Archives for posts with tag: employment

20170606_163147I am not ashamed to admit it…I love my job.

Sure it can get frustrating constantly dealing with deadlines, and clients who get their ad materials in an hour before press time. Sure it sucks when your sales rep gives you the bare minimum of information when designing an ad that you spend an hour on, only to have the client say “it’s not what they were looking for.

But when it comes down to the proverbial brass tacks, I love my job.

Take today…I am working from home. I already work from home every Wednesday, which is our slowest production day, but this Friday our sales team met their goal, and they have the day off. My publisher, the fair and reasonable gal that she is, told us we could work from home as well. So I sit here in my jammies, mug of tea by my side, writing this rather than driving into town to the office.

This happens frequently. On days where she can our newspaper and magazines are in good shape, she’ll send us home early. This is because she knows that when we are swamped with ad builds, we work weekends and after hours to get proofs out. She acknowledges that, and gives us time off when we are slow.

This is something my other bosses never quite got. Hell, at my last job if I needed to leave early because family was coming in or I had a doctor’s appointment you had to SHOW you made up the time. The fact that I came in 1/2 hour early every day, or sometimes never took a lunch break escaped their notice. They were slave masters when it came to hours.

I also love my job because I respect the product we put out. My newspaper is the heart of Charlottesville…the alternative to your basic newspaper, we cover topics that others won’t touch. This was the cover of our last issue of 2016…12_28_2016 CVILLEWEEKpg01It took BALLS to put this out there for all of Charlottesville to see….to boldly show that we do not agree with what is going on in Washington and around the country. We got a lot of flack for this cover. There are still a few advertisers that refuse to do business with us. But that is why I LOVE our product. They are not afraid to tell it like it is.

Screen Shot 2017-04-23 at 7.42.22 AMThis is another one of my favorite covers from a previous year. Colorful and fun, promoting equality and diversity…and with a drag queen front and center.

My paper sponsors a lot of awesome events in town as well. Not only the Pride Festival, which this cover was promoting, but the Tom Tom Founders Festival, our local baseball team, the Tom Sox, along with a plethora of other community events. They are very invested in our town, and I really dig that.

My company also shows a ton of appreciation for it’s employees. We are fed often…There are always snacks on the table – actually, I’m not sure if this is really a good thing…

My boss is taking my coworkers and I to lunch next week – this after she bought a whole bunch of us lunch just a few weeks back. We frequently have work time-outs where we play games, drink wine and snack for an hour or so at the end of the day. They plan outings for us as well. In a few weeks we will all meet at a TomSox baseball game for a barbecue and drinks.

Yes, there are perks a plenty! Gift cards, free concert tickets and tickets to lots of community events are handed out frequently. During the spring my family got to attend an outdoor barbecue that costs $75 per ticket. I got my daughters free tickets to a Parachute concert a few months back.

Ooops! It’s 9 am! time to log in from home and begin my day. You know what they say…when you love your job you don’t work a day in your life.

 

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I’ve been at my new job for a month now, and I have to say, I am really loving it.

After 2+ years of having to get permission from multiple people to take a day off, or leave early, and being chained to my desk from 9:30 to 5:30 (because God forbid the phone rings and isn’t answered IMMEDIATELY), it’s nice to be able to leave my phone-less desk and walk to get a cup of tea, or to just take a breather.

But it’s so much more than that. Because my newspaper is deeply steeped in our community, we have a presence at a lot of community functions. And with that presence comes free tickets. Free VIP tickets. Easy parking, lots of perks, and access to stuff the creme-de-la-creme of Charlottesville is used to, but I certainly am not.

For instance, next weekend I will attend the Heritage Harvest Festival at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello. The next weekend is Tomtoberfest, a fall block party featuring a variety of danceable musicians and bands, a dozen of the best local food trucks and an Arts & Crafts fair. And all this is free and VIP. Yippee!

In October, my office will attend an Avett Brothers concert at an outdoor venue here in town. They have reserved this space called the Party Porch, and it’s a fun time to drink and socialize with my fellow co-workers. While I don’t really know the band very well, I’m willing to give them a listen to, especially if the wine is free.

I also found out, I get to claim expenses…now there’s something new. I get money towards my cell phone, towards parking, and if I joined a gym, they kick in money for that as well. When I go to take photos for the newspaper, I get mileage.

