March 31, 2015

Just a Quickie

This has been my life lately...
Man, it has been a while again.

You'd think I'd be able to find the time in my unemployment to visit here more often and fill these blank blogger pages with all kinds of anecdotes. Alas, no.

Well, let me explain: it's not that I don't have the time, because time is all I got here lately - I just haven't had the energy.

That's right. Unemployment, and how I got here, has hit me way harder than I anticipated, and I've been sitting around the house like a Gloomy Gladys ever since.

Sure, I've cooked a lot more, and I've actually done dishes and laundry in a timely manner, but that's honestly about it. I have all of these grand unemployment cleaning plans, but none that have come to fruition.

I have had a few good days, or better days I should say, but they are few and far between it seems. Today is one of those better days. Hence why I'm here right now. I had a few minutes to spare, so I thought I'd bang my head and my fingers on this laptop keyboard.

I'm actually doing something today! Huzzah! I had lunch with my mom a bit ago, which is always one of my favorite parts to each week, and here in a bit I am going to hang out with my sister-in-law and nephew. Luke has an early ending day today for teacher stuff, so we are going to go watch the movie "Home" - it's also the $5 movie day, so that's exciting! I haven't seen a movie in theatres since we saw "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug" in December 2013 while on vacation with my parents in Laughlin, Nevada. YIKES. Plus, I love Jim Parsons, so this could be a fun & cute movie to see.

I really, really want to make sure to try to blog more. This is an interesting time in my life (one I hope to not repeat again..), and I'd like to try to remember this journey I'm on in the future. So here's to hoping I can muster the energy and mental strength to write here more often. I feel awfully alone all day, so it would be a good escape to dive back into blog world, even if it is so much more different than when I started blogging. Hashtag Old Lady, haha!

Other than just being a ball of loneliness and sadness, I've managed to have two interviews (other than Ploughshare, which, IMAGINE THIS, never got back to me..), both of which were at the University, one of which I would really like and the other I have no idea why they even brought me in for an interview because I am in no way qualified. So it goes, I guess.

I gotta jet out of here so I can make it to my SIL's on time..

See you soon, little bloggy!


March 8, 2015

Life Update: Job and a Car Accident

Fair warning, there's about a 99% chance this post gets a little unorganized, off-track, and a little nutty. Welcome to where my brain is at this very moment.

I don't even know where to start. Hence why this is going to be all over the place. You've been warned.

It has been a rough, interesting, and I guess I'd even have to go with life-changing past couple of weeks.

I think I've alluded to the fact that my job at Longwell's hasn't been what I anticipated nor has it been going well lately. I'm not sure I'll go into here now, but the main things are these: I'm not making any money, I'm not getting bartending shifts anymore, and my job duties are slowing being taken away from me. It feels like I'm being pushed out. It has been really screwing with my brain, and I keep messing up, being forgetful, panicking, and feeling my anxiety take over. It has not been a good few weeks. And the writing has been on the wall.

So, last Sunday, I quit.

And no, I do not have another job lined up.

(Technically I still have my job with the distribution company, but that work is so sporadic that it is hard to count that as a reliable job.)

I just had enough. And so did Derek.

I've been thinking about putting in my two week's notice for a while. I've applied for four jobs (no, not enough, I know). I've even had one interview (I'll eventually get to that). Last Sunday, though, I was just so fed up, and tired of putting off the inevitable decision of no longer working at Longwell's.

No, it was not easy. At least mentally and emotionally. I cannot stress enough that I really do love Longwell's. Yes, it makes me crazy most of the time, but I have such a passion for that place. I want so badly for it to be successful and to be successful there myself. But it has not worked out for me. And that makes me feel pretty terrible.

I've cried. I've reconsidered. I've panicked. I've felt more down on myself than I have in a very long time.

But deep down, I know it is right for me to move on from Longwell's. I will miss it, and I will miss the majority of the people there. Thankfully, I hope I've made some good friends there these past few months, and I hope to keep them around for a while. (We'll see - I'm pretty bad at friends..)

It has been mere hours short of a week since I made the call to the owner (my boss) and the general manager. I cannot believe I actually did it, and all day today has been really rough for me.

I cannot believe that I quit a job without another job lined up.

I cannot believe that I actually quit in general. Let's be honest - I knew about 3.5 years before I quit my job at the University that I needed to move on - but I didn't.

It's funny (not ha ha funny..) though - it turns out that my boss was the male (and incredibly rich) version of my boss at the University. The moment I realized that about three weeks ago, I knew it was time for me to go - I could not put myself through that type of personal hell for as long as I did at the other job.

