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Time for another website overhaul. My Geocities page will disappear from the web some time in the next week, I forget the exact date, but it's not important. I've bit the bullet and bought some hosting and registered for my own domain. I went with because it was cuter and catchier than evethejust. [ profile] ashendari helped me to set up both the website and a new e-mail addy last night. Not sure what I'll do with the new addy. Part of me wants to move all personalized correspondence over there and leave the old one just for mailing list subscriptions. Part of me is thinking maybe use this new one for contact through the website and people who I meet in the SCA by way of classes, but that would mean I'd get very little mail and probably check it very infrequently. I don't know. I'm feeling mailing list overload again. Mostly the usual annoyance with the "me too" people and the chattiness that is neither relevant nor interesting to me. I hate low signal:noise groups, and sadly that is the standard, not the exception.

Anyway, time to do another website re-design I think. I've fallen out of love with the old black and green colour scheme. Yes, maybe it is time I admit that it's hard to read. I'm also thinking now that I've got my own catchy domain that it might be time to invest in some more professional-looking and unique stuff. Like make myself a logo and a pretty background instead of just a solid colour. Nothing hideous or distracting, I'm thinking something in a lightly textured tan or grey. Something that evokes a carved wood, stone, or leather look.

I'm also tossing around thoughts of what to do with my life. I'm almost at the point that the government of Texas considers the end of the standard maternity leave. And while I might disagree with their notion that 12 weeks is the right time to get back into the workforce, I don't think it's too early to start considering what the future might bring.

I don't like being a leech. I'm not good and consistent enough at housework to feel like I'm earning my keep on that one. And of course, the more we make, the more freedom we will have to do the stuff we want to, like go on vacations, pay the mortgage off, get a second vehicle and send Georgia to college. I'm just not sold on the idea of being a full-time-career mum. I was never that in love with having a desk job, and I'm not sure it's worth the sacrifices that would come with it. That said, it does seem like the easiest way to actually contribute to the family coffers. I'm wondering if there's any skill that I possess that might allow me to work either part time or from home that will bring in enough income to make it worth doing. And further to that, if I should be leveraging the website to market said skill.

The sad truth about creative products is that people are seldom willing to pay anything near the value of the time it takes to produce it. Even if I assume the cost of materials is $0 (of course it never is) and value my time at a mere $5/hr, less even than minimum wage down here, people balk at the cost. It's hard to compete with 3rd world slave-labour, and sadly, that's what I'm up against. Then there's the issue of wanting to do things repeatedly. I like doing all kinds of projects once, but I'm pretty resistant to doing the exact same thing again. Take the mobiles for example. Doing a single piece of the mobile was fun. I enjoyed the challenge of finding the right patterns and discovering which stitches would look best and create the right effect. But then duplicating the effort to make the rest of the parts for a balanced mobile was tedious. And while I loved the viking ships and mice and desperately want them in my house too, Georgia still doesn't have a mobile. The proof is in the pudding there.

About the only thing I can do repeatedly and not get bored of it is glass beads. But I have a damn hard time estimating the cost of materials, I don't have any facilities here to get my beads annealed, which is a must if I'm going to sell them, and I'm slow. Here's where we get back to those 3rd world artisans. Their beads might not be as perfect as mine, nor will they be willing to research and ensure they are accurate period reproductions, but they whip them off in a fraction of the time, they have their glass purchased for them in bulk, and of course they are content to make $5 a day or something ridiculous. When faced with purchasing a bead from a craftsperson in the civilized world that demands a premium for their work and picking up something in the "eh, close enough" range from Michael's at a fraction of the cost, you can guess where most recreators are going to go. And then there's the problem of competing even with local talent. Lampworking is fun, so many people are taking it up, and SCA people have a bad habit of consistently undervaluing their time and skills.

So yeah, I'm back on this tired merry-go-round pony and looking at what I want to be when I grow up. And I still haven't caught the ring. I wonder if I ever will?
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I asked for my vacation time yesterday to go house hunting. After the vacation was approved late yesterday I went home and had a good think about when to give my boss notice. Having concluded that he is a very reasonable human being, I decided to tell him today, giving him lots of notice. It was very easy to slip it into our meeting this morning as he brought up the subject of booking my 3-month review so my raise would come through in a timely fashion. I used that opportunity to tell him that would not be necessary and explain my situation and Jason's transfer.

