Wednesday, July 19, 2006

And here we are again

I think I may be back at square one. I really don't know what my problem is.

I've been doing this copy editing thing about 7 months. It's OK. I know I'm not really good at design, but I can follow the rules and get my pages out on time. But I knew when I took this job that I didn't have a long career in this end of the journalism field. I thought I could do it for a few years and improve enough to work somewhere that doesn't pay as shitty as this place. That's practically what I was told to do at my interview, which gives you an idea of how much I'm valued here.

And of course, I knew that as a copy editor, I would work night hours. I always thought copy editors were compensated beyond their reporting colleagues because of the effect working nights has on one's life. Not here. I had to fight for the measley wage I'm on and was made to feel greedy. Night differential? Forget it. That's for the evil union papers.

I actually have a home life now. I want to spend time there with the person and pets that I love. Again, I know this is greedy and selfish on my part. But I feel like my life is passing me by. I have to take vacation days to go places on Saturday. You know, like to a wedding. That's why people have weddings on Saturdays, because that way they aren't asking anyone to take off work.

I understand this is an important job and someone has to do it. Today. But tomorrow this job will be obsolete. Plus it sucks and I can't stand it anymore.

I applied to be a reporter and I think I am quietly being told to go fuck myself. I don't think management likes me. Maybe my work ethic has slid a lot in the last few months. And I think they'd rather see how long they can bend me over before I quit instead of moving me somewhere I might do better. What the fuck is this paper going to do when all the people who have been there 20+ years retire? It will happen. It's happening now. They're going to have to hire more people and the only people willing to work for what they pay are people right out of college. All the young people seem to come and go quickly from this place. I think they have no interest in keeping us.

But I can't help feeling like a piece of shit for wanting to quit at the exact same stage as I quit my last two jobs. Why should I stay? I guess the only reason is to make my resume look a little better.

The problem is, I can't just try to get a reporting job at another paper. I am committed to living here at least a few more years. I have a house and a shitty ARM and a significant other who wants to finish college before leaving his job. And anyway, I like it here and see no reason to leave at the moment. I hate that about journalism, you always have to move to advance your career. What would that mean for the rest of my life? Should I just keep asking the person who will soon be my husband to just follow me all over the country pursuing jobs that pay half as much as his that I will hate at the end of 8 months? It's ridiculous.

Maybe if the field wanted to attract and keep good people, they should stop fucking them up the ass. Quit asking honest, hard-working people to screw over their own families for the sheer joy of working at a newspaper. Get over yourselves. It ain't that great.

I know newspapers are losing money now, but these crappy wages and hours and being treated like you're lucky to be working have been going on for a long time. I really think people just accept that as a hazard of the trade when they get into the business. There is no reason why. Trust me, the people who run the company that own your newspaper are living it up at your expense. While you shit yourself for $13 an hour they are laughing all the way to the bank and don't give a fuck about "community news" or anything else they call a priority. They are no different than any other corporate entity except that they pay far less.

I understand that the nature of a newspaper requires more night and weekend work than working in the accounts payable department at the widget company. But we all know there are newspapers with a culture of unclocked overtime right under the nose of the people in charge, and it thrives unchecked. The newspaper runs on the backs of the lowest-paid people there. All I'm saying is, if person A has been out of college two years and works 8 am to 5 pm typing up briefs, and person B has been out of college two years and works 5 pm to 1 am designing 10 pages, I think person B should be compensated better.

The point of this rant is that I don't know if I even want this fucking reporter job. Why bother? Why keep fucking myself over 900 different ways? Why not go work for someone who pays me a living wage and actually cares whether I stay or go?

Because I have guilt attacking me from all directions. Some of the management at my paper have been really nice to me. But I'm so naive I don't know when they're blowing smoke up my ass. I am given special projects, but is that because they think I'm a valuable employee or a sucker? And what of all the people at school who helped me pursue this career? I feel like I owe them something, but I don't know what.

I have no idea what I want to do. I'm just tired of feeling screwed over. Every time I've gotten one ounce of satisfaction from a newspaper, it's quickly followed by hearing about how much better some dumbfuck is doing at a dumbfuck job. Don't I deserve to be as happy as that dumbfuck? The satisfaction of winning some award or writing an article some people really enjoyed pales in comparison to the joy of knowing that I get to spend every night with someone I love, that I have the freedom to go see my friends. Walking my dog alone is more satisfying than scooping the paper across town.

