Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Other Side of Story

Due to the strong likelihood of my coming across a bit too cynical in previous blogs and for the purpose of balancing out all the negative energy I've thrown into the universe with my crabbing about the job situation, I feel it's not only fair but necessary to comment on the rest of my life and those aspects of it which for the most part are surprisingly pleasant. Prepare yourself for a lot happiness and magical unicorns in this blog!

Having lost our insurance and then applied for Medicaid for the kids (Gasp! Horror of all horrors!) I've been keeping tabs for the last six plus months on when that first trip to the new doctor would be. . The doctor, who probably in reality is a perfectly competent person with a lot of letters after their name and an exceedingly packed waiting room, has much to my delight not been visited by any of our offspring as of yet (!). If you knew my children's medical history, this point alone would be worthy of double backhand springs and flaming sparklers being waved all over the neighborhood into the wee hours of the morning. My children have never, ever, ever, ever enjoyed such health. And yes, they did both get the swine flu back in the fall, and we were very fortunately able to get the necessary meds and treatment from our old doctor - but I'd say overall for going on 7 months here and having only contracted a single illness that necessitated a doctor's visit: I am delightedly bewildered, and I'm attributing it to our new quite nearly gluten free diet. It's insane what a little non-processed food can do for one's immune system!

Little Jimmy is a little ham. Never shy and always having some unintentionally hysterical comment to make, he makes our days a lot more comical. And while he does have a great sense of humor (whether or not he knows it) he's also a little smarty. He actually can really read to his sister now with enough speed that she doesn't lose interest and leave the room mid-sentence. He's going to start soccer in a couple weeks so that should keep us all busy with some happy family time, and it should do wonders for his excess energy that usually manifests itself in the form of his chasing Kyla at break neck speeds around the couch whilst pushing a doll stroller or miniature vacuum.

Kyla is our midget Mommy. I truly believe she has way more maternal instinct than I do despite the 27 year age gap between us. She can usually be wholly entertained simply with caring for all eight of her babies - that's right EIGHT. You can just call her Nadia. It's a lot of working dressing and changing and feeding and napping and walking EIGHT BABIES. Why just as soon as she's done with one, she's got to start on the next one, and the next, and the next. . When I take her to the nursery at the YMCA she'll usually inform me very seriously with her big doe eyes that she's going to be "takin' car of babies." No, she doesn't go to the nursery because she's too young for the three and up section, she goes to the nursery to help the paid caregivers there; there's just no telling what kind of chaos would ensue there without Kyla's help. Today I took Kyla to story time and observed as she called to every other child in the parking lot and inside the library, "Hi, friend! Hi!" and then proceeded to offer a warm little welcome hug. Just how cute is that?!

Jim has been staying busy helping friends and family, and they in turn have been helping us. I don't know what it is about 'unemployment' or how in the world this happens, but I know it's a real phenomena that actually does happen to others aside from just us, but (brace) we're madly in love. Call it TMI if you will - which it is, but in the interest of presenting a more balanced perspective, it's out there. I have a feeling it may have something to do with totally losing all security and fallback, but with that also losing all the need to be uber responsible and to save or prepare for a rainy day; the rainy day is here and it's raining hard so I've totally shut off the hyper-preparedness section of my brain. 'It' (for lack of a better word and so as to not further gross-out any unsuspecting readers) may also have something to do with the fact that Jim's around a lot more; he helps me get things ready for the day, and he's pretty much never late getting home (and that's HAWT!). Top that off with a huge lack of 'work stress' and you've got a recipe for a happy marriage.

And just to add the icing to this blog that already poops rainbows and sends jets of sparkles through the air behind little shooting stars, it's almost springtime! Do you have any clue at all, whatsoever as to just how beautiful Ocala is in the spring? Le'me just tell you. It's GORGEOUS. Picture the forest in Bambi in the springtime - that's Ocala (alright, it has a few more trees than Ocala). You pretty much can't go anywhere without seeing the brand newest little baby foals and calves and colts EVERYwhere. It is breathtaking. Do you know what the cutest farm animal on the planet is? You'll never guess it - it's a bebe donkey. They are THE darlingest, most awkward, fluffy little balls of adorableness you'll ever lay eyes on. And as for scenery in general, all these fields that are usually entirely unremarkable turn a vibrant purplish-pink in the spring. Now top that, peeps! It's like all of Ocala's nature sings the Hallelujah Chorus perfectly with volume all the way up.

