Of rebels with causes and final farewells

My grandmother, my dad’s mom, officially died on Friday night. On the one hand, it’s sad. She’s the first grandparent to die. On the other hand, it’s a relief. We’d been going back and forth for almost a month. I know it’s been really hard on my dad. I listened to him read and rehearse her eulogy for over a week. I don’t think he knew I could hear him through the door. I sat on the floor and cried, not for me, but for him. As I’ve said, I’m not close to any of my grandparents. But it really hurts to watch someone you love lose someone they love, even if it’s not a surprise.

I won’t be going to the funeral. Originally, I was going to go to support my dad. It would take either a $1500+ round trip plane ticket with a layover each way or an 8 hour drive one way. He told me he didn’t want me to spend that much money and time to travel there and back. I think part of him doesn’t want me to see him upset. If he doesn’t want me to go, then go I won’t.

Friday was difficult for a number of reasons, not the least of which was the announcement of her passing. I’d already planned to take Wednesday off anyway, so I’m going to take tomorrow and Tuesday off as well. I need a little bit of time to regain my bearings after the emotional meat grinder I found myself being fed through repeatedly. It’s one thing to keep getting up and going to work because otherwise I know I’ll just stew. It’s another thing to genuinely need a few extra days to shake myself out of it. A few days to lie on the couch marathoning whatever show is on (Criminal Minds is Mondays and Tuesdays! Woohoo!) and refusing to put on actual pants. It’s better for me to shut my brain down for a few days than trying to keep going and end up sobbing in the bathroom every day just because I can’t take it.

What all of this has done is trigger my rebellious streak. The proverbial cut class, put on clothes my mother wouldn’t approve of, go to the mall, and stand outside smoking. I want to just say “fuck it”, go get another tattoo, ball up all my J.Crew outfits in favor of my old Alexander Hardy dresses (see my profile pic for a reference), and revert back to when I was actually rebelling against everyone and everything, especially in my own head. While that’s all very tempting, it won’t make me feel any better. It’s just like when I would drink myself to the point of falling over. It would feel good at the time, but then the hangover would set in.

No matter how strong a person is, it’s a little difficult to end a 4+ year relationship, be rejected for every single job you’ve applied for in the past year (if you were actually given a formal rejection in the first place), and watch a family member die all in the span of about 6 weeks. It’s hard not to blame myself for two of those three. What could I have done differently to get that job? To make the relationship work? The answer?

Nothing. I can’t control other people (no matter how much I would LOVE to). I did the best I could. I wore the right clothes and gave the right answers in interviews. I put myself out there. I gave what I was able to give. If that wasn’t good enough, that’s not my fault. I know when I’m giving it my best and when I’m not. I half assed something recently and did get called out on it. That was my fault. I knew I wasn’t doing what I’d been told to do to the fullest and best of my abilities. I didn’t want to do it, so I did the bare minimum to get it done. The rebel had already started to sneak out a bit. So we’re all going to take a time out. She can sit there with her feet up on the table, smoking and playing on her phone, then flipping off the camera when someone tries to take a picture. Then it’s time to go home. I guess Hailey has herself a sister now. As if it wasn’t crowded enough in here already. ๐Ÿ˜›

Now time to finish off my leftover sushi from last night and figure out what to marathon next. Catch you on the flip(ping off) side.

XOXO!

Of rejection letters and next contestant please

Today is a “keep your chin up” sort of day. I know these are super First World Problems, but nonetheless:

I was officially rejected from a job I interviewed for a few weeks ago. I can’t say it was a huge surprise. When they didn’t get back to me within a few days, I figured I wasn’t in the running any more. It still stings to see it officially communicated, though. I know I’ve said it before, but I feel stuck. I don’t exactly want to wait around for someone above me to be promoted, retire, or die. When I was promoted last December, my old boss told me not to expect anything for another 2 years (read-end of 2016). It really is a double edged sword. The culture is really great. I’m generally happy with where I work. I’m frustrated because I’ve literally been doing the same thing since they hired me 3+ years ago. I’ve expressed my interest in learning more, but it’s fallen on deaf ears. While they’re letting me take another test, they were pretty straight up that I get paid too much to put it to any use. Thank you?

