Monday, March 9, 2015

Looking forward again.

Greetings. 

I had a slow day at work today, it left me room to leave my brain running. It ran back to a post I have been trying to write in one form or another for ages. The drafts folder here is littered with half written and deeply incomplete fragments of what has been leading up to this. 

About a year ago I started doing temp work. There was no choice about it at the time, I needed work, the EI was going to run out and cash was needed.  The time preceding that was rough.  The short spent of productive creativity that gained me most of the 60'000 words of the novels first draft was a brief time. The oppressively sunny days of summer came a long and the cat ran away.  The emotional cocktail resulting from the bitterness of having been let go again, the stress of both the search for cat and the recovery consumed much of my energy.  So what job hunting I did was quite mediocre and largely dooming myself to failure. 

Now a year into being professionally underemployed I am starting to think about how to get out of the underemployment.  Ironically I started with moving.  There is a finite amount of stress I am willing to take,  if the home is a stressor, as the old one was, I am more inclined to retreat and fail to try.  So I fixed that. Years of thinking about what a better home for me would entail lead me good decision.  It was relatively easy for me to learn what I wanted in a home, learning what I want out of a job has proven to be a tougher prospect.   Data was needed, I have more now.

Learning what made up a bad workspace was easy, all it takes is for people to fail to care about the work.  In the mix of good bad and mostly half bad I started to find what makes work satisfying.  And in that same process it became clear that the few career oriented jobs were bad for me in many of the same ways I see the temp jobs getting to me. 

After many hundreds of words of either not knowing or only knowing what did not work for me I can start to list what does.  For a start having a clear scope, clear and limited key responsibilities, next to that is a clear output.  A project must have a recognizable end, too much uncertainty about this stresses me.  Within that constrained frame work independence is welcome. Being left alone with the tools I need and puzzling things out for myself.  

My current placement is the best example of a good workspace I have to go on.  The mechanical nature of it gives most tasks a definite start and end state.  Things are being learned, the challenges may be small, but for a natural klutz building control and mechanical insight is kind of a break through for me.  Learning and problem solving are part of job, not all the time but enough to stave of repetitive brain injury.   Mistakes which I try to minimize happen, but they are responded to not with anger or condescension, but as teachable moments.  It helps that what I am doing is specialized enough that an outsider can not be expected to know much of anything. 

Coming back to the new apartment.  As I said a list of qualities that I needed grew out of all the good and bad places I lived in.  And so when a place was seen, and found to hit on the major points a seriously stressed and sleep deprived version of me was still able to make the right move.  A list like that for work is forming in my head.  It can be better articulated but is not finalized.  The question of do I try to return to an environmental science job crosses my mind.  The answer is I am thinking about it but...

The buts are. I don't know how. 
I don't know what is you are supposed to research when researching a company, I just don't know what they expect you to know. 

I don't know how to network without feeling fake.  

Assessing the relevance of job postings is still black magic to me. 

This is very much like the list I ranted on at the start of my job search full of bitterness and hopelessness. I still don't know these things but I am starting to admit I need help learning them. 
It is also known that I can trust my instincts more now. The biggest shock of all, I am getting more confident, it does not come naturally to me but it is happening.  

 

Monday, February 23, 2015

Catching up.

Greetings.

I have not written anything in a long time, as a result this will no doubt ramble.  My head is full of partly collected thoughts, any one of which could become a rich post if I had found the time and discipline to crystallize them.  In truth the things that needed written about the most happened at a time when writing was hardest to fit in.  Thought that is ignoring the truth, which is in December and January I knew I needed to write badly, and choose not to. It continues to be difficult for me to write about and or during the worst emotions.

About December.

The gig I had hoped to last well into that month ran dry when the company simply did not have enough orders to demand extra manpower.  This was a disappointment, at all levels, it was interesting the job took me to different sites and kept me engaged, it was making better money than the last few gigs and occasionally overtime was achieved.  An important feature of the job was it started to frame more of what I wanted in a job I could do long term.  Come to think this contract ran short at the end of November, but its failure set the mood for the following month.

Other work was arranged.  This took me back to a warehouse with a broken and toxic atmosphere, I was prepared to ride it out and move on to the next thing once that dust settled.   The flu changed my plans. Two weeks into the warehouse gig I found myself feverish and lacking the strength to reliably cross my apartment let alone leave it.  This took me out for a week.  The lost wages meant even the low budget christmas gifts I wanted to arrange were out of the question.  New work came my way, it took me to Delta with an nearly 90 minute commute.  This was exhausting but the work is comfortable.

