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Stuck...repeat after me...

Monday, July 25, 2011

"I am awesome...I am awesome...I am awesome..."

I have been trying to get my resume together and start writing some cover letters today. I am finding it difficult to muster up the words to sell myself. I've been staring at my computer screen for over an hour and I've written about 2 sentences of a cover letter. I am having difficulty thinking of good things about myself to put in the "Skills" section of my resume. I am having difficulty remembering being successful in working, and how I've made that happen in the past. I feel fake writing about being great, because I've been told otherwise over the past couple of years.

I KNOW I am smart. I KNOW I am capable. But my words are failing me. My current job has sapped all of my self-confidence when it comes to my work. How can I sell myself when all I've been told over the past 2 years is that I'm not good enough, that I don't work hard enough, that I'm constantly under the eye of Big Brother? My brain has become mush. I've been phoning it in at work for 2 years now (pun intended), and I need to remember the reasons that I have taken pride in work in the past.

I had no idea how bad it was until I tried to start writing about how great I am and why I deserve to be hired more than the other 10,000 people applying for the same position. I should just take the same approach to writing the letters as I do with writing anything else: just let the words out. I can fix it later. I will let the words run free; I WILL remember why I deserve to have a good job where I am appreciated.

In the words of my good senator...

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PAMELA6289 8/2/2011 12:42PM

  You ARE awesome, and any employer would be lucky to have you!

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JITZUROE 7/27/2011 9:48PM

    Just start writing about nonsense, as if you were working through some writers block OK? Or better yet, write about why someone should NOT hire you, and you will definitely get some giggles back sooner than you think, and break that stress streak. You ARE awesome and amazing, and so gifted in writing - and I don't even know what you're applying for! : )

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KRAWRS 7/25/2011 10:30PM

    I agree, just write your butt off, edit later! Selling yourself is hard in any circumstance (I think it is anyway, I always have a hard time with it), much less if you've had reason to feel less than great about yourself. Just do your best and remember you ARE great and you DO deserve to be hired!!!

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MARVEEME 7/25/2011 8:13PM

    Damn right you're awesome. Perhaps not as articulate as you wish at the moment, but the task itself is overwhelmingly emotional at times like these.

Never stop promoting your assets, ALL of them.


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EMRANA 7/25/2011 7:11PM

  "I feel fake writing about being great, because I've been told otherwise over the past couple of years. "

Just because people told you lies, doesn't mean you have to believe them.

Remember that, my friend, and rock your resume!


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HIKINGSD 7/25/2011 7:04PM

    emoticon emoticon

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LUCYCT001 7/25/2011 6:01PM

    You can do it and we all think you ARE awesome, so you must be!

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APED7969 7/25/2011 5:39PM

    To get me started I searched lots of websites on writing cover letters. It at least provided me with a framework and then I'd change each one for each job to make it sound as if I was perfect for the job. And I'd make damn sure I sent the right letter to the right job :-) Do you have good recommendation letters? They help a lot too for the getting the job but also if you can read them first they give you lots of reasons why someone else thinks you're awesome which can remind you of why you are awesome to write it in your coverletter.

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GEMINIAN1 7/25/2011 3:02PM

    I am awesome, I am awesome, I am awesome emoticon
Your openings to your blogs, gots me laughin'.

Oh man, you've got to be the best resume writer in the land.

When I did mine; I went to the library and checked out *lots* of books with examples for formats; not for the wording itself. You know, because there's like a trillion ways you can lay it out. It really helped me, *tons*.

You're breaking my heart emoticon
You *can* do this.

My advice would be to go to the library, seriously.
If you don't get anything from it, then the worst that happens is you're back to where you already are, you know?
The whole nothing to lose thing.

Resume writing vibes coming your way ()(()))))((((()))))))(())

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ABB698 7/25/2011 2:38PM

    YES YOU ARE! emoticon

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DEE0973 7/25/2011 2:37PM

    I agree, just start writing you can always edit later. Good luck

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KKINNEA 7/25/2011 2:22PM


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REBECCAMA 7/25/2011 2:12PM

  Love the picture!

I alternate between considering myself a "glorified data entry operator" and something much less humble. Good luck!

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MARTY728 7/25/2011 1:59PM

    emoticonSounds as though you work in a negative environment. If you have not considered it, you make want to consider changing jobs either inside or outside of your current employer. Working in a negative environment is not good for anyone.

Hoping it get better!

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HINCTYBEAT 7/25/2011 1:48PM

    spend some time looking at the jobs you are applying for and use your cover letter to explain where you best fit with that job. No one is comfortable just tooting their own horn, and anyone can say that they're detail oriented (which means that you surely have a big typo in there somewhere :) However, explaining a couple of your strongest fit points for that job highlights what you'd like them to see when they look at your resume - and also shows that you really understand the position. Best of luck! Gosh darn it, people DO like you!!

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MNGIRLIE 7/25/2011 1:40PM

    I've been meaning to get out there and apply for jobs as well - for like the last 6 months or more. Though as soon as I sit down to start on my resume and god forbid my cover letter I seize up mentally. I can't write coherent and bragging snappy lines to sell myself either. And with that I've put off the entire job search.

One thing that helped me start the process though is to write down EVERY SINGLE THING I do in my job that I could use as a search word for future jobs. I used that as a base for my relevant skills and such on my resume.

Searching for a job sucks, but keep at it and you'll find something that fits.

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If I can offer any tips on job hunting, it's to go to your local employment center. You don't need to be on unemployment to go and the help is invaluable. When I was unemployed last year, I took a skills assessment class. It didn't change the skills I had, but it opened my eyes to how I could apply my existing skills to other industries. If you go to, you can find your local employment center or you can get tools to take a skills assessment online.

I know I whine about being unemployed, but this is the first time in my life that I have been unemployed for longer than 3 months - compared to friends of mine that have been unemployed for 2 years, this is a blessing.

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SYZYGY922 7/25/2011 1:24PM

    I understand. I went through a similar difficult time, and it was extended over seven years. I don't really want to talk about it publicly, but yeah, it was bad. I've had many jabs to my self-esteem, but probably the worst jabs came from horrible jobs. emoticon

Good luck! You'll find a job where you're appreciated, I just know it!

