Monday, July 24, 2017

Old dog learning new tricks.

It's been longer than a minute, I know. I've been meaning to sit and update, but when I'm at work all day on a computer I don't want to re-commit to a screen when I get home.

I've been at the new job for about a month and a half now and overall it's going well. There's still a lot of learning and training but overall I'm happy with my choice.

It being a "real job" with less down time means I can't log into my personal accounts while at work. Hence, less updating on here.

Sometimes I'd have entire days where I'd be waiting for work so I'd write or I'd work on other things.

When things settle maybe I'll have more time to write, but right now I'm still trying to figure out my schedule and my hours and what my life will look like while working a decent job.

I'm also only on a one-year contract, so there's still a lot of anxiety about job security.

The new job was a salary bump, and the same week I started our union signed a new collective agreement so my salary went up again. This amounts to sorcery since in the private sector capitalist models determine whether or not you're worth a salary boost. Basically, this means sales jobs get bonuses and raises and administrative staff get shit.

My salary has gone up by nearly 7 grand, or, to put it more accurately, it's reached a living wage. I still haven't received a proper pay check, but once I do I'll be able to see how much money I'll be making, and I can start putting money away for my house/condo.

I've been coming home after long days of training, and sometimes I'm so overwhelmed I just go to bed. It's been a lot.

But, the work conditions are better, the hours are better, and the forthcoming benefits are better. There are actual distinctions now in days off. Sick days. Vacation days. Volunteer days. Family-leave days. Before it was all my vacation time. Now I have an allotment for each. Since you know, you can get sick, a parent can get ill, roads can be closed, and other stuff fucking happens. Life fucking happens.

The new hires who started with me are both great, and my stress level has gone down significantly. It's nice to know I have a job where I actually do something. I see my accomplishments daily. They're tangible.

A good job helps. A living wage helps.

Along with all of this I've been actively looking to adopt a dog since I have the funds now to properly care for one. This is an ongoing project. It's difficult to adopt a younger dog. It's difficult to adopt a smaller dog. These are "in demand" dogs and I can't be everywhere looking for pooches. Size and age is a consideration because I'll be caring for the dog with the help of my mother, who will be the daytime caretaker. She doesn't want to wrangle anything, so size is an issue. I'd also like to train my own dog - so younger is preferable.

On top of all of this, my town has breed bans, so there are a number of dogs I am not even allowed to own. A lot of the dogs I've loved at the refuge have been pit-bulls, and they're on the ban list. A lot of pit-mixes are, which is a shame. I really love them, they're big babies.

So I'm keeping my eyes peeled for dogs that need adopting - but it's hard, people adopt quickly and there are a lot of factors to consider.

My friend C also came down from British-Columbia for nearly 2 weeks. This had me socializing and going out a lot. Probably more than I usually do in half a calendar year.

With my bi-weekly volounteering and some packed weekends, it's just been pretty nuts.

I happen to be online right now because a friend needed me to make a postcard design for her real quick while a printer we use is having a 25% off sale. So here I am, on the inter-webs.

I'll try and make more of an effort to take the time to update, or to sit and write on a given subject.

Wish me luck at living a life,

P.S - No news on TMS, I assume my fax is at the bottom of a pile somewhere.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

New news, continued.

Well, it's been a while.

I started the new job on June 5th and it's been a lot. 

The Monday I started I got home and was just so overwhelmed I could barely stand it. The change of culture, from private to public, the training for the job, the new names and faces, the size and scope of the office, leaving the comfort of the old job, all of it - it hit me that Monday afternoon. 

I was in the archive, having a moment, lost in a spiral. I spiralled pretty hard. There was a lot of worry about whether or not leaving the safety of my old job was smart. If I would be able to cut it at this new job. If I would make it. If I would be fired. If I would go back on unemployment. If I would live with my mother forever. If I was ever going to be able to take care of myself. If I would just curl up and die. 

I felt like I should cry, and desperately wanted to but wasn't able to. It was all just stuck in my throat. 

My first week was a lot. I'm just overwhelmed right now. There's change and there are a lot of questions and there's insecurity and there's a lot of unknowns for which I just need to be patient - not my strength.

In order for my contract to becoming official, I had to take a French oral exam, in order to be classified as "officially" bilingual. If I pass with a C (grading goes, C, B, A, X for a fail and E for exempt) then I'll be "officially" bilingual and will be offered a 1-year contract and should also receive an 800$ raise. 

The test ended up being this past Friday. The whole ordeal gave me a headache. I'm now dependent on those results for an official one year contract. 

I'm just really tired right now.

Overall I'm feeling pretty good about the job itself, it's just been a lot. And I feel like my mind is racing. I'm just trying to take it one day at a time. 

I'm really tired.

I haven't heard back from the hospital about my request for TMS, so that was a build-up and let down as well. I'm just in this weird internalized place that I can't really get out of. Sometimes I feel like I need a hard re-start. 

