A Little Research Goes a Long Way

I know people have been asking you this since you squeaked out your first words, and you’re probably sick to death of hearing it, but what do you want to be when you grow up? Any idea?

I wanted to do two things, Sunshine: I wanted to write, and I wanted to work in criminal profiling and research violent crimes.  They both seemed like the ideal career paths for me. I mean, I wrote all through my teens and early 20s (and then just gave up hope on everything for a good 10 years before trying to give it another go). And I’ve been reading true murder novels ever since I stole my first one from my mother’s bedside table in the 5th grade.

So, in my mid-20s I decided to go back to school and start working towards that whole profiling and research career. I studied Criminology (got my BA.H in that one) and Psychology (my second degree, just a BA), worked as a research assistant for a while, and obsessively read books and papers on murderers. I talked to a professor who was a former RCMP officer (those police officers in Canada that the rest of the world seems to think rides horses all day while they wear bright red jackets and doofy hats), and he told me all the steps I needed to get into the RCMP for a research position.

Dumbest fucking move ever.

You see, he hadn’t been an RCMP officer for a while now. Things change over time, like the qualifications for different positions. He told me I just needed my BA.H in a social science, preferably something where I studied crime (hence the Criminology), and a background in research. He sounded like he knew what he was talking about.

One simple Google search would’ve shut that down real freakin fast!

You see, in order to get the position I wanted, now you have to first BECOME an RCMP officer. Not only do I have no want or desire to do so, but my eyesight is bad enough that it disqualifies me from the position. Like, it is impossible for me to ever get this job, ever.

If I had realized this while I was still in school, there is a metric crapload of stuff I would’ve done differently. For starters, I would’ve done a little bit more research into what jobs my damn degree qualified me for. I would’ve gone for more career counseling, volunteered with different organizations, looked into addition certificates and courses to help me out. I would’ve switched to a double major in something else, got a minor or two to fall back on. Maybe even got a part-time job to fall back on once I was out of school (but that’s a whole other post).

As it stands, I have two degrees I got specifically to get me a job I can never have. They don’t qualify me for much specifically in the town I live in. I work customer service in a ‘spirits dispensary’ who would prefer I don’t name them in blog postings. I have tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt from those degrees, plus credit card bills falling out my ass crack from trying to live on 4 hours work a week for months without falling behind in my rent and other bills. And I have to pay this all off with the CSR wages I’m making now, NOT the profiling and research job and salary I had been working towards.

And this was all totally preventable if I had just sucked it up and done a bit more research.

So, as I say way too much to be healthy for my self-esteem, don’t wind up like me. Do a little work towards the work you want to do.

Check Out the Education Qualifications

If you have a job or career in mind, know what you need to get in order to get hired. You wouldn’t expect to just show up on a movie set one day and say, “I’ve never acted, written, produced, or directed in my life, and I have a degree in forensic science. Let me direct your next big budget movie”, and to actually get the job. Some places or careers require schooling, while others prefer you get experience for yourself.

Want to be a teacher? Find out how much schooling you need for that, what courses and majors you need, how many years you’ll be in school. Want to write? You could go to school for creative writing, or you could just write constantly. Neither one is wrong, but they’ll both take you down different paths. Same goes for other creative pursuits. You may be better off just creating content than getting formal school sometimes, while in some situations an education might give you that little something extra that could land you a position.

Have a Company or Position in Mind?

Study and use LinkedIn like it’s your lover: learn it inside and out, make it the best it can be, make it feel appreciated and wanted. LinkedIn can help you get an in with a company, meet people working there, find out more about the company’s culture.

Most businesses have a website these days too. Ever think to look at it? You can learn a shit-tonne from half an hour browsing a company’s website. Find out what they do, their mission statement, who works in positions you’re interested in, who is in charge of hiring.

Find Out Every Step Needed to Get That Job

I knew I needed to get that honours degree. I had no idea I needed to become an actual RCMP officer, which I physically can’t do. A lot of people see that you need to become an officer before moving on to a different job and give up altogether. They’d rather not spend 5 years working in a remote northern community, far from home and everything they love, dealing with criminals and violence and such, to get a desk job doing research. Hell, even if my eyesight didn’t disqualify me from the job, I probably wouldn’t have gone for the officer position anyway. I was just over 30 years old (and still am, btw) competing with people in their early 20s for a physically demanding position, which I am in no physical shape to hold. I’m a desk job person, not chasing perps through vacant lots and hopping tall fences kind of gal.