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FREECANDY 7/25/2011 1:24PM

    LOL at Stuart Smalley. That skit used to crack me up.

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The Week in Review: Lost 6 pounds...from my right calf?

Sunday, July 24, 2011

This past week went very well. I finally got through my head that I need to get a new job. Writing about my job yesterday really helped it sink in and helped me process it (if you read that blog, be forewarned that your computer may explode from all the venting). Well, I'm not wasting any time. I've come across about 10 jobs for which I am qualified and have a salary range suitable for my needs. I also came across a site for credentialing health educators. I feel kind of dumb that I was not aware of this certification, and I think my Bachelor's qualifies me to take the exam and become a health educator, which was what I was going to go to grad school to do. I thought I had to have a Master's degree to be a health educator, but turns out I'm wrong! I feel like I have a future again with thinking about having a brand new shiny career to go along with my healthy lifestyle.

This was also, needless to say, a big weight loss week. After several weeks of not-so-great losses, I dropped 6 pounds this week. I didn't do anything crazy. Actually, I think the weight was lost from my lower right leg.

I have had lower leg edema for months now, and my mother (who is a nurse) said she thinks I may have primary lymphedema in my legs. This condition runs in our family, so I guess it's not surprising. I wondered what was going on when I measured my right thigh at the beginning of July and it was 2 inches bigger than at the beginning of June. I knew I hadn't had the best month for weight loss in June, but really? I thought I was just rocking the cankles when I would look at my legs that looked like bloated balloons. My right foot got so swollen that most of my shoes didn't fit, and the pressure from wearing the shoes actually damaged my right big toenail. I thought my legs have just been sore because of arthritis and/or the knee problem I've been having. My mom said that she thinks my right knee hurts not because of the injury, but rather *because* the leg has been swelling up. My left leg has been getting swelling, too, but not as bad as my right. I will get evaluated when I have insurance, but for now, I trust my mom's 40 years of E.R. nursing to get me through.

My mother gave me some sexy compression socks (T.E.D. hose) and told me to try wearing them at work. My right leg felt better almost instantly. The first day I wore them, I took it off when I got home and my eyes widened. My leg wasn't a swollen balloon any more--I actually had a nice taper where my calf muscles meet my ankle. No cankle. Huh. I see now how easy it is to dismiss an abnormality as a result of being overweight. And even better yet, my leg doesn't hurt, not even the knee. Wearing the T.E.D. hose has make a huge difference.

Admit it--T.E.D. hose are HAWT!

As a result, I think I lost a lot of fluid weight by getting the swelling to go down. I can't give total credit to the edema, though; I did much better on both the nutrition and exercise fronts this week.

I tempered my exercise a bit over the past week and didn't worry too much about following a strict exercise plan. I still worked out almost every day, but modified when needed for my crazy and exhausting work schedule. The exercise highlight was biking to meet KVARNLOV on Friday, and we biked to the beach and swam for a while. I got in a solid 30 minute swim, and I did a total of 105 minutes of biking. Yesterday, however, I started my Shock Training System (STS) upper body workout, and it was evident 10 minutes in that I was too tired to complete the workout. So I will do my STS workout today.

My nutrition was also much better this past week. I ate within an appropriate range every day, which, oddly enough, actually leads to weight loss. I have actually discovered a REVOLUTIONARY new weight loss plan that I followed this week. You will be AMAZED!:

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PAMELA6289 8/2/2011 12:42PM

  Way to go! And yes, you've got GREAT legs! Hubba hubba!

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EVERSTEPH 7/27/2011 5:49AM

    Great work! That sounds painful.

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GEMINIAN1 7/25/2011 2:52PM

    My computer didn't explode ... emoticon
10 JOBS ... emoticon
'a brand new shiny career to go along with my healthy lifestyle'
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
emoticon emoticon emoticon

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    I liked the youtube video. Haha!

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MISTYBLUE716 7/24/2011 9:47PM


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JEANNETTE59 7/24/2011 5:53PM


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KRAWRS 7/24/2011 2:01PM

    I think your legs are sexy lol. I can't wait for my legs to look that good! :p I loved that link at the end, very funny! Well just keep an eye on your health and you should be fine. Glad you have your mom to guide you, and that's great news that her suggestions are helping!

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HIKINGSD 7/24/2011 1:45PM


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ERLYWA 7/24/2011 11:17AM

    So, the hose aren't really that sexy ;) but your tats are awesome!! Good for you for starting to figure out what's going on with that leg and start working on some solutions. Stuff like that is really frustrating...

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ELUNAMAKATA 7/24/2011 10:57AM

    Interesting, I tend to swell a lot in my right leg too...its funny cause I was noticing the other day, my left ankle, you can see the cute little ankle knot you know? but on the right one? you can see a big puff of fluid. I may have to try the compression sock on my right leg.

Tabbycat is totally right!! and I love the ink!

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    I agree with TABBYCAT78 about your legs...and love the ink on your right leg (can't really see the one on your left ankle)!

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UTMIZ_2000 7/24/2011 9:52AM

    Sounds like you have had a week of revelations. Good for you. I really don't care where the 6 pounds came from, but I am excited to hear they are gone.

New job? Wow, that is exciting news. You are finding your inner self and it is looking good.

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CIYWLJOURNEY 7/24/2011 8:35AM

    Love the socks! Maybe we can patten them with the DONE girl logo! emoticon

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RAZZBABE 7/24/2011 7:09AM

    You might be on to something...weight loss socks...Love it!

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APED7969 7/24/2011 6:04AM

    Yay for finding jobs around and for finding out you don't need a master's degree for what you want to do. Sometimes the process to get accredited for the job you think you just educated yourself for can be super confusing! I'm also very glad to hear you currently get paid more than most vet techs. I know they often don't make much! Good luck with the applications :)

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TABBYCAT78 7/24/2011 5:06AM

    Actually, all joking aside, you have really sexy legs. Strut your stuff, doll!!