I still haven't given him a firm end-date as our move is still dependent on US immigration approving our visas. If some wrench gets thrown in the works and we wind up staying here I want to ensure that I still have work. He won't start posting the position until he has a confirmed final date from me, but at least I've let him know and I don't have to walk around feeling all sneaky and like I'm hiding something.

He actually seemed pretty positive and used the opportunity to talk about how he too almost ended up on that side of the border during his last job search. It went about as well as could be expected.

Over lunch today I called one of the major American banks to see what we could do about securing a mortgage. The only mortgage broker we've talked to so far made it sound like it would be terribly difficult as Canadians with no US credit rating. The guy at the bank made it sound like it would be dead-easy. When I asked if our rate would be worse because of our lack of credit history, he indicated that the 20% down payment should make that irrelevant. Here's hoping it really works that way. We'll hear back on Monday. I'll also give the US branch of ING a call to get a mortgage quote from them and to see if they want to work with us. Probably will do that tomorrow.

Tonight we're heading to Ashlie's place for fresh-fried Newfoundland fish and chips. The fish was caught by her (or her parents) and brought back (frozen) from her vacation last week. I am VERY MUCH looking forward to tonight's dinner. Jason hates fish, so this will be interesting - lol.

A sad truth

Aug. 5th, 2008 01:22 pm
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"Normal" is getting dressed in clothes you buy for work and driving through traffic in a car you are still paying for, in order to get to the job you need to pay for the clothes, the car, and the house you leave vacant all day so you can afford to live in it. ~ Ellen Goodman, Boston Globe
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Just a strange, random observation... I was originally hired by the City in Finance, Client Accounting. My client was Planning and Development. Planning purchased Kleenex for their staff. Finance did not. However, as we were on-site with Planning, we were allowed to take a box from their supplies for our desk. My second client was City Clerks. They did not purchase kleenex for their staff, we had to bring our own from home. In fact all supplies were pretty slim pickings (highlighters, pens, binders, everything but paper was in short supply really). Now I work for Corporate Properties, Buildings and Facilities maintenance and the supplies (including kleenex) are back in full force.

I wonder if it was the type of department (like finance keeps a closer eye on its budget because that's all they do) or the proximity to the elected officials (they love to question what staff really needs and what can be done without, just don't ask them to question their own expenses). Working for government is endlessly fascinating that way.

Today's task... record usage of our three meeting rooms for the last year to justify whether we really need them all or if some, all or parts of them can be converted into offices. Recording when bookings are and comparing the three rooms to find overlap is relatively easy. Time consuming but straight-forward. Figuring out usage of the rooms based on capacity (8.5 hours per working day if you include lunch) is also fairly easy. Now they've asked me to try to estimate the approximate number of people attending each meeting. This is ridiculous and impossible. The meeting invites are separate data from the room bookings so I have no way of knowing who was invited much less who attended. And even if I did have the list of invitees... would I seriously be expected to count every name for every meeting? Also, what would I do with that raw data? What kind of number would be useful there? I'm thinking averages are meaningless. And while they might be trying to figure out how often we hold 2-5 person meetings in spaces that can accommodate 20 to see if we're making good use of the space I'm still not thinking that is important. After all, if it's not being otherwise used, might as well have 2 people in there as have it stand empty.

I'm thinking this might be one of those problems you have to approach from the other angle... what is the capacity for the proposed new meeting space? How many hours worth of meetings do we have with attendance over that maximum capacity?

Of course, if you HAVE to approach it from historical data to proposal, to come up with a capacity for the new room one could also look at how many people attend the largest meetings we hold on a regular basis.

Either way, averages are irrelevant as are any meetings that end up under the intended capacity.


Jul. 24th, 2008 09:26 am
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I can hear it from my office, a faint whine running in the background against the competing radio stations and chatter. Edmonton Indy has begun, and for the first time I'm actually working in that corner of the city. I wonder if it will get louder as the week progresses. Right now it's actually not as loud as the trucks in the regular traffic in front of the building.