Did I really make the right decision? Only time will tell. Half of me passionately believes it was the right time and the right decision, but the other half of me passionately believes that I have lost my damn mind and will forever regret my choice. Hence why this post is flip-floppy and I probably will be a little off-kilter for a while.

Moving on from my hugely maddening decision and new life circumstance..

On February 17th, I got into a car accident. It was sort of a freak accident, I think. It was around 10:20am, and it had been snowing these large fluffy snowflakes that made me pause to admire their beauty - but it wasn't supposed to be snowing according to the forecast. The snow was really thick, but wiped right off my car. So I hopped into my little old car and made my way towards work.

A few minutes into my journey, I was decelerating and merging into the left-most lane. That's when my car started to slide. Of course I've driven in Nebraska winter's before, so I've had my fair share of sliding experiences. I attempted to correct, but I must have hit a bad patch of ice and my car went into a 360 degree spin. Seeing some parked cars up ahead, and never having done a 360 slide, I panicked and tapped my brake just ever so slightly. Then my car somehow went careening around so my car was facing south (I had originally been driving north), but my car was propelling (somehow) north.

And then BAM! I hit a tree. It's like I rear-ended the tree, but I was in drive. Yeah, I still can't wrap my head around it. Anyways, then my car bounced off the tree and propelled about 20 feet south. I narrowly missed hitting a light pole head on.
My attempt at drawing - obviously not to scale - my accident..

When I finally was slowed down enough, I drove my car onto the grassy area next to the street so I would be out of the way from others.

It took me a few moments to gather myself. I shakily took out my phone from my purse and called Derek. I managed to get out of my car after a few more minutes - I was just really scared about what I would see. The impact on the tree was so much that it knocked my keys straight out of the car's ignition and the inside part of my sun roof sprang open. In my mind, my back end was going to be smashed in completely.

To my surprise: no visible damage. It felt like I was dreaming - how could there be no damage?! Did I not really hit the tree? Did I imagine the whole thing? Obviously, no, but it was so bizarre. I walked around my car a few times in disbelief, talking on the phone with Derek. For some reason, I decided to try opening my trunk. Derek kept goading me to call the non-emergency police and report the accident, but I was in shock and didn't want to deal with it. So I think, in my mind, if there was no damage to my car and no damage to the tree (the tree was fine, btw), then I didn't need to call. I think that's why I tried to open my trunk.

My trunk opened just fine. But then it wouldn't shut. That's when I realized that my frame was totally screwed. Great.

The damage. Doesn't look that bad.....

Anyway, I called the non-emergency police number, and they said I didn't need to report anything since I was not hurt, the tree was okay, and my car was still drivable. So I got back into my poor car and drove her home.

Derek met me at home so he could drive me to work. I was pretty shaken, but felt mostly okay. My neck kind of hurt, but I wasn't concerned. Like I said - I was in shock.

I got to work and as the day progressed, my back started hurting in ways it has never hurt, as did my neck and upper arms. By the end of the day, I could hardly move.

The next morning was hell. I had slept very poorly. Every time I had moved in my sleep, I woke up with crazy pain and the inability to life up my own head because my neck hurt so bad. Needless to say, I went to the doctor as soon as they could get me an appointment.

Seven X-Rays and a prescription for hydrocodone later, I was at home again. My mom came over to check on me, and my pain never really subsided too much, but I did feel a little drunk and loopy. I was lightheaded, dizzy, and a little nauseous. The more pills I took (only 1 every 4 hours, as directed), the worse my symptoms were - more nausea, more dizzy, and I even got so itchy that I thought I was going to scratch my skin off. Finally, around midnight, I puked. Enough was enough of the hydrocodone.

So back to the doctor I went the next day. This time my mom took me. I remembered that I forgot to tell my doctor when I saw him the day before about my excruciating headaches. So he took the headaches, plus the nausea, dizziness, lightheadedness, and vomiting as a sign I could have a concussion.

Time for a non-contrast CT scan and a new prescription. And a fight with my CT scan person about taking my earrings out. (I have my tragus and rook pierced on my left ear, neither of which are easily removed. She offered to get pliers. I did not take her up on it..)

My prescription for acetaminophen with codeine doesn't make me sick, but it only works a little bit. So that's what I've been taking when necessary, though I am very nervous to take narcotic pain medicine, so I try not to take it.

It has been almost three weeks since my accident, and I still have quite a bit of back pain. My neck occasionally hurts, but not near as often or as bad as my back. My X-Rays and CT scan all came back clean. My back pain is incredibly frustrating. When I'm at home, I stay very close to my heating pad at all times. I don't know. I sure don't feel alright.

