Living the Prepared Life

I’m trying to figure out how to make life for Fernando and myself a bit more prepared. We want to be frugal with our lives and spend less time and money on things that don’t matter, like lots of food that just sits in our kitchen and eventually goes bad because I haven’t spent time making a meal plan for the week.

Yeah, I’m that person.

I like the idea of having lots of food in the fridge so I can eat whenever I like. But I never seem to have a solid plan on what I’ll do with said food.

Then there are the leftovers. I’m also the person who loves the idea of leftovers but can’t seem to commit to eating them. It’s like saying that the food is only good the first night and never again. That’s how I am and how I end up with tubs of Tupperware containers in my fridge full of foods growing who knows what.

Yeah, I’m that person, too.

So in an effort to change my habits of wasting money, I’m working on only buying things that we’ll use. If that means buying things that have a longer shelf-life to save money and save me the headache of emptying containers of moldy food, then I’m attempting that. If it means not buying food until we’re out of things to eat at home, I’ve tried that.

But I’m also trying to be more conscious of how we eat. I like having fresh fruits and vegetables in the house. I just never have a plan for how we’ll use them. This becomes a problem when said fruits and vegetables inevitably go bad. And let’s not even talk about freezer burnt meats.

Instead, let’s talk about how I’m making preparedness more of a concept in a frugal lifestyle. I have a job where I work part-time and most of my income is divided between my car payments and our grocery bill. I’m attempting to make that second one a great deal smaller by utilizing Pinterest lists and actually planning what we’ll eat each week.

Have you ever done that before? Planned out your meals? It’s actually quite cathartic in a way I never imagined it could be. I spent all Saturday taking ingredients I purchased at my local Aldi and chopping, slicing, dicing, pouring, and combining them into gallon-sized bags of freezer goodness to be thawed later for the crockpot meals they’ll eventually become. How prepared is that? I was incredibly proud of myself and then realized how much of an adult I really have become.

I still have a number of meals left to prepare, but they take less chopping, slicing and dicing. They can also be done on days when I have more time and don’t just have a break between the classes I teach. So I chose to leave those well enough alone. I am, however, spending time planning out exactly what we’ll eat on each day of the week so I don’t have anything left to chance and find myself saying: “Oh, let’s go out!”

It’s a favorite thing for me.

If I have something prepared or something in mind, it’ll be harder for me to be lazy. Or so I like to tell myself. I’ll have to report back here and let you know how it goes, though.

On a side note, I think I’ve mentioned that Fernando is in university currently. He applied to two local businesses for internships even though he’s essentially still a freshman (I think a bachelor-degree holding student should automatically get some credit, but apparently having an English degree and going to study a science major puts you right back at the beginning). Well, we got some hopeful news this week!

Fernando heard back from one of the companies he applied to and has been asked to do a conference call interview on Tuesday morning! It wouldn’t be in the exact field he’s studying, but really, who cares if it gets him a foot in the door? (Not to mention out of fast food hell!) So please be thinking good thoughts and sending up some prayers for him for his interview!

– RaeNezL

The Part-Time Job

When I first found out I was hired for the job with the local school system, I was a little hesitant. They offered me a position as a part-time administrative role. It was clear I wasn’t being hired for something I was educated for, and I felt a little as if I’d fallen into a pattern.

It’s clear that my track record with jobs hasn’t always been perfect. You just need to see my resume to see that I have rarely kept a job for longer than a year. In fact, the one job I can recall keeping for longer than a year (besides Starbucks) is the job that started this blog.

Yep. The awful cubicle job from down-below.

I worked in a call center for a year and a month, and that’s the only redeeming factor I can really give that position.

Moving right along…

I was concerned that my earning power was decreasing the more I was laid off from positions. As a young woman with a degree in a rather vague area of business, I had no expertise to offer most companies and very little real experience to leverage when looking for new positions.

Then I got this part-time job offer that was part-lifeline, part-anchor. Yes, it would keep my head above water with bills, and boy, do I have bills! But there was still that nagging feeling that I was being hired for a position that I was over-qualified for and not even in a full-time capacity where I could at least earn enough to make the job count for something.

Still I hired on with those hesitations and began what has become an adventure.

I realize a part-time job isn’t for everyone, and for me, It’s really only a temporary position until Fernando and I can get some things set in stone. However, this job has been not only the lifeline I mentioned before but a Godsend in terms of helping me find direction for my career goals.

