Love in an Elevator

Job Agencies Part III

It’s a good thing I didn’t go to more than three job agencies since I don’t know Roman Numerals past three.

Yesterday I had an appointment with the local agency only 15 minutes away from my house so I didn’t have to get ready as early. I did pick a different shirt and a different necklace this time. Mix it up a little!

The only part I worried about was parking. It’s located in the old part of town, which means limited parking options. I haven’t parallel parked since my driving test back in 1991. To say I’m rusty is an understatement. So I leave about 45 minutes early.

I’m there in 15 minutes, which also gets me to the office a half an hour early. That is way too early for me! But that’s okay since I still need to find the office. First: Parking.

Even though parking is free, there are time limits. On the street it’s an hour and on some side streets, 30 minutes. I’m already 30 minutes early and I have no idea how long it will take so I find a three hour parking lot and park there. Of course I still need to walk and find the place.

Luckily, it’s a mild day (like 45 degrees…a heatwave!) so I’m not walking around the town freezing my ass off. I hold up my phone and use the “walking” option of my GPS. I follow where it tells me but I can’t find it anywhere. I pass a fire station (where I’m paranoid the trucks are going to come screaming out, sirens flashing and run me over) and pass detentions centers, sheriff’s offices and all kinds of fun places and then back to where my car is parked. Yikes. I’ve now walked in a circle. Great. I can even get lost walking!

I try again. I feel like the people smoking on the corner have already seen me once before and are now laughing at me. Where is Andy Griffith when you need him? I would even take Barney at this point. I look at my phone and start walking again. If I had a map, I could get in it, but I only have a phone and stepping on it might break it. I finally decide maybe I need to cross a road. Yes, now I’m thinking outside the box! Go me!

I cross the road and start paying attention to the addresses since my GPS swears I’m right there. There’s just no signs with the agencies name on it. I finally find the correct street address but the only signs are for a credit counseling service and a campaign headquarters. Since I’m desperate at this point (yet still early), I open the door. It creaks open to this huge space that leads to a tall staircase and I realize it’s an old historical building that was probably once a spacious townhouse, but is now offices. The suite number I need starts with a three, so I have to walk up three stories. In one day, I go from elevator’s to old creaking staircases. The railings are short because apparently people used to be shorter and it takes getting used to.

After all the walking I did around town and after climbing up three sets of steps, I’m out of breath by the time I find the office. At least I got a workout in! The office is small, just the one desk and there’s a lady sitting there. She stands up and introduces herself then closes the door, putting a “do not disturb” sign on it.

We exchange small talk–I amuse her with stories of how lost I got (always good times), and then she hands me a folder of paperwork to fill out. She goes back to her desk and I tackle the application. I can’t help but think of my last two interviews. The first one had everything on a computer and the second had me fill out an application at home and didn’t even take it. This one is all by hand, which is fine, because the office is quiet and cozy and l feel less stress than I did at any of the other places.

Finally the paperwork is done and she comes over to my table and starts talking. It’s a full fledged interview, where she asks my strengths and weaknesses, although she doesn’t ask me where I see myself in five years, because that’s always a hard question for me. I don’t see myself past 2:00 this afternoon! (Other than wine. I will be drinking wine!)

After the initial interview is over, she starts talking to me about job options. She’s honest about the limited opportunities in this small town. Too many people wanting to work locally and not enough jobs to go around. I knew that walking in so I’m not discouraged. Then she starts giving me job hunting advice. She’d been out of work for three months before her current job and knows what it’s like.
 
It’s weird because I suddenly feel like she really sees me as a person and not just a potential employee. She sees a person who got laid off from a job and feels a little insecure and down. Her advice is so good, I start writing it down because even though some of it I’d read about, it was different hearing it from someone who had actual experience. Her sympathy makes me feel emotional for the first time since starting this tour of agencies. Maybe it’s part of her job, but I don’t think so. Her job is to place me for her clients and not to help me find a job with another company.