So the whole job search thing feels like it's totally in the dumper. We keep trying, but it's just not happening. Fortunately for us, a LOT of other things are happening. There's a lot in life that's not fair and is terrible and horrible, but there still is a lot of beauty and joy in life too. I know I do a lot of crabbing and whining and venting on this blog, so a post like this is sort of a rare jewel. Consider this one a gift - maybe like a little prozac from me to you. XOXO and lots of sprinkles and shimmery hearts for you today!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A Job Update - And No, It's Not Anything Exciting

It's been a while since my last post. The main reason for this would be the plain and simple concept of: if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all. Oh, I have a lot to say - trust me; I just feel it's better if on a regular basis (1.) others don't have to hear it, and (2.) I don't have to actually connect with different less than desirable aspects of my life in order to articulate them. Still, it's been a long time, so I'll give a highly edited version of my current perspective on life. Brace yourself - this won't be pretty.

I've once again come to the conclusion that life isn't fair. Again. I've also come to the conclusion that the early bird does not get the worm. Further, it's true that being responsible and disciplined will yield few if any worthwhile results (I know this is not true in everything . . but it is true in some areas), while utter negligence and thoughtlessness are rewarded and nurtured in our society.

For the last six months I've spent my spare time (read: Kyla's nap time) searching for jobs and submitting resumes and filling out tedious and lengthy applications. That's my spare time (I feel that point should be dully noted). That means that other tasks that I normally handle in my spare time don't get addressed (i.e. - cleaning, ironing, reading, blogging, talking on the phone, personal time in general). And the results of my efforts have been utterly disgusting. There've been a handful of interviews which (obviously) have not yielded any decent results. Several of these interviews (I'd put it at 3 -4 at this point) have ended with the companies simply deciding not to hire anyone. Period. They interviewed people, narrowed down the best candidates, and then they crapped out. . the big boss men who call all the shots decided that the already existing staff should fill in for the position which was to be created, but which now had been kicked to the curb.

Do you have any idea how much wasted time and energy goes into each of these interviews which are then just discarded? - and not because my spouse didn't qualify, simply because the company changed their mind. Or do you have any idea how much time goes into typing personalized cover letters for each company with a listed available position? Or what about *simply* submitting resumes? Or what about filling out their generic applications which usually start at around 3 pages? Maybe you're getting the picture that my husband is unemployed not for lack of effort or skill - he's unemployed simply because the job market sucks right now. (And that's actually my edited thought.)

Do you have any idea how much rejection that is on a daily basis - and more so on interview days? I've come to the conclusion that all aspects of job hunting are crappy. I don't like sending in info to companies, and I don't like not having companies that are looking for info like ours. I don't like interview days, and I don't like non-interview days. I haven't liked hearing back from companies, and I haven't liked not hearing back from companies. Pretty much all aspects pertaining to finding employment are utterly annoying and discouraging.

And while we may struggle with finding a real job, I'm acutely aware that life could be worse. We could be homeless; we could be without family or help; we could've been living in Haiti; we could have ill children or family. . the list goes on. And while many people are facing terrible situations, that still doesn't change my perspective that life, in general, sucks - for a lot of people. Is that any consolation to me? Nope. Am I wanting any sort of admonishment, religious or otherwise? Nope. I'm just sharing where I'm at. There are happy moments in life, but a large part of it is suffering and struggling. And the more irresponsible you are (I've found) the more the government and people in general try to assist you.

So there it is. My verbal vomit all over the internet. Blah. Feel free to comment on this blog, but as a matter of common knowledge, don't ask me to my face about my life; I guarantee you won't want to hear what I have to say as far as "the job search" goes.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

A Good Place with Two

Lately, the contrast between the way I've raised each of my children thus far has come into sharp focus. Maybe being that we're unemployed right now and I'd expect to somehow find myself in a permanent funk, but instead to my surprise sometimes find myself feeling pretty much stress-less has caused me to evaluate the different stages of my life in the past years and ponder what I've done differently at various points.