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TABBYCAT78 7/24/2011 5:05AM

    Hell yeah, are rocking the T.E.D.!!
emoticon lol

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The Dangers of Procrastination...and getting a new job...EVENTUALLY...

Saturday, July 23, 2011

I've been meaning to write a blog about procrastination for a while now.

I've been putting off writing a blog about procrastination and the one thing I desperately want to change in my life: my job. I was so excited to start my job in animal poison control 4 years ago. I had heard so many great things about the company I work for, and I was ready for a change after 5 years in veterinary emergency clinics. I would still get to use my emergency skills and we had great management (you know, actual leaders, not just "bosses"). My supervisor did not hover or really "supervise"--she recognized that we are professionals and don't need to be "supervised." It was a genuinely respectful and great workplace. Between calls, my awesome co-workers and I would chat and joke; sometimes my belly hurt after work from laughing so hard all day. Since we were well-staffed and I had competent and efficient co-workers, work hummed along smoothly most of the time. I had pride in my job and my company. I felt we offered a great service and I was happy to be able to help animals and their owners.

Two years ago, my supervisor decided she didn't want to be a vet tech any more and moved to New Mexico to pursue a career in writing. At first I thought this would be okay, because at that time my company was a close-knit family. Going to work felt like going home. Everyone had each others backs, and we had great support from management. If a caller was being unreasonable (yelling, swearing, screaming, threatening, etc.), it was our policy to tell them so and hang up on them. Sometimes if a caller was really bad, our managers would call them personally and tell them to never call again. It was our policy to not tolerate abusive callers.

The changes in middle management over the past two years have ruined my job. (Then again, there's probably a reason they're in the middle, and not at the top). They put one of the most incompetent vet techs at my work in charge of all of the vet techs. My "supervisor" has lied about things (therefore making others look bad), and even when shown concrete proof, our company's founders have taken no action. The micro-managing has been relentless, and the more we push back, the more we get micro-managed. The changes in middle management drove out most of my awesome co-workers (or, a lot of them got fired). Now I have almost no one at work I have any desire to talk to.

My "supervisor" has set up our lives to revolve around our jobs now, which goes against our company's old philosophy that work should never consume our whole life. Our schedules are completely erratic. While they have been good about putting me on evening shifts only, they refuse to do a set schedule. I may work 9 days in a row and then get a day off, work 3 days and get 2 days off, work 7 days and get a day off--we rarely get 2 days off in a row. Our schedule is treated as though we are just letters in a box that can be haphazardly rearranged, rather than realizing that those letters in a box on a timetable encompass entire lives. My "supervisor" says, "There's just no other way to do it," which I have translated into smart-person speak: "I don't have the brain capacity to figure out how to do that." The biggest kicker is that while this is supposed to be my full-time job, they often scale back our hours. Instead of my "guaranteed" 40 hours a week, I may get 20-25 sometimes. Needless to say, these cuts have meant financial disaster. I'm caught up for now, but I won't be if they mess with my hours again.

We also don't get breaks at my work (which is actually not illegal), and a couple of co-workers and I have offered solutions to this so we can get away from the phones for a bit during our shifts. My "supervisor" says, "There's just no other way to do it," which I have again translated into smart-person speak: "I don't have the brain capacity to figure out how to do that." In talking to the company's founders about these issues, I have offered solutions and offered to handle the schedule and breaks myself (with the help of another co-worker), but they don't do it. It shows how much they truly do not value us.

My current "supervisor" will only hire people who will suck up to her, so needless to say, they need to be be pretty meek and dumb (some of my co-workers and I lovingly call them the "B-squad"). The newer veterinary technicians, for some reason, have been assigned to handle the most difficult cases that require skills in emergency medicine, fast thinking, and confidence. Because these sheeple have no confidence in either talking to people or in assessing even the simplest exposure, they are a lot slower on the phone. They ask me about almost every one of their cases. So not only am I handling a lot more cases than a lot of my co-workers (often 40-50% more cases), I'm ultimately handling their cases, too. This gets extremely tiring by the end of day.

It now goes in our permanent record if one of those yelling-screaming-swearing-threatening-nut
bag callers complains to management. Even if they are 100% in the wrong, we get reprimanded. The middle management seems to believe that if our "customer service" skills are excellent, then no caller will ever get angry or complain. We're asked how we could have "handled it better." I guess the response of, "Well, let's see, I could get a time machine. Then I could go back to the time before the caller's parents met, prevent them from conceiving, therefore preventing the a-hole from being born in the first place. Then they could never get a dog that they can't take care of, only to yell at me for charging for our service, which clearly proves that I don't care about animals," probably wouldn't go over well. We didn't used to worry about crazy callers, because we knew our company would support us. Now, we cringe when we hear anyone complains, because we know that middle management is going to ask us to reflect on the call and try to "think of ways to do it differently in the future." I suppose not picking up the phone in the first place would be a really good start. Whereas our company used to operate on respect and open communication, the middle management is trying to run it on intimidation and dictatorship. The problem is, they are too weak and dumb for me to take them seriously. Instead of being intimidated, I'm just pissed off. I used to be so proud of what I do, but the middle management has made sure that we can't feel that way any more. They don't set up our workplace so we can be successful any more, it is set up to try our best to avoid mistakes (most of which are beyond our control, such as crazy callers).

The biggest recent change is that I've become so apathetic that it is really starting to affect my performance. It's not that the way I talk to callers is different, but I'm no longer a caring individual helping each caller individually. I'm a machine churning out cases as fast as possible to pick up the slack for my co-workers, counting down the seconds until my shift is over. I feel like I'm no good at my job when I don't care. It's become very clear that my company is not only not going to get better, it will continue to get worse. Since my company has made it clear that they don't care, then why should I care? I'm tired of feeling like crying at work. I'm tired of crying when I leave work, after working for 8 hours without a break and then still being there late because we're understaffed (of course, we're just reminded that we're "not being efficient enough with our time"). It is really too bad that the company's founders are making no attempts to *actually* change things, because they've turned a job that I used to care about into one where I simply count down the days to my next paycheck. The fine line between exhaustion and total apathy has been crossed. There was a point a few months ago where I was thinking that I'd rather be dead than keep doing this job. I have never had that kind of thought because of a job. That was the true signal that my job is very, very bad.