I get to work from home on Wednesdays. My company pays for a LogMeIn subscription, so I can access my work desktop from home and get my work done while sitting in my pajamas. It’s so awesome and it really breaks up the work week, making it seem a lot shorter.

And take this past Friday…almost the whole office left early. It was the Friday before Labor day weekend, and the ad work was all done, so…we just left, two hours early. And nobody cared.

At my last job there had to be a meeting of the chiefs just to see if we could leave early during a snow storm, or the day before Thanksgiving.

It’s all so wonderful. Each day that goes by, I discover something wonderful about my new job, and I’m pinching myself to make sure I’m not dreaming.

It makes me think back to the spring. I remember being in the shower and coming to the realization that I was never going to find another job. I hated the job I was at, but after several failed interviews at other companies I realized I was stuck where I was, and it was going to be fine. There were way worse places I could be working.

And now look at me. Everything has changed, and all because I happened to look on Craigslist on the right day. I’m certain it was divine intervention…or my dad from beyond the grave giving me a nudge.

When hubby and I were talking about all these fabulous new development and how happy and satisfied I am now, he said to me, “you’re not just on a roll. You’re on a buttered roll.”

He’s so right.

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I know, I know…I’ve been remiss in keeping up with my blog. Shame on me. But in my defense, things have been really crazy this month.

I started my new job as the editorial designer for the Fluvanna Review. It’s a little paper that serves the rural county I live in. It’s no New York Times, but it keeps the locals informed. What I love about it is a) It’s creative, b) the hours are flexible, and c) it’s a 4 minute drive from my house.

My other job, designing for a high-end real estate office, has been a real emotional roller coaster. Before I left for vacation, my understanding was I’d work from home Monday & Tuesday, and be in the office the rest of the week.

But when I got into the office the Wednesday after vacation, my boss handed me a pile of ads to be worked on, and said “oh, I almost forgot. We really need someone here 5 days a week, so we are trying out someone new on Monday and Tuesday.” The gist was, if she worked out, I’d be out for good.

Part of me was shocked.  I mean, they didn’t even try to see if my new schedule would work. The other side of me understood where she was coming from.

The entire office, my boss being the main offender, is very used to me being their little graphics monkey…I am here to perform for them at will. They don’t like the idea of having to wait, or having to think ahead. With me at my desk 5 days a week, they can give me last-minute stuff, and I get it done. But that doesn’t wash if I’m only in the office 3 days a week- this requires them to schedule my time, and they don’t like that at all.

But it turns out they don’t really like this new girl. She’s 100% capable of doing the job – hell she’s even a real tech wiz, which I am not. But her interpersonal skills suck. She’s a bit of a know-it-all, and she has already clashed heads with the boss in the course of two weeks.

My only problem with her is that I’m not even gone yet, and she’s moved a ton of my files around. Now when I open an ad or a postcard, nothing links. If they wind up canning her (and that’s the word that’s going around) I’ll be stuck trying to undo all her crazy reorganizing.

So with all this PLUS my three other freelance jobs (yes, at present I have FIVE jobs), it’s no wonder I haven’t had the time to write about my silly little life. I hope that once the dust settles, I’ll have more time to devote to being Typical Tracy.

Spring-Home-Green

While technically it’s not spring yet, our local real estate market begs to differ. Spring is the hot time to put new listings on the market, re-introduce old ones to potentially new buyers, and sell, sell, sell.

What this means for me?
Work, work, work.

I just went through 5 days of non-stop crazy work. Every agent needed flyers, every agent needed a mailchimp to go out, I had no less than 4 ads due…my legal pad was three pages long with to-do’s from more than a dozen agents.

There were times I wanted to cry. On Friday I had to put in two extra hours, which went unnoticed and unrecognized, unlike the time I was an hour late due to snow where EVERYONE noticed.

I was churning stuff out like a machine…and I have to admit I had my fair share of mistakes. Turns out, I’m not that great under pressure. I can get the work done, but it needs to be thoroughly checked by a sane person.

On a nice note, one of my agents left me a pot of tulips on my desk with a thank you balloon. At least someone noticed I was losing my mind.

