass each other in the hallway we absolutely need to have a long and awkward conversation.

I guess that’s par lately, though. I’ve kind of avoided coming on here the last few weeks because……… well, everything just sucks. And when everything sucks, my brain goes blank. I can’t even write erotic friend fiction anymore, much to the disappointment of my coworkers.

Right after Easter, our hours were cut at the store. Not just “well, guess I can learn to survive on 25 hours instead of 30 hours” cut. I mean “well, that 37 hour week was nice. What the hell am I going to do with myself when I only have 4 hours next week” slashing.

For the entire month of April, I was lucky to get scheduled for more than 4 hours a week. The boss pulled me aside, went over the scheduling and budget with me, and swore things would get at least a little better. Just not any time soon. So, I had to start looking for a second job.

Had a few interviews, got a bunch of rejections. Then I signed up with a placement agency that seemed super promising. They recruit for a place I’m dying to work for and said they always have openings there. They promised they’d send me every listing for there as it came in. That was weeks ago, and I haven’t seen anything since.

I’ve spent days going over cover letter tips because those damn things are the bane of my existence. I’ve got at least half a dozen different versions of my resume ready to tailor, and have a small collection of application packages from various local businesses. Basically, when I’m not at work I’m at home looking for work.

That doesn’t seem to matter, though. The second week of April the boss called me on one of my many days off. The transfer notices came out for our district, and I’m being transferred to our downtown location.

Now, there’s a little group of us who have worked together for years. When they built our new location, we did the move from the old one together. We’re like a little family, the five of us. So as soon as I got off the phone, I went into our online group chat to tell them the bad news. Turns out, all five of us are being separated. Four of us got transferred to different stores, with one staying behind. We have been a collective emotional wreck since that day.

This group of us is family. We’re all super protective of each other, and of the other people at our store. When the big scary customer guy came threatening me and stabbing at me with his pen, it was my work family that came to my rescue and got him out of the store.  We’ve gone to each other’s kids’ birthday parties and weddings. We’ve celebrated birthdays, anniversaries, cats, and Sundays together sitting poolside with too many drinks. MamaBear’s two sons are my favourite little gentlemen, while PapaBear’s kids are the cutest little balls of awkwardness and hyperactivity. Sugar and I (she calls me Cinnamon because of my red hair) have been leaving chocolate bars in each other’s lockers for years now. And the WorkBFF, well if I get into why she’s awesome I’m going to start crying again.

There have been a lot of tears shed, and a lot of group hugs. Our last day at this store is Saturday, and it is going to be one sloppy day. The WorkBFF and I are closing together that night, and don’t think we can make it through the shift without crying a few times. Every time we close the store together, she drops me off after work. The last few times, I’ve managed to contain my tears until I’ve gotten out of the car in my driveway.

Throughout all of this, things at home have been ridiculously strained. The Amazingly Awesome Boyfriend has been anything but amazingly awesome. I’ve caught him hiding alcohol from me a dozen times in the last weeks, and caught him shopping at other liquor stores to hide his purchases from me. He’s been back on the hard liquor with a vengeance, and his drinking is just spiralling.

We had planned on doing so much together while our roommate was gone. Instead, we spent more time sleeping in separate rooms than together because of the fights about his drinking. His drinking puts a huge strain on our relationship, and his lack of caring makes it worse.

At night, I fluctuate between two types of dreams now. In one, AAB gets drunk and angry with me. I know he would never hit me in real life, but he does in my dreams. He hits me, or pushes me, or tries to hurt Bowser. Whatever he does, I wind up getting hurt badly while he just rages on.

In the other dreams, he’s gone. I’ve left him and started over in a new apartment alone. I have a cute little bar cart, Bowser has a sibling, I have plants growing on the window sill. I’m happy. Even though I’m working all the time and super stressed in the dreams, I’m still happy to be alone.

I don’t think it’s possible to leave him, though. He’s pointed out dozens of times that regardless of how much he’s drinking, he’s still much better than he was when we met. The only thing that would ever drive him to drink like that again would be if I left him. If I left him he would drink himself out of a job, and a home, and wind up on the streets. If I leave, then that will drive him to drink even more, and it will be my fault that his life is destroyed. I can’t do that to someone, and couldn’t live with myself knowing I’m responsible for someone else’s alcoholism.

