And Then, Life Got Awesome For A While

So, I’ve apparently arrived safely in the Real World.

I’m a little afraid to jinx myself because I’m just overwhelmingly content with how things are going right now, but I am so I’m gonna tell ya about it. Very early in 2013, shortly after I made a promise to leave 2012 in the dust and never discuss it again, something incredible happened: the NHL and the NHLPA struck a deal and saved my hockey season. This sounds pretty trivial, but it’s not. This deal kicked my first few months of post-college-real-world-life into high gear (assuming there’s a scale ranging from low to high, judging excitement and pace of life).

Back track with me real quick. I honestly don’t remember if I even mentioned this, but sometime last fall when I was hopeless and was pretty sure I was going to be forced to go to grad school against my will or face a life of failure and return to my job at the tanning salon, I applied, as a last ditch effort to procure a future, for an internship in the NHL Tech Ops Center (TOC) which is located in my building at work and run by my supervisors and managers. Let me be clear. I’m pretty sure I was not qualified for this position at all. I call support for basically every technical problem I have. I am a regular Genius Bar attendee. I was pretty positive no one was going to allow me to troubleshoot things related to the NHL situation room in Toronto. But I guess I made an impression or my degree in communications is worth something or whatever, because I got the internship pending the start of the NHL season.

Fast forward back to now. This internship was the best thing I ever decided to do out of desperation and maybe ever period. The TOC stuff is so challenging and fast and really frustrating and awesome. I’ve learned so much and if nothing else, it’s a brand new skill set for my resume and I basically watch Hockey for a living. I also really like the people I’m working with so going to work every night, usually for no pay, doesn’t make me want to die inside. This is all very new to me. I was a little bummed when I was passed over for the full time position that recently became available but I was also crazy thankful that I was even considered since I’ve only been working there a few months.

I always pictured myself as having to struggle to accept rejection in the work place cause I’m not so great with it in regular life. I’m very used to getting what I want. However, when my boss told me that I didn’t get the position (which was news to me since I hadn’t even realized my name was in the pool for people to be promoted) there was no holding back of tears necessary. I was genuinely just thankful that I’m valued enough to be thought of in any management capacity so quickly. I understood why they promoted the person they did and I was happy for her. (I know right. What?! Who even am I?!) I’ve worked most of my life in retail for minimum wage. Feeling like I matter and that people realize I’m pretty smart and capable is basically the best feeling ever bar none. A couple weeks before I graduated a professor who I really trust told me I should stay at this company as long as I can and try and make it work because he really sees it going someplace and to get in on the ground floor would be a really smart move on my part. I love this. I love that I’m happy there and that it has potential and I’m working my ass off and people are noticing and it is what it is, but it’s so great for now and so great for a first year’s experience in the real world. It’s still  a very new company in a lot of ways and constantly changing but I’m going to do my best to stick it out for a while cause ya never know, right?

To say I’ve thrown myself into work since starting my internship is a bit of an understatement. When I’m not interning, I work on a special NHL project in the company (which, if you’re keeping track, allows me to list ‘NHL’ on my resume two separate times in multiple positions less than ten weeks out of college. Thank you, Relevant Work Experience/Hockey Gods) that only a few editors get to be a part of and is pretty awesome. But I’m basically there every night from between 11AM and 3PM to between 10PM and 1AM. I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen my friends. I’m alright with this though. I can remember saying on record a lot before I graduated that I’d work whatever hours I had to if it meant I had a job with potential that I liked and that seems to be the pile I’ve accidentally stepped into. I work crazy hours and have basically kissed my social life goodbye until the Stanley Cup Finals in June and I’m so, so okay with it because I really, really like what I do. How many people get to say that two months after they graduate? Probably not many is my informed guess. (Eternal Optimism prevails!)

I’m not seeing/dating anyone despite my aunts’ best efforts, mostly because I don’t have time to, which is a legitimate reason for the first time in my life. I really liked pretending I was crazy busy when I was still in college. Now I really know the meaning of the word. I go full days without seeing my family because we often keep opposite hours. It’s totally cool though, because I have an awesome job that I’m kicking ass at and I’m really great. (I don’t know if anyone’s caught on to that yet. Let me say it again. I really like my job a lot.)

Also, I promise I’m not trying to be one of those people who say they’re overly optimistic and content with their life to keep up with appearances on the internet. I really, really am this happy and, sorry not sorry, I kind of feel like I deserve it a little after the cluster fuck of a year I had. Blam.

