Friday, January 14, 2005

Impending Sense of Doom

For several days now (maybe longer) I've had this impending sense of doom in the pit of my stomach. At first I thought it was because of the accident (can't talk about that), but now I realize it's something else, don't know what.

Hubby, out of the blue, announced today that he has an immense sense of impending doom. I took a poll of friends... they all have it.

Don't know if it's the weather, the time of year, job frustration, tax season approaching, who knows. I do know that a lot of my friends are having problems. Insurance snafus, one about to lose his job, the list goes on.

Not a part of "the impending sense of doom", but my 5 year anniversary at my company is coming up. Except for the Air Force (contractually obligated for 6 years), this will be the first time I've stayed at one company for more than 2 years. I'm looking forward to that 5 year mark because I'll be fully vested in the company, I get some money, a plaque, a free lunch, and the bonus of all bonuses... a fancy pen. Since I'm a pen freak, this really is the ultimate in cool things to get. But it is somewhat depressing that I've been doing the same thing (literally) for 5 years.

After the Air Force, I was a Marine Corps dependent spouse. We moved every 2-3 years, so having a job was sorta fun, because who cared we were moving in 2-3 years, so no real pressure. Since I have no idea what I want to be when I grow up, and since there was no lasting commitment to keep, I tried my hand at a lot of things.

My First Job:
When I graduated from high school, I figured that I would just sponge off my parents and run road races. They had other ideas and got me a job at the local Die Cutting factory. My mom started working there, then moved up to the big time factory called Johnson Controls. She made thermostats. My sister, when she graduated from high school, started at Goshen Die Cutting, then moved to Johnson Controls, before she discovered that she had every known illness in every medical journal ever written, and got disability. When my mom announced that I would be starting a job at Goshen Die Cutting, well... the future looked pretty bleak. I lasted a month gluing little rubber squares to little pieces of cardboard surrounded by Avon perfume soaked gossipy older women.

United States Air Force
Since I had no money to go to college, my only way out of Goshen was to enlist. My father convinced me that the Air Force was the way to go since they were the cushy service. He was right, and I spent 6 wonderful, drunken years doing stuff I can't talk about until I'm 95.

Married to a Marine
Upon discharge, I got married. Hubby was a Marine, so that meant I was a dependent wife, and boy were we poor, so I had to get a job.

Moving Office Furniture
To make ends meet, we'd work for an office moving company after normal working hours.

Jack's Famous Corned Beef
They had a little place within walking distance of our apartment, I went in and got hired to be a cook... even though I had no idea how to cook, let alone what Kosher was. I worked there for two weeks (coming home smelling like corned beef before changing into moving company clothes to shlepp office chairs most of the night), when they announced that the store was closing and moving into Baltimore. I declined to move with them.

Homestead AFB Exchange - Health and Beauty Aid Department
I was the queen of the health and beauty aid department. Laxatives? Aisle 2. Suppositories? Aisle 2, Sitz Bath supplies? Aisle 2. I didn't recognize that on an Air Force Base in Florida that the health and beauty aid department was the most happening place until it dawned on me that every old person is required to move to Florida, and those who are retired military would shop at the exchange. I think I lasted a few months there, and the highlight was covering for someone in the shoe department.

Homestead AFB Exchange - Gas Station
I sat in a little booth in the middle of the pumps, without a cash register, and took money, primed the pumps and got pissed off when people spent $12.75 and gave me strange combinations of money expecting $15.00 in change. I was "promoted" to the drive through beverage part, which was fun except when lazy people expected me to carry 15 cases of beer to their car. One guy, every day, would drive up and get a six pack of Old Milwaukee and pop one open as he drove off. I worked inside too, learned how to order tires and junk.

Animal Hospital
After ending up a the local VFW on the fourth of July, we met a woman named Dusty who worked at an animal hospital. When I expressed interest and gave her my phone number, I never expected to hear from her again, and was shocked when she did call and offered me a chance to interview. I was a vet tech for a while, then got burned out by the stupid pet owners.

Another Animal Hospital
Lured away by a SALARY, I went to work for a small orthopedic clinic as the front desk person and anesthesiologist (what a combo). The vet was a nutcase and had two of those Spuds Makenzie-like dogs, who me and another tech had to bathe. One one occasion we had to make them extra special for their birthday party, which was apparently a HUGE celebration, which we weren't invited to. When he expected me to also drive once a week 70 miles to another clinic for surgeries, I told him to...

Answering Service
I worked the 3pm until 11pm shift for an answering service. I'm not cut out for that, as I am completely unable to put someone on hold, which is the mainstay of answering services. We answered calls for doctors, vets, businesses, and the only cable company in the Florida Keys. The doctor calls were depressing because none of the doctors ever answered their pages, so we'd have people screaming at us (and we couldn't say "look moron, if it's that bad go to the ER). One woman called and told us to ask "my daughter drank bleach, should I be worried?" One night, the entire Florida Keys cable went out with seconds left in a football game. Oh, the names I was called.

Back to the first animal hospital
I worked the front desk and computers until we moved, but only part time. Boy do I have stories, but I'll save that for another time.

Moved to Camp LeJeune, North Carolina
Animal Hospital
Got a job working at a tiny little vet office. They were total assholes, so I quit when my "two week probation" was up and they asked me to stay.

Camp LeJeune Golf Course
The ultimate in cushy jobs, I worked in the Pro Shop, and also did all the tournament coordination, and handicap recording. AHHH, what a cool job that was. Get off work, hit the course. It paid crappy, but kept us fed, and I got "in" with all the high ranking people on the base.

Moved to Maryland, Hubby is a civilian
Consulting Place
I won't name the place since they were all a bunch of cult-like people who went into HUGE companies and taught management to "listen from the heart", and "think from the future to now". The admin people were grounded, sane and cool though, and we ate sushi out a lot. Our "retreats" would include yoga at the Ritz, and drumming and chanting at the Hilton. I was there for only a few months and got a $2,000 christmas bonus. Our Christmas party was at a swank place and the bill came to about $6,000, just for the food. I went from receptionist to Project Manager in a few months. The gravy train drove away when the owner decided that he wanted to become a shamen in Nevada, so we pretty much carried everything that wasn't nailed down into our cars.

Computer Based Training Development Company
I was hired to be a software tester and ended up doing that, Quality Control and just about everything else. A husband and wife co-owned the firm, and I would have to drive to their house and pick up stuff, while the wife breast fed in front of me (THE HORROR!). The company grew, moved to new offices (where our Christmas bonus was the company buying grotesque Ethan Allen furniture for the lobby, which we weren't allowed to sit on). Consultants started coming in, draining the money, people started leaving, and I was sick of commuting to Virginia and found a closer job and bailed.

Oh, this place was a peach. Clueless management that would read the management book of the month and make sweeping changes. As the Admin Assistant, I did everything, including going out to buy the boss a pair of pantyhose (and since she was a rather large woman, had the horrible conundrum of either buying a pair for LARGE women, or flatter her with a pair that wouldn't fit over one calf). The highlight was when management in California Fedexed a flyer for us to hang on our bulletin board that said "save money, use US Postage". Oh, there are more stories, but I'll wait.

Where I'm at now
So, here I am now. I still don't know what I want to do when I grow up, but I would like it to be doing something where I could write what I want instead of what is required in some regulation. The funniest thing I've ever gotten to write was referencing a Tactical User Requirements Document, and since in government, everything has to be an acronym... (TURD). I'd like to be able to write what I want, not have someone tell me to write something with a certain "flavor", then rewrite what I wrote when they could have just written the damn thing themselves. I am a glorified stenographer. I'll continue to be that until May when I get my pen. After that, who knows, especially with the sense of impending doom in my stomach.

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