atolnon: (Default)
( Oct. 13th, 2014 02:31 pm)
It's been an interesting few months for me at work. There have been times when I've been pretty circumspect about my work situation (Boeing), times when I've been extremely loquatious (Cal Johnson's Phone Service), and times when I've vacilated between the two extremes in my private life. Right now I work at Weekend's Only, a third-rate furniture shop located in the St Louis area, and I've mostly kept it out of my day to day writing because it hasn't really been a job I've taken home with me until the last few months or so.

I don't have any intention of turning this into a tell-all, if only because that'd take fucking forever. This place has eaten up enough of my time, anyhow. At the end of summer, our old manager was moved and replaced with a different one without any direct operations (read: warehouse team) experience. She leap-frogged our supervisor who had been working directly with our manager for over five years in preperation for taking over management of the warehouse and display teams when our manager was promoted, moved, or left and immediately kind of proceeded to drive day to day operations into the side of a cliff.

The movement came at a point in time where operations were already pretty troubled. We're changing the structure of our labor distribution store wide. Our team is already short-handed - in a market where turnover is already averaged at a year mark and in a business where we experience a 90% turnover on the sales floor per year, until two weeks ago, the newest members of our operations team had been there 9 months and the second newest was myself, at almost two years. I've personally remained there much longer than I anticipated, to something of a detriment to my scholastic pursuits, even into this semester. There's a great deal of loyalty to the team, even if the greater department logistics are severely troubled.

Morale has gotten so bad, lately, that many members of the team are close to walking. To that end, almost all of us have found second jobs, re-enrolled in classes, or are interviewing at different businesses. The straw that breaks the camel's back might be wage disparity amoung the warehouse personnel, though. It's already a problem that the team with our immediate managers were struggling to solve in an equitable way. I feel like we've been extremely patient in working with the chain of command as we've been asked to do, but nothing has been resolved. When two departments were combined into one, wages weren't changed to reflect the new baseline for entrance into the department. The difference in wages are substantial, and management has become very aggressive in trying to get operations members to cease in our discussions of what our wages are and what we think is appropriate amoung ourselves.

Which is flat out illegal, I might add.

When asked to cease personally, I responded that I was well within my rights to continue to do so and that I could not, actually be stopped or even asked to cease. I was summarily brought back and talked to in a seperate room, surrounded on two sides by managers, about my aggressive and insubordinate tendancies. Something, I should probably note, which has never been an issue before - specifically that I have been noted for my easy-going demeanor, upstanding attitude towards other members of my team, and extensive patience with even the most aggressive customers. So, why now? Tempers are at a boil, and we're extremely frustrated at the lack of action in regards to safety and health hazards, poor management overall, and underhanded or downright fraudulent business tactics. Not only that, but we've just discovered that those new guys who were just hired make more than several people who have been there over a year and as much as I do after well over a year on the job. (Not to mention that the two people paid the least never had their wages modified after joining the team with a good deal of experience already, they're both people of color, and the person who makes the least is a black woman, which is almost steriotypical discrimination).

So, there's a meeting on Wednesday that I may or may not be able to make depending on what remains of my coursework for the week. Regardless, I'll find out what the results are. There's a fair chance that, without dramatic positive steps on managements part, upwards of 6 members of an already dramatically understaffed team could be walking off the job right before we open for business on the weekend and maybe even before we get our weekly mattress shipments in.
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atolnon: (Default)
( Jul. 16th, 2013 09:59 am)
Just a quick update to help me focus on what I'm doing today and this weeks highlights.

Last week was terrible. Everything on the news was bad and I had a hard time personally. I'm just working on moving forward and not getting fixated on shit I can't do anything about. Cantown was a success, Katie had fun at the convention, and Katie's currently going in for the job interview at US Bank for a position whose job description is basically "help people stop from getting foreclosed on", which pays something like 32k a year. I finished the books I was reading, but I didn't realize the library closed early on Mondays (of all days), so I'm a day late and I'm going to renew one to take notes with and turn in the other. I also finished my 6 books for the summer reading club, which means I'm entered 6 times for a drawing for 50 bucks, I guess? My next books are Gaiman's "Ocean at the End of the Lane" which promises to be fairly quick and Vonnegut's "Slaughterhouse 5" which I have actually never read.

So, good.

I'm going to do the WIR for a combination of the WoD Core and "God-Machine" because it was asked of me and because I want to. I'm compulsive, so I feel the need to start from core before I get into Mage and Changeling which are the only two core books I actually own physically for WoD. There was a point when I felt the deal gained from buying pdf won out and it's fine for tablet readers, but because I want them on my bookshelf, I might eventually break down and buy them.