In this long tiring daily scramble I managed to get the wrong stuff down the sink, plugging it up real good. This only days before christmas. For more days than I am comfortable admitting I came home to a stagnate sink which I bailed into the toilet. No where was this a good alternative to calling the management.  I came home from christmas dinner to that undraining sink, it did nothing good for my mood.  In the aftermath it two things became clear, the rent was too high and I was too vulnerable to lost income, and no amount of cleaning was going to make that apartment anything but dark and dingy.   So I made the choice I had been avoiding since May of last year I gave my notice on the 1st of January.  This of course filled me with dread.

On January.

Still recovering from the flu, and making the three hour round trip from work I set out to free myself from the old grey box.  Added to the slow healing from the virus, I had developed insomnia, waking too early in the morning and staying awaking stewing in worry and dread. For at least a month feeling absolutely toxic from long term sleep dept was normal.  It was in this syrupy mind set that I tried to do one of the more challenging things in life, plan a move.  

When it came to finding a place I was lucky, but did not believe it.  Over the years since I moved to the old place, I had built a list of qualities that would make moving worth while. This was embedded in my thinking, and had I not internalized it as deeply as I had I would not have made the snap decision to apply for my current home.  It met the criteria I had set up, it is off of the ground floor, close to skytrain, bright, a better kitchen, simply newer and better.   Yet a pathological doubt took root, the part of me that always wants me to fail refused to accept a good thing was happening.

Against evidence and logic, after the application was approved and even after the damage deposit cheque cleared, I somehow believed I would not end up here, that something would go wrong.  I spent January, not properly preparing for a move but exhausted form sleep lost to worries not worth having. Every day I feared something would derail the application, and I would be forced to scramble for a new place at the last minute.  This crippling illogical mind fuck kept me from doing the proactive things.  In believing things would fail I failed to try to get my shit together.  The abyssal cluster fuck that was moving day is proof that I should have had enough faith to plan.

I won't say much about the move. It went badly and things found extra special ways of going wrong.  But thanks to heroic efforts from family and friend it got done.

On February.

After 6 to 8 weeks of sleep shortage, long commutes, endless packing, the flu, a cold, I was moved.  Suddenly I had light, I could walk to skytrain in 10 minutes, I could stretch out, no upstairs neighbours thumped and squeaked the floor boards.  Gone was the tiny grey hole with the fridge that scared the cat.  In its place a imperfect laminate floor and a view of the Golden ears mountains.

Slowly I relearned to sleep through the night, the panics in the wee hours subsided.  It took time but the cold cleared up too.  Money remains tight, I may have saved some on rent, but my addiction to independence, and the need to keep the Lady in a big enough home kept me from cutting as much as I would have liked from the costs of living.  That said, I can get some milage out of the money saved and can relax just a little bit.

In leaving the old place I realize there were a lot of bad times tied to that place.  The frustration of the layoff and the fruitless job search that followed.  The Lady Baroness von Softpaws of Gallefrey ran away from there.  Her disappearance, rescue and recovery kept me in some form of big stress from July 30 2013 till February 2014.  It was not until February of last year that I was confident that the house was free of fleas.  And perhaps just perhaps a home that lets me shed my stress a little better will in the end leave me with the ability pick a new stress to manage.  Because it is dawning on me that I have to do some work to getting back into work for the long term.






Sunday, January 11, 2015

The plans so far.

So I am moving.

My budget is less than the last time I took on such a task, this time I will not be hiring movers, even though I had a perfectly good experience with them the one time I did.  Currently I have a Uhaul booked for morning of the 30th, which I noticed after the fact is a Friday, damn it.  However, the current lands lords want the place empty by 1pm on the 31st so being gone and done early is fine by me.

It is only a 10foot truck, but the biggest thing I have to move is the bed and tv cabinet. The TV cabinet is more than able to hold many smaller boxes and even has room for my small book case.  Now I am partly packed, for no good reason, and want out of this dark place.  Come on month, be done with already.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

A new place.

Greetings

This week I used my new semi power Decisiveness. The power partly comes from the tattoo.  So lets get back to basics, what did I decide on, a new apartment. I had already committed to moving on a stressful January first morning.  Over coffee I wrote my rent check, pondered, searched for paper, and wrote a short note saying I'm out of here.   This upped the already high stress level.  The first few days were spent collecting links and pondering when the perfect time to follow up on them would be. In the end I decided to just get on the phone at break time and work through a list of best of's.

