. . . And Life Goes On

Life goes on and the unreality of the eighth falls prey to the angry, hungry lion that is daily reality. And in daily reality inquires are made and solutions are dished out and some people work a 9 to 5.

Then there are those of us who don’t. Then there are some of us who have to awkwardly explain to their non-peer professor that she feels the entire class has conspired against her since her return from the hospital but that she’s been keeping up with the work at home and will be back the following week. Then there are some of us who disappear from math class without warning and have to, once again, awkwardly email the non-peer professor and hope he will be understanding.

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That’s what’s been keeping me from going to my creative writing class by the way: the same thing that kept me from going to my Native American Literature class those years back.

Let me say I love this professor. She is hilarious and open and an eloquent writer. Although she is more interested in poetry rather than fiction, she and I understand each other as writers. Her class is very open. Everyone talks among each other, and I was once in a little group. Then I shipped away.

Returning back to class felt wrong. And once I told my professor why I’d been gone, I got this nagging feeling she’s told the entire class who I am, what happened, and why I was gone. Then when I return I’m noticing someone who used to sit next to me, sat a seat away, and while another person used to ask me questions she now asks the guy next to me. I’m sure she told them all to ignore me and hate me. I’ve tried to reason myself into believing it’s because they have all had time to get to know each other better, but that other voice in my head has invalidated and battered reason to the floor.

Driving home one night I realized something significant. First, I realized that this level of paranoia can go fuck itself.

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The Only Image Of Hello Kitty I’ve Found Even Remotely Interesting

Secondly, I asked myself what someone would say to me at  Second Story if I were to explain my thoughts. I asked myself what I would say to someone were I to explain the thoughts to myself. And while I can’t remember the full conversation I had with myself in my head, I do remember the conclusion.

Feeling violated by my professors purported confidentiality disrespect, feeling like an outcast among people with stigma as rampant as it is, is the root of this paranoia. My own insecurity of being seen as “crazy” or “sick” on the outside is the root of this paranoia. And while that doesn’t make me feel any less paranoid, it made me sigh in relief. It made me sigh because it makes me remember all the people I’ve spoken to who struggle in the same way. I sighed because it only confirms there are reasons for thoughts, no matter how “deluded” they could be considered. My interpretation of my environments may be different from yours, but if you’re insecure about the way you look, and I’m insecure about how my mentality is perceived, aren’t we both sharing in the same struggle but seeing it differently?

Crisis averted.

And that got me thinking about the future, about transferring, about digging deep into my career. And all that bone crushing anxiety got me thinking about questions I hear and have been asked often:

What kind of jobs are there for the “mentally ill”?

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Preferably Ones That Don’t Drive Us To Ring Our Necks With A Tie

You all know I refrain from using terms like “mental illness” or “mental disorder” and instead call them experiences or struggles or interpretations. But that is how the question is often phrased.

And one obvious thing comes to mind and it isn’t office job, it isn’t an online position, it isn’t reclusive writer, and it isn’t backroom stocking associate, all of which I’ve tried.

Well, I’m still a reclusive writer, but . . .

I smacked myself on the forehead at the realization: peers.

And with the rise in peer support sweeping, literally, the nation, there’s a huge need for it.

I will be transferring over the hill next year. I refuse to live on campus unless it will be paid for by financial aid and I can have a dorm to myself: those are rather harsh and specific requirements, so I’m not counting on it. Therefore I will need income. I smacked myself again on the forehead before searching for peer support in the county I will be moving too.

Yes, it exists there as well. In fact, it exists in many, many more places and cities and towns than I thought. Second Story may be peer run, but even within health centers there are peer programs. A lot of them. This gave me the hope for humanity Trump tried stealing away.

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To Be Clear, Trump is Mocking Him, Not Me

If connecting with people who also struggle is something of interest to you, I encourage you to search programs, I really do. It may sound like a huge step, and it is,  but let me tell you, you’ll be way better off being nervous around people who understand how that effects you personally, than being in an office where a boss snorts at you and says “tough shit”.

My point is, there are jobs out there for people who struggle in the way we do. I’m not talking people with just Anxiety or depression. I’m talking those who hear voices or bounce up and down with their moods. Self Harm. OCD. WhatEVER it is, we need you.

You don’t need a degree, all you need is your experience with mental health.

The transformation I saw in the woman I met from the hospital who happened to show up a week after I told her about Second Story . . .the difference I saw in her from the time we were in the hospital together to the first week she was with us . . .tremendous. She used to not speak above a whisper. She didn’t make much eye contact and was really stuck in her struggle. The last time I saw her she spoke confidently, she made eye contact, she saw all of the problems she had to go through in terms of housing and such as things she could accomplish: she told me that many times. She said it would be hard, but that they are do-able.

That was the first positive thing I’d heard from her.

She and I cooked a feast that night. I asked her if she was any good at cooking chicken and we were off. We made stuffing and baked chicken and mashed potatoes and a salad and some green beans and sliced some bread. Some of us sat down and ate at the dinner table and joked about Mariah Carey and the 7 million dollar engagement ring her (ex??) fiance gave her.

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*Rolls Eyes Tremendously*

I remember when I left the hospital she whispered good luck to me. Before I left my shift for that night I told her good luck. The last I heard, she’s signed up to Volunteer with us.

