My Feline Family and my return to blogging

It has been far too long since my last post for which I can only defer to the cliché of ‘life got in the way’. Some of obvious reasons some have just built up over time.

Some are tiny things, but they have mounted up… yeah, I’ve never been a believer in “don’t sweat the small stuff.” After all, it might have been the final straw that is credited with breaking the camels back, but if that same straw had been by itself or the first straw, the camel would have been fine.

Yet, as said, they have thankfully been small straws which so far are merely mounting.

I plan on covering a lot of these in a few blog entries over the next few weeks, but for now, just to get back to posting, I will list a few of the highlights of how life got in the way, some more detailed than others for the moment.

  • A, thankfully, minor medical issue in February, with requests for yet more follow-ups and with bills are still coming in for which I am continually having to double check what was already paid.
  • Because of those bills, there are increased costs in the form of bills to pay off at high rates of interest, i.e. about $5,000 from the hospital (out of $19,000, for just two nights in the hospital, thanks to good healthcare coverage) is adding stress and fear of spending money as even paying what I still owe is adding about of $250 a month to the budget.
  • I am barely at home anymore, with a commute that should be about an hour now taking about two hours, bed at 9:30 pm and wakeup before 5:00 am, it is getting hard to keep focus as to what I am doing (other than making money to survive) but then I must ask myself, I am living to work or working to live… neither are truly appetizing prospects.
  • With all that ongoing, I am growing increasingly tired to the point sleep that was once sufficient, is barely enough as I feel continually tired, especially at work… though that too could have something to do with so few duties these days.
  • A lot can also be inferred about where I work when I am continually tired leaving work, but full of energy after my Japanese and Tai Chi classes… albeit they are more enjoyable.
  • It was a Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday season that in some ways never was and in others has yet to end, wherein many of the usual holiday scenes near me that walk that ever fine line between Norman Rockwell and Clark W. Griswold, were missing and through part of April I was hearing the occasional version of holiday music playing I can only describe by saying, think Pavarotti singing Johnny B. Goode.
  • Even Valentine’s Day was off with fewer flowers and balloons delivered to the office. Overall it had less cheer to it, despite the attempts of a new member of the executive team trying to have a mandatory cookie decorating contest.

Of course, they didn’t help the holiday feel by suggesting the best way to show love to the company, fellow workers and to bring about a trusting family feel (a feeling that left dock about 4 years ago), is through automated payroll deduction donations back to the company.

I don’t know what’s worse, that they seem to believe that plan will work, or they fail to understand (or are pointedly ignoring) how all the ways they have destroyed the family feel (firing people and creating an atmosphere that has lead others to jump ship, cutting funding to various programs/holiday events, making everything more corporate and bound to metrics, removing the spirit of fun and comradery that was prevalent here, etc.) makes recapturing such a feeling nearly impossible. Or said differently, using their methods to recapture that feeling is like trying to catch the Millennium Falcon, with a four-year head start while traveling in hyperspace, with an early 20th ocean liner whose boilers are only now getting up to steam.

  • Even that aside, there has been a rapidly growing feeling of working in a place where I am no longer wanted or perhaps desire to be, as duties shrink, more friends leave and I (and the others) must write up detailed instructions of how to perform our duties, supposedly for a Standard Operating Procedure manual which will allow anyone to cover for us in an emergency. Maybe that is true, but to me it feels more like writing a training guide for the replacement.

I am at the point where there are days where by the end of one, someone can ask me what I’ve done, and I’d reply, tracked down two invoices that A/P was holding up due to a glitch in their system and checked meter readings on the printers…

Yet, even with that said, I cannot leave this position without another source of income, far too many debts (though honestly, one debt is far too many) now exist… if only I could win enough money in the lottery to payback my debts then I would be freer to just take a leap of faith…

  • While some employment agencies are now reaching out to me (a change from 7 years ago), most are reaching out with short term contract to hire positions, for incomes that would set me back near to or further then where I was 7 years ago, and/or for locations which require massive relocation.

For the record, I am more than fine with relocation for the correct position in the correct area (Sioux Falls, South Dakota; Madison and Milwaukie Wisconsin; Burlington, Vermont) for the right amount of pay.

  • It is also revealing, not to mention disheartening, to realize how closely my resume is looked at by some humans, as evidenced during interviews, when the interviewer suddenly discovers I am not in their city or perhaps even in their state and that makes them backpedal, even if I am less than 140 miles away roundtrip.

