Random Ramblings, or how I got my job.

I swear. It has been a heck of a week – and another to follow. As I said a couple of weeks ago – time off blackout, and mandatory OT. This equals cranky ME, as I am not getting the wind down time I need.

Along with cranky, I am jealous of everyone who is able to play right now when everything is new and shiny!  (extended play is what I am talking about here.  During the week, I don’t do much more than check auctions, and maybe a daily cooking/fishing quest.  Or not.  Depends on how tired I am – and with OT – I will be tired.)

Add to this the first plague to hit the office of the season, and WHEEEEEEE!!!  (NOT.  Just in case you took me seriously on the dizzy joy.)

So, with everyone around me coughing, sniffling, sneezing, what do you think is happening? Yup. And not able to even **think** about taking a day until after the madness is over.  (Seriously thinking about a day mid October though – make a long weekend to play away, even if it IS still in the seventh level of hell known as extended stay living).

There are oh so many girls to level, and gear, and so much STUFF to do this time around! While I know that yet again, I won’t be able to put the focus into learning my character/spec well enough, or gearing well enough to raid with my guild, (not to mention – the raiding times are smack dab in the middle of my work night), I will have MUCH to occupy my time, and so far, I am LOVING this one! So very beautiful to look at. Fun, engaging, and like I said – a LOT of stuff to choose from to do, with more coming as I get to level cap (again).

This “weekend” was mostly futzing around. I did get one of my Druids to 86, and the Raid Leader of my guild was kind enough to let my seriously undergeared/not played enough to know the new rotations etc girlie go with them into a dungeon.

Props to the guild mates and one pugger that were there – it was a smooth run thanks to them. AND – I got to see a little bit of the content that I probably wouldn’t have seen for a long while! (I don’t do purely random groups. Falls way WAY outside of my comfort zone.)

Of course, nothing dropped that my girl could even remotely use. Remember? Random hates me – especially in game.

I may whine about having to work, and not being able to play, but I still remember how awesomely exciting and nerve wracking it was getting this job. I don’t regret it, then or now.

Back in Massachusetts 2008 our business was slowing folding, and I was desperately looking for a job. We had just lost the chance to adopt my nephew (too little notice, and too much paperwork to do an interstate adoption before the county placed him), and were considering moving to another state.

I sat down at my computer, to read the forums of the game company that put out the game I was obsessed with. Every week or so, someone would post a “how do I become a GM?” thread. This time, there was a forum agent to answer, and he supplied a link to the job opps page for the company.

With the great forethought and wisdom brought on by a few glasses of wine, I thought “Why the hell not! Might as well.” Texas was one of the states we were considering moving to, so….

Pulled out the old resume, made a cover letter, and sent it off. Didn’t expect much. I didn’t have any customer service experience really – most of my work history had been back office sort of stuff. The only thing I had going for me, was the fact that we were willing to move to Texas without move reimbursement, and a passion for the company, and the games it makes.

This was sent in in October 2008, and when I didn’t hear anything after a month or so, I forgot about it.

Come the end of December, my phone rings, with a number (area code even) that I don’t recognize, and I almost don’t answer. I am playin’ my game, damnit, and don’t want to have to fight off a telemarketer or some other! And yet – I hit the answer button. Best thing I ever did.

“Hi there. Is Pam available?”

“May I ask who’s calling?”

“This is ________ With **game company**.”

“ARE YOU SHITTING ME?” (Yes. This actually came out of my mouth on a phone call from a prospective employer. Not my normal mode of being. I blame the fact that it was almost 9pm my time, I had had a couple of glasses of wine, and was playing/relaxing/talking trash with my guildies).

“**laughs** Nope. Do you have a couple of minutes to talk?”

“Sure. Let me just get my girl to a safe… aw hell. If she dies, she dies!”

“Are you sure? (I can just picture the googly eyes here. He had to be thinking I was a bit… unstable at this point) I can wait a moment…”

And that is how it began. I guess I somehow impressed him with the call (though I don’t see how that could be – maybe by this point they were desperate for bodies? ) because we set up an interview for me on January 21 2009.

My dad came through – lent me the plane fare (which I still owe him. I haven’t forgotten Dad! Really! If life and spendthrift husband stop messin’ with me, **or I get both of them beaten into submission  (kidding!  kind of.)  I will be able to get to you, and everyone else that I owe. I am just sorry it is taking so infernally long.)

Got down to Texas, and stayed with my Sister in law in San Antonio. Meant a bit of a drive (tech, game studios and what not tend to migrate to Austin, where the motto is “Keep Austin Weird”. Go figure. ) for the interview, but with the loan of her Tom Tom, even **I** (who can’t find my way out of a wet paper bag with a knife) was able to make the trek from city to city without a wrong turn. Interviewed, and was told that it would be a couple of weeks before final determination was made – patience!

