Monthly Archives: December 2013

What? 2013 is Evolving!

If you’re reading this right as it posted, then you’re spending your last moments of 2013 reading some weird chick’s blog.  Do you not have anything better to do?  No.  No you don’t.  But then again, I don’t have anything better to do than write a blog post in the last moments of 2013…

Looking back, this has been a hell of a year for me.  Started off kinda shitty, continued to be a little bit shitty, but then got significantly better.  And let me tell you why 2013 was shitty and then got better.  It has nothing to do with the things that happened to me and everything to do with how I reacted to the things that happened to me.

January of 2013 saw me in this weird quasi-relationship-that-wasn’t-really-a-relationship that was unhealthy for me in every way a relationship can be unhealthy.  That ended in February.  March and April were spent trying and failing at getting my life together after graduating from college for the third time.  May was all about helping out my parents deal with some intense shit.  June, July, August, and September all saw me continuing to fail at finding a job and being an adult in general.  October found me pretty low after being forced at financial gunpoint to move back in with my parents.  November, I found a job.  December, I found a boyfriend.

“But Kate,” I hear you all saying, “2013 stopped being shitty when you got a job and started a healthy relationship with a respectable and adorable guy!  Those are things that happened to you!”  Oh, my dear readers.  Yes, those are things that happened to me, but I wouldn’t have gotten the job if I hadn’t changed my attitude towards being unemployed for so long and getting nothing but no’s for over a year.  And if I hadn’t changed my attitude towards my own self-worth, I wouldn’t have asked my guy out and we wouldn’t be where we are in our relationship (pro tip: we are in a good spot.  A very good spot).

The point is, until I decided that I was worth more than what I was getting, I was always going to get the same shit out of life.  Changing my attitude and believing that I deserve better from life, others, as well as myself changed my year.  It transformed 2013 from shitty into pretty damn awesome.  And I plan to keep the good vibes going well into 2014.

Happy New Year, my dear readers, and many happy returns to you and yours.

Have You Tried Turning It Off and On Again?

Tech support.  Well, web support at APAC.  The dredges of most companies.  Happens to be my favorite place to be.  Yeah, the calls might be 20 minutes or better, but no one hardly ever yells at you.  People want your help.  They’re grateful for the simplest things, like resetting a password.

Last week, I was pulled from training to train in web support.  I’ve spent my time at work since then in web support and loved every second of it.  Some of my fellow trainees don’t like it as much as I do, but I will take explaining what an address bar is to a 73 year old lady over being yelled at by a 54 year old man for not covering his viagra (pro tip: I don’t make the rules on what drugs get covered, that would be your benefit office) any day of the week thank you very much.  Mornings start out slow with 10 to 15 minutes between calls.  The pace picks up around lunch and then again after work, but I like having those ups and downs in call volume.  It gives me a chance to breath and reset myself.

If you didn’t already know, I was hired to work member services.  This entails ordering refills, making payments, eligibility questions, drug coverage questions, locating a shipment, reimbursements, why a pharmacy didn’t process a prescription, doctors calling in to check on the status of prescriptions, insurance calling to check on deductibles… The list goes on and on.  When I got transitioned to web services, I reset passwords, walked members through deleting cookies from their browsers, registered people for the website, and helped navigate around said website.  That’s four things compared to the million things in member services.

On top of that, I feel more in control when I’m working web.  There’s only so many things that can go wrong and I can fix almost all of them.  Whereas in member, it could literally be anything that’s the problem and 80% of the time, I can’t do anything to fix it except for apologize until the caller hangs up.  Some people like the challenges that come with taking member services calls.  I enjoy the challenges that come with taking web support calls.  Explaining what a browser is to an 80 year old man who ends the call by thanking you profusely and repeatedly acknowledging that you deserve a raise (did you hear that, team leads that listen to my calls?  Mr. Smith thinks I deserve a raise!) is something I can handle and enjoy handling.

Unfortunately, as of today, I got put back in member services.  But don’t worry, dear readers.  You can bet money I won’t shut up about how much I love web support until I get put back in web support.