My car has also been having issues. Since it’s been really cold around here, I’ve had issues with the accelerator. I’ll hit the gas pedal and nothing will happen. After stomping on it a few times, all of a sudden it will work and I’ll go zooming off. Not exactly safe, especially going through residential areas. I finally decided to get it checked. I’ve been going back and forth with the manufacturer and the mechanic I saw last time. Depending on what the mechanic says, I may have to call the insurance company. I texted my boss to let him know what was up. I know tone of voice is INCREDIBLY subjective in writing, but I got back what I felt was a reply eluding to the fact he didn’t believe me. Dude, why would I lie about something that’s a very obvious safety hazard? If I were going to make up a story about my car, I would have said I got a flat tire or the battery died. Not that I can’t get the damn thing up to speed and when I do, it’s immediate and sharp. I’m already looking into getting a new car. This one will be paid off in July.

Really what’s happening is I’m second guessing myself constantly. It’s about the only consistent issue I have stemming from the abuse. If something doesn’t work out or I don’t get a reaction I’m expecting, all of a sudden I look at my actions and try to figure out what I did wrong. If I’m still doing the same thing at work, what have I done wrong to keep me there? If I got rejected from another position, what didn’t I do that would have given me a leg up? Hell, if Boy is abnormally quiet, I start racking my brain for something I could have said or done that was wrong. Everything that doesn’t go the way I want it or think it will go is because I did something wrong. Things can’t just happen. It’s a direct result of something I did wrong. I recognize that I do it and try to keep it in check. I try to remind myself that the world doesn’t revolve around me. If if I do screw up, it’s not the end of the world. No one is going to die because I put my foot in my mouth or I was a little more abrupt than I intended. I know when I’m doing the best I can with what I have and that isn’t something worth second guessing. I know when I’m half assing something. If I am, then I probably earned whatever happens. If I’m doing my best and it doesn’t work out, that’s not my fault. I shouldn’t blame myself. That’s painfully easier said than done.

I an epiphany yesterday. I was in the rowing class, mind you it was my third attempt EVER, and the teacher came over and corrected my form. My first thought was “Why don’t I already get this?”. Um, because you just learned it, girlfriend. The perfectionist in me walked over, slapped me in the face, then walked away. It’s amazing when you finally understand something about yourself on a practical level and not just a theoretical level. I’m a raging perfectionist because perfectionists never do anything wrong and therefore I don’t have to worry about what I may have said or done because I pulled it off perfectly. There’s no reason for anyone to be upset with me or for me to be concerned with what I did. I did the same thing in dance. I would look at other dancers and wonder how they managed to get it better than I did. Oh right, they’ve been attending class 4 or 5 days a week when I show up as it suits me and my schedule. It’s not right or wrong or positive or negative. It just is. That’s okay. I guarantee that the other people in the class be it dance, rowing, or spin aren’t looking at me thinking “Wow, she really sucks. Why is she even in here?”. I’m in there for one person. Me. Even if she is a second guessing perfectionist.

Hope everyone has a lovely weekend full of fun and games.

XOXO!

Motivational Monday: Labels

Hello all!

I haven’t forgotten about you, I promise. I was out of town over the weekend for my niece’s 2nd birthday. There were cupcakes, laughs, and gel manicures to be had. My goal is to get my ass back up there before her 3rd birthday next summer. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve already seen the unintentionally hysterical selfie of her mom and myself. We’ve been friends our entire lives despite living in different states for more than half of our friendship. When we were very young, we labeled ourselves best friends.

We all remember the labels from school. Cheerleader. Nerd. Stoner. Overachiever. They were rarely self imposed. Other kids would make those judgments. My social group were the artsy kids. Band, dance, visual art, and the like were where our strengths laid. As I got older, I noticed a shift in labeling. People began applying the labels themselves, usually holdovers from what they were in school.ย 

The current label on my packaging? Flaky. And not in the fluffy biscuit way.