Hubster and I had already decided that yes or no on this job, we were going to bite the bullet and move here. The interview seemed a sign. We were going to move anyway, and one way tickets are much cheaper than round trip. I would stay down here while I waited to see if I got the job (and apply for others just in case) and he would pack up the house and cart himself, the cats, and our stuff with the car and a trailer.

When it rains, it pours. I was shifting from my Sister in law’s house to an extended stay room (better than this one – I lucked into a special needs room, which are MUCH bigger – to allow for wheels and such) when I got not one call, but two offering jobs – and one was the one I really wanted.

There was a hitch however. Next training class wasn’t going to start for a while. Not sure how long – but within the next couple of months. Sigh. It was a good thing that my scouring of Craig’s list had found a job for the hubster. We couldn’t move out of the hotel, because we had to have proof of employment for both of us, (and then first/last/security) but we could afford to live.

Fast forward TWO months. I get a phone call on Friday the 17th of April, asking if I can begin training on Monday the 20th? (hows that for a good amount of prep time, eh? ) Zoom zoom zoom – called the management company we had been working with (in prep, and just waiting for proof of income) and begged. I had to sign non disclosure paper work and such before I could have anything stating my employment by the studio. Management person took pity, and agreed to rent, with the condition that I get the letter of employment to him the next week. That, combined with the loan of First/Last/Security from my friend Jenn, (mostly paid off – but still owe a bit. Making it a priority now that hubster is full time again, along with getting INTO a real place to live again!) got us in place just in time to start training.

And – that is how I got the awesome job I have. Even if it means not getting to play with everyone else sometimes. I have been here almost 3.5 years now – and am fast closing in on my five year sword. While I have stated that I wish to stay with my company until I retire, it is nice to have large goals broken down into smaller ones. For right now – my goal is to make it to five years for that sword.

Why? Because its a SWORD damnit!

Enough of my ramblin’! Reading time (Yay!) and then to bed – perchance to dream… or at least to be somewhat aware tomorrow for my Monday at work. Hope where ever y’all are, you have (or are having) a great weekend! ❤

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Hey. At least it’s a post, right?

Wow. My “at least once a week on my weekends” worked out marvelously, didn’t it?

Heh. My much anticipated long weekend came. I went to see my new doctor, to see about getting back on the meds I need to be taking, and to check on the allergy attack I was having. ‘Cept it wasn’t allergies, and the entire 5 days were spent on again, off again sleeping, choking, hacking or sneezing. Usually in combinations, some of which were… interesting to say the least. (and trust me. The least is ALL you want me to say.)

Turned into either a doozy of a summer cold, or the first bout of bronchitis for the winter. I am pushing for it to have been a summer cold, because if the bronchitis is starting THIS early, OY VEY. grrrrr…

ANYway.

Had the 5 days regardless, and with them – BOOKS! That is right. Hubby made it to the storage, and got me some books. I have been able to read as much as I want again! Wheeeee!

So, reading, leveling girly # 11 AND 12 to 85 in time for Mists of Pandaria (I know, I know. I want one of each class on each side though! This will happen!) lil bits of crafting – filet crocheting a tapestry type stylized Chinese dragon motif:

AAAANNNNDDDD you are just gonna have to imagine a stylized dragon motif here, or visit the website that it is printed on, because I can’t find the danged cord to upload from camera to computer.

You would think that it would be impossible to lose/mispace things in 150 or so square feet wouldn’t you? Well, you would be WRONG. I managed this quite handily.

So – seen here on this nifty website that reproduced various tapestry patterns from the late 1500s:

Snazzy stylized dragons motif, circa 1587
I keep saying dragons here.  Not dragons.  Lions.  Dragons are for later.  >.>

SHUP y’all **cough cough**  I am…  Aw hell.  I am just a ditz sometimes.
Because I am lazy, and don’t feel like redoing everything, just imagine that every time you see the word DRAGON here, you are actually reading LION.  Ok?  Thanks.

THAT is what I am making in filet crochet, which is kind of a grid type crochet method done in blocks. Where there is a solid color is a solid block, where there is white, an open block.

This is turning out MUCH bigger than I would have thought. The initial chain is a bit more than a foot long, and THAT is going up one side. So this isn’t a little sampler or what have you. It is going to be huge! I don’t know yet what I will do with it – make it a table runner, or back it, and frame it. LOTS to do before that decision is made!

Hubby is still working with the architect/contractor, and they seem to be mutually happy with the arrangement. They are picking up more jobs, and looks like it may really take off, which would be job security for Pete!

STILL in the luxurious extended stay though. /sigh.  Things keep coming up – like the spontaneous combustion of the van (which was fixed – mostly. There is still some sort of sensor that needs to go in – so it doesn’t like to idle. If left to idle, it wants to die. If we didn’t need it so much, **I would like to SEE it die. Preferably in fire.)

