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

The Perks of Being Sick & NaBloPoMo

It’s been a bit of a struggle making it through the week. I’ve been equal amounts of depressed, annoyed, and bored in turn and sometimes a bit of all three at once.

Starting tomorrow, I’ll be participating in something that will make that all go away… or, you know, give me something else to focus on, in any event.

Introducing:

National Blog Posting Month

That’s right. If you don’t know anything about it, National Blog Posting Month is an unofficial month of basically committing to writing one post on your blog per day for the entire month. It’s a means of committing to your blog and making sure you get your posts up.

Hosted by BlogHer, I’ve added CubedLife to the mix on the blog roll there, and I’m going to be posting a blog every day for the month of February. As you can see from the badge, the theme BlogHer has created this year for February is love and sex.

Of course, I may or may not blog on that theme, but in the spirit of that, I thought I’d tell you one of the perks of being sick that I rather recently (as in, within the last hour) discovered.

Fernando texted that he was out and about running an errand that needed to be completed. Considering he’s been working nonstop and I haven’t seen him since he came to take me to the doctor’s office Monday, I’ve had to resign myself to seeing him tomorrow.

Not so.

He showed up with some food because I said I was hungry. May I just point out that when you’ve got a keeper, you should, well, keep him? He brought us both a quick bite, and we scarfed down some food (dare I think it: my appetite is actually coming back!) before he decided it had been a bit too long since we’d seen each other.

Now, at the risk of sounding a bit scandalous and risque, I won’t say that Fernando and I are at all improper. However, things do sometimes get a bit, ah, steamy at times, and one thing leads to another.

In short, Fernando takes me away with his Spanish mutterings sometimes. I can’t understand a word, but I suppose they call it a Romance language for a reason, yes?

I got an energy boost I wasn’t expecting when he got that glint in his eye and decided he needed to get me to a softer surface than being seated at my kitchen table. Being the altogether chaste young woman I am, I stood up quickly and moved away from him, which, of course, became a game of chase.

Upper respiratory infection, lack of appetite, and general sickness versus peak of health, taller, and generally faster man? No contest.

He gently escorted me (read: wrestled me) to a softer surface for a quick yet steamy make out session before he, unfortunately, had to leave for work again.

Who says you need copious amounts of sex to perk up a love life? Just add a bit of excitement in the form of your significant other surprising you with a visit when you’re sick. It does wonders to add a bit of spark and energy.

Despite my ears being plugged up, I can still hear, rather well, that my heartbeat is still increased from Fernando’s rather passionate kisses. I’m fairly certain I even look a bit healthier and brighter than I did an hour and a half ago…

Ah, the perks of being sick.

Now onto NaBloPoMo and the excitement of February. Join me?

RaeNez

Happiness is…

…apparently a three day, unintentional vacation created by the unfortunate condition of having been infected by this lovely condition known as an ear infection.

I was writing about escapes as you’ll recall, and apparently the boyfriend noticed.

Perhaps I should give him a spiffy title. He’d appreciate that. I’m not sure what. The women at work ask me about my man, which always seems so crass. He’s not my man, and I don’t have a ring on my finger. Besides, even if I were married to him, I wouldn’t call him my man. Then he’d be my husband.

Again with the digressing. (That is rapidly becoming a theme here.)

Well, well, the boyfriend has spoken. In an effort to protect the innocent (though how innocent he is I cannot disclose), he will henceforth be known as Fernando. (Until he changes his mind.)

In any event, it came to my attention through dearest Fernando that I am, in fact, sitting here in my bed happy on a sick day. I’ve been utterly wracked with coughing, suffering from a perpetually sore throat, had piercingly sore ears, and a plugged up nose. And yet, I’m happy.

The last two or three days I’ve been happy. It’s a lovely feeling. An escape, if you will.

I watched Doctor Who with Fernando. We’re not aficionados or hardcore fans. We’re just starting our way through the series. But it’s silly and goofy, and we’re loving it. It’s relaxing and entertaining.

I’ve immersed myself in the world of Downton Abbey as well. The large, old British castle brings out my inner dream to have lived in a different time. (My mother would say I was born out of time. I could certainly rock the vintage fashions of Downton Abbey and look fabulous doing so.) I’m making my way through the free seasons on my Amazon Prime account and mourning the fact the remaining season is paid only at this point.