We finally found out that my poor baby car was totaled. I was devastated. I cried a few times. (Yeah, I'm a loser, okay?!) It's just that I've had that car, a 2000 Saturn SL1, since I graduated high school in 2004 (yikes). That's nearly ELEVEN years! She didn't even have 100,000 miles on her yet! She was always so reliable! She survived a deer crashing into her on the interstate! She's been my ride or die bitch through so much! And it just killed me that you could hardly tell that there was any damage to the car, so it didn't feel like she should have to be totaled.

Sad Clown Sara - selfie in my car before they towed her away for good

On Friday, February 27 (10 days after the accident), we got our new car. Okay, I won't lie, I'm in love with it! It's a 2013 Ford Fusion, and the color is Bordeaux - how fancy! We're really enjoying the new car so far, especially me because it has heated seats! Yes, I'm still sad about the old girl, but I'm doing my best to move on.

Which, I guess, is what I need to do about Longwell's - just move on. Emotionally.

Anyways, this post got real long, made more sense than I anticipated, and now I've officially screwed myself over for my last shift working at Longwell's. Oops.

Oh yeah - today, Sunday, is my last scheduled shift. Of course, it's serving. And of course, it's for a busy men's basketball game. Ugh.

(I am still doing some of the other job duties next week to transition out, but today is the last scheduled shift.)

Welp - gotta go. This was actually a little therapeutic. Excellent!

Oh - here's the new car. Ain't she a beaut?!

Not the best picture.. or parking job. New gal is a LOT bigger than my other car, so I'm still getting used to parking it.


February 10, 2015

An Escalation, As Usual

This week I'm going to do something I didn't want to have to do for a really long time.

I'm going to apply for a new job. At the University.

This may come as a surprise, and quite honestly, I'm not sure I'm okay with this whole thing, but it's something I think I need to do.

I'm still in complete awe of the journey I've been on in the past year. I think back to where I was this time last year. That was not a great place - it had a lot of crying, stress, panic, questioning decisions (oh hey, this sounds familiar), and too much Managerial Economics. But still excited about a chance to get my MBA and move up in my life. Now, I'm working full time at a restaurant in various capacities - too many - and frustrated to the hilt every day.

Right now, I serve, bartend, do admin work, do social media, and I shift manage. I sit in meetings on Tuesdays with too many people. I get yelled at and belittled. I sometimes probably deserve it. I don't get the good shifts where I make any money. I am micromanaged in a very strange way while given freedom that's not really free.

But I've made friends. I have fun with the majority of the people I work with. At the end of the day, I work in craft beer and social media, which is kind of the dream (other than working in a brewery). In some ways, I am about a million times happier than I was six months ago. In other ways, I feel the same but from a different source.

I feel like, if I give up on what I'm doing now and go get a job at the University - any 8-5 desk job, really - then I failed. And I honestly have not given this little experiment much time - about 4 months. It feels both eons longer and also like time has flown by.

Is 4 months really long enough to give a job a chance?

Am I ready to give up on a dream? Don't get me wrong - Longwell's was never the dream. But it was a step in the right direction of fulfilling that dream.

I'm not the kind of person that likes to job hop. If I apply for this job at the University and if I get the job, I don't want to keep looking for another opportunity. If that perfect brewery opportunity fell into my lap, it would be hard for me to make that leap. The leap away from security again and towards something so uncertain. I've done that. And if I quit now, then, to myself anyway, it feels like I failed. I hate failure. I hate accepting it for myself. I try to set my life up to not fail. So why would I make change just to make another change?

That's another thing. Change. I don't think I could have ever imagined the pace at which the restaurant industry goes, change-wise. The people come and go. Job duties are in no way consistent from one month to the next. As a person who balks at change, adjusting to this job and its constant state of change has been very difficult for me. I feel like I'm in a never ending state of unknowing.

And the communication! I truly never believed a group of adults could communicate worse than my previous job. Surprise! I was oh so wrong. I am continuously surprised by how horribly the people I work with now communicate. And I have no idea where to even begin to rectify it. Not that it is my job to fix it, but good gravy.

Just when I think I find a way in, when I find an ounce of respect, something changes and it feels like I fuck everything up. Here, at this job, I feel like I am constantly set up for failure. I don't need someone to hold my hand - but I do need to have an opportunity to succeed, too.