Several of the contracts that AGH2O (the company that Pete works for) has coming up are a bit of a drive – down toward Houston, up toward Dallas/Ft. Worth…

His boss is looking to float a loan to us, kind of a pay advance, to be paid back out of each weeks paycheck. This is going to be to buy me a car. (note that I didn’t know about this. It was presented to me as a done deal this afternoon.)

This one car household doesn’t quite work if Pete is working 3 or more hours away each day for weeks at a time. Relying on workmates for weeks on end is… not prudent. Especially when one is on the cusp of attendance issues as it is.  There isn’t any type of **economical** public transportation I am able to use with the motion problems I have.

I get woofy on buses and trains. And woofy passengers are NOT welcome by the other passengers. Frankly, I don’t blame them. I have tried Dramamine, and other motion sickness remedies, but none work. My inner ear just cannot deal with the swaying movement in some types of vehicles. This makes me sad. I have always thought that it would be marvelous to be out on the ocean in a sailboat, wind snapping in the sails… but yeah. If I cannot take the sway of a bus, I am pretty sure that sailing would be… Ummmm. No. Thanks.

They have found a car that they are looking at I guess. I don’t get much say. Oh well. At least I would have a way to get around, make sure I am to work on time and so on. I am NOT going to complain about someone helping me to get mobile!

Not only was it sprung on me, it looks to be happening really really soon. Like… as soon as tomorrow. I guess they took the car to a shop and had it checked, and it came back good looking. Older car, 2001 Explorer (the smaller kind). I guess if they show up at the door to the room with keys, I know I have ride, yes?

Hoping like hell that this doesn’t set back the getting out of Dodge, better known as extended stay motel life though. Still have my heart set on getting out of here before the end of the year. Before the holidays/my birthday would be even better!

It rained today and yesterday! Hooray! We so very much needed the rain, and even better… it was on my days off! No need to risk life and limb out on wet streets with scary crazy Texan drivers! Woohoo! Cooled things down too. Really felt like fall here in Central Texas.

Going into no time off unless you are dead mode here. Work is going to be very very busy for a few weeks, and all hands will need to be on deck to weather the storm! Exciting times though! Hopefully all goes smoothly, (OHPLEASEOHPLEASEOHPLEASELETTHISBESO) and we can ALL have fun!

AND with that, I shall bring a close to yet another not so thrilling, but oh so informative post. >.> Where oh where has my sense of fun gone! I need to find it again. ‘Cause frankly, this situation is rather ludicrous, and I really should be able to poke all SORTS of fun at it. Lets see what I can come up with, fun AND camera cord wise! Even more, lets see if I can get regular here again!

**Hey.  What would a post from me be without edits?  I **ALWAYS** find something I missed when I look back at the published work.  Even if I used the preview.  That’s just how I roll, so to say.  >.>

A hard week…

So.

I am sorry that I have fallen a bit behind on posting, after stating that I was going to go hell bent for leather, but that is how the cards fell. I really will try to get back on track, and posting more than once a week again! Not only is it something that I actually enjoy, it is part of my Personal Development plan, and something that I need to kick in the ass and get going again!

It has been a very exhausting and emotional week.

One week ago, my company had a sizeable layoff. The news was announced (per Federal law) that morning, and those of us on the later shifts were left waiting, to see if we would still have jobs or not.

We had gotten an email regarding a mandatory meeting that would occur on that day, and once the news had been reported, we knew what the meeting would be for.

I am relieved to say that I was not one of the ones cut, but many of the people I have come to know and love in the company, were.

I have been through layoff before. I have been one of the ones cut in both of those.

The first was the month after my divorce from my first husband was finalized. I was truly on my own, with only myself to look out for, but also only myself to pay the bills. This one was from a job that I hated, in a company that I hated, with (mostly) people that I disliked, the exceptions being my friend Brenda, (love you Brenda!) and Cheryl. (Love you too, Mrs. Ma’am!)

While the idea of starting something new in a place that WASN’T slowly sucking my soul was exciting, the idea that I would only have 66% of my pay (unemployment) for a bit while looking for a new job was scary – as well as just having to look for a new job! What would happen if I didn’t find one? Would I have to move into a shelter? Would I decide that pride was over rated and become a pan handler? Ugh. It didn’t help that the actual “termination” date fell on December 25th. Merry freakin’ Christmas, huh? I cried most every day for a couple of months with worry over this one.

From that job, I started spamming resumes. Unemployment required a minimum of 5 contacts a week. I went over and above. Any job that I felt the least bit possibly maybe could be even slightly in some way qualified for? I went ahead and sent a resume. Sometimes, 20 – 30 a week. The guy at the local Kinko’s got to know me very well.