She had one opening to run by me but immediately I know it’s not for me. The first four lines dealt with talking to people on the phone and selling them stuff and telephones are my kryptonite. You know how they say that when looking at a food label the first three ingredients shows what the product contains the most of? It’s true of jobs too. The first three or four things are what you’ll be doing the most. I tell her I will consider it because I can’t say no, but even if I could, I do like to think about things first anyway. I’m a thinker. I like to pose like the thinker too.

As I’m leaving she tells me there’s an elevator I can use, but honestly, I’m kind of scared the elevator is almost as old as the building. Once a week on an elevator is enough! I think Aerosmith exaggerated the appeal of elevators.

As I make my way down the steps, there are women taking a tour and for the first time I see there are plaques on the wall showing the history of the building. I wish I can stop and read them but the ladies are there and I don’t feel like talking anymore. I can only talk so many hours a day. I’m tired. (See! This is why a sales job would never work for me).

On the way home I consider just interviewing with that job anyway, but decide not to. I’ve done telephone work a few times in my 20’s, and I never got comfortable with it, no matter how long I tried it. I don’t think that’s changed in my late 30’s. (Shut up! I know I’ll be 40 in 13 days, but I’m stretching out my late 30’s as long as I can!)

I email her thanking her for talking to me and letting her know how much I enjoyed meeting her and how I didn’t think I would represent them very well if I interviewed for that job. She thanked me for getting back to her and said she’d consider me for other opportunities.

After all I went though this week, I still don’t have a job. But all hope is not lost! I did get an email from another company (not an employment agency) altogether. They asked me to send them my resume to be considered for a temporary position. The location really sucks though. It’s not the worse place I could work like DC or in an elevator, but it’s up there. I’m going to pursue it anyway because the job sounds kind of cool and it’s temporary so I’ll be able to take other positions if they come up.

That’s my employment agency experiences this week. I hope you learned something. Like Melly has a really weird phobia about elevators. And shares way too any details.

Until next time!

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Started From the Bottom

Job Agencies Part II

Yesterday was my appointment with the employment agency not far from my last job. It’s not my ideal location, but at this point I’m open to anything. This is also the flaky agency that forgot to send me a confirmation for my last appointment. My opinion wasn’t changed much after my visit.

But first I have to get ready again. Getting ready to go places now is an ordeal that starts early. Gone are the days when I could get ready to go to work on autopilot. Now I have to dig out an iron to iron my pants (using a towel on the floor… Ironing board, what’s that?). I pick a purple shirt to wear under my suit jacket and put on my jewelry. I put on the hooker boots and off I go. I have to leave an hour and a half early to guarantee I’ll be there on time. This time I leave Scooter and Smoke home.

I do take my Drake CD with me. That’s the one thing about driving alone. You can play your own music! Drake is my inspiration. Started from the bottom, now I’m here! Driving to a job agency, now I’m here!

When Drake and I get there, I have to park in a parking garage, and it’s still cold so there’s a lot of walking and freezing. I’m so spoiled! I text Katie the floor of garage I’m parked in so I don’t have a Seinfeld situation where I lose my car and my fish dies. You never know! They might provide a free fish!

It’s been a long time since I’ve been near an actual office building. The last building I worked in was a warehouse with office space. That still doesn’t excuse me acting like a country pumpkin looking at the elevators like crazy contraptions that take you up in the air. Golly! I manage to get the flying boxes to take me up to the 4th floor, where the company is located.

When I walk in there’s nobody at the front desk, but there is a sign-in sheet. I start signing my name when a woman walks up and says, “Are you here to meet with someone?”

“No, I just wandered off the street and found this company randomly,” is what I want to say. What I do say is, “Yes, I’m here to see Blah, Blah.”

“Ok, have a seat and I’ll let her know you’re here.”

I sit down and notice that the color scheme seems to be orange. Not the orange of the 70’s, (which would’ve been awesome), but more of a burnt orange. Kind of a Denver Bronco’s orange. (Did you like that? Topical! Five years later if I read this, I’ll have no idea what it means. Dear Future Melly, the Denver Bronco’s are playing the Seattle Seahawks in the Super Bowl. A Super Bowl is a football game between…. Wait, that will probably still make sense).

Orange is everywhere. It’s mixed into a gigantic dried flower arrangement on the table in front of me. It’s in the material of the chair I’m sitting in which have a tiny clouded glass plate welded to the right arm rest. You could use it to write on a Post-It. Or eat a cracker.