You make a difference in people’s lives, and they make a difference in yours. That’s what peer support is about. These are real positions in this life and real places have implemented these types of programs.

There are people out there that understand. And there are people out there you can use your experience to connect with. If you’re curious, I implore you, please, research it. If you have questions about what I do as a peer support counselor, email me or leave a comment, I’ll be happy to explain in more detail.

You might go in hoping to change someone else’s life and come out the one who is changed. That’s when you know you made a good choice.

We need you.

 

Business Tips For Your Mental Health

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Alright, back to business.

Back to the business of mental health and the importance of protecting yourself when no one else will.

It’s important to know your limits. I’ve reached my limit at this current job; I’ve memorized so much information in such a short time I honestly thought I’d been there for four months already. It’s been about one and a half.

I could spend my free days feeling like a failure once again, I could spend my free days dreading the moment I confront the director and tell him “homie, this shit ain’t workin’ for me” in the most professional way I can conjure, and I could spend my free days reminding myself how much of a loser I am.

Or I could realize the fact that I lasted as long as I did and memorized hundreds of pages of notes as quickly as I did is a true accomplishment. I could celebrate the fact that my social anxiety isn’t the reason I’m leaving this time. I could realize that if I can handle and learn as much material as I did so quickly, than I can work almost anywhere given I’m able to work more independently at my own pace without people breathing down my fucking neck every five seconds.

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Just like it’s important to learn how you learn, it’s also important to know how you operate mentally, particularly if you struggle with your health in that department. For example, through this position I’ve learned I need the mental space to be alone.I’m applying for positions that require I’m mostly independent with limited oral contact with the public. Like a loss prevention associate. You know, those people who stand by the doors of retail stores with their little ear piece and their black suit and they smile and say hi but what they’re really thinking is “don’t stuff a shirt in your purse bitch, I’ll floor you”. 

When I tell people what I’ve applied for, I get comments like “that sounds boring”. And I reply with a round of slow claps and hand them a golden medal with their name misspelled on it: that’s the point. 

I want boring. Why is that so surprising given my personality? Think about it:

Lab Assistant: cleaning beakers, sinks, and machines.

  • Leaves up a lot of time to think about the universe and all it’s inner workings, don’t you think? Maybe I’ll think so hard I find a contradiction in Christopher Langan’s “Cognitive-Theoretic Model of the universe” so I can send him a long email explaining said contradiction with a ton of laughing-crying emoji’s just to add insult to injury. I’ll send him a copy of my IQ test too, since those things seem to matter to people these days.

Loss Prevention Associate: Stand and watch people or sit in a security viewing area. Take action when needed. Although your presence is a pretty good deterrent.

  • I’m paranoid enough to be considered paranoid, but not paranoid enough to be considered delusional (go figure). I can spot a kleptomaniac from a mile away.

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Sanitation Clerk, Night Shift:

  • More than enough personal mental space to come up with my own Coginitive-Theoretic Model of the Universe. Mine won’t have such a cocky title. Mine will be called “Shit to think about, take it or leave it, I’m not an arrogant prick, we can never have an absolutist point of view about reality/cognition/the universe.” 

So there is no such thing as “boring” to me. My mind is always running, always creating alternate realities and theories and ideas and stories. A boring job is exactly what I need. Learn what things you will be good at and what things you won’t. The best way to find out is trial and error. I thought people were my problem when in reality I just need to be by myself.

how-to-say-no-to-your-bossIt’s important to inform your bosses about your struggles, if you didn’t on the application already. I cannot stress this enough. I’ve never disclosed my personal issues to strangers before and it was rather liberating to receive such an understanding approach to scheduling me less hours and less days per my request. Now I’ll be leaving, but not because they overwhelmed my anxiety or my depression or paranoia or any of that. It’s because the job doesn’t fit me. And honestly, my anxiety diminished drastically the moment I told the Director about my struggles. If you work in an environment where you have no secrets, you’re able to focus on the work and not hiding behind your mask.

I’m not saying show up to work without a shower and sagging clothes and tired eyes and claim they have to accept you for how you are, whether you have depression or not. Have a little self respect here, people. I’m saying let them know what they can do for you, take charge of yourself and your surroundings, it will do your mental health a world of good.

It’s important to remember you’re a person with interests and you don’t have to settle for zanyideassomething you don’t want just to appease your mental health. You and your brain are a team, remember? Even if it feels like he beats you into the floor and you’re left defenseless often, you’re still a team. You feed him just as much as he feeds you. Therefore, you and him will disagree on a lot of things. You have to decide whether or not you’re going to succumb to his wants or whether you’re going to pursue life according to your wants and needs.

I found an interesting article posted on The Mighty today (click here to read) about the controversy behind the phrase “Don’t let an illness define you”. This mother argues that chronic illness does define you–and not in a bad way. It defines how you live and what you have to do to live happily. It’s on your mind from the moment you wake up to the time you go to sleep. And in that context, it does define you. Where people have come off thinking that’s a negative things is beyond me; I agree with much of what this woman has stated.

She’s speaking on behalf of physical illness I believe, but it can go both ways. My anxiety and depression have defined how I live. It’s defined my likes and personality. Is that a bad thing? I don’t think so; I enjoy what I like (no shit) and I enjoy my introverted personality. It’s always been other people who have something against the way I think and the way I want to live. So in reality they’re the ones making my illness or my disorder define me in a negative sense, not the other way around.