Other potential purchases include Dark Ages Vampire, Vampire: the Masquerade (1st Ed or Revised, I don't know), and Hunter : the Reckoning. Ostensibly for collection purposes, but also because I like reading them. Vampire: the Requiem might be a better game, but I don't actually know. I was never huge into Vampire, and I'm just now thinking of giving it a chance.

I found some notes for nWoD Exalted, so I'm going to take enter them onto the computer and try to tidy up my living situation which is getting better but, really, our house still looks like a huge wreck.   
atolnon: (Default)
( Jul. 12th, 2013 09:20 am)
The book I'm reading right now is called "The Making of a Counter Culture : Reflections on the Technocratic Society and Its Youthful Opposition" by Theodore Roszak. Initially published in 1968, I'm reading a revised volume for a pretty specific purpose. My initial thoughts were to read something about the formation of counter cultures prior to 1980, or when cyberpunk took off. The book's a series of essays, going in fairly different directions, so it's not worth it to me right now to do any kind of summary, but I guess what I'll say for now is that it's marginally helpful in terms of thinking about my original goal (cyberpunk) and more interesting as a broad spectrum discussion of counter culture formations in the early 70's. I mean, it's due back to the library in 10 days, so I probably need to wrap it up, though.

Kay did get a job, by the way, just not the one we were thinking about before. The sure-thing is a minimum wage position as a stocker at the grocery store, which Katie was primarily interested in because it's not sedentary. Katie's interviewing for another position at US Bank on Tuesday, though, and that's kind of the one we're hoping for because it pays a real, living wage. We're literally down to our last couple of bucks (I get paid today, so I'm not immediately concerned), but if we didn't have this good news coming down the pipe, we'd be really incredibly stressed. As it is, we're just regular poor person stressed.

So, there's this game that's just called A Dark Room. If you google it, it comes right up; you don't have to download it. You just go to the page and you're already playing. It's delightfully simple to start playing and surprisingly soothing, while being just a little bit creepy. It reminds me of the old Commodore 64 games I played when I was younger (I'm really dating myself, here), like a cross between Wasteland and Roguelike map adventures.

The premise is really simple. You're in a dark room with a dying fire, and as you stoke it two things happen - a helpful stranger comes in from the cold and you realize you're out of wood. What follows is basically a tutorial; you quickly learn to build traps for game and expand your reach with the assistance of your new friend before striking out into a dying, post-apocalyptic world. There's a fun twist at the end, as well.

The writing is terse and moody, adding to what I would call a surprisingly well-created atmosphere. The game itself is quite short and saves automatically, though if you clear you cache, you'll have to begin again.

Games like A Dark Room add to the ever-growing list of games that are probably a little too small even to be considered 'indie'. Many are created by individuals using very basic tools bent to the ends of creating simple but atmospheric games which are short, but surprisingly sophisticated in their taste. Games like ".flow" are pretty representative of this, and are almost always free. (Some end up being a few dollars, at most.) They come at a time when huge games on expensive consoles are more entrenched in our cultural dialogue then ever. To me, it's almost like an act of rebellious creative expression that these games have come out. In the past, games were created by individuals and very small teams because the gaming industry was amazingly tiny. They were low-fi, but their expression was based on those individuals. This is an interesting return to that gaming ethos. I'm not saying that people should hang up their consoles and gaming rigs, but I would definitely give these games some time.

Edit : Also, I'm tempted to have someone print and bind my copy of God Machine updates. I hate reading pdfs, which is the only reason I haven't gotten to it besides an incredibly superficial overview. I'll either be talking about counter culture essays or doing the WIR thing pretty soon, I just haven't picked a book. 
Things were really busy and I vanished for a while, then they slowed down, which is kind of a drag, really. Stand Alone Media is an actual thing, at this point. (Some small proof here.) Katie and Kaelan have done two videos, but they were on the house to build a profile. Getting people to buy commercials isn't particularly easy, and businesses can take a while to get started, so I recommended branching out into areas that the general public would be interested in. So, we're doing things like cleaning up old VHS tapes and putting them on DVDs in high-def and video/photo shoots for cosplayers or people interested in sending high quality videos to people around the holidays (if they're not able to make it to gatherings or just along with gifts). 

No takers, yet, but it's not like I've stopped looking for work. 

