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May, 2014

  1. 7 Reasons I Hate Work Social Events

    May 30, 2014 by Lady Unemployed

    I hate social events at work

    I didn’t think I would have anything to write about this week, because I’ve been so occupied with some things lately, I just haven’t been inspired to write on my blog(s).

    But today, someone else is leaving my department and she had been with the company 10 years, so they wanted to have everyone go to lunch in honor of her last day.

    Let me tell you this – I have never been a big fan of work social events. I can’t even remember the last time I enjoyed myself and didn’t feel awkward.

    Inspired by this event (and as a way for me to sort of vent out some frustration), I decided to compile 7 reasons I hate work social events and why these types of events make me feel uncomfortable –

    1) I never know what to talk about.

    I notice in these types of things people love to talk about after work events that have long since passed (that I haven’t gone to), travel (which I don’t have the money for), buying homes and other expensive things I also can’t afford, things they do on the weekend, and other chit-chatty grown up stuff I haven’t been able to fully embrace since reaching the “grown up” phase of my life.

    The problem is that the types of things that busy my time and my life aren’t really talked about. I love to read books and write stories and rarely do I find myself in a conversation at these things that talk about anything remotely like that stuff. I also love watching television and going to the movies and that’s not brought up either. I pay attention to the news and that is a topic avoided.

    Basically, I just don’t know what to say.

    That’s probably one of my biggest issues, but here are a few others:

    2) When I do talk, I’m not heard (literally).

    I have a quiet voice and when I’m at any work place event that has a large number of people, I am always embarassed to have to repeat myself. I hate it and it just makes me not want to speak.

    Not to mention, when I do repeat myself, it usually falls flat.

    3) I’m self conscious about how/what I’m eating.

    This is probably a result of a 5th grade teacher humiliating me once in front of the whole class during a buffet once, but I am really self conscious about my eating habitst and food choices. I also tend to eat fast, which is a terrible habit I need to drop, so I get worried when I have eaten way more than the company I’m keeping. Plus my dietary choices these days are limited, so I am picky, which leads me to usually asking embarassingly specific questions to the waiter/tress or I stick with salad.

    4) You have to socialize with people you don’t like.

    In some cases it’s possible to avoid them, but sometimes you don’t have a choice. This leads to a growing resentment of having to be near them and see everyone else appreciate their existance.

    5) They go on too long.

    Today was a luncheon and really, I only wanted to be gone longer than forty-five minutes to an hour. Instead, it went on for two hours. I didn’t know what to do that whole time. After a while, I just got tired of sitting there smiling at conversations where I didn’t know how to respond.

    6) Every self-conscious body or outfit thought comes to the front and center of my mind.

    If I go into these things wearing an outfit that I’m uncomfortable in or God help me it’s a fat day or I’m feeling EXTRA tall for some reason, those are the types of things highlighted in my mind. When that happens, everything else that has made me uncomfortable is multiplied by 10.

    7) The abnormal and out of character friendly interaction.

    My company isn’t filled with the nicest ladies and there is quite a lot of power plays and manipulation and unkind relations that go on that makes the place it a difficult place to work. So, to have to act really nice and let it all go as if I’m comfortable, is hard. It stresses me out and I can’t relax.

    For now, this is pretty exhaustive of why I am uncomfortable at work social events. Am I the only one out there that cringes or hides or gets suddenly sick whenever these events come around?


  2. Job Hunting is Expensive by Ed Tsyitee Jr. (Twitter @GreenChileAdict)

    May 21, 2014 by Lady Unemployed

    I couldn’t wait to post this, because this expresses a tragic truth of the job search. It’s expensive and you are dug into a hole very difficult to get out of. Thank you to guest writer and fellow Twitter peep, Ed Tsyitee Jr. @GreenChileAdict.

    job hunting is expensive
    Here is the cold hard truth that career advisers and coaches will never tell you-job hunting is expensive.

    I’m tired of hearing of all the free services that’s available to you when you job hunt. Non-profits that offer resume writing, or free career counseling services at the local Workforce Solutions Center (the unemployment office). I know that.