Then there is also money. Or lack of money. Derek and I had an agreement about how much money I needed to be making in order for this to still continue and be okay for us financially. In no way do I meet that. I knew it would be a struggle, and that life wouldn't be the same without a steady paycheck and relying upon tipped shifts. But the problem is this: I make such a low wage with my admin/social media role that I need those tipped shifts, but by working those tipped shifts, I lose time I could be spending being better at my admin/social media role. In essence, I work 20-25 hours a week in the admin/social media role, and the other hours are supposed to me managing hours with a few tipped shifts sprinkled in. But lately, my general manager has been there when I'm supposed to be shift managing. And the deal is, when the GM is in the building, all other shift managers are supposed to be clocked in as the $2.13/hr wage, not their designated manager wage. And since I manage on slower shifts, that means I make low tips (because there are just not tables/guests to take care of, not because I'm a bad server/bartender). One morning, I opened the restaurant on a Sunday. I had no one sit at my bar and I had no tables of guests. Only a couple of tables came in, and I had servers on the clock, so I felt beholden to them to take the tables. So I made $0 in tips. But thank goodness for my manager wage, otherwise it would have been awful. But this past Sunday, my GM was in the building for my whole shift. We were really slow and I was scheduled to serve. I took three tables and made $27.50, $2.50 of which I had to tip out to the bar. But I was making $2.13/hour, not my manager wage. That comes out to making $7.13/hour - lower than minimum wage. Talk about a rough Sunday!

I wish I worked 40 hours a week in my admin/marketing role. Then I would know I had a set amount of money I brought in each week. But then I think back to why I even have this job: to bartend. If I work 40 hours for the owner, that means no more bartending. Not that I'm scheduled to bartend much right now anyway, but still.

So I've gotten off track. And it's getting late. And I work admin/marketing and then close the bar tomorrow night - my last bartending shift for at least two weeks (boo).

This job I may apply for at the University is a great opportunity. It is in an area I would enjoy working, I think. I would get to work with students again - something I missed greatly at my last job but loved about my first University job. It's also a raise from where I was at my last job, and a managerial job, so an actual salary and more vacation and sick leave. You never really realize how amazing of a benefit paid vacation and sick leave are until you don't have them..

But if I apply for and get the job, does it kill my dream? Does it make me a failure at pursuing my dream, a failure for giving up?

Does this great opportunity outweigh my dreams? Or is my happiness more important than pursuing a dream that will probably never be a reality? Because I am definitely not happy in my job now. Once again, it isn't so much the job that is bad - it could be so great if I was trusted and had the freedom to do things like I want - but it's the people. Like, two and a half people. But they are important people that control my paycheck, my schedule, and my ability to work with craft beer. So is it better to try to fix this happiness (again) and move on? Or do I stick it out for the dream?

One thing I do know for sure: I am glad I am not at my last job still. I know with 100% of my heart and soul that leaving that job was the right decision. What I did after and what I will do next are still up in the air as to their success.

Anyways, that's all for now. Knowing me, I'll chicken out and not apply for the job. Too much anxiety. So here's to hoping I get my shit together and don't screw up this opportunity. Because whether or not I get or take the job, I think it would be wrong to not try.

Oh - on a lighter note, I chopped my hair off. Though I'm still not sure about the cut two+ weeks later, I don't regret having my long hair gone. I don't think the sides are even - one has more layers than the other - and I forgot how much longer it takes to do short hair in the morning, but overall, I'm pretty pleased with it. Here's a picture, so this post can have a picture, as unrelated as it may be to 90% of the post content ;)

Cut about 10" off - it was so layered in the front that it's easier to tell by the back that it's shorter..
Thanks for listening.. and hey - if I get a new job, I may decide to come back to blogging again... never know!



January 12, 2015

Oh, hey...

So I opened a blank blog post for the first time in months. But then I got overwhelmed with what I could say, what I should say, what I wanted to say, etc. Then I did my nails, thinking I would write a post after they dried, after I had calmed down a bit from my irritation. Now, all I can think about is how long it has been since I have written here, taken note of this ridiculous life journey that I am on right now.

Then I realized that it is after 2:00am and I should probably just go to sleep and try again another day.

Life has been interesting, to say the least, these past few months since I have posted. Some good stuff and some not so good stuff. Lots of things have changed, some for the better and some not so much.

I can really not even fathom that I am where I am in life right now, a year after I was so excited to finally start my MBA program and thought I was on my way in academics.

I do miss my own little space in the world, and I have missed writing here (or writing in general, really). I look back, and I'm a little bummed that I have not been keeping a better record of these past few months - I may need a reminder a few years from now, because it has been mostly a blur.

Anyways, that's a vague enough for now, and I most likely have an eye-roll-worthy day ahead of me, so I should probably get some sleep. At least one thing remains awesome: don't have to wake up at 6:13am!

Hopefully I'll be back sooner rather than later - at least for my future benefit. Because I sure wish I had kept better track of last year than I did..