That being said, letting your struggling dictate how you live doesn’t mean you’re at the mercy of it. Another position I will be applying for is a Sales Consultant in computing. If you’re just tuning into my site, then you’ve missed the rants I’ve posted on technology. I’m a sucker for it. I own several laptops, desktops, Chromebooks, gaming consoles, phones, sound systems, televisions, and have been saving up for more.

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I’d own a Mac, but I’d Have To Sell My Fucking Car

Sales Consultant? With social anxiety? That sounds like a death sentence. 

Yes. Yes it does. But if I can handle Cash Control, I can handle telling people what computer to buy. I’m not looking for a position I’m absolutely comfortable with, that’s going to be impossible. I’m looking for a position I feel I can enjoy and be decent at. It’s not as if I’m a cashier having to have a conversation about someone’s day. No, I’m a factual robot repeating the same selling phrases and technological information to the same set of technologically deficient souls.

It’s important to realize your choice in job should play to your strengths and to never short change yourself just because you struggle mentally. I’ve been down that road far too often. Finding a job is kind of like finding a therapist: you need to take control. You need to tell them what you can do and you need to analyze them to see if they fit for you just as much as they’re analyzing you to see if they fit for them.

It’s a give and take.

As for me, I’m almost gunning for that sales consultant position. I’m waiting for the day someone asks me “So . . . how do you turn this tablet on?”

Or

“So, is this windows 8?” when the sign clearly says Windows 10.

I like those kind of people. They make me feel smart. 

Epiphany

Thanks to those of you who have been following me through this time and sending a few positive thoughts my way. I’ve come back from the dark place and have made a decision based on a pretty conclusive analysis on my current situation.

For those of you who are new followers, there are few, let me just say . . . you’re in for a ride reading my posts. I don’t hold much back, so if you’re sensitive to vulgarity and truth well, consider yourself warned.

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Anyway, I’ve been comparing this job position and my previous job position to see how such different positions could result in the same mental reaction out of me.

In customer service, I couldn’t handle the people. I was overwhelmed with anxiety and depression over the fact that the staff treated me as if I were mentally challenged. As if I wasn’t giving my all every day, as if it was okay for them to continually call me quiet and shun me because of the fact.

In this job called Cash Control, our contact with people is minimized. I see the same faces every time I work. My social anxiety is at an all time low in this environment, which is a first for me.  It’s taught me how to take charge of my own tasks, a new skill I cherish, and it’s helped me take criticism a little better–it’s an environment where you are going to be wrong all the time and when you are, you have to have the ability to take it and turn it into a learning process. There are a lot of positives about this position.

But I realized today, as I spent three hours washing and waxing my car, that it’s not my anxiety that’s causing me to want to leave this job. It’s the fact that it’s just not a fit for me.

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My previous customer service position was too many people. This position is too many procedures, too much pressure, and honestly I’m over it. The people gossip too much, we aren’t given enough time to learn the thick ass book of notes they want us to memorize, and I’m not even a business major! I don’t give two shits!

Although, I did handle 75 thousand dollars the other day.

It doesn’t really register how much money you’re touching until you leave the basement and realize damn, that was a lot of money.

I know this blog is generally anonymous, but I don’t trust the internet. Someone, somewhere could find out where I work and the department I work for and that is the reason I can’t share with you the stuff we do at cash control. I was informed not to speak about it anywhere, so I respect them. They were almost robbed at gunpoint last memorial day.

But let me tell you, the procedures are endless and the perfection is required.

cross-the-lineMaybe my anxiety is contributing to my uncomfortability, I honestly don’t care anymore. I just want out. The pressure is going to my head, it’s so fast paced and fuck man, answering the phones? Fuck it, I’m out. That’s just crossing the line with me.

So I’ve applied to a position I’ve been chasing for a year. It’s a lab assistant position at a biotechnology lab in town. I’ve been waiting for them to post the opportunity again and they happened to do so a few days ago.

As much as I dislike cash control procedures, this shit looks bomb on a resume. I may just have a chance.

And, as I said, the skills you learn are pretty valuable.

I applied to be a delivery driver for a cafe. You go to the farm location, put the food in your car, and take it to the cafe. I was stoked about the opportunity until I saw this shit:

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For fuck sake man, I have to drive this? Are you kidding me? I’m used to my low to the ground, space ship looking frame with my tint and my chrome wheels and my booming bass.

That thing is . . . it’s . . . it’s a cockblocker. It’s literally the definition of it.

I applied anyway.

I also decided to put in some volunteer hours.

It might seem as if I’m trying to take on a lot, but honestly I feel good about it. The more confident I’ve become (which I owe the majority of it to Cash Control these last two months) the more I’ve wanted to get out in the world. My social anxiety isn’t gone, but I’m forcing it down. The depression is another story. I’ll deal with that later.

Right now, I feel good. I feel determined and ready to take on the world. It’s 2 AM and I’m hype. I’m ready to go. I’m ready to try something new, Cash Control is boring, I’ve mastered what I can and I don’t want to learn anymore, I want to try something new and exciting like delivery driving or cleaning beakers in a lab.