Not everyone gets so lucky.

Have I mentioned it’s also given me time to battle the never-ending monster that is cleaning the apartment?

Let me tell you all about that one. No, wait. You probably don’t have time for that. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

However, I might have to share more about battling the monster that is cleaning in the future as part of sharing about working part-time and how it’s really changed my perspective.

What I’d like to tell you about today is how working part-time has changed my perspective on the value of jobs.

We put so much value on what kind of job we’re working and whether it’s part-time or full-time. But there are a lot of people working positions like mine: part-time positions that require a lot of time and effort outside the normal working hours just to get the job done.

We tend to think that it’s not a real job unless we’re getting paid a certain amount. Different people have different ideas about this, but in some families, there are expectations about how much a person should be making in their career at a certain age or level of employment. It can be incredibly daunting to consider trying to meet expectations like that when you’re not even employed full-time in the first place.

We think that non-traditional jobs are risky and won’t yield a good result. If you’ve ever gotten involved in a job that isn’t what you were educated for or isn’t a traditional, safe, normal job, you probably know exactly what I’m trying to say here. This applies to full-time and part-time jobs, and it can lead to all kinds of pain and frustration, especially when we find our sweet spots.

We are consumed by putting a dollar value on a job instead of a quality of life value. I think this is especially true for people who like to compare what we’re making to what we could be making if we just went to a different position or company. It’s easy to put a dollar value on a job. It’s hard to put a quality of life value on it. We’re so quick to want to make the most money and believe that will bring the most happiness, but there are times when our quality of life deteriorates as we strive for that money.

You may not agree with me about these things. But I’ve learned a few things after starting a part-time job working in a position I love. I may never make enough money in this job to support my lifestyle, and that’s okay. My lifestyle has had many changes since marriage anyway.

What I will do, however, is find a way to get more education so that I can take advantage of opportunities to make this a more full-time position.

What about you? Do you agree or disagree with my thoughts on a part-time job?

Breathing Life Back…

…into this poor, sad blog.

I decided to come back and make a few tweaks and changes to my little blog. I’m debating about working on making writing a blog a new career move for myself, and I’d like to have a more aesthetically pleasing blog to share with people if I do follow through with this change.

Why, might you ask, would I be considering this?

For the same reasons I’m doing lots of new things these days. I am choosing to indulge in healthier habits, taking pride in my job, finding passions in my life I wasn’t aware of, and becoming a bit of a fan of adding creativity back into my world. I’d like to share that with people, even if I’m not sharing things that I was sharing before.

My blog may change a bit as a result.

However, I wanted to address a few fun things:

  • I’m still writing! I have been working on a novel and am committed to completing and posting Anti-Hero to Wattpad. Those of you who follow me there may notice there is a fancy bit of cover art I recently put up, and it has inspired me to move toward completing my current novel so I can finish Anti-Hero. 
  • I’m actually teaching ESL or English as a Second Language, and I absolutely love it! In fact, I may begin sharing some tips and tricks of the trade on my blog as I continue in this new profession. I never would have expected to find this job to be so exciting, but it’s become something I’m quite passionate about and am now considering pursuing further education in to make it a full-time career.
  • Fernando and I are still enjoying married life, much like two no longer newly weds would be, and we’ve settled into routines. If you check out the new design of the blog, you’ll see I’ve linked to my Instagram account where you can find pictures of us both as well as our favorite Dobby the House Corgi.
  • I’ve become quite a fan of exploring Pinterest ideas and putting them into practice in my little apartment. They tend to make a small space brighter, larger, and more pleasant. Feel free to check out my Pinterest link in the sidebar and get ready for upcoming posts sharing all my adventures with Pinterest creativity.
  • Last but not least, I’m becoming pretty obsessed with these little things called essential oils. I won’t go into too much detail in this post, but if you haven’t heard of the various companies out there that sell them, you should take a look at Young Living Essential Oils. I’ve been getting oils for several months now and have quite enjoyed incorporating them into my life.

Phew! You didn’t know you’d be reading a book of life changes, did you? Well, prepare for more to come as I hopefully am going to be sharing more with you about my writing, creating, teaching, loving life.