Arcade Fire - Creature Comfort.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Guided meditations by Tara Brach.

A lot going on, busy and exhausted. Nervous about my new job, starting Monday.

Here are some guided meditations by Tara Brach.

I know I should be doing them - but all I want to do is sleep. It's all I can think of.

I need a vacation. I just want to do little to nothing for a week.

I just want to sleep sleep sleep.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

A weekend away.

Spent a weekend away in the eastern townships, which was nice. It was different. There's a lot going on these days - it was nice to get away and change the space, change the mood. The trip was a gift for my mother, we went back to her hometown, stayed in a B&B and ate at local spots.
Learn to know yourself. To search realistically and regularly, the processes of your own mind and feelings. 
– Nelson Mandela
We stopped by my brother's house on the way home. It was nice seeing everyone. It's brought up a lot in terms of knowing people, change, and reflection, which was once again poked by the above quote by Nelson Mandela, which was in a newsletter this morning. 

You can't force others into that search, and you can always escape your own, or turn it off. 

What do I know, really? I'm not very good at my life.

It was a long weekend, but it still feels like a Monday. 

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Chris Cornell.

Woke up to the news today that Chris Cornell died at the age of 52.

Hours later, it's now come to light that he committed suicide by hanging himself in a hotel room.

When someone dies by suicide, I always get a chill of recognition. As if we're known to one another, not through life, but through the method of death.

I'm sorry Chris. It's over.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

New news.

Well, it's been a time.

It's been busy. I had a Mother's Day brunch and mani/pedi planned and volunteering this past weekend, and the weekend before was movies and housework. Sunday I had a ton of dogs, a lot of pit-bulls and large dogs, a few traumatized dogs, and that takes a lot of energy.

Over a week ago I got an e-mail from one of the pools I'd applied on and was testing for, saying I was now officially in the pool. This past Friday I got a call and was offered a job. I said I was interested and now they're doing the security clearance check on me. I actually went in just this morning for fingerprinting and paperwork.

Now I wait.

I need an official offer, with a contract, and a start date for me to actually feel like this is happening.

Some key points:

  • It's legit in the building where my bus drops me off downtown in the morning, so it's still in Montreal and it's not in some random location.
  • The starting salary will boost my income right out the gate by five thousand dollars.
  • They're filling 4 jobs, and I was offered the Archivist role - which matches up with my organisation and information management strengths. 
  • It's a one year contract - but that's to make sure I'm not cuckoo - nobody gets a full time permanent job with the government right away, it's too hard to get fired.
  • This pool I applied to in April 2016. So It's been over a year, S's whole process took 14 months. Depending on the next few weeks, it seems like my experience is lining up with her timeline.
The timeline so far:
2016-04-24 - Application
2016-11-28 - Questions to me by e-mail
2017-02-03 - Invite to exam
2017-03-09 - Invite to interview (3 person panel exam, reference request)
2017-03-14 - Exam results
2017-04-18 - Follow-up on references (boss didn’t call back)
2017-05-09 - Confirmation I'm in the hiring pool
2017-05-12 - Phone call of offer
2017-05-15 - Security forms and request for fingerprints
2017-05-16 - Appointment for fingerprints

Knowing my current workplace, I wanted to speak with the principal, and my manager ASAP. I reached out to the principal first, since he was my reference, and since I've worked with him longest. 

He ended up calling me into his office teary-eyed, which I did not expect. Thankfully both times he and I got teary-eyed he changed the topic so we both avoided full-on crying. 

He then announced it to my manager, who met with me, and that also went really well. I told them both I know this place well enough to know it will take longer than 2 weeks for everyone to get their shit together, so they both appreciated that. They basically need to write a new job description. They don't need a graphic designer, they need a marketing assistant or maybe an administrative assistant with basic InDesign skills. 

So, that was a huge weight off. I don't like secrets and I don't like games. I don't want to make plans with my current employer knowing full-well I'm on my way out.

It's also an ongoing process, and both the hiring employer and my current employer are open to being flexible, which I really appreciate and which is ideal. 

My new manager said she's like me to start June 1st - but that doesn't really match up with the 10 days it takes HR to send me a contract after I get my security check, I think it'll take longer than that. Which is fine by my current employer, since they'll keep me for as long as they can. 

I mean, it's not like I'm busy here, I just think they like me. 

It's ups and downs. 

So that's my news. It was great Friday afternoon news, but it's still kind of out in the ether, since there are a lot of unknowns. 

Other updates:
  • Things are still cold between my brother and I - I haven't seen my nephews in ages.
  • No news from the Neuro hospital regarding TMS.
  • This upcoming weekend I'm heading to the Eastern Townships with my mom for her Mother's Day/Birthday gift. We're staying in a Bed & Breakfast and going for dinner, I'm looking forward to the change of scene.
That's it for now. Ideally I'd get a later start-date with the new job so I could take a week off between jobs - but I'll take it any way I can get it. 

With love,