Bad news and good-ish news

Ok, so I kinda don’t want to work at my job anymore.

I still like the company.  They’ve treated me well and the culture and atmosphere is awesome.  I like my boss – he’s fun,  he’s funny, and he’s dedicated to helping us out.

I just don’t like the work.

It’s sales.  Here’s the thing – I’m really good at customer service.  I’m good at listening, empathizing, smoothing things over, explaining, solving problems, helping people feel comfortable.  These same qualities make me pretty bad at sales.  (Whenever someone tells me they don’t want my product, I have the irrational urge to reassure them that it’s ok, and we’re still friends… this is not the mark of a natural saleswoman.)

So when I’m doing sales – commission sales – I’m not making much money.  The money I do make, I’m having to put in even extra time for, including working on the weekend (when daycare isn’t open) so what should be a 40 hour week turns into much, much more than that.  (Which is not counted as overtime, cuz commission.)  When I don’t make much money, I also have to attend early morning sales meetings (also a daycare issue) for which, again, I’m not paid.  The fact that I have the flexibility to adjust my hours like this is good.  The fact that it’s necessary for me is not so good.

I’m also dealing with depression (finally got back on meds, yay!), and so getting rejection after rejection – and stressing that I’m not going to make the money I need – drains my energy something fierce, puts me in a perma-rotten mood, contributes to the slug-like feeling of “can’t do anything right, might as well sit here and do nothing and just hide” (which is, y’know, Not Good), and occasionally sends me into irrational sobbing fits.  No bueno.

So to recap: I’m working 6 days a week from early in the morning to late at night, making it difficult to find childcare for my daughter (let alone spend time with her myself), doing work I actively dislike and which causes me emotional distress, for not enough money.

So, job search.

Today I had an interview.  I was pretty excited about it.  I’m good at interviews – generally speaking, once I get to the interview stage, if I want the job I can get it.

I did  not want the job.

The company advertised the job as customer service, but it was sales.  Direct sales.  “Get into your car and drive to the store to convince the owner to buy your stuff” sales.

Worse, although it’s called Davis Marketing Concepts, it’s really a part of Cydcor.  I worked for a Cydcor company once before, a group called Esquire Marketing, a job I like to refer to as “the single worst experience of my entire life.”

Sigh.

But!  All is not lost.  For as I was standing in the parking lot afterwards, I got a call from another company I’d applied to!  The work is pure customer service, the industry is one I’m very familiar with, the hours are M-F and within my preferred times, the location is about a half hour away (as is pretty much any job, I’m afraid), and the company is rumored to be a very friendly place to work.

The downsides: it’s a temp position, 6 months only.  (Which isn’t actually the end of the world; the temp agency it’s through is one I’ve worked with before, and they’re pretty good at taking care of people.)  And the pay is less than I want.

Still.  A steady paycheck, regular hours, and more time with my daughter?  Not having to drop her off at oh-fuck-thirty in the morning and scramble for someone to watch her on Saturdays?  I’ll take it.

Should hear back within a day or two.  Here’s hoping.

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Belated Christmas Post

So here are the two (electronic) Christmas cards I sent out this year:

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…I do realize that these make me look like a horrible mother.  I can explain!

1) First of all, there was nothing in the cup.  Calm down.  🙂  A dear friend of ours has a birthday close to Christmas, and every year he has a joint Christmas/birthday party to celebrate.  Now, in years past, this has generally ended in drunken debauchery and shenanigans.  However.  This year, the party crowd was a little smaller due to some recent drama, and by some odd coincidence, many of us had recently spawned.  So instead of a party where we drink too much rum and make poor decisions, it became a party where we all sat around and showed off/talked about our offspring.  (And gave them plastic cups to play with because they MAKE NOISE!  And it is AWESOME!)  Whatevs, a good time was had by all.  Maybe this whole “being a grownup” thing isn’t so terrible after all.