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I Feel Okay About My Life These Days: My New Job and My Level Head

When I started off this blog a few months ago, I intended to primarily discuss my final few months of school and my anxiety about entering the real grownup world. Obviously, it’s turned into something else entirely. Let’s catch up:

Mid-September, I got a new job editing live sports so I was able to finally quit my crappy customer service job that was, I think, actually rotting my brain. I’d mentioned this, I’m sure, but I never really talked about it beyond the fact that I’d gotten the job. The day I was hired, my grandma passed away and that kind of, obviously, overshadowed my new-job excitement.

Every Friday morning, I wake up at 5AM and drive to work to edit and publish hockey highlights from the previous night’s games before 10AM. If we’ve ever met, you’d assume that this would make me miserable. The world is cold and dark at 5AM. Nothing good can happen that early in the morning. Except I love every second of it. Well, maybe not LOVE every second, I’d certainly prefer that it would happen at a normal hour of the day, but I still have no complaints about doing it. Actually, this isn’t an assigned thing. They asked for people to volunteer. And I did, even knowing what time it was.

I also primarily work nights and weekends, but still, I have nothing bad to say.

This fact alone should tell you enough. I love what I’m doing.

But, wait! There’s more!

Some Backstory: Last December, I turned 21. I don’t really make a big deal out of birthdays but I was pretty excited about this one. That morning, at around 7:30AM, my boss – the manager of the store I worked in – called me and told me an employee had called in sick. Although I had requested off more than 2 weeks in advance, I’d have to come in that afternoon and the following morning because this girl had “the flu”. (She stopped showing up for work entirely 2 weeks later. I suspect she wasn’t actually sick..). I spent my 21st birthday at work, in a tanning salon. I spent the next morning there as well.

This December, I turn 22 (obviously). This birthday is not a big deal at all, except my 22nd birthday also happens to be the very day that I officially finish college. I’m not participating in a graduation ceremony until May because I wanted to graduate with my friends, but my end-of-schooling is December 20. On December 21, I’m going to see Dave Matthews Band for the very first time and I honestly couldn’t be more excited or ask for any more. But, I figured I deserve to celebrate a little and I could use a drink at the end of this semester so I’ve planned a bar outing for whichever friends want to join me the night of the 20th. I realized after making plans that on Friday mornings, I have work at 6AM. I sent out an email to the other editors asking if anyone would mind switching early shifts with me that week because my college graduation and 22nd birthday happened to coincide. Not only were multiple people willing to switch with me, they were all also willing to simply relieve me of the shift and all had well wishes for my birthday and commencement- most of these guys I’ve never even actually met due to the size of the editing staff.

I was so touched by this. I thought “this is the kind of place I want to work”. These people, most of whom don’t even know me, are willing to simply do me a favor. Sure, they’re getting paid. But they’re also waking up super early in the morning. This isn’t an easy shift to give away. Last year, I was in a place where not only would my manager of 2 years not do me a favor, but stuck me to cover for some asshole ,who was hired against my advice and clearly was incapable of effectively doing her job, on my 21st birthday because it was her day off.

I’m so happy here at this new job and so excited to get to know more of the people I work with. I really, really like what I’m doing and hopefully there will be room for me to grow a little at this company. One of my professors suggested I stay there a while and see how it goes because he sees it being a big company in a few years. That’s really exciting and it’s done a lot to ease my tension about my life post-grad, which quickly approaches.

This matters so much more to me than all the other bullshit going on in my life the last 6 months. My grandparents would be so excited to see my career moving in a positive direction so soon. My grandma, specifically, urged me constantly to find a job that I liked that challenged me and I finally have. She’d be so happy and I’m so happy to know I’m where she’d want me to be.

Friends and relatives keep offering to “set me up” with different guys, but I find that I’m not all that interested lately. A change in priorities is exactly what I needed, it seems. I’m so level headed and focused lately and not really in the mood to get back on that roller coaster anytime soon. Things happen when they’re supposed to. I mean, today I paid all my bills on time and still had money in my bank account. I can put gas in my car AND go out for my best friend’s birthday this weekend. Then, I ran my first ever backup of my primary hard drive. I’m going to the gym 3 times a week. I’ve never felt more like an adult. The stars are aligning. I really feel like things are coming together and I’m so excited.