Tomorrow I get to go downtown and climb around in a clock tower to do a condition assessment and write up some recommendations with one of the guys. I'm very excited about it. I've also scheduled it around lunch hour so I can hit Taste of Edmonton :)
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Put Lauren on the plane to go home this morning and cried my way out of the airport again. I'm such a sap. It was another good visit and we did some really different stuff this time.

The first week we mostly hung around, played board games and lots of Rock Band (X-Box) and Boom Blox (Wii). We also went to a concert/tailgate party and football game the first week she was here which was a lot of fun. The Esks won in a very exciting last 5 minutes of play, or so I was told, we left early to avoid the traffic. As it was City Employee appreciation night we were able to find out how much longer it would have taken if we'd stayed to the end. We were home by 11:30, the others made it home by 12:30 or 1:00. I'm thinking leaving five minutes before the end was certainly worth avoiding the frustration of an hour trying to get out of there.

Jason and Lauren came downtown once for Indian buffet and we had bubble tea a few times. Also ate Vietnamese food once. Last night we hit Red Lobster, so it's been a pretty decadent week. Must put myself back on some kind of diet now that she's gone. Time to go back to reality and get out of vacation mode.

Speaking of vacation, I did manage to take a few days off while Lauren was here between my old job and my new one. We decided to spend it seeing the Stampede and camping in Banff. We managed to leave so late that we completely missed the rodeo, which I had bought tickets to so that kinda sucked, but it's in the past. The band we were there to see that night (Finger Eleven) wasn't great. The venue was terrible so the acoustics were bad, we could hardly see and there were a lot of smokers. We gave up on the concert after about 5 songs. We did get to see a cutting horse competition, which was cool,
and we wandered through the agricultural arena and petted lots of critters. Also ate some junk food but avoided waiting in line for any of the rides as it just didn't seem worth it. Report on the food: corn dogs were good, the elephant ears were pretty bad (not stretched thin enough), the jello shooters were fun, and I like blue candy apples best. All in all, Stampede was okay I guess, but it kinda struck me as just another county fair. Maybe I'd feel differently if we'd actually made it to the rodeo.

The next day we met up with an old childhood friend, Janine, and "floated". We bought a bunch of booze, dragged a few rafts out to the Elbow river and floated down the river under the sun and a perfect breeze with all the people in one boat and all the booze in a cooler in another boat tied to the first. We managed to capsize the people boat, but the booze had a safe trip the whole way. It was a lot of fun and I think I'll have to go back to Calgary for another float in a few weeks.

After dinner we left for Banff, arriving at midnight. We set up camp for the first night at Two Jack Lake's Main campground. Most of the sites were empty as it was cool and rainy and the middle of the week. Lauren slept in the car as we intended to move sites in the morning. I made crepes in a wonderful dining shelter and then we packed camp and headed for Two Jack Lake's lakeside camping. We ended up in space 32, which the girl at the entrance had nicknamed the "honeymoon suite". It was right by the lake and the most isolated from the other sites. Though all the other sites were in view, they were not surrounding us, so that was rather nice. It was however cold and rainy all day.

We went in to town, saw the Banff Springs hotel, shopped, visited the hot springs and had my cell phone either stolen or lost, which sucked. I did buy a nice pair of shoes though. We spent our evening huddled by a fire in a dining shelter eating pizza sandwiches.

Banff day two was crepes for breakfast again and then an exciting caving adventure. We crawled through tiny spaces, rappelled, slid head first down the "laundry chute" and saw cave rats at the Ratsnest Cave. We didn't take any pictures as I was too afraid to mess up the camera while climbing.

Day three was mostly spent hanging around the lake in a hammock and trying to start a fire that just refused to stay lit (the wood was damp inside but dry on the surface). That evening we headed back into Banff to search for my lost phone, to no avail, and then enjoyed a wonderful meal at Grizzly House. Grizzly House is a fondue restaurant with a pretty hefty price tag, so we came kinda dressed up (as dressy as you can get when you get dressed at a camp site). I was rather surprised both by the tacky decor and the large number of families with children, but the food certainly made it worthwhile. Very yum and I'd highly recommend it as a memorable and interesting restaurant, but I don't think I'd go there on a regular basis even if I lived in the area. We spent the evening playing card games in the dining shelter by a warm fire which was pretty nice.

