I thought it was about the peanut butter …………..

170209_peanut_butter

 

So I interview candidates.

I am one of those non-people-persons who seems to have stumbled into making a living that requires me to be a real people’s person all day.

Interview days are particularly difficult.  It is like all my energy is being pulled ripped out of me.  By the end of the day I am not literally weeping, I am actually weeping.

I am quite low on candidate numbers so I have booked three interview days per week from January through to March.  I may need to go and relook at that, as I realised today that I might not survive.

I am incredibly patient with candidates — at the end of the day I need to get the best out of her.  I spend valuable time with her to be able to get to a point where she is a candidate I can present to a client and at the same time  I try to give her some tips and suggestions and maybe see if she can see a situation from another angle.

I have had a lot of really bizarre interviews in my time, and I tend to forget them within 24 hours and not let them bother me again.  I usually do not talk about my clients or my candidates with anyone — it’s my work stuff.

Today I experienced a truly magic moment of epic proportion.

It might be that I am severely sleep deprived – insomnia has been kicking my arse all over the show for the last 4 – 6 weeks and I am really not coping during the day.  I have had medicated sleep for the the last 5 years so I know how this goes, and my medication is usually and has been just right.

But for reasons of many — right now my brain is fighting me.  The result is I struggle to fall asleep and my sleep is broken.  When the morning comes, I am pretty much broken.  Every morning.

So back to the interview — I go into a lot of detail with candidates.  I am patient.   I offer guidance, a little hug if they need it. I am Mother Theresa but with better hair, and jeans.

The candidate today is talking about why she resigned.  Candidates often go into wild detail, and run all over the show when in actual fact the reason they resigned is often a fairly simple one.  If you are able to cut through all the noise and get to it.

I have huge amounts of respect for the candidates I work with — I let them tell their story, I offer advise and encouragement.  I do a lot more than just interview.

This candidate is lamenting the fact that her previous employer only supplied bread and peanut butter spread for lunch every day.

{keep in mind I am sleep deprived, I am hopped up on caffeine and ritalin and my people skills got left at the school kerb this morning —- I am one step away from flying over the cuckoos nest myself at this point — I have murder on my mind and that was because I have been awake since 06h10 ….}

I nod and she just goes on and on about this peanut butter thing.  I am trying to identify with her as the victim.

I explain I hate peanut butter. Like intensely.

Then in a very gentle tone I explain the onus does not rest on the employer to supply lunch.  If an employer supplied bread, tea, coffee and a spread — then great.

It’s been given to you — they do not actually have to supply it.

There is a perception that an employer must supply lunch and thus an expectation, but the reality is that it is not a right.The issue I am having is that not only is she expecting lunch, but she is unhappy with lunch —- and I am trying to understand the situation.

Listen I have heard stories from candidates about employers that really make your jaw slacken —– and usually your facial features are arranged in a WTF?  So in this I am not trying to vilify anyone, I am trying to understand the situation — the actual situation — and then understand where her dissatisfaction crept in.

I explained I have never worked a job where they gave me lunch.  I told her that my first job was at a bakery — the irony was at lunch time we had to go the bakery next door and buy a pie, because the bakery we worked at was not interested in our shit, and they were not going to give us a roll.

She is still muttering about her peanut butter.

This peanut butter issue clearly goes deep.

I am nodding, and making all the coo’ing sounds and what ever else you need to do in a hostage negotiation process.

Then I think, okay let’s move this on.  Let’s find out what the solution would have been instead of say, resigning from that job, because you lost your shit about there only being peanut butter on the menu.

I ask her, okay, what did you expect your employer to supply you for lunch —- she is still muttering about peanut butter — so I say it again with a bit more force — what would you expect your employer to supply you for lunch?

I make eye contact with her, I lean in.  I nod and smile in an encouraging manner.

I show her my compassion for her peanut butter issue —- I encourage her to just tell me what it is that her employer should have given her.  Which might have prevented her from resigning, and now being unemployed.

I sit there and wait for her to build up the courage to impart this secret to me — this yearning she has carried.  This feeling that life has not treated her well, that somehow her employer was not doing right by her.

She looks at me — I can see we are about to have a break through moment …..

 

…………………..

 

…………………..

 

I am tingling a little –  this conversation has gone on for a very long time, I am heavily invested at this point

 

…………………..