Today was far less hectic. It’s Tuesday and that means Broker’s Open Houses…half the agents in my office were either holding an open house or visiting one. It was blissfully quiet…at one point I was here all alone.

But today, at roughly 2 pm – I crossed the last thing off my legal pad. I had caught up with everything.

Ahhhh – until the next rush of must have’s comes in.

 

Old House

My daughter has a summer job that requires a lot of my time – she works with my husband at the outdoor event arena that he works at as well. Problem is their shifts don’t mesh, and I am stuck driving her home from most of the events she works. Like at 9:45 pm. I’m not a late night person…yes, 9:45 is late night for me.

Don’t judge – I get up at 5:00 am. Plus the venue is a 25-30 drive from my house. The other night between the travel and getting her food, it was a 90 minute excursion.

I had jobs as a kid – but I lived in a town where you could walk to everything. My first job was working as a cashier in our local supermarket. But the manager was a sour-pussed old man who glared at you from his little office perch and yelled at you each chance he got.

So I quit that job and began working as a cleaning gal in one of our town’s 200+ year old homes. One of the main reasons I took the job was for the pay…$5 an hour. Back in 1981 that was, to quote Jeff Spicoli, “righteous bucks.”

The couple who lived in the home were a nice elderly man and wife. However, they turned out to be a tad, well…eccentric. But I liked that, especially after supermarket sour puss. But it didn’t take long for me to realize these two were not your average couple.

My first day on the job they broke me in by having me clean the kitchen. This would usually mean doing some dishes, cleaning the counters, maybe sweeping the floor, right?

I walked in to see fish heads boiling on the stove. There was a thick, grey foam gathering around the sides of the pot as one fish eye stared at the beamed ceiling. They used the meat that fell off the heads to feed their cats. I really did not relish the idea of cleaning that pot.

But that was not the first of many odd jobs I would be given at that house. I would spend an entire Saturday morning oiling the old wood floors. Funny thing is, I used vegetable oil that came out of a big yellow jug – or maybe it was corn oil. I’d pour about a cup’s worth out, and spread it over the floor with a sponge mop. You know those floors would suck that stuff up almost instantaneously?

There was a small wing of the house that was the original 200 year old portion – a very small cottage that had been subsequently added on to. It was the most charming part of the home; you could imagine some little colonial family living there, and cooking over the fireplace. Yet his pleasant, historic little room was used by the cats as their litter box. It was my job twice a week to find and dispose of all their little turds. Whee!

Did I mention these two were a bit slovenly or are you starting to figure that out for yourself…

I remember one time I had to clean their bathroom & bedroom. The bath had a bidet – I remember thinking, “who the hell needs a bidet in New Jersey?” But the worst was what I found under their bed while picking up their dirty laundry. I found a stack of very old porn magazines. I’m not talking Hustler or Playboy. I’m talking about some shit from the 50s or 60s.

I was horrified. You have to remember, I was only 16 or 17 at the time, and these folks were old enough to be my grandparents. Finding this porn bummed me out – it was like walking in on your parents havng sex…I had a hard time looking either of them in the face for at least a month.

I remember another instance where I was sitting with the wife at her dining room table. I was telling her how a girlfriend of mine at school had died of Hodgkin’s Disease, and how upsetting it was to me. It was at this point that she opened her mouth and let out a very loud, very wet burp. She didn’t cover her mouth, she didn’t embarrassedly pardon herself afterwards, she just kept looking at me and listening.

It was so odd.

All these things aside, they were still a cool old couple. They helped sponsor me when I was in the New Jersey Miss National Teen Age Pageant (now there’s a blog post), and the wife actually helped me write my essay on who I admire the most. She suggested I choose Alan Alda, who I did not admire in the least, but he was from our home town and was big on feminist issues…it was a good hook.

And it was a good job – the work could be hard sometimes – washing the multitude of 12 paned windows with 100+ year old glass in them was no picnic, but you could daydream while you did it. I worked there until I graduated high school and had earned quite a tidy little sum of cash.

I think back on that job, and that kooky little couple from time to time…especially when I see a bidet, boiling fish….

or vintage porn.

RAdio

This morning when I was out walking, Todd Rundgren’s “I Saw The Light” came on my iPod. This song has a very special meaning to me – you see, it was the very first song that my first-born daughter ever heard.