The next morning we packed up and were out of the park at a reasonable hour, but we dawdled through breakfast and didn't make it to Calgary until 1:30 or so. We got to spend a few hours with Janine and Carol (her mum who was visiting and who is my mum's best friend) walking around the more charming areas of Calgary's downtown and then headed back to Edmonton
around 4:20. We were delayed in Red Deer by both weather and a detour (accident maybe?). And picked up our doggies pretty late.

Monday morning was my first day at the new job, and of course I forgot to set my alarm and slept in. I still made it in only half an hour late, but I really wanted to be on time. Ah well, this is also in the past now. I was on time today. Day one in the new job was a bit of a blur, mostly spent meeting people (and immediately forgetting their names) and playing with Visio. Today looks like it will be more of the same. Interestingly, because he was unable to meet my salary demand, my new boss came up with the brilliant compromise of making me perm-term, so I get three weeks of vacation and after three months I also get benefits! That's great news for me and I think I'll stop the job search for a few months unless something really sensational comes up.

Big shake-ups at the old office in the week I was gone too. One of the interns left for greener pastures (I think they were only there a month or two) and Candice is on leave because her Uncle passed away, so poor Una is utterly swamped. I wish the timing of my departure had been a little better. I haven't heard from the girl in my old, old job yet to know if evil-harpy-boss granted her permanent status or is holding her in probation. I think her three months was up yesterday so it may take a few more weeks for that to shake down.

In other employment news, Jason got the interview in Austin and they have graciously agreed to buy a plane ticket and fly me out too! Poor doggies have to go back to the kennel for a few days, but I get a mini-break on someone else's dime! Woot! I'm really, really excited about the opportunity of trying out a new city with a warmer climate and maybe owning a house so I hope they make an offer good enough to allow us to move down there.
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I flunked out on the Accountant interview and wasn't offered that position. I'm not that heartbroken. I really only wanted that offer as a negotiating chip to hold up my sleeve when asking for more money at the job I was offered. Still, it would have been nice to have been successful at an interview at that level for a change. If I had been offered it I would have been tempted to take it just for the money, even though I would prefer to take the other position, so this is probably for the best.

Also found out some time last week that I didn't get an offer for the assistant position with the office on the first floor of City Hall. I talk to those people every day (I do their deposits) and they couldn't even be bothered getting back to me personally with their decision. Instead I got a form letter from HR. I think that's pretty poor form. I know they are busy right now, but seriously, what's 5 minutes out of your day to deliver that kind of news personally when you actually know the applicant? I know if it was me that I would be terribly embarrassed if I ran into them in the hall and hadn't called them. Though it does say something about the kind of people they are so I guess I'm glad I didn't end up there either. AR also didn't get back to me, but at least it wasn't anything to do with my resume/interview skills when I didn't get that job (the Province decided to take over billing for ambulances a mere day or two before the interviews and the union made them re-post the jobs as they would no longer be permanent). I also had an interview for an admin assistant with the litter control people yesterday, but even if I was offered that position I think I'd pass on it. It is a permanent position, but the major thing they are looking for is someone to be organized and to help the bosses get organized. I couldn't organize a search party to find the way out of a paper bag with a map, a GPS, a machete and a big, neon "exit over here" sign. The last thing I want to do it take something permanent that I will fail at and get fired.

So I'm taking the Business Analyst position. He didn't come back with more money unfortunately. He claimed he couldn't reach HR and used that as his excuse to stand firm on rung 2 of the 4 rung ladder. Being under the halfway mark on even the "opportunity level" scale is kinda insulting for someone with two degrees, but I will take anyway because I am excited about the position and a raise is a raise, however small. This also removes me from the accounting field again and lifts that terrible weight of having to pursue a designation to get anywhere. It's hard to work on something really difficult when you're not passionate about it in the least. I'm really hoping I can get passionate about this position and really shine.

Jason won't likely hear back from Austin for a week or two and there will still be several steps before they come to a decision if he is successful on this round anyway. My replacement is still slogging away under the harpy. She's two weeks from permanence and being able to look for another position. I'm wishing her luck.