    But, job hunting is expensive.

    While I sit here-unemployed-looking for a job, scouring the internet, reading my e-mail alerts, doing research on companies, my bills are piling up.

    Rent is past due. Hello eviction notice.

    Utilities are past due.

    Cable/internet is off. Not that big of a deal-there is the library with their open unsecured internet service.

    What about professional clothes for interviews? Have you ever shopped thrift stores for interview clothes that didn’t scream “Boogie Nights”?

    Here’s the worst of it. The phone is off. There is no way to contact me other than e-mail.

    Sure, I can apply for a survival job. Bring in money. But guess what? That takes at least 30 days from date of hire to first paycheck. Should I suspend the job search for 30 days? What if there is THE job I’ve been looking for?

    Yeah, job hunting is expensive.

    And when things get expensive, you stop doing them.

    No wonder so many people give up looking and take whatever is available.


  3. Healthy Dose of Reality for College Grads

    May 19, 2014 by Lady Unemployed

    For anyone struggling with finding a job after college, this photo is for you. It’s a healthy reality for college grads and one I struggle with (there should be another lane for “unable to find a well-paying, lucrative job”).

    healthy dose of reality for college grads

    Happy “pour-yourself-another-cup-of-coffee” Monday everyone.


  4. Frustrations of a Job Seeker by Ed Tsyitee Jr (Twitter @GreenChileAdict)

    May 17, 2014 by Lady Unemployed

    Thank you to Ed Tsyitee Jr. who shared his story today about frustrations of a job seeker. Make sure you follow him on Twitter @GreenChileAdict

    frustrations of a job seeker

    Via Flickr User Pipstar

     

    After living in Virginia for 12 years, I moved back to Las Cruces, New Mexico in 2006.

    I ended up working for Wal-Mart that year. With a Bachelor’s Degree. How much above minimum wage did I get for that? 10 cents. Yup.

    You see, I live in a city where job opportunity means “Hey-at least McDonald’s offered you a job, so why are you complaining?”

    The service sector dominates this job market.

    You want to work in a call center? No problem! We have at least 6 to choose from!

    You want to work in retail? Hey! We got you covered! We have 3 Wal-Marts now! Ooo! And a Sam’s Club!

    Strange enough, New Mexico State University is here. You would think there would be a more diverse job market here for a city with a population of over 100k. But, there really isn’t.

    Just a lot of promise, like the Spaceport will bring jobs here. Or the Army base will bring in jobs (read: service sector jobs). Or the industrial park 45 minutes from here will bring in jobs.

    UGH.

    I just completed my Masters in Human Resource Management program this year. When people ask where I’m looking for work they seem surprised when I answer, “Oh, you know, Arizona Nevada, the Pacific Northwest.” You mean you aren’t looking here in New Mexico?

    Do I really have too?

    I just sent an application to the State of New Mexico for an HR job. It’s a longshot, but at least I’m trying to stay positive.

    I’ll let you know how it goes.

     


  5. Can Ugly Competition At Work Kill the Office Environment?

    May 16, 2014 by Lady Unemployed

    This may be a strange post coming from me, especially because I am a big believer in a healthy dose of competition. In fact, I think it can improve your skills, increase your stamina, and motivate you to do better.

    competition at work

    But today I am wondering if healthy competition at work can turn ugly in the wrong work environment?

    I ask because a (newly discovered) disgruntled coworker got competitive with me over something I had been handling pretty much independently. I have no trouble working with someone but it took me by surprise to see her hand in it (and not exactly in a nice way).

    It reminded me a little bit of when I first started this job and I had trouble with my difficult coworker. I sort of got in her work territory a bit in order to compete for attention. Not to be mean, but mostly because I wasn’t getting recognized and to get that, I assumed I had to really be aggressive.

    I’m seeing it play out again with this disgruntled coworker, even though I’m not nearly as critical towards others as my difficult coworker was with me (and continues to be with everyone else).