2) …ok, no, I really have no excuse for letting my infant daughter french a puppy.  I do want to point out, though, that it was less my choice and more the vagaries of fate and love.   See, Su and Oliver (the puppy) were born on the same day, and ever since they first met, well… they had a bond.  So my brother brought the puppy to Christmas.  They locked eyes across the room.  A look of sublime joy spread across both faces.  Movie music swelled.  They strained towards each other, the baby fighting my grasp, Oliver fighting my brother’s.  Finally, bending to forces too great for us to control, we brought the two together, and the result… well, you see it.

It… it was beautiful.  *sniff*

Random Internet-ness

  • Mysteries of Twilight: SOLVED!!  (With Science!)

“I finally read Twilight, and after hours of internet research, I’ve found a solution to a major problem I had with the story. I know why the vampire sparkles!”

Must read to find the answer!

“To me, that’s like saying in a football game, ‘We should have only three quarters, because we were winning after three quarters and the beat us in the fourth,” Weatherford, a Republican, told the Herald/Times. “I don’t think we need to change the rules of the game, I think we need to get better.”

I’m leery of getting too excited about a Republican being reasonable – I’ve been burned before – but I’m tentatively kinda proud of that guy.

  • This is old news, but as I’ve long been a rat fan and will tell anyone who stands still long enough how they’re the sweetest and most affectionate of the rodents, it’s nice to have science back me up.

ImageThe researchers came to the unavoidable conclusion that what they were seeing was empathy — and apparently selfless behavior driven by that mental state.

“There is nothing in it for them except for whatever feeling they get from helping another individual,” said Peggy Mason, the neurobiologist who conducted the experiment along with graduate student Inbal Ben-Ami Bartal and fellow researcher Jean Decety.

  • And finally, ’tis the season to have anti-science folk claim that global warming must be a myth, because it is currently cold outside.  If you absolutely must engage with these people, here’s some tips

As a general rule, it is not wise to engage with these people. They have already demonstrated that rationality is not a strong suit, so attempting to reason with them will only bring stress and pain to you both. But if you do want to engage with them — you have eight hours to kill; you are a masochist — we put together this handy, step-by-step guide for you to do so. Remember: speak slowly and, if necessary, draw pictures.

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It’s a pretty picture, but it does not disprove global warming.

“Sometimes you have to *slap* them in the face just to get their attention!”

(Inspired by a recent, much more in-depth post over at Ana Mardoll’s place.

Say you hit me in the face.

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Not that I think you would do that. I don’t even know you. You’re probably a very nice person.

But say you do.

Now, there’s a few reasons you could have done this. One is that you dislike me and want to hurt me, and that would upset me a lot. I don’t like it when people dislike me, and knowing someone wants to hurt me always makes me feel bad. I’d also probably be pretty angry, and I might want to hit you back,

Another reason could be that you were swinging your arms around. Maybe you didn’t mean to hit me, but you weren’t particularly trying NOT to either. It just didn’t matter very much to you. Your arms are yours, you’re going to swing them where you like, and if I get hit, oh well. Maybe I shouldn’t stand so close to you next time. Now, this would also upset me. I’d be angry at you for being so careless, and angrier still that if you don’t care about hitting me, you’ll probably also hit other people and not care about them either. Also, I find it really really hurtful to be told “you don’t exist, you don’t matter, you’re not real,” which is essentially what an attitude like that says.

OR. Or maybe you honestly thought the space behind you was empty when you swung your arm. Maybe you thought it was ok. Maybe you misjudged the difference between us. Maybe you have some kind of nervous twitch or instinctive reaction that causes you to swing your arm at certain times whether you mean to or not. Maybe you’re just horrified by the fact that you accidentally hit me in the face, because you totally did not mean to and in fact would have acted completely differently if you thought you would hit me. In this case, while my face would still hurt, I wouldn’t actually be upset. I might even laugh about it with you. You’d apologize of course, and I’d forgive you of course. If we’re strangers, we would both go our merry ways; if we’re friends, it might become an in-joke in later years, that time you accidentally clocked me in the face.

So let’s talk about intent.

It’s a truism in social justice circles that intent is not magic.  I’ve always had a hard time with that, because of what I just wrote above – knowing someone’s intent really can make a big difference to me in how something affects me.