Finally, February, I got an interview for a job. It was with a securities firm, and paid better than the one I had been laid off from! New stuff to learn! New people that I might be able to stand in an office! Benefits! Holidays! The interview went well, I loved the office manager, and I got the job.

This job was pretty good. I enjoyed what I was doing, the people in the office were pretty great (and the back office, where I was, was very small. 4 people, and we all got along pretty well. BONUS!) Other than spelling the receptionist for her lunch and breaks, I didn’t have to deal with anyone outside the office, and the pay plus benefits were rather awesome! We even had a rotation of 4/10 day workdays – each week, one of the back office people would work Mon. – Thurs., with Friday off, so that we could take care of things like Dr. appointments, or shopping, or just lazing on a three day weekend.

This job, I thought I might possibly want to retire in. Not because the work was challenging, because it wasn’t so much, but because the PEOPLE were ones that I could handle, and the environment was one that was nice.  I could get my learning, and challenging, the way I had for countless years as a work from home/housewife type.  By choosing something, and learning it!

Unfortunately, four months later came the second layoff. The office was a satellite. The main office was in Worcester MA, and the Denver office, where I was working, was going to be closed. I cried for a different reason on this one. Yes, I was still worried about money, and still worried about supporting myself, but mostly, I mourned the loss of the future with this company that I had dreamed for myself.

Again, for the second time in a year, I was a regular at Kinko’s. 20+ faxes a week being sent. Looking for a way to support myself. The next job I found? At least I was paid as much as I was at the securities firm. Benefits weren’t as good, but I was able to pay all my bills again, on time, and having a job was better than not. Or not.

This was a small, family owned business. Their product was amazing. They however? Were not so much. Family owned businesses can be a bit tricky. Unlike corporations, smaller family owned places like to have a LOT more micro management – and that can be… a bit overbearing.

Add to this an office manager that should positively definitely NOT be in charge of an office, and you have hell. Complete and unmitigated. This woman was overbearing, obnoxious, totally unprofessional, and completely unsuited to any kind of workforce administration.

True story here. I had been having a hard time. I had not been in the best of moods, but while less than communicative, had been doing what I was supposed to do.

One night, I go to clock out, and I find the entire staff of workers (minus the supervisor) from the warehouse/production side of the business waiting in the lobby of the building as I punched out for the day.

Turns out, the office manager had gone to the warehouse (a walk across a street) and had announced that I “needed to get laid”. They were there, waiting to see if I would ask one of them home. Seriously. Nope. Not a joke. I was livid.

I did let the higher ups know about this, but nothing was done. “Maybe it was misunderstood – English is not their first language” was the best I got out of it. I did not feel bad at all when my husband (then partner) suggested a change of pace and a move to Massachusetts that I gave less than 2 weeks notice. Had I been a bit less “flight – run hide turtle!”, I probably would have handled it differently. However, we know from previous posts, that my first reaction to bad is “RUN!!!!” That is what happened.

So – back on track.

I know how it is to be on the cut side of layoffs. I know the insecurity, and fear, even if it is a place that one isn’t happy in. I know the feeling if it IS a place that one is happy in. Now, I know how it feels to be on the other side.

Quite simply, it sucks. Rocks. Through a straw.

Yes. I do still have a job. And with the hubster STILL not employed by a company (though doing odd jobs) I am grateful that I still have some sort of set income to depend upon.

However.

Being in the office, while others were having their meetings, and then cleaning out their stuff. Being on break, and having hysterical people show up for their meetings, unsure if they would continue the night or not… Trying to make sure that the work still got done, that trouble tickets were still answered, and that business continued as usual while all this was going on, was hard. It was exhausting. My heart mourned for every friend that didn’t make it, for whatever reason.

And of course, there is some kind of guilt attached. While we have been assured that there is a reason that those of us that didn’t get let go…. well… didn’t, it still cuts. And it still is hard to figure out how to deal with the ones who did, whom we like or love, and who are having all of those feelings that I remember from my own layoff situations.

I want every one of you to know right now, that I do love and honor you. My heart mourns for you, for the fear, and the unsurety, (is that even a word? Now it is! ‘Cause I say so!) and the… open endedness of things right now. Please know, I know EXACTLY how you are feeling, because I have been there. My shoulders are here to cry on, and my ears are here if you need some one to rant to.

Most of all, my heart, and my love go out to you.

Celebrate Good Times…

So, I may be a very smart person, but I can be incredibly silly sometimes.

When I started this job, I knew that it was 24/7/365 office, and I knew that set paid holidays off for the entire office did not happen. Note that the higher up, not service related branches DO get these days, as well as the week between Christmas and New Years. While we don’t get the week – we DO get a week or so worth of floating days, to take as we want/can, so we are not left in the cold.