    So, with difficult work environments where criticisms far outweigh the kudos, you generate a competitive atmosphere which leads to frayed and awkward work relations which results in zero comraderie between employees and creates an uptight, phony and possibly angry atmosphere.

    And they wonder why we have such high turnover.


  6. Getting Laid Off (And A Podcast You Should Check Out)

    May 15, 2014 by Lady Unemployed

    My most favorite part of this blog is hearing unemployment stories from people and today I got a mention from a very cool podcast called, “20 Something Roast.” It focuses a lot on careers and how to make it in the real world (or what I fondly like to call – the long semester we’ve been preparing for).

    The host, Swim, not only mentions me, but also talks about his experiences with getting laid off from his sales job and exactly how it felt.

    I highly recommend it because you get to actually hear him describe the feelings of losing his job and talk about the aftermath.

    My favorite line is: “You are much more than what the company you work for labels you as.”

    Exactly!

    This podcast will inspire you and I am so thankful he mentioned my blog.

    Check out the podcast that mentioned me here and make sure to listen to the others!


  7. Can You Find Happiness at Work?

    May 14, 2014 by Lady Unemployed

    happiness at work

    Today while doing my usual work activities, under headphones I listened to a documentary I had playing in the background of my work screens. The documentary was about happiness, entitled Happiness Is and I highly recommend it).

    This made me think about my happiest work experiences (among other facets of my life where I’ve been happy or unhappy, but mostly I wanted to talk about my work experiences since this is an employment/unemployment blog). And I thought about when I was the happiest at work.

    There are a few things that make me happy at work and it isn’t exactly a fancy title and a corner office with a six figure salary. Realistically speaking, I’m not even sure I’m willing to give over of myself to any company to earn a position quite like that, but I do have to work to pay the bills and that does mean that I will probably be spending the majority of my days at work.

    I’m not happy where I work right now, but I know I have been and can be happy while I’m working.

    So here’s a few things that have made me happy at work (of course, nostalgia can give you rose-colored glasses about the past; I know I haven’t been entirely happy everywhere I work, but I would say there are elements that have made me enjoy work and even laugh at work, which is not an aspect for me right now).

    1) Connection with coworkers.

    I remember I worked as an admin for a cell phone company once and I really enjoyed some of my interactions there. I ended up walking off the job and looking back, I think the trigger point for me to eventually leave was how isolated I became from everyone towards the end. I had developed coworker friends in the office, but they didn’t last and it got to be impossible for me to rebuild any new ones.

    But I can remember vividly early on being in the lunch room of this company, actually enjoying my lunch hour, and laughing a lot with some of my coworkers. Sometimes we would laugh about customers we each would talk to, other times it was about our personal lives, and it got to be a time during the day I enjoyed the most.

    Things changed of course, but looking back, I realize I enjoy interacting with coworkers and laughing and being on an even playing field instead of feeling an ugly sense of competition with them.

    2) Variety of job duties and responsibilities.

    My first job out of high school, I got promoted twice inside of about one year. Plus, I even got to change around desks and connect with new and different people in the company. It wasn’t a great place to work, but I loved the variety of challenges and opportunity.

    Right now I feel stuck where I work, and promotions are few and far between for anyone here. I realize now that I like having the opportunity to take on new responsibility and change around my day a bit. I like variety and having a monotonous work schedule depresses me.

    3) Shorter commute.

    I spend about nine to ten hours a week on my commute (the morning commute lasts about 45 minutes, the afternoon can take up to an hour). This is the first time I haven’t been twenty minutes from home. My first job out of high school was a ten minute drive from home, my first job out of college was about a twenty minute drive from home. My admin job in between college was about twenty minutes from home.

    For me, whether I’m driving or taking public transportation, a commute means stress. And I don’t like 10 extra hours of stress when I’m already taking 40 plus hours a week of stress at work. Plus, I associate my commute with work and right now, commute included, I work about 55 hours a week (10 of which, aren’t paid, of course).