I’ve spent the last 4 weeks in a constant state of panicked haze. Nothing seems real, nothing seems safe. I’m constantly waiting for something more to go wrong. Every time I drive with AAB I panic, wondering how much he drank so far that day. I’m constantly worried that he’s going to hurt himself or someone else while he’s driving, or while he’s at work.  And he gets so mean and demanding when he drinks, too. The other night he announced that we’re getting a kitten, he’s picking it out, and the sometimes scratchy Bowser Kitten needs to get declawed because he’s a vicious beast of an animal who will kill anything smaller than him.

This was also the day after he out-catted Bowser Kitten in the Battle of the Bathroom Centipede. Bowser was too gentle with it, and it almost escaped. Oh, that vicious little beast, eh?

I’ve been trying to write more to take my mind off of everything, but nothing is coming of it. At least, nothing I can throw on here. I have dozens of half-finished pieces sitting on my desktop, and a few more scribbled in notebooks. I don’t know, maybe I need a new blog. Or multiple blogs for multiple genres. Or maybe just stop altogether.

I don’t know, my brain isn’t clear enough for rational thought anymore. I think it’s time for my lunchtime cry now.

15 Pieces Of Writing Advice From The Writers Of “Adventure Time”

15 Pieces Of Writing Advice From The Writers Of “Adventure Time” https://www.buzzfeed.com/kmallikarjuna/15-pieces-of-writing-advice-from-the-writers-of-adventure-ti?utm_term=.ny89yrJVL0#.ny89yrJVL0

Writing this from my phone, so excuse the formatting! Coukdnt decide if I wanted to watch Adventure Time or try to push through this writer’s block. Found a way to do both somehow!

Crazy Going Slowly Am I…….

Sometimes life is just one crushing blow after another, until you just wish Flanders was dead.

~Homer J Simpson

Well Sunshine, it has been a damn rollercoaster the last few weeks!

After my last post, I had a few interviews with the Company I Never Wanted to Work For, Ever. The first one over the phone went really well. I did some online tests after that, filled out a job seeker profile for them on their website, and went in for a second interview.

When the interview ends with the person shaking your hand and saying, “Well, this was fun”, you know things did not go well.

After that, I somehow managed to get in with the job agency that handles the account for the somewhere I’ve been wanting to work for years. I had a fantastic interview with them, and they emailed me some computer testing to do from home. Just to qualify to work where I want to, I needed to have a typing speed of 40wpm and be able to pass three different components of Microsoft Word and Excel testing with 80% (basic skills), 60% (intermediate), and 40% (advanced).

I spent two days reteaching myself Word and Excel beyond the basics I use almost daily. Pretty sure it paid off, though.

Test Results

The agency said it could take a little while before postings came in, and I prepared to settle in and wait. This place I want to work at would be perfect since my house is right between it and my current job. I could leave on, do a quick-change, and head off to the other when I needed to. Almost sounds too good to be true. Things were finally starting to look up for me………

So of course, everything got messed up again.

Monday afternoon the boss called. Every now and then corporate likes to transfer people to different stores in the area. Usually, my store would have maybe two people leave and two new ones come in. This time around five of us are leaving, and I’m one of them. At the end of the month, I start at the store downtown. Actually, of the five of us who are closest at the store, four of us got transferred out. And all to different locations, too.

Of my little group, my little work family, most of us had not planned to stay at that store forever. We knew at some point one of us would have to leave, or one of us would get a job somewhere else. They tore us all apart at once, though, and it’s a huge shock to us all. Phone calls were made, group chat came back to life, many tears were shed and much wine was drunk.

Oh, there was so much wine. Thank you Chili, for making such delicious and affordable liquid feelings!

Frontera Cab Sauv

This is what my feelings taste like. Delicious sadness…….

I don’t know if it was the shock of us all being pretty much ripped away from each other, hearing the sounds of my coworkers crying over the phone, or the massive amount of wine I drank after getting the news that put me over the edge. All I know is my heart is fluttery and my insides are vibrating again.

All I want to do is curl up in a ball right now and sleep. But my eyes don’t stay shut and my brain doesn’t turn off. I woke up four times last night, with the final time being almost an hour before the Amazingly Awesome Boyfriend’s alarm went off at 6:30am. I’ve been scrubbing, cleaning, job hunting, and researching for hours already, and it’s barely 10am.  Hell, I cleaned the damn oven before my first cup of coffee!