I put in an application with the Sheriff department. Never mind that my car looks like a drug dealer’s and I do often have marijuana in it, and I make friends with the homeless pot heads at the car wash (I met Juan and Robert today, they really loved my car and how I take care of it, they thanked me for doing such a thorough job on it) and that I could be a criminal mastermind if I wanted to, I’m going to work side by side with the Sheriff.

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Which Cash Control will also help me get. We work very closely with security and security works very closely with the police station. We’re walking out in public with 40 thousand dollars for fucks sake.

I want to either be the Fleet Maintenance assistant in which I drive the police vehicles to repair stations, document the repair, and bring it back to headquarters, or I want to be the Citizen Patrol in which I go around in a volunteer sheriff car trying to find abandoned cars or checking up on vacation homes to make sure no one is smoking it up in there. I wouldn’t carry weapons or be trained as an officer, I’m just the eyes.

I realized the positions I’m applying for, volunteer and otherwise, are independent focused. I like to be by myself. In the lab I’ll mostly be working by myself or with three or four people. As a driver I’ll be driving by myself. As a sheriff volunteer I’ll be driving by myself and taking the cars to the shops by myself for only 4 hours a week. That’s the position I need. The people don’t matter, it’s the insatiable need I have to be alone.

Cash Control is not isolated. You don’t have contact with the public, but you’re constantly around other people. I can’t even take my break by myself for God’s sake. For my personality it’s just not a feasible position. Someone is always watching you, always listening to you, and that makes me paranoid. It makes me anxious.

I have a lot of respect for the people in this department. But it’s just not for me. Now I understand why I’ve always craved a career in which I’m my own boss. It’s not about power and authority (okay, maybe a little), it’s about the freedom to be mostly independent. I’m the only one watching myself.

I don’t mind working in teams, just don’t stack endless procedure and perfection and phone calls on top of that.

I hate to leave a job so early again, which is why I refuse to leave the position until I have another job lined up. I’ll endure this until I can’t anymore, and I will leave correctly this time. The next time I have alone time with the director, I’m going to have to express how I feel. I want to let him know I’ll be leaving soon, and that it just isn’t fitting with me. And that’s okay. No one has my feet welded to the floor. I’ll always be welcome to come back and maybe I will at some point when I feel I’m mentally able to.

I have to remember I have options in life. The world isn’t going to end because I can’t handle this job. It doesn’t matter what other people think and I won’t let my trainer convince me to stay. It’s my decision and no one else’s. And that realization is why I feel so much better today.

Shout out to Robert and Juan. They my new homies.

 

Hired . . . Now What?

It Never Stops

A few days ago I watched the first part of a two part documentary on Agoraphobia. It featured a man who hadn’t left his house in six years, a woman too afraid of her panic to walk her eight year old daughter to school, and a pregnant General Practitioner who couldn’t stay in a house alone for more than four minutes but couldn’t walk past the parking lot of her apartment.

While each of them had in common their fear of having a panic attack in public, they had individual reasons for their panic. The GP couldn’t handle being alone outside or inside and motorways/highways were a serious trigger for her. She’d start shaking, crying, and spewing words a mile a minute.

With the man I most identified because he had some social anxiety. His was relatively mild compared to mine, but significantly impacted his level of agoraphobia. While he walked down the street with a psychiatrist, his eyes constantly searched the sidewalks across the street for people staring at him and he immediately assumed, as we all do with social anxiety, that something was wrong with him, that he looked weird or dressed weird or something. The psychiatrist took a very “exposure therapy” approach from the beginning, so I wasn’t surprised when he had the man lay in the middle of the sidewalk with him and force him to feel embarrassed over something real. They then sat on the curb and walked around while the psychiatrist started shouting gibberish into the air or just generally screeching right next to people.

Honestly, I was laughing my ass off.

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Laughing my ass off while simultaneously thanking God I wasn’t the one having to go through that.

I think the method helped him. Would it have helped me? I don’t believe so; I’m a loud person when I want to be and I’ve laid in the middle of the sidewalk and I’ve shouted random things right in people’s faces. It hasn’t helped me conquer my social anxiety disorder.

I also identified with the third woman, the one with the child. Much of her panic was triggered by loud noises. When a bus passed by her and two psychologists, she hunched down with her hands over her ears and started shaking and panicking. As the bus left, she slowly returned to a base level. In a grocery store a worker made an announcement over the loud speaker and the woman went through the same process.

I’m not completely incapacitated by noises like her, but I rage if they’re near me (like the bus) or flinch and plug my ears if I’m in a grocery store. It’s why I wear ear phones everywhere. I think I’ve said this before.

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Ha! Can I just point out the address for this picture was literally “Nicole-is-wearing-headphones-that-match-her-dress”. My God. Someone is a creative photographer.

Anyway, the man and the woman with the child both faced their fears exceptionally well and even though they cried and shook and went through the motions of panic during their outings, they took it and felt it and dealt with it. The GP however, did not. She refused to stay in the house for fifteen minutes by herself (she lasted 4 minutes and 30 seconds) and when it came time for all three of them to conquer an obstacle together and hop on a local train without any staff, she refused to get on. The other two were crying and shaking and reflecting on themselves and their fears while they sat on the train ride.

