Of naming names & tweeting deets

It’s been the better part of a week since I left Primerica. It’s finally starting to sink in that I don’t have to go back. A woman I knew (I wouldn’t go so far as to call us friends. I’m only really friends with 1 person there) texted me & was like “There are a couple of jobs posted that you might be interested in!”. I texted her back & said “I wouldn’t go back there if you held a gun to my head”. I then reminded her that the reason I left in the first place was to go back to school. She apparently forgot that. I didn’t just give them the rage quit, even if it looked that way.

I’m sleeping better. I’m more relaxed. In general, I’m just a happier & more functional human being. Mark commented the next day how my body just seemed more relaxed even though I hadn’t fully accepted it yet. It was just such a toxic environment. Kyle’s (Jordan’s boss, so one level of supervision up from me) parting words were something along the lines of “Don’t trash talk us”. Too late, cowboy. Of course, it’s not trash talking if it’s the truth, eh? Now that I’m gone, I also have no qualms about using real names. What are they going to do about it?

Karma’s a bitch & it’s a shame I can’t be there to watch when they get theirs. Nothing in life is free & Jordan sure as shit didn’t earn where he is. I didn’t get an exit interview, but it’s not like HR didn’t know how I felt. I haven’t said anything on here or in my real life that I wouldn’t repeat to his face or in a court of law. The same is true for Kyle. Though he got himself in trouble for an off color comment he made that could have resulted in a sexual harassment suit. Teeheehee. Too bad it didn’t actually turn out that way.

On the entertaining side of things, if you follow me on Twitter (@RetroIndieQueen); I’m tweeting all the things they’re “paying” me to while I’m on my notice. It’s everything I do from 8a-5p EST. I’m not counting tomorrow, Thursday, or Friday. I’d already asked for tomorrow off, so the PTO kicks in. Obviously, Thursday & Friday are company holidays. So far they’ve paid me to take a nap, get a bikini wax, play around with new makeup looks, watch a fuckton of FBI Files, put together the paperwork to get my name changed, & play far too much Hay Day & Ticket to Ride on my iPad. If you want, check it out & be amused. I know I am.

Speaking of, I think I’ll spend the last 10 minutes of my “day” putting in the next disc of FBI Files. Then it’s “vacation” until next Monday.

Hope my U.S. readers have a happy, safe, and gluttonous Thanksgiving holiday. To all my non-U.S. readers, enjoy the rest of your week.

XOXO!

Of rare breeds and buy low, sell high

The entry requires a tad of boring back story before I can get to the point:

The Series 7 (S7) exam is the exam that allows someone to legally give investment advice. My current employer doesn’t offer stock, so the S7 isn’t a necessity. They do, however, maintain the license for me. The Series 6 (S6), the S7’s much nicer younger sibling, is all that’s required. Things are moving in the direction of us becoming a full service broker dealer (i.e. offering stocks, options, etc.) rather than our current menu of annuities and mutual funds. Fascinating, I know. The S7 is 260 questions split into 2 sections with a 6 hour time limit. There’s a required 30 minute break between the two sections. The S6 is 100 questions with a 2 hour time limit. See what I mean about being the nicer younger sibling? I already have my S7, so I’m off the hook. Everyone who only has an S6 will need to upgrade to an S7 at some point over the next year or so.

My supervisor has his study materials for the S7 on order. I gave him a few tips on what to have a solid understanding of before going into the test. I studied several hours a day, five days a week, took a 4 day crash course, and still only passed by 1 point. Granted, I was new to the industry and working from scratch, but it’s still a test that requires a lot of time and effort to be able to pass. My biggest piece of advice was don’t get cocky just because he’s been in the industry a few years. When he asked me a few weeks ago why I was studying options strategies, I told him I wanted to do something remotely work related that might help me later on. If we are moving in the direction of going full service, there are exams I want to take that are entirely options based. Having those licenses would offer a ton of opportunities because they’re fairly rare. I’m currently a rare breed and I’d like to keep it that way. In short, I’m more than a little territorial.

I commented to someone else that by helping him out, he’ll owe me one later on. Why can’t I just offer advice because I can without expectation of anything in return? Help a brother out? Why should I expect something back in the first place? Well, we’re not friends. I’ll help my friends out for free, but you’re not my friend, so you better pony up, either now or in the future. Is that the kind of person I really want to be? It’s one thing to say “I’ll owe you one” knowing full well that you’ll return whatever favor because you want to. It’s entirely another to say “You’ll owe me one” and expect something in return whenever it suits. I could have refused to even offer the advice in the first place. I could have just kept it to myself. Instead, I told him what I’d learned from my own experience.That doesn’t mean he’s obligated to share something with me when I ask for it. (My advice was completely unsolicited. It came up in conversation).