Don’t get me wrong – the company pays for holidays, even for the Service departments, the same ones that most of corporate America pays for. There are 9 paid holidays a year – meaning if you have the day off, you get paid for it. If you work that day, you get double time for it.

The three big ones (Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years) have for the most part been on a kind of lottery system. Used to be, they would send out a communique asking for your first, second, and third choices – which would you want off the most. I would always choose “New Years”, because we don’t have family that we can travel to easily for the others, nor do we have children to think about. (Aren’t I the most thoughtful thing EVAR? Plus, I really do love New Years Eve with the hubster.)

Generally, everyone has gotten their choices, and as evidenced in “Random Hates Me…”, we have even been able to get service levels to a point where we can have MORE than normal the number of people off on these bigguns.

However – silly ol’ me always thought that the others, the not so family oriented ones, were basically “If you have the day off on your schedule, SCORE! If not, too bad about the day, but you get double time!”

Now, one of the very few things I miss about “normal” corporate America is the paid holidays. I **LIKED** having a day here or there – scheduled off and paid, even if we didn’t do the normal celebratory things on those days. (along with a schedule that allows me to sleep at night, and see the sun once in a while…)

I learned differently when a marvelous girl who used to be on my team, and defected for another (Love you Amanda!) with the same basic hours, but a 4/10 schedule, announced last fall that she was putting in for Labor day off, to have a day paid, without using vacation.

I was dumbfounded. It had never occurred to me that I could do this. New and exciting possibilities suddenly opened! Of course, I jumped on THAT bandwagon, asked for and got it as well… and it was HEAVEN. Paid holidays off, I have missed your sweet seduction for so long!

SO –

I am officially celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. day – by having it off! I already put in, and have had approved for that time. Hooray me for having a three day weekend, and NOT having to use any vacation or float time!

I really really am looking forward to this as well. No wild shopping trips planned – no people crowd places planned, no icky poo feeling (took the first and second off because of a Bronchitis flair up – NOT my idea of “good” time off.) Just… time off.  To do what I want!

Fair warning to the company: I am going to be putting in for as many of the “lesser” holidays as I can! Next up – President’s day! Really feelin’ the need to rock the celebration of the births of Washington and Lincoln!

I do have several plans. I have begun lists. (Three days – who wouldn’t?!?) However – I have a feeling that the cleaning of the “should be condemned at this point” house will be all on paper, with very little actual work being done. While I am not cool with that so much, I have a feeling that laze, plus a deep and urgent need to get at least ONE of my Old Republic girls a space ship will weigh heavily in on how much of my “work” list gets done.  Add the “reward” (read wine, or beer, or other potent potable) of the reward system of housecleaning, even if it doesn’t happen quite that way, and even more awesomeness!  Might even work a bit more on the hat/scarves that **didn’t** make it to the kids for Christmas.  I know.  I suck.  At least I hadn’t promised them at a particular time to the kids, eh?  Heck.  They don’t even know they are in the works!

No pics today – not gonna show off the condemned (or should be) house. Suffice to say, I will try to beat the guilt feelings of “should be doing something” down with the sweet stick of RPG. I have a feeling that I may be at least semi successful – even if responsibility does rear its ugly head and demand some of my time.

And, if I happen to exceed my own expectations? SCORE!

 

 

 

 

A Year’s End, and….

So very very tired.

It has been a heck of a week, and there are still a couple of days before it ends, and I can crawl back into the cave for the weekend, and to usher in the New Year.

I have never been one to go out and party like its 1999 on New Years Eve. I don’t want to be on the roads with the idiots, and I certainly don’t want to usher in the new year with crowds of people I don’t know. (Can you say nightmare of EPIC proportions?)

Used to be, we would have a few friends over, play board and card games all night, toast in the New Year, and everyone would stay the night so that no one had to deal with trying to drive. (Heck. I had a 4 bedroom house, with living room and family room – more than enough sleeping space!)

Now, Hubster and I ring in the new year together. We will play cribbage, or other two handed card games, maybe a round of Trivial Pursuit (It is a race to see if I can answer an easy sports question before he answers an easy literary one). In Massachusetts, there wasn’t anyone I wanted to ring the new year in with, and here, the few people I might wish to have around, work extremely different schedules, including working that night, are major hermits in their own right, or LIKE the party scene!

New Year for me is more than “party”. It is indeed a new beginning – a fresh new year in which to make changes, even if I don’t plan them out as resolutions. I do still have a list of things I want to accomplish (of course, I love lists! Remember?) but I don’t set the same type of goals that are more traditional for this time of year.

This week has been hard for a couple of reasons.