So bear with me while I try to figure out what the hell is going on with my life. I’m going to be working on job applications and cover letters for the next while. Hopefully, I can get my heart to stop pounding long enough to get a post or two out on here.

When Life Gives You Lemons……

Things around here have just been crazy lately, Sunshine.

For starters, I’m looking for another job. Yes, I know, I say this a lot. But this time I really need to find something. It seems the Men in Grey Suits (as my manager refers to them) up in our corporate office found a ground-breaking new way to save money this year. If you don’t schedule people to work, then there’s no one there to pay!

Seriously.

Hours at work are like the teenage couple who decides to have sex for the first time in that creepy old cabin everyone says is haunted: they were totally slashed. My schedule was cut from around 30-ish hours a week to just 4 hours. I can’t live on 4 hours a week. 4 hours a week doesn’t even pay the rent, let alone all my other bills and expenses. So, I’ve been pounding the pavement on the Internet SuperHighway (damn, that makes me sound like my father) and passing out applications like they’re free TidePod samples.

Of course, I still had work all last week. Saturday was my last day of our fiscal year, and my last day until this upcoming Saturday. We were already short-staffed all week, even before the new schedules started this week. We were all stressed and on-edge, trying to get everything done that we could while still supporting each other through this. Two of us hit hardest in the new schedule have been there coming up on four years, while another is a single mother with more than five years there. We spent a lot of our down time passing around job search info, volunteering to be each other’s references, and going over resumes.

Oh, and did I mention all of that fun fun fun family time over the Easter weekend? The Amazingly Awesome Boyfriend couldn’t handle it all. We went to see my parents for a Good Friday fish fry, and he had to back out of Easter Sunday dinner. He dropped me off at my parents’ place and then came home to relax and clean.

On top of all of this, I decided that while I’m stressed and my anxiety is super high from job hunting, I should tear apart our bedroom and super clean everything. It sounds good in theory, but I can only do so much when I’m constantly running to the bathroom to throw up because anxiety does weird things to my body. I can barely eat, I’m throwing up or pooping all the time, now I’m telling random people on the internet about my anxious bathroom habits, and somehow I won’t lose a pound after a week or two of this. My body is in panic mode and is holding on to every single calorie it can.

So, hopefully, I’ll have a little more time for writing in the next few weeks. I have a few things in my drafts I was working on before all of the madness started. I’ll be putting my research aside for the next little while to devote more time to find ways to pay my rent in the upcoming weeks. Who knows, I may even try my hand again at writing professionally. It’s only been like 16 years since I last got paid to write something.

The Little Annoyances When Applying for Jobs

The last few days have been killer. I slept so much last night, but I’m still exhausted.

My shoulder and neck are somewhat healed from last weekend. I’m not on the pain meds anymore and only took the muscle relaxers twice. I’m still really sore though, and that makes my head a little foggy.

Some of my favourite co-workers and I had to go to our First Aid and CPR training this week. The bosses kept checking on me before I went, just to make sure my shoulder wasn’t going to be an issue during the CPR training. I’m more sore from sitting on uncomfortable folding chairs all day and watching slideshows than anything else.  When you’re recovering from a pinched nerve, the last thing you want to do is sit in a folding chair staring at a screen for 8 hours!

I also took my entire one day off this week to do all the cleaning around here, play a little Zeus on the computer, and get a little writing done. Started my first real knitting project too. I’m making squares, which will be sewn together to make a blanket.

And on top of all that, I had to do THE job application. This was the application for the job that I’m actually qualified for, that I would be fantastic at, that would pay me enough to not live in a house with a bunch of random people, and I could afford to buy a bed that is big enough for me to sleep in without contorting my body in awkward positions. This was the job I had been lying awake at night wishing for, and then dreaming about once I fell asleep. This was the job that would finally let me better myself so that I could provide for my fur-child, the ever-snuggly Bowser Kitten, properly and shower him with treats and cat trees.

This was also the job that came with a 42-page guide on how to write out the cover letter and resume properly.