I take a great deal of pride in the fact that I passed all four of my exams on the first try. Part of me feels like if he starts passing the same exams I have, first try or otherwise, then he’ll get promoted or selected or what have you over me. Again. He was hired after I was. He didn’t have any licenses when he came in. He doesn’t have a college degree. He skipped every entry and mid-level management position. I know I’ve said it before and I certainly don’t want his job (too much dealing with the great unwashed. Ew.). I don’t like feeling that my experiences, licenses, and ambition are being totally ignored and under used. I was able to tell another manager who isn’t currently in my chain of command about those issues. He consented that it’s a frustrating position to be in. If I give my supervisor tips and he passes based on what I told him, then I’ll feel like I screwed myself by helping him. After four rejections in as many months, it stings to think that I could be party to him still having a leg up over me. There’s probably another rejection looming. I interviewed for an internal position two weeks ago, a decision was supposed to be made last Friday, and I’m 99.8% sure I’ll be passed over for that one, too. Then I’m still left where I’ve been for the past 3 years doing exactly what I was doing when they hired me with no real options to move.

It’s normal to be frustrated. It’s normal to be upset because I know I walked in with much stronger credentials. Yet someone who, on paper, was inferior to me moves up faster than I could ever hope. While he and his supervisor have harped on how my attitude is holding me back, I honestly don’t think that’s a large part of it. Everyone I’ve interviewed with said I gave a solid interview. There’s just always been someone who edged me out. I’ve been second choice at least three times. The hard part is trying not to let it get me down.

Beth (Hailey’s doesn’t give a fuck younger sister), pops up with her opinion that I should just say “fuck you” and genuinely try to find something different. I know for a fact I could get paid more. I know I could find somewhere that would actually use my credentials to their true advantage. I wouldn’t be a rare breed any more, but I also wouldn’t be constantly frustrated and annoyed because I’m not being challenged at all. Hailey, on the other hand, is all about “What’s the point? You’ll just get rejected again anyway”.

I can sit in the mud and sulk all I want. Eventually, I’m going to have to get up, rinse myself off, and keep moving. My core is all about being able to get up again. I’ve survived a hell of a lot worse than being stuck in a rut at work. I’ve been in a sexually harassing work environment. At least my supervisor isn’t walking up behind me at my desk and touching me without my permission. I survived getting fired for a completely bullshit reason. I can survive this as long as I keep getting up and keep showing I want to move forward. At least, that’s what I’m telling myself.

XOXO!

Of mood swings and keeping your hands to yourself

There was an incident at work last week which could have resulted in disciplinary action against myself and one of my employees. It was a completely bullshit issue and didn’t result in anything other than getting us both pissed. When I was letting her vent, I had an epiphany. She said something about people in other areas violating the dress code & not getting written up. This had no relation to the issue we were supposedly getting written up for. It hit me.

Defend yourself, but don’t change the subject.

I’m very guilty of this. I’ll get in trouble for something & immediately try to find something worse that someone else is guilty of, then point to them. “Well, I did this, but she came in with her boobs hanging out and nothing happened to her!”. What did that accomplish? Nothing. If you didn’t fuck up, defend yourself, but don’t make an example of someone else. The same applies for when you do fuck up. Dragging someone else into it, especially someone who is completely irrelevant to the situation at hand, doesn’t help your case.

Last fall, I was dealing with a royal fuck up. I was prepared to stand in front of the board of directors and explain what happened. It didn’t end up coming to that, but I was willing to explain myself without pointing fingers. It wasn’t entirely my fault, but I had a heavy hand in it. As much as it sucks being a grown up and admitting our mistakes, it looks worse to try and shift the blame. In this case, the accusation was unfounded and flat out unfair. I was given the chance to defend us and simply stated the facts. I didn’t blame anyone else. I didn’t drag other areas into it. The facts of the matter outweighed the small error that turned into the threat of something that would be in our HR files for all eternity. I also had a little help from my friends. 😀