That's particularly frustrating, because I haven't gotten so much as a callback for an interview for a minimum wage retail job, yet. My milquetoast descriptions of what I can do and who I used to work for have gotten progressively more human because, well, nothing else has really worked, yet. I've gotten lots of advice from people, and two people rarely say the same thing, so I'm beginning to assume they're mostly talking out of their ass. I mean, well-meaning and pleasant ass-talking, but ass-talking nonetheless.

I don't think that the majority of the people that read this journal are in the area, but if you are, and you'd like some tapes or DVDs put into high-def, or you want some video of you or your friends doing stuff, our rates are very reasonable right now. So, that may be the first and last time I've shilled like that on my journal, but there it is. 

I was prepping some NPCs for a potential future game of Exalted (I'm waiting to see if I can make the larger plot come together in a way I like) and realized that it's really very tough to get a level of rough competency in the way I'd like over even large spans of time, so I might talk about that today or tomorrow if I can get my shit together.  
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For a writer to feel guilty about taking the time to write is certain death. Or, it is if you allow it to get to you. That's my problem on a daily basis, no matter what else I'm doing, there's something else I should be doing instead. I don't have a regular job so, qed, I am wasting space. 

Last night, before our Burning Wheel game by Skype, I said that I had recently realized that I have large sections of my day with UNDEFINED stamped on them in big letters, which isn't to say that I don't attempt to put them to use, but I don't have anything I'm required to slot into them. I could, if I were so disposed, take the painstaking effort I've already bent to the service of various WoD gaming and attempt to formulate a pitch.

Today, I got a text message from Katie saying that everyone had been called into a meeting with the staff at the dental office. Little puts the chill of fear into your heart quite like an unscheduled, mass office meeting. This morning, we were looking over our finances and, while things will be fine, this upcoming week things are going to be a little tight. We both know that we can't afford to be a no-income household even for another month. I've been looking for work, but I've been more selective in my searching. It's been invaluable, recently, to have someone who's home all day with us having to handle problems with plumbing, vet appointments, helping our neighbor with her pets, and our bio-hazard of a crawlspace, so Katie hasn't exactly been clamoring for me to find work immediately. Since much of the immediate troubles are over, my UNDEFINED sections of my days have been growing, and my guilt regarding writing as an investment of my time had been lessening.  

The terror of the idea of suddenly being without the income that had just started to become reliable kind of barreled me right the fuck over. Writing this is mostly kind of giving shape to that fear and letting myself try to formulate a game plan and allow me to continue writing. 

For the time being, I'm going to stay focused and finish what I'm currently working on, and then I'm going to pick my next one. 
I've had a lot on my mind, recently, and every time I sit down to type something I end up getting frustrated and quitting. I'm going to try a different strategy, and we'll see if it works. I'm just going to hit one topic at a time, and start with what I can really stop thinking about in the first place - my weird fucking work situation.

I've been out of work for almost two weeks. I'm going back to work on Monday. On exactly the same contract that let me go on July 28th. So, what the hell happened here?

It's actually pretty straightforward, if somewhat unlikely. Simply put, the company that was put on the contract bungled things so badly that the team that was running the contract previously was asked to bring upwards of fifty people back on to it. The company I was a part of lost the contract mainly for cost reasons, and because the hiring company is convinced that things will work better if they move towards an industry standard. The industry standard for customer service troubleshooting is cheap.

It's also awful.

Someone's got egg on their face, right now.

So that's my situation. I, and 49 others, are back on the job for an undefined amount of time and someone who sits in a nice office somewhere has a decision to make before the people they're bringing back for a temporary tech support job jump ship, because we've got no job security. Personally, I think it's hilarious, but I'm probably biased. It also kind of vindicates my previous smug sense of superiority which, I'm not going to lie, was the only thing salving my intense insecurity at suddenly being out of work in one of the worst economies in living memory.

But let's talk about money.
In Bellevue, WA, which is a city on the outskirts of Seattle, I started by making 15 dollars an hour and recieved a 2 dollar an hour bonus for hours worked at the end of the quarter. 17 dollars an hour isn't bad. It paid for : the ground floor of a house shared with one other person, a car, groceries, and the ability to take a plane to visit relatives when I had a seasonal vacation. If you'd like, you can book mark this three month time period as being the best off financially I've ever been.

I then lose my bonus. I'm down to 15 per hour. I'm told that raises are frozen indefinitely. This pays for a 700 a month, one bedroom apartment, utilities, food, and going out to a nice place on the weekends. I'm still able to save a little money and make car payments. I live frugally. This is pretty much the bare minimum standard of living. Washington's minimum wage is 8.55 in 2009. It's a flush 8.67 right now. That is not a living wage. In fact, the minimum wage is not a living wage. If you're living with someone else, you're squeaking by again, but that's usually enough. I'll save that tangent for another time.