I admire them. I think the GP could have pushed herself harder. That’s not being harsh, that’s being truthful. You have to push yourself, even if it’s to a breaking point. I’ve been the same way, done the same maladaptive behavior, stayed in my house for months and months at a time, and I still do to some extent, but I keep trying. Some days I try harder than others, some days I don’t try at all.

She didn’t try at all at any point. I acknowledge the amount of effort she put into trying to try, but it wasn’t enough. I haven’t watched the second part, because I think it was a stupid idea to take all three of them into a whole new country without acknowledging there may be other mental reasons besides a classically conditioned fear behind their agoraphobia. I saw a preview of the second half where the psychiatrist admitted his work had backfired. It’s one criticism I have about exposure therapy: it’s good for some and really, really shitty for the majority of others.

I want to be like the other two. I can’t hide behind fears any longer, it’s tearing me down.

Today I got hired for that one job. I have to go in for a drug screen and to fill out some paper work this Friday. Training starts every weekend until March in which I’ll be getting a good 20+ hours each week.

I’m worried about the stress. I’m worried about my level of commitment and if I’ve made a mistake. Am I ready?

So I went for a contemplative bike ride. And met this crazy gal:

Cow Grazing

I named her Daisy. She didn’t want to be named and labeled like a human, so I told her I wouldn’t call her Daisy.

Not to her face, at least.

I’m crafty.

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Daisy told me there’s no way to know if I’m ready or not. It’s a matter of action, not a matter of contemplation, and she says that’s how I trick myself into backing out of things. I’m a good thinker, she says, but not a good do-er, simply because I think too much. I think I share that problem with the GP woman from the documentary.

I like thinking, I’m a thinker, and all my logic points to being able to solve problems through thinking alone. The majority of the time that’s not possible.

Apparently. 

Training will be stressful, I’ve already thought about that. Because this position requires I’m responsible for insane amounts of cash (I’m not talking hundreds, or thousands, or hundreds of thousands, I’m talking the big Mill), the pressure I’ll put on myself to be perfect and never make a mistake will be the equivalent of a primordial dwarf trying to lift three cars stacked on top of each other off their shoulders.

I’m a perfectionist. I hate and love this fact about myself. I love it because it means I do things right. I hate it because it means if I don’t do it right, even when I’m still learning, I’ll tear myself to shreds. 

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Hopefully the fact that I’m aware of it will help me ease the pressure.

I know it will get easier as the weeks pass. The more I learn, the more equipped I’ll be to handle situations that require I think on my feet.

The main thing I’m worried about is the fact that all the instructions are delivered orally. I’m going to be learning hands-on of course, but when they explain things it will be orally and it takes me a long time to process oral directions.

I don’t feel like that’s a good thing to tell my new employer.

I told them I prefer not to work with customer service but I didn’t tell them I have social anxiety disorder, depression, and rage issues. I figured that’s not a good first impression in this day and age.

 

Stress, stress, stress. It never stops. I don’t handle stress well. This job is either going to be yet another disaster, or the best decision I’ve ever made.

Well That Was A Waste . . .

Alright . . . interview . . . interview . . .

*Taps chin*

What to say about this experience.

Well, I applied for a Backroom Associate which handles shipping, receiving, and does customer pick up.

There was not a single woman in that building. I shit you not.

Except little old me. And the managers were bewildered, as if they’d never seen a woman before in their life. It was so comical I almost laughed.

They asked me what position I was applying for again, as if I’d made a mistake.

I already waited around for about 30 minutes before the interview even started, and I’d arrived ten minutes early.

I fucked up once or twice in what I was saying and I probably said “uh” too many times, but honestly after the way they dealt with me and all the snotty looks they gave me (besides the one worker who got the manager for me, he was cool and always smiling) I don’t really want to work there anymore.

Usually they hire people right on the spot but instead I got the old “we’ll call you back for a second interview, maybe.”

I honestly don’t care. They weren’t professional, neither was their office. Their expressions towards me were atrocious–and this time I’m not even exaggerating. The manager liked my answers (so he says) but honestly I’d rather work for a different company. It just doesn’t seem to fit me, and that’s okay.

I’m hoping for a call back from a company that delivers food to low income families and other businesses and a school program. It pays well, it’s part time, and at the same time I get to help people. That’s the kind of job I want.

When the interviewer asked if I had any questions I said no because I’d lost interest. I know you should always ask questions but fuck it. I know if I had that job I’d have to sit there and prove myself ten times harder around those people. I don’t need that kind of stress.

I think I’m going to keep looking. If they call me back, I’ll just say I’ve got another position and thank you for the offer.

That being said, I’m proud of myself today. I handled it well. My anxiety caused minor stomach problems and I didn’t even shake. I was calm and collective and only slipped up once or twice with my words. I appeared way more confident than I was.

I feel this attempt was practice for the other job I’m hoping for. I think I’m going to continue on my path towards that job. I know I can get it if I really want it. And if they don’t call me back, I wait another week and re-apply. I’m the perfect person for that position, I know I am. I just feel it in my bones.

So I’m sending the feeling out into the universe.

I want the delivery job, not that backroom job. Please, for the Universe’s sake, give me that damn delivery job. 

I might actually suck up the courage to call them and ask where my application is. I want it that bad.

If I push aside my anxiety to do something I absolutely 100% hate doing, than you know I need that shit like a hog needs slop.

want that shit like a hog wants slop. 

Whatever.

I’m about to go bust up some BloodBorne.

