Monday, October 07, 2013
As soon as my schedule starts to clear, more things get piled on.
I tried to take a couple of weeks to come down from the big event I planned, but I continued to get slammed. The president's father-in-law passed away the morning after the event so she was immediately off to New York for a month, meaning I had to run the foundation in her absence. Considering half the time I have no idea what I'm doing (half the time I think she doesn't have a clue either), I felt like I completely failed. There were bills to get paid, but I couldn't reach the treasurer. Why? His adult daughter is having some major health problems and he was fighting with doctors to get her the care she needed. Outside of the foundation, my workload was piled on with all of the president's work (she's also the associate editor at my job, and she sits through marathon school board meetings - something that I was forced to do while she was gone). On top of school board, I had to do all of the editing at my work alone. Additionally, one of our writers was in Michigan until the end of September so I was picking up extra stories. I was just hoping to get through it all so I could fully recommit once everyone was back. Of course, it didn't happen.
A couple of weeks ago my apartment complex put a notice on my door. Our lease is up in November and we were hoping (rather foolishly) that our rent wouldn't be increased. The first year it went up $350, last year it only went up $50. We were crossing our fingers that it would be an increase that we could find a way to swing. We've already eliminated every non-vital item from our lives. Unfortunately, the increase is $150, something we can't make happen. Even worse, it's considered "under market value." Our combined salaries are not 2.5 times any of the rates in this area and we make just over what would qualify us for low income housing. I figured I would try to combat the increase by writing more since most of the writing I do is outside of my 40/hr/week job, but the editor then hit me with a bombshell. My overtime can't be over $500/month unless there's a valid reason for the increase. $500 each month is literally the minimum we needed to survive prior to the rent increase.
As soon as the associate editor returned, I knew I couldn't get myself back on track. I needed to focus on finding a new job. Each day I've been scouring the Internet, sending out my resume to just about everything I'm somewhat qualified for. To date, I've received one response (and I've rewritten my resume and cover letter a thousand times). I had my interview last week, but was told by a friend (and one of my references who works at a company that works closely with this one) that they will most likely go with an internal candidate and not to get my hopes up. So I didn't/haven't. They will be making a decision on Friday and I'm not holding my breath.
Not too many people know about the inner workings of my office. There is a lot of toxicity there and not everyone pulls their weight - some just float along, getting by and making life difficult for others. At one point two weeks ago, I thought a co-worker was going to get fired. There was a meeting between him, the editor and the publisher. I wasn't eavesdropping, but I could hear some yelling through the wall (I couldn't make out the words, but I wasn't trying either - it was none of my business). What ended up happening was that my co-worker got a month off -- paid. It wasn't an administrative leave. It was more of a forced vacation. I don't quite understand how that works, but no one is talking about it. I was just told that he would be out the month of October and back November 1. Guess what that means? All of his work is now rolled into my work. For the month of October I'm doing the job of two people. I've asked if he was coming back - I ask nearly every day. If he isn't, then I most definitely will push (again) for a raise. They swear he'll be back that Friday. I've absorbed almost all of his writing for the next four weeks. Most of my days this month are booked.
So, I did what anyone in my situation would do. I went back into retail. Of course, I was quickly picked up by a store at the mall. I have great people skills, retail experience, and I communicate well. Them hiring me was a no-brainer, but the question becomes when? When will things start settling down and I can concentrate on me? The next two months are out - I'll be working my full-time job, the part-time job, and whatever overtime I can manage. My time off will be extremely limited and mostly used for writing and sleeping. After January the retail job should slow down some, but the probability of me getting into a routine is slim. I hate that it comes to this, but you have to do what you have to do to survive, right?
I also failed to mention that on top of my job, my overtime, the new job, and the foundation, I also work with four other non-profits. About three of the board members on one of them just quit to pursue other things, but luckily we're not in the midst of planning anything so there isn't much that I have to do right now. Another one requires minimal time. I literally just have to make a couple of Facebook posts a week and they're happy, but the other two...One of them just asked me to be a volunteer manager, and I feel so strongly about the cause that I couldn't say no. I was hoping this wouldn't go into effect until after the holiday season, but it doesn't appear that it will. My animal organization (who I'm currently foster kittens through - another time and money suck on its own) just asked me to help with grant-writing. How do you say no to something you are so unbelievably passionate about? I don't know where to pull the plug. I don't even think I know how to pull the plug on any of them. Quitting makes me feel like a failure and I hate letting people down.
At some point I'll figure this all out. As long as I can maintain some sort of healthy eating habits (I'll admit I've gone totally off the wagon the past couple of weeks), I'll be able to get through the holiday season relatively unscathed. I think that needs to be my focus. Working out is not going to work out. Food is the only thing I can try to control right now. I've been eating like a college kid of late (it's incredibly cheap). I'm definitely open to suggestions on strategies to eat well without spending my last cents at Whole Foods or Trader Joe's. I also don't have much time to cook or prepare food so just about everything needs to be simple and (unfortunately) packaged. I'll get through this. I always do. Hoping for a financial miracle though (it will have to come from Phil it seems).