The accidental winner was actually the least informative add. No pictures, a bare bones run down, third floor, with balcony, pet friendly with an address and rate.  On the map the location was solid.  The add was a little old, and I had serious doubts if it was still good or even if the place was worth approaching.  But enough on the details.  So I call the listed number, and arrange a viewing that evening.  I did not know what to expect, but looking even at a ejectable candidate is important.

The semi power slipped in as I saw the place. Neighbours in only two directions, a balcony with a view of mountains.  The poor mans hardwood, laminate flooring.  Sure the place needed paint it was clear it had just been vacated but it was properly empty so it was easy for me to check a long the base boards and see things were solid. The kitchen a walk through not a galley style dead end, bigger, brighter cheaper.  It dawned on me that this was going to be hard to beat. So I pushed for it.  I credit Lintilla with some of the decisiveness.

A tattoo of a crow accidentally named after a clone from a radio play version of The Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy, is an odd place to get advice from but it works.  When I commissioned and later committed to the design, especially when I committed, I elected to have faith.  Faith myself, trust that I had learned enough to take on a risk and come away enjoying the results. When I spent those 5 long hours having the work done I gained a little something.  At its simplest I am now the version of me that was brave enough to get a tattoo.  Wise enough to choose wisely both the artist and design.   And so that already meaning ladened symbol helped me commit to a hasty move.  It made it easier for me to remember that I already know what I need and want, sometimes second guessing is the wrong thing.

So once again I commit to the second place I visited. This time knowing far more what to look at.  This time I am close to two skytrain stations.  The building is in a part of town less gentrified than others, in other words its a little poor and little more ethnic than some others.  This does not matter, nor is it any much different from where I live now.

The building is as you could expect a 3 story slab that was laid down some time in the 1970s or early 1980's as common as dirt around Vancouver. A couple improvements location wise. As said closer to sky train, but also isolated from bigger roads.  The side street it is on connects a few apartment blocks to a major road.  The other buildings are between me and the thoroughfares.  A marked reduction in street noise will result. Also dampening the voice is the walk through kitchen, the fridge is backed against an internal wall separating it from the living space, this should free me from the death rattle that scares me and my cat.

Now I have a new set of problems. I don't have enough furniture to make the place feel filled. Well I guess since getting a new home was easy, I should turn my renewed attention to hard things to better work.  I can make that place far more of a home.

So in the last week I did a scary thing, and found hope, I would say this is a good outcome.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

The Hard Things

Greetings.

This post has been fermenting since I decided to move.  I do not like moving, it has costs stress and risks.  It is a hard thing. And as it happens in the last two years I have had both enough of them and been avoiding them.

It is not that I have never done hard things, but too many of the things have been lacking the proper reward to justify the stress.  The last great hard thing was BCIT. 9 months of push push push, learning things that I could barely fit in my brain at pace I could not sustain. That project, despite its slow start was a success that landed me a job that proved to be a poor fit. It had its own challenges but it was a comfortable place.  I coasted there, not wanting to look for new work even as I grew bored and the company contracted.  I did not want to do the hard thing.

For a long while I drifted on EI, at first attempting to gain access to the field I had be let go from before realizing I had not liked the aspect I had worked and had no drive to return to it.  Before the stress be came crippling I retreated to faking it.  Applying even more half heartedly to fewer jobs.  In the end I took work with a Temp Agency because anything to dodge the application process was a win for me.  It was an easier thing.  Needed, but the non routine has become routine. I drift at the edge of nearly full time hours, alter for the next falter.  Choosing to move has upset that.

Electing to move was a decision made a long time ago but neglected. I have a craptastic level of comfort here. Living in a neighbourhood I have known for years, in an apartment of nearly 3.  It is the place I know.  I was holding on to it just, an uncomfortable erosion at my remaining wealth happened every bad month.  I was getting too little for my money and living too far from many of the things that now mattered.

So today I called several places, using the phone is in fact one of those things I find disproportionately hard.  And booked a view for an place at a site I knew next to nothing about from an add that said very little.  Now I don't want to talk about the suite.  If I get approved you won't here the end of it.  Pushing through to meet a goal, to have a clear goal again is something I have neglected.  It becomes easy for me to slip into the comforts of the default forgetting that better is an option.  Yet today, I proved in stepping just a little out of the comfort zone that better is possible.  Though I will not say much about the possible new home I will say, it is closer to all the things that matter, bigger and cheaper.

The cheaper is only a minor improvement, but the better is real. So this leaves me with the trouble should I stay on the path of living solo in a one bedroom, I will have start making more money again. The move will tax things and recovery will be slow.  This leaves me with the need to do a new hard thing, properly apply myself to improving my job prospects.  A hateful prospect in most times of life, but somehow I have to step away from the easy for awhile.