Interviews Vs. Social Anxiety

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I have an interview on Wednesday for a position that requires my interaction with customers is limited to those who have come to pick up an order. The pick up is free, so I don’t have to run a cash register or anything. With minimum wage jumping to ten dollars this January, I’ll be satisfied.

You all remember my rampage about the fucking stupid application process that has you answer those really open ended questions? The ones that make you either sound like a complete asshole or a complete sheep? They rejected me a while ago. It was Target. Fuck Target.

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The Store Which Brought You This

I only applied there because I needed a job. Everyone I’ve ever known who is or has worked at the Target in town says it’s the worst experience of their life. I only gave it a shot out of desperation. Hear that Target Big Wigs? I didn’t even want your crappy minimum wage position; it was the last thought on the bottom of my shoe after I stepped in dog shit. Fuck you, Target.

 

One thing those of us with severe social anxiety hate is interviews. I’m pretty sure I speak for 90% of us when I say that. The fact that it’s one-on-one is what saves us. It’s easier to quell some of the anxiety if it’s not a group interview and you don’t have to give some sort of whacked out sales pitch off the top of your head. Toys R Us does that. I was one of the lucky ones; my group interview was only me and some guy.

And now you see why my blog is pretty much anonymous–imagine an employer googling my name and finding me talking shit about a whole load of other businesses? That’s not professional, right? Or something? I don’t know, I’m an alien; I don’t belong here. Your earthly customs are strange.

That being said, let me just say something about Toys R Us.

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I applied for a stock position and they said that position had been taken, but asked if I wanted to be a cashier. I shrugged and said alright.

Worst mistake of my life.

The lines are horrendous. The kids scream. The parents don’t have a parenting bone in their body and let their kids run around knocking shit off the shelves without making them pick it up.

How did we restock the shelves? You take giant carts full of random items and drive it around the store until you find where it goes. And good luck, since they rearranged the shelves every week on Wednesday.

Labels were in the wrong places, toys were in the wrong places, and when we had “meetings” with the main manager I was laughing so hard inside. Everything was so fake. Everyone was fake. These people didn’t care about the job or who was putting the wrong items on the wrong shelf or any of that. Faux professionalism is . . . I can’t help but laugh at it. I don’t understand it. Why is everyone faking so hard?

The dollar store labels their shelves with sharpie on metal. That’s how you label a shelf. Fuck the dumb shit; get ghetto with it, get real.

We were all putting things in the wrong place because no one knew what the right place was! The idiot who got caught doing it just wasn’t good at doing it. Whenever I had to put away a toy that literally had no place or name to it, I just scanned the roof for the cameras, hid from them, and stuffed it next to something similar. There was literally no other option.

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Then they told me I was too quiet and they did it in a patronizing tone and a baby face.

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I hate when people call me quiet like it’s an insult.

There were huge lines that sometimes backed to the middle of the store and sometimes you had to jump and shout to get a customers attention to your station. Apparently I wasn’t doing that right. Even though I was shouting and hopping and getting their attention.

I had to sell Credit Cards to people. You can’t do it for international people, which they didn’t tell me. I had to find out by trying to sign them up. They were from Norway; awesome accents. Made myself look like a jackass.

You also have to tell them certain things about the card. They say you get 20% off when you sign up. That’s what my managers told me to say, and that’s all they told me to say.

Well one woman customer took the pamphlet and read the tiny ass fine print which said you only get 10% off and they’ll mail you the other 10% in a month or whatever. I had to call one of my SEVEN MANAGERS over to help her because I basically looked like a liar. There were a bunch of other little rip-off details in the fine print and the woman decided not to get the card.

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The day I decided to leave was not a difficult decision. The thought of returning to that place made me physically sick; I was nauseated and my eyes were throbbing.

Don’t ever call me quiet like it’s an insult.

Don’t ever make me lie to sell your bullshit credit cards.

Don’t ever talk to me like I’m a baby.

And DON’T pay me EIGHT DOLLARS AN HOUR, which at the time was 75 CENTS BELOW MINIMUM WAGE, and then get caught doing it because YOU FUCKED UP MY W2 which confused my college campus and financial aid and taxes.

Can you tell I’m not a fan of this Toys R Us?

Don’t get me started on Wells Fargo. Those stupid motherfuckers couldn’t even set up my account online, so I couldn’t get direct deposit. We called over and over again and all we got was some dude in India who also didn’t know what to do. Because, you know, he’s in India.

I’m going for a Credit Union this time. A local one with people I can trust.

I say “trust” loosely.

The world is a business, that’s for sure. And it can be hard to trust business men and women.

I’m not as nervous about this interview as I was about the one at Toys R Us. I had a panic attack in Sears trying to buy proper clothing with my mother because it was all so overwhelming.

This time I know what to expect. I know what to say and how to dress and even if I don’t get the job there are other positions available–just in case, you know, I really fuck it up. Which is a possibility.

Doesn’t mean I’m not nervous.

At least they scheduled the interview really, really quickly so I don’t have a lot of time to mull over it.

If they offer me a cashier position, I’m going to refuse it.

NEVER.

AGAIN.

I have a problem telling people no, particularly authority figures. I can handle cops and judges and those kinds of authority figures, but when I get to people above me in a job position or a professor or anyone who knows more about a subject than I do, I cower and let the anxiety take over. I need to learn that I’m the one looking for the job. I have the right to turn down the offer.

