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To my Checkout Lady at Safeway tonight:

I hope you didn’t find it odd for me to tell you so, but I’m so proud of you for going back to school a little later in life to get you Associate’s degree. And proud of you for finally gaining your US citizenship after 16 years. All while working full-time and raising a family. Way to go, woman! I hope you’ll take my advice about your resume and those pesky keywords, and so glad that you’re taking the next step to go to the Workforce Services folks, because yes, they can help, and what’s more, they want to. Wishing you all the good things this world has to offer.

Today’s quote: “Because this is the beauty of strangers: we’re all just doing our best to help each other out, motivated not by karma, but by a natural instinct to help the greater whole.” — Sloane Crosley

#yearoflove

Dear Sunni,

Thank you for remembering my daughter’s name, after our one conversation and meeting seven months ago. I was impressed that you cared enough to do so. It’s a quality seldom found in the working world today. Thank you for the feeling of kinship, your intelligence, for speaking your mind, and even for throwing the occasional expletive into the mix. It’s always a pleasure to meet a real person. Let’s get a beer together next time.

Reston, Virginia.

#yearoflove

Dear Jen,

Even though we’ve worked together for almost eight years, we’ve only met four times, and still you feel like my partner in the next cube – just 1,084 miles away. I love that we envy each other’s travels. I love that we send each other emails with no subject line when we want to complain about something. I love that we have each other’s backs when one of us is drowning. And I especially love how eternally positive you are. You say you’re really not always like that, but I think that’s just who you are at your core, and that’s beautiful. I’m grateful that we had some time together this trip. Thank you for being you.

Today’s quote: “Each friend represents a world in us, a world not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.” — Anais Nin

#yearoflove

Dear Mary,

You always seem stressed and harassed at your job at the pharmacy, and I wish you didn’t. However, it makes me feel wonderfully cared for when you take that little extra step, like researching when a late order is coming in for me, or telling me to have a safe trip. It’s as if you come out of work headspace just for a moment, and that lovely human being I know you are shines through. It brightens my day. Thank you!

#yearoflove

I have been making a point of – literally – stopping to smell the flowers lately. Coming home from Job #3 on Saturday, I stopped by the creek and listened to the water and the birds, and watched the sunset. I’ll share pictures. Yesterday, MKL and I went to the car show (he’s a total car guy) and I’ll share pictures from there. And today, getting off the shuttle, I stopped to smell the peonies on the corner of 16th and Wynkoop, and caught this picture. And wanted to share it with you.

I suffered a loss today, a professional loss, and I was interested to see how hard I took it. As I told MKL over lunch, I found myself in my head doing exactly what I did at other significant losses – the deaths of my parents, my best friend, my dogs – in which I kept thinking, “Maybe if I do this, I can fix it.” Of course, that’s not possible. It’s magical thinking (and not in the good way), which I know I’m prone to. But it was a small piece of enlightenment about myself, and a realization of what a deep personal, emotional, investment I have in the projects I work on for my company. It’s something to think about.

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Denver, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “The little boy nodded at the peony and the peony seemed to nod back. The little boy was neat, clean and pretty. The peony was unchaste, dishevelled as peonies must be, and at the height of its beauty.” — Robertson Davies

Daily gratitudes:
The scents of summer
Infinitely changing skies
Old couples holding hands
That Anastasia Fawni got second place in her very first ever drag competition
That peonies bloom amongst the bricks and mortar of the city

A lot of us spend a lot of time at our desks. At work. And we all have different decorating styles when it comes to cubeland.  One colleague has lovely pictures of her family. Another thrives in a simplistic, uncluttered environment. Yet a third has added fake plants and a bright green and white striped carpet (we call her cube “Lupe’s Lanai”, even though her name is not Lupe – but it could have been).

My space is definitely busy. Plants, a few random stuffed animals, some dried flowers that MKL has given me, and a wall-sized photo of Cow Wreck Beach. But when I’m not facing my double computer screens, and I turn and put my boots up on my file cabinet to ponder words yet unwritten, this is what I see. My little desk altar.

Desk altar
Denver, Colorado.