By the way, the title of my blog might seem a bit misleading, but I think I’ll also be doing a series on how I’ve been escaping cubed life over the past several years and what it’s done for me.

If you’ve hung in with me this long, thanks! Look forward to more from me, and I’ll be sharing more about life in a Cubed world.

– RaeNezL

What a Difference…

…a few weeks makes.

I know I’ve been absent, and in absentia, you may have thought I’d retired my keyboard and blog. However, these last few weeks have been a whirlwind of activity for me. It’s been amazing the amount of things I’ve accomplished in a short period of time.

Let me explain.

I finished out a two week notice at the Call Center Xtroardinaire, and it was one of the craziest two weeks I’d had. Mainly because I was too excited to care much about anything other than being able to leave soon and very soon. Of course, I was professional about it. I did my job and did it well. I did everything as I was supposed to.

Even though my supervisor kept telling me it didn’t matter and I could do what I wanted.

I suppose they’re not used to caring if people do anything for their last two weeks.

Perhaps they’re not used to getting an actual notice.

Either way, I stayed the course, I worked my time, and I quit early. What? I mean, I left early on Friday, my last day, after I had my exit interview.

My exit interview went surprisingly well. I even had the opportunity to kindly mention some of the supervisors who clearly hated their jobs as I left. (Take that, Ms. Jerk who rarely smiles  and even more rarely takes questions from reps!)

Then I turned around, got up Monday, and went to the new job. And wow. What. A. Difference.

I wound up in shock after learning some silly little things.

First: I get dual screen monitors. Yes, that’s redundant. No, I don’t care.

Second: I have a laptop. Yes, I’m typing this from said laptop. It’s fun.

Third: I get to do blogging for work. Woot! Not here, of course… but it’ll be such a blast to write for the company even if it does have to do with techy things I don’t quite understand. (You know, like “the cloud” and why we need it.)

Fourth: I get to have Nerf dart wars with my coworkers. Who wouldn’t love that? And it’s during working hours.

And this is only what I’ve learned within the first two weeks of working there. I’ve trained. I’ve already started taking calls. And, yes, I’ve had clients hang up on me. I’ve had people get haughty and impatient with me. But, you know, it’s not too bad. I can deal.

And when in doubt, Nerf it out. Or, you know, just shoot a technician. Because it’s their fault if a customer’s calling back about a ticket, right?

So… this new job thing? It seems like it might be just up my alley.

As for the old job, I’m still keeping tabs on the people I worked with. I mean, they’re my buddies, and I miss them. I did find out Call Center Xtroardinaire is adding 10,000 new accounts in the next month and has decided it’s a great time to announce they’re cutting back 15% of their workforce. They announced this the Tuesday after I left.

As you can imagine, I’m rather glad I’m gone… because I’m positive I would be cut had I stayed.

I’ll be posting more updates soon, but for now, Fernando is waiting to go get dinner. And a hungry Fernando is a dangerous thing!

– RaeNez

Pending a Two Week Notice…

…I will be leaving the call center.

Yes, the final piece of news from this incredible week of things that have changed my life and turned my world upside down is that I have received some amazing news as of Friday, March 1st.

You’ll recall from a previous post that I mentioned having a final interview on the 1st with the company I was so excited about before. They had me set for an interview on Friday morning, so I took off work using holiday time I’d earned and went to the interview hoping the people I interviewed with for a second time would like me as much as the first people had.

I interviewed with three different people this time. One was the woman who is already in place in the position I’d be coming into. I’m assuming she would be in charge of training me and would likely be the person I’d report to as well. She said they were thinking about how they could change the position and add some different responsibilities to it, and since it’s a relatively new position, I suppose that would be a fun transition to come into for me.

The second person I interviewed with was another woman who was very energetic, and although I wasn’t quite sure of her role in the organization, I enjoyed her immensely. She had a great personality and was a lot of fun to talk to.

And the last person I talked to was the marketing coordinator, a young man who I recognized from a church I’d attended before. He didn’t remember me, but we had a connection through a prior job that I’d done because he knew the owners of the company. He was fun and energetic and made me smile to listen to him talk.

Overall, I actually thoroughly enjoyed my second interview and felt very pleased with how it went. I loved meeting these people and felt more than ever that the company was one I’d like to work with. No company is perfect, obviously, but it would be such fun to work in an environment with people whose personalities are big and loud and fun like this one.