Maybe I'm getting old but I'm again just feeling like I'm not cut out for this.

Friday, March 24, 2006


I have started with a direct sales company. I am trying to book home parties and it's slow going right now. Most people are shocked that I would even attempt this but I'm telling you I'm going to rock your face! With products.
And I'm still copy editing. I shan't say where, for I don't wish to be fired.
Also, I have a new cat! I might turn this into a cat and dog blog. You'll just have to wait and find out.

Monday, February 27, 2006

New Stuff!

I got a job at a newspaper. I am a sellout. But it's going well (copy editing, not reporting).

I bought a house. The bf and I moved into a rental about 6 months ago and adopted a puggle. Tomorrow we close on a house we actually own.

I found out which famous Eastern alum I am most like:

The wild child of EIU.
Congratulations, you are CALLI COX. You lived on

the edge and made no apologies for it. Men

and women envied you, wanted you or hated

you. Your exploits at Eastern made Larry

Flint proud.

Which famous EIU student are you most like?
brought to you by Quizilla

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

To bring you up to speed

Yeah, it's been a while. We all have our droughts.

I haven't posted for a number of reasons. The first is that the job I am at makes me nervous (yes, the stupid ass temp job). I am scared to screw around at work big time. E-mail sites are blocked and I am walled away in a cubicle surrounded by male researchers who only seem able to cast disapproving looks my way.

Now I've never mentioned here where this place is or what their business is (nor will I ever, despite the fact that its astonishing boringness could be mined for some great my-life-sure-blows jokes). But the idea of getting caught blogging about it weighs on me so much, maybe because, like the filthy liar I am, I pretend so much to enjoy it.

The other reason is a happy reason. I met somebody and fell in love and we like to spend lots of time together gazing into each other's eyes and generally being silly. This is delightfully out of character for me and tremendously exciting and I only like to interrupt it for my friends, family and parakeet, and this blog is really not that important to me.

But it has come to my attention that a few my more long-distance homies use this as an easy way to keep up with new developments (which is sweet of them, since I can be a really shitty friend when it comes to keeping in touch). Plus I think once I get the ball rolling it'll be easier to update.

So here's what I do. Every day, I send training materials to people, post their badly-written and badly-designed shit on the company intranet and record these and other activities (including how much time I spend doing each activity) in a series of databases. That's all, folks.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

As our president would say, mission accomplished

And in much the same fashion, this ejaculation is probably premature. But nevertheless, I have a 75 percent real job.

Real points

* Pays living wage (i.e. more than I made as a reporter)
* Involves a desk of my own and, possibly, a nameplate for the outside of my cubicle
* Does not involve scrubbing a public toilet, unlike my current "job"
* Could, in some way, lead to health insurance, braces, a haircut and an IPASS.
* Secret built-in promotion
* Free pens
* A lunch bell (unsure whether to file this under real or unreal)

Unreal points

* I am technically a temp
* I have absolutely no job security whatsoever, because I am technically a temp

But you know, we roll with the punches here at Loser Gets a Life. And toward the goal of getting a social life, I am making some progress. Once I have successfully disentangled myself from the home improvement hole, I will have weekends free to come see you and your hot sister (brother? Whatever.)

I also now have 14 percent more dignity!

I began training today and did loads of repetitive copy/paste/delete/transcribe crapola which is supposedly only a fraction of my job. But when someone who contracts with us popped in, the girl training me introduced my as her "backup." I'm sorry, but somebody in charge needs to enlighten her. She is not Mariah, I ain't the bitch's backup. My job title invokes the word "coordinator," and temp or no temp this irritatingly young professional with the conch piercing is done mopping shit.

That sounds sassy but if I'm going to climb out of this piss-hole I have to start asserting my own worth.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

I may have judged Jilly, my account manager at the temp agency, a little harshly.

Yesterday she called me at 10 a.m. Predictably, I was in the throes of a soul-crushing headache and still lying in bed with a can of Pepsi pressed to my forehead. For once, this was not a result of what Alka-Seltzer refers to as "food and drink indiscretions" although I had dined on Coronas and chile relleno night before.