Thinking back to the years when little Jimmy was home with me before starting school (as Kyla is now) I recall pretty much all day Mommy and son time. We did story time together. We took walks nearly every day. We visited all the local parks regularly. We played with blocks and Lego's and puzzles. We read LOTS at home. We ran errands. We did just about everything together. And while that's wonderful and beautiful in a lot of ways, it also caused me to frequently feel like I was totally losing my mind. Don't get me wrong - I LOVED (and still do) little Jimmy and being with him, but sometimes I just really needed some alone time. And yes, we did have the kind services of babysitting from various family members which was great; still, many days it felt overwhelming. I tried to join a YMCA when little Jimmy was younger solely for the purpose of my having personal time and space, but he was very much a Mama's boy, and I found myself frequently being called to the child care section of the facility to pick up my child who had screamed non-stop from the moment I had dropped him off. Within a few weeks of joining, I was forced to cancel the membership. It didn't help either that I didn't know at the time that he was totally allergic to milk (and I'm beginning to think gluten now too). Jimmy has a very strong will - a will that I believe served him well in coming through his premature entrance into this world, and a will which I fully believe will serve him hugely as an adult. But as a baby and toddler, it was challenging. The struggle of those first few years is certainly not solely attributable to him; I completely played the role of the overprotective mother. I coddled my little boy and sheltered him just as much as he would let me. I checked on him at least twice a night until he was four years old, and I think I even gave him a sippy of milk once a night until well past the age of two (I know! - that in itself is unbelievable. . . but if only I had known the milk itself was not helping anything at all). Frequently, I cooked three meals a day for him. I don't know that I ever left him with anyone aside from family (with the exception of our short stint at the YMCA). Long and short of it - he was my first; he was early and strong willed by nature, and I was worried and hyper-overprotective and also strong willed by nature.

And then Kyla came along. In my opinion, she's been a people-pleaser since birth; not really - she's just extraordinarily accommodating. She's cranky when she's sick or tired, and the rest of the time, she pretty much just goes with the flow. Whatever's happening, she goes with it. Granted she doesn't appear to have any crazy food allergies which makes life much simpler. She wasn't born prematurely and spending her first six weeks of life being poked and prodded in a hospital. No, by contrast, she had a very easy start. I was too exhausted from caring for Jimmy rather spastically for the past four years to devote that much obsessiveness to her - and she didn't want it either (go figure). Of course I still was up with her through the night as an infant, but once twelve months hit I let her learn to put herself to sleep. Now that's not to say Kyla has always been all peaches 'n' cream; no, she definitely has her own little personality that she shares with everyone. She's just a different person with a different temperament and different experiences. We do read and play and go to parks and run errands together - just not as much. I have a membership to another YMCA now, and I take full advantage of it; and yes, I do go to get a break from the constantness of motherhood. Sometimes it's just good to not have to respond to anyone at any given moment. We usually go to the gym in the morning after dropping Jimmy of at school, and then we come home for her nap time. When she wakes up, we have lunch and play a bit before picking up Jimmy. When we get back from picking Jimmy up, it's Jimmy's homework time and Kyla's coloring time. And then it's playtime, and they play together wonderfully (usually). Yes, I play with them too, but they really can do a great job on their own which frees me up to make a decent dinner.

It's just struck me how easy this phase of life is as far as child rearing goes. Somehow I feel like I should feel guilty for how simple it is. But should I really? The kids are happy, and I'm reconnecting with some levels of my own sanity (note that I said some). And I like it like this. Kids are great and all and I'm thrilled to have this experience (and to have survived it thus far), but in my perspective at least, they're easier when they're not infants. At last both of my kids are old enough to articulate their feelings or wants or needs; do you have any idea how huge that is, and how much whining and crying that eliminates?! I don't even need to tell you that a child crying may as well be nails on a chalkboard to me, do I? Even a child that's not my own. If I can hear a baby crying at Wal-Mart per se, I will intentionally shop in an area where I am out of range of hearing that - it disturbs me. I feel compelled to *fix it,* but given that it's someone else's child, I know that my efforts at appeasing their little one will go fully unappreciated (just a hunch). I also love that I only have one child in diapers who will soon be out of that phase completely too. Again, don't get me wrong - there's not much cuter than a child toddling around the house in a diaper; but really, it's fecal matter and urine people. . I'm happy to not deal with that repeatedly all day.

I remember before Kyla was born asking some friends who had two kids when they were going to have their next one. "We're not. . . Just wait, you'll see. . " I have to say, at the time I honestly didn't believe them, and that was even as I was in the thick of raising my first. But there's been a lot of water under the bridge between then and now. I get it. Raising kids while being the most rewarding job, is also easily the most exhausting and frequently the most unappreciated job. In a nutshell: I like my sleep - A LOT. I've enjoyed reconnecting with the me who is well rested.

