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I think there comes a time (this is going to be long)...

Thursday, June 20, 2013

When we all need to re-evaluate our lives and figure out where we're going and what we're doing.

For the last three years, my job has given me some of the most amazing experiences. I've interviewed athletes, mingled with politicians, and gotten access to things I would have never done if it weren't for my job. Without my job, I wouldn't have met and interviewed 1996 Olympian Dominique Mocceanu or gotten to cut in line to ride the newest roller coaster on opening day. I also would have paid for the handful of galas I've been to, concerts I've seen, and plays I've reviewed. There have been some amazing perks. However, my job doesn't pay the bills. I live in one of the more expensive places in the country, making my salary almost equivalent to minimum wage. There isn't much separating me from low-income housing. When I first started my job, it was OK. Then the rent hikes began and slowly but surely, my area was no longer affordable. When I first started my job, I was working so many hours on nights and weekends that I was able to take Fridays off. But, when the rent started changing, my hours started changing. I began working as many hours as I could - almost every night, every weekend and every holiday. I took on a second job (chronicled in my last blog) to fill in the gap. My job then switched how they paid me - to help them out. It ended up being a tax nightmare for me, but I continued. I love what I do.

The weight change came on slowly. A pound here and a pound there. Five pounds turned into ten, and ten turned to twenty. Eventually, I was sixty over my 2010 weight, which wasn't that low to begin with. I tried to make time. I tried to make it work. I broke my ankle - a setback.

My job anniversary is just under a month away. I haven't gotten a raise - just that reformatted payment schedule that allows me to pay my rent, but requires me to put in at least sixty hours a week. I have no balance between work and life. It takes a toll.

Before I can do anything - attend a birthday party, drive the six hours to see my parents, clean my apartment - I need to check my schedule. I live life by my planner. I also am involved with a handful of non-profits, most of which require a minimal time commitment, but one chips away at the little free time I have. I'm getting great skills - useful skill - however, it leaves minimal time for me.

Lately, I've been trying to get active more. A new wardrobe is pretty expensive and I see it as almost easier to try and get the weight off than to figure out where to find the funding for clothes. Last weekend was one of the few and far between weekends where I had only a few places to be. I worked out both days and it felt great. Then Monday hit. I was at an event Monday night, had a meeting Tuesday night, and was at another event Wednesday night. There was no time to get a real workout in (I could have done ten minutes, but I'm one of those people who doesn't want to half-ass a workout). It is now Thursday...and I'm free. Friday I'm free, too. But, I'll be busy from Saturday through Saturday and there won't be much, if any, time.

I've been looking at my schedule...staring at it, and hoping something will change - obviously, it won't. So, I've been thinking. It's time to move on.

There were some incidents that happened late last year where I thought things would change at my job -- they didn't. It's really been time to move on since I asked for a raise after my first year, and was denied - they told me I was doing a great job though and they were happy to have me (of course, doesn't every company like having hard-working slaves that they can get away with underpaying and overworking?). I clung to my job. When the first set of incidents happened just after my first year, I should have gotten the hint - nothing changes. I didn't. I also wanted to stay for at least two years. The ankle break happened a week before my two-year anniversary. I was stuck until I healed.

I toyed with the idea of leaving. I shopped my resume some. Early in the year I got two calls back. One for a freelance writing gig that didn't pan out because they wouldn't send me a contract (I refused to work without one) and the other one went with another candidate. I was OK with that. Slightly disappointed, but I didn't feel a real connection with either job. A couple of weeks later I got a call, but they didn't call me in for an interview (I must have accidentally ruled myself out during the phone screening). I had another interview, but think I botched the roundtable part. I didn't get that job. I had another phone interview a month later, went in, but wasn't chosen. I didn't feel that job was a good fit so I was relieved. But things (sarcasm: shockingly) didn't get better at the office. In fact, they got worse.