Weekly Update #18

What a week, my dear readers!  Work was, well, work.  The weather here in Iowa decided to take a cue from Minnesota weather and drop ice and snow and more ice on us.  And I did something I never thought I’d actually be capable of doing.

At work, I’m still getting an average of 91 on my calls.  Passing is 92.  They’ve got us in an extra week of abay (training) so we have more time on the phones with people to help us before they let us loose on our own.  Sadly, in order to have Christmas off this week, it’s another 4-day week with 10-hour days.  8 AM to 6:30 PM.  Pretty much all on the phones.  Do not want.  Do not want at all.  The kicker is then the week after next, it’s more 10-hour days so we get New Years Day off.  No thanks, I’ll just work my nice 8-hour days please.  No?  Oh, this is mandatory?  Uh, okay, I guess…

There’s some sort of sickness going around work to boot.  A couple of people have been out for days at a time with a virus.  Friday I started feeling ill.  I’m still not feeling quite 100%, but I think I’ve dodged the bullet.  At least, for now.  As a reminder, lovely readers, I don’t have the strongest immune system around.  I’ve become known as “perma-sick” to my friends because I always have at least some sort of head cold.  So I’m fully expecting to catch whatever’s going around, if I haven’t already and it isn’t just laying dormant, waiting for the worst possible time to strike me down.  Because germs are clearly evil creatures.

Friday we here in the QCA got a pretty solid glaze of ice throughout the course of the day.  Freezing rain on and off, with more freezing rain and sleet on Saturday night, followed by god knows how much snow today (Sunday, for those of you who are too lazy to look at a calendar).  Two of my coworkers were unable to drive on Friday, so I went to pick them up in my lovely Toyota Highlander, thinking I could handle the ice with four wheel drive.  I was wrong.  The main roads were alright, but side streets were terrible.  And of course I had to use side streets to get to my coworker’s houses.  Not looking forward to driving to work tomorrow morning, because even if it doesn’t snow any more tonight, the roads will still be icy and if Iowa drivers are anything like Minnesota drivers, everyone will completely forget how to drive in snow.  I think it’ll be alright as long as there’s no more precipitation.  Pardon me while I go glare at the clouds gathering above, ready to drop a few more inches of snow just to spite me.

As for the thing I mentioned that I never thought I’d ever be capable of doing, I won’t go into too much detail because I don’t know how the other party feels about being written about on a public blog, but I am proud to announce that at 25 years of age, I, Kate, have finally had the confidence to ask a guy out.  Ohmygod, I know, right?!?!?!  So non-traditional!  Alright, enough of the sarcastic fake reactions.  Really though, if you’d asked me a year ago whether I thought I’d ever be confident enough in myself to make that first move, I would have laughed until my sides burst and covered you in my blood, laughing all the way until my very last breath.  But on Friday, I put on my big girl pants and did it.  I thought, “Well, the very worst he can do is say no, and what’s so bad about that?  It’ll be his loss more than mine.”  “Woah,” my inner voice replied, “When the hell did you get so cheeky?”  My inner voice is apparently from the UK.  Or at least pretends to be.

Anyway, long story short, I was a smooth mothafucka when I asked and he answered in the affirmative.  And I’ll leave the story there until I find out how much trouble I’ll be in for writing about him on the internet.

Introvert in a Call Center

As you may or may not know, an introvert, dear readers, is a person who spends energy engaging in social interactions.  The opposite, an extrovert, gains energy from social interactions.  Now, that’s not to say introverts don’t enjoy being social.  It’s just that introverts need a little time to ourselves after being social.

You might have guessed that I am an introvert.  I know, I know, how could I possibly be an introvert?  I seem so outgoing and friendly, right?!  Well, I am, so there.  I’m an introvert and I work at a call center taking inbound calls.  My job is for me to be social 100% of the time.  I have to talk to people 8 hours a day, 5 days a week.  For me, this takes a tremendous amount of energy.