Once more, I can't reiterate it enough: I love my kids as much as it's possible for one human to love another. . but I don't want anymore. In August, what ended up being the week the company Jim worked for closed and the week he lost his job, Jim got the old snip-snip. It was a little touch and go there as to whether or not the insurance would be active at the time of the surgery (as the company closed on Wednesday and the surgery had been scheduled for Friday) but in the end we were both very relieved to hear the insurance would still be active. What a relief to no longer have the possibility of an unexpected pregnancy. And while I'm sure a vasectomy is unpleasant (it is surgery after all), I believe the men should be more than willing for this type of procedure after all the pain their wives have endured in bringing their child/ren into the world. I was so pleased with the whole thing being taken care of and done with that I made Jim a little cake in the shape of scissors to commemorate his bravery for the sake of his wife's constitution.

Have I regretted the decision at all? Not a once. In fact, when I see other mom's with their infants or hear about newly expecting friends or family, I actually feel a tinge of pity. Of course expecting a new little one is a happy time and all, yet there is so much work in the whole process and so little sleep. All of that to say, I'm glad to be where I'm at. I sleep, and I think more rationally. I have time for such frivolities as blogging and Facebook (gasp!). I can use the bathroom any time I feel the need. I get to read WHOLE books. I can cook real food regularly. I shower every single day! My life is not consumed with doctor's appointments. It's a nice place to be really. Ya, we may not have found a job yet after several months of searching, but that doesn't mean there's not a lot to be thankful for, and having two great kids and no more is one of them!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Nasty, Nasty, Nasty

When I volunteered to help my sister finish with cleaning out her home in order to rent it, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. It wasn't that the house was filthy or in wretched state of disrepair. No, quite the opposite. In fact everything was going along really nicely with finishing those last little bits of cleaning and repairs here and there UNTIL we made that flippant and, looking back now, foolish decision to drop off a few bags of garbage at the dump. We could've just waited; she could've just driven over the evening before garbage day to set the bags out by the curb, but no. Feeling a bit too overly eager, we decided to just get the job done straight away by driving it to the dump.

Really we weren't even going to the dump, but rather to a transfer station. It was right up the road; couldn't have been more than a ten minute drive. . simple, right? Wrong. . . dead wrong. I'd never been to a dump or a transfer station until last Tuesday, but I totally underestimated the entire situation. Completely. I was not mentally, physically, or emotionally prepared for what I was about to experience. My husband, who had also been helping with the final repair and clean up of my sister's house gave me no warning either. Having previously owned a property care business, he had plenty of experience in making drop offs at the dump. Since he had visited such places as this so regularly, I assumed it would be no big deal (and you know what they say about people who assume, right?) and he didn't indicate otherwise.

We loaded our dad's truck which we had borrowed for the day with anything we could find that should be disposed of: old blinds, garbage, scraps of laminate etc. The drive was brief and entirely uneventful. As we pulled into the station where you show your ID or pay, we decided it was best to just turn off the diesel truck as it was so loud we couldn't hear what the attendant was saying to us. We provided the necessary info and then proceeded to follow her directions up some ramp. . except - we had to turn the truck back on again first. . .this meant waiting for the allotted warm up period for diesels. . . all the while garbage trucks and recycling trucks were passing us, and we were beginning to feel just a bit out of place (at least we weren't driving my sister's Prius.)

The truck finally started and we turned onto the ramp. The ramp. How weird is that? It's not like we were merging onto an overpass or something; no, we were simply entering the ginormous warehouse-looking transfer station. Feeling somewhat awkward and strangely nervous, we sat in line waiting for our turn. At the front of the line we observed MOUNTAINS of . . . poo. Really, it could've just been actual poo; that's how bad it stunk at least (and that was before we rolled down the window). We watched as garbage trucks backed in and added to the mess followed by some huge nasty floor sweeping machine that swept the sludge and garbage more closely towards the mountains.

When the attendant at the top of the ramp noticed us sitting there awkwardly, he approached *laughing* (maybe he sensed our state of shock and awe) and told us where we could "back the truck in" when he gave the cue. The cue came quickly and let me just say there was no backing in; neither my sister or I had any interest in trying to get as close as possible to the garbage heap so as to avoid spreading the mess any further. No, sorry; they would just need to come through with the nasty sweeper machine after us and push all of our garbage into the rest of the collective heap.