"Oh, you hate your job? Why didn't you say so? There's a support group for that. It's called EVERYBODY, and they meet at the bar."
-Drew Carey

Wow, that's a whole lotta whining. When I sat down to write this, I didn't realize what a list of cons would pour forth. It wasn't meant to be a whine-fest nor to sound so angry and be so long, but I'm going to leave it. If I start to think, "Oh, maybe it's not that bad," I need to come back and see this. The sad thing is, I can't think of any pros to my job, other than my paycheck. Even the grateful callers don't touch me the way they used to. I'm so bitter and apathetic that their words don't sink in. That makes me sad. I love animals, I love helping people...I want to care. My workplace has made that impossible, so it's time to get a job where I can be the caring person I want to be. I've spent a lot of time convincing myself that maybe it is just me, but seeing it written out tells the truth: it's not me, it's them. I've procrastinated and have put my life on hold long enough. I deserve to care again. For whatever reason, working through my problems on SparkPeople has produced results, whether it be weight loss, finances, or living a more fulfilled life, so I'm going to let the magic work on my job situation.

I graduated with a self-designed Bachelor's degree in kinesiology and psychology last December. My original intention was to go to school for a Master of Public Health in Community Health Education, but I just can't justify accumulating any more debt for education. I have used this as an excuse to not pursue a different job. I've come across jobs for which I would be qualified to apply for with my degree, but quickly dismiss it with the thought of, "I'm sure I wouldn't get it anyways." I've come across a range of jobs in health and wellness, and even healthcare organization, that seem interesting. I need to start aggressively applying for them.

I knew I wanted to get certified as a personal trainer, too, and I have all of the materials. Although I am aiming to get a job in wellness and health education, I know having personal trainer certification would be an asset and open a lot of doors for me. Between preparing for and taking the exam and the daunting task of applying for jobs, I've gone through the excuses:

*Registering for the exam is expensive.
*Studying is time-consuming.
*No one will hire me while I'm still overweight.
*Changing jobs is scary.
*Looking for jobs is hard work.
*What if I look like I don't know what I'm doing?
*Changing jobs is hard.
*What if the world ends because I changed jobs?

Each excuse ticks away more minutes of my life that I should be using to pursue my dreams. I need to stop glancing at my personal trainer materials and think, "I'll get to that...eventually..." I need to stop listening to friends telling me, "You'd be so good at helping people turn their lives around," and then think, "I'll get to that...eventually..." I need to stop coming across a job that looks interesting, and set it aside thinking, "I'll get to that...eventually..." I need to put a stop to the excuses and stop thinking, "I'll get to that...eventually..."

This shows the disastrous consequences of putting things off, so I better get started:

“If I have the belief that I can do it, I shall surely acquire the capacity to do it even if I may not have it at the beginning.”
-Mahatma Ghandi

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PAMELA6289 8/2/2011 12:40PM

  Wow. Thanks for hitting me over the head with my own procrastination on the job hunting front! I'm right there with you.

It's easy for me to see the error in your thinking when you don't think you'll get hired or you don't think you have the time for job hunting or getting certified, but not so easy to see the error in my thinking when I think the same.

Thanks for once again holding up the mirror, Erin! You rock my world!

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GEMINIAN1 7/25/2011 2:45PM

    'I've been putting off writing a blog about procrastination' emoticon
You laughed so hard you had a stomach ache??? At work???
How awesome is that?
Oh wait ... there's more.

Yuck to the erratic schedule; how are you supposed to plan your life?

Love the translation into "smart-person speak" ... too true.
I've had experiences with that.
I'm not liking what you have to say about management expecting you guys to have some sort of "magical control" over the callers.
I've had jobs where I'm counting down the seconds until the day is over; for me, it's time to go ... when it's to that point.
Yes, yes, yes, I hear you; when they don't care it IS *very* hard to care.
You're not alone (((hugs)))
Could they put anymore stuff off on you?
The mad callers, the schedules, the understaffed?

Changing jobs is scary / hard?
Where you're working at is scary hard.
No one will hire you ... hog wash I say, total hog wash.

My advice would be, "What's the harm in trying?"

Is this the Blog that you were talking about that's making you set your Page to "private"? I'm asking because I don't see anything "wrong" / "out of line" or whatever with it? What happened? I'm confused.

Hang in there, lots of love and hugs coming your way ... :-)

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KKINNEA 7/25/2011 12:48PM

    This all sounds tough but I know you can start chipping away at some of the stuff you need to move on with those small steps - you can do it!

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HEALTHYL1 7/25/2011 12:29PM

    This reminds me a lot of how I felt about my old job. I kept telling myself any job is going to have its bad sides, but this job was making me so unhappy! I finally quit about 5 months ago, and am a lot happier at my new job. It still is a job, but I don't dread going there like my other job. I worked in a hospital lab and we got a lot of the same bad middle management issues. I can't believe I worked there for 5 years! They also don't care that over half the staff has quit over the last few years. When you feel like your job is making you miserable, it probably is! Time to get a new job!

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PAMMY222 7/24/2011 1:43PM

    emoticon for getting that off your chest! How cleansing!
I have also been in that situation; hired by a fabulous manager who required we work as adults and treated us accordingly. Then she moved to another department (oh, no) and a "middle manager" was put in charge of our little group! What a little nazi! A little power really went to his head! He not only wanted us to do our jobs, but wanted us to work hard at making him look good! What a crock of s*&!.
It does take a lot of courage to make a huge change like a full-time job/career. Please stop beating yourself up about procrastinating, take small steps! emoticon
emoticon I also agree with the others about being a personal trainer. You walk the walk, not just talk the talk. I would hire you too.
Good luck!

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EMRANA 7/23/2011 8:50PM

  It's not whining, my dear. It's valid. I read every word and I am sorry you're dealing with this.

