Tuesday, February 1, 2011

First of February

Even though I had been down here unemployed since late August, the time has still flown by. As a child, it crawls like a snail. As a teenager in high school, due dates start whizzing towards you, but you still find yourself bored at times. In college, there is no such thing as bored: there are papers, exams, projects, parties, etc., etc., to fill up your time. And it just keeps going faster and faster.

Often I don’t really know what to say when I want to update my blog. I was unemployed and keeping myself fairly busy with job applications (some more intense than others), running a home, and filling my other time with devouring as much literature, television, and movies as I could handle. Of course I continued cooking, but how many times do you want to read that a meal turned out “okay” or that I burned something once again. (There was the horrible incident where I attempted Fried Mars Bars a la Fair Food, but I redeemed that with a moderately successful batch of turtle candy.)

I had a HUGE let-down for one job application. The process was over a month long and it entailed prep-work, a phone interview, studying a GRE math book, and a standardized test only to not be asked for the in-person interview. I was so upset I decided to cheer myself up by going on an online shopping spree: new socks and a couple of bandanas. Oooh, big spender, I know. I was contacted by a retail company I had applied for in September. They wanted to know if I was interested in a part-time job in Fort Lauderdale. Sorry- needed full-time. They asked me to still interview. They offered me the job with “full-time” hours (32-37/week) and benefits after three months. I felt like I was obligated. They had gone through the work to get the full-time hours and benefits approved. They met my wage request. I felt like I had been unemployed so long that I HAD to take it.

Well, I am working that job now and I learned my lesson: follow your instincts. I listen to my gut 9 times out of 10. The drive is killing me. I often work from 1:00 to 9:00 which means I leave my home at 11:45 am to fight traffic to get to the highway, get on the highway, pay the toll, fight the traffic to get to the express lane, pay more money for using an express lane, and get to work around 12:50 pm. Then the store closes at 9:00, on a good day closing procedures take 30 minutes, I get on the highway by 9:45 and get home around 10:30-45 after fighting more traffic and paying more tolls. There’s never really a lull in driving. Drivers are especially aggressive and careless here so I have to be at 100% when driving to make sure to avoid accidents and missing my turns. That’s just the drive. My car is pretty fuel efficient, but it still costs $10 a day to drive 75 miles roundtrip. And then there is the work. Retail, food service, and customer service jobs are hard. Plus the aesthetic of the store isn’t minimal like other stores (it’s crowded and cluttered) so we are constantly picking up after shoppers. The shoppers themselves are okay. But the pace is constant. The store just got a new manager and me (the assistant manager) and you can tell that no one has really been properly trained- including myself. Which means customers have to wait while we make calls to the manager to double check that we are doing things right. There are other things that I will not go into, but all of this combined with the fact that the work isn’t exactly rewarding and that I have 2 majors from a Big Ten school with a good GPA means that it is simply not a good fit- personally or financially.

Since I started the position on January 26th (not counting the two times I had to drive 75 miles to complete basic paperwork) I have been scheduled 8 days in a row. My days are long because of the commute and the hours are less than desirable. I had dinner with J for the first time in a week (he had massive school work) last night. I’m also going to spend between 16 and 20 hours of my life (depending on how traffic is that day) in the car. That is almost 1 full day out of the week dedicated to driving. So, needless to say, I’ve been busy. If I’m not driving to or from work, I’m working, or just getting home and going directly to bed. I managed to get some time this morning to write a blog post. (It means dishes will sit in the sink for the 4th day in a row.) So- sorry for not posting more- to the few folks who read this.

The one good thing about working in Ft. Lauderdale is that the cruise ships bring a lot of people in- people from the UK, from France, from Australia, and Canada. Canada is close enough to Wisconsin, eh? Feels like I’m talking to someone from home. (And if another person says that I say “baaaag” funny when I ask them if they want their receipt in the bag, I’m just going to put that “baaaag” over my head and walk out without a second glance back.)