The lady comes back and lets me know that Blah, Blah is finishing up something and will be with me in a minute. After she leaves at least four other people ask me if I’m being helped. A receptionist never shows up. A group of employees starts congregating around holding pads of paper, obviously going to a meeting. It’s crazy how out of touch I already feel with office life. It wasn’t that long ago I was holding a pad of paper on a way to a meeting!

Finally, Blah, Blah comes back and introduces herself and leads me to a conference room. She seems to have a hard time turning on the light. She stands there waving her arms until they come on, explaining, “I never use this room.” That leads me to believe she doesn’t have a lot of clients or I’m not good enough for the VIP conference room. “Don’t let the blonde too far into the building. She doesn’t know how to work a elevator.”

The conference room table is small and kind of cracked and old looking. It makes me think of my last office when it was new and we weren’t allowed to even bring in drinks to the new conference room tables. Now it makes sense to me.

She starts the normal interview questions, asking about what kind of work I do and about my experience. The location I want to work. She apologizes for not sending me the confirmation email and explains that I need to leave a message to contact her because her phone “doesn’t show missed calls.”

O…k. Finally, she lets me know I’m going to be meeting with another one of her colleages who will see if she has any openings for me. She leaves me alone. That’s when I get that feeling…you know the one. When you think something is on your nose. I start to panic until I remember that the other day my mother gave me something and I never took it out of my coat pocket…



Yes, that’s a foldable cat mirror! For once my crazy cat lady tendencies worked in my favor! I take it out and check that everything is ok just before she walks back in.

“Boo, Boo got pulled into a meeting, so you won’t be meeting her today.” For a minute I’m flabbergasted. It’s weird because you’d think that she would be pulled out of a meeting for someone that might make them money. But maybe I’m misunderstanding employment agencies.

She hands me a business card. “I ran out of business cards, so I wrote my information on this.”

And readers, I shit you not, she had used someone else’s business card and crossed out their information and wrote her own. Professional, no? I begin to wonder if maybe she’d given me a fake number. She shakes my hand and then kind of flitters out of the room leaving me to wander out on my own. I pass by her talking to the receptionist that has now magically returned. I’ve been dismissed.

I leave the office and go back down the magic boxes (first finding a public restroom in the hallway…yes, so sad). I didn’t need the text because I actually did remember where I parked.

It really was a surreal experience. She didn’t take the job application that they had me fill out in the email. She didn’t take any of my information, which leads me to wonder if they even wanted me there. Maybe they will find me a job, but it mostly felt like a waste of time and gas. I started from the bottom and I’m still there… I still haven’t tried the number yet. I’m kind of scared too. It might end up being a deli. (Friends reference of course).

I went to another employment agency today that was much better, but this story took so long, I’ll save it until tomorrow.  

To be continued…

Crash Test Dummy

Hello! I apologize for not posting on Monday. I loaned out my laptop and was working on a cross stitch project I really wanted to finish.

So Monday was the interview with the first job agency. Since this was in an area I wasn’t familiar with, I invited Smoke along for a ride. He decided we should bring Scooter too.

But first I had to get ready. Since it was a job agency I decided to wear a suit jacket and pants (instead of the skirt–it’s too cold for a skirt!). I also decided to pull out my hooker boots. Ok, they aren’t really hooker boots, but they do have the zipper on the side like Julia’s in Pretty Women. They just aren’t as tall. They do have heels. They are a couple years old, but make me feel confident.  

After we leave, I quickly find out that having a dog with light colored fur, who seems to shed a lot more than a short haired dog should, is a problem when you are wearing a black suit jacket. I’m constantly brushing off my sleeve because for some reason he enjoys leaning against me. I’m pretty sure it’s on purpose.

The drive down there is a long, about an hour, but it’s a straight shot. Compared to my last commute which was going towards the city (the city being DC) and along many different highways and back ways, this drive seems so easy! Why hadn’t I thought of this area before?