And if the offer is cashier, I’m strapping on my space boots and jumping straight the fuck out of there. 

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A or B? I Choose Fuck You

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I’m in the middle of filling out an application that asked me to choose between two A and B statements. These are some examples:

“It’s difficult to be cheerful when there are so many problems to take care of” and “I could lead a small team of people but leading an entire department would be too stressful”.

And “I have difficulty building social relationships” or “I sometimes lose hope when things are not going well”.

“I prefer to let others make the important decisions at work” or “It’s hard to stay focused when so many things are happening around me”

“I rarely make an effort to learn something new unless I have to” or “I don’t think the low performers at my job will ever improve”

“Being a leader is stressful, so I prefer to be a good follower” or “I try to avoid things I’m not very good at”

“When bad things happen, it is hard for me to believe things will get any better” or “I often get angry and overreact to situations”

And then at the end they had the audacity to ask me if their assessment left me with a favorable impression of the company.

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I know you should try and make yourself sound like a self-loathing sheep with theoretical confidence in the workplace willing to bow down to the shiniest of corporate blood suckers, but I have a really hard time with that. I don’t value degrading my integrity for a job that pays minimum wage. So I mixed it up a bit and answered truthfully to my values. Will I get the job? Who knows. There were about seventy five questions, I doubt they read every single answer.

Maybe they just have a machine that rates on a scale from one to ten how dumb and sheepish the applicant is so they don’t have to do any of the work.

They need workers. It’s the holiday season. They would take a mentally challenged monkey with the insatiable urge to fling feces across the store if it meant having an extra two hands. Who gives a shit if the customers step in it and track it all over the floor–they have custodians for that–and who cares if the customer is sick of the smell; as long as they leave the store with fifty name brand products they could have gotten for thirty percent cheaper online, none of that matters.

The one choice that pissed me off the most?

“Being a leader is stressful, so I prefer to be a good follower”.

What the actual fuck. Who wakes up and says something like that to themselves? Oh, I think I’ll be a follower today and just do what I’m told, even if I’m told to shoot someone in the face by a strange masked man, I guess I’m a good follower so I’ll do it, hurr durr.

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It just astounds me. Why wouldn’t they want someone with a good mind and a good heart who can tell them where they’ve screwed up? Who can give them input? Who can see a problem from a mile away and be willing to speak up about it? Why wouldn’t you want someone with leadership qualities? Who said every person who wants to be a leader wants your piece of shit job? Are these corporate offices really so insecure about themselves that they think anyone with leadership qualities is going to burst through the top of the ladder and shove them off their own pedestal? For fuck’s sake, I just need some extra dough to help me pay back school, I don’t want your crappy job, I have my own career to attend to.

Doesn’t mean I’m going to tuck my tail between my legs and whine like an abused puppy.

Just because I have social anxiety and “have difficulty building social relationships” does not mean I’m not feisty. I’m pretty feisty.

Anyway, I answered like a good worker bee (although I deviated on a few) and I’m honestly expecting a call back pretty soon. It’ll be nice to have more of a steady income for a job I know I can handle. I know I can handle being in the back room preparing items to be put on the floor and then sometimes taking them out onto the floor. If a customer needs to ask me where something is and that’s the most interaction I have with people, I’ll be a happy camper.

I refuse to work register ever again in my life. What an excruciating existence.

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It Was Similar To This, Except The Drill Was In My Brain.

At least until I’m more comfortable around people.

I think I’m often misunderstood when I say “I can’t do that” in regards to jobs where you’re expected to be around a lot of people. I obviously know I can do it, but without the proper tools to squelch my anxiety, I’d just end up leaving the job within a month. I know myself pretty well, I’m good at avoidance; I’ve been doing it my whole life.

I need to take some baby steps here. Slowly but surely wiggle my way into these strange people’s reality and get used to shit. It’s going to take time and effort and I’m probably going to cry a lot and be angry a lot and feel worthless a lot and want to give up, but that’s withdrawal from any addiction; it’s inevitable.

My addiction is my comfort zone. And just like most people who are fully aware of their addiction, I just can’t stop on my own. I can’t quit cold turkey.

I want to, but I can’t. I’m impatient. It’s one of my strong weaknesses. You know, like the one’s they ask you to lie about in interviews.

“What’s your biggest weakness?”

“I’m lazy as fuck, I hate people, and half the time forget to take a shower.”

I want a job run by people who appreciate my honesty.

Rise, Rebel, Resist . . . Then Get Back To Your Job

So, I have done it.

Yes. Let us all take a moment and grieve.

I’m sucking on this lollipop for comfort. The sugar coats my mouth in hugs I want to reject and the pomegranate flavoring only reminds me how artificial the world is.

I type on this keyboard as one of YOU. One of you who spend your waking hours on the knees on cold tile surrounded by men in suits with orders and demands they expect you to follow without question. One of you who lay your head on your pillow at night dreading the following day but reveling over the twenty dollars in your wallet you can spend on a dinner with a friend. Yes, one of you who proudly boast you’re “a good worker” without even really knowing what that means.

Little tiny needles stabbed my heart the moment I had to select “responsible” over “artistic”

“Competitive” over “Complicated”,

“Punctual” over “Funny” (Of which I am obviously both)

Deep, yes?