I move back to St Louis, and receive a pay cut of a dollar due to 'standard of living'. I now make 14 dollars an hour. The pay cut doesn't much effect my life. I live in a 550 a month, two bedroom apartment on the second floor with my friend and roommate. I'm able to go out once or twice a week, or save money. I'm able to buy groceries and some luxuries. It's actually a comfortable life, if not one with abundant thrills. I could probably take a nice vacation if I wanted, but it probably wouldn't be very wise. If something bad happens to me, it could still ruin me financially. I eventually get a dollar raise. I'm living flush.

Before taxes, assuming no bonuses (ha!) or unpaid time off, I make about 29,000 a year at 14 an hour. If I was able to work for a year at 15, it's more like 31,000 pre-tax. That's not too bad, right?

The new workers live in either Kansas City or OKC. They make about 8.50 an hour. That's not a living wage. You can not live by yourself on that. Many of them are part time. You immediately become dependent on some one else to survive. If you make 8.50 a year, before taxes, you make roughly 17,600. That's far below poverty level, in that you cannot live on it. Median level of income in MO is 45,149. For the US, it's 50,221.* 14.3% of people are below poverty level in the US.

So, what's happened is that the hiring company has taken hundreds of jobs that were above poverty level and made them poverty level jobs.

Sure I'm happy I'm going back to work at my old rate. But the idea that someone thought this was a responsible decision in the first place is incredibly frustrating. Moreover, what did they think they'd get for that kind of money? It's embarrassing, is what. What you really get, if you ask any menial wage flunky, is someone who doesn't give a shit. When you hire someone without work, they're incredibly grateful for the income, but when you treat them badly and don't pay them enough to live, that euphoria turns to frustration, then to resentment. At some point, they say 'Fuck it.' because  the worst you can do is fire them and that means nothing.

If you didn't know for sure, then you already had a hunch it was like this. Things like this are part of why our economy sucks. Tell your friends.

* U.S. Census Bureau
atolnon: (Default)
( Nov. 17th, 2010 12:57 pm)
Wednesday is always a little chancy for me, because Tuesday is game night, and it's really frustrating to go to bed an hour after I'm finished running a session while people have a merry time about 5 feet away in the other room. I feel like a little kid that got sent to bed when the adults decide it's time to watch R-rated movies and break into the rum.

Today's fine. No matter how put out I am in the morning, I'm usually up to speed by about noon. I'm out of the spotlight more then ever, having been moved to what's basically a box in the back of the room. This is something that I do not mind. My perspective is that I work in customer service, which is a nice way to say that I'm the kind of person you pay a quarter what you pay your valued employees to fix problems that can literally be solved within 5 minutes by the barely literate. This is a huge upgrade from other jobs, where my clientele were nearly as sharp as a Louisville Slugger, and about as much fun to repeatedly run into.

Another Mage game wrapped up. This time, there's an encounter with a banisher or, rather, the banisher encountered Dr Feelgood's fists. Dr Feelgood is a Thyrsus Adamantine Arrow with Life 4. This encounter literally lasted one action, which was the good doctor punching this guy from the Twilight, and that's it.

My favorite part was their acquisition of this guy, and having no idea what to do with him. Oops. I am way behind on updating my web page, and I basically am doing all the chores tonight. Blah.
atolnon: (Default)
( Nov. 18th, 2009 11:26 pm)
Work's been really dull, lately. Call volume is creeping down, ever so slowly, and my stress level is going down at about the same rate. I've been hurting my ratings lately, because I have to take a little bit of extra time after every call to not feel totally exhausted from what I feel is a deluge of password resets from people who failed to recognize the results of their last attempts and other miscellaneous stuff. There's a little burnout before the holidays, I guess.

So, I've been tired lately. I've been playing more video games, obviously. Fall and winter are seasons that make me turtle up a bit. It's another year sheltered from the shower of commercialism by two-hit combo of not working retail and not turning on my television. Instead, what I'm looking forward to is spending a little time with family and friends. I'm trying to think of a good holiday vegetable dish, and I'm thinking that maybe I could make a nice veggie pilaf for Thanksgiving or, at one point, I had a broccoli and cauliflower salad that had cranberries and sunflower seeds, with either a light and sweet mayo-based dressing or maybe a vinegar one.