On my mental health front, it comes and goes. I’ve been largely keeping up with my “to do” list. My knee has started acting up, so exercise has been difficult. I have been showering or taking a bath daily, brushing my teeth, putting on makeup, and keeping myself groomed. I’m either writing or blogging every day. If I’m watching TV, I’ll have my knitting with me. Still keeping plans with friends on a somewhat regular basis.My sleeping is hit or miss. I try to listen to my body as best I can. I was asleep at 945 on Thursday night. The night before, I kept having nightmares and waking up every few hours. When I would start to move, that would wake up the kitten & she would keep me awake until she settled down again. I’m still having mood swings, but my therapist said that was normal. I tracked my moods just in the course of one day and I hit 5 or 6 different emotions. I do the best I can with what I have. I’ve found that going to work has helped. If I just sit around or lie in bed all day, I stew. Stewing is only beneficial for tough meat. I would like to remain tough, thank you.

I have my people I check in with daily. I have a very good friend keeping an eye on me at work. I really can’t express how grateful I am for all the people who love me, put up with me, or just can’t figure out how to get rid of me yet. When I’m angry or upset, I remind myself of where I was 5 years ago. I couldn’t feel anything. I couldn’t even cry. I was constantly having seizures (though I didn’t know they were seizures at the time). I was doing dangerous things because I couldn’t think of anything else to do. When I’m sobbing over a broken nail or spilling my coffee, it’s hard to remember that. Then I can look down at my arms and remember how far I’ve come. At least I can cry over a broken nail or spilled coffee. I’m not staring at a bloody stump and thinking “Hrm, maybe I should do something about that bleeding.”. Sometimes it’s not about what you can do, but what you can’t do.

XOXO!

Of being the one doing the talking off the ledge and 90 day time limits

I, of all people, have reached my moment of zen.

The transitional week is over. All the (virtual) paperwork has been done & we’re all officially reporting to J. Over the past week, he’s been trying to acclimate himself to our area. He managed to piss off my staff twice in 2 days. I’m the queen of putting my foot in my mouth, but he made me look like a shining example of tact. In all fairness, my staff had a right to be pissed. The powers that be wanted to make a change in the work hours. Currently the phone until is 9-6 & our area is 730-430. The powers that be wanted to move everyone from 9-6 for consistency. J told me this first & I knew it wasn’t going to go over well at all. I kept my mouth shut & let my staff speak for themselves. One has another job & the other is a single parent. The way J presented it was…less good. His reaction to their objections came off as dismissive. Ultimately, he agreed to see if he could negotiate different hours. The compromise was 8-5. That still didn’t go over well. Again, they objected. This time, he came across as just insulting. Instead of getting pissed at him, I let it go. It’s not worth fighting with him after less than a week. I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt.

He eats, breathes, & lives his job. He doesn’t seem to understand that not everyone is like that. I got an email from him sent at 1 in the morning. I about fell out of my chair when I saw the time stamp. I spoke to my staff & told them to give it 90 days. If after 90 days, the schedule isn’t working out or they flat out aren’t happy, I would support whatever decision they made. Through all of this, I’ve been the calm one. The world hasn’t stopped rotating on its axis, but I had to check a few times to be sure.

The more Old Boss & I talked over the course of the week, the more I agreed this could be a positive change. I don’t think J is the asshole he came across. This situation has actually brought out the best in me. I haven’t thrown a temper tantrum. I’ve been the one encouraging everyone else to be open minded & give it time. I’m prepared to talk to J if I need to about how he keeps upsetting my staff. Y’all, I’M BEING A GROWN UP!

Yes, ponder that for a moment. My crippling self doubt hasn’t shown up at all. I realize this isn’t a personal affront. I’ve survived far, far worse than a management change. This is a mud puddle compared to the volcanic craters I’ve dragged myself out of this past year. It’s nothing I can’t handle. I feel like I should be pissed off, but I’m not. I’m accepting it for what it is. It spurred a much needed change. Life doesn’t have a reset button, but it might have a 6 second rewind button. That’s all I need.

In other news, I’m a dark brunette. Go new hair!

XOXO!

Of new bosses and the things that change will bring

This week brought a very unpleasant blow.

I won’t be reporting to my current boss any more.

There was a reorganization as happens frequently in Corporate America. Thursday morning, my boss told me that my group would be consolidated with the related phone unit under a new manager. If you’ve been following this blog for any length of time, you’ll know just how much I love my boss. I literally had to walk away from my desk to go cry. After I cleaned myself up, my knee jerk reaction was “I’m quitting! I’m looking for a new job right. this. second!”. Not a very mature way to handle something like that, eh? After the shock wore off a bit, I was able to think a little more reasonably.