What’s here? My island-a-day calendar. A cobalt blue fish from MKL. A gull feather. One of my father’s handkerchiefs. A card from MKL. A stone with a dragonfly on it from one of our trips last year. A San Pellegrino bottle used as a vase. A picture (from the island calendar) taken from a place I’ve stood at Wormshead in Wales. And my favorite picture of my darling daughter. And some strange golden foam letters from our recent building remodel, that I can change into different nonsensical words. My little altar might be a little busy, but every item is special to me, and helps my brain clear and find the words I need.

Perhaps I can consider it a space in which to commune with Seshat, the Egyptian goddess of wisdom, knowledge, and writing. Or St. Francis de Sales (aka The Gentleman Saint), Patron Saint of Writers and Journalists. At any rate, it’s a little peaceful, a little inspirational, and a lot of me.

What does you desk altar look like?

Quote of the day: “If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?” — Albert Einstein

Daily gratitudes:
An unexpected hillside of cornflowers
Thunder and lightning
The House of Eliott
Mr. Man’s roly-poly stoner behavior on catnip
My truck

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Buena Vista, Colorado.

This was last weekend up at Cottonwood Hot Springs, where MKL and I spent a blissful three nights, with a lovely mix of sun, stars, and snow.

Here, we’ve had the hype of a Snowpocalypse, with everyone rushing to the grocery store, cleaning the shelves out of bread and milk, and creating checkout lines from the front of the store to the back. I suspect Colorado is having an inferiority complex because of all the snow in Boston and surrounding areas, so we are talking up this weekend’s storm as if it were the first one we’ve ever had. As it is, it’s snowing, yes, a good respectable snow, but nothing fancy. “They” say that we’re getting three storms from three different directions in the course of the next 24 hours, but I have my doubts.

I’ve been so quiet because I’ve been working too much (and had zero connectivity during our three nights at Cottonwood Hot Springs). I realize that this is a pattern that has been in place since I first started working. Looking through my recently unearthed high school yearbook, I saw that several of my classmates said something along the lines of “Don’t work too hard!” It was the first time I had realized that I had maintained this kind of pace for almost 40 years, with only a few exceptions: when I took a year off when my baby girl was two, and when I got down to a half-time job for about seven months in 2010, as I was thinking my life was going to take on a certain shape. Fortunately, it took on a different shape than I had expected, but I picked up the work pace just as I had in the past. It makes me wonder why.

With my income(s), I am fortunate enough to be able to take vacations, have a home, pay my alimony/child support, buy books and groceries, go out to lunch with MKL most days, and (hopefully in the extreme) send my daughter to college so she doesn’t come out with student loans. I do not have an extravagant life, but it is comfy. Cutting back on my work would make it less comfy, and would make it more likely that Kelsea starts her adult life in debt.  But I don’t think those are the reasons I work too much. even though I don’t have an answer for why I do. I think it’s important that I explore this element of who I am. At least before I work myself to death.

And on that cheery note, please be advised that today, instead of working, I am writing this post, watching the snow fall, and drinking caramel cocoa as a special treat.

Stay warm, all.

Quote of the Day: “I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently? And then it covers them up snug, you know, with a white quilt; and perhaps it says “Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again.” —  Lewis Carroll

Daily gratitudes:
A carb day
Beaches
Lithium water
Taking care of Kelsea
The Birdcage

(As an aside, I started watching “Patch Adams” this morning, which began with Robin Williams committing himself to a mental hospital because he was suicidal. That was hard enough, but then he became roommates with Philip Seymour Hoffman, and I was done. It was too hard to watch. Just felt the need to share that.)

 

 

 

I have been working 2 or 3 jobs for the past 11 years.  I have gone back and forth between being okay with it, and feeling like it’s killing me.  Right now, I’m at two jobs…. and I’m over it.

I have been at my second job for 8 years.  For a long time, it was a labor of love.  But for the last year or so, I have been wanting to quit.  It kept me going when I was unemployed, so I was glad I didn’t quit before I got laid off.   It has been helpful in buying the house, and the extra income made little luxuries (like maybe plane tickets) possible.  Last year, when I thought we were going to go away this year, I was so relieved to think that I wouldn’t have to do the job for another year.  Well, as I’ve said before, life’s what happens when you’re making other plans.