There are a gazillion different things that a job could require from you that could wind up being a dealbreaker. Believe me, it’s better to know what these are before you throw down $60,000 in borrowed money for a degree that is going to do you no good once you’ve realized you can never get the job you were getting that degree for.

Basically, you need to go and power up The Googles, as my mother calls it. Start researching shit. Look into the jobs you want, the companies you want to work for, the schooling you’re doing, the people you admire. See if what you want is even feasible, and see if it’s something you can definitely be in for the long-haul.

Don’t wind up like me, Sunshine. I kinda love-hate my job most days. It would be great if not for the crushing debt of the schooling and living I did over the last 10 years. I could make a living off of it if I didn’t have all these damn bills.  Make sure you don’t make the same mistakes as me, Sunshine. Do your damn research. Plan shit for the future.

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How Not To Keep A Job

Good morning Sunshine! Hope you’re having a nice, relaxing Saturday morning. I’m on day 17 or 30 days straight of work this month (unless we wind up going on strike on the 26th, then I’m not technically working if I’m on the picket line), and I’m going right goofy.

For those of you who are new around here, I make my living by professionally peddling the Devil’s Brew in a government-owned retail establishment in a Canadian province (I think putting it that way works around my “social media” clause in my contract).  It may not be the greatest job, or have anything to do with what I went to school for, but it a great fit for me right now. I work with pretty much the greatest staff ever. Other stores have told me they’re jealous of our store, because we all get along so great and we’re like family. This job also gives me time to figure out my life, which I need to do very much so right now. And even though I hate people, I seem to like working with the public.

We have two busy seasons, where people buy a metric shit-tonne of alcohol – Christmas, and the summer. We get a few seasonal workers to come in at these times, kinda round out the schedule and make sure we have enough people on staff every day to keep the store open.  Usually, for a store our size, we would get 4 or 5 people to come in and help. This year especially, we needed that many people due to the possibility of a strike and the public’s usual “what do you mean you may be closed for a few days??now I need to buy CASES of booze to make sure the world doesn’t run out!” panic/ But this summer, through some combination of new management and some sort of curse, we have one. We have The Kid.

The Kid must have interviewed really well, because he’s never had a job in his 22 years. He’s never handled money, or touched a cash register, or dealt with the public. The product of helicopter parenting and a God-complex, The Kid believes that he is the be-all and end-all of cashiers. He even once dubbed himself a “cashier ninja” for his ability to hold up a line while he stood there staring into space and adding numbers in his head (we had to remind him that the cash register does all the adding for him, without uncomfortably staring at customers).

Now, I know that everyone has to start somewhere. The Kid doesn’t want to just “start” though. In his own mind, he knows everything and no one can tell him what to do.When I was just starting out as a cashier at my first job, I brought a notebook and pen and actually took notes on everything I had to do. Hell, even when I started THIS job a few years ago, I brought a notebook and pen to my cashier training and took notes on everything I had to do! Not The Kid, though. He knows everything, even though he knows nothing.

It’s only been a few weeks since The Kid first graced us with his cash-ninja presence, but it feels so much longer. Everyone but him seems to realize that he probably won’t last much longer. The only reason he’s lasted this long is because we are severely short-staffed as it is and we need bodies in the store.

Basically, he’s a walking manual for How Not To Keep A Job.  Here’s just a few of the thrilling lessons he’s given us so far:

1- Stand there. Don’t offer anyone any help. See your coworker with the huge line-up? Don’t let anyone in her line know that you’re open too. Just watch her struggle. Customer has his hands full and needs a basket? Just stand there and watch him drop glass bottles on the floor while there’s a pile of baskets next to you.

2- Stare. At everyone. Customer, coworkers, managers. Don’t say anything, just start at them.

3- Don’t think, just talk. If people are offended, it’s their own fault. Some great random phrases to get the conversation started with your customers: “Wow, you were in here yesterday too. You must be a huge alcoholic.”, “I can’t tell if you’re pregnant or really fat. Should you be buying coolers either way?”, “You’re smelly. You should go take a shower, or not look homeless or something.”

4-Don’t listen to your coworkers. They’re not trying to help you. Sure, they’re telling you what you did wrong and then showing you how to do it properly. And yes,  they’re being very patient with you. Ok, and they keep having to remind you of the same things over and over and over again. Easy things like, “Before you try to log on to a cash register, go sign in and grab your till. You can’t just walk up to a register and start using an empty drawer” I mean, all of this SOUNDS like they’re trying to help you. But they’re not. Don’t listen to them.