Making Inconsequential Small Talk Is Slowly Killing Me

I’ve chosen a life and career firmly based on my ability to network and thus, my bullshitting skills are almost unparalleled. Despite my overwhelming awkwardness, I can chat somebody up as good as anyone. I can talk current events, pop culture, weather, sports, literature, movies, tv and never politics or religion (I know the rules). I’m good at what I do.

In a non-professional setting, I hate small talk. I hate approaching people almost as much as I hate when people feel the need to fill a silence that simply doesn’t need to be filled. This is probably part of why I don’t smoke; bumming a cigarette of a stranger is one less random social encounter I’ll ever have to deal with. I don’t want to talk to cab drivers. I wish the nail salon ladies never spoke to me and especially never asked me what the tattoo on my foot means. Unless you are a very cute dude or my genuine friend or you are paying me a brief compliment, I have no interest in speaking to you in any scenario including but not limited to at the gym, in an elevator, in any line of any sort, at a concert, if you’re my waiter, when I’m eating, when I’m with anyone who I know/like more than you, or on a train. The only exceptions to this rule are at any live sporting event, but only in relation to sports, when asking for directions and/or help, but really, you have google on your phone too, and sometimes at a bar after I’ve had a few drinks and even then, I’d still prefer only my friends and cute dudes spoke to me. But, DO NOT ever come up to me in a loud bar and expect to strike up a conversation.  I will not scream over a DJ for you, random stranger (unless you’re a cute dude). Silence is an ok thing. It’s alright for it to exist in the world. Try not saying anything. I promise. It’s not so bad.

Still, I am a very friendly and polite person. I will never, ever blatantly ignore someone because, despite all of these feelings, I still have the crippling desire to be well liked by strangers. I truly appreciate when people who work in customer service are friendly. I’ve been there. I know you’re only trying to do your job well by talking to me. For this reason, I’m a great tipper. If you speak to me, I will converse with you, but you should be aware that I’m dying on the inside.

My least favorite kind of small talk, though, even more so than talking to strangers, is when I have to talk to people who aren’t strangers but also aren’t friends or co-workers. The acquaintance small talk is the absolute worst.

If we haven’t seen each other in months, there’s probably a reason for it. I do a pretty good job of making time for people I actually want to see with very few exceptions. There are some people who my schedule just doesn’t allow me to make time for. My friend Deb, for example. She is an absolute doll and one of my favorite people at Hofstra but we’re both really busy and it just never seems to come together for us. But she is the exception, not the rule. For this reason, there’s absolutely no need for you to tell me that “we HAVE to get dinner soon!” when I run into you. No, we don’t and you don’t need to say that. A simple “how’s everything? good to see you!” would suffice just fine. You’re just forcing me to make an equally phony reply and then where are we? Awkwardsville, that’s where. Additionally, if you keep pressuring me to come out with you and I keep having a reason not to, I suggest you stop trying. I genuinely do have a lot on my plate these days so there’s the chance that I might have actual reasons not to come, but the chances are, and I’m being honest, I just don’t want to go. I value my free time more than almost anything and I already see a lot less of my actual friends than I would like to, so I don’t want to spend the evening fulfilling friendly obligations when I can instead be asleep or super drunk with the people I love most in the world.

The awkward run-in small talk is something that can’t really be avoided, though. I’ll admit that. The real absolute worst is getting a text from a person who seemingly has no reason to text you, but does anyway. We have not spoken in weeks. I’m pretty sure you have literally hundreds of other people you could bullshit last night’s hockey game with. I either need you to get to the point of why you’re texting me or stop. It’s confusing. We could be actual friends who like, watch hockey games together and then talk about them. That’d be okay. But this weird thing where we’re in some kind of friendship limbo where you just text me sporadically is not going to fly.

A random text, no matter what it says, sends the message of “hey, I was thinking of you and want to talk to you but I don’t have a real reason to cite so I’m inventing one” OR “I want/need something from you but I can’t just cut to the chase”. I KNOW THIS. Wanna know how? I’ve done this. More than once. Everyone has, whether they admit it or not. More often than I care to say, in my younger days, I would text my then ex-boyfriend-away-at-college about some RANDOM ASS THING just to make sure he didn’t forget I was alive. That would lead to a few hours, maybe days, of texting and probably an additional 2 years of us dragging out our bizarro love affair much, much longer than it needed to go on. Also, there is no comfortable way to ask someone for a favor. Easing into it seems like the natural course of action. I know. I have been there.