These days, I feel like I’m just not doing a good job at this job.  I let things slide.  I got (another) lecture from my boss last night about it.  And these days, even though we’re friends, I feel like sometimes he’s judgemental of me in ways that I don’t need or agree with.

Then I think that maybe I still need that extra income.  The job has been really flexible from a time perspective, which another part-time job might not offer.  But I almost dread going to work. I am so aware that I’m not doing a good job that it’s becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy.  I keep thinking I just need to be more disciplined, more organized, more dedicated, but nothing seems to work to motivate me.

I don’t know what to do.  I would prefer to go out on a high note, like John Elway leaving the Broncos after two Super Bowl wins, but I think it’s too late for that.  I don’t want to admit that I can’t do it – and I don’t think that’s the problem.  It’s that I’m burned out and don’t want to do it anymore.  I love my full-time job.  The pay is decent.  I’m motivated to go to work, so it’s not like I don’t want to work.  The commute adds a lot of time and energy to my day, and if I didn’t have the second job hanging over my head, I would be okay with that. 

The bottom line is, I don’t want to do the job anymore, but I am scared to let it go – afraid I’ll need the extra money – and I don’t want to admit defeat.  I don’t want to admit that I can’t do it.

So what do I do, readers?  When is it time to let go?

It’s almost spring, which is wonderful.  Just to give you a quick update on where things stand (and remember it’s all about me today, so every sentence will start with “I”):

I am jumping through hoops for the house, and it’s still touch and go.  If I close, I close on Friday.  I haven’t said anything to my landlords yet, and will probably stay at the Cottage for a month longer as there is much to get done in the new house.  Which, by the way, needs a name.  Any ideas?

I continue to be frustrated by a temperamental hot water heater.  I DO NOT LIKE COLD SHOWERS IN THE MORNING.  Serious boo.

I still have not figured out how to juggle everything with this commute.  The Cottage needs cleaning, the recycle needs dropping off, the oil needs changing, the bank needs visiting, the taxes need to get to the accountant, my body needs working out.  I need some “me” time, other than on the bus, I need some Kelsea time, and I need some social life.  Hopefully, I’ll get the hang of this stuff soon.  Other people can do it – so can I!

I am thrilled that Spring is almost here.

I have this awful bruise on my arm that I have no idea how I got.  Why does that happen?

I love my job.  My brain is just so engaged all the time!  And I’m really improving my editing skills.

I dislike the fact that my landlords are running the sprinklers all the time.  It’s like walking through a downpour to get to the Cottage.

I am sad to report that my hot flashes are returning.  It seems that stress = hot flashes.

I am going to go find the spot to watch the Supermoon rise tonight.  I think I know just the place.  If any pictures come out, I’ll share them.

Well, today was my first day at my new grown-up job in Denver.  It was good – I think I’ll enjoy the job. I sense that it will really refine my writing skills and add to my abilities.  The people are wonderful.  It will be challenging.  In short, it’s all exciting.

The weirdest thing is being alone in this.  I have never before gotten a job, started a job, without having my parents around to share in that experience, to be my “boosters”.  It’s been years and years since I’ve had a job and not had someone to come home to, or at least share my day with on the phone.  It really emphasizes my sense of loneliness.

I couldn’t sleep last night – I was nervous, excited, my stomach was in turmoil, I was missing my parents.  I had a weepy few hours, and wished there was someone I could call in the darkness when I couldn’t sleep.  I miss that.  I guess I was kind of hoping….well, it just would have been nice. 

As I said, I had a really good day, but I was weepy again going home.  Sigh.  I know I am moving forward – no, upward.  But I am still sad.  And still hurt.  And still kind of lonely.

Tomorrow, I’m going to take the bus! It may not sound exactly thrilling, but I’m excited – something else I’ve never done before.

I feel like I’m a little kid starting school again.

November 2019
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