I don't even know what to comment on first. So many deal breakers in one job! The worst to me is incompetence. A situation does NOT have to remain toxic just because someone doesn't have the ability to do their job. I've worked with people like that, and it seems that the higher the incompetence, the worse the micro-management. It's like they're paranoid someone will discover how unskilled they are, so they keep making issues out of everyone else's performance to keep the focus there instead. Ugh.

I also hear you about the hours being cut. I think it's great that you have alternative career plans, that will definitely help for the long term, but for now, I think whatever you can do to get out of that toxic place is an improvement. If you can't even count on a regular paycheck, there's really no reason to stay and add that stress too. Even if you took a pay cut temporarily on a full time salary, it's better that than not knowing how many hours you have next week. That's already a pay cut. My husband has been going through that since February and it's obnoxious.

Sending you emoticon and understanding.

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APED7969 7/23/2011 6:48PM

    Having worked at a vet tech (or nurse as we call them here) I know how crap a job it can be. You have to put up with sh*t from the clients and sh*t from the vets. And since you're doing poison control everyone is in a panic. I can't stand when people are in a panic, it doesn't help them, me or their pets. In fact it usually slows things down because I have to get them to stop freaking out. Anyway if I were you and had a degree to do a job I really wanted to do I would be applying for every single possible job I could possibly apply for. And if there aren't a lot of jobs that you want coming up because your current job is that crap I would also be applying for any better or similar paying vet tech job at clinics in the area because there is a good chance they could have some positives like better coworkers or management even if they aren't exactly the job you want right now.

I would line that job up and then I would quit your current job with minimal notice. Prior to leaving your current job I would also let the appropriate workplace authorities know about the fact your current workplace doesn't allow breaks. I would do this because I can be slightly spiteful and would love to give a bad workplace a final F you. That and I really think it is wrong and surely has lead to less than ideal advice for pet owners and that makes me a bit sad.

Now that I've told you how I would live your life I would also say I would definately hire an overweight personal trainer. I would expect them to be able to keep up with the workouts they suggest but would not care if they were overweight. I think I'd much prefer that to the super fit scary looking ones.

Good luck in finding a new job! Work is not supposed to be like that. Looking for a new job is hard work but sticking in a crappy one is a lot harder.

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JENNSWIMS 7/23/2011 4:59PM

    Your job sounds sucktacular. Mind you, this is coming from someone whose job sometimes entails watching people die, so when I say that, your job is BAD.

First, I would totally hire an overweight personal trainer with a brain over the skinny total nimrods that my gym hires as "experts" in personal training. What a joke.

I'm always a big fan of education, even thought it is expensive. Just make sure the pay at the end justifies the expense. An MPH could very well justify the expense. Does your area have any of the NP programs where you become an RN during the process? That would be awesome.

I don't think you should let your current weight deter you from personal training. After all, you are just going to get smaller. Lack of time, sure. Lack of money, sure. Pounds? No way.

I hate to admit it, but this blog made me LOL. Not at your pain, but the descriptions of the asshattery were delightful. Time for a new job!

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KRAWRS 7/23/2011 4:14PM

    Wow. I could have written this blog myself. These words especially were relevant for me: "It now goes in our permanent record now if one of those yelling-screaming-swearing-threaten
ing-nutbag callers complains to management. Even if they are 100% in the wrong, we get reprimanded. The middle management seems to believe that if our "customer service" skills are excellent, then no caller will ever get angry or complain. "

I have been doing a similar line of thinking. I have been doubting... it seems the past few jobs, I get really fed up after about 1.5 years and want to quit. So I think, is it just me? Do I get bored or something? Then I realize that I've kept jobs for 5 years, 6 years, and if it weren't for there not being enough work, I have one job in particular I would have been doing for more! Then I realize that no, its not just me, the job and I just aren't working out. Working in customer service in the healthcare field has made me less compassionate in the same way you have become apathetic, even towards the grateful callers. That's not me... and that's not you. Something needs to change.

I've been passively looking for something new too. I hope we both find it... and do go after what you think will make you happy! You deserve it!

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LEIGHHANNAH 7/23/2011 4:01PM

    I hear you. A bad manager can completely cause major dysfunction in an organization if there are no checks and balances to keep them behaving. Ive seen it happen over and over. Luckily in my job, managers are usually on their way up to somewhere else, so the worst have only stayed a year or two. Leaving a job is hard. You'll know when you've hit your limit. Good luck to you.

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KAY-SUPREME 7/23/2011 3:57PM

    I can relate to this 100% -- and I'm as fed up with things as you are. I've recently begun submitting my resume to various places and have hopes of going back to school for some of the same things you're talking about.

It's scary, but we have to be happy. Otherwise, we'll end up in the bar with everybody else who doesn't have the balls to change things.

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ANDREA409 7/23/2011 3:47PM

    Personal trainer?? DO IT. How awesome, girl!

When I was a vet tech, the environment where I worked was much like you described. I had finally found a job where we were all respected and got along. Not easy to do in an all-female bunch. They became my family, and I loved those women.

A year into it, new management took over, and we lost all that we had fostered. It became about money, as it tends to do in business, and less about animal care. I started having bad, bad anxiety and dreaded going to work. Everytime a client came in or the phone rang, I braced myself for a battle. We were all on edge.

I was the second to leave. Since then everyone else has left except one. Sometimes it upsets me that we had to be broken apart in that way, but I took it as an opportunity to better myself. I went back to college and got my 2nd degree (in biology). I know now beyond a shadow of a doubt that I want to work in science. Can't imagine doing anything else. So, for me, it turned out to be a good thing. Even though I still miss that family like crazy, and it's three years later.

Comment edited on: 7/23/2011 3:50:06 PM

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    After years and years of not wanting to finish my bachelor's degree (my original degree was Liberal Arts - Theater; educated to be unemployed :) ), I finally bit the bullet and will now be working toward my bachelor's degree in Accounting, so I totally understand procrastination.

It is the absolute worst when a job you love turns bad. That happened to me in my job before my last one. I was so miserable, but I couldn't quit because my husband wasn't working. When I got laid off, I was upset at first, but soon realized what a weight was lifted off my shoulders.