We tried to take the beagles to the fireworks earlier this week - bad idea. They seemed okay at first but very suddenly went from "not sure about this" to "hate it, get me outta here". They relaxed pretty quickly when we got them home, but Anna had a little freak out today at the street performer's festival when some guy made cracking/popping sounds with a whip. I'm hoping I haven't broken my dogs and I know now not to try that again, no matter how brave they had seemed in other, similar situations.
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And the salary negotiation dance begins. I absolutely hate this part of looking for and accepting a new job. I was reading a book on women and money and while men compare negotiations to a ball game, women compare it to visiting the dentist. Frankly, I like my dentist a lot more than negotiating my salary and would consider that comparison an insult to him.

For one, I'm a poor negotiator and I always "leave money on the table" as they say. I'm always so grateful to be hired that I feel kinda guilty asking for any more. That said, I realize that they want me and that asking for more won't make them rescind their previous offer, so there's really nothing to be lost. The worst that can happen is that they stand firm. Okay, so given that I have to ask for more, even though I don't really want to be in a position of making any kinds of demands, I'm never sure how high to push it.

For example, the current offer has two possible types of hires... a standard hire, at the standard rates for that position and an "opportunity hire" intended for a new university grad with no experience. The "opportunity level" caps out below the lowest rate for a normal hire. He's offered me something in the mid-range of the opportunity scale, justifying it by saying it is a 4.5% raise over my current rate. I understand that I don't have the required two years of experience in this field that the standard hire requires, however, I am also a little more experienced than the average new University grad. In order to take this job, I would have to cancel an interview for an Accountant position, which has a starting rate at the same level as the starting rate for this job as a standard hire, a position which I have a very good chance of getting, though it is certainly not guaranteed. Also, this job looks more interesting than the Accountant one, so I would be willing to take less for the more interesting work. I have asked to be placed at the highest level of the opportunity scale. He has said he'll get back to me after the holiday.

I hope that a) I get what I asked for and that b) I'm not selling myself short.
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My sister arrived in town on Friday so it's been nothing but take-out and video games for the last two days. There's also been a reasonable amount of sewing. She's going to Europe this summer and decided to bring everything that needed repairing to me to fix. It's almost done but she wants something altered still, so that will get done later this week.

We did peel ourselves away from the television set long enough to go to Fort Edmonton Park on Sunday. It was a lot of fun, but oh my god was it hot. I'll post pics later.

Today I got an unofficial job offer. The contract is not written up yet, nor has my rate been determined as no one in HR has come in to work today, but other than that, it's as good as a done deal. I'll be working as a business analyst, which excites me to no end. When this posting went up on the website I was super-excited about it and was thinking "I would be so lucky if I even got an interview". I was pleasantly surprised when I got the interview, and then screwed it up royally by showing up a week early (yes, this is THAT job) but then at the interview me and the boss really hit it off, so I couldn't be happier about this. I'll be working way up in the North end of town, which will make for a long commute, and I'll be starting earlier in the morning too, so this will mean a significant change in my schedule. It's still just a temporary position, but the experience I get will be invaluable! And bonus - it's casual so I get to wear jeans every day - no more stuffy ill-fitting dress pants!

In other news, Jason has an interview for a position in Austin tomorrow. It's just a first-stage phone interview, so I imagine there will be a lot more steps in the process, but the possibility of moving to Austin is also really exciting. Wouldn't it be something if we both got an offer for a new job this week? Even if he gets the offer I assume it will be a few weeks or even months before they want him to move, so I'm thinking I would stay behind and finish out the contract with the Business Analyst position. When I said that to my boss she offered me a place to stay - I am so going to miss working with her. I'm also going to miss working downtown and having coffee breaks and lunch jogging with Ashlie, but I promised I'd visit occasionally as my new office is just a 10 minute drive away.

Anyway, that's all the news here for now, I'll keep you all posted as things develop.

Not alone

Jun. 17th, 2008 01:37 pm
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We had a staff BBQ today and I ran into the woman who got my old position. It should be noted that evil-harpy-boss(Harpy) was actually involved in the hiring process this time (screened the resumes, conducted the interviews and invited people back for second interview/tests), so in theory, she actually has someone that she chose for this position.