 

…………………..

 

………………… “polony” ………….fucking polony

 

…………………..

 

…………………..

 

She wanted her employer to give her polony and not peanut butter. So she resigned.  Over polony.

 

I can’t —– I actually can’t.  And you think your job offers you opportunities to grow into a stronger person. Mine is “Postcards from the Edge” material.

 

…………………..

 

…………………..

 

You know that exact moment in the day when you sit there, reflect on your life, the choices you have made, and the series of decisions that has brought you to this moment and you go ………………… polony ………….fucking polony …. my job is about polony.

 

…………………..

…………………..

How I don’t kill more people I will never know.  I deserve an award some days.  Not today.  But some days.

 

 

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Cheers chicks and china-beans …..

Yes, today is not exactly the highpoint of my week, but any the who, such it is – I did lie in bed this morning wondering if I could just skip today — all together.  There  is not too much I can do {falls flaying to the ground….} other than get up, brush your teeth, look at your fine mane of hair, and put your big girl panties on, and suck it the fk up!

I do appreciate the words of wisdom, and general back patting that has gone on following my last post – it is much appreciated, and even though I wince at clichés sometimes it is quite nice to hear the much used, but well-regarded “closed doors mean new doors open” vibe.

All very kumba-ya-m’lord …. so thanks, really, thanks –  a girl sometimes needs a bit of upbeat to feel better about her shit.

I don’t really have a plan at the moment as to what I will be doing tomorrow or next week, but I thought I would take today, maybe tomorrow, maybe even the next day and take a deep breath and read my book a bit, then see what happens.

The “nervous and anxious” part of me wants to run around the room like a headless chicken screaming “the sky, the sky, it’s falling in!”

The lazy-lie-on-the-couch-wine-swilling-oaf wants to click her heels in glee that she gets to finish “World without End” by Ken Follett.  I am on page 553 of this 1237 page monster, and I am truly loving every moment, so that is about all that is on my IMMEDIATE horizon.

Tomorrow I can deal with tomorrow, or maybe the day after tomorrow.

Today I plan to eat a drive through McDonald’s meal with a coke light {you know it balances itself out} and read my book a bit – that is what I have planned, anything after that is a surprise.  For both you and me.

Side bar >> I really am having that dilemma about whether I stand up from my cubicle and say something like “Cheerio my beeatches – catch you on the flip side” and make a dramatic exit – or whether I quietly slip out while everyone is out on lunch – thus avoiding the really uncomfortable “bye, keep well” “I am sure it is for the best” “You will see you will find something better” “Hey, keep in touch” “I am going to miss you — all the best hey” or what ever variation there is on any of those key “get the fk out the office door” phrases.

Odds are, I will opt for the silent exit, and in about four weeks someone will look up and go – “Where is that slightly unstable person, with the wild eyes and intense frown who used to sit over in the orange cubicle?  If she is gone, can I get her parking bay?”

Yep, I think I will avoid all the hugging and kissing and awkward moments as I quietly slip out the door.

What rhymes with retrenchment?

I have already been through three retrenchments, and they were all pretty sucky.

There is something devastating about sitting on a couch/around a boardroom table and being told your services are no longer required.

Granted there are several ways of delivering this bit of news, but the reality is that no matter how it is done, it is just pretty shite being on the receiving end.

I got to hear it again last week.

I am retrenched/redundant/unemployed and I feel ill enough to want to throw up.  Once the penny dropped and I fully “understood” what was going on, I started to move through a few stages of “The Initial Shock of being Retrenched…”

Mine appear to loosely follow this progression.

Stage 1:  Sitting quietly and trying to take it all in {whilst the voices are screaming}.

Stage 2:  Starting to doubt you are hearing correctly.  An overwhelming urge to shake your head, put your head to the side, and smack your ears because you think that somehow there is a wax blockage in your ears that makes you hear “you are being retrenched” incorrectly.

Stage 3 : Trying to compose your face in a look of mild interest, and at the same time, nodding at the correct times.  When in actual fact you want to throw yourself on the floor, sob like a three-year old and grab the leg of the person who is busy going through there “you are retrenched” script and beg them for the love of gd to reconsider.