Feeling pressured to be quick (given the line of commercial vehicles waiting at the doorway of the elevated warehouse) we both jumped out as soon as the truck was parked. I had only two scant days previously treated myself to a pedicure, and here I was wearing my flip flops inside the most repulsive place on the planet. A thick coat of grime and sludge and gunk made the floor very slick. My sister and I both separately envisioned our utter demise should a wrong step be made. I walked carefully towards the back of the truck, but was forced to stop when I came to a deeper segment of muddy sewage. I decided instead to try to reach over the side of the truck to grab whatever I could and then, using my brute She-ra type strength, thrust the debris as close to the mountain as possible. My poor sister; this meant that she was left doing most of the work and traversing through all the gore beneath our feet. At one point, I managed to get a hold of some sliding door blinds and was able to use my amazing javelin throwing abilities to pitch the whole thing approximately six inches from my feet. To say that we were completely out of our element is easily the understatement of the century; not that anyone could be in their element there, but clearly others there we less horrified and more prepared for the repugnance of the transfer station than we were. I actually noted the garbage truck drivers and even the attendant within the transfer station laughing maniacally at us; these weren't little chuckles either. These were out and out making-fun-of, sincere belly laughs kind of laughs. . .

When the debris in the back of the truck was unloaded we both eagerly climbed into the cab of the truck to prepare for our hasty departure. I carefully removed my flip flops at the far side of the floor by the door so as to detach the most highly contaminated portion of attire from my being. My sister had no choice (with sneakers on and the rush to leave) aside from simply getting in and driving. Of course, there was the issue again of having to wait for the the diesel engine to be ready for us to drive after turning the key. . . . How can a few short seconds seem so painfully long? When the light finally went off and we were free to leave, my sister managed to sort of peel out (which isn't a difficult thing to do given the scum on the floor). We then both commenced noting the feeling of numbness in our appendages which *may* have made contact with ANYthing in the facility. Surely it was all bio-hazard-sludge-acid that would likely give us a quick and severe case of leprosy.

The next stop on our list of errands was Home Depot. Climbing out of the truck in the parking lot, we were surprised and disgusted to see the *mud* (if only it was just mud. . just plain old dirt mud. . but we knew better) spattered across the side of the truck. Not anticipating the smell of the dump following us around, I was fully unprepared for the scent that greeted my nostrils as I walked away from the truck, and I'm not joking: I gagged. . I nearly vomited at the smell of the truck. We weren't even at the dump and the smell on the outside of the truck was still that strong. As we walked in, we both noted that the other smelled like a dump, so we chose to head strait to the bathroom to wash our shoes and feet and hands with soap. I felt a bit like what I imagine a homeless person might feel like with a one foot and then the other sudsied up in a public restroom sink. Still, it made a huge difference in our odor to simply wash our shoes and feet. Later we took the truck to a car wash which helped some but did not completely eliminate the odor that lingered over us and the truck for the remainder of the day.

I have never in my life experienced such abhorrent filth. I didn't know a place that horrific existed in our state. As amazing as it sounds, that was just one of many transfer stations where garbage is collected before it's driven out to the real dump - which I'm presuming is far bigger and grosser on many levels. I have a new found respect for garbage collectors; that is some nasty work, and I'm really glad I don't have to do anything like that every week. I asked my husband about not warning us of the horrors of the transfer station, and his response was basically that he thought we'd been before and knew what to expect. Um, ya - NO; that will never be happening again. The experience has made me surprisingly conscientious of how much garbage our household produces, and also eager to implement more recycling and reusing. And it's definitely high time biodegradable materials were implemented into every possible consumer product made.

I'll leave with this final and parting thought on garbage collection sites in general: Yuck-o.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Knowing the Consumer Well

I really appreciate that Ford is meeting us at our need. Their Super Bowl add is bound to clear the car lots of these puppies!