Bah. Decisions.

Um. I don't know how other people feel about holiday gifts. I feel like the holiday season, as it gets into winter, is a good time to give friends small gifts since winter is always kind of a drag. It's nice to get something that kind of says 'hey, I've been paying attention and this reminds me of you', but I don't know how others feel about that. I like giving people gifts, but feel that it's sometimes awkward, and I don't know how others react to this kind of thing.

It's Wednesday, and I'm boring. Maybe I shouldn't have bothered this time but maybe you're the kind of person that finds talking about what to take to a Thanksgiving potluck to be interesting. I kind of do, so, I dunno. I mean, all of those tags were pre-existing.
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atolnon: (Default)
( Nov. 1st, 2009 04:42 pm)
I had intended, for the last few days, to opine about societies stress on the idea of a positive attitude and have twice pulled a short essay when I decided it wasn't very well done. This is a bit of an issue for me, because I think the idea that we should be happy and positive all the time is a toxic one. Being cross about our situation is a bit like pain's role for our bodies; it's a state that tells us that something may be wrong with that situation. Being able to be cross in the workplace, I believe, is critical. Not being able to do so inhibits worker's rights in a subtle but pervasive way. I'd like to get into that a little more when my concept is worked out more cohesively. 

Today, I'd like to come back to a subject where my understanding is not complete but, I believe, I am capable of discussing it a little anyhow. That is, I have read some about the concept known as 'the death of the author', and I see a disturbing amount of uncritical opinions engaged against it.

I guess the problem is, when I try to write something about the death of the author, I feel like I'm stating the obvious. It's a problem any student of literature runs into at some point and has to come to terms with. In addition, we all know that people are unreliable, so just asking the author (providing that they indulge us with a response) isn't really always helpful. How do you, by way of example, get a reliable answer from a question like 'does this have racist elements' or 'isn't this actually hateful towards women'? So we have Death of the Author. You obviously can't just assign any old reading to a text, but people keep saying that you can, and that's disingenuous. The only people saying that are people who are opposed to the concept in general. I have never seen a serious post-modern reading critic argue that you can assign any damn reading at all to a text. So, I guess I'm looking into that as well.
atolnon: (Default)
( Oct. 19th, 2009 10:28 pm)
http://dionaea-house.com/

Right there. I love that link, and I have for years. It's one of my favorite pieces of fiction, not because it's exquisite; it's pretty little rough around the edges. I love it because it's so engaging. And at the time, you could only assume it wasn't real. As it gets more outlandish, I like it less, but I think it's great inspiration for gaming horror. Horror in gaming is something I'm very taken with. I am on and off on thinking about it and running it, but it creates problems as a genre that action and whimsy do not (those create very different ones). Dionaea House is very early-release NWoD. Something like that is what I think about when I think about the weird, obscure World of Darkness.

So, what the hell am I up to? Your guess is about as good as mine. On a day to day basis, very little. Work makes me tired of dealing with people and very happy to just kind of bottle myself in the house reading or cooking or something. I haven't taken a lot of initiative to get out. During school, my 'work' periods were very academic and I wanted to get out more. When I work customer service, I want to stay in. That explains, to me, why when I have a standard-ish job, I'm much more of a homebody. I'll admit that makes the prospect of gaming daunting sometimes. When a game falls through, I rarely persue an alternative that isn't 'stick around and have a cup of coffee'. It's been a little worse then usual, because work is leaning on the helpdesk a little harder then it used to. We're being squeezed to produce value, but management fails to understand that's not how people actually work. It looks terrific in the short term, but it breeds resentment in the analyst population. I see this happen all the time, but I'm honestly a little disapointed, though I understand exactly how and why it's happening. It's stuff like this that makes me want to avoid business, management, and marketing forever and ever.

I've been playing a lot more FFXI lately. Between Andy and my social group, I've been able to break level caps (I can get up to level 70 of 75!) get my artifact equipment (next up, pants and awesome hat), and generally feel more involved. I really only do a little gaming every day. Large portions of my evening are cleaning, cooking, and often writing and reading. Sometimes I'll spend all day playing video games, but the rarity of that situation is such that me renewed interesting in FFXI means that I've put a hold on Kingdom Hearts II. KH 2 is a much better game then 1, but its story sounds like crossover self-insert fanfiction reads. I realized recently that it's probably like that on purpose.