But ya know what? I don’t do that now! Because it’s awful and I hate when people do it to me. Either 1. Figure out why it is that you actually want to talk to me so badly and say that or 2. Get to the point. If you can do neither of those things, don’t bother. It should be a simple part of texting etiquette, much like how “ok” is very different from “ok.”. (Watch your period use, people!)

My rule of thumb is that if you’re not someone I will wish happy birthday to directly (by text or in person. I never make birthday phone calls except to children. I feel like I have to then sing and no one wants that), you’re not someone who needs to feel obligated to randomly text me and keep alive any form of relationship and the opposite should be true. You can send me a friendly email every few months if you’re simply trying not to burn bridges. The formality of email makes that a lot less awkward for me. Unless you actually have some secret motive for our communications, and then, for the love of all that is holy, figure your shit out and come clean.  We will all live happier lives because of it.

 

(If you felt like this rant had some weird, directed, subtext, you weren’t wrong)

I Won’t Ask my Boss Where the Bathroom is and Other Idiosyncrasies

So, in the emotional chaos that has been the last few weeks, it may have been lost in the shuffle that I’ve begun a new internship and a new job. Anything would’ve been an improvement from my old job so obviously I’m in the clouds over working on sports. Mostly it’s nights and weekends so it works with my school schedule really well and I’m totally used to not having a life anyway. I’ve spent two weeks at my internship and I really like it so far. But, on Mondays, I go straight from class to the office and I leave the office and go directly back to class. What this means practically is I no longer have the opportunity to go home to take care of business. Business, in this case, includes eating lunch and using the bathroom.

I arrived on Monday afternoon almost 20 minutes early. I’m conflicted whether it’s acceptable to be that early for an internship because what I do is dependent on what my boss assigns and explains to me and if I’m 20 minutes early, I could be cutting his lunch short or something equally awful. So, I sat in my car for five minutes and then, despite using the bathroom before I left campus, I realized I had to pee again. So did I do what a normal person would do and go inside and ask someone in the office where the bathroom is? No. Of course not. I wandered the hallways of the office building until I found a public bathroom, praying I didn’t run into anyone from my office because I know almost no one’s name. I’m still unsure if there is one in the actual vicinity of the office, but I’m leaning towards no. Had I not had to use the bathroom today, my strategy would’ve typically been to observe people in the office until I was confident enough that I knew where the bathroom was and then pretend as if I knew all along. Today, I noticed people going in and out of the office a lot for no apparent reason, so I surmise that the bathroom is, in fact, the bathroom in the hallway.

Does all this seem odd to you? That’s because it is. But, it’s only the beginning of weird things I do very differently than most normal people, I’ve come to realize.

I mentioned earlier that if I were more than fifteen minutes late for class, unless it was a three hour class, I just won’t go. To be clear, three hour classes at Hofstra are classes that occur only once a week. Most of them only allow one or two absences a semester since once class equates to a full week of learning time. Basically, I can’t really afford to miss a three hour class unless I’m bleeding from my eyeballs or something. Most upper level Film courses, especially of the practical nature, are three hour courses. But take, for example, a Psychology class – Psychology being my minor. They are typically 45 minutes to an hour and a half and occur two or three times a week. They are also typically huge classes, like, full lecture halls, because Psych is so popular. I will not EVER walk into one of those classes more than 15 minutes late.

1. If I am 15 minutes late to a 45 minute class, I’ve already missed a third of the class. Walking in now would just insult the professor.
2. Everyone is going to turn and look at me and presumably judge me. There is no valid reason to be that late for class and if there was, parking certainly wouldn’t be one of them.

I’m not kidding. I will not go to that class. My paralyzing fear of unwanted attention will justify me sitting in my car for the remaining hour and fifteen minutes of that class, or if it was my only class for the day, driving all the way home. Thanks, Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Super cool of you to waste my gas and time. It’s probably not a shock to any normal person that most people wouldn’t think twice about walking in and taking a seat, not for a second worrying about anyone staring at them. Well, I do. This extends to walking into crowded bars alone. Won’t happen ever. My friends went out earlier than I got out of work? Oh, ok. See ya next weekend guys – unless I can wrangle someone to escort me inside I will not be coming. But, I will gladly stand in front of a room and strangers and read something I’ve written with virtually no fear at all. How do I reconcile that? I can’t. Nothing I do makes sense.