We find the agency with about 10 minutes to spare. I’d put my bag of emergency supplies in the back, so that’s where my lint roller is. I open up the trunk and Scooter pops out and tries to jump on me. “Mommy, please don’t leave me! Take me to your interview!”

I’m pushing him off because he’s just defeating the purpose of the lint roller while at the same time Smoke is pulling him back in. There are windows facing the parking lot and in the back of my mind I can just see all of these people looking out saying, “This women can’t even go anywhere without her dog! Does she think she’s Paris Hilton?”

I stuff Scooter back in the car and do the best I can with the lint roller. Then I take a deep breath and go into the agency.

I give the lady at the desk my name and she has me sit down in the reception area. There are windows facing the parking lot and I can see Scooter in the back of the car staring down the building I’m in. For a minute I wonder if he can somehow see me from that distance. He’s a spooky dog!

The lady has me go back to a computer and fill out a survey. This survey has questions like, “When was the last time you did Meth?” Uh… Did these people watch Breaking Bad too much? I type, “I’m doing it right now.” Ha! Not really. There are also questions about cocaine, pot, prescription drugs and alcohol. They keep asking you if you would steal from the company. The way they phrase the questions seem kind of tricky at times so you really have to read them. Since I’m pretty clean (unless you count coffee and life), I finish the survey in no time.

She tells me to sit back in the waiting area and I ask her where the restroom is (see list about turning 40). As she’s leading me there, I’m like, “I’m sorry. I’ve been driving a while.” A voice in my head is like, “Are you apologizing for needing the restroom? And stop offering up more information than people need!” (Also on list of signs your turning 40).

Finally, I’m led back to my agent. Is that what you call them? The lady who is supposed to help me get a job. We start talking and I keep mentioning how old I am, how things were different back when I found a job before. Again, the voice is like, “Don’t tell people you are old! Jeez. Nobody cares, geezer! So what if you walked to your job up-hills both ways!”

She’s super nice (which I’m pretty sure is part of the job, but helps put me at ease) and writes down the kind of jobs I want and how much I want to make.

After we are done she tells me I need to fill out more forms and then I should do some testing. I hate to make Smoke and Scooter wait longer for me, but I want to do the testing and I don’t want to put it off. I want work!

I fill out all the paperwork, which is mostly benefit information and then the front desk lady sets up the testing. Well, actually, the first computer she sets me up at doesn’t work and I have to go back up and get her and I feel like I’m starting to annoy her at this point. I’m pretty sure she wrote in my file, “Annoying. Takes creepy dog with her everywhere. Talks about her bathroom habits.” 

The problem with testing on programs like Word, Excel and Outlook, is that even if you worked on it every day for at least 13 years (which I did), it doesn’t mean used every single feature of it. Some you just didn’t need. Plus they’ve upgraded so much, things you used to know how to do have changed. They do give you a lot of chances to go back if you did it wrong, but if you can’t do it after so many tries, you just don’t know. I don’t think I did bad on those, but I’m sure I could’ve done better.

My words per minute is 68. It’s 70 before mistakes. I don’t know if it’s that good or not. Since all I’ve been typing for the last six months are job applications, cover letters and blog entries, it seems pretty good to me.

Another problem with the testing is that it’s getting later in the day and the employment office is getting louder. They are sending out tax forms to their employees and with stamp prices going up it’s going to cost them over a thousand dollars to send them out. I hear about this and many other discussions while I’m trying to concentrate. I feel like they should move the computers a little further away from the front desk, especially when someone is taking a test.

Finally everything is done and I take my folder and free pen and say goodbye to front desk lady (hoping my cheerful disposition will make her forget my annoying habits) and go out to Smoke and Scooter still waiting in the parking lot.

Now I just wait for a job. Judging by how busy the office is it’s not going to be as fast as I hoped. They have a lot of employees. I told her I would even take short term assignments if they came up, but so far my phone is quiet. (I know…it’s only been two days. But still!)

Yesterday I was supposed to go back to that second employment agency, but I never got a confirmation email. I called the number that called me and left a message on the voicemail. Still no response. Then around two (an hour after I was supposed to be there), I get an email apologizing for not sending me a confirmation and asking when I wanted to reschedule.

