Article on serious social media addiction…..

Wow this woman is really hooked….

https://hbr.org/2018/10/i-ran-4-experiments-to-break-my-social-media-addiction-heres-what-worked

Yikes. Have any of you been that hooked? I rarely leave the house with my phone, except on long bus rides and when I take it with me to go running in airplane mode and listen to music. Why in airplane mode? How can anyone listen to music while being interrupted by incoming texts? That is annoying while I am running. Why would anyone ever dream of texting while running? (Oh…because they’re nuts! Or dreaming!) So what’s the point of Wifi in the gym? Maybe for people who don’t go there to work out. I don’t even look at my phone anymore. Who wants to strain to look at tiny print? Since when is that fun? I often let the battery run dead, which might not be a very good idea if I’m expecting my future boss to call “any minute now.”

Except I have a landline for that. Please, dear future boss, ring me up. The lines are open.

No Facebook. No LinkedIn. No PinInterest. No Instagram. Looks like they’re finally getting rid of Google+, that privacy invader, once and for all.

Are people really that addicted? This is sad. They can’t even tear themselves away from it. Yes I work at a computer, but “computer” isn’t the same as “social media.” You can work at a computer all day and not even interact socially. You can read a book at a computer with an internet connection. You can write a book at a computer, again without an internet connection. You can work on a computer program. You can take one apart or put one together. And so on. My job doesn’t use social media. We have our own platforms built for us by major software companies. Yes I interact with people through those platforms (a softphone, for one), people taking on the role of “customers,” but it’s not Facebook and it’s not web-like and you do not “friend” people on it. They call us and they ask questions or demand a refund or whatever. Sometimes I send emails to my customers, answering their questions and explaining things such as “Your package is on its way!” This isn’t addiction. It is my job, for which I am paid. That computer, supplied by my employer, is shut off right now because it’s my day off.

It saddens me that people think Facebook friends are their friends. Guess we all learned that lesson a while back, didn’t we? I hope so.

This is what life was supposed to be like if I hadn’t been side-tracked

Today I have two meetings, two essential things I have to do. These two are rigid, fixed things I can’t alter, while the other things I have to do, or shall I say, want to do, I could move around to suit me. I have a meeting tonight which is with other people, a pre-planned meeting. Since I don’t know these folks, I am not going to trouble myself with a long bus ride or any type of investment of time or money when I know they very well might not show up or cancel at the last minute. Time is precious, isn’t it? Telephone meetings are best when the others might cancel on me!

I also have a job interview today, this afternoon. This came as a surprise. I put in eight job applications over about a 24-hour period, Thursday to Friday last week, but I had forgotten about a ninth application. When I discovered #9 (logged in under a different email address) I realized I might want to keep that as a possibility. Then I researched that company and quickly had second thoughts. I found a similar company that pays more and seems to be structured more soundly. Suddenly, I have an interview with company #10 today.

Both of these things are over the phone and scheduled. The rest I can move around. I might go running today, likely at the gym this time since I am headed in that direction anyway. Did I tell you all that at the race this past weekend I won in my age category?

Now I told you. That course was not official and not chip-timed. I suspect it wasn’t properly measured in distance since my timing wasn’t realistically what I could possibly have done. They said it was just over 30 minutes. Even under the most ideal conditions it isn’t possible for me to run 5k that fast. These were rocky conditions, mostly trail running and very hilly, sometimes rocky, sometimes muddy. It sure did not even feel like 5k since the course was so scenic and it all flew by so fast. Very nice people, too!

I would like to purchase kerosene again (stock up) since I have this feeling the HVAC guy isn’t going to show until January or not at all. Maybe I need to nag the management people before the pipes freeze.

Tomorrow I have to work at my usual customer service/retail position. I am still at that job, but I plan to quit very soon. I do not have a quit date set. Maybe after this interview I will have one set! I need to write down my questions for the interviewer and ask myself realistically how long it’ll take to replace the income I am currently receiving given there’s a lag between working and getting paid. This means the work I do at my current job, say, at the end of September I get paid for Oct 16, and the work I did through the 15th of October I get paid for on November 1. I have a bit of money saved that I can liquidate in an emergency, but it had better be dire. Being unemployed isn’t dire enough. Veterinary care that will save Puzzle’s life? Yeah, that’s dire. In that case, everything goes about as liquid as the Ohio River in springtime.