The Replacement has been there only 2 months and is already wanting to quit. I let her know exactly what my experience there was like, including the "pitfalls" I made that caused Harpy to hate me (or at least what she said I did wrong) and tried to reinforce the idea that it's not Replacement's fault the job sucks and she's not doing anything wrong, it's all Harpy. The other woman who worked there, we'll call her the Sympathizer, expressed frustration that no one seems to know that all these assistants are just fine, and I indicated that I was sure that the ones on top understand the situation perfectly. Sympathizer then asked why, if people know that Harpy is the problem, is no one getting rid of her instead of ruining this endless stream of assistants that have the misfortune of working under her. I explained that the union is probably protecting her from this well-deserved firing.

I encouraged replacement to just wait out her probation, secure the permanent position with the union and then start looking for something less soul-crushing. Upon returning to the office however, I discovered that Harpy can actually extend her probation and keep her in non-permanent limbo as long as she likes. I desperately hope that Replacement can manage to hang on and that Harpy does grant her permanent status so she can then run off on her. I will be exceedingly disappointed if Harpy uses her power to withhold permanent status from another person and gets all her work done and then throws her away like so much used Kleenex.

Replacement's parting words as lunch ended were "I don't want to go back. Just thinking about going back to the office makes me sick to my stomach".

On the bright side, it does make me feel pretty good about my own strength. I lasted 7 months under the Harpy without quitting, and probably made it 4 or 5 before I even got the idea to quit. I think I was at least 3 or 4 before the "sick to my stomach" phase. And frankly, she hated me far more than she hates Replacement. Also makes me feel good to know that my reaction to her treatment (the physical illness) is not unique to me.
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Well that didn't take long at all... I've already heard back from one of the departments I interviewed with yesterday and they've selected another candidate. I'm glad they got back to me anyway. Even if the news is bad, it's better knowing than waiting. And so few interviewers bother getting back to people they didn't select, so I appreciate that they did.

Here's hoping that the next one goes better, and in the meantime I guess I'm off to put in more applications.
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Applied for more permanent positions here this week and actually got interviews for two of them. I had two interviews for Accountant positions here, which would mean both permanence and a nice big raise. I really hope I get one of them, but my chances are slim as usual. Still, even having interviews is a nice confidence boost.

Work is boring as always and we're losing yet more of our duties. My boss is getting tired of spending every day looking at the clock. It's both tiresome and worrying as you start wondering if one day you'll just come in to no work at all and nothing but a pink slip. The others here at least have permanent status, so the union will at least try to make them find other work elsewhere in the corporation. I could just be let go as they can terminate my contract any time they like for no reason at all. It's interesting how stress can just as easily be caused by either being over-worked or under-worked.

The weather here is teh suck! We've got so much snow outside that I can't open my front gate due to the drifts. I refuse to go out and do any census work as long as it is below 0 and the long term forecast doesn't seem to indicate that it will ever creep above that in the next week, so I guess I've made as much as I'm going to make on that little extra-curricular. If I get the accounting job I would of course quit the census work immediately.

The fresh rolls made it to lunch in perfect condition wrapped in saran as per Utsi's suggestion. Now I just need the nice hot weather to make them taste as refreshing as they should and life will be perfect.

In other news my girls seem to have finally grown up. We no longer lock them in either their cage or the kitchen when we are out at work. They are now allowed to range freely on the main floor of the house as they have proven that they no longer seem to have the drive to destroy anything they can get their teeth on. It's a nice, refreshing change in routine for all involved.
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I've been dumped by my boss. Today they took me aside to meet so they could reallocate me to City Hall. Their given reason: there is no work and Una is desperate for help. And yet, there is a permanent posting online right now for this very position. How exactly do you make an argument for a permanent position while letting go of the temp because there is "no work"???!?!? I'm guessing the real reason is that not being currently in the position will weaken my argument with the union when I apply for the job. And yes, I am going to apply for it because it is permanent, not at all because I want it though. It will be interesting to see if they can block me or if I will get it despite their efforts.