Ford Unveils New Car For Cash-Strapped Buyers: The 1993 Taurus

Friday, November 13, 2009

A Letter to Employers

I know this is a terrible thing to do here, but for three months we've endured such amazing injustices as far as the job hunt goes that I feel it's my duty to bring attention to the matter and call a spade a spade. To all employers *considering* hiring now or ever: You are NOT all that and a bag of chips. While I know I should continue existing in a faux state eager readiness and excitement at the prospect of ANY employment, it's just not happening any more.
For starters, I am 100% fed up with the false advertising of businesses. As hard as this may be to believe, there are actually businesses out there falsely advertising positions which do not exist. By that, I mean that these are positions which they hope to exist some day when they get that new account or when they start having the common situation of money flowing out of their ears. TWICE now, Jim has done interviews which seemed to go relatively well, until the point at the very, very, very end of the interview wherein the interviewer stated something generally to the affect of: "Well, IF the position becomes available, it won't be until JANUARY." Emm. . Excuse me? Your telling me that this position, which supposedly you (the interviewer) are handling right now (along with three other positions) won't be available until JANUARY? And emmm. . is that because you're hoping for some inordinate amount of money to somehow manifest itself within the company at some magical date in January? Great - thank you for wasting our time. My husband, he just really enjoys preening for people; it's his idea of a good time to sell himself; he likes demonstrating all of his knowledge when requested on the spot. . And he even more just LOVES acing an interview for a position which very well could NEVER exist. That's totally his idea of a real good time. Or what about the other interview he did just last week wherein he divulged all kinds of info about himself to prove what a 'very useful engine' (to coin Thomas the Tank) he was, only to have the HR lady on the other end of the line (who up until this point had seemed extremely pleasantly surprised and satisfied with Jim's answers) inform Jim that should their company acquire 'X' account, they may give him a call. . Well, thanks for all that! And of course Jim wouldn't feel like a used up whore or anything. . Of course he wouldn't! Really, I feel like this practice of conducting interviews for positions which at present (or possibly ever) do not exist should be criminal. And the fact that in both of these cases, the employer dropped that rather notable and critical bit of info at the VERY last possible moment in the interview just speaks volumes to the companies' integrity. Talk about being led on. It's on level with being invited to a fun pool party only to show up and have the host present 'the plan' to become a sales rep for xyz multi-level company. It's dishonest and disheartening.

Another amazing little factoid that I've come to be utterly disgusted with is the fact that employers simply will not accept the fact that you are willing to accept a pay cut. Again, it's been three months. . We would really appreciate some gainful employment at this point. Jim's not the type who would get hired on someplace, and then start sulking around because he's not getting paid what he got paid previously. And it appears this little issue of pay is a sticking point. People just will not accept the fact that you could be happy getting paid less - ever. News flash employers of America: every unemployed person in this country who has spent any quantity of time searching for a job has come to the realization that a pay cut is inevitable, and they have accepted it. . and it's HIGH time you people figured that one out too!

And for all the super neat-o managers out their with an inferiority complex, let's set the record strait for the unemployed folks: We don't want your job. That's great that you have a high and mighty position wherever, but we're not competing with you for your position; we're simply interviewing for the job your company advertised. While many of us are in fact far more qualified than you are for the work which you are doing, that does not mean we will be trying to edge you out the door. No, again, we're simply looking for employment - so quit being on the defensive. . it makes you look insecure and shallow.

My last gripe regarding prospective employment has to do with the manner in which people are informed of not getting the job. I received a letter in my inbox a couple weeks ago from an interview which Jim had completed at least six weeks previously. As soon as the interview was completed, though we both new it was a bad fit and just wasn't going to happen, we went ahead and sent a "thank you for the interview" card (how prompt and special of us!). I had pretty much long since forgotten about that interview until I received this special email informing us regretfully that he had not received the job. Again, we picked up on that when one of the interviewers began preparing to leave for lunch before all parts of the interview (as Jim had been informed) had been completed. . . That was our first hunch that it just wasn't looking so good. But to six weeks later get an email. . . an email? The level of utter stupidity of this is just mind-boggling. They couldn't even defer to the concept that their letter had somehow gotten lost in snail mail; no, it was an email. When an organization is that slow at simply sending out post-interview informative letters, it speaks volumes to their level of competency. Receiving the email made me realize just how close Jim could've been to getting that job (even if it wasn't totally up his alley); I mean, with time anyone can learn and accomplish anything, and clearly this little group seems to think that time is not a factor at all. Really, at that point it would have reflected much better on this group if they just didn't bother with sending out the notices at all. It should be noted that this was a position with one of the governing institutions here. WOW.