Gee, at least I didn’t say, “As liquid as a Haldol injection.”

How life has changed.

 

Here’s a good question, which experience and wisdom can answer

Do I go with a higher-paying job, or do I go with a lower-paying job that might be more satisfying?

Let’s look at the factors here…..

My current job pays well, but why I am leaving? We deal with constant threats. When I say threats, what do I mean, precisely? We were told a few weeks back that they loved us sooooo much that they were asking us to work more hours. No, they didn’t give us a pay bonus, but increasing our hours and extending/replacing our contract. This was a sneaky little way to keep us from quitting just when many of us were seeking other positions, and also to ensure they kept us through the holidays. About two weeks later, possibly less than that, we all got emails telling us that if we didn’t shape up, we’d be canned. Removed. Even though you all know I’ve reworded this to add a bit of humor, that’s what they said. Canned. It IS a threat. “If you do not to this, we’ll do that.” Do I really want an employer like that?

It’s unpleasant, to say the least. I don’t like having to worry about losing my job all the time, though often I think these are nothing but empty fluff to scare us into shaping up. I’m never sure and I am very tired of second-guessing them. It’s a bad habit we’ve gotten into due to their own bad habit of failure to communicate honestly, consistently and respectfully with us as a group. Supervisor turnover is atrocious, which doesn’t help matters.

Do I want another job that is only going to turn out like this? Or…do I want a lower-paying job where I get to take initiative? I think I have found one and the pay isn’t bad. I will get over $10 and I get to make my own hours. I will find out soon if I am accepted. I have decided that this job is my #1 choice of jobs due to the lack of stringent rules, lots of flexibility, choices that I get to make (more than just choosing my own hours), and no “metrics” to meet. I’m not sure if it’s contract or freelance. Either way, I think the freer life is for me, not this kiss-butt-to-the-boss life I have lived the past few months.

If I love my job I can work more hours because I will enjoy the work more. It won’t feel like so much pressure and it won’t feel so annoying or like a Catch-22 because I have to rush customers off the phone.

I put in eight job applications Thurs to Fri, and there are about six hanging on from the past month. I only care about two now. The boss-driven ones can fall off the planet now for all I care. They can take their 401k. I do not care. I’m old enough now to know better. We’ve all lived on less to know now.

Here is the chart we have all been waiting for, thanks, Liz K!

Now we survivors know which state to avoid, Massachusetts! And which states might look rather lucrative: Texas, Alabama, Tennessee. And a few others. Not surprising, West V and Georgia are also on the Awesome List.

https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2018/10/20/for-many-struggle-find-affordable-mental-health-care/AAK3aYmk89sRLicmTFpn6O/story.html

Scroll down and you’ll see which states have fewer shrinks! This is a truly useful list! This list comes from USC, and it’s “access to mental health providers.” This will show you where to escape to. When it comes down to it. I wonder if I can reprint it in my own book. Bet I can, with permission. Never mind it’s not exactly for the purpose they intended. Do I have to tell them? No.

Then and now

Around 2012 I was dying to leave Watertown. Can you blame me, after water deprivation. So I picked a place at random. Chattanooga. I tried finding places on Craiglist. Stupid? Yes.  I wasn’t having much luck. Still, from what I recall I went to church one day (remember that church?) and told a few people, “Hey, I’m moving to Chattanooga! I’m finally outa here!” No response. Nothing but a shrug.

Wow, no, “Gee, we’ll miss you.” Or even a “That’s too bad, aren’t you going to at least reconsider and give Watertown a chance?” Nothing like that. I knew in my heart that they were thinking, “Good riddance.”

So today I told my beloved coworker that I am quitting very soon as soon as one of these nibbles, the job applications I have put in, turns into a bite. Wow, she said to me, right away, “Don’t go.” I am touched beyond belief. Life is so different now, in this new world where I am a valued human being, not a thing, not a subhuman unwanted, not someone they would simply wish away, not someone they include but wish they didn’t have to, not some nuisance, but a real human being.