My negative voice has gone from criticizing my weight to criticizing my follow through. For example, I ended my membership at the dance studio because I wasn’t able to justify the cost. I wasn’t going to class as regularly as I thought I would be. I would tell myself “Okay, I’m going to class tonight for sure!” then not go. Before I knew it, it was the end of the month and I’d taken 2 or 3 classes out of the 10 I had available. Part of the beauty of the studio is the fact all classes are drop in classes. I can go to class once a month or three times a week as my schedule permits. I’m not tied to a series or a specific schedule. Instead of tracking my attendance habits, I committed to something that wasn’t sustainable. When I chose not to go to class or missed it for some reason, that nasty little voice kicked in. I was totally flaky. I couldn’t be trusted to show up for anything. If I can’t show up for something I claim to love, then what would I do in a situation when I didn’t want to be there? And I’ll be damned if that sucker hasn’t been loud as all hell in the past few weeks.

Part of what I love about my hobbies is I *can* walk away from them. I’ll go through phases where I’m doing something regularly and then completely drop it. It could be months, it could only be a week. It’s why I can’t do something I enjoy as a hobby for a job. I would burn myself out on it and end up hating it. Yet I’d still have to show up every day because it’s what’s paying my bills. That’s why I’m so good at what I do for a living. I’m not emotionally attached to my work. I show up, I do my work, and I get paid for it. It pays for my hobbies which I can take or leave. I’m not flaky because I ebb and flow with my hobby du jour.

If I didn’t show up regularly to my job with no solid reason, I’d be a flake. If I made plans with people then flat out didn’t show up, I’d be a flake. If I don’t show up to a drop in class, I’m not a flake. I had no obligation, financial or emotional, to be there. If I feel like, I’ll go. If I don’t, then I won’t. No animals were harmed during the making of this film. I have to keep reminding myself of that to keep the nasty little voice in check. Just like in school, labels can be damaging if you start to believe them. It’s even more potent if it’s coming from inside your own head.

Like any other negative self talk, keep using logic. Look at a situation objectively. Does that negative label really, truly apply? If it doesn’t, keep reminding yourself of why it doesn’t fit. If it does apply and you want to change, what’s a tiny way to work toward that goal? If I truly weren’t showing up when I was expected to show up with no good (or a completely fabricated) reason, then I’d need to do something about it. Instead of accepting an invitation I’m not really interested in, say no. Someone might get their feelings hurt up front, but it’s a much softer blow for both parties. Above all, tell people what you’re trying to change. Odds are they already know what needs to change. If they’re aware of your intentions, they can help. Brains are insanely powerful organs and will justify away pretty much anything. Another person won’t be so quick to let it slide. Pick someone who you know will call you out on your bullshit. Ideally, it’s someone who knows you well enough to know whether you need a good slap upside the head or a more gentle approach. Better yet, pick several people who are willing to help. I’m not a huge fan of teams, but in cases like these, they’re appropriate. In some of my worst and most painful moments, I’ve had more than one person behind me. That, fair readers, made all the difference.

Motivational Tidbit Takeaway:ย Check your label.

XOXO!

Of hilariously accurate personality tests and fake hips

I didn’t get a second interview.

I’m totally okay with that. I’ve tested the market, seen what’s out there, and discovered more than a few things. In this case, I didn’t have enough experience to justify the salary I requested. The market just won’t support it. I didn’t even get a first interview with the initial head hunter. I kept my boss in the loop the entire time and made it clear I had no ulterior motives (read: 25% raise). It’s budgeting time, so he went and talked to his boss. They agreed they’ll see what they can do, but I’m not holding my breath. It never hurts to ask. The worst they’ll say is no.

The company in question also had me take a personality test ostensibly to see if my personality fit the position. That was a big fat no. The results themselves hit the nail on the head. In fact, it hit the nail so hard, it was driven halfway into the table. I tested as highly dominant and doesn’t play well with others. I know, I know, be still your beating hearts. I eschew structure and jump head first into things. Again, you should be sitting down. I was literally laughing out loud as I read it. Everyone I’ve sent it to has had the same reaction. In the message the head hunter left me, she said I could call back on Monday for more details. I think I’m going to just to get a more detailed explanation. And probably a good laugh.