Before I even got on the phones I was getting antsy for time alone by lunch.  There were 15 of us crammed into a small training room.  There is no escaping people here at work.  Even if my phone calls are only about 5 -10 minutes long in terms of time spent speaking to the customer (as opposed to placing them on hold and asking one of the team leads “What the hell am I supposed to do?!?”), it’s too much social interaction for me.

And I feel bad because by the time I get home, I’ve got right around zero tolerance for being social and of course my parents want to know how my day went and the like.  Because they’re my parents and I love them (and they usually have dinner ready by the time I get home), I want to know how their days have gone, too.  I’m able to call upon a small reserve of energy to chat for a little while.  But then I need need NEED time by myself or I feel like I’m going to snap and start murdering people.  Or at least calling them some very nasty names.

As of right now, I feel like I don’t get enough time to myself.  I go to bed earlier and earlier and that doesn’t really refill my energy level in terms of being social.  I just need some time to myself to cuddle with my kittens, work on a project, or just zone out in front of the TV for a while.  And going to bed at 8:30 when I get home around 6 doesn’t really make for a lot of ‘me’ time.

So my challenge is to find a work/life balance.  I’ve never had to do that before.  Every other job I’ve had before this was while I was also in school, where I could way more easily fit time to myself into my schedule.  I need to work on finding that sweet spot between getting paid and being happy and relaxed.  I’m hoping the change to my regular schedule in a couple of weeks will help with that, since I won’t have to get up so early and I can have mornings to myself.  Until then, I’ll just have to try to maybe stay up a little later to recharge my social batteries.

Weekly Update #17

One more week closer to Christmas, dear readers!  Are you all getting excited for the holiday?  Or whichever holiday you celebrate?  I sure am!

This week saw me on the phones at work for the first time (finally).  I can’t say that I enjoy being on the phones.  But what I can say is that I hate being on the phones.  I am very much dreading having to take calls all day tomorrow.  I really really really really really don’t want to do it.  I have panic attacks making calls myself, why on earth did I think I could take calls for a living?!  Oh past Kate, how naive you were.  Or desperate.  Probably desperate.  For money.  Like I still am.  Cough student loans cough.

Anyway, I actually got a lot done this weekend.  I was gonna take it easy and do fuck all in preparation for the hell that will be taking calls for eight hours, but yesterday I went shopping with my parents and got quite a few things I needed for my myriad of DIY gifts as well as a bunch of organizational/storage stuff for my basement.  Hanging the shelves I bought was a nightmare, but at least my latest obsessions – POP! vinyl figures – have a home away from curious kitty paws.

What else?  Hm.  Oh!  I got a WOW at work.  First day of calls, I had a sweet older lady tell me that I was the kindest person at ESI that she’d ever spoken to.  And it just so happened that not only did that make me not go hide in the bathroom and cry that day, but the quality control department pulled that particular call to listen to.  Which lead to me getting the WOW award.  It really isn’t a huge deal outside of the fact that I can be proud of myself for doing my job correctly and being recognized for it.  Actually, that was the main reason I quit my job at Mall of America.  I felt that no matter how far above and beyond I felt I was going in my job, I was never praised for my work, only told how to do things differently/”better.”  It really takes a toll on an employee when they feel like nothing they do really matters.  Yeah, I used to literally clean up shit for a living, but would it have killed management to tell me I was doing a good job cleaning up that shit?

And the most important thing I have to announce today.  I went ahead and bought myself the domain name for Day Old Sushi as an early Christmas gift for myself.  I also bought a licence to use the artwork in my header, which was really cool for me because those sushi are super cute!  So, I re-did the whole layout/scheme/theme/whatever you wanna call it for the blog yet again.  I know I have a bad habit of changing things spur of the moment and quite often, but I put a lot of work into this look and it’s gonna be sticking around.  So, let me know in the comments if you like it!

Well, I’m about ready to call it a night, dear readers.  I bought myself a set of flannel sheets and let me tell you it’s like sleeping on a cloud of glorious softness and warmth.  It makes it about a billion times harder to get out of bed in the mornings (which is already difficult because I’m the opposite of a morning person).  But I’m not gonna complain because flannel is so comfy I wish my very skin was made out of it!