I spent three days working on this application. I had to go over every single sentence and make sure it was worded the exact way the guide said to word it. I had to find the perfect balance between showing the responsibilities and tasks I had at previous jobs, and really playing up the things I’ve done that are exactly what this job requires. I had to find a way to show that taking extra online courses in our training modules at work proved that I could keep up with the responsibilities of keeping up with the ever-changing laws and how they apply, even though I was just learning the difference between a Merlot and a Cabernet Sauvignon.

I was working on other applications during this too. I’d work on stuff for an hour, and then run off to the other room to vacuum or mop or anything but type. I submitted a handful of other applications, made two different types of marshmallow cereal bars, took a few naps (thanks to the muscle relaxers I was on, no doubt), and washed the walls. I tried switching between the main application and the other ones I was working on, but I just kept getting more and more stressed out and frustrated.

I mean, there was a 42-page guideline!

This application had to be both a cover letter and a resume with a combined total page length of five pages. Quite a few pages covered the basics, but there was still so much detail that needed to be put into this thing! It was absolutely maddening!

And of course, throughout the whole process, there were the regular little annoyances that come up when you’re applying for jobs. What are those annoyances, you ask?

1. Please attach your resume. Now, please fill in all the info from your resume. 

You see an ad for a job, click the little link at the bottom, and head over to the website for HR. You go through the ad, tailor your resume a bit, fill in your basic information in the application form, and then get to the bottom of the screen. Some companies have you ad your resume as an attachment. Some have a little box where you can copy and paste your resume. Either way, you ad your resume and figure you’re all done.

Oh hell no!

For some reason, even though they’re sitting there on your resume, now you have to fill out like six different forms with all the information that’s already on your resume! You wind up spending close to an hour filling in your job history, volunteer experience, education, maybe even a few references.

And do you know where they could find all that information? Your resume, that’s attached right there on the form!

I know there’s probably a good reason for this. They’re trying to catch people lying on their resumes or verify information. A lot of companies use software to scan applications for keywords, and maybe this makes it easier to do so. Or maybe there’s just some sort of sadistic conspiracy against job hunters.

2. You need a professional resume. And an educational one. And a customer service one. And……

I have a few degrees, a college certificate, and a bunch of Microsoft training. I’ve worked in research, was a teaching assistant, and volunteered for a whole bunch of social justice and school spirit organizations in university. And for the last four years, I’ve been working in customer service.

For some jobs, I need to play up my customer service training. For others, it’s all about my computer skills. Some want to know about my research experience, or my schooling, or my volunteer work with one specific organization.  Each and every one of those requires a completely different resume.

And it’s not just a matter of cutting and pasting things. Different types of resumes require different styles, which means using a completely different template to work from. You can’t just move things around to highlight things. My degrees make me over-qualified for a lot of the customer service work I apply for, and my customer service work is seen as a low point for research jobs compared to my education and research work.

Then you get highly specified applications that come with a 42-page guideline. At least something like that tells you exactly what you need on your resume.

3. Some application processes are extremely specific. They might even have a 42-page guideline.

Ok, I’ll admit that I love the fact that they just flat out tell you what they want in this guideline. They basically lay out the cover letter for you and explain exactly what they want to know from you. It’s like the idiots’ guide to applying.

But it’s 42-pages of this! This is how they weed out the contenders from the “well I’ll just throw in a resume and see what happens” folk. They give super specific directions just for the layout, requiring specific fonts, font sizes, and margins. Then they lay out exactly how they want your information presented to them.

Thing is, this specific application is a 5-page combination of the resume and cover letter. I’m not going to be able to use this for any other application, and I can’t just recycle part of it for similar applications because the presentation is completely different for each one! It’s like spending 3 days working on a “maybe”.

4. Did I mention cover letters yet? Because cover letters suck.

Basically, you have 3/4 of a page to sell yourself. You have to show exactly how you meet every single qualification, how every qualification on your resume proves you’re perfect for this position and answer any questions your education and experience (or lack thereof) may bring up. Oh, and you have a highly specific template you must work from that includes customer headers, specified address lines, and a very specific amount of spaces between “Thank you” and your name.

Oh, and did I mention that this is the very first thing a potential employer sees? This is the very first impression you make. Every single tiny thing must be absolutely perfect, or else they’ll just toss your application aside.

No pressure or anything, eh?

And these are just the things about actually applying that can drive a person bonkers! Nevermind all the waiting for a call back, the interview prep, the rounds and rounds some interviews take, the personality tests, the rejections, the “almosts”…………