I want to do some other stuff before bed, and I'm out of interesting things. Good night, everyone.

atolnon: (Default)
( Sep. 18th, 2009 06:16 pm)
I've been depressed lately, for no real reason. I feel a little better now.
On an unrelated note, I have an ok job. For a tech support position, it's really employee friendly, so I almost forgot what it's like to have to take shit from someone. While it was pretty tame, I wonder what people are thinking when they call a helpdesk they don't respect at all for answers they don't agree with. Like, why did you bother?

Maybe you're an idiot. That might be it.

I don't have much planned for this weekend, but I do have a little. I bet it's a pretty nice weekend all-around.
This week feels like it went really quick. It wasn't a great one, so I guess I don't care.
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atolnon: (Default)
( Oct. 21st, 2008 08:43 pm)
Today is the first day at work I've really been irritated at the results of the the shift. Many of my calls have been kind of odd lately, and some callers get kind of irritated when you need to redirect them. I'm usually pretty unflappable in a work environment, but most users have been so nice, I was genuinely surprised when a few were antagonistic, if not directly so, and one of the staff members I send more complicated or longer were to acted caustically. The only thing I really have to say for myself is that I'm acting in good faith at work, so even when I screw up or arn't really good at what I'm doing, I'm genuinely attempting to do my job in a friendly and conscientious way. I also know that I'm fairly absent-minded. I'm never going to be amazing at jobs like this. I might not even ever be very good. I've got a lot of the basic know-how and I'm friendly and willing to work, so I'll be decent and that's about what it takes I guess. Sometimes I think about where my life is heading and what I'm worth.

There is actually more, and more interesting things on my mind, but I don't really feel like getting into it. It isn't depressing or anything, it's just complicated and I don't feel up to typing it out right now.
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atolnon: (Default)
( Oct. 15th, 2008 07:09 am)
Title taken from an Honest Bob and the Factory to Dealer Incentives single, but it's pretty accurate. Yesterday, Brent, Jolene and I went to the local Target ostentaniously to purchase a two-wheeled travelling contraption for myself. This device, being entirely self-powered, is good for both locomotion and as a method of atheletic self-improvment. As I stood in front of it, I froze up. Not out of fear, or any such thing, but in a sudden realization that while a bicycle is a terrific way to get around when berift of other methods of transportation, winter is cold even in the mild northwest and given the option, I am just going to want to get up early for the ride to work and the walk back in the evening is something I would rather do then a bike ride back and forth.

Besides that, once aquired, I know that the bike will just sit around for non-work travel purposes because winter is the rainy season. So in my off time, I am going to look at my bike and say "I could ride to the cafe, but I don't want to ride in the cold and wet. I'll just stay in and make a cup."

So, I didn't get my chocobo. I'm holding out for the airship, Tenshi. ^_^

Still, you know, Holloween is this Friday and on Saturday, I'd like to go to the University district or run a game or something. On the way back, we stopped at the state run liquor store to pick up some supplies for the weekend, and I got a modest amount of vodka and gin, two liquors that form the core of my personal mixed drink priorities, and bought a little ouzo for that evening. Then I made stir-fry, played a little Capcome vs. Marvel 2 until my thumb started (horror of horrors) developing a blister that indicated I was terribly out of practice. Yesterday went really quick, dig? Generally, I was happy about it, though.

My energy has been picking back up again, which indicates that I'm kind of getting into the swing of things which, I suppose, isn't to assert that I'm actually great at my job yet. But I think it's moving along, and I can do a lot of stuff without sweating it anymore. Really basic stuff, but yeah. And I resolved a number of my calls without any real incident yesterday. That kind of thing is a real pick-me up. It seems that Brent and Jolene are some of the best analysts available at the moment, so I guess it benefits me to be able to ask them a bunch of idiot questions all the time, considering that sometimes I just need to know if I got the answer correct before just spitting it out.

This just means that I feel a lot more productive. And I got my coffee today, and my badge works to let me in the room, so I'm just enthusiastic about a bunch of small stuff going right and not messing up my day. And that's about the most I really feel inclined to talk about work outside of being in the office, well, and the fact that I'm at work waiting for my shift to start, I guess.

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atolnon: (Default)
( Oct. 9th, 2008 12:26 pm)
Do you know what's worrying? Realizing that you've forgotten almost everything you learned during your month of training and even really common calls are going to throw you.

Well, that worries me, anyhow.

I've got an Exalted game this weekend. It only took three months to get it going, everyone. >_>

I'm pretty enthusiastic about the idea of things getting boring here at work. Seem weird? It doesn't feel weird. It's that point where you know what to expect and more or less, how to deal with it. That'll be swell.
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atolnon: (Default)
( Oct. 8th, 2008 07:13 pm)
Now is a time for waiting.