So I'm reallocated to City Hall, where I work doing more interesting and varied things, with nicer people, and with fewer restrictions (as far as I understand I can actually take my breaks when I want to, oooh, what a concept!). On one hand I certainly want this job more, but on the other hand I don't think they can make me permanent, so it's not ideal. Even if it's just a vacation from the other position while the applications are going on, it will be a nice break.

It's funny, I hated the job, I hated the people, I love my new situation, and yet I'm rather disturbed about how it happened. It's kind of like when you're dating a loser, but for whatever reason you're holding on until you find something better, and before you do, they dump you. It's not like you wanted to be with them, it's not like you're really upset to be without them, but damnit, it was YOUR RIGHT to dump their sorry, pathetic ass!!!!

So yeah, I should have been the dumper, not the dumpee and I am angry with them for taking that right from me.
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Yesterday I was informed that I should set aside 1 hour today for an employee review. While I know that I have completed 3 months here and this is probably a scheduled, expected occurence, it doesn't at all diminish the cold anvil of dread which has anchored itself firmly in my stomach. Previous experience with employee reviews have not been stellar. At least not anywhere that had formal reviews. The places I have always felt most confident in my job and most appreciated by my employer, ironically, were at those places which never had any formal process in place.

Evil tech giant's reviews mostly consisted of my manager finding random reasons to bash me with respect to my relations with others in the office, without going into specifics or giving details (because really, it was just between us, no one else really objected to me I don't think), while praising me on my ability with the customers (which, let's be honest, is the most important part of the job right?). And to be honest, I knew I was doing a good job and resented her having the opportunity to attack me about unrelated stuff. That and I didn't care about the job at all, so there was no investment in how I was reviewed. No matter how I performed I was going to get paid the same crappy wage and thus be the same unmotivated worker.

At CA firm I only had one formal review. I was told I was doing well at most things, but needed to work on one area. Was also given a raise. Two weeks later they changed their mind, decided the one thing I needed to work on was a deal-breaker and I was fired within a month. So while the initial review wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be (I certainly thought I was failing, but I was surprised and pleased to hear they were going to work with me on it), the change of heart and realization that they could change their mind about me at any moment made me rather suspicious and hesitant about reviews.

So yeah, I kinda feel like a dog that had misbehaved, and was initially rewarded with a treat and then slapped across the face. And although this is a different master, my fear of their hands remains.
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That's the sound of me drowning at work. I don't know what's been up with this week. I've been working relatively hard, but every day I just seem to get further and further behind. I was supposed to get Tuesday off, but I think I will have to kiss the extra long weekend buh-bye and come in that day to try to catch up. On the bright side, that just means one more day of vacation to use some other time.

Speaking of vacation, has anyone out there been to Hawaii? Jason and I are thinking of going this winter and I'd love to hear about other people's travels there so I can get an idea of what we want to do. I'm thinking two weeks will about do it. Very excited about the idea of a vacation. We haven't really had one since our Honeymoon, and never a vacation without family obligations of some sort, so this will be good.
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Big old life-update. This got rather winded so behind the cut it goes.
Read more... )
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Almost the end of week 2 of working for the city and all is going well.  I'm actually starting to pick things up and be useful.  I still very much like my co-workers and the environment here.  And of course I'm liking the increase of pay from any of my other jobs.

Only downside to my life right now is I'm kinda sick.  Not sure if it's the spores or if I've finally caught Jason's cold.  Either way, it sucks.

On the subject of spores... Jason called the landlord at lunch yesterday because they still hadn't been in.  They seemed unconcerned as usual, and instructed him to just clean the wall off with bleach.  He took them literally at their word... and wiped the wall down with undiluted bleach.  The wall now definitely requires replacement as there are sponge-shaped chemical burns on it.  Heh.  And the room now smells like a swimming pool.  We slept on the couch last night.  Ugggh.

First day

Jun. 25th, 2007 12:48 pm
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First day here at the city. On lunch right now. Appears I can't access facebook here at all due to the city's IT filters, so I guess that will lure me back to LJ.