In the last couple of months I've shopped my resume more frequently. There was one job that initially seemed promising. I had a phone interview - it was supposed to be twenty minutes, but we talked for forty. I went in for an interview. The interviewer had to go to a graduation so he cut it short. I wasn't feeling the job and didn't send a thank you letter. He called me back for a second interview anyway. I went for a second interview two weeks ago. They mentioned a third interview (are you kidding me?!?!). I agreed but was losing my patience. Again, I didn't send a thank you letter. They never called back.

A couple of weeks ago I found a couple of jobs I was pretty interested in. Surprisingly, I got calls on both, with the "you do live here, right?" comment (my phone number hasn't changed since I moved and I never thought it would be a problem). The first one required a pre-screening phone interview. I passed. They scheduled an in person interview for today at 3:30, which actually worked out for my schedule and didn't require me to take too much time off work (the job is in the city -- the other city). A couple of hours later, I get a call back and they need to reschedule for Friday - no later than 2:30. I protested (respectfully) and was told no. I agreed to 2:30. I was then told, after I agreed, that 2 worked better for them. Seriously?!?! I had made it clear I needed something first thing in the morning or as late in the day as possible. They were not being accommodating. I was also told there would be a writing test and a panel interview and that I would be there for two hours. Really? They waited until that moment to tell me these things? I was angry. I didn't know how I was going to get the time off - I still don't and I may not be able to go (you can only get away with saying "doctor's appointment" so many times). But, it was a call back.

Today the other job called me back. They want me to come in - at 2 p.m. - next week. At least they have a better reason. One of the people conducting the interview works in their mid-west office and 2 is the latest interview she can be part of. I get that.

Based on the job description, I'm more excited about the first job. The second might be a better long-term opportunity. I'm still trying to figure out what I'm going to do. Do to the location of the jobs, I don't necessarily think it will help my work-life balance - I will be driving to and from work for at least an hour each way (compared to my very short commute right now). Although, if I'm getting paid a livable wage, I won't have to work much on the weekends (I may, however, see if I can freelance write for the paper). Of course, if I'm working forty hours a week, commuting at least ten hours a week and writing a handful of articles each month, I'm going to be busy the same amount of time I am now. Will it really allow me the opportunity to get back on the exercise horse the way I feel I need to? I do feel as if I need a change - that's not-negotiable. I just wonder if I'm better off trying to find something closer to give myself the free time I desperately need to get my life in check and my health on track. Looks like I have lots of decisions to make....In the meantime, I'm not going to let this night off go to waste. Time to break out my workout gear.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Thanks BJPENNY70. I'm trying to stay positive.

    Hi Stephanie!!! If I didn't have to be at work at 7 a.m. I would probably workout in the morning. I tried setting my alarm for a half hour earlier (just to try to get something quick in) and I couldn't get out of bed. I need to try and find some motivation there. I even tried walking to work (it's only about 2 miles) but found that I would often get called out on assignments when I didn't have my car so that plan quickly died. My co-worker has totally decent hours. He works 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. (by choice - he takes long lunches). Our office is officially open from 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. I work the hours I do (7-3:30 because I need the full time hours). My co-worker also hardly covers things on the weekends. I work so much because I need to in order to make ends meet. It's why I'm constantly busy. I could easily give some things up to other writers to clear up my schedule, but if I'm not working, I'm not getting paid. Oh, and I write for a small, community newspaper.
    1675 days ago
    Is it time for another field? Maybe newspaper work, even? I'm not sure who you write for. My dad writes for a newspaper and has much more reasonable hours and always has. Roughly 10AM-7PM daily, few weekends and holidays. Maybe that's just a midwest thing though.

    If you have a short commute now, workout in the morning before work? That's often the only way I get it in. My evenings are tied up.
    1675 days ago
    I really feel bad for you. I prayed for you. Something good will come up for you soon. Sometimes good things come to those who have patience and wait. I think you are right in feeling you need a change. Your company doesn't seem to value you enough to give you a raise for the cost of living. A person has to live and it takes money to do that. Keep your chin up and keep trying.
    1676 days ago
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