In other work related news, one of my staff got the job he wanted in another department. Again, I’m okay with it. He was rapidly turning into dead weight. We’ve had to go through 4 internal audit tests in 6 months. The normal number is 2. Each time, there’s been one person who has been the problem child. Right as we cleaned up one mess, another one popped up. It’s insanely frustrating. I found it funny that he was offered and accepted the job, but didn’t say a word about it all day. Finally, my boss called him in and told him that we knew (duh). By the end of the day, I had 3 people saying they were interested in his position. There’s certainly no shortage of candidates.

If I’ve learned nothing by having to hire 3 people in 6 months, I definitely learned to be more forgiving. I hold others to the same high standards I hold myself (another solid hit on the personality test). The fact is, there are very few people in an office of 1500 who would meet, much less exceed, my standards. Everyone I interviewed for the last position didn’t have a college degree. I have to rein in the judgey part of myself and respect that these people are solid workers who, for one reason or another, didn’t have the same opportunities I had. He felt that some tasks were beneath him and they got ignored. He can’t pull that same shit in that department. They recently fired someone because of consistent mistakes and I’m sure they would have no hesitation in firing him if he presents the same issues. His replacement needs to understand that even if they think a task is beneath them, it still needs to get done. Put on your headphones, put your head down, and stop whining. It was very therapeutic to put that in writing.

Boy is off doing some kind of wilderness survival camp all day. I’m doing the good little housewife bit and catching up on laundry. Tonight is our standing weekend date with my dad. He talked to his orthopedist this week and he should have the right hip replaced sometime in the next few weeks. He’ll know for sure on Monday. They, wisely, won’t put antibiotics in this one. Hope everyone enjoys their weekend. ๐Ÿ˜€

XOXO!

Motivational Monday: The Trade Off

As I mentioned a week or so ago, I was recruited for a position with another firm. I didn’t end up getting an interview because the person I would be replacing had almost as much experience as I’ve been had time on this Earth. Nonetheless, it was flattering to know that someone was willing to pay more for my skills. I got another call from a recruiter and went in for a pre-interview on Friday. We went through the usual vetting process. I made it clear that I was happy where I am and if the company still wanted to speak to me, I’m up for it. These 2 experiences have helped me see more clearly what I’m (financially) worth.

It gives me a bargaining chip when the time comes. Not only are other companies willing to pay 25% or higher for my skills, I’m one of 36 people in the entire company with a Series 65 or 66. That’s out of 1500 employees. They’re getting me for bargain basement prices and they know it. However, I would need more than a 25% raise to take that leap of faith. Yes, yes, I know some of you are shaking your heads right now like I’m crazy. I probably am. Why would I turn down a 25% raise? It’s simple. I know my priorities.

I’ve had some really, really shitty bosses. Who hasn’t? I’ve been lucky enough to have one of the best bosses I’ve had in a “big girl” job for almost 2 years now. I know that my salary terms are hilariously out of sync with what I would be offered. While the recruiter said salary was negotiable for this position, I doubt they’d come back with another 25%. That’s what it would take for me to risk having another boss who makes my life absolutely miserable. The recruiter was very up front about the company. They’re a start up back office type clearing house. They’ve only got about 40 people, but the positions they’re looking to fill are all brand spanking new. I doubt they have the budget to give me a 50% raise.

I promise this isn’t a post strictly about my salary or me tooting my own horn *giggle*. It’s about knowing what trade offs you’re willing to make.

A wise person once said every decision is a trade off. What you gain on one side, you lose on the other. You may gain more money, but you lose security of knowing what you’re getting every day when you go to work. What you may gain in more personal success, you can lose in personal privacy. What you may gain in strength, you lose in flexibility (literally). What you gain in toughness, physical or emotional, you might lose in perspective. Hell, it could be as small as choosing ice cream over gummy bears because only one fits in the grocery budget. It could be as large as moving to another state and leaving the in person connections behind. It will take an unacceptable trade off ย or two before you figure out what’s worth it. I’m a firm believer in the benefits of knowing what you *don’t* want. Some people think that’s overly negative. I think allows more room for possibilities that never even crossed your mind.

As always, take everything with a grain of salt (a lime, and a shot of tequila). Consult your doctor before taking my advice. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Motivational Tidbit Takeaway: Know what it’s worth.

XOXO!