It’s All About the Cha-Ching

Well, dear readers, my first paycheck has come and gone.  Not gone gone, but mostly gone.  I would like to say that I was a responsible adult with my first real paycheck in about a year and a half.  I’d really like to, but I can’t quite go that far.

The first thing I did with my money was responsible and very adult of me – I paid my student loan bill.  Good for me!  I also paid a few other outstanding bills.  Then I spent the rest of it.  To be fair, I bought a bunch of stuff I needed to make a bunch of Christmas presents.  And I bought a few gifts that I can’t DIY.

I mean, yeah, of course I also bought a bunch of stuff for myself.  Things I’ve wanted for months but haven’t had the disposable income to purchase.  Like a cute new coat.  And a new pair of Chucks (I’m obsessed).  And an Achievement Hunter t-shirt.  And some video games (used, of course).  And lots of other unnecessary stuff.  Like candy and ice cream and nail polish.

I’m surprised by how quickly and easily I spent my money now as compared to how stingy I would be when I didn’t have a steady job.  Knowing there’s more money on the way eases my iron grip on my bank account.  I mean, if anything, I’m more mindful of how much I’m spending even though I’m spending quite a bit.

But now that I have the rush of buying things and not really worrying about having money for food and bills out of the way, maybe I can put a budget together.  Or save up to by an iPad.  Yeah, totally gonna get me an iPad.  Wanted one for years, and I’m finally gonna get one.  It’ll only take 2 paychecks for a new one and I’ve got my eye on a nice refurbished one for about $300 less.  I may have money now, but I’m still a cheap skate!

Weekly Update # 16

A whole ‘nother week gone by.  Time sure does fly!  Except when you’re stuck in a training room for 8 hours a day.  Then time just crawls slowly, in a meandering fashion, in some direction not always forwards.  Outside of work, time seems to go double speed.  Now that I’m a 9-5er, there doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day.

This past weekend, I got to spend time with new friends and old.  Went Christmas shopping (which ended up being oh, that’s cool I wanna buy that for myself shopping) with a new friend from work and then did a bit of drinking with an old friend until the most massive headache I’ve ever experienced hit.

I have a new theory about these mysterious headaches.  I’m about a year overdue for a new prescription on my glasses.  Now, if that’s the main issue or just making things worse, I have no idea, but I will bet money that it is not helping things.  Trouble is, I can’t get in to see a doctor until I’m on my regular schedule for work and have Mondays off.  And I should be on my regular schedule at the very end of the month, but since we haven’t had all the phone time we’re supposed to get before we hit the floor, there’s talk that our training might get extended.  Which means more weeks of M-F 9-5:30 instead of my desired Tues-Sat 11:30-8 (well, 12:30-9 on Saturdays).

Speaking of phone time, we’re STILL not on the phones.  Last week in the classroom before we’re on the phones all day.  We were supposed to start taking calls way back two weeks ago and slowly building up to taking calls all day, building our experience as well as our confidence since we’d only take basic calls at first.  Now we’re expected to do everything straight off the bat, basically.  Yesterday we finally got the OK that we have all the clearances and permissions we need to actually get on the phone systems.  So tomorrow we’re supposed to start on the phones in the afternoon.  Everyone’s freaking out – myself included.  Those of us that have no call center experience are more or less terrified.  And even those of us with the experience are nervous about getting all the information right.  We deal with patient medications and if we say a wrong thing, it could have serious real-world consequences outside of someone getting pissed that their package didn’t arrive on time.  That’s a frightening thing.  On top of all that, I’m a perfectionist, which means if I screw up my first call I’m going to spend the rest of the day berating myself for it, and every failed call after that.  I’ll probably leave work tomorrow ready to burn something to the ground.  (Burning things to the ground is my go-to stress relief saying.)  So, that’ll be fun.