5- Go that little extra mile to put a personal touch on things, even if it means breaking all the rules. Coworkers told you to hit “assistance” button when you have a big line or need to use the bathroom or it’s time for your break, so that they know you need help and can come out there and help you? Screw that! You don’t play by conventional rules! Just abandon your post, wander into the back, tell them personally that you need help. That face-to-face contact is sure to impress them!

6-Make sure your coworkers know you’re on to them. Be loud, be forceful Don’t worry about their feelings; they have none. Yell right in their face if you have to. Make sure they know you are smart, and you know everything there is to know about their job, so you really don’t need their help. In fact, they should be asking you for help!

7-You know how every workplace says they have their own policy for breaks? Well, they’re lying because those policies don’t apply to you. Have a huge line-up? Just walk away and take a break! Supposed to buzz for someone to come relieve you for your break? Why bother? Just walk away whenever you want your break! Supposed to take 15 minutes? I’m sure you can reason out a way to take more! “Well by the time I sat in the office for a bit, and then went to the bathroom, and then sat for a few minutes, and then heated up my food, it was 4:15. So technically my break didn’t start until then.” See, just outsmart them!

8-The same goes for the end of your shift. Sure, the boss says he’s the one to tell you when to cash out and finish up your shift, but you know better than him. He says it only takes 5 minutes to do that? You take 25 minutes! Coworkers try to tell you that’s not how things are done? Well screw them! You know better than them! Just ask your mom, who has probably already checked in on your at least once during your shift and is waiting in the parking lot for you 45 minutes early just in case someone is mean to you.

9- When in doubt, get your mom. No one wants someone’s mom not to like them. Have your mom tell everyone how stressed you are, how you stay up at night crying about your job after the second day there. Make sure she tells everyone what a good kid you are, how smart you are, and how special you are. Everyone will listen to your mom and automatically love you.

10- Do things your own way. Sure, the register adds up all the prices you scan, but isn’t it just more fun to add up all the numbers in your head, even if it takes a few extra minutes per customer because you have to scan so slowly? Damn skippy it is! When the boss tells you to stop doing that (apparently it distracts you from stupid things like taking payments, and making change, and checking ID’s to make sure you’re not serving a 15 year old when the legal age is 19), stop for the few minutes he’s watching you, and then get back to doing what you love! Remember, your way is ALWAYS the best way!

 

This is just the short list of things he’s done THIS WEEK. And that’s not counting all the stupid comments he’s made to us. The concept of keeping the doors locked until we opened so that customers couldn’t come in was well beyond his comprehension. He also doesn’t seem to quite realize that “seasonal employment” means that he’s employed for the season, no matter how many times we explain it to him. He has flat out demanded we order him full-time staff uniforms and get him his own locker (instead of the one marked “seasonal staff”).

And I know I sound like a bitch for complaining so much about The Kid. It’s gotten to the point that he’s already made the most patient workers there snap from frustration. Last weekend, I kept rubbing my temples every time he said or did something unbelievably dumb or rude. And I don’t mean he hit a wrong key on the register, or accidentally gave someone an extra dollar with their change. I mean, his 15 minute break was almost 30 minutes; he mocked out plain-clothes security guys for not standing next to him all night to make sure he was safe (which apparently makes them lazy); he refused to ID people, and then refused to log the few ID’s he got in the system (it’s just logging that yes they had ID and what kind they had, for legal purposes). This was on top of his rude comments to staff and customers, his refusal to help anyone with anything, and his flat-out mocking of certain staff members and shift leaders. By the end of the night, I had my nervous twitch back in my left eye, and I had rubbed off my eyebrows and most of my outer eye make-up from rubbing my temples so much. And I’m one of the patient ones, too! Already this week, he’s had multiple private meetings with the boss about the things he’s doing wrong, and he’s almost been fired more than once. And I have one of the most patient bosses ever! Sweet little old grannies have come into the store, dealt with The Kid, and have almost resorted to purse-swinging violence!