That is what anyone would want. To be valued as an equal. And in fact, what any human being rightfully deserves. Inherits simply by being human. It is a right we humans are born with and a right we retain throughout our lives. Nothing can take it away. Nothing. Not a psychiatrist and not a court order, and not some person on the internet who has decided some humans are “toxic.” Nothing.

Article in the Globe on Plantar Faciitis

Here is the article: https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2018/10/19/welcome-plantar-fasciitis-nation/cSeEupijM5jvhfnugysRiP/story.html

I have had this. It was a very long time ago. I was 30 or so. I would suggest the following cure: Common Sense. Try it! It works wonders! By the way, I am running a road race today.

How about not wearing flip flops? How about going to a decent running specialty store and getting fitted for running shoes that actually fit instead of wearing overpriced shit from the trendy retailers that people think are stylish. Those “stylish” shoes are not good for your feet. Problem solved!

Now, for the harder part of life:

I did get the tiny job I applied for, but it will not pay the bills. It will pay some bills, but not many. Pocket change. I took the job because of the fun level, and because it will be good experience. Also, it will not take up many hours of my day.

Also, I am definitely quitting job #1. I woke up early today planning out my resignation letter/email, which I will happily post here once I send it off to them. They aren’t a bad company, but there need to be improvements and I am going to let them know exactly what I know they could have done better. I am not sure of my quit date. I would have stayed, but I can foresee that things are going downhill rapidly for all of us. I doubt there would have been any holiday bonuses since what they call a bonus is nothing but being put into a drawing to get a bonus, and that’s just maybe $35 or so. This kind of thing doesn’t even tempt me anymore. You have to read carefully….a drawing, a chance for a bonus, not a definite bonus as we had had before. (People don’t read though.)

Yes, it’s getting worse, and they pulled a fast one on us by replacing our contracts just when they knew if they didn’t, they’d lose us. They knew we would not renew in November, and that we were all looking for new positions, so before we could find other jobs they told us we were such great workers that they were sending a spankin’ new contract effective instantly. Oh and if we did not sign it we were canned. The new contract was effective for the next six months and required us to work more hours. They claimed it was because they loved us so much. Claimed.

Two weeks later they claimed that the company was now in danger of losing the arrangement altogether. Why? Because we workers suck, they say. And anyone who continues to suck would be removed immediately. Not those exact words.  They use the workplace lingo. These ongoing threats are not exactly comfortable and make for a negative and nasty work environment for us all.

Change the story, will you? What next? Tell us we’re great all over again? Butter us up into signing…what? More hours and lower pay again?

Yesterday I traded my hours because I was not obligated to work (on pretense that the HVAC guy was here and he has STILL not come!) and I spent the time applying for more jobs. Eight applications, one at the very last minute. I qualified for all of them and my resume looks decent now. I wouldn’t mind any of them, although two I believe (in afterthought) were not actually work-at-home  (maybe I misread the job description). They simply won’t write back. Maybe they’ll think I’m a nutcase. Oh……

Why you shouldn’t work for All4HR Business Solutions and why it’s a scam

I applied for this job working for them and was surprised to get contacted fairly quickly. I honestly thought it was a job like any other. I was called into an interview. I thought it was going to be an interview but it really wasn’t. It was kind of a “I’m going to tell you about the interface and be a klutz with Zoom for about 20 minutes” type presentation. I was surprised to learn that the presenter, who was, by the way, terrible at presenting, the CEO of the company. I asked myself, “How big IS this company, anyway, if they’re having the CEO, who is terrible at doing presentations, do the HR, recruiting, and also now, training, too? She also had the nerve to add, “This is not a scam.” Does this now reek of scam to you? It sure does to me.

If I owned a company, that is, if I had this one-person operation, then I would not be so grandiose to call myself the CEO. I would just say say, perhaps, owner. Or, if it were, LLC. Depending, because sometimes you have to make it an LLC, but I do not. I do happen to own my own business, but that’s kind of a minor point. I don’t have any employees unless you count Puzzle and I overpay her. Of course! She has a lifelong vacation, nonstop break, and food, well……she asks all the time. Did I tell you that recently she STOLE my homemade bread when I was out running a five-minute errand? I caught her at it! I should have filmed her. I didn’t even fire her that day. I gave her a raise, and after that, the bread rose. It is supposed to do that.