When I'm honest with myself, I have to say that I'm pretty proud of how things have gone. Just, things have turned around pretty well, and with the support of friends and family, I haven't made it or anything, but things look like they're moving in a good direction. But while I'm not sure I should say that I've lost momentum in a long-term sense, I'm really at a phase of my plan (or whatever) where I kind of go down a list of things I need and just wait until I have the money for them.

So, it's a material issue, at the moment. I think it's funny how when you're broke, you just make do with what you've got because you're not getting anything else. But most of my clothing articles were showing signs of serious wear about 6 months ago, and I'm getting to the point where even my most basic possessions might not make it any longer. To be further frank about the situation, some of the things I didn't own, I borrowed, and some of the things I borrowed are pretty important, and it's really frustrating to finally get some income and realize that you have to get rid of a whole lot of it just to replace things that were going out when you started being broke.

That's mitigated somewhat by the realization that even when I worked at my last two jobs, I wasn't pulling in any substantial funds for automobile replacements, clothing, degrading furniture, or replacement of critical electronic parts (if my laptop goes out, you know, I'm in trouble).

And basically, now, I wait for a year and see how things go. This is really when that starts.

Oh, oh! November is NaNoRsomething. Yeah. I'm going to try that. Anyone else?
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I can has it.

So, after all the anxiety, the whole thing was a success, and I got a call today at around 5-ish saying that I got the position. Off and on, I tried writing various 'woot'-oriented posts, in which would have contained the core of both my exuberance as well as my ruminations about what this meant for me both now, and in the future.

Anyhow, this is a fairly big moment for me.

I feel strangely sedate about the whole affair, and I'm fairly sure that it's 'hit' me by now, so that's not it. The feeling is a little like a relieved 'it's about time, this is what I was trying to do the last few times', which is also true. At this point, I'm not a stranger to working full time, and I'm not a stranger to paying fixed expenses, looking for a new vehicle, or taking care of myself. The biggest things that are new is that I'm looking at what is potentially the most significant work-complexity level I've seen to date, and that I can expect a significant standard of living boost. Even the first of those two statements is questionable, because there was a considerable amount of in-depth detail to remember about proprietary systems and other issues surrounding Circuit City.

The other issue is something I'm a wee bit torn about. It means, in a real way, that I can expect to live away from Fairview Heights and the St. Louis area for at least a year, and that I need to finish what I started regarding transition. It makes sense that I didn't move over my bank accounts, my permanent Cam status, even my car, to the area before because there really wasn't a promise that I'd be staying. Now, I know that I will be, so these things suddenly must be resolved. There's a finality there that there wasn't in actually receiving the position.

So I guess that's the thing. I got the job! And I've been gone for two months, but the reality of moving sinks in, which is bittersweet.
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atolnon: (Default)
( Aug. 26th, 2008 01:52 pm)
I got back from my interview with Starbucks today.
"Your odds are really good." said the manager, a smart-looking  and cheerful fellow who I had been chatting with. He looked over at the counter where the barristas plied their trade through a busy lunch-time hour. "We're a little short right now. I'm hiring three new people."

I told him that I'd know if I could work by Friday and would be able to start by Monday if I could, and he said that the procedure would probably take about a week, but maybe two, and since I'd be hearing back from other people I'll interview with by about then, that's when he'd make an effort to call me and let me know how things stand.

So, in short, the interview went really well, and between the two places, I should have a job. It's not definite, but my chances are really excellent, and there's another load off my mind that I hardly knew was there.

I think there are some other things on my mind, but it's minor. You know, it's the week again, so I'm really busy. I'm probably going to be bustling and short on sleep all the way until Saturday, when I will gleefully sleep in and maybe have a game ready to run. And then I'll be planning for my Exalted game, because Brent found us another player for sure, and another player that's a maybe. So, that's super exciting, too.
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Ow.

( Aug. 21st, 2008 02:12 pm)
I got back from my meeting in Seattle a little while ago, and it was unspectacular. I interviewed for a position with them (filled already) and a separate interview for their client base today, because the process is different internally than it is externally. I got a few hours of rest, and then TekSystems gave me a call to see if I could provide them with a number to my last jump as a reference. I did a good job (and was told so by my direct superiors) but they called me names when I left their employ and my father also left on bad terms, despite being on solid ground business-wise. These aren't people that drop a grudge, and I don't think they'll differentiate between my work performance and their attitude towards me 'as a man'. So I'm really not sure how to handle it. I can give them payrolls number and have them talk to the office person, because she was always pretty professional. I'm not sure, though.