He’s worked all week, as we’re trying to prepare him for our own brand of personal hell called “Dealing with customers who are trying to prepare in case we go on strike, and are acting like it’s the coming of the apocalypse”.  We’ve kept him on the early morning shifts to avoid him having to deal with the night rushes and the after-work/pre-party crowd. But tonight, a Saturday night when we’re already short staffed and have a tasting in-store, we also have The Kid with us. I already have my spiked rootbeer chilling in the fridge, and a big bottle of Chilean Cab Sauv staring at me from the counter.

This is going to be one hell of a long summer!

What about you, Sunshine? Have you ever had a coworker who you knew just wasn’t going to work out? Someone who drove you bonkers? Or maybe you’ve dealt with someone like this before and found a way to make it work?  Drop me a comment below, let me know how you handled things…… or let me know the worst of the worst stories you have about that coworker (we could all use a bit of a giggle).

Doing Some Very Grown-Up Things

So as I mentioned yesterday, I’ve been trying to do some very grown-up things. Among those things are:

  • getting through to the Amazingly Awesome Boyfriend that his debts can hold us back in getting the things we want in life.
  • taking a serious look at my own debts (which I admit, I let get way out of hand)
  • talking to someone about my debts who is in a position to help me (debt counsellor , bank loan officer), instead of just my mother and AAB
  • look at what I can do in my current job to help advance myself AND add to my resume
  • learn to use the new iPad AAB got me for Christmas for something other than Mario Run (which I refuse to pay for more than the basic starter levels right now) and Pokemon Go.

So, since the first of the month, I’ve been doing some Very Grown-Up Things. I laid out to AAB how his debt and credit score affects our future. If I’m working towards fixing my credit, and he’s not, then it makes no financial sense for us to ever become common-law or think of getting married. I know that sounds horrible, and it really does tear me up inside to say it. But I’m taking steps towards someday owning a house, or a condo, and want to at the very least get out of this house in the very near future. If I get my credit score up to a level that will get me a mortgage, or a good loan, then we can’t really do anything that would link us together financially. Doing that would mesh our credit together, and his score would affect mine. I think he’s finally starting to see that.

Also, just this week I had an appointment at my bank. Even though I am in a less-than-ideal position for a bank to lend me money, I have handled my debts well enough that there is a very good chance I may be able to get a consolidation loan to help take care of my credit card debts. I’ll have some tips on how to handle your credit like I did later. For now, I’m just focusing on getting my paperwork together to work on this loan, and get my other paperwork together to send off to the student loan people for my Repayment Assistance Plan (otherwise they just take $700 out of my account each month, which I really can never afford).

Well wouldn’t you know, right after my bank appointment I dropped into work to eat and study my new Wine Folly book before my shift, and my former manager was there to do our appraisals! It seems I’m a bit of an overachiever when it comes to the online training. He showed me how much training someone with my seniority would normally have if they only did what they had to. Then he showed me mine. It’s like twice as long! So what did I do when I got home? I signed up for more training. I’m going to do my shift leader training, some extra customer service training, a whole lot of extra product knowledge training, and some mentorship training. Then, the next time the District Manager is in our store, I want to ask him if there is any sort of mentorship programs in place with the company. Even if I have to be the mentee of the Weird BowTie Guy from our flagship store, or Cute Asshole who used to work at my store, it would totally be worth it for the opportunity.

In all of this busy-ness though, I haven’t picked up the iPad once! Hopefully once AAB’s birthday present is all set up (got a nice TV package for him), we will be chilling in the office a bit more, and I will have more of an excuse to pull it out and use it.

So there’s my current foray into the Grown-Up World I’ve failed at so far, Sunshine. I have a lot of big plans coming up, which will hopefully bring some big lessons and experiences you all can learn from (so you don’t have to screw up as bad as I did).

My Anxiety

Ok, so when I started writing here, I thought this would just be for story and article ideas, maybe some advice. But on one of my other blogs, where I write about my life a lot more, I had quite a few people message me about their own personal struggles with anxiety. Reading these messages, corresponding with these people, sharing resources…… it really helps me a lot.

So I thought, what if that could help more people? I know personally, I feel a whole lot better knowing there are other people out there who feel the same way I do. Sometimes it’s great to be able to talk to people, to exchange ideas on how to manage anxiety, to compare how we each feel when that dreaded moment of panic starts creeping in. Other times, just reading someone else’s accounts of what they’re going through is enough to help me through things. It’s enough just knowing that I’m not the only one out there feeling this.