Dear job fairy get me a better wage so I can get more stuff.

Friday, January 2, 2015

A little news.

Greetings.

I got the flu in December. This cost me a week of work. The lose hammered home the fact that I can not afford to live here, my margins are non existent.  Therefore I did the necessary and scary thing.  I gave my one months notice to the land lord.  Consequently I have to scramble to find a new cheaper place.

I always told myself I would have the new place lined up before I gave notice but the sad truth became the cash for doubling up was not going to be there.  This is serriedly overdue and needed.  Though I have been able to cover my rent and bills, other things have been off the table for a long time.  I need to be able to afford fun things, and new shoes and pants.

So the quick run down on what I need. Pet friendly, ideally with in 15min of a skytrain station, with a useable kitchen.  Basement suites are more likely to be in my price range.  I am no longer committed to living in the Commercial Drive, or Hastings Sunrise neighbourhoods, and will gladly consider Burnaby or New West.

It is going to be a stressful month but so have many of the last few, but when the march rent roles around and there is something left, and it takes less the three weeks of my income to earn then I will breath easier.

So Thats the news.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

A bad day

Greetings.

At the end of October I took a contract that, turned out to be a better fit for me than most of the work I have done for a long time.  On paper it was going to be three months at nearly full time.  As I am writing this in the mid afternoon of a weekday is evidence to the contrary.  The good news is it is not me.  There has been a slump in the demand for the service and as an expendable pawn I was first to go, typical.  This would sit better if the preceding weeks had came through on their promise of full time hours, but they have been hit or miss.

So once again being whipped around by the economy, leaves me in a mood.  Usually I write around these moods, I don't want to face them, or they suck the urge to write from me.  They go against how come off in public.  To publicly come across as bitter, angry, lonely or depressed is not how I choose to be seen.  I will be silent at home rather than be a burden at other people.  Yet they are common enough that they are part of my identity.

Today I am all those things.  The day began after another patchy night's sleep.  Worse, the day started with no goal, for me so much of what separates a good day from a bad is waking knowing what I am facing.  Or if waking with a few options a day can be ruined by simply failing to pick one, the rest is wasted waffling between choices.  So I awoke largely thinking fuck.  It was very nearly a productive day, I started cleaning, tossed out some odds and ends that cluttered my closet.  The energy fizzled.

A TV Show was watched while eating what would have to be the worst stew I ever cooked, made over the weekend with no plan or attention to detail. Despite getting some protein rich calories in me I still felt underwater.  That feeling you get when you have holding your breath too long and your body is screaming for you to come up for air, that feeling only in my brain.

It is the same impotent anger, at my life that I have seen time and again during periods of un and under employment.  It is worse now, because, I am running out options and ideas.  Commingled with frustration and capped of with anxiety.

Quite honestly I don't know how to get ahead.  Or right now stay where I am.  I want to work, I can work often I can be good at things.  Yet two steps into the process I clamp shut.  As I try to rewrite my resume or send off a soulless cover letter the rage kicks in.  Anger and anxiety at having to do it again, and again, and again.  Doing anything else is better than that.  I don't want to fail that way, but I don't know how to hold myself together while I do it.

Today saw me recycling those thoughts while lying immobile in bed.  A bed in an apartment I have not be properly able to afford since the EI ran out.  An apartment I feel trapped in, because I know moving can be expensive, and the prospect of giving notice only adds to this disabling cocktail of emotion.  

There is a reason why I call it an impotent anger.  It is anger at a life lacks the desired form, but I don't know how to get it bent back up.  It is the anger I have at dictionaries and spell checkers, to have and idea trapped in my head because I can't remember if the word starts with Th or D, and gods help me in trying to sort out the e's from the i's.

An ironic twist as to why I don't often write about these moods is that, as it turns out the catharsis of writing softens them, it can feel hypocritical to change tone halfway through.  Yet this alone is an important reminder, these moods are never permanent, and they can be managed and prevented.  The management is hard right now, underemployment does not cost any less time than the better alternatives.  And right now it is not wrong for me to unhappy about my life.  The trend of each job paying less than the one before somehow manages to continue.  Despite paying off my student loans, am struggling with the rest of my bills.

Once again I default to the conclusion I reached in the spring or summer, I have to move to get the costs down and manufacture some extra breathing room.  Breathing room where a lost work day does not leave me panicking about rent but simply reduces what I can do for fun.

Here then is what I want, a suite nearish to a skytrain line, in a pet friendly house.  Must have useable kitchen.