Stage 4 : Wondering if you can say something at this juncture that will change the outcome of this conversation. {So the person is speaking and you have stopped listening and you are desperately scrambling for something to say that will change where this conversation is going.}

Stage 5 : Wondering who else knows — are you the only one being retrenched —- who else knew and did not tell you?  The sense of suspicion towards everyone begins to creep through.

Stage 6 : You know the person delivering their script is winding to a close, and now you are going to be this awkward person sitting on the couch, when in reality you need to go and get your cup, and your wire giraffe and leave the premises {after the mandatory body cavity search of course}.

Stage 7 : You suddenly feel really bad for the person/people who are having to convey this rather kak news.  You realise that they are probably feeling pretty shite, so you shelve the fact that you want to burst in to tears, and beg forgiveness, and instead try to act in a way that makes them feel less bad.

Stage 8 : The moment you realise the inevitable.  You are being retrenched.  All the big decisions have been made, and at this point you are really just being brought up to speed.  Nothing you can say or do, at this juncture will change what is going to happen.

Stage 9 : Your brain wonders whether claiming UIF is a possibility, your brain quickly works out what school fees are and whether you should home school to save monety.  You have already worked out what you will write on your cardboard sign which you can stand in the traffic and display “Help, three children to feed, no job, please help, gd bless!” or something of a similar ilk.

Stage 10 : The embarrassment washes over you that you have been retrenched, and you feel a bit (very) rejected, and think “Fuck again!  Again, really again – aah fuck!”  {I would love to be a retrenchment virgin, but it appears I am well on my way to being a retrenchment slut.}

I have moved through these 10 stages, and am in the stage of anger/denial/crazy worry …. and so much more ….. so this weeks sucks chunks.

I love Epic Fail Moments … and I seem to be doing them regularly ….

Okay so what do we know about me.

1.  I have three kids, I am not your run of the mill mom.

2.  I work, and I work because I enjoy it and to remain sane – I do not think I could be a stay at home mom.

3.  I suffer from chronic depression, anxiety and panic disorder, possibly with a light touch of OCD or even Tourette’s thrown in for good measure.  I also have a social phobia – and added to that a touch of what you could call sensory sensitivity i.e. too much sound, light, noise, touch sets off a few triggers.

4.  I am scary honest even when I do not want to be.

5.  I drink way too much tea and wine.

6.  I would walk a mile for a bag of Chuckles.  (I am lying, I might walk to the end of my drive way, but it is still a very far way).

7. I abhor smiley face icons.

Great so we know that.  Nothing new there.  Just checking we are all on the same page.

I really do not mind who reads my blog.

Really.

Okay, I prefer it if my mom did not read my blog.  But anyone else, be my guest.  It is a public forum, knock yourself out.

I get countless emails and messages from “moms who struggle” to say thanks for saying what they think and feel, and for saying it out loud.  I blog because it makes me feel a bit more “normal” each day – but it is nice to not be the only person who “struggles” with stuff.

I have commented that I enjoy my job, and the people are great, and blah blah blah pancakes.

But the physical closeness of people and the amount of noise has had me making regular visits to a psychiatrist and a psychologist and basically had me shut up at home because I am “afraid” of being at work.

Slightly career limiting move …. you think?

Because it is setting off panic and anxiety attacks, I can only spend so long crying in the toilets, before people start wondering if I have a bowel problem or a urinary tract infection that needs to be addressed.

Recently there was an office shift and a staff member got moved next to me.  She is lovely and sweet and all of those things.  If my mother sat next to me it would set me off.  It unfortunately escalated “my situation” and I spent a bit more time in the toilet cubicle and started dipping a bit more frequently in my “lunch box of pharmaceutical approved medication” which is all not ideal.

I struggle if my kids are close to me, too much of them near me and I start to shake, rattle and roll. <yes, it is loads of fun to be me, I am a ton of fun at parties and get togethers>

I posted a note about this a little while ago.

You know that mantra “You never know who reads your blog!

Well, bottom line is you don’t.

And I don’t really consider it too much else I might not say anything, or I might start censoring what I say and then I might as well write for …. You Magazine.

So far, all okay.

But then someone at work reads my blog.  Someone forwards it to someone else who forwarded it to someone else.  All who work 2 metres from me.

And it was off ….. like …. I don’t know what goes off?