    So, to summarize – connection, variety, and short commute may just be the key to me finding happiness at work. Sure, every job has a downside. But the down side should definitely be outweighed by the good.

    Have you found happiness at work? What makes you the happiest?


  8. The View from Below (What Management Looks Like)

    May 9, 2014 by Lady Unemployed

    My mom found this photo online tonight and I just had to share it with you.

    I don’t know about you, but I would say this is pretty accurate:


    With that, have a wonderful weekend and I know I will have more to say on Monday.


  9. Working at a Company with High Turnover

    May 7, 2014 by Lady Unemployed

    high turnover

    Ladies and Gentleman, time for me to eat something called humble pie.

    So, recently, there has been a lot of high turnover and increase in the number of people leaving the company, specifically my department, and finally, human resources taken notice. A few people have been randomly selected to discuss why they think people leave and some ideas to throw around.

    Well, a new employee (who got promoted in 6 months) went to this meeting and I decided to ask her about it. Apparently human resources described how other departments use minute-by-minute schedules for the first few days of someone’s employment and even take them out to lunch their first day. She also said that me and a recently departed coworker (who started when I did) never gave her the impression it was okay to ask questions. That the vibe she got was, “Here’s your desk, good luck!”

    Perspective is a funny thing and hindsight is always 20/20. I stand by my initial unhappiness at this job and my feelings of desperate exasperation at how I was harshly criticized with very little room for mistakes. Now I don’t have nearly as much “disgruntled” feelings, as you probably notice by now with my dwindling job-complaint centered posts.

    But this problem described to me is an interesting one. If I remember my first day correctly, I was basically sat down at a desk to get “acclimated” to my new email inbox and to read over material handed out to me by human resources. No one took me out to lunch (which I was glad for; I hate socializing like that my first day) and aside from the initial tour, there wasn’t too much interaction to the day in general.

    And in all honesty, the position I hold at my company for which my newbie coworker felt the need for their to be minute-by-minute training for, is not a complicated one. It’s mostly data entry and aside from very situation specific weird things that can happen with a file you’re dealing with, it’s sort of primarily learn as you go. At least, that’s how I viewed it.

    But I know she’s not the only one unhappy as quite a few people have left over the two years I’ve been here. My recently departed coworker, who was hired a couple of months after me, was disgruntled not because of lack of training, but the way he was told about mistakes and the lack of any variety to job duties. That’s what he told me.

    As for other recently departed coworkers, I can only guess – I’ve overheard people mention money as the reason someone has left and another person explained it was training (however I was mostly suspicious that she just was bored) and another girl left within a month because she was just bored.

    I have to be honest that the main reason I have stayed is because I need a stable job right now. I can make this place work despite my complaints. I can’t leave this job to go to another, only to see I can’t make the other place work. Plus, I don’t have a lot of long term employment places, and staying two years somewhere, will look VERY good on my resume.

    But why will I leave?

    I’m bored crazy.

    But I’ve learned through this place, and maybe it’s a lesson that I should pass along, is that you need to speak up at work. No one can read your mind. I remember asking this newbie employee if she was doing okay many times and she always said yes. If she was confused, why didn’t she say, no?

    There have been a lot of moments at work I look back on where I realize I could have bettered my situation a lot if I had just spoken up instead of struggling to cope. Although if I do remember correctly, I ended up getting in trouble for complaining too much about someone and how I should just let it go (cue Frozen theme). And with that in mind, I’m sure my difficult coworker who I ranted about constantly last year would have given me a simple answer like that too.

    So maybe unhappiness at work never has an easy answer and maybe it isn’t just one problem.


  10. My Ode to the Delayed Extension of Long-Term Unemployment Benefits

    May 6, 2014 by Lady Unemployed

    Is it just me or does anyone else hear crickets in terms of the extension of long-term unemployment benefits?

    Nope, didn’t think it was just me.

    And it seems to me, that it’s highly unlikely that extension will ever happen if it’s gone on this long.

    So, here’s my ode to the delay in extending long-term unemployment benefits: