Ah, my old friend routine

I just realized that I never posted an update after I was waiting for the official job offer.

A.) I got the job, and 2.) I started last Thursday.

It’s kind of been a whirlwind; I haven’t been used to getting up early in the morning and working all day at a desk job in (what feels like) ages. But, I’m not going to lie – I have really been liking it!

For now, they only want me to work 20 hours per week, but they keep talking about the job going full time “soon.” All I know is, I worked last Thursday and Friday, and this Monday – Wednesday, and it feels pretty damn full time to me. I’m not just working a couple of hours per day, I’m working 8 (or damn near) hours when I go in, and I can see how this will easily become full time. The accounting lady is swamped, and it’s just going to get crazier when the busy (summer) season starts. So, I anticipate working a full week as soon as she can get me trained up.

In the mean time, when I hired on, I told them that I had a previous commitment scheduled for this Thursday and Friday, and since I’m part time and can technically set my own hours, they had no problem giving me those days off. Besides, I already put in my 20 hours for this week, so I don’t feel guilty at all. My plan is to work full days Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, and then give myself a 4 day weekend every week…. at least until they make me full time.

What’s been interesting to me is that my anxiety isn’t in extreme overdrive when I go to work in the morning. When I was working at the salon, I could barely sleep the night before because my anxiety was through the roof, and I could never figure out what was triggering it. After all, it wasn’t a difficult job, and I really liked my coworkers. But, being back at a desk job, in an Accounting department, made me realize that my anxiety came from not knowing what to expect (in a way).

See, I worked in an Accounting department for so long, it’s basically old hat. The systems might all be different, but the basics are the same – entering invoices, paying bills, recording payments, reconciling credit cards …. it’s like second nature to me. Frankly, that’s been giving me a lot of comfort. Yes, the job is new and the people are new and the industry is different, but the actual WORK is familiar and comforting. I know how to do these things.

At the salon, it was high energy, stand-all-day, dealing with customers and beauty products – none of which was familiar to me. I was used to being in the back of the house and crunching numbers and running reports. As much as I enjoyed talking to people and being at the salon, the anxiety I felt was because it just wasn’t the right job for me. Sure, I could have made it work (and I did, while I was there), but it wasn’t a good fit. And now I know.

So, all this time of unemployment to figure out what I wanted to do when I grow up has kind of been a bust because apparently what I want to do is Accounting. Or, maybe it’s because that’s what I know and am good at, but that’s not my calling. Or, maybe it is. I truly don’t know. What I do know is that this job feels comfortable and doable, and my anxiety isn’t totally out of control anymore. Having a routine in a familiar environment seems to be working for me.

I feel like I really lucked out.

Now, next week, I have to take a “test” to get my official credentials. I’m not exactly sure what’s on this “test,” I just know I have to bring multiple forms of ID, take a class, and pass a test. Otherwise, I won’t be able to work there any longer because technically I don’t have official clearance. I can’t be in the building without someone with a badge, so until I can take the class/test, it’s kind of like I’m on probation. I’m a little nervous, but my supervisor seems to think it won’t be a big deal (and she won’t give me any details about it – I’m not sure if it’s because she can’t, or because she doesn’t understand what I’m asking). I really hope it goes well because I don’t want to lose this job…

It can’t be a coincidence, can it?

I just got a call from the company I interviewed with on Thursday. They are sending me an offer letter!

I realized that at the interview, I never asked what the hourly pay rate would be, but I had an idea. Anything more than I was making at the salon was going to be OK in my book, and it turns out it’s almost $3 more per hour than I was making. But, it’s still only part time. For now. And that starting rate was quoted as a “starting rate,” which means it will only go up from there.

I’m excited, for sure. I’m also nervous as hell. God, I hope I can do it. I can do it, right?

Every time I see an email pop up, I get nervous. Why? I don’t know. It’s going to contain a job offer at a place that seems really cool. I don’t want to mess this up. I don’t know how I would mess it up, but I’m afraid of messing it up. Stupid anxiety.

Typically, February is a mixed bag for me, emotionally speaking. But, receiving news that I got the job, on today of all days, is special. Because on this day, 12 years ago, my father passed away. There are not enough good words to describe him – he is, and will always be, my hero. I know it might sound corny, but I sincerely believe my dad helped guide me to this job. I’m not exactly sure why, it’s just a feeling I get.

That job I worked half my life in? It was in a family company. My dad was the president, and his cousin was the VP. After my dad passed away, it was hard to be there every day without him. Then again, he was the type of man that made sure no one could accuse him of nepotism, and it was very clear that I didn’t get any special favors. So, I didn’t see him every day, and I didn’t actually work with him (much). But, just knowing he was there was special.

I continued to work there for nine years after my dad passed, and most of that was out of respect for him. And for many of my coworkers. My dad’s cousin was nothing like my dad, and working for him was demoralizing and difficult (to say the least). I knew that the only way I’d ever be able to leave that company was if I moved out of the state. So, I did.

I’ve struggled to find my place since I left that company – a company where I had almost complete autonomy, and I knew what needed to be done and I had the authority to do it. On the one hand, I keep telling myself I don’t want the same level of responsibility going forward in a new job. But, on the other hand, I don’t really know how to be if I’m not useful or doing something important. I don’t want or need the spotlight, but I’d like to be respected for my contributions, you know? So, I guess that requires some level of risk taking and responsibility.

I think this new company might be the opportunity I’ve been looking for without even knowing it. I don’t want to put so much pressure on it before I even start, but I can’t help it. I’m …… excited.

Dare to hope

I was correct.

I got the interview because they loved my cover letter. I was hoping it didn’t sound too desperate or weird, and I received a unanimous, “No way, it was great! It certainly stood out.”

I opened with this:

You may be wondering why a person who has over 20 years of Accounting experience is applying for (position). You may also be wondering why someone with my level of experience has some gaps in their employment and has been working in part time jobs for the last year. The answer is this: I’m trying to figure out what I want to do when I grow up.

I also said,

I’ve taken a few classes, done some traveling, and tried out jobs that were completely out of my wheelhouse. It’s definitely been interesting, but I also need to pay some bills. Accounting still has a place in my heart, and honesty, I’m good at it (if I do say so myself).

Apparently, most people don’t admit in a cover letter that they don’t know what they want to do/be. I was afraid it would be taken as an indication that I’d be out the door at the first better offer, but luckily they didn’t take it that way. I think there are a lot of people out there who really don’t know what they want to do, so my admitting it, out loud, was refreshingly honest. And it was definitely honest.

My interview lasted only 30 minutes, but I got the impression that I would be a good fit. Also, my interview was with 3 people (what is it with group interviews these days?), and one of them hadn’t even been there a year yet. They’re growing, and while this is a 20 hour per week position, they indicated that it could soon go to full time.

The accounting manager made sure to tell me that the position was “very repetitive and kinda boring,” but I’m familiar with the drone of accounting related data entry. Plus, it’s a super small company, and it sounds like everyone kind of jumps in and helps where needed. So, there would be cross training and the ability to do other things here and there.

And, you guys, I kinda want this job.

While I did experience panic attacks the night before, when I arrived at the company, I wasn’t nervous. Sure, I might have been kind of numb by that point, but I didn’t get the nervous poops (sorry for the TMI), and I don’t think I did any nervous talking (or interrupting). At first, I told myself that this was no big deal, and that it didn’t matter what happened, but after chatting with them, I felt comfortable… and not anxious …. and that it would be a chance for me to feel useful.

Near the end of the interview, I can’t remember what the question was, but I said, “I just want to be a useful part of a team.”

They said they hope to make a decision sometime next week.

Now I have to go talk to some food about this …. (reference, Liz Lemon, 30 Rock.)

This should be interesting

Remember the Accounting/Bookkeeping job I mentioned last week? The one where Indeed made me do a surprise skills assessment test after I applied? The one I thought there was no way I’d get?

I have an interview with them tomorrow at 2pm.

Last night, I was riddled with panic attacks, and right now I’m as edgy as all get-out. My husband keeps asking me questions about the place and bouncing around being all happy for me, and all I can think about is punching him to make him stop talking.

I know how horrible that sounds, and I’m not a violent person. It kind of reminds me of the old Looney Tunes cartoons with Chester and Spike (as seen here.). A little, yappy, well meaning dog bouncing around an older, grumpy dog. This is what was going through my head. I’m glad he’s excited for me, but I’m not sure I’m excited for me just yet.

I’m nervous, panicky, and bitchy, so this interview tomorrow should be super great. I need to get my head wrapped around it and do some prep work so I don’t completely cock-up the meeting. After all, I need a job. I actually made a list of items around my house that I’d sell if things get really crazy, and it wasn’t fun. Contemplating selling off personal items for money just to pay your bills is a scary thought.

Yeah, I need to get it together. Fast.

I also haven’t heard back from the other employer after I re-submitted my application for their job (at the school near my house), and two other jobs I applied for closed their interviewing process due to “too many qualified applicants.”

I know it only takes one “yes,” but at this point, I’m not sure what I’m hoping for.

Budgeting is bullshit

As you all know, I’ve been trying to save money while my husband and I are looking for work. I have been cutting out every possible extraneous expense I can, but it’s difficult. I didn’t think we were super spendy before, but I definitely wasn’t as careful as I am now. At this point I’m being totally cutthroat.

We canceled our cable television. Well, we tried to cancel it, but it didn’t work as we had planned. We had cable, broadband, and a land line (it was a nice bundle, and the land line was mostly for conference calls while husband was employed … even though he used it like twice). We wanted to keep only the broadband internet service, but when we called, we found out that it’s way more expensive to just have broadband. Of course. So, in order to “save money,” they offered us a “streaming television package” which consisted of some of their most popular channels. There would be no DVR (which is basically how I watched most of my shows), but with a savings of $60/month and the ability to still watch some shows, I agreed to the change.

Except there are two channels I watched almost exclusively – TBS (for Friends and Big Bang Theory re-runs, as well as Family Guy and Bob’s Burgers… yes, I’m a 12 year old boy. Heh.), and Bravo (for, well, you know what’s there, don’t make me say it … Housewives..). There was also some TNT (Law & Order: SVU), History, and FoodNetwork, but mostly it was TBS and Bravo. TBS was my “comfort TV” station. It’s what I would have on in the background while I did other chores, or when I couldn’t sleep when husband was traveling. It was my digital security blanket.

And now it’s gone. The rep at the cable company said those channels were included, but they aren’t. At first, I was still able to watch them, but I realized it was due to the timing of our cancelation. We had just started a new billing cycle when we canceled, so we had all of the channels we had before (minus the DVR) for a couple of weeks, and I was pretty happy. Sure, I had to watch shows in real time, but whatever. I’m not working, so I could stay up until 11pm if I wanted to watch a show.

And then my two favorite channels were no longer listed on the guide. Undaunted, I had the Bravo app on my Roku TV, so I fired that up, linked to my cable provider, and I was good. Until I started getting error messages about how this channel isn’t available, and I only have 3 “credits” through UniversalNBC(something-or-other). I don’t know what that meant, but I could no longer watch Bravo.

You guys, I know it’s stupid, but I’m having anxiety about not being able to watch my “regular” shows. I do still have History and FoodNetwork, but that’s little comfort. I didn’t even watch that many shows, but the handful I watched gave me emotional comfort and regularity while my life has been in chaos. But, I’m saving $60/month….

I extended my regular hair appointments and cut back on services. I’m no longer buying any beauty products (I haven’t been for a while, actually), I’m not adding any extras to my color (shine additive, additional color), and only getting cut every other (or every 3rd) appointment. I’m not sure of the product cost savings (because that was mostly sporadic), but I’m saving at least $40/month in hair costs.

Other random expenses eliminated. All this being said, I have already cut our expenses down $2000/month in the last 6 months, but I’m determined to get it down even lower. I’ve been surprised (and kind of appalled) at how much little things add up. I’ve changed our cell phone plan, car insurance, and basically every service that can be negotiated as been renegotiated. There isn’t much left, but I’ve found a few things.

Since I am already an Amazon Prime member, and they include Music, we canceled our paid Spotify account. We’re now only watching Netflix or any movies included with Prime instead of renting OnDemand or non-Prime rentals. No more random, impulse buys at grocery stores, and I throw away all catalogs we get in the mail. I don’t even want to be tempted. I’ve become a mean task master – any time my husband mentions doing something (game nights, meet-ups, hockey games, etc.), I ask him about the cost (“Is it free? If not, do you really need to go?”). No more spendy restaurants (even though some of the best ones in this foodie town are pricey), but we haven’t increased fast food – the only fast food that isn’t 30 minutes away is Wendy’s, so salad time!