My new boss (J) is the guy I’ve mentioned being jealous of because he was promoted to a higher position before I was. Recently, I overheard him talking about the stress that said job is causing. I felt sorry for him and offered a suggestion he might want to try (Walk away from your desk to eat lunch. Sit in your car if you have to). I doubt he took my advice, but I shared it nonetheless. As I thought more about it, he seems pretty chill. If he gets flustered, he’s good at keeping it inside. I’m…not. There’s about 8 weeks left in the year. I decided to give it until then to see if we work out. If we don’t, then I’ll move on. If we do, yay! In the meeting where this was officially announced, he looked a bit like a deer in headlights. This is a change for him because he’s jumping into an area he knows almost nothing about. I’ve already been working on the whole “think before you speak” bit & I’ve resolved to do my best to help him out as he’s learning.

My staff was also cut as a result of the change. I went from four to two direct reports. The two I lost don’t relate to this new group at all. Of course, I took it personally. I was lamenting to my dad how, once again, I felt like a crappy manager. He offered up a cliche, but very solid advice.

Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.

When I first started, I looked to the head of the department and did my best to emulate her level of sartorial choices. My (now former) boss’ boss never wears khakis and a polo shirt even though I see one of the CEOs sporting that outfit all the time. My wardrobe choices have relaxed into the level that most other people are wearing. I wore my version of a suit when I thought I would have to go in front of the other CEO (take two, they’re small). I felt good knowing that I looked professional. My boss complimented me on dressing for the occasion even though I didn’t end up going. I’d been putting off updating my work wardrobe anyway, so I took this as the kick in the ass I needed. I assessed my current wardrobe, made a list of what would fill it out, and went on my merry way. Now I have enough pieces to wear plenty of combinations of professional outfits during the week. My “casual Friday” look will elevate from jeans to J.Crew pants.

The second positive change is I finally asked if I could take another licensing exam. I’ve been going back and forth about asking. It’s a very specific exam only applicable to one department. I have to be willing to put a target on my back once I have this exam under my belt should they need another person in that area. Prior to my promotion, my boss had been strongly suggesting I try to get into that department. It would afford me a ton of opportunities to learn more about the business. I’m an expert in my little bubble, emphasis on the little, but don’t know much about how the rest of the company functions. I finally went to the head of the department, asked to take the exam, and she approved it. They foot the bill for study materials and the fee for the exam. If I fail, I’m on the hook for the fee after that. I know my competitive nature will kick in and I’ll want to keep my streak of passing each exam on the first try. In glancing at the outline, it’s fairly basic. They’ll just try to trick me on those “All of the following are true except…” questions. Sneaky, sneaky securities industry.

Even if I don’t report to my former boss any more, I’ll still have him as a mentor, a work neighbor, and even a friend. As much as I’m averse to change, perhaps this one will work out after all.

XOXO!

Of late nights and early morning yoga classes

I apologize for my hiatus dear readers. Things have been busy. I’ve been staying late at work to catch up & only finally felt like I had my feet under me again on Friday. Though listening to one of the other managers (who is younger than I am) talk about how tired he is and how much effort he puts in, part of me laughed and said “Sucker!”. To think I was jealous when he got the job a year ago. Funny how those things turn out, eh? I did offer some advice on how to take breaks, but who knows if he’ll take it or not.

There was a fair bit of confusion on my part of what the expectations were when it came to staying late. My boss said the head of the department asked if I was staying late or coming in on weekends to get things current. I said no & interpreted that to mean I *should* be staying late. After staying late 3 days in a row, I mentioned it to my boss. He said there was no reason I had to stay late, but having an extra hour or so with no one bothering me can be useful. Oh.

I also took a management class taught by the head of HR. She explained that managers are paid for the job they do, not the hours they’re there. Some weeks we may work 30 hours, others we may work 60. That was Day 3 of staying late. By that point, the vicious mental cycle had begun.

I would come in swearing no matter what time I left, I would make it to a dance class. Then by mid-afternoon, I would start to feel too tired to go. By the time I was walking out of the building, all I wanted to do was go home, put on my house shorts, eat Ramen, & pretend I had no responsibilities other than getting up to pee. Hailey, of course, had a field day.