It was August of 1995, and we were in the car driving her home from the hospital. “I Saw The Light” came on the radio. I have always liked that song, so I stopped my husband from changing the channel, and sang along. When it was over, I turned to him and said, “That was Sam’s first song. That’s her song.”

Now before I go on with this story, you need a little bit of background information. My husband is a musicaholic – it’s his passion. His true love. Have you ever asked the question of whether you would rather be blind or deaf? I always sided with deafness, because I would need to see my girls grow up..to see them graduate, walk down the aisle, have kids of their own.

Hubby? He would opt for blindness because he couldn’t imagine not being able to listen to music. I mean I love Springsteeen, but I’d rather be able to see than hear Rosalita.

But music goes a lot deeper with my husband, because it’s been a part of his life for so long. When he was young, he decided to get into radio. He went to a broadcasting school in New York City, and got a job working for WNEW, who had both AM and FM stations. While the AM station was news, sports and tunes from the 30’s & 40’s, the FM station was all rock. Classic rock – and a big wheel in the New York radio market.

He wasn’t on the air, because he said his tape that he made at broadcasting school sucked. But he worked with a popular DJ as an intern, then in the newsroom, and then a remote producer. However that didn’t mean he was tied to a dark studio. There were concerts and lots of them. And when you worked at the top rock radio station in a town like New York? You get to see EVERYONE.

He would go to concerts to hand out promotional items to fans, and then help backstage with live interviews. Can you imagine that? BACKSTAGE at Madison Square Garden, Giant’s Stadium or the Brendan Byrne Arena (now the Izod Center) for every show imaginable. He has a collection of backstage passes that would blow your mind.

A very young Hubby, on the far left in the yellow tee – and yes, that’s Pete Townshend. Fun Fact – he still has that exact T-Shirt.

And he’s seen everyone. I can’t name them all, but if it’s an artist or band that had any musical cred in the 70’s, 80’s and early 90’s – he’s seen them. He’s got a pretty massive collection of ticket stubs too. He always tells me if I wrote about his musical exploitations rather than ramble on about my goofy life, I’d have a million followers.

But even after his time at WNEW ended, he’s managed to stay involved in music. Right now he works at two entertainment venues where he still gets to be behind the scenes, although it’s on a much smaller scale. So far this year he’s worked the Snoop Dogg concert and helped Dwight Yoakam with his meet & greet. And let’s not forget, it was through this job that I got to meet Springsteen, where I got a kiss on the cheek from the Boss himself, followed by backstage passes to his concert that very same night.

It was one of the best nights of my life, and he did shit like that a few times a week.

He’s also managed to turn our youngest daughter onto all sorts of classic rock bands. She loves ELO, The Beatles and Chicago. When he does dishes or cleans the house, the iTunes goes on, and the songs blast out…everything from Supertramp to Sinatra, from Manilow to Manhattan Transfer – his tastes are beyond eclectic – they are scattered wider than the universe.

Yeah, it’s safe to say he lives music.

And sports – but that’s another blog post.

So when I turned to him in the summer of 1995 and said, “That was Sam’s first song. That’s her song” maybe now you can understand why he immediately began a frantic channel search to find a song he could embrace. Because his first daughter’s first song was way too important to him, and fate had chosen Todd Rundgren.

He claims it’s not her song even to this day, but it is.

And it’s fitting as well. With the exception of a few lines here and there, it really can be the story of a mom looking into her childs eyes for the first time. Take a listen and see what I mean. Listen to my daughter’s very first song.

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In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “I Have Confidence in Me.”

Are you good at what you do? What would you like to be better at?

I always knew my talents lied in the middle of the road at best. In high school I was nowhere near the most talented artist, although I tried hard. I had an art show my senior year with another girl and I’ll be honest, her shit blew mine out of the water; Like, my stuff was flopping and dying on the beach.

My mom was proud though.

Ditto in college. I was super average as an illustration major. My photography was average, my sculpture was average, and my figure drawing was average. Once I graduated with a BFA I had one job illustrating a cartoon for a magazine and I decided I hated it.

So, I went into graphic design – we’re talking T square and triangle, waxers and Bestine. I worked for Tiger Beat and Right On! magazines for over three years, and had moved up from beginner fledgling to Art Director, and I thought I was hot shit. So hot that when the magazines got sold to a firm on Madison Avenue, I didn’t take the offer to stay on as Art Director. I’d find something else.