But back to All4HR. It is an agency where you work for “clients.” So the agency has you working for these “clients” and the clients determine the pay, but All4HR takes out of your paycheck. This is how much: 50 dollars a month, plus one dollar an hour. So they pay by the hour, but one dollar an hour less than the client actually pays. Plus…you get $50 a month less than you really do. You’d better put your thinking cap on about this one!

You do have to PAY for training, plus you do not get paid for the lengthy training sessions. My training was three weeks. I did not have to pay for that and it was six hours a day I believe. Much of it was not even worthwhile since it was wasted on people who couldn’t figure out how to log in or couldn’t remember that they’d signed a contract or didn’t know what a contract was or what a tax form was or had forgotten their passwords. They all survived and I do not know how. All4HR also requires that you pay for THEIR equipment. My company has you renting it. I pay a deposit and that is a reasonable fee. With All4HR you have to buy it and then what? You work there six months, realize it’s a scam, then what do you do with a Chromebox?

The worst part is that my company also has “clients.” We have the same client on our list that All4HR has on their list. Only we pay double what All4HR is paying for the same client. I believe anyone working for that client for All4HR will barely make minimum wage except during peak season. Several of the clients are paying well under minimum, like $6 an hour. Oddly, the CEO, April Halburton, didn’t even flinch when I point this out.

Folks, go pick up a job at the Dollar Whatever and work it till you can’t stand it anymore. You will make better money there than working for this scammer at All4HR. I went and signed into her interface and found out there are roughly six people in her company.  Yet when I went to the company reviews (maybe it was Indeed) there were all glowing five-star reviews talking about what a huge company it was, and talking about the great company culture, and the ones for Glassdoor were all taken down, oddly. Or maybe I am mixing these up. Now. all reviews from Indeed and Glassdoor have been taken down for All4HR, but her website is still up as if the company is “huge.” It is not. Something very fishy is going on here.

Step up to the plate!

I was going to say, “A lot on my plate,” but then I decided to re-word it to, “Step up to the plate” since I’m ready for this one. Please check out my YouTube at:

Meanwhile, I was nominated to an honorable women’s organization, which I will not name here. There are thousands of women’s organizations and yes, I did run it past the “scam test” since I had not heard of it before. It’s not an email scam. It’s real.

Thirdly, I have an interview for a second job this afternoon. Since my other interview for a second job which I did pursue briefly turned out to be a semi-scam due to very low pay, I am proceeding with caution on this one. That other job, if you did the math, paid under minimum and I am not sure it was legal in all locales, even as work-at-home or contracted. The HR person claimed you could work from “anywhere” which I doubt was true since many states have banned these WAH employers due to low wages. I did my homework and got out of it. I think that was over a month ago. Meanwhile I am still employed at my first job.

I have to sign up for hours at job#1 right after that. If I do not do this, that is, if I forget, which I have now done twice, it’s grab-as-you-can, which I do not like. It’s not the end of the world, but it’s inconvenient.

Then I have a teleconference at 7 for an hour.

I’m waiting for a call about a home for sale. These calls are sometimes a joke because the person who answers usually doesn’t know anything about the place. They keep asking you to repeat the address. You’ll never get the details you want. You have to pretend you’re serious.

I have a teleconference this afternoon for a half hour and one on Monday. I work Friday and the weekend. On Saturday I have a road race, a 5k. And today I really hope the guy comes to get my heat working. The landlord’s website is down but I think I can send them an email to remind them he’s scheduled to call me.

Two days ago I baked bread in the bread machine and I still have some of that. I love that there’s no salt in it. Reducing protein has been just the thing.

Puzzle snores all day even while I work. It was 35 degrees this morning and I think we’re turning the clocks soon. I always miss the time change (takes me till Thursday to figure it out usually!) but since I am among the employed and non-disabled now (was I ever dis-abled?) I absolutely cannot forget it this year.

 

An Ordinary Woman

Watertown, Massachusetts. Original incident March 2008. Reported to Watertown Police Department July 2012. This video describes the consequences. We all should consider whether we really feel comfortable going to our local police if we are crime victims, and what the consequences might be if we are not believed.

 

Toastmasters speech performed October 11, 2018, Pittsburgh, PA.