She told me a company was looking for someone to document-manage: basically proofreading contacts and streamlining the process of sending shit to people, blah-de-blah. You may think to yourself, my God that sounds boring. But that is exactly the point, friends. After having my innocence ripped from me by a brief career in watching firefighters pry bloody bodies from the wreckage of cars and receiving love letters from convicted sex offenders, I long for the boredom of being a human spellchecker and collating machine. And at nearly $12 an hour, the price is so, so right.

So I told her to go ahead and talk me up to these folks. She called the same day to tell me they were interested. That was yesterday. I interviewed this morning and may know tomorrow whether I got the job.

I had been pretty frantic up to this point, although you wouldn't be able to tell that from this blog. I still hadn't heard back from the makeup counter people and had planned on calling them nearly two weeks ago. But then I went to my next-door-neighbor's high school graduation party and who was there? Yes, my dear friend Open Bar.

The bounty of this bar was awe-inspiring. Ketel One, Bombay Sapphire, a gallon jar of olives promising many dirty martinis and its former inhabitants, stuffed with blue cheese and waiting to become soaked with vodka. (moan)

Add to this that I didn't have to worry about how I was getting home, and that made for more shitass drunkenness than I have indulged in in quite some time (cashiering doesn't exactly give a person with a $250 car payment much booze money).

Well, long story short, evidence indicated that I had finished a pretty rough vomit and somehow faceplanted on the bathroom floor, cutting the shit out of my lip inside and out. I woke up later on the pullout bed on a bloodsoaked pillow with a mysteriously wet T-shirt sleeve. I explored the damage with my tongue: I had miraculously spared all of my teeth, but cut a hole the size of a tic tac on the interior of my now very swollen lower lip. I just thanked the good Lord that I hadn't yet scored dental insurance and had braces applied.

Sparkling personality aside, I wasn't going to win over someone deciding whether I should man a makeup counter with that monstrosity on my already-mediocre face (I don't have a self-image problem, but I'm not the kind of person who naturally gets pumped for makeup tips, so to speak). So I haven't called.

I'm having all these fantasies about having weekends off and getting paid enough to do things. Watch for me coming to a town near you. And cross your fingers.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

This is a mighty fine explanation of why people need to quit bitching every time they act as consumers.

This whole cashiering thing does not pay well. I knew this going into it, and shockingly, it does pay better than my waitressing job. However, it was not to be my only job.

Ideally, I should have some sort of mindless data-entry, phone answering, smiley fuck day job now. I signed up with a temp agency about two months ago. My "account manager" is a bubbly 20-year-old we'll call Jilly who likes to "touch base" and "match [me] with job opportunities."

I tried to explain to Jilly that all I want from her is a temp job that pays $9+ an hour and is full time, Monday through Friday, nine to five, clerical. That to me sounds like temping in a nutshell, but what the fuck do I know?

Not to toot my own horn, but I don't know how many people in this relatively small metro area are signed up with this temp agency with a journalism degree, computer literacy, ability to type, customer service experience, at least three blazers and a goddamn working car. I think that puts me in a pretty small group. But apparently I am unqualified for any of their highly demanding letter-writing and shit-filing jobs.

Here is a typical phone interaction with Jilly.

PerennialFailure: Hello?
Jilly: Hi! Is (PerennialFailure) there?
PF: This is she. [It's my fucking cell phone. Who else would answer?]
J: Hi! This is Jilly from Shitass Temp Hole. [A fact I had already gathered, because as discussed, as I told Jilly, as one might gather from the fact that it is a long distance number, she is calling me on my cell phone.] Are you still looking for work?
PF: I am still looking for temporary clerical work during the day, yes.
J: OK, well I have a job possibility that may be a match for you here. It's temp-to-hire, in (a city that is in the next state), at a mailroom for a slaughterhouse, some clerical, some janitorial, a little bit of sausage casing. It's from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and you need to wear a suit. What do you think? [All of this is spoken the way an idiot speaks to someone who does not understand English.]
PF: [Ever hopeful.] What does it pay?
J: Seven dollars per hour.
PF: I make more than that at (home improvement behemoth).
J: Well, would you like me to send them a resume?
PF: Yes please.

One of the other girls that works there, lets call her Wanda, is less ridiculous but calls me with jobs that are even more ass-out. Such as, serving cafeteria-style banquets. At 5 a.m. Tomorrow. For $7 an hour and no tips. Thanks but no.