For right now, I don't plan on naming any organizations who have exhibited these extraordinary traits. But I would really like it (since I know this blog is read by lots of big employers) if the people doing the hiring and interviews could be a little more considerate to their prospective employees. Don't get our hopes up for nothing. Accept that we can accept you and your pay. Don't fret that we're going to take over the world (or your company or your job for that matter). And don't be rude. That's fair, right? If you can handle that, then you're hired!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Frightening Assumptions

Wheeewwww. . . Pheeewwwwww. . . Sigh. . Breathing again over here. I just had a very disturbing experience for which I'm now on the other side of and enjoying the relief of it all. Phew. Still glad to be breathing.

It all started when I dropped little Jimmy off at school this morning and headed off to the gym and to run some errands with Kyla. As I was coming home around 11:30, the thought actually crossed my mind that his school does not have either my husband's or my own new cell phone numbers. I thought of all the reasons both simple and complex for which they'd need to contact me during the day, and fully had in mind to promptly call the school just as soon as I got home. When I did arrive home I saw a message flashing on the machine. Checking it, I was utterly horrified to hear it was the Dean of Students at his school. "Calling to speak to the parents or guardian of James Britton. If you could please give me a call at your earliest convenience." Oh. my. gosh. I of course immediately called back and was forced to simply leave a message. . . Just let the gravity of that sink in for a moment. . . I was having visions of horror and shame and fear - nightmares really, and I was left to leave a message.

I put Kyla down for her nap, and I showered as quickly as is humanly possible (not wanting to miss the phone call). I checked my emails ever so briefly and thoughtlessly. And then I stewed. I checked the school schedule online to see when the kids would have their lunch so I could call again, and if I couldn't speak to the dean I could at least speak to his teacher to find out what had happened.

So while waiting, thoughts kept overtaking my mind - literally hijacking my brain. Bad thoughts. Sinister thoughts. I pictured little Jimmy having been sitting in the dean's office for the last four hours while the dean glared at him for his baffling behavior and wondering why in the heck James' parents were so inept at returning a simple phone call - surely this was the cause of James' behavior today. . .

I envisioned Jimmy shoving other innocent children. I pictured him sitting in his desk with his arms crossed obstinately refusing to do any work. I saw him telling off his teachers. I imagined him back-talking the dean. And then my thoughts took a turn. What if he had been the victim? What if some other kids had bullied him? What if he had been injured? What if he had been life-flighted to the nearest hospital? I googled his school to see if any breaking news clips showed up (fortunately there weren't any). And then just as quickly as it had come on, I snapped out that one. Obviously the dean wouldn't be calling me if that was the situation - probably I would have heard from his teacher, and the hospital, and the principal. . ya, there'd be more than one message on my machine if anything really terrible had happened.

So I returned to my stewing over Jimmy's behavior. I tried to think of good punishments for the sort of behavior that would elicit a call from the Dean of Students. He'd be cleaning the bathroom and sweeping the porch; he'd be doing dishes and fixing meals too for that matter. Still, I couldn't help but feel my attempts at more serious punishments would go unnoticed. I remembered back to the days of my own elementary school. There were children who were notoriously naughty (at least for that time) - kids who knew the principal a little too well or who had even been sent home on occasion. I tried to think of what these mothers did to encourage their children to behave, and alas, I could think of nothing truly special or notable. Ya, the mom's of the *naughty* kids from elementary school had finally earned my sympathy.

Finally it was lunch time at Jimmy's school (emm. . . yes, this was actually only ten minutes later), so I called back. Much to my relief and dismay, the dean picked up. "Oh, ya. Hang on just a minute." She seemed so casual as she placed me on hold - like he was just one of a list of offenders for the day, and she needed to pull his file to remember exactly what he had done to earn himself a trip to the office. "Yes, we're showing five excused absences and five unexcused absences for James for the month of October." Silence. My heart began beating again much the way most other living beings does, and I simultaneously realized how completely and utterly wrong I had been in all my assumptions. I casually explained how he had missed five days for the flu, and five days for our single family vacation planned for the last year, and how I had worked it out with his teacher and all his work had been completed. And that was it. "OK. Thank you. I completely understand." And that was it. . .

Yes, I know that mother's tend to worry, and I know that I in particular have an extraordinarily overactive imagination; but the bottom line is this: you know what they say about people who assume. . .