I’m not sure about this agency. It doesn’t seem like it’s going to be very helpful if they can’t even get back to you in a timely manner. I will probably go because I have to look into every opportunity, but I’m even less hopeful. It’s closer to the city too, which I was trying to avoid.

After all this I’m not quite as optimistic as I was at the beginning of the week, but I haven’t given up hope. At least I have other people helping me find work now! Every step is a good step. Take it a day at a time. That’s how I look at life. Today I’m breathing. I have coffee. I have my spooky dog and evil cats and I just watched a reunion of the guys from Full House on GMA. Life is good!

Thanks for reading this long post and coming along for the ride! And thankful for the good luck wishes here and on Facebook. Having a place to talk about it helps me get through it!

Redneck Clouds

I’ve had a blog in mind that I wanted to do. I even scanned in the pictures. But all I keep thinking about is my interviews this week. In addition to the two employment agencies (one that I still don’t know what it’s called or where it’s at), I also heard back from the local employment agency who contacted me last time. They had another job they wanted to submit my resume too. 
  
Things are happening! But’s also making me a nervous wreck. What’s exactly is going to happen? Am I going to have a job soon? Do I still know how to work? Am I going to look stupid? What do I wear? Chicken or egg?

It’s weird to go back to being in a professional mode after about seven months, but it’s time to go back in the world. It’s time to wear shoes all the time. Maybe even a bra. You never know. I might find a job that’s back in the 70’s! With Jack Tripper and Chrissy. Janet.

I’m glad my appointment isn’t until 2:30 tomorrow, because I feel like I need all the time I can get to prepare. Pretend like I’m a normal human being. Well, as normal as I can be. Figure out how to walk on heels again.

And since I always like to include a picture, I was at Big Lots today with Smoke when I saw him motioning me over. When I walked over he was like, “Look at this chair.”



Me: “Yikes. It’s camouflage.”

Him: “Sit in it. It’s really comfortable.”

I sit down and kind of sink in like I was on a redneck cloud. “Yes, it is.”

“When we get money, I want to get it.”

Me: “Wait, for real? Just because it’s comfortable that doesn’t make it right!”

You might be a redneck if… Screw it. We are rednecks! That chair was damn comfortable though. Of course there were other chairs that we could sit on and be visible in but that’s beside the point.

Wish me luck tomorrow!

Check Yes or No or Yes

Yesterday I got a call about a job. This hasn’t happened in awhile so I wasn’t exactly ready. The lady was really nice though. You might think I’m calling her “the lady” to keep her anonymous but sadly no. I didn’t get her name. I’m so very bad with names.

She tells me I applied for a job doing payroll data entry. That did sound like me. I apply for any job that has data or entry in the title. Err… wait. Data AND entry. Entry without data doesn’t sound kosher.

I must sound confused because she goes on to say that most people apply to so many jobs they don’t remember them either. That’s when I realize she’s with an employment agency. I have no idea which one. Because I’m detail oriented that way.
 
She then goes on to tell me the job description of this mystery job I applied for. By this time I’ve found something to write it down with. Okay, what I really find is a barely sharpened pencil and the Samsung User Manual for our television. All the notebooks and pens I buy and they are never around when I need them!

I write down cryptic notes like: “Data Entry. Payroll. Moderate. Statistical. Data.”

This is why nobody wanted to copy my notes in school! They make absolutely no sense. I mean some of it makes sense. I’m not sure what’s moderate. And thank God I wrote down data! Who knew there was data in data entry?

She’s like, “It’s a data entry position and I can see on your resume that’s what you did in your last job.” She pauses. “Wow. You worked there a long time!”

I love when people say that! “Yes, I did.”

“Can I ask why you left?”

I say layoff’s, funding, blah, blah. I want to say, “They were intimidated by my awesomeness,” but I don’t.

The rest of the conversation went like this:

Her: “This is a three month contract. Is that something that interests you?”

Me: “Err… Yes.” I always say yes. If the job is worth it, why not? I need work!

Her: “Ok, now the hours are kind of strange.”

Now I’ve always wanted a job where the hours weren’t the traditional 9 to 5 so this intrigues me.