So, I’ve decided to be a bit more open on this blog. Maybe it will help me keep it updated a bit more. Maybe it will help others out there who stumble across my ramblings. Whatever it does, Sunshine, this is part of my self-care. And you know how I loves me my self-care!

Untitled Ramblings of a Fragile Mind

I’ve been in a pretty bad place lately. I mean, there are parts of my life that are going great. I have a great boyfriend who is moving in with me; my ex-boyfriend is finally moving out (hopefully); I have some great friends at work. But even all the good seems tainted.

At work, they’ve cut our hours again. Unless a special project or a bit of “creative scheduling” comes up, I get almost no hours. Last week, because we had plannograms to implement, I wound up with 28 hours. This week, I have 9 1/2. Next week is 8 hours. The week after, when the boss has a bunch of shifts scheduled that go against our collective agreement (so, they may change) I have 25 hours. We lost one of our highest seniority casual workers to a full-time position, so we thought we’d be getting more hours once he leaves. Instead, they’re bringing in another high seniority casual worker, meaning everyone below her is going to get screwed on hours.

Things with the boyfriend aren’t all sunshine and unicorn farts either. We had a big argument a few weeks ago, and it’s created a big problem with me. I have a seriously hard time trusting him now. I’ve been trying to get some info from him (when he moves in, I’ll be in charge of all of our collective bills, so I need to know what he owes and what bills he has), and he keeps blowing all of that off.

And then there’s just the general job hunting I’ve been doing for what seems like forever. This week, Facebook was full of pictures and posts about people graduating, people getting awesome jobs (in their fields too!!), and people just generally doing awesome things with their lives. And I’m sitting here like, “Well, I have 2 whole shifts this week, so I’m not a complete loser…… I guess”. I’ve been turned down for more jobs than I can count, while everyone else around me just seems to be moving up farther and farther in life.

What’s the point of all this rambling?

Like I said, I’ve been in a really bad place lately with all of this on my mind. I wake up at 1 in the morning in a full-out panic attack, worrying about bills and lies and resume templates. I started drinking more than usual (which I didn’t think was possible for a while there). I was existing on microwave pizza snacks, potato chips, and cheap wine. And I started back up with some old, horrible, harmful habits.

You know what really doesn’t help at times like this? When people try to force you to cheer up, or “buck up” as I’ve been told.

“Don’t you know there are people out there who have it worse?”

“Are you really going to act like a child and mope?”

“Act your age, not your shoesize?”

What was so childish, so horrible, that I was doing? A little bit of self-care. No matter what people tell you, you are never too old for your favourite methods of self-care. I like to throw on music that matches my mood. Lately, that’s been a lot of 21 Pilots, some old emo standards, and a few weepy songs from back in my goth days. Sometimes I journal a bit. Some days, if I have the time, I’ll just wander aimlessly around the neighbourhood for hours. Day before yesterday, I scrubbed all the walls in my house.

No one thing will work for everyone. Hell, no one thing will work for one person all the time. Some days, I need to blast some Ministry and Black Daliah Murder and walk for an hour or two. Other days, I need to put on some old Prodigy and scrub the stove until it sparkles.

Your self-care is whatever you need to do to help you through your darkness, to keep away harmful habits, and to push you forward when you’re feeling healed.

And don’t forget: self-harm is not always physical. Self-harm is not all cuts and scars. You can’t always see self-harm. Don’t let others fool you into thinking that harmful thoughts, sudden dangerous actions, or a sense that you can’t be harmed (and acting accordingly) isn’t harmful to you. Just because you’re scars are on the inside doesn’t make them any less valid, just a little less noticeable to everyone else.

 

 

**if you have thoughts of physically harming yourself, feel suicidal, or start taking dangerouse risks (walking into traffic, jumping off high surfaces, cheating death in any way), please seek help. http://commongroundhelps.org/ has phone numbers, texting services, and an online chat for anyone seeking help.

Losing Yourself

Ok, straight up, your life is going to constantly be changing, evolving, and messing itself up. This is not totally a bad thing. New people will come into your life, old people will fade away. Your job will change, even if you don’t change jobs. iPhones will keep getting bigger and bigger until they look like something Zack Morris would’ve used. And parts of you are going to change to keep up with all of this.

That being said, a lot of this change is good change. Changing job responsibilities means the chance to learn new shit (or learning new shit could lead to changing job responsibilities, either way). New phones mean new apps (which I am completely addicted to, btw.). We are constantly moving to new apartments, buying kittens and puppies, re-painting the livingroom walls for the 4th time, and picking up new hobbies.