After my interview, they took me to the area in the building that I’d be working if I got the job. I got to say hi to two of my friends who worked in that department. I chatted with them and was asked about wedding planning details (of which I’ve done nothing). And then I left, wondering how soon I’d hear back from the company.

I had a lot going on Friday anyway. Fernando and I were spending most of the day going out and about. I had a doctor’s appointment to follow up on my ear infection from a couple of weeks ago. I needed to pick up my engagement ring from the jeweler because they were fixing the setting since I’d noticed the diamond was loose.

Anyway, we went to IHOP for a late lunch or early dinner, and I got the call around 4 pm. It was the president I’d interviewed with offering me the job. I was shocked, thrilled, so excited I was nearly bouncing in my seat. Fernando grabbed my hand from across the booth and held onto it to keep me anchored.

She gave me the decided salary, which was well beyond what I’d anticipated and such a wonderful figure I would never argue with it. She explained they would include all the benefits of a normal package including insurance options and 401-k options. The company even has a 401-k matching plan after you’ve worked there a certain amount of time.

She asked when I could start, and since I’m being good, I said I could start after giving a two week’s notice at work. I told her March 18th would be an excellent start date for me. I explained I could submit my two week’s notice tomorrow and be done within the next two weeks. She agreed and stated she would put that in as my start date for the job. I’m expecting the offer letter this week.

And now I start yet another adventure!

I can’t even believe how crazy this has been. Within the space of a week, I’ve become engaged and gotten a new job. Now to get through the next two weeks and begin this job while working out the details of planning a wedding.

So what do you say to all that? Do you think I’ve had a crazy week after all?

– RaeNez

What a Crazy Month

It’s now officially March, and as a wrap up to February, I just want to say that it’s been more than a little exciting, crazy, nerve-wracking, romantic, and overall exhausting.

But it has got to be my favorite month in 2013 so far, and ladies and gentlemen, we’re only in the third month now. So that is a very good thing. We’re on course for this year to shape up to be one of the best years I’ve had in a very long time.

Yes, I’m still working in a call center. Yes, I visited HR twice in the last two weeks to discuss conditions on the job that have yielded very interesting conversations with people who probably don’t know much about working in a call center. Yes, my stats are generally going downhill in a job that has frustrated me to no end.

I’ve never been happier.

The last week alone has been full of all kinds of things that have turned my world upside down, and I want to take the right amount of time to go through all of them in the correct order because it’s important that you understand just why I’ve been away so long and just why it’s been so crazy for me.

Suffice it so say, dear readers, your writer is ecstatic and busy like a bee and thrilled to bits and pieces to be involved in things that will likely leave her busy for the next several months on a rather important project.

However, let’s rewind a bit.

I think I mentioned that I’d been praying for an interview with a company after I had a phone interview with them. If I didn’t mention it, well, that’s part of what happened over the course of February. If I pulled out my calendar, I could share with you the exact date, but either way, I had a phone interview for a position that sounded relatively mediocre when I first read the details of it but would at least get me out of my current job.

The phone interview enlightened me, and the remaining details sounded more promising. That resulted in an in-person interview with the management team. Now for this particular company, they’ve been going through some growing pains, and that has resulted in something that left them without a management team for the department the position I interviewed for was in. Have you got all that?

I went into the interview and interviewed with the CEO and president of the company because they are the acting management team for the department.

The CEO and president.

Whoa.

I was a bit intimidated, but they were incredibly personable. It was an hour and a half long, and they asked me questions going all the way back to high school. (Wow!) When I began asking them questions about the company, I was struck by how much they loved what they did and how passionate they were about the industry and the company mission. Not to mention they have an internal mission to make the company a place where people love coming to work.

I can definitely get on board with that.

I had good and bad feelings at the end of the interview, and I was so hoping they’d let me know if I’d advanced enough to be able to come in for a second in-person interview, which would be the final interview step in the process.

It took a week before I heard back from them, but they emailed me last Friday (meaning February 22nd) to say they liked me and wanted me to come back for a second interview.

Can you imagine how thrilled I was? I hadn’t been so excited in a long time, and I was starting to hope for the possibility I might actually be able to get a better job.

I set up the next interview for March 1st.

And that, my dear readers, is my first update. I don’t want to overwhelm you with too much news, but you’ll be hearing much, much more about this last week within my next few posts!