However, there is one common theme in all of the above scenarios.  Do you know what it is? Here we go: in each of those possible interpretations, you hit me in the face.

Whether you meant to or not. Whether you felt bad or not. In all of those scenarios, you hit me. I felt pain, and you caused it. This is a thing you absolutely have to acknowledge, before we even go on to the rest of it. You have to know that you hurt me, and that it happened regardless of your intent. Without that, you can’t even apologize, I can’t forgive you, we can’t laugh about it until it’s no longer hurtful or embarrassing. That part’s gotta happen first.

Two other things about intent: I do not know what your intent is, and sometimes your intent is not what you claim or consciously think it is.

You see, when you hit me in the face, I really want to think it was an accident. Unless you prefaced it by snarling “I’m going to hit you in the face,” my brain is going to be actively looking for reasons to forgive you. Because while accidental pain still hurts, it hurts LESS than knowing someone else hated me or didn’t care enough about me to NOT hurt me.

But I don’t know, not for sure. You have to tell me. When I say “Ow! You just hit me in the face!”, you have three possible responses:

1) “Good! You deserved it!”
2) “I don’t care, and/or/because you don’t matter.”
3) “Oh my god I am so sorry!”

That’s it. Those three. Pretty much any response you think of can be boiled down to one of those.

If you respond by flat-out denying that you hurt me, or arguing that I shouldn’t feel hurt, or that you’re the real victim here (“No I didn’t!” “Oh, your face is just too sensitive, I barely touched you,” “Well how do you think I feel, having to live with the knowledge that I hit someone??”), what you’re actually saying is answer 2. If you respond by getting angry at me (“Whaddya mean, I hit you? Well, why were you standing there when you knew I was swinging my arms? You’re always making such a big deal out of nothing, I swear, I think you made me hit you on purpose”), it starts to sound an awful lot like answer 1. Even if you really, really think your action was an accident, if your response is anything but answer 3, guess what? You’re telling me something completely different.

“But what if I was making a point with all that arm-flailing, and you missed it because you were focusing on me hitting you in the face?” Well, I’m sure the point was fascinating and I’d love to hear it, but first let’s get past the fact that you hit me in the face. (And also you need to make the point without, y’know, hitting me in the face again. You’re smart, I’m sure you can find a way.)

“But what if I really do have an uncontrollable urge to flail my arm, even if someone is standing there?” That must really suck for you, and you have my sympathy. Thank you for telling me, and rest assured I will remember it and not get mad in the future. But when and if you hit me, you do have to at least acknowledge it and say sorry, and maybe we can work together on ways to minimize me getting hit so that we can continue to hang out.

“But what if you actually ARE being too sensitive, and claiming that a gentle tap hurts?” Well, that’s not really for you to decide. You can’t feel what I feel, you can only take my word for it. If your “gentle taps” hurt me, then you can’t gently tap me. Not unless you actually want to hurt me. And if roughhousing is an essential part of friendship for you and you can’t be friends with me unless you can play around in that way, well, you’re free to walk away. Not everyone is suited to be friends with everyone. Alternately, you can learn to modulate your behavior. But one way or another, you have to stop hitting me in the face. (And if everyone you know starts acting “too sensitive,” well, maybe the problem’s not with them. Just sayin’.)

And again, just because I say “Ow! You hit me in the face!” doesn’t mean I’m angry. Most of the time, I’m not – startled, maybe, and perhaps temporarily miffed (sudden pain does that to me), but not actually angry. I don’t need you to feel bad, I don’t need you to grovel, I don’t need you to vanish away in a cloud of self-flagellation. I do need you to acknowledge that it happened, reassure me that you didn’t mean to and wish you hadn’t, and get at least the vague impression that you’re going to try to not do so again in the future. That’s it. You can do that in, like, a sentence. Watch: “Sorry, I didn’t mean to hit you, I’ll look first next time!” Done. And we can both move on and not make it into a thing. No anger, no hurt feelings.

But the ball’s in your court. If you really think you should be forgiven because your intentions were pure – demonstrate that to me, by reacting the way someone with good intentions should react.