What else? Oh yes, I’ve been blogging incessantly in case you weren’t aware. I suppose there’s a limit there somewhere, but I haven’t been made aware, and WordPress hasn’t stopped me from posting yet. I suppose my blogging will slow down a bit soon, but it won’t fade away.

And I did some random things today, like searching for more jobs, crafting more cover letters (despite myself I can’t help loving writing in any form), and, well, looking for puppies.

I swear I was looking for a puppy for Fernando. Promise. Okay, okay. Even he doesn’t believe me. However, I did find a couple adorable faces that yearn for adoption. Even Fernando would be swayed by these adorable faces.

Madison – 3 month old Alaskan Husky/German Shepherd Mix

Now tell me: who could say no to that face? Even if she will grow up to be a rather large dog given her particular mix, she would be an adorable addition to anyone’s home. (I will say I already have a dog of my own, so I’m not exactly allowed to have another one until I move out of my house, which is why I’m looking at dogs for Fernando – besides, his birthday is coming up!)

Gary – 3 month old American Pit Bull/Terrier Mix

Have I mentioned Fernando needs a lapdog? And Gary clearly needs a lap? And the two would be an adorable couple? Perhaps I should become a matchmaker.

Needless to say, the point of all this was really due to the conversation Fernando and I had. Here’s the recap:

Fernando: “You’re so sappy today, looking for a puppy, writing blogs, thinking of love and happiness.

Me: I’m not at work. There’s a difference. I can be sick at home and happy as a clam if it involves not working.

Granted, he said “sappy” and not “happy,” but me being a sickie, I read “happy.” So put two and two together and get, well, a puppy. Or just get that sick days, while unpleasant, are my own versions of escapes because they’re better than being trapped in the world of cubes on the phones, being yelled at for no fault of my own.

What’s your happiness?

RaeNez

P.S. I promise not to post like a maniac all the time, but I do rather enjoy the inspiration I get from blogging… and, well, I’m sick. I have to have something  to do!

 

A Call Center’s Worst Nightmare…

…the dreaded sick employees.

Like me!

If you’ll recall, I mentioned having a sore throat Friday. Well, let’s just say that developed over the weekend into what has now become a rip-roaring good time, namely a full-blown upper respiratory infection and nasty ear infection. By Sunday evening, both ears were piercing me at will and upon any type of movement for the fun of it with zings of pain that made me cringe and cry out. By this morning, I was cowering in my bed, unable to gain any more restless slumber and barely able to speak in an audible voice without coughing or facing a piercingly sore throat.

I called in to work sick, which is no big deal for a call center like ours. Everyone has the sick line programmed into their phone so they can easily access it for things like bronchitis, laryngitis and other -itis sounding diseases that frequent the center. So to for things like colds and the flu; though in a center like ours, you rarely have people who call out for the flu or a cold. We don’t get enough sick days for people to justify calling in for a measly fever.

That might explain why so many people get sick in the first place, though.

Just thinking aloud here.

When you get only 40 hours, one week’s worth, of sick time, you tend to use it as sparingly as possible. FMLA (or Family Medical Leave Act to the uninitiated) time will only go so far and cover so much, and many people won’t purchase things like short term disability because, well, who wants to purchase something you may not need or use. Understandable, right?

I was lucky last year.

I hired in shortly after the new year and didn’t have to use much sick time until about mid-summer, and then I only took one day or a few short hours here and there. It wasn’t much, but I knew I had to be sparing. Then fall came, and winter was just around the corner.

The problem with me and winter? We don’t tend to get along. And winter tends to go for the low blow: my health. Sure enough, November came, and I got bronchitis. With me, bronchitis isn’t a nice, little cough. It’s a gut-wrenching, sob-inducing, lung-ripping coughing fit that sometimes seems to never end. It brought with it a small fever of 102.1 at the highest, which is the highest fever I’ve had that I can remember in the past five or ten years.