“You’re such a flake. Why can’t you show up to class?”

“Look at you wasting money. You paid for these classes after all,”

Boy asked if they offered classes in the morning so I could go before I got to work. They don’t, but a yoga studio not too far from here offers 6a classes. Then we’re off to the races again.

“You can’t do that. You’ll be late to work. You were already asked if you could be here by 7 instead of 730. You’re already in trouble,”

Yes, my boss did ask if I could be at work by 7. He’s at work by 7 along with my employees. That said, one of them has another job & two of them have kids. They have to work around those time constraints. It’s also not my business what time my boss comes in. Going to a 6a class would put me at my desk around 745 or 8. My official start time is 730. As I said, those times are flexible. My pay isn’t docked for missing a partial day or working varied hours. It’s not like I can’t trust my employees to not goof off until I get there. If anything, one of them is going out of her way to be conscientious & make a good impression. Does Hailey care? That would be “no” with a side of “nope”.

I remember when I was doing CrossFit in the mornings before I would go to work. I felt great. I didn’t need coffee or anything artificial to get me going. My office had a gym &, by extension, showers. I could clean myself up then head up to my desk. I can’t see why the same thing wouldn’t happen with another type of exercise like yoga. It’s a hot yoga studio, so I could get more of my sweat on. Full disclosure, I don’t feel like I’m getting a good workout unless I’m practically bleeding sweat. I’m not a fan of standard yoga simply because I don’t get that kind of sweating. Ironic for someone who doesn’t enjoy being sweaty. Also, CrossFit can be quite pricey unless you sign a contract. See above for issues regarding contracts. Apparently we have showers in the building as well, but I’m not sure where they are / how often they’re used. Though a hot yoga studio should have showers. 😛

All I’m left with is feeling crappy & stuck. Nine times out of ten, I end up listening to Hailey. I choose to do nothing. Which, in turn, makes me kick myself for not stepping outside my box. I’d like to believe sooner or later, I’ll get completely fed up & start to break the cycle. I just need to stop getting myself so worked up over it first. Take the babyiest of baby steps. As my bracelet says “The journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step”.

XOXO!

Of internal monologues & the stories you don’t want to hear

Y’all, I’d be lying if I said things haven’t been really dark lately.

It’s not so much the “I can’t make myself get out of bed” kind of dark. It’s more the “Well, well, well, look who’s failing again” version.

You’re flaky. You’re unprofessional. You can’t be trusted to make the right choices. You’re not worthy. You can’t be trusted to make any choices, actually. Look at you, why aren’t you trying harder to lose those love handles? You spent money on what? Seriously? You want new, nice underwear because yours is falling apart? You know anything nice is just asking for it. No, really, you have *got* to do something about those hips. He’s just waiting until someone else better comes along. You’re disposable.

That’s been my internal monologue for the past week or so. I’m still perfectly capable of getting out of bed, putting on pants, and physically showing up. Mentally? I’m about a million miles away. Fortunately, my medication has kept stress related auras at bay. Hailey manifests herself in the form of being more defensive. Yesterday, my boss pointed out two specific instances where I’d been unusually defensive. I blamed it on the fact that one of my employees was out on medical leave this past week. It wasn’t entirely a lie. My other employee works far too slowly to be of much help. I was a one woman show doing the work of 4 people. I stayed late at work three of the four days I worked this week. I signed up for a class geared toward new(ish) managers. If nothing else, I can’t say I’m not making the effort.

I look in the mirror and I see her. I have to push to actually see myself. I’ve had confirmation that when your brain is struggling, so does your body. In my dance classes, I couldn’t perform basic moves that I know I can do. I felt like a giraffe on roller skates. I was in a class of three people one night, so I couldn’t just fade into the crowd. Not that I ever really fade into a crowd, but that’s not the point. Under normal circumstances, getting a correction is a good thing. It means the teacher is paying enough attention to stop and help with your technique. Instead of taking the correction as it was intended, I just withdrew into myself. The teacher is really nice & wants to make everyone a better dancer. Hailey didn’t see it that way. She put it as another tick mark on the running negative tally. It’s exhausting.

All that said, I am seeing my therapist this afternoon. I’m not going to do anything rash or hurt myself. I just wanted to put all of that out into the world. As hard as it is, yanking back the covers & letting in the light is the best thing to do. She could use some Vitamin D anyway.

XOXO!