In addition to not asking where the bathroom is, I generally just have trouble asking for help or for people to clarify things for me. Again, probably for fear of being judged. If I don’t know how to do something on an editing platform, I’ll click around and google help until I figure it out. Normally, this makes a lot more work for myself and I devise really backwards ways of doing things. If I just asked them how to do it, they’d be happy to show me and I’d really learn. But, then I’d also be inadequate.

I will not allow my boss to buy me lunch or coffee. He offers constantly, but because I feel awkward accepting, I eat alone in my car before I go to my internship and never eat with the other people in the office. This I know is probably detrimental to me, but I won’t change. Additionally, there is a small kitchen which I’ve never even been in that apparently has coffee and water and snacks but I will likely never take anything. If there is a bathroom in the office, this is where it is. But, I don’t think there is. Someone please explain to me why I’m so weird.

Between the buildings where my new job is and where my internship is, there is a deli. It will likely take me weeks to go in there for dinner between jobs or lunch before work out of fear of running into someone from the job I’m not at. Why? I don’t know. They’re all very nice people. There’s no reason for me to be afraid of them.

This is only the beginning. I’m truly an oddity.

When you make less money than you spend

Short post because it’s been a long and exhausting weekend but this has been bugging me since Friday.

As I understand it, not having a big enough income is a common problem. Nationwide, maybe even. In fact, it may be the very reason credit cards and credit debt exist. But who am I to make such grand assumptions about economy-related-things? I know nothing.

This week my paycheck was for exactly 80 cents less than I needed to cover just my basic expenditures for the week. These basic expenditures include gas to get to and from school/work/internships and anywhere else I may need to go, which sometimes includes the hospital to visit my grandma and the mall to exacerbate my depression over having no money and loving pretty clothes. They also include my credit card payment, which I make weekly in order to keep my debt at bay while still maintaining some form of personal credit and finally, paying Jess back the $130 I owe her from while we were in Dublin and she put our hotel on her credit card. To give you an insight on how little money I make, it’s taken me three weeks to save up $130 while not entirely draining my bank account. So when I say I have no money, I literally have no money. I cannot even buy a cup of coffee let alone pay the cover for 3 bars in a night, friends. My net worth is way in the negative these days. Stop bothering me about how infrequently I come out. You bitches are expensive to keep up with.

Also, because technically I made -$.80 this week, I can’t go shopping or buy ANYTHING. This is terrible if you’re me. Retail therapy is all that works. I love having nice things so, so much.

As I’ve mentioned, in the past few weeks I’ve become absolutely obsessed with keeping track of my spending and not overdrawing my checking account. But, what happens when there is literally just not enough money coming in to cover even the basics? You ask mom and dad, that’s what. But in real life, where I intend to be in three months, I want to rely on my wonderful, unfailing, constantly reliable safety net as infrequently as possible. So, making not enough money makes me feel pretty disgusting. And I know, money can’t buy happiness and all that jazz. I know. But, I just want to be independent and I think that’s a pretty good thing to want to be as a person and money is kind of the key to that these days. I hate the idea of having to rely on my parents for gas money or even worse, money to go out on the weekends. Those, I feel, are things they shouldn’t have to pay for anymore. I also feel after working for six years of my life, I should have something more to show for it, but hey. Thems the breaks I guess. And, just putting this out there, I don’t know how people -girls specifically- live with themselves if they allow their boyfriends to pay for things. I don’t mean like dinner or a movie or whatever it is that couples do – but paying for their bills or clothes or tangible things of that sort which boyfriends have no business paying for. Gifts occasionally are nice but how do you let yourself be entirely reliant on another person who may or may not be gone tomorrow? I don’t understand it. Maybe you can explain it to me. But maybe better off, just accept that I’m probably right and if you’re doing it, stop it. I don’t even feel entirely comfortable letting men buy me a drink at a bar (unless you’re my friend and I know you’re not trying any funny business. Then, I will take all of the free drinks, gentlemen). I don’t want to owe anyone anything. Why do you let some man put gas in your car? Questions that will never have answers.

I don’t have much else to say about this other than it sucks a lot and I am literally begging for positive thoughts for my job interview tomorrow because I firmly believe it will be the solution to all of my financial problems, at least for a while.