First, for the first time EVER, I was seriously on track for breaking the “Higher than expected” threshold for productivity in my company for the whole month – for the first time ever! I usually sit very very solidly in the range of what is expected. This week however, my numbers have taken a dive, and it looks like it isn’t going to happen. I only have a couple more days to make up all the ground I lost, plus the .5 or so extra I needed. Just a matter of bad luck with issues, and some health type things making me a bit more draggy than normal.

On the quit smoking front. I haven’t been able to get the ecig yet, and the training from the round of Chantix is wearing off. I find myself smoking more again, and again, was “borrowing” cigarettes at work. I hate that, and I hate people that constantly mooch, so they just started traveling there with me again.

This poses a couple of problems for me, personally. I was diagnosed almost a year ago with beginning stages of COPD. I have chronic bronchitis. Now, COPD has no cure. It is degenerative. It will get worse. Smoking will make it get worse quicker. I know this. It is why I started the round of Chantix in the first place. I know that I need to do this. So, why can’t I? I have willpower. I am able to exercise it in virtually every other aspect of my life, and to great result. With this however, it just isn’t working.

I’m tired of people saying “just quit”. If it were that easy, don’t you think I would have done that? Seriously. I do like to breathe, and to do so easily.

Maybe your Uncle Bob has better moral fiber than I. I Maybe he was just stronger. I am happy that he was able to quit a 40 year, 4 pack a day habit cold turkey without anything more than his resolve. As for me? I don’t really know. All I know is, I set out, with great resolve, and fail. Miserably.

I have had a couple of situations at work that haven’t helped this week.

There are all sorts out there, and when a company has a client base that is very very large, it is inevitable that during the course of years working, one will run into all types at some point. I got two of my least favorite, most draining this week.

The first, is the complete crazy. I am talking possible psychotic break here. Trying to deal with a person who seems to have no concept of reality, and is completely overtaken by the world they perceive is both tiring, and sad. Unless you agree with everything this type says, it gets hairy, and rather scary frankly.

These are not the normal, passionate, “GIVE ME WHAT I WANT/CHANGE IT (whatever “IT” is) NOW!” people one runs into on a daily basis. These may show some of the same earmarks, but there is a difference. Tangible, and quite obvious.

I am sincerely hoping that these people do end up with the help they need to rejoin reality. It is draining to deal with though. I am lucky in that I have only had two such people in my almost 3 years with the company.

The other type, are the ones who threaten harm to themselves if whatever they want doesn’t happen.

I don’t know if people in other CS jobs have this issue. I can’t imagine people phoning their cable company, or their cell phone provider, and using this as leverage to try to get what they want. Then again, I don’t really understand it in any situation.

Normally, a suicide threat is one of a few things. It may be the equivalent of “Imma hold my breath til you give me the pretty pony makeup set!” that children try on parents. It may be that they have been told by others that these types of words will get the issue looked at faster, and so, it is added to the original petition to try to “jump the line”. These, while my heart does the odd double thump upon reading the word, I can handle, and manage to get through after a small panic attack.

Finally, it could be credible. These are the ones that worry me the most. I am deathly afraid that I will get a credible, have it misread, and then read in some news post that a life was lost.

Tonight, I had one that scared me. It was a simple statement, as part of the petition text. When talking to the customer, the talk was brief. He didn’t argue. I didn’t mention the “threat”, at the direction of my superiors. I told him why what was happening was not against the rules, and he just said “ok. thank you.” He didn’t get dramatic, or fly off the handle, as most of the people who use this for attention, or to try to get their way do. Just a simple, ok, thank you, and when asked if I could do anything else, another no, thank you. End of conversation.

I am 90% sure that this was a clever line jumping scheme, without the usual fireworks. My immediate superior is even more sure.

Let me be very VERY clear here. Our company, and my bosses, take these very seriously, and if there is any indication by their known (and more knowledgeable that mine) procedure that this is credible, the authorities ARE called. This isn’t something we fool around with.

The other 10% of me though?

That part is deathly scared that I shall read a story tomorrow. I know I am going to have nightmares, and that makes me want to NOT sleep. But I am so very tired, I know I have to.

Here’s hoping that all the bad is getting out NOW, so that the new year can be rung in, with much forward thinking and fanfare. Here’s to 2012 being a fresh start, a fresh year, and a sparkly, shiny, bright new outlook!

And not being tired.

Of Parties and Shopping and Booze! Oh My!

Well. I found out tonight how much my holiday bonus was going to be, and it really wasn’t much of a surprise. It has been figured form roughly the same formula since the first year I worked for this company, down to the pro rate for a partial year that first year. Should be enough to get the NOT broken furniture, and depending on what kind of deals we find, may be enough for my digital camera as well!

I have decided that the tree that ate the living room will be put up again this year, and that I shall be looking into after Christmas sales for deeply discounted trees for next year. This will ease some of the anxiety of spending, and stroke my thrifty (read penny pinching) side as well!

This weekend looks to be a busy one, that will send my people dealin’ meter right into the top end of the red zone. First, I have a three day weekend! Yay! My company is giving us the night off on Friday (with pay) to attend the company Holiday party.

Let me tell you. The holiday parties that this company gives are the best I have been to for work. Most places, it has either been:

  1. Meet up at some bar after work, order your own food/drinks, and do gift exchange/get bonus check.
  2. Gift exchange/potluck on the lunch hour. Usually, this one involved a “bonus” of some denomination of Walmart gift card. (NOT that I complained! I can so completely rock the Walmart deals! When I can make myself go. Like in the middle of the night.)

I am not kidding here. They have always been nice, but not really anything really special.

This company? They rent out the ballroom and conference rooms of a large hotel. Formal dress attire is politely requested, and strongly encouraged. Catered, with “casino”, pay bar (after drink coupons have been used) awards ceremony, and then generally, a raffle. With things like big screen TVs, gaming computers, and the like. Rooms with various video games including things like Rock Band. (We ARE a game studio. Of **COURSE** there will be video games!) Discounted guest rooms in said nice hotel so that one does not have to drive home after the party with a little planning ahead.

All in all, a very nice way to step out of the “not business casual” dress and attitude we have most of the year. I am being dead serious here, people. the dress code at work is so simple as to be almost non existent. Clothes must be clean, and not something one would see on a bus stop corner for the cheapie 20$ quickie. Even the head honcho of the office comes to work in bowling shirts and jeans. Most everyone else? Shorts or jeans, and flip flops. T shirts most everywhere. Pretty much everything goes, with of course a caveat that it can’t be completely offensive, or criminal.

So – Friday night dress up with hundreds of other people, noise, confusion… sounds perfect for a person who wishes they never had to leave the Hermit Cave, right? I know I will have fun, so long as I can control how long, and how much. My husband will get the “casino” tokens. I love to watch others play games of chance, but as stated before in the Random hates me… thread, they aren’t really my “thang”. In return for the casino tokens, **I** get the drink coupons, and if we aren’t able to secure a room in the inn, I will be the sole inheritor of the pay for drinks as well! He can be the DD. It is MY party, and the candy van was HIS choice for transportation. Sounds fair, right?

Saturday, I plan on getting out of bed early so that we can look for the non carnivorous furniture (and hopefully camera!) If all goes well, it will come home with us in the back of the candy van. This will of course, have completely exhausted my ability to deal with people in any kind of rational, human way.

Oh. Em. Gee.

This is the **last** weekend before Christmas, and I have planned a shopping excursion. Shoot me now, ok? **shudders**. This is actually a nightmare of mine. However, if I don’t go and GET the furniture this weekend then, somehow, some way, the **coughtheonewhospendsisnotmecough** funds will run away like water, and I will be stuck with the butt eating couch for another year.

I shall just have to make sure that there is a copious amount of wine waiting at home. And maybe some scotch. This will give me a head start to dealing with the post trauma stress with which I will no doubt be plagued.

ANYWAY

First things first. Threaten husbands life and various limbs with a 2×4 until he gets his construction stuff OUT of my living room. I have already warned him about bringing it in once we DO get nice furniture. It will become projectile weapons, aimed at the Candy Van. I may throw like a girl, but from a distance of <5 feet, I won’t miss.

Once that is done, I will hopefully be arranging lovely new furniture in home Saturday evening, (fueled by wine) and then hauling out the tree that ate Austin. Get that up, and decorated. Then, if camera did indeed become part of the holiday purchases, I promise pictures! Hooray! Depending on how traumatizing the shopping was, these may or not be blurry, with thumbs in the shot, or other half (totally) inebriated picture taking clichés .

Y’all that are sniggering to yourselves about now, shut up! After dealing with people for a good portion of a long weekend, I am allowed to ease the burden with wine. Or hard liquor. However the chips fall.

End result? Hoping for lovely and comfortable living room (sans mud bucket, clamp lamp, toolbox, and various bits and pieces) ready for **real** accessories, like framed paintings or pictures, at a later date.

And of course, the room conquering tree!

Competition.

I am not about competition.

I know that this is a strange statement, coming from someone who games. It however, is the truth coming from me.

I **DON’T** judge myself on how others are doing, nor how I am doing in relation to them. I go by how **I** am doing. Solely. (I admit that I am a little disappointed when I see a list, and despite a kick ass month, don’t rise in it – but it has to do with ME, and my minimums, not with others, and theirs.)

This is just my way my way. I aim to do the very best job I can, in what ever I am doing at the time. My evaluation is as follows:

  • Did I do the very best I could?
  • Did I improve?
  • If not, why? How can I improve upon it going forward?
  • If so, then what can I do to improve more next month/quarter?

Very simple, really.

HOWEVER

I work in a game studio. People here tend to be even more competitive than the norm. Not a bad thing, if that is how you push yourself. Competition can be a tool for some people. ANYthing that allows one to grow, and gives one the impetus to strive for better, to learn, and grow, and be MORE than they were before is marvelous, IMO.

Competition is not a motivator to me.

Side note:  This may be one of the reasons why I am not a fan of PvP gaming.  I can do it, and have fun – if I have a couple of glasses of wine and queue with a group of friends.  They can tell me where to go and what we want to do there, and I can have fun.  Merely going in by myself, queuing with strangers?  Aiming to do the  most killing blows?  or Honorable kills?  Or what have you?  Not so much.

Queue the neurotic part of me – when confronted, my first instinct is to curl up in a ball, evidenced by the post about SCARY WORLD. Competition to me feels like a confrontation.  An attack: “You aren’t doing as good as X! You are no good! Blather blather blather…”  When attacked, I want to curl up in a defensive ball, and hide.

This would not be conducive to better – rather, it would cause me to NOT want to try. I have worked very hard to minimize this part of me, and part of THAT, is to avoid the triggers that will cause this flight mode.

I bring this up, because at work, my immediate supervisor has implemented a “game”. The top three performers for the week, get to choose “cards” from a specially made deck, to play on the person of their choice. That person has to do as the card says. It is intended to be an impetus to push people to work as hard as they can, in a new, fun, and engaging way. In and of itself, not a bad thing. At all. The rest of the team thinks it is marvelous, and are having a great amount of fun.  Numbers are going up, and it is doing what it was intended to to.  Kudos to my immediate supervisor for that!

When broached to me as an idea, I decided to opt out. This is not something that is motivating to me, I have no problem with others playing, and will cheer on their victories. I don’t want to be involved in any immediate fashion.

Top of the list, or bottom, my actual NUMBERS are no one elses business, excluding my immediate supervisor and team leader. My numbers are well in the acceptable range (and flirt with “exceeds expectations” sometimes), so this is NOT because I would be ashamed. This is because I am NOT driven by the “Must be the top of everything” forces that seem to drive most people in my company. I **HAVE** been the best in other jobs – stepped in and immediately been accused of “making others look bad” and had it suggested that I “slow down, so that I don’t make others look bad in comparison”. I didn’t then, because when I work, or craft, or game, I do the VERY best I can – regardless of how it stacks up to others. I gave my best – I got better, I have won. Simple as that. Provided that I am and continue to perform at at least the expected level, and that (for personal satisfaction as well as possible promotion) I continue to give my utmost, and improve in the process, I have won. I don’t need to “beat” others for this to be an achievement.

This does not seem to satisfy everyone however. As a case in point, I caused a tempest in a teacup.

The cards in the deck are made to be played on anyone on the team. One team member ambushed me as soon as I came back in on Tuesday from my long weekend/holiday. He waved the card, asked if I knew how to speak like a pirate, and then stated that he might play the “talk like a pirate all day” card on me. I let him know that I wasn’t part of the competition. Kept it low key, as a simple statement.

Another side note: I do believe that part of this was the fact that I had missed the Monday announcement and card drawing, and the young man in question wanted to toot his horn a bit. There is nothing wrong with THAT either.  I sincerely congratulate him on achieving this!

An hour later, he tried to hand me the card, stating that I had to do this. I was his “choice” for the card. Again, I let him know – this time more forcefully (read panic stricken), that I was NOT participating. Even if I got in the top three, and could choose a card, I wouldn’t be playing – and I refused to do it. I was not going to participate in any way. He was going to have to choose someone else.

Yet another note.  Should probably start a footnote section:  Did I handle this in the best way possible?  Most probably  not.  Did I handle it in the only way I COULD at the time?  Definitely.  Panic attacks do not often open the door for tact.

Caused a ripple of “what’s going on? What’s the problem?” across the team. I got the feeling that several members felt that I wasn’t “being a good sport”.  Damned right I wasn’t. I felt put on the spot. Attacked.  Made me want to run away, hide, and try to breathe. That same ugly feeling I used to get as a teenager. Urge to scream, or kill pixels, or whatever I needed to do until I stopped revving and could just BREATHE.

Of course I couldn’t, because I still had most of my shift to work. I had tried to handle it tactfully, and it had blown up in my face.  Panic won the day.   Add repercussions (other, physical ones that we won’t go into here) that will carry out for days to come. The rest of the night was miserable, with self recrimination sneaking in to apply its teeth and claws to my already shredded dignity.

Not pleasant, not fun, not funny. Just scared rabbit looking for a bolt hole. And the feeling that I let everyone down, because I couldn’t, and wouldn’t play the role that was being thrust upon me out of the blue, in a “game that I had opted out of.  A real “stick in the mud”.