It’s my way of saying I applied for another job today.

I also bought a Nikon D3300 DSLR camera which prompted my extensive job search. For . . . obvious reasons, I think.

MONEY. I DID IT FOR MONEY OKAY?!?!?!?!??!?! Fuck, stop pressuring me with your eyes!!!!!!

I was very particular about my choices. I want a job that doesn’t require constant flows of interaction with people (#1 requirement) and one that I don’t need a lot of oversee from managers because I know my temper, I know myself, and I know my limits. I’m not trying to “change how I act” to fit your fucking worker position, okay? Instead, I’m going to choose a job that gives me an income and fits my needs, not yours. Got it society? Fuck you.

I crack myself up.

I’m not into being one person here, and having to be a different person some place else. I am who I am. If that sounds ridiculous and you’re thinking “eh, you need to be professional in a work place, blah blah pragmatic shit” than I don’t know what to do to help you. Sure, self control is a given but any place that requires me to change who I am is a place I will never be. I’ve been on the street before, so when I say I’d prefer to live in a tent than work for some stuck up asshole for a corporation or local management or small business or whoever, than I mean it.

It got me thinking about honesty, truths, and us. We(humans) are the most untruthful group of things on this Earth. I’m pretty sure most people know that, but I think they just accept it. I . . . I don’t. If you look horrible I’m going to say dude, you look horrible. If you said something stupid I’m going to say, dude I feel like that was stupid and explain why. If you’re a customer and you personally attack me for something I have no control over, than I’m going to call you rude because that’s how you’re acting.

Hence why I want a job that doesn’t require interaction with a constant, constant flow of people. I can handle a few, I’ve always been able to. But not a lot. Not mobs of people. I’ll never be a cashier again in my life. Fuck social anxiety, that’s just a personal preference.

Employers know we lie on applications. It’s impossible NOT to. I’m not as responsible as I am artistic. I’m way more complicated than I am competitive, and I’m fucking hilarious and punctual. Put a “both” option. Why wouldn’t you want someone who is both artistic and responsible? Artistic people think about things in a different way, we’re valuable and unique. If you want a bunch of zombies willing to shine your shoes, comb your hair, lick your balls, and dress you, than please specify that in the application so I know I’m wasting my time.

So what’s the point of talking yourself up on applications and interviews if you know you’re lying, they know you’re lying, the world knows your lying, and no one gives two shits?

Obvious answer: We do it because we have to.

Obvious reply: You do it because you think you have to.

Not-so obvious reply: Who We Are by imagine dragons is an amazing song.

If everyone felt comfortable enough telling the truth, if everyone felt comfortable being human, being true to their identity, there’d be no reason to lie. Employers would have no reason to ask the same set of questions to every single person. None of us would have any reason to act like robots.

It’s not like I’m saying show up to work drunk like “here’s the real me, BITCHES” and slam a bottle upside someone’s head. That would make you stupid. I’m just saying that you shouldn’t have to talk yourself up, you should be enough the way you are.

We have issues with putting more value on one type of person than their neighbor. If you’re always on time in the morning and your coworker always comes in an hour late flustered–do they deserve to get fired? Not necessarily; maybe they’d do better with a later shift or a night shift.

What makes a “good worker” in these retail, low-end jobs anyway? Has anyone really sat down and thought about that? You don’t argue with your superiors, your opinion is only mildly validated if it’s a good, polite way to increase sales (and even then it’ll probably get shot down), you’re on time, you do what you’re supposed to, and you have very, very little chance to ever move up into any position of power. Submit and obey.

So congratulations good worker, you’re a robot.

Not that we don’t need robots. We need them badly, because they ring up our food and stock our shelves and some of them enjoy it. I won’t complain with that at all, I like food and neatly stocked shelves.

So when real, mechanical robots rise up and take over these jobs . . . what are human robots going to do?

Hmmmmmm.

Honesty is the best policy. If I asked a guy in store about a product, I don’t want him to tell me “oh, these specs are great, blah, blah, blah” from a textbook, I want an answer like “Well these things are cool–personally I tried it and this part of it sucked dick man”.

Wow, thank’s for your honesty. If I have the same trouble, I’ll surely bring it back.

At least I’m aware something could go wrong.

I guess that’s what online reviewers make a living doing. That and annoying the shit out of us.

I think that’s what I’m going to enjoy most about my career after my schooling gets done. I don’t need to run off anyone’s rules or anyone’s vision of professional. I run things how I want to run things. I can speak with people human to human. Don’t really know why a lot of psychiatrists don’t do psychotherapy with their patients anymore, it’s really weird. What’s the point of being a doctor if your interaction is literally so impersonal you probably forget who’s who. I understand there aren’t as many psychiatrists as psychologists and therapists but I mean . . . you’re managing their medications, substances that can (and will, if they’re on it for an extended period of time) seriously alter their life, I think you owe them a little more than a fifteen minute consultation. If they so choose.

Usually seeing a psychologist and a psychiatrist is way more expensive than if you only saw one or the other.

This article talks about this subject in good light, I think.

Honesty people.

Learn it. Love it. Live it. And if your boss don’t like it, tell him to suck it.

Just kidding. You need your job. Don’t listen to me, I’m crazy.