I'm on the 8th floor, ironically, just below where the partners used to sit at CB. So far so good. The woman in charge of training me was off on the day I was hired (Friday) so this morning was a bit of a surprise for her. She hasn't had much planned for training me as a result, so I've spent most of the day organizing stuff. I've got a nice, big cube-desk thing. We don't have a lunch room, so no eating together as a group, which is a bit of a bummer and a bit lonely, but that's life. I get every other Monday off. Would rather it was Fridays as Mondays doesn't help for SCA events at all, but again, that's life. Better Monday off than no day off at all. I also have to work kinda early (8-4:30) but that's okay too. I'm making enough here that I'm going to spring for a parking pass and kiss the damned public transit system buh-bye, so it's not as early as it would be if I had to catch a bus. And maybe me working early will mean Jason gets into work early and gets home in time to spend a little bit of time with me. That would be nice.

Anyway, lunch hour is over. Back to work for me.
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Today is my 3-month anniversary with E-Ville Roller Derby - wow, I didn't realize how long it had been. I was telling newbies last week that I'd been here a month, month and a half maybe. We had our boot camp last weekend, which was ass-kickingly good. I sucked out and sat on the sidelines in quite a few drills though. I need to work on my endurance.

I'm still learning new stuff and improving, which is good. But I'm not really improving as quickly as I'd like. We instituted a new "no suck" rule. I now have to do 20 push-ups when I say anything negative about myself. In addition to the 20 push-ups we have to do if we say "sorry". We split into teams last night. I LOVE the team I am on. And if I'd been able to pick any girls in the league, the ones I am with are the ones I would have chosen first. In order to make the teams the trainer paired the girls up by skill/style. I was the odd-one-out and went unpaired, but I also ended up on the team that was short one girl, so I'm not quite sure how to interpret that. I also found out I was not among the 12 chosen for the travel team for the July 23rd game against Vancouver, which wasn't a great surprise. There are still 2 spots up for grabs, but I'm not sure I'll get there skill-wise in time to be included. I get the feeling that this is where I should have been after 1 month, not 3. There's a good reason why I'm not improving at the best rate. I have skipped a few practices here and there. I've not done any extra work on my own. If I really want to improve I'll have to start committing more time to it.

On the bright side, being fired from Dell means I have all kinds of time to put towards whatever I like. So far I haven't accomplished a whole lot. I've re-arranged some of the furniture in my living room. I've washed some things that rarely get washed (the guest/camping pillows, couch blankets etc) And have pre-washed some fabric with the intent of finally making my Norse coat. I'd like to re-hang the shelf in my sewing room that fell down on me a month ago (no more drywall screws, need to actually locate the studs and use them). Once that's done I'd like to get some sewing done and maybe get back to the torch. I did get around to making myself a "birthday hat" for June coronet, which was cool. That's something I've been meaning to make for a few years now.

As far as job hunting... I'm still waiting to hear back on some things I applied for when I was still with Dell. I'm keeping my eyes on the city site to see if any city jobs come up. I need to apply for a job with the Children's hospital foundation here. I've got a head-hunter who has proven to be a complete waste of time thus far.

This month's to-do list:
- get the house shiney-clean
- finish the hand-finished linen dress I've been working on for months
- start work on a norse coat for me or Jason, or maybe some new beads
- send out one job application per day at least
- spend the first hour of every day working on my fitness (skating, running or strength)
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I skipped practice last night. Felt tired and lazy. Told myself I was skipping practice to go home and walk the doggies, which I did not. Also claimed I would make jerk chicken for dinner, instead made spinach dip with nachos - v. bad. However, did spend some time handing out resumes online. Have now given resumes to Kelly Services, Harcourt and Executrade, three different head-hunters. We'll see if that leads to anything. All in all, while a bad night for diet and working out, potentially a good night for future job prospects. It probably balances out. Also spent some time last night cleaning the kitchen, which was in desperate need of doing, so I guess that nets out to a good, productive evening.

Tonight is the Just for Laughs' Ethnic Heroes of Comedy tour. Leaving work early to ensure I get there on time - yay! Tomorrow night must polish up the cover letter for the Bioware accounting position. And the weekend will likely be mostly cleaning. There's an event in Calgary, but as archery is not on-site (and is at an ungodly early time, as usual for Calgary) and the event is in a hall which I imagine does not allow doggies, I'll just skip it in favour of a quiet weekend with my family. Might also head to the park one day if the weather holds and practice my skating on a tennis court.


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September 2010

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