It took me years and years to find another job in design. But I did, and I was always good. Maybe not great, but good. And in some cases good could seem great. While I may not be the best designer, I always managed to be way better than the person before me, making me appear great.

I spent over 12 years working for one newspaper – Again I started as the low man on the totem pole and worked my way up to the position Art Director. The paper looked tons better under my averagely skilled hand – plus, I was fast. Sales agents used to clamor for me to do their ads – I was in high demand. I was also reliable – working nights and weekends if need be to meet our weekly deadline. I was hot shit again.

And then they fired me.

Once again, our paper was sold and after 2 years with the new owners, they budgeted me out. They had younger designers with fresher ideas who would work for a lot less money. I collected unemployment for almost a year, and had trouble getting hired.  I thought with all my experience someone would snatch me right up, but I guess a middle aged designer with little html experience wasn’t all that hot after all.

During that year I watched my newspaper, with a sinking heart, deteriorate each week I saw it on the stands. Those young fresh designers didn’t give a hoot about my crappy little paper, and as a result it was thrown together last minute. But that was a good thing.

Turns out complaints were coming in from advertisers about the shoddy quality of the paper. I was asked to come back on a freelance basis just to design the covers and the edit. That was over a year ago, and I still do it today.

I also work close to full time for a real estate firm handling their graphic design and marketing materials – once again, while I’m not great, I’m better than the person who had the job before me – way better. My speed and ability to learn new programs quickly made me an office favorite once again. I was able to take on tasks that others no longer had time to do.

I got a raise after one year.

Last week my boss, who used to do marketing for Calvin Klein, gave me an ad to design that required a lot more design acumen than your average cut and paste. I was afraid my average design skills would shine a giant spotlight on my utter medicority. I worked hard on it, and sent her a proof with little confidence that she would like it.

The next day she came to my desk and told me how impressed she was with the designs I came up with. I’d hit it out of the park.

So, I might not be big ad agency material. I might never be good enough for Glamour or Time or Entertainment Weekly. I’ll never win any print design awards, and I certainly don’t make a lot of money…I doubt I ever will.

But I’m good at what I do. I might doubt myself at times, but in the end I get it done well.

Booze

When I was in my young adult years I couldn’t always find a job in the graphic design field. Desktop publishing was in and paste-up was out, and although I had some experience designing on the Mac, I was still more comfortable with my T-square and pica guage. So art jobs were hard to come by, even when you lived a stones throw from Manhattan.

But a girl’s gotta eat, so I took a job at our local liquor super store, Bottle King. Glamorous, right? Well, it was easy work, and the store was so close I could walk to it. I worked a 40 hour week as a cashier – scanning beer and booze. You’d be surprised the things you could learn wearing that blue Bottle King vest.

I loved working the opening shift because you figure – how many people buy booze at 9 am? Well I’ll tell you something – there was almost always someone waiting for those front doors to open every single day. We had our regulars, that’s for sure.

There was the business man in an overcoat who came in just about every day shortly after 5 and bought a pint of BK Vodka. There was an overweight dude with long hair that would buy 2 or 3 jugs of Almaden wine – not every day, but a few times a week. And there were the throngs of blue collar dudes who came in for their case of Bud, or Miller, or Coors.

And there were the bouffant sisters. Two ladies in their 50s or so with big beehive hair-dos who would fill a shopping cart full of all the fixin’s for Manhattans and Old Fashioneds. They would argue and bicker as they went up and down the aisles, but I have a feeling that they were best buddies again a tumbler or two into happy hour.

Then there were the wine connoisseurs – the folks who came in and bought bottles by the case. My boss liked them. And my boss liked me too. He was a decent guy – I think his name was Mike. If you showed up and did your job, he gave you better shifts and didn’t mind if you took an extra 5 minutes for your dinner break, which was good because it was only 30 minutes long. Just enough time to buy a slice or two and inhale it in his office before heading back to your register.

I remember while I worked there is father died – he had a heart attack while shovelling snow. I felt so bad for him…it’s such a lack luster way to go. Here you are just clearing the snow from your driveway and bam, you’re dead. You know, I think of his dad almost every time I shovel.

During the holidays the store would be rocking. Thanksgiving day the lines would run the entire length of the store back to the beer cases. Ditto on the days leading up to Christmas and New Years. And if we had a big lottery? Uff da – the line would circle the store.

The lottery machine was another ball buster. Not so much if folks filled out their card or just wanted a couple of quick picks. But every week we would get a few hard core lottery players that would come in with a very long, very tattered list of pick 3 and pick 4 numbers. Those sucked.

There was one lady who was in her 60s or 70s that would waddle in with her walker once a week stinking to high heaven. I don’t think she did more than sprinkle water under her armpits once every 6 months. She had that classic, sour, old lady smell and boy, did it linger. You had to practically hold your breath while you punched in her lottery numbers and then the front of the store reeked for at least a half an hour afterwards. But I was never mean to her – not like some of the other cashiers.

We used to have one dude come in that had these odd horn-like growths on his fingers and the back of his hands. One of the girls would tell me she tried to make sure their hands never touched when she took his money. It didn’t bother me though. I don’t like making folks who may have an abnormality feel out of place. Except for once…

We were really busy – so busy that I was nothing more than a change making machine. I was ringing folks up and handing them their change like a robot, barely making eye contact. I went to hand back this one gentleman his change when I saw that the palm extended out to me was not your average palm.

I think the man had Ectrodactyly – where the hand looks more like a lobster claw. In any case it caught me 100% off guard and and instead of dropping the change into his hand, I screamed and threw the change – about 94¢ worth – in the air. It came clattering down noisily as everyone in the store turned to stare.

I was utterly humiliated. But the man was very kind and understanding while I babbled a string of apologies and gathered up his change from the floor. It’s still one of my most cringe-worthy moments.

I worked there on and off for a couple of years. If I left for a new job, and it didn’t quite work out, Mike was always ready and willing to take me back. But eventually I found a good enough job that my Bottle King days were officially over.

The store is still there, but it’s not a Bottle King anymore – it’s now called Wine King – hey! Right up my alley.

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Icky BossDid you ever have a job you just didn’t like? The kind that was basically just to keep gas in your car and Cheerios in the cabinet? I have a few of them in my time…more than a few actually. There were a few years where I simply could not get hired in my field, but still needed to earn some sort of a living. And in this few years I had a slew of some seriously bad jobs.

It was right after I’d moved back from Arkansas. I needed to find a way to pay rent, and make my car payments, so I took what I could get. I started waitressing at a joint called Sammy Sloans in Englewood, NJ. It’s not there anymore, and I’m not surprised. Run by the drunken, skirt chasing son of the owner it didn’t stand a chance. He was an über prick…made us buy shirts and pants at Bloomingdale’s for our uniform. When we complained about the cost, he screamed at us to buy what he told us to buy or get the fuck out.

Yay, Sammy Sloans!

I recall our opening night – packed to the rafters and super busy. I had a table of 4 senior citizens. While I took their orders I noticed they had no silverware and promised to bring them some. The bin that usually held the napkin-rolled cutlery was empty, and I made a mental note to check on the status of fresh ones. Well, like I said, the restaurant was super packed, and I forgot. I brought this table their food, but they had no silverware with which to eat it.

I was standing by the computer entering in another order when I heard a rhythmic banging on a table in the back of the restaurant. Soon a chant joined the banging…”WE NEED SILVERWARE! WE NEED SILVERWARE! “WE NEED SILVERWARE!”

The entire restaurant had turned around by this point as was staring at my table of seniors. I’d totally forgotten their forks and knives, and their food was getting cold. With a beet red face I skulked over to the table and with a thousand apologies gave them their silverware. As the old man lectured & berated me, his wife was begging him to “leave the poor girl alone…it’s her first day!”

My kinda gal. I gave them a few free desserts. I got a very small tip.

I left that job to work in New York City at a very small advertising & design firm. I actually got the job by meeting the girl who was leaving during a ski weekend at Hunter Mountain. We chatted it up and she set up an appointment for me to have an interview with her boss.

The “interview” was after work at a bar in Soho. The boss, a Fred Flinstone looking dude named Mark, made it clear that he found me very attractive, and that it was too bad I was going to work for him – he would have enjoyed dating me. I spent the drive home trying to shake off the slimy feeling I had – maybe accepting this gig wasn’t the greatest idea. But, I finally had a job in my field and I was going to try to make it work.

The commute itself was a long one – a bus from Jersey to the Port Authority, followed by a very long walk to my subway platform, and then a train to Soho. Working in that part of Manhattan was great though…the galleries, the shops, the cobblestone streets. Lunchtime was always an adventure for me – I’d grab a quick lunch and then roam the streets. I saw Neil Patrick Harris one day and said to myself, “I just walked past Doogie Howser.”

But even the allure of Soho couldn’t keep me in this job. My boss was a pig who made countless inappropriate comments. One day, as I sat in a skirt at my drafting table, he walked past, ran a finger up my leg and said, “Don’t you think it’s time for a shave?”

He also wanted me to take care of his personal affairs, like banking and dry cleaning on my lunch hour – not on company time. When I complained and refused, he cut my health coverage. So I quit.

He fairly begged me to stay…offered me a raise, full health bennies and even a parking spot so I could drive into the city. I told him to fuck off, and went to work as a cashier at Bottle King, a liquor store near my house. That asshole is still in business too. And he still looks like Fred Flintstone.

Ah Bottle King. Although  it wasn’t a glamorous job, it does not belong as part of this blog. While it was a job I took just to pay the bills, my boss was fair and liked me, and the work was fairly easy and somewhat amusing. I see a future post there.

Then there was my job at the window factory. Talk about boring. I worked as a receptionist, and took orders from contractors all over northern NJ for windows. Doesn’t it sound interesting? I also had to file, and type letters for the boss who was balding and walked around the office like he had a stick up his ass.

The office manager was a jarringly unattractive woman who micro-managed every move you made, and would sit behind her desk playing with her mustache hair. One time I asked for the afternoon off to attend my uncle Billy’s funeral. She made me bring her an obit to prove my uncle had actually died and I wasn’t just playing hooky. She was also quite large. The office was usually freezing to accommodate her…I had to wear a sweater in August.

I only got 30 minutes for lunch at this joint, and I’d usually sit in the conference room with my sandwich and a book. There was one engineer named Garish that would approach me asking why I was reading a book when I could be reading the window manuals and learning the product. Um, because it’s my lunch hour? I’ll read your stale manuals in between phone calls.

The last of my bad jobs was directly after leaving the window factory. I went to work for an outfit in Jersey City that produced those shitty magazines that have like a thousand cars for sale or apartments for rent – you know the kind that are printed on paper that is almost grey it’s such crappy quality? But again, at least it was a job in graphics, so I took it.

My boss demanded that while designing, I use only key commands – I had to learn all the shortcuts. He would not tolerate me wasting time using my mouse to access drop down menus. What the fuck…how strange.

Then my job quickly turned from one as a designer to one as his personal assistant. With no notice, I spent a day driving him all over northern New Jersey to drop off his car, pick up his glasses, and run a thousand other crappy errands. Oh, I hated this shabby little job in the shabby little office in shabby little Jersey City.

So I gave my two weeks notice. My boss was so incensed that was quitting, he told me to get the hell out right there and then. He didn’t want to have to look at me for two weeks.

The door did not hit me in the ass on the way out.

Shortly after that I got a job working as a graphic designer, and I’ve worked in design ever since. I came close to taking a few of those shitty jobs while I was unemployed last year, but thankfully I’ve managed to avoid them.

Life really is too short to not enjoy what you do. My husband loves to say “If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.” While I don’t find that entirely true, it does make the day fly by a bit faster.

6a00e5506da99788330153915f5534970b-piI know I have been neglecting my blog as of late, but it’s for a good reason. After 10 long months of searching, emailing resumes and filling out unemployment forms, I finally landed a job. And, not just any job, a job I really love.

The change in my schedule has taken some getting used to, and has left me tired by the end of the day. But even tired I must do dishes and help with homework and fold laundry, so dear readers, there’s been little time to blog. But, knowing that I have been so very delinquent in keeping you abreast of all that is typical for Tracy, I will devote my lunch hour to posting this.

So what is this sensational new position of mine? Where do I daintily cross my ankles under my desk from 9-5? I landed a job at a prominent real estate agent’s office handling all their graphic design and media needs. The fact that I’d spent the last 12 years designing a real estate magazine made me a shoe-in for the job, and this blog helped as well. Seeing that I’m at least computer literate enough to manage a blog showed them that I could probably handle the minor changes they need made to their website.

So, here I am, in my fourth week on the job, and I absolutely love it. Like Violet Beauregarde in Willy Wonka asked of the ill-fated stick of gum, “What’s so fab about it?” Well I’ll tell you.

1. The People
I work with mostly women, and so far, they are all super cool and very nice. Everyone stops by to say hi or ask a question. My last job? Nobody would give me the time of day. Half the time if I offered them a cheery “Good Morning” they would just walk past.

2. The Office
The building I work in is a grand, old house just blocks from the Downtown Mall, the hip area of town, and smack-dab in the center of Charlottesville’s historic district. It’s loaded with charm; hardwood floors, windows with original wavy glass, and a wide, grand staircase with smooth sturdy banister that curls into a wooden spiral at the bottom. It’s a far cry from your typical office with fluorescent lighting and a maze of cubicles.

Plus, this office, unlike my last, supplies you with the basic necessities of life. Tea, coffee, milk, sugar, utensils, bottled water. And the bathroom? Roomy and spacious with toilets that don’t wiggle on their foundation.

3. My Office
Yes, you read that right. I have my own office. MY OWN OFFICE. You have no idea how utterly wonderful this makes me feel. It’s a small little narrow room that was obviously built on as an addition. It’s got 3 windows, none of which has a great view, but that let in a ton of sunlight. Two walls of my room are the brick exterior of the original house, painted a lovely cream color. I have a window next to my desk that looks into the kitchen – it used to be an exterior window, but whoever added on this room decided not to brick it up, and I’m glad. It’s charming as hell.

I brought in a plant, and my desk lamp from home, photos of my girls and my collection of Matchbox Karmann Ghias. I plan on bringing in more stuff, but didn’t want to be too eager to “move on in.” A little at a time is more tasteful. By spring I should have pictures hung, and perhaps a comfy chair in the corner.

4. The Work
A lot of tasks I do here I already knew how to do, like building ads for the various papers and magazines that my boss advertises in. However, I’m also learning new stuff, which I really like. I’ve been trained on how to manage their website by a gal who spoke so fast and matter of factly, that I was glad I’d had 5 years of WordPress under my belt. A lot of what she showed me was familiar because of my years of blogging. I’ve also been learning MailChimp, which is easy but can be a tad frustrating due to its lack of flexibility. There’s lots for me to do, and my day is usually busy – sometimes hectic, even. But I like it.

5. The Parking
I have my own parking space in a lot a block from the office. No more driving around for 10 minutes trying to find a spot that’s half a mile away from the office. No more worries if it’s 2 hour parking or all day parking. Now more worries that I’ll get towed. My own spot in a lot. It’s great because I can use it all week long. Say the girls and I want to attend some event downtown where parking is at a premium? No problem – mom has her own spot.

The only thing I don’t like about my new job? The hours.  They want someone in the office until 6 p.m., and me being the low gal on the totem pole, got that shift. So, I work from 10 to 6. The 10 am part is okay…if I have errands to run I can get them done before work. But by 6 pm, in the fall/winter months, it’s so dreadfully dark out, and I hate driving in the dark. The 25 minute commute home along winding country roads is no fun in the pitch black, save for the glaring headlights of the passing cars. Plus by the time I get home, the last thing I want to do is start cooking a meal, so we’ve been eating a lot of soup, and other things you can heat up fast. Otherwise we’ll be sitting down to dinner at 7:45, at which time I will be too exhausted to eat.

And Friday nights have been murder. For some reason the hours between 4 and 6 on Friday drag on, and on, and on. It’s bizarre. Any other day of the week I’ll look up and hours will have flown by. But not on Fridays. However, my hours could change some time down the line…who knows.

I shan’t let this one wrinkle ruin what is turning out to be a fantastic gig. I feel respected and valued here – something that was sorely lacking at my old job. I haven’t minded the idea of coming to work so far, and that’s a pretty cool thing. And between this job an my freelance work? I’m making the same as I was before I got canned the day before my birthday last year.

That’s the coolest of all.