Yet, even that is somehow better than having a computer look at it, wherein I am immediately weeded out for some administrative jobs that I not only know I am the perfect match based on the job description, but for one, again based on the job description, I could write the book on how to perform.

What’s worse for a resume that no one seems to look at, is how much emphasis is placed on the style (which everyone wants to be slightly different) and the fact it must be attached (even if it is not a replacement and cannot be submitted in place of an application that asks for the same information), to each application.

  • Assessments have taken over in both recruitment agencies and now sadly with a lot of online job application submissions.

As someone who has previously and repeatedly passed such assessments, as someone with a few years (over 10) of working with those skills being ‘assessed’ under my belt and as someone who is working fulltime using those skills, I find the very thought of them insulting…

Not to mention when everyone needs their own version (which at times means the same questions in a different order), it is very hard to have quick turnarounds and mass applications which are needed these days, because I must do these at night (not on the company computers) which also means I am doing them in a tired sate yet, I fear, they are growing as not only employment agencies but now almost every company state in order to provide timely turnarounds.

  • My neighborhood is changing, traffic is unexplainedly increasing and while with some recent changes in neighbors the area is not becoming unfriendly, it’s also not as friendly as in the past.
  • The nearby city, once filled with unique and local family owned shops and restaurants, is turning to overpriced and franchised, all while also voting down light rail and pushing for more buses to clog the already congested roads.
  • With all that said, I’ve been trying to move not only to another job from one I decreasingly feel as if I belong or am wanted, but along with my indoor feline family and the feline family that lives outdoors (if they will come) who has become dependent on me for food, water and petting, to move to a place that reminds me of where I grew up, where people honored tradition and were not bound by it; where history was recognized and not rewritten to fit current social mores; where people actually thought about things and didn’t just follow the masses.
  • Regardless of my fear of lasting employment, it is increasingly obvious I must make a change as the commute is now about an hour on paper, but one recent night took me 2.5 hours and that was leaving 30 minutes earlier than normal.

I know people have longer commute times, but when I once was able to leave the office around 5:10 and be home around 6:15 and now at times leave around 5:00 and don’t get home until 7:30… well the distance has not changed but it is still getting to be too far.

Then there is the idea that I’ve recently had more fun and felt more relaxed and at ease then I have in many months at work, not only when having a four day weekend, or when at a business writing seminar I attended but also on the morning I took time to meet with a Recruitment Agency, but on a day off I took in order to go to Walmart to buy a few items to help wash my feline family’s bedding that suffered some weekend accidents before looking for other jobs while old T.V. sitcoms and westerns played in the background..

  • It is also strange given what I know and have experienced over six years to see new people coming in so excited and happy, with big smiles on their faces.

Perhaps it is simply that I’ve become too jaded to still see what they do as while I can’t deny that even with all lost, a lot of what exists here today might be hard if not nearly impossible to duplicate elsewhere, I still wonder, if/when they experience some of the things I have, if they’ll become as jaded, as I have, as many others I started here with, some of who have left, have become…

  • Then there is the odd, tiring issue that resolving one problem immediately causes another, which upon solving causes another then another and another, in a never-ending cycle:

o  A headlight burns out, is replaced

o   A stone from a dump truck chips the windshield the next day, is repaired with a DYI kit that weekend

o   A light burns out in the hallway within an hour of the windshield repair and is replaced only for within another hour to have two burnouts in the kitchen, which are then replaced.

o   The next day one of my furry family tries to climb the television, something they’ve never done, and it smashes to the floor, thankfully and most importantly not hurting my furry family but destroying the television, which is being replaced.

o   A light in the carport goes out and is nearly impossible to replace because of how the cover was designed and then wielded in place.

o   Etc., etc., etc.

While I know there is no apparent causal relationship between solving a problem and another problem triggering, after a while one does start to wonder if they were to leave something minor go unfixed, like a burned out light in the hallway, if that wouldn’t stem the seemingly endless cycle for a few hours, if not days, if not weeks, if not months, if not entirely, thus allowing things to return to a time when problems were sometimes close in occurrence but not continually happen on top of one another.

Well, that is a bit of what has been happening anyway, and for some of these I really do want to write more about what is happening, especially to something not on the list, an idea of what is happening to the neighborhood where I am now work and how that is sadly changing to something other than what allowed it to be what it has today become.

At least my feline family is taking everything in stride, sleeping on their sides near fans.

Seriously, how can I get their life?



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