Thanks, by the way, [profile] writer_lynn, for taking the time to talk to prospective employers on my behalf! It means a bunch!

So, I have work at 5, until 1 AM. I guess that's not too bad. My general lack of sleep might even be a virtue in that when I get back, I'll probably sleep like a baby. My big practical bummer is that my legs feel like wood from all the walking, and I've got a blister on my toe the size of my thumbnail. Of all the times...

No work on Sat, Sun, or Monday. Just need to bear up today and Friday, and then I'll see if they need me on for next week. I can probably swing one more week of this. My interview is on next Wednesday.
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You sure have messed with the wrong non-voting demographic this time!
Thanks for that quote by the way, Brent.

I know you vote, I'm just kidding. But, hey, I'm sure you've heard about the D&D gaff from the McCain campaign. I'm not really concerned. It's a super-easy dig, and besides the internet (which I admit is a growing issue for national politics), it's not really an issue. And who's he really going to alienate? The all-important Elf demographic? Anybody who was going to vote for McCain is going to vote for him anyway, and anyone who wasn't isn't. The statement hits no hot spots, no well of public sentiment, so the outrage I'm seeing is kind of a surprise. Would you really vote for someone based on RPG preference (or lack thereof)? I guess the only thing is to not make fun of any demographic, and so say, it's kind of a dumb thing to have posted to your official blog, if only because it doesn't help any.

So, just chalk up another bone-headed manuever. Par for the course on the McCain team. My question for the voting public is simply, "Do you really want someone who can't be said to be speaking for his own campaign, and whos handlers still make careless political mistakes?" That's more important then what McCain thinks about the difference between 3rd Ed and the new 4th.

In other news, I had my first full night of work. It was slow, which I appreciate, and rainy, which I prefer. The rain kept me company, and I really only had to deliver newpapers and walk around the compound. Each round is about 2 miles, so I'd say I probably walked seven by the end of the night. If they're paying me 12 an hour, plus a free dinner and complementary soda, I'd say it beats the pants off my last job hands down, even if I wouldn't want to do it forever. (Doesn't look impressive on a resume, not really a career starter...) If my last job paid 10 an hour, I would have stuck with it, and it was a pit. So, that about sums up my attitude towards it.

It's kind of irritating that it switches mid-week to a 5 PM - 12 Midnight shift, because you're up, then you go into work pretty fast. OTOH, I woke up at 1, not 4, and that trend will probably hold the two weeks I work there, so there should be some gaps, and midnight really isn't that bad. I'll probably take the oppertunity to just get a full night's rest on Thursday instead of staying up all night, because it's healthier in the long run.
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... well, my phone. I don't wear or carry a watch anymore, so it's funny when I go somewhere with no signal and can't find out what time it is. Anyhow. I've got a little while before my first upcoming night shift, and I'm not super keen on it. I got used to going to bed kinda early and getting up kinda early, so the shift is radical. I get a shabby-looking blue shirt and slacks, a name tag, and 12 an hour. ^_^;

Really, I'm a little nervous. My training was really sparse, and consisted of going two rounds (about 4 miles), and a brief description of other duties which consist of 1: not doing anything, 2: helping residents in an emergency, 3: looking at a pager and turning it off or, alternately, answering it, and 4: dropping off newspapers and letting the bread delivery guys in.

I assume my duties will be covered more in-depth this evening.

Besides that, the rough part is going to be staying up. The hours aren't just late, they're weird. Some shifts are from 11 Pm to 7:30 Am, and some are from 5 Pm to 2 Am. One of those is easier than the other to stay awake, and the other, basically nothing happens. I take comfort in that in the event I do an awful job, I still come out financially ahead. I want to do well, but the guy on duty basically told me that if I've got questions, I just ask someone on the staff, and if I'm needed, I'll probably just be called instead of beeped. So, I hope. I don't know if I'm doing this for just this week or for two weeks. I don't really care which. Both have their upsides, but the position has already made my life more difficult, so I await being paid eagerly.

Much like I await the news of my fate in general. Oh, waiting. You do me no favors!

I got Only Revolutions in. It's Mark Z. Danielewski's road novel, and I'll probably be reading it on my shift. Nothing like brain-warping fiction to accompany you on your caffeine-fueled night swing-shift through the semi-lit halls of an up-scale old-folks home in the coniferous hills of the great North West. ^_^
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