In this economy, it is much easier to find work if you are still employed - so even in a miserable situation, it's making you a more attractive prospect.

I wish you well in your search!!

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BECKY3774 7/23/2011 2:53PM

    WoW!! I hope that you feel better now. You obviously needed to vent, because that is a lot to keep bottled up. I commend you for sticking with it until you find something more worthwhile, and I'll be thinking of you and keeping my fingers crossed that you'll find a new, exciting, rewarding career that will make you happy! emoticon

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Why shouldn't I eat the cake?

Friday, July 22, 2011

I don't ask myself that question very often.

Every month, my work gets a huge cake to celebrate everyone who has a birthday that month. I can usually take or leave cake, but chocolate cake with chocolate frosting is one of my favorite foods. This month, they got a beautiful chocolate cake with fudge frosting and chocolatey buttercream filling. It had bright flowers adorning the fudge frosting. It was an impeccable cake. I walked past it while at work, watching it whittle away as people kept eating it. I wanted a piece. Not the whole cake, which was how I used to feel, but just a piece. I kept telling myself "no" because I hadn't planned on eating the cake today. Although I usually have something sweet every day, I normally avoid eating "unplanned" foods. But then it dawned on me: I almost never eat cake. I have almost 600 calories left for the day. I really enjoy it, and I don't want it just because it's there. So why shouldn't I have a piece?

I made a fresh pot of coffee, cut a corner piece with lots of frosting (you know, the piece you used to fight siblings for as a kid), and took the cake and coffee to my desk. Of course the phone started ringing when I sat down, but I didn't shovel the cake down during the brief periods between calls. I waited for a lull, sipped my coffee, and let each bite almost melt in my mouth. It was perfection. I loved every single bite, and I didn't want any more. The old feeling of wanting to continue to eat everything else in sight was not triggered.

An old picture of me going after a chocolate cake.

I have learned I don't always have to tell myself "no." "No" can be just as naughty as "can't." Why should I always say "no"? If it is a food I truly enjoy, I should just have some. It's not the same as the mindless grazing on foods that aren't that great. I also won't sit there obsessing about how I want something, only to end up eating everything in sight except that particular food. So why shouldn't I eat the cake? Why shouldn't I have some chocolate every day, or ice cream on a hot day? My sweet tooth seems to have been tempered by learning to just say "YES!" every once in a while.

Heck yes, I spent 500 calories on a Buster Bar!

But Dugan helped me finish it. Good dog!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PAMELA6289 8/2/2011 12:34PM

  I Love this: "No can be just as naughty as can't"

Awesome wisdom, and I'm a sucker for frosting too! Sometimes I'll just eat the frosting off the cake. Yum!!

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GEMINIAN1 7/25/2011 2:21PM

    I love how you talk about not wanting to eat the whole cake anymore and that you didn't hurry up and eat it, you waited until you could enjoy it, you even made some coffee.
I just loved this Blog.
It shows the differences that may seem small; but, they're really huge.
I got a emoticon out of the description you put under that T-Rex!!!
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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ANATASHIKI 7/23/2011 6:55AM

    you did very good , I don't eat sweets usually but when I really crave them , or salty things I eat some because otherwise I'll spend all my time thinking at that food and end by eating the whole box of chocolate instead of some little pieces . and if it doesn't fit in my calorie range I do extra cardio or eat less the next few days( that's a trick from a nutrition spark quiz) so the week's calorie total would stay the same. this should be fun, not prison for life. forbidding yourself things you love is also an unhealthy relationship with food.
emoticon emoticonkori

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HIKINGSD 7/23/2011 3:58AM


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    You definitely CAN have your cake and eat it too! emoticon

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GETFIT2LIVE 7/22/2011 6:31PM

    You got it! Learning when to say 'yes' is as important as when to say 'no' to food. It's called being a grown-up when it comes to food--there are no off-limits food for me any more. Mmm, chocolate cake, sounds mighty good right now!

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CORDIA72 7/22/2011 5:11PM

    Way to go!

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ESILBO 7/22/2011 3:48PM


TODAY, emoticon

Comment edited on: 7/22/2011 3:49:11 PM

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SKYFROG 7/22/2011 12:30PM

    Hot days do need something to keep us cool- that's why God made Otter Pops!


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KRAWRS 7/22/2011 11:41AM

    You did this JUST RIGHT. Weight loss isn't about deprivation, it's about moderation and control. Taking control over your own destiny! So yes, eat some cake! Just not ALL the cake and not ALL the time and not just because its there. Beautiful!

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PAMNANGEL 7/22/2011 11:10AM

    Good girl!

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IFDEEVARUNS2 7/22/2011 11:01AM

    If I couldn't have foods I love in moderation, I couldn't do this. Dark chocolate, cheese, wine, but just a little.
Job well done! emoticon

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CAALAN23 7/22/2011 10:16AM

    To not have the foods we love is punishment and no one willingly puts up with punishment for too long. Not a lasting situation there.

LOL, I'm trying to decide if Dugan looks a bit like T-Rex. Maaaybe!


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FREECANDY 7/22/2011 10:12AM

    Yes, I could not agree more. When I start cutting out everything that I love, that's when I start to struggle. My motto has become "I can have whatever I want, but I can't have as much as I want whenever I want it."

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PRANA_DANCER 7/22/2011 9:42AM

    You aren't realistically going to go the rest of your life without cake. I think you made a great and mentally healthy decision to allow yourself a portion and to savor every bite!

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TAICHIDANCER 7/22/2011 9:40AM

    Exactly! We're not dieting, we're changing our lives. So all things in moderation. Good for you.

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LISADAVIDSON68 7/22/2011 9:37AM

    Isn't it exciting to feel in control? Good for you.

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ELOMBARDI- 7/22/2011 9:06AM

    I love the dinosaur picture! I laughed really loudly at work, which confused a few people, haha. But you're 100% right!

