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Reunited and it feels so good.

For the last couple of weeks I've been moving some of the posts from my old blog onto this one, in anticipation of eventually shutting the old one down altogether. It's given me a chance to look back on some things that were going on in 2008 and 2009, and to take note of what's changed and what hasn't.

The most obvious one is work. Two years ago my job at the place I'd been since '06 was eliminated. Things had been very tense and unpleasant between my supervisor and me. I knew something would have to give, and soon, and it did. I consider myself lucky not to have been fired, since layoffs were being announced on an almost daily basis. Instead, I was transferred to a branch location about 40 miles away.

Since then...

  • My troublesome old SUV up and died. Once I was rid of it, it was obvious that I should have ditched it the minute I moved to this town in '06, but it wasn't malfunctioning all that much at that point, and it was fully paid for. Having a car note and higher insurance is no fun, but damn, I do love my smaller, more up-to-date vee-hickle, as they say down here in the south. 
  • The job is completely different, but actually better, with more opportunities. I got a raise, and don't know if that would have happened while I was still working for The Scorpion Queen. The company seems to be going through some changes. They've been family-owned for over a half-century, but they may be running out of family members. So ahead lies either incorporating as a public entity, or selling to some larger firm. This would seem to be the reason for all the unbelievable fussiness and obsession with procedures. Have you ever heard of ISO?  They're an organization whose sole purpose is to quantify procedures and implement standards for companies. Every procedure has a numerical value (think "subheading (b)" and so forth). We probably have at least 20 large binders' worth of written procedures for every policy and rule that anyone ever thought of at the company. I suppose this is a good thing. Someone looking to buy us out will see that we have all our ducks in a row and take our future seriously. The same is true with all the "auditing" that goes on. Every scrap of paper, every service ticket, every receipt, every invoice is accounted for on the computer. Periodically, people from the corporate office will email us, saying "Why haven't you sent in that work order with an April date?" Most likely because the customer said they wanted a job done, we started, and then they said they weren't sure they wanted to pay for the incurred expenses because they're being bought out by someone else and don't know who would end up paying for it.  So it's sitting in limbo. The requests for information are relentless. On top of this, we're trying very hard to be a modern company in terms of the human resources component. That means numerous opportunities weekly to get employees engaged in "wellness endeavors" and other such activities. All this is great, but when you've got one set of managers pounding on us to get the paperwork (which translates to dollars) in, and another set of managers nagging us to promote activities that 99.9 percent of the employees have NO interest in, it gets, um, stressful.  All of this has a direct impact on me, since I'm the logical person to handle all this stuff. I'm the one with the administrative background (also known as "too much of a good thing"). I don't sell, I'm not technical, and I'm too scatterbrained and new at this place to be a supervisor or manager. At least so far. Whereas the branch used to have 3 or 4 admins, now they just have me. The phones are ringing off the hook and people are stretched so thin, they're making significant errors, so it looks like they might bring in another admin. I've got mixed feelings. On one hand, it would be a huge relief to have an extra pair of hands, taking some of it and letting me concentrate more on the stuff I'm really under the gun for. But on the other hand, bringing in another person implies "Vol-E can't do everything after all, so why should we give her a raise or promotion?"  I realize that's just my own paranoia. If I demonstrate leadership and do a good job of directing the other person in her job, I might end up being regarded as a supervisor, which means that if a supervisory position were to open back at the old location, I'd have a shot at restoring my much-loved ten-minute commute.
  • Just over five years ago, I started here as a temp, and next winter it will be five years as a permanent employee. It's the longest period of time I've ever worked anywhere. This was a shock to realize. I've had a huge change of perspective regarding my work history. I shake my head, thinking of some of the very good places I've worked, and how much better I could have done by just staying put. After marrying Carl, I felt like a 20-something, where the whole world is wide open and you can do whatever strikes you. But in reality, I was 40, responsible for a child, and my options were shrinking, due to my lack of a college degree. I made a lot of impulsive decisions because I was directionless. I'd grown up thinking that all I had to do was "be nice" and God, or the universe, or something, would just "look out for me" and guide me in the right direction. This absolved me of all responsibility to guide myself. I was like a bird who sits on a tree branch for a second or two, then takes off at the first sign of a breeze, confident it can always find another place to alight. This hasn't worked out in the long run. But at least I finally realized it. Miraculously, Carl seems to have gotten it, too -- although with Carl, you never know. If we suddenly got some sort of windfall, chances are he'd want to up and move again. I think he stays put because he simply has no other options than to keep plugging along where he is. Apparently, both of us have, in our own way, snapped to reality. Took us long enough.
A lot of my posts a few years ago had to do with my son Wally. Wally is still many hundreds of miles away, where he started college a few years ago. I haven't seen him since Easter weekend of 2008.  Due to the laws at his location (which view any and all violations, both major and minor, as splendid income opportunities and little else), he has managed to get himself into some substantial trouble. This includes probation and community service. I want to help him financially, but can't. His father, Doug, has the means to help him financially, but declines to. I see the same characteristics in my son that I've belatedly become aware of in myself: Shortsightedness and arrogance. I know Wally resents both his father and me for having done a less than perfect job as parents; he thinks we mean to undermine him, and so he keeps a distance. I understand this all too well: After moving out of my parents' house (at about the same age Wally is now), I kept such a distance from them, I didn't even bother visiting my mom in the hospital when she had a mastectomy. Even after they both died, it took me over a decade to start getting a realistic understanding of them as people, not just "my parents." I fear that Wally will figure this out too late, and the realization will crush him. I almost wish he'd find someone to settle down with, to anchor him, but realistically, he's no kind of "catch" for anyone. And in the world we live in now, everything is commodified. I wish (75%) that he'd come back and live here. The 25% that doesn't understands that he still has serious emotional problems and would bring this to our doorstep, adding to the stress we're already under. It's a terrible, helpless feeling to watch your kid flounder.

So that's where I am now, in terms of the heavy stuff. I most ways, things are better than they were 2 or 3 years ago. More stable, at any rate.

I hope to post more, going forward.



Comments

There certainly are some big things happening in your life, and you seem to be taking it all with a clear-eyed pragmatism. That will always serve you well.

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