October 2, 2014

How It Happened

Empty office, photo from Elizabeth
I only blogged once in September. Crazy!

The past month was a crazy one, and I am definitely still adjusting to this new life.

I knew after the end of June, that the end of my work at UNL was coming soon - I just didn't know how soon, or what exactly would replace it. With the beginning of the new school year in late August came a lot of changes at work, and none that were really communicated well to me. It was an utter shitshow, if I'm being honest. But I didn't care. That moment that I realized I no longer cared if I was 100% perfect or screwed everything up was the moment I knew I needed to leave the job, and fast. Out of everything I've gone through the past five years, the thing that kept me going was the students. And now? Didn't care. Sure, I wanted them to be able to eat, and not experience issues, but I didn't panic about the mistakes and rush to fix everyone's whim.

On Friday, August 29, I had had enough of the week's bullshit, and I took the day off. My boss initially told me no, because she had no idea how to cover for me in my absence. A great sign. I found someone to take over for my duties and was able to have the day off. I slept in, resting peacefully, had lunch with Derek (who took the day off, too), met Mark (K&Z supervisor), and did my first beer event - a tasting at Hy-Vee. Then we headed to Zipline after the tasting for their Nut Brown release party. It was an absolutely fantastic day!

That night, we went to Old Chicago. Derek and I talked about some things. And I think he finally realized just how unhappy I have been for about the past four years. He finally said, that night, in Old Chicago, that he trusted me and wanted the best for me - I could quit my job at UNL. We agreed that we would not panic until it had been a month without me having employment other than serving/bartending at Longwell's and the occasional K&Z event. I had a few jobs I was planning to apply for that I figured I'd have a decent chance of getting at least an interview. I was on cloud nine!

Earlier that day, we had gone to lunch at Longwell's. Kevin, my manager, was there, and he stopped me to say, "I've talked to Eric [the owner], and we have an answer for you - but we want to wait until after the first game weekend [Husker football] to talk to you about it." I honestly assumed this meant it was good news, but tried not to get my hopes up too high. I am also incredibly impatient, so this was a little flustering to me, but I waited.

That weekend ended up being one of my favorite weekends in a long time. After a great, happy, craft beer-filled Friday, the Huskers won on Saturday in delightful fashion, and then I had a great bartending shift on Sunday night. Plus Monday was a day off from the University for Labor Day, and who doesn't love a four day weekend, right? The only crappy thing was knowing I had to go back to work at UNL on Tuesday.

I decided that, even though I had Derek's "okay" to quit, that I wanted to at least hear what Kevin had to say about the Longwell's thing before actually quitting. Mostly because I knew I would get a million questions from my boss at UNL and I guess it sounds better to say "I quit because I have a new job" than "I quit because I cannot work with you any longer because it is making me a terrible person, and no I don't have anything lined up, but that's better than risking my health and well being any longer."

After some shitty events transpired that week, I made the decision that, no matter what Kevin said, I was going to put my two weeks' notice in on Friday, September 5. Derek was on board, too, which was incredibly helpful.

But then it was Thursday, September 4, and Kevin gave me the good news I was hoping for, and I told him I'd put my two weeks' notice in on Friday, making my official start date for full time at Longwell's Monday, September 22.

So I get back to work at UNL on Thursday, September 4, preparing myself for an eye-roll-worthy meeting at 2pm. That's when my boss tells me that she is going to be leaving the meeting early for a doctor appointment for her dad, and that she would not be there in the morning on Friday for a similar reason. I knew the director would be gone Friday afternoon, so I had planned to tell them in the morning on Friday that I was quitting. But now what? So around 1:45pm, I called Derek, panicking. He suggested that I just verbally tell Pam before the meeting on Thursday, and tell her that I would put my letter in on Friday morning.

I panicked and flailed around, then it settled it: I was really doing this. I was quitting my secure job.

When my boss was on her way out the door to the meeting, I stood up in my office and told her, face to face, that I was putting in my two weeks' notice. She was floored. She stared at me for a few beats, then finally said, "wow. Really?" It was one of the scarier, nerve-wracking things I've done, but the weight that lifted off my shoulders was incredible!

Now, four weeks after making one of the biggest decisions of my life, I'm just so happy! No, things are not perfect - but what job is? I'm definitely enjoying myself, and seeing some nice success in my new role. I actually decided to come to this little corner of the internet to tell you about my new job, but then when I started writing, the story of how I finally quit just came pouring out of my fingertips.

Anyways, I accidentally just stayed up too late watching Vine and not posting this, so I ought to go for now. I have a lot more to say, things I've realized, how the job is going, etc. But I'll wait and stop this post for now.

Check ya later!