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MERRYCAKES 7/22/2011 8:31AM

    Love it! That photo of the dinosaur reminds me of me, hehe. I need to steal that strategy! :)

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MARVEEME 7/22/2011 7:57AM

    You gave me, and my husband, our belly laugh per day. Thanks for this post. He was wondering why I wasn't paying full attention to him, until I read your description of the cake......then when I showed him your Buster Bar pictures, we both had a laugh.


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BILL60 7/22/2011 6:41AM

    Well done. You make us proud.

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ABB698 7/22/2011 5:00AM

    Everything in moderation, that's how we have our cake and eat it too! :) My weakness is Carrot Cake emoticon

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WILDLOTUS16 7/22/2011 4:58AM

    You are right. It's ok to indulge!!!

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AMPERSANDWICH 7/22/2011 4:33AM

    I loved reading that this well-deserved treat DIDN'T trigger you to want all the food everywhere forever... that's the point I can't wait to get to. When I can have delicious moments with my old favorites and not have it lead down the rabbit hole of ravenous desire for more more more. You are awesome, keep it up!

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LIOCORO 7/22/2011 4:08AM

    Mhm ... that cake sounds delicious. I bet I would've taken a piece, too ;) And your picture of the "old you" made me laugh, seriously. :D Dugan looks like he enjoys having a sweet tooth, too!

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DMT1956 7/22/2011 3:45AM

    you are doing great

tracking and planning


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Huh? I said WHAT?

Thursday, July 21, 2011

A vet tech friend of mine had worked with a bird rescue, and needless to say, the birds were not always coming out of the best situations. There was a beautiful Macaw that became homeless after its owners were arrested for running a meth lab in their house, and the bird was surrendered to the rescue group. To the owners' credit, the bird was in fantastic shape. The parrot did not have any health problems and they had actually taken care of him, unlike so many of the birds that came to the rescue. However, the bird had picked up many choice phrases from being in the environment he was in. The parrot would cheerfully bob its head, piping in with, “Are you clean? Are you clean?”, “Where's the s**t?”, "Gimme the money first," “Where'd you park the car?”

Makes me wonder a bit what comes out of my mouth without me even realizing it. After reading LIFEASAFATGIRL's blog yesterday about fat friends who are saboteurs, I started to think hard about whether I even know what I'm saying half the time. I have been on both sides of being fat and lean, and have spent most of it on the fat side. Since I've never had friends who are just eating buddies, I don't feel like my direct circle of friends has saboteurs. The biggest thing I've learned throughout the past couple of years is that a saboteur is a saboteur; if they're bashing weight loss, they've probably been bashing other things for a long time. Weight loss is often accompanied by greater wisdom in our lives, and I believe we just start to notice these jerks when they start to nay-say our efforts. These are people who probably never think before they speak. They should win not only a "Thanks for trashing my weight loss!" award, they probably also deserve a "Wow, you're a total baboon's ass!" award.

We'll see how it goes this time around. I am a lot more guarded about with whom I discuss this journey, so I am much less open to saboteurs. My close friends and family members know I am losing weight and about SparkPeople (although most do not know about my SparkPage), but I don't have any more toxic people who are close to me who are going to try to sabotage my efforts, whether by giving unsolicited "advice" or by being mean. I have made a point to be pretty distant from most of my co-workers, which is really the only inescapable group of saboteurs I have in my life. I still fend off toxic co-workers who seem to think they are my friends, despite the fact that I've essentially told them to their faces that they are not. They haven't been saboteurs about weight loss because I refuse to discuss it with them, but they make some of the most eye-rolling comments sometimes. A few weeks ago I had asked if anyone could cover a shift because I was asked by my boxing coach to be the time-keeper at a kickboxing tournament. One of my co-workers-who-thinks-they're-a-friend asked what I needed the day off for, and I told him. He started laughing. I asked, "Sorry, is that funny?" His reply was, "No, that's just really cool, and I can't picture you doing anything cool." Dude, go back to the schoolyard, you're not coming near me.

Sometimes people are more direct about trying to ruin weight loss. I had a co-worker at my last job who had seemed to feel downright betrayed that I had lost weight. She treated me worse and worse as I lost weight. At one point, she had remarked, "Us big girls need to stick together." She was such a toxic person that I was not friends with her, but if she had been my friend, I wouldn't have cared what she weighed or what I weighed. Apparently it mattered a lot to her, though. I guess is she was too shallow too accept me being thin, then I'm glad I never let her get too close.

I have a theme amongst my group of friends, and that is that no one is neurotic about their bodies. I suppose this has been a good influence on me, since our lives don't revolve around trying to look a certain way, and therefore I've never learned that my worthiness as a friend is based on my body size. One of my best friends, Kacy, is tall (almost 6 feet) and gorgeous. She is also my "sexy friend." She exudes self-confidence and has great fashion sense. She has always helped supervise my shopping, whether I've been fat or lean, because she helps me pick out clothes that actually look good on me. I've gotten most of my dating advice from her. Our relationship is not based on being fat or thin, it is based on who we really are.

Me (in grey shirt) and my girl Kacy a few years ago.

I realize on the other hand that I don't have the right to be the mean friend, either. Since I've tried to be conscientious of how I treat others, having been bullied for a lot of my life, I certainly hope that I have not been that toxic person. I suppose it's very possible that words have just spewed from my mouth without my brain's prior knowledge. Since I have friends who are very open, they would just call me out on it right away if I ever did say anything stupid, and for that I thank them. I will never hold my friends to some kind of standard, and I now have friends who treat me in kind.

I am extremely lucky to have my group of true friends who accept me for who I am, and I hope I return the sentiment. Weight related or not, real friends love us for US, not for who they think we should be. I may not always know what I'm saying, but I try not to just parrot other people. I try to think about what I say to others, and I also think about what is coming out of their mouths. And if what's coming out is something stupid, then they can cheerfully go on saying dumb things...just not to me.

Thanks to LIFEASAFATGIRL for getting me thinking. If you haven't checked out LIFEASAFATGIRL's blog, she is fantabulous!:

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PAMELA6289 8/2/2011 12:32PM

  You have never been anything other than a wonderful, sensitive, supportive friend, silly girl!

Yay for recognizing and kicking the toxic azzhats to the curb! You go, girl!!

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UTMIZ_2000 7/24/2011 10:04AM

    Abusive coworkers suck the life out of you. I'm glad you have a healthy mental attitude and are keeping them at arm's length while you look for a new postion.

The macaw could have a career at a comedy club. So glad it was in good health.

Thanks for sharing all this with us. Somewhere here on SP someone needed to hear this.

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SUNPANTHER 7/23/2011 2:00AM

    I wish I could click on 'like' 20 times!

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ABB698 7/22/2011 3:07AM

    The Macaw is hilarious and I'm even more impressed you took a look at yourself from something as simple as where a birds dialect comes from. :) Kudos to you for ridding the toxic people. Sometimes that's hard when the toxic people are family (which is a current struggle for me). I've given up talking about SP with these particular family members (Not in my household, dh and kiddos are my biggest supporters) and just have to bite my tongue when I watch them load their plates with sodium and sugar and preservatives, and know that there are LOTS of people out there that ARE proud of me for succeeding on my journey and more importantly, I feel healthy and happy so they can take their negativity and add it to their own plates because I'm rubber and they're glue....HAHAHA :) Point is, you rock. Thanks for saying it like it is and good on ya for sticking with winners like Kacy and us awesome SParkers! :)
Have a fab Friday!!

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GEMINIAN1 7/22/2011 1:15AM

    No way! I hit "I Liked This Blog!" *before* I clicked "Post Comment" and I totally deleted my comments in doing that. Bogus.

I would totally adopt that Macaw; seriously.
If he didn't have a name, I'd name him some famous Gangster name.

Sorry to hear about the BS from co-workers; like there isn't enough BS from the job in and of itself?

Nobody knows about me and SP, except for my DH.
emoticon Blog.
emoticon Picture.
emoticon take that saboteurs.
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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HIKINGSD 7/22/2011 1:02AM

    Great blog! Eliminating toxic people from our life's make our life's that much richer. Good for you.

I would like to state my opionion about sharing concerns with friends. IMO if a friend is hurting themselves (whether it's drugs, alcohol, smoking or food) I will say something. It would be done in a caring and compassionate way, but I will say something. To me, if I did not say something I would not be a friend.

Congrats on your progess emoticon

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FANGFACEKITTY 7/21/2011 7:41PM

    Great blog & so true. I think we all come to that realization at some point in our journeys and start removing the toxic "friends" - and sometimes family - from our lives. Until we do we can't really leave our old habits and selves behind.

And thank you for sharing the link to LIFASAFATGIRL's blog, it was very good.

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WILDLOTUS16 7/21/2011 6:57PM

    That macaw would make me lol. As for the blog you posted, it's true. No one should have to be subjected to sabatage but sometimes we need to cut out those people who do that and not just talk to them and say hey that's not cool. Some people dont understand and they never will. About your prior coworker who was angry with for losing weight. Ummm what the heck...I cant imagine a "Friend" Doing that. Obviously she has deep issues in her self that need to be adressed. Anyway this was a great blog, Kudos. :)


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LEONALIONESS 7/21/2011 4:22PM

    I would say the only time a real friend can comment on weight is if their friend is OBVIOUSLY suffering from an ED to the point where they are visibly, painfully emaciated and ill or showing the emotionally and mental symptoms of severe calorie restriction. If a friend is showing symptoms of an ED, I think it's completely appropriate to speak to them and try to help.

I say this as someone who is struggling with EDNOS and I know my friends wouldn't hesistate to say something if I started to look skeletal or was obviously sick/killing myself or if I go back to being so unhappy and so mentally ill.

But otherwise, yeah, it doesn't matter one bit what my friends weigh. As long as they feel comfortable with themselves and are happy, it's all good. (And yeah, those with EDs are neither of those things and that's also why I think it's okay to step in in those instances).

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LETTINGGO85 7/21/2011 2:44PM

    great blog -- For me the only person in my day to day life that knows about my weight loss is my BF. It is not that they wouldn't be supportive (they would). But having everyone know just adds added pressure for me, easier to let people see the loss than be participants.

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FREECANDY 7/21/2011 2:41PM

    I'm with you. Sometimes I read about the horrible friends that people have and I realize how lucky I am. I don't have any saboteurs or toxic/mean friends (or family). Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that I don't know any assholes because I certainly do, but they're on the fringes of my life and that's where they'll stay.

As far as discussing my weight loss, I really don't do it much outside of SP. I'll tell my boyfriend when I have a particularly successful day at the gym or when I reach a weight milestone and if someone asks me if I've lost weight/how much I've lost I will tell them, but that's pretty much it.

Comment edited on: 7/21/2011 2:41:58 PM

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BRDGT262 7/21/2011 2:10PM

    Love this blog, I pretty much relate to everything you have said about true friendship and the people I choose to talk to and be friends with. There are some ignorant people out there! And you are right if that girl was getting upset cause you were losing weight, she was just being jealous, and if she thinks you should stay the size you are to make herself feel better, WHATEVER!!! You seem to really make some smart choices when it comes to friendship, your friends are so lucky to have you in their lives!!! Cute picture! :) Oh and the birds words...that is just messed up!!!!

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CAALAN23 7/21/2011 12:19PM

    LOL @ the poor macaw. Very interesting.

It's always amazing to me the people who will say mean things or actually sabotage someone trying to do better. I can understand feelings of being left behind but that is a personal choice. They could choose to follow along and do something for themselves instead of bringing people back to rock bottom. Very selfish.

Glad you have a solid support system through this. Keep up the great work and intuitive blogs.

Have a great day!

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THREADS3 7/21/2011 12:10PM

    Our family has done parrot rescue in past years. Had to do a lot of travelling...

Our temp is now 90 degrees and rising...the macaws are all healthy, happy and mouthy! They all speak perfect english...I sometimes hold up the phone to our lead talker Max(ine) whenever bill collectors would call they would get so frustrated with her! "Hello...! Hello!! Hello!" Maxine would yell into the phone. The bill collectors STILL haven't figured Maxine out yet!! LOL

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