Nothing else is really new.  Slowly working on getting all my Christmas gifts made.  Very slowly.  I find myself going to bed around 8:30 PM most nights.  Then I end up waking up several times throughout the night.  It leaves me tired all the time.  I’ve always had problems sleeping through the night (and by always, I mean I’ve been struggling to find a solution that works for me for the past year), and maybe this is also contributing to my headaches.  And I’m always achey and stiff.  I feel like I need about a billion deep-tissue massages to feel physically relaxed again.  Ugh, I really need to go see all sorts of doctors that I’ve been putting off seeing.  At least I have my work schedule as an excuse to continue to procrastinate with my health. (PRO TIP: Don’t actually ever procrastinate with your health – I am a bad example.)

That’s about it, I guess.  It’s nearly 9 PM and I’m looking over at my bed.  It beckons me.  It’s pillows and comforters and softness and warmth.  Yes, bed, I’ll be there shortly, wrapped in your sweet slumber.

Weekly Update #15

A few days later than I would have liked to get this up, but it’s been a long weekend, mostly without internet.  But now, at last, I finally have an opportunity to get this post typed up and live on the web.

This past week has been hell.  10-hour days at work, a massive Thanksgiving headache, and then dog/house sitting away from my cats and internet (two things essential to my well-being).  Work was the worst.  Another week without making it on to the phones.  Now we’re expected to be able to do everything we’ve learned so far, but I’m like, “I will only be able to handle basic refills since I’ll be too busy internally screaming to do much else.”  At least I know I’m not cut out for 10-hour days.  Or starting my days at 5 AM.

I’ve been getting these really bad headaches lately.  Like, massively bad.  They seem to last forever.  Smells, sounds, lights all bother me.  Ibuprofen seems to take forever to kick in and doesn’t seem to be as effective.  I don’t know if I’ve suddenly developed migraines or what, but I do know I’m already over it.

Dog-sitting wasn’t bad.  I stayed at the house at the client’s request.  A house with a view of the Mississippi river.  An absolutely gorgeous view.  Only downsides were that the house didn’t have internet and also I really missed my kittens.  It was really nice to have a whole house to myself for a while, though.  And the dog was a sweetheart!

Oh, I nearly forgot about my paycheck scandal on Friday.  I left out one number of my bank account number when I first signed up for direct deposit (which is the only way to get paid here) – or it got entered wrong somewhere along the line – and this caused the money I worked very hard for to not be in my account on pay day.  So I got to spend all day between HR/Payroll and my bank.  Finally got it figured out that one simple number went AWOL, only to be told by HR that I wouldn’t get a check until the next Friday.  I called my bank and was told that if I could get to a branch on Saturday, I’d be able to get my money by Tuesday instead of Friday.  Basically what I learned was that I fucking love my bank.  I bank with US Bank.  They’re awesome at everything all of the time.  Every time I go to a branch, I spend a solid minute gushing about how much I love them.  I mean, the banker that helped me on Saturday called and left a message on Tuesday to make sure everything went through alright for me.  I mean, what other bank does that?  I’d be dating US Bank if it was an actual person.  Seriously, I am a 150% satisfied and loyal customer and I swear I’m not being paid to turn this blog post into a love letter about my bank, but I’m seriously in awe from all that they’ve done.  A++ 10/10 Would recommend!

Anyway, that’s really about it.  I’d type more about this week (since it’s already Wednesday), but then I wouldn’t have anything to say in the next update.  I don’t know how many posts I’ll get up during the week since now I’m furiously working on all the homemade and/or DIY Christmas gifts I’m making this year.  I have several cross stitches to do and my poor fingers already hate me from trying to get the one I’m currently working on done so I can move on to ones I need to make for gifts.  And since I just got paid yesterday, I need to go out and get all the supplies and whatnot I’m going to need to make everything.  Oh boy.  Lots of work, but it’ll be worth it!  The gifts I have in mind for family and friends are going to blow their minds into a million pieces.  I’m excited!  Well, it’s getting late and I still have some work to do yet tonight before I can crawl into bed with my kitties, so I’ll sign off!