Naturally I would have called in sick for the several days around Thanksgiving (what a fortunate time of month to be sick!) I had the illness… had I not a) already used up some of my sick time earlier in the year, and b) been pro-rated on the sick time I was allotted when I hired in so that I wasn’t given a full 40 hours of sick time due to hiring in with less than a year to work.

No, I came in to work with no voice (easy to make calls out, that) and begged off the phones in my whisper tones, asking for something, anything, else to keep me busy because I didn’t have a voice. I hacked up a lung off and on throughout the day as I worked on invalidating addresses from returned mail, a simplistic job but one that we often do when we have no inbound calls to take.

It was miserable.

I had a fever, was coughing, and felt generally miserable. I had almost no vacation and very little sick time remaining that I could use. And what would have happened had I left anyway? Disciplinary action.

Makes sense to me.

Stay with a fever, potentially infect other employees, and do menial tasks with less than 100% efficiency because that shows dedication to the schedule adherence we believe in. Rather than leave when you’re sick and unable to perform and really not being efficient, productive, or useful in any capacity and maybe be able to come back to 100% efficiency faster because you rested and fought off the illness.

So now here I am, shortly into January with 40 hours sick time… or rather, 31 hours sick time available to me because I used 9 hours today. After going to the doctor’s office this afternoon, he told me I had the worst ear infection he’s ever seen in an adult and has recommended I not go back to work until Thursday, taking two more days off at my discretion.

Whatever the case, days off are always to be taken with a bit of imagination and discretion widely advised. I’ll be taking my time to recuperate and praying I don’t have another illness that knocks me off my feet anytime soon… at least not till next year.

– RaeNez

Employee Safety & Health Concerns: Ice

So today is one of those normal days where we get an ice storm.

No, wait. That’s wrong. We rarely if ever see sub-freezing temperatures, let alone sub-freezing temperatures combined with precipitation of the snowy or icy variety. Who am I trying to kid? Let me rephrase, then.

Today is a unique day when everyone and everything that has even an ounce of self-preservation is remaining out of sight indoors in the interest of avoiding the sheets of ice on, well, everything outdoors.

The ice covering the plant right outside my front door…

As you can see, it was a bit frozen. I took a few different photos for the sheer beauty of the icicles, but did I go to work this morning at 8 am? No.

Was work called off due to conditions where even the state troopers and fire departments experienced incidents where their vehicles flipped on the side of the road? No.

I had, conveniently enough, scheduled off work for today to enjoy a three day weekend (also a good thing since my throat was so sore I could barely speak when I woke this morning) prior to yesterday’s general workplace pandemonium about increasing weather reports of ice, school closings, and overall danger on the roads. I knew I wouldn’t be at work and was already planning to sleep in.

This morning, my phone started alerting me to the general weather alerts at 7:50 am. It woke me up, so I decided out of curiosity to call the office weather line to see if they had shut down.

For the sake of reference: all county schools in my area and the surrounding areas are closed. Even the local university, which never closes due to weather, has shut down. Most banks and government institutions have even shut their doors today.

I called the weather line only to hear: “This is the weather line report for today, January 25. We are scheduled for regular business hours. Every employee is expected to be in attendance. If you are unable to attend, please inform your supervisor. You will need to use sick or vacation hours. And remember: be safe!”

Yes, be safe. In this?

Icicles dangling from my back deck awning. I was holding onto the wall but slipped just stepping a bit out from under the cover. Silly ice!

Clearly the call center believes the safety of its employees comes before the business.

Clearly.

Might I add that for my department, today was only a four hour workday? Why they couldn’t cancel work in conditions where there have been reports of everything from fire trucks to salt trucks going off the roads is beyond me. I suppose we must shoulder on in the pursuit of collecting on delinquency.

Neither rain, nor sleet, nor snow, nor ice…

…will stop the call center from calling a delinquent account near you.

I suppose if we stopped to worry about employee safety, we might actually concern ourselves with the fact that employees actually have lives, families, and other obligations besides being tethered to the phones. And that might make us remember that makes those employees just the same as us. And heaven forbid we begin treating employees who slave in the call center as equals… because then we might treat them differently.

Ah well, either way, I’m curled cozily in my bed, enjoying my day off, and incredibly grateful I “sacrificed” some vacation time to avoid this beautiful but deadly icy weather.

RaeNez