Di Has Stories…

(and they’re all true)

American Billing Systems November 16, 2007

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A few months ago, Kristy talked me (and Jeff) into going to a seminar held by American Billing Systems.  The basic  premise is that they sell you a “business opportunity” to do medical claims biling (and some other services) from home, for almost nothing (only $15,000!!), guaranteeing immediate riches and early retirement.

 

K has been looking for something for the two of us to do for several years.  We are both disenfranchised with corporate whoredom, and would love to be able to make money in a way that is more flexible so that we can do more important things, like spend time with children (K) or  yarn and animals (me).  Medical billing seemed like a great thing – it can easily be done from anywhere, anytime, and since we have both worked in the medical/insurance industries for a long time, we figured we knew the right language, and could pick up the actual billing pretty quickly.  When in doubt, consult the coding books.  🙂

 

American Billing Systems would supply us with the software, marketing materials, and ongoing training and support to set up our business.  It’s not a franchise – it’s in a different class of business called a “business opportunity” which is basically showing you how to do something, and then releasing all activities (and responsibilities) to the “licensee”.   It sounded great – get to pick the brains of people that knew what they were doing, but still get to do everything our own way, in our own time.

 

The problem?  We needed money.  I think that our personal assets at the time were about seven dollars, and we were both about to buy new homes.  I had just gotten married.  We were flat bum buster.  We needed an investor.

 

Banks sure weren’t going to give either of us money, so I asked my Local Bank of Daddy if he might be interested in getting involved.  He has mentioned over the years wanting to get into some sort of business, or that if I found something he might be willing to fund it.  I thought this might be the thing.  Local health issues had made continuing “regular” employment difficult for me, and I thought that he would agree that it was time for me to strike out on my own.

 

I talked to him about lending the money, but he wanted a lot more answers than I had.  I was going to have to research.

 

American Billing Systems had provided K with a list of licensee references, but I didn’t want to talk to them.  I knew that, as with any reference list, the people on it were only going to tell me glowing things about their experience.  I wanted to talk to real people.

 

My friend Google and I did some research, and found about 40 licensees that I could identify online.  They all had about the same web page (ABS can set you up with one –  a $2,000  value FREE!!) and I filled out a bunch of contact forms so that someone would call me and talk about their experience.

 

What I found out about the company through their licensees didn’t impress me, and what I found out at the seminar downright terrified me (but that’s a story for a different day).   However, what was interesting was that a couple of days after I started talking to people, I started getting phone messages from Sarah King, the Director of Licensing (and the daughter of the founders/owners).  One day, I had three messages on my voicemail after work.  And then the emails started.  And the mailings.

 

Now, I had never contacted ABS on my own, and I asked K if she had given them my information, which she hadn’t.  She was also not receiving any emails or phone calls.  I figured that one of the people I had spoken to as references squealed that I was asking questions.

 

After the seminar, and the treatment we received there, K and I decided that we were not interested, and were pretty much told by their “Success Coach” that we were not a fit for them.  We started thinking of other opportunities (if you have any ideas, we are open to suggestion!)

 

Even after we had been summarily dismissed by ABS,  I continued to get email and mailings.  Even though I moved almost two months ago, they sent me something just this week – to my new address.  A while ago, I had sent an email in reply to the one I received asking to be taken off the mailing list.  I got a reply from Sarah King herself that there was an unsubscribe button on the messages.  (I never found one until today – Gmail automatically filters out “pictures” from unknown sources, and that link showed up as a picture,  and not at all as text I could follow.)

 

The messages kept coming and I kept ignoring them.  Until today.

 

I got yet another message, and replied – again – to TAKE ME OFF YOUR MAILING LIST.

 

Here is the response I got:

You could’ve unsubscribed yourself at ANY time.

I have gone into our system and gladly done it for you.

Thank you and have a nice day!

 Sarah King

Director of Licensing

American Billing Systems, Inc.

Phone: 866-565-8413 Ext. 102

Fax: 817.281.3748

www.americanbilling.com

Excuse me?  Do we need to be listed on Passive-Aggressive Notes? I had apparently not had enough coffee, and I shot off this reply:

Considering the fact that I never signed up for your email lists, and that my personal information was given to you by one of your licensee stoolies when I was investigating investing, I don’t feel as if I should have needed to request that the harassing emails and phone calls cease.

To which I got:

I’m sorry you feel that way, because it’s simply not true. No one is harassing you.

Please do not respond as your e-mail address has been blocked.

Thank you,

I particularly like the complete avoidance of how they got my information, since it wasn