Monday, June 29, 2015

Back on Track

June 29, 2015

Why, hello there!

Here I am this very day, and I am in the mood to once again start up a healthy habit, and that habit is writing regularly.

Blog culture has always been a point of interest to me, and with the exception of my internship experience--*cough* OVER A YEAR AGO *cough*--I've had no idea what to blog about.

One of my best friends from high school is a professional blogger, and frankly I'd read the ingredients in a soup can if she wrote it. My friend often gives tips about how to write your own blog, so I asked her to help me. Blogging is fun, and it gives me a routine to exercise my mind and typing fingers since I'm out of school.

Basically it went down like this:

"Shash, I can help you on how to write your blog
 if you get stuck, but I can't tell you what to write."

Well darn.

I tried a cooking blog once and failed pretty miserably because colleges have meal plans and I was being cheap. Doesn't mean I won't try it again some time, but currently I am living back at home with my parents wherein my dad rules the kitchen. I could blog about my dad cooking I guess, but I'll wait on that for now.

Book reviews, YEAH! That'd be awesome! Except that in the attempt to balance my adult life, I have binge read series, and then for a little bit I took a job that did not suit me and I was lucky if I had the energy to read a few pages a day. (I've been reading the Hitchhiker's Guide series, and the Night Angel series most recently. Both incredible. Both incredibly dissimilar.)

I've decided that my answer is here. Sort of. It's called NY: On the Write Track.

I finished school and went home to NJ, and after about two very depressing months of unemployment besides the semi-regular babysitting gigs, I got a part-time job as a bookseller at Barnes&Noble. Fun Fact: only managers are full time workers. But hey, it was the first time being home that somebody wanted me, and it was with books, so I took it. In my interview I made it clear that I wanted to be an editor, but in the meantime I needed to build up experience, and editors love bookstore and/or library backgrounds. Caught in that awkward middle of "entry level job you applied for to get experience won't hire you without experience".

After a few months, the pay was okay, but only so long as I kept living with my parents. And even then, I had no regular hours. I've reached that point in adulthood when I need schedules as far in advance as possible. My calendar is color coded and beautiful. Barnes&Noble is supposed to give you your schedule three weeks at a time. I get that sometimes things get too busy and the schedule might get put off for later. However, that is super inconvenient for the workers. Scheduling for some side babysitting to make up some extra cash became annoying when I couldn't tell a new family what days I'm free next week because Barnes&Noble is two weeks behind, and even though the past three weeks I've only worked Thursday, Friday, Saturday, that is liable to change at any time.

There are ways around it, of course, and some people have been part-time employees there for years. I hadn't found a method that worked for me yet. But then it looked like things were looking up.

In about 12 hours from when I'd sent my application, STC Direct in PA gave me a call to set up an interview. Whoa. STC Direct is set up so that in the morning they give you "classes" that will teach you how to sell any product and work with just about any kind of customer. In the afternoon, this particular branch represents Verizon FiOs (Fiber Optics--fancy underground internet/cable wires that give you faster internet and better quality cable), they go out into one of 35 different Walmarts in a radius of the office to sell the product.

"Hi, how's it going? Quick question, who do you have at home for TV and Internet? Comcast? They charge you how much? That's crazy. Reason I'm asking is that I'm with Verizon FiOs, and we've got a special in-store promotion..."

A full-time job offer that at minimum gave me about $200 more a week, but a job that is WAY out of my field! Sure, a good high school friend let me live with her in the area at a gorgeous house for next to nothing, but this was nothing at all what I wanted.

But it was full-time. So I took it.

A few things,

1. Nobody likes the people in malls whose purpose is to convince you that you need something you did not come into that store to buy.

2. Please don't be assholes: these people are required by contract to ask you questions, and it is hard to stay charming for 8 hours on your feet.

3. Sometimes, it actually saves people money. If you are paying over $200 for one TV and basic 50/50 internet speed, SWITCH. Also, anyone with Clear internet--I'm sorry, they're going out of business in the fall. Helping folks in those situations is great.

4. STC Direct is great for entrepreneurs because it is a merit-based promotion rate, and when you are promoted to manager you are guaranteed your own office, your own team of 5-10 people, and you may represent whichever company you want from their list of contacts.

5. Oddly, for someone who does not want any of those things, it is a relatively soul-crushing experience.

By day three I was already crying in frustration in my car. I'm not a crier, so you can imagine how awkward it was to not know what to do with all of these emotions. By two weeks, I quit as a birthday gift to myself.

I went from NJ doing almost what I wanted to do, to PA doing nothing what I wanted to do--except freelance editing, that I've kept up. Now I'm back in NJ, but I've level upped in adulthood.


That's right folks. I took a leap of faith that I can find something in my field, even though I am temporarily back to being unemployed beyond freelancing. So I have standards for my job now, even though they're minimal, I deserve that.

It's okay to say no, sometimes. Everyone deserves happiness, and your job shouldn't make you so miserable you have to get out of there after only three days.

The most common response I got after quitting my job was, "Congratulations." But the second most common response had a follow up, "Good for you. I'm jealous. I don't know if I would have the strength to get out of there so soon, even though it made me miserable."

I'm being optimistic, I know. But it gave me clarity that I had put myself father off track than I had thought I did. Now, I'm back, I will be blogging about it, and I will not be applying for any job outside of writing and editing. That may change, depending how long the new job search goes, but for now I'm looking to you, New York. Don't let me down!

And here is Snuggles for the Cat Tax.