So now not only do a few dozen (I am being modest) people in cyber space know that I am a full on whack job – but now a few hundred people in my office complex know that I am full on crazy as well, and making judgements accordingly. <sigh>.

I know there should be a bright side here, but I am seriously not able to find one.  I will wait for Natasha to find a way to politely comment, as sometimes she does manage to say it quite like it is and can make me snort even in the face of full on disaster.

The irony is I spoke to HR and asked her to keep it confidential, because I like to give the impression that I am mildly sane, it prevents the goats from getting afraid and scattering.  Work has actually been great in understanding I am having a “bit of trouble.”

You really cannot actually write a better fail moment than this one.

I would like to say “hi” to all of you from my office who might be reading this, and really you should not be spending company resources reading non-company related material during office hours. 

It is strictly prohibited and frowned upon.  I can also check the URL/ISP details so know who you are.  (I can’t, really, so don’t panic.)

To those who are not from my office, but know me – this is what I would call an epic fail moment, or …….. no, it’s just an epic fail moment, of which I had several this year.

On the upside I have sleeping pills.  I am weighing up whether one or twenty-seven is a good number for this evening.

No, really I am fine.  This is not some tragic cry for help. I am not quite throw myself off a ledge yet, but I have developed a wonderful case of catastrophe and panic going on – as we speak.

If you are crazy and you know it, and mildly to extremely embarrassed clap your hands!!

Clap clap!  You know the rest of the song, so I will leave it to you …….

Protected: If you are (almost) happy and know it … clap your freaking hands!

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Take a pill and have a lie down day …..

So I really have had a bit of a week which just felt like crap frankly.

It started on a very high note when there was a potential IP interested in my potential child-carrying uterus.  I got very excited and was already imaging myself in stirrups and knocked up – insert Kennith’s rather disconcerted look here.

Unfortunately the decision did not go as hoped, and I am feeling very disappointment and just a little on the devastated side.

I know we can all wax lyrically about “how it is not so bad” and really you just need to  “relax and look on the bright side..” but I don’t roll with clichés and platitudes. I prefer to lie in the pit of hurt and to lick my open festering wounds, rather than to look on the sunny side of the street or imagine the cup half full.

I know that there is always the possibility that I will be matched with another IP, and they will like my uterus.  And then following lots of hugs and spooning, we will all skip off into the sunset of gestational-surrogacy happy in our various roles.

The problem is that right now I feel that like the ugly unpopular third cousin who does not get asked to dance at the local “dik–sko.”  While all the other chicks are kicking it old school on the dance floor, with their blue eye shadow and shoulder pads.

What must I do to get this show on the road?  Clearly something that I am not doing yet.

I’m considering an A2 cardboard sign “Uterus available, only used three times”  – just trying to decide on the font.  It needs to show desperation, willingness, but not neediness …… difficult to select a font like that.

To add to my rather caustic mood.  I have this huge printing job come through like a storm yesterday.  It needs to go to print this morning or the world will end (someone’s world is always ending here in my neck of the woods…)

The one thing – the one fekn thing – I asked someone to do for me yeterday, they did not do.  I spoke to them, they understood – it was actually their responsibility and I sent them an email to confirm what they must do – I may have also used bullet points to stress the sequence of events and where they came into play.

Shocker, they followed the bullet points up until the point WHERE THEY ACTUALLY had to do something.

The result was it knocked the customer pass out on the proof by several hours.  Which meant that “kippie die k***” -otherwise known as me – was sitting here until late last night playing sort-out-this-job.

I had to get proofs amended and artwork changed, and remain until final sign off was done – fortunately it was a lovely publication, and the clients were very pleasant.

There I was trying to just get through this, while my heart was bleeding from IP rejection – and then Kennith phones and goes: ‘Guess who just took her first steps?”

Not only did I have a super-crapper-liscious day, but I got to miss my daughter’s first steps.

O.u.t.s.t.a.n.d.i.n.g  d.a.y!

<apologise for the overuse of the word fek’n … it somehow makes me feel better when I use it …>

A day in the salt mines ….

I really enjoy what I do at work and I really like the company I work for.

I am one of those people who actually gets paid for something they enjoy doing- – yay for me.

I am ever thankful that I have a job to go to, a nice desk to sit at, hot tea on demand (actually I make it, but let’s just make it sound like it is served to me), and a paycheck at the end of the month.