I have squeezed every possible penny, and yet I’m still nervous about our financial future. Especially when it cost me $704 at the pharmacy yesterday for just two of my prescriptions. That is WITH insurance and WITH manufacturers coupons (and searching GoodRX and the like). I have tried so many other drugs, and the one I’m on now is the only one that has actually worked for me. I mean, really worked. I was offered a similar drug in the same class, but it’s in the same insurance class as my current one, and it has the same pre-authorization and quantity limitations as the one I’m on now. So, I’d be in the same expensive boat.

So, my meager $100/month in extra savings isn’t going to help much if I have to spend $700/month on medicine.

I’m starting to entertain crazy ideas on ways to make money…. like, I wonder if I could be an exotic dancer? There’s a strip club not too far from my house … I wonder if they have a diverse hiring policy?

But first, I’m going to wait to see if any of the jobs I’ve applied for pan out. I’d rather not start a life of crime if I don’t have to …

Interesting development

That job I mentioned a week or two ago? The one I said I hadn’t heard anything from, and I was starting to wonder if maybe they didn’t receive my application?

They got back to me this morning.

So I’m NOT totally rejected (yet)!

It was a generic form letter, but it said I needed to apply through their website. Ok, I can do that, but I’m curious as to why they didn’t just set it up that way to begin with?

My husband suspects it’s a shitshow over there (which is what I’ve heard through the grapevine), and he doubts they are very organized. There is a ton of turnover (it’s a school and a big employer, lots of revolving employees/teachers, etc.) and their hiring goes on constantly.

So, I’ll throw my hat in the official ring and see what happens!

 

Embarrassment

Sooooo……

Yesterday, I applied for another job through Indeed.com. It was for a part time Billing/Accountant and it said, “Seeking candidates with a strong background in accounts receivable, billing and accounting.”

I have those skills.

Or so I thought.

The requirements were for bookkeeping (2 years) and Quickbooks experience (2 years), and an Associates Degree. I worked in an Accounting department for over 20 years, so that counts as bookkeeping, right? And while I don’t have specific Quickbooks experience, I was a Systems Administrator who learned an entirely new ERP system and taught all of the employees how to use it. So, I’m pretty confident that I could learn Quickbooks. Also, I have a Bachelor’s Degree, so I was feeling pretty good about my chances.

And as soon as I submitted my “resume and cover letter,” Indeed tells me that the employer requires a “Skills Assessment” to be completed for consideration of this job. Nothing like having a surprise quiz thrown at you out of nowhere.

You guys, I haven’t “studied” Accounting, well, ever. My degree is in Sociology with a double minor in Psychology and Popular Culture. So, I’m totes qualified to ask, “Do you want fries with that?” but technically not much else. I learned all of my Accounting and IT skills while I was on the job. So, that counts, right?

Except this assessment was asking me about debits and credits and owner’s statements and, well, that was never part of my job. I vaguely remember my boss talking about those things, but doing the financial statements was all his job – I just did everything else.

And have you taken an assessment on Indeed? They are timed. So, while I’m already freaked out about applying for a job (and thinking about rejection), I then have to take a timed test on concepts I never actually learned in school (but overheard over the years). I thought for sure I had cocked it up big time. I told my husband, “Well, that sucked – that’s a job I won’t be getting!”

As it turns out, I scored “Proficient,” which isn’t horrible, but it’s also not superstar status. My cover letter portrayed a rock star of Accounting, and yet I only scored “Proficient.” The other options were “Completed,” “Familiar,” “Proficient,” “Highly Proficient,” and “Expert.” So, I suppose it could have turned out worse, but not by much.

Needless to say, I’m not waiting by the phone for a call from this employer. Actually, I have a feeling that I’ll get a call out of sheer curiosity because my cover letter was definitely not your standard cover letter. Mine never are, and it’s a big reason why I have gotten interviews. I’m uniquely me, and it is reflected in my writing.

Man, do I miss the days where you could lie on your resume and still get a job. Now everything is Googled and Facebook stalked and assessed. Ick. It’s like you have to be legitimate. Where’s the fun in that?

If I actually get a job, it will be a flaming miracle….