All of these changes, that seem to come naturally in your life, pretty much are good things. They’re things that help you grow as a person, that help you evolve.

Then there are the changes that could go either way. That’s where all the new people in your life come into play.

You see, meeting someone new and amazing does something to us all. Our brains for from “Well, it’s Wednesday night, so I’d better grab my glass of wine and paint my nails while I watch Criminal Minds and read Cosmo” to “OMFG you are so freaking AWESOME!!!!!! Let’s hang out every fucking night!!! We can be besties!!!!! We can be together ALL THE FUCKING TIME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

Don’t believe me? Just think back to any time ANY of your friends EVER got into a new relationship with someone. You guys used to spend Friday nights together, drinking beers and watching movies, until it became “date night”. Suddenly, you’re sitting alone at the bar, whining to the bartender about how you’re going to be single forever, while your BFF is out at a wine and cheese taster bar trying to match blue cheese with a Malbec (which is not a good idea, btw). It’s like your friend was abducted by love-aliens and replaced with this strange being who likes to go to Ikea and hold hands while looking at shit and saying “Oooh, if we got those throw pillows, and that bookcase over there, we could make a nook!”

Ok, now admit it: it’s not just your friends who have done that. We all have. I once dated a guy in university who was into bluegrass music and curling. I now know way too much about curling and Norweigan curling pants, and can actually sing along to some Flying Burrito Brothers songs. I also had stopped hanging out with my BFF and our frat-house friends most nights, started marathoning TV shows online (and this was before Netflix made it so damn easy to do. We had to work for our Drew Carey Show!). I was like this person that wasn’t totally me, but that I wouldn’t exactly throw shit at if I met them in public. I was like this shell, totally empty of the things that used to be me, and not filling up with any new awesome things to replace them. Instead of evolving, learning new things, picking up a new hobby that really interested me, I was just like this extension of the dude I was seeing.

And that’s when I lost myself.

There is a big difference between “changing bit by bit, bettering or evolving your tastes and yourself, in order to keep up with the times and not get into a rut that will bore you to tears” and “changing everything about you to match up with the person you’re spending all your time with”.

This is something that has been on my mind quite a bit lately, too.

You see, I just started seeing someone. Beginning of last month, I went out on a limb and flirted with this really really cute customer I’d see at work every day. He came back in later and left his phone number for me. We went out that weekend, and it turns out we have so much in common, it’s almost mind-blowing. Recently, we’ve been spending more and more time together (he was there for me quite a bit while I was going through that huge health scare and surgery thing with mum), and just this week decided to become an official couple.

But no matter how much alike we are, we are still different in a lot of ways. There are a lot of things we’d each like to try that the other likes, just to know each other better. He is willing to watch my favourite movies with me (which, with my odd taste, is something none of my exes ever did), and I’m willing to give Trailer Park Boys a chance if he’ll watch it with me. At the same time, though, I’m careful not to let this become some all-consuming quest to do all the things he does.

Case in point: Criminal Minds. He hates that show, refuses to watch it. That show gives me life. So if he’s over on a Wednesday night, we skip it and I stream the episode the next day online. If he’s not here, then I get a night with wine and Dr. Spencer Reid. While things are new and fresh, we’re taking time to learn more about each other and each other’s interests. But at the same time, we’re encouraging each other to just be ourselves.

Right now, we’re both at weird places in our lives. I’m working VERY part time, wishing I had put more effort into my writing over the years. He’s working full-time, but not in a position in his company that he can stay in much longer. On top of our regular everyday personal issues we deal with, we’re both contemplating our financial futures while trying not to let our present fall to shit. While we have that in common, our actual jobs (or possible jobs) couldn’t be more different. So, we encourage each other. He is constantly telling me that I need to write, that I’m a storyteller, that I need to get stuff down on paper or computer. He knows that I want to write, but just have had less than zero encouragement over the last decade or so. I know that he loves his company, but not the position he’s in. I try to help him look at other positions to look into there, things he can train into, in order to move to a completely different job there.

Do you see the differences there? Instead of giving up my favourite show, or making our current situation all about his need for a new job, we compromise. We help each other to grow, to learn. Any sort of healthy relationship, whether it be romantic or not, helps you grow into the best you that you can be. In my past relationship I mentioned, I gave up on growing “me” and instead grew to be “an appendage of him”. I totally lost myself.