I am grateful for all these things.

Even on the days that I do not feel like dragging my large lard arse to work, I try to remind myself that I could be unemployed, and no doubt that would have its own set of problems, so then I get up and brush my teeth and get myself to work.

I generally work with really nice people.

I know nice is not a very descriptive word and your standard two teacher told you that you were not allowed to use it in a sentence else she was going to smack your hand with a wooden ruler.  My teacher did.

It scared the crap out of me, and as a result I seldom if ever use the word “nice” if I can find another more effective word.  And who said corporal punishment was not effective!

But the people I work with are nice.  They do their work, they just get on with it, and often go far beyond what is required to get a job done and to a client.  Though they don’t come over and hug you each day, they are generally polite and kind to one another, and really great to work with.  We all share frustrations, but realise we are all sort of in it together, and just well, get on with it.

They also have tons of industry experience and are more than willing to share their knowledge with you, if you ask.

Unfortunately every now and then one meets an individual and you realise that EQ is not dished out to all in equal measure.

I work with that individual – let’s call the individual Elaine, as it makes it easier to use a name and let’s make this person a she, for the purposes of this post or I have to use he/she and it gets awkward and cumbersome .

Everyone gets to have a crappy day.  You are totally allowed to be rude and a total cow every now and then.  It’s like a God given right in fact. But we all get to have that one day.  You are forgiven for being a rude, obnoxious, horrible cow for that one day.

But when it becomes standard issue for Elaine to be this aggressive person every day, it moves past the point of being unacceptable – one starts to have fantasies about a large hole opening up in the earth, or a freak accident that involves a train. a car and a plane.

People actually cannot approach Elaine without wanting to throw themselves through a plate glass window instead.  The problem is that Elaine’s position puts her in a role that you HAVE to deal with her.

Insert really unhappy emoticon here.

Now you are being forced to deal with someone, who actually is not a nice person.  It is as if they have just never learnt to play well with others.  Listen, I have shocking interpersonal skills, but godstruth, I look like Dale Carnegie in comparison to Elaine!

I need to deal through this person to get my work done – work for my clients.   But because you are asking Elaine, she makes it sound like she is doing you a personal favour.

Once you get past the annoyed look that you have dared speaking to her – then you get the look of total disinterest as you are explaining your problem.  Following which you then have to deal with either the total sarcastic biting reply, alternatively the look of  “how the fuck do you think that is going to happen?” – it really gets exhausting just trying to do your job some days.

It is a case of one person’s personality that has the ability to upset the delicate balance that exists in a work place, and just gets under everyone’s skin.

And for reasons that I cannot explain you can do nothing about – like nothing!  You just have got to lump it or leave it, at the end of the day.  This is what you have to work with.

People consciously avoid discussing an issue with Elaine because they are just tired of the dripping sarcasm, or the totally unprofessional reaction one gets most of the time.

I say most of the time, because some days, like one out of twelve, she suddenly becomes professional and the most helpful person on the planet.  Nothing is a problem.

I personally think it is all a ploy to just keep you on your toes … you know, keep the prey nervous.

You really never know what animal you are going to get on a particular day.

It is like four fek’n seasons in a day over here.  Today will be fine, ask the same question tomorrow, and you get your arm ripped off and slapped through the face with the wet end, while being belittled in front of your colleagues.

But no one laughs, as they know it will be their turn next.

The result is a workforce that never knows what they are waking up to.  People look at each other with their eyes opened a fraction too wide, and their jaws slacken every time this crazy person goes off the rails – which is too often to even list.

And nothing in her behaviour denotes that she realises how totally freaking crazy she is acting and the look of horror on the faces of work colleagues.  Because she is so far down the road of nut-job that she thinks her reactions and behaviour are appropriate.

She speaks to some staff members in a tone that I would not even use to speak to my dog.

I figure, you know, I really do have a nice desk.

I really do work for a nice company, and the people I work with are really nice.  I just cannot stand that Elaine gets to walk around like a mini-Stalin reminding everyone that she is  some how superior – and if you forget it, well no worries, because her haughty tone will remind you of the fact.

So the ying and yang of it is that I accept I work at a great place, but that I have been sent someone to test my ability to restrain myself each and every day – some days I fail.

Like today …. crazy mental bitch!!!  (Can I say that on my blog?)