She continues: “…Monday through Thursday, it’s 8:30 to 5:30 and on Friday it’s 1:00 to 9:00.”

WTF? I like the thought of going in late, but working until 9:00? On a Friday? What if I want to go out on a Friday night? Hahahaha. No, but seriously, who ever wants to work late on a Friday? Even if you are almost 40 and never go out anymore?

But she’s not done yet: “And on Saturday it’s 8:00 am until the payroll is finished.”

Really? Work late on a Friday and early on a Saturday?

Her: “Is this something that you’re still interested in?”

I want to say, “Hell no,” but instead, I’m like, “Umm… Yeah. I think so.” I’m honestly surprised I have never been sold into prostitution. I always say yes.

“So how much did you want to make an hour?”

I give her the sum that is the least I’ll go with a commute, but I still think I’m selling myself cheap. A pimp could do better! But I’m also realistic. I know what jobs are paying. She tells me that they are adamant in paying an amount that comes to a dollar less than my absolute minimum. Father Sweetness said so! (A pimp name generator gave me that as my pimp name. It’s sad that I couldn’t think of a pimp name on my own).

I explain that there’s no way I can work for that much. She’s very understanding and asks if I want to come and discuss what it is I’m looking for in a job. I agree. Why not? I know I have that other appointment with an employment agency but it doesn’t hurt to keep my options open, right? They are in two completely different areas. I make an appointment for Tuesday, the day after the other appointment.

Sadly, despite my extensive notes (ha) I did not write down her name or company. She said she’d send me a confirmation email, but I don’t have one yet. I’ll probably get it on Monday. The other company said they would send one the day before so this company might too. It’s no big deal if they don’t.

In case you wanted a visual of what I looked like on the phone, here is one of me with my granny:




Just imagine Woody Woodpecker is a phone. My mouth really does hang open like that. I was probably saying yes to him too.  

The Hashtag Blues

I did it. I spent 24 hours off Facebook! I feel better. I don’t know why. And I spent time watching movies and on Instagram and Twitter. And eating. Isn’t that what you’re supposed to do? Calories don’t count on snow days!

Things I learned while on Facebook hiatus:

1. I still don’t understand hashtags. Whenever I post on Twitter, I just hashtag random words. Is there a science to this? A hashtag for dummies book? #hashtag#dummy#

2. I love Instagram. I love something dedicated to just pictures. I love pictures and it’s nice to have a place where you don’t have to weed through all the other stuff to find the pictures.

3. I really need to promote this blog outside of Facebook. Without it, nobody can find it. I’m going to look into that more. I’ve tried a few sites, like BlogHer, but wasn’t qualified. I’m pretty sure I don’t show up in Google either.

4. Connie is my best blog friend! She found me and commented! I didn’t feel like I was blogging into a void!

Now I’ll get back to my regularly scheduled blog activities. I never know what’s better on this blog. The pictures? The normal everyday life posts? I guess I’ll just wing it like I’ve been doing.

#wingit# #blog# #hello# #what# ARGHHHHHHHH.

Can Anybody Hear Me?

It’s been about 12 hours without Facebook and I’m doing okay. Of course most of that time was spent sleeping, but still! I took the app totally off my phone because that one is a little too easy to access and I can install it back when I’m done with my hiatus. I did notice in the statistics that without posting Facebook nobody saw my blog post from last night. That’s depressing. But I’ll get over it! I did also notice that I have a tendency to spend more time on Instagram and Twitter now. I can’t go cold turkey from all social media!

http://instagram.com/melly48

My Twitter link is to the left.

I haven’t really said anything but I had a job with an employment agency next week. I’m super excited! But I’m being low key because I don’t want to get my hopes up. But the people I talked with seemed pretty optimistic. I do need to get the suit out of the dry-cleaning bags. It’s been forever!

Mostly this morning I’ve been watching Easy A (one of my top 10 favorite movies) and waiting for the snow to start. I’ll be tracking it on Instagram. Because absolutely nobody cares but me.

I was looking online for jobs (as I do especially now that my unemployment as ran out) and I saw Specimen Collector. What do you think? Think I’m qualified?

Ok. I’ll be back soon! I know you’ll be holding your breath!