It happens to the best of us, Sunshine. But we learn from it, grow from it, and move on with our lives.

So, with all this encouragement to write, expect to hear from me a bit more. Things at my current place have become……. interesting. I may have some new Roommates From Hell posts coming VERY soon!

A Little About Me

I am absolutely exhausted today, so you’re going to learn a little about me. I’m just too damn tired to read through my blogging notes and write anything coherent or interesting. I had to go to a baby shower today, and the buses in this city run on a really strange schedule on weekends. The bus I would usually take to get where I needed to go just doesn’t run at all on Sundays. There was one bus that would take me very close to where I was going, but I would have had to take another bus for almost 45 minutes to get to a bus stop to transfer to this bus, and then ride that another half an hour. The bus I wound up taking was a short walk from my place, only took a 20 minute ride, and then a longer walk (on a busy road, with no sidewalk for a good chunk of the walk) to get to the hall.  I don’t drive right now, so it’s public transit or begging people for rides.

I had cars for years. Always named them too. My last car was a little red ’94 Dodge Spirit that I named Bethany Mae Boop, or just Boop for short. I had to replace my old car in a hurry, and Boop was the best I could get. All her parts were original, though, so that caused some problems. The hoses would burst, or belts would snap. In the few years I owned her I had to replace 2 belts, 4 hoses, the rad fan, and the alternator. By the time I was in my second year of University, I just couldn’t afford any major repairs. Of course, that’s when the muffler started to rust out. One day, I happened to startle a squirrel in our driveway on my way to class. The damn furry thing tried to run away, ran into the muffler, and left a large squirrel-sized hole in it.

After that, I was banned from all the local drive-thus. The car was just too loud, it hurt the workers’ ears over the speaker. Then, the transmission started to go. Do you have any idea how expensive it is to replace a transmission? The parts and work would have cost me more than the car was worth! Add to that the new muffler and…… well, I had to get rid of her. Luckily, I found a program through the Government of Ontario that lets you sell your car to them for somewhere around $300 so that they can recycle it and get it off the street. It’s meant for older cars that might not be up to the best emissions standards. So poor Boop had to go to the scrap yard. That was about 6 years ago, and I haven’t had a car since.

Life is just too damn expensive for me to get a car right now. Aside from the initial cost, there’s the insurance, gas, and maintenance to afford. With my current job, I can barely afford to pay my rent, let alone all my other bills. I haven’t made enough yet for OSAP to start billing me for the almost $60,000 in student loans I took out. Some months, I have to put my groceries on my credit card, which already has a massively huge bill I’m trying to pay off. I don’t get to go out with friends, go out for food, or buy myself new things unless I really plan for it, or there’s some sort of spontaneous miracle. And that does happen sometimes, those miracles.

I had my laptop for a little over 6 years when it started acting really strange. I had a little money saved up, but nowhere near enough to replace it. If I ordered it online, I could use the credit card I reserve for emergency online purchases (ambulance bills, contact lenses, etc). But that card has a really high interest rate, and paying it off would be impossible.  While I was in a panic about this, my bank called. Because I somehow manage to make even just the minimum payments on my cards every month, they wanted to offer me a line of credit with a very low interest rate, with the idea that I could have a little security or maybe use it to pay off one of my higher interest cards. I ordered a new desktop computer that night, and paid off the entire credit card with that line of credit. I know that’s not a real “miracle”, but it’s as close to one as I’ll ever experience.

Hopefully soon, I’ll be able to find another job. I’ve been applying for jobs all over this city for a year now, looking for something to help me get by. I have an interview for a very good job next week (that I don’t want to talk about too much, or I’ll jinx myself), and am really hopeful for that one. Once I’m working more, I can start doing more of the grown-up things that I want to do with my life. I can get my own apartment, pay off my debts, buy a car, and take a few friends out for dinner or drinks or something. I have a few people in my life who have helped me in huge ways while I’m going through these rough times. Some of them don’t even realize how much what they’ve done for me has helped me. I had once co-worker who would drive me home after every single shift we worked together. When he was transferred to another location, I was devastated. I’d really like to just buy him presents, spoil him, pay him back for all those times he went in the exact opposite direction of his house to make sure I didn’t have to trek home in the snow at night.

Well, this was a little rambly, but now you know a little more about me. Maybe I’ll make this a weekly thing, letting you in on my life and why I consider myself a failed grown-up.