– RaeNez

Coming Soon! The e-Book Edition…

…or not.

I thought about it the other day, and I have the desire to write a book about some of the crazy people I speak to on the phones. I wouldn’t have to even explain what exactly I called them about. I would simply have to say it was in regards to loans and that I worked in a call center.

I’ve got a great title to my book. Are you ready?

On the Phones: Why I Probably Wouldn’t Want to be Friends with You

Personally I think it’ll be a best seller.

Can you imagine all the ways I can make this work? I can. And if you’re reading this feeling affronted because the title just insulted you, don’t be.

You’re either the person I’m writing about, and I wouldn’t want to be friends with you, or you aren’t a rude person who makes ridiculous comments when a poor call center rep calls you. (Alternately you aren’t rude to the call center rep when you call in for assistance.)

Because that’s where my book would go.

I’d glaze over all the absurd responses I get to the eternal question: “May I speak to so-and-so?”

We’d go through the jerk-offs who reply, “What do you want?” instead of replying in any normal fashion to every question I ask. That was a fun call that I had yesterday, actually. A man continually replied “What do you want?” when I asked to speak to him and would not tell me if I had the correct person or anything else.

Now I understand being annoyed by 1-800 numbers because I get that, too, but when you know for a fact who the company is, what they’re calling about, and that you have a plan of action, you don’t have to be a moronic broken record to me.

To people like him, I’d like to say, “If I ever saw you in person, I’d happily knee you in the balls and watch you cry.”

Then there are the ridiculously high number of people who I speak to that tell me, “You people screwed up my account!” Or any number of variants on that theme. It always begins with “you people” and ends with an accusation, typically false, that leads me to want to ask if the person is really that ignorant in real life.

First of all, if you addressed me as “you people” in person, I’d laugh in your face. I am not a people. I am a person. Second of all, I am not a business. I am an employee, who really has nothing to do with your account aside from the unfortunate fact I had the luck of the draw to speak to you today. Third, “you people” really does not compel me to be on your side, see things your way, or feel it necessary to empathize with your situation.

It generally just makes me think you are an idiot.

Also, it sets my teeth on edge. Call us Call Center Xtroardinaire, call me rep or Rae or miss or ma’am. Not “you people.” See the above for all the reasons this is wrong. Not to mention it’s just plain rude, and you wouldn’t speak that way to someone in person, so please do me the courtesy of pretending I am, in fact, a person.

For those of you who ritually speak to reps in this manner, please be advised most of us would like to rip your tongues out for calling us “you people” on the phones. Also, if you set a pack of wild reps on people like your fine selves, I’m fairly certain the wild reps would succeed in ripping out your tongues.

And then we wouldn’t be “you people.”

(As I digress, I realize I may have a minor bit of pent up aggression held back today.)

Finally, I really must say I quite enjoy when I call a wrong number and people feel the need to harp on me about how angry they are that we keep calling for someone who isn’t at that number. “You people keep calling for her, and I keep telling you she don’t have this number no more! Don’t you understand that? Take my number off your list! You keep calling and calling and calling, you called three times yesterday, you never take my number off, and she ain’t got this number…”

Aside from the general lack of proper grammar and a grasp of the English language, the people who yell at me about insipid things like having a wrong number simply don’t seem to recognize one basic fact about call centers: If I have a wrong number for someone who is behind on an account, you can be damn sure someone else has the same number and is calling you.

Now, most of the time I try to head off the mundane commenting of people in these situations because it’s useless and gets me nowhere, but can I tell you honestly that people who do this annoy me to no end?

I want to slap them upside of the head and tell them I wouldn’t have called someone so hateful if I could have avoided it, but unfortunately it’s my job. Now be a polite human and bugger off while I remove your number so some other poor rep never has to hear your hideous voice.

As you can see, I could easily write quite a book about the people I speak to on the phones, and please remember: this includes you, too, if you’ve ever spoken to a customer service representative in any hateful or rude manner.

I hope you can see my point. It isn’t so much that I wouldn’t be friends with people based on how they treat call center reps. It’s more humorous than anything, but I would hope it would make people sit up and take notice that even a lowly rep on the phone is more human than just an annoying voice that cuts into part of your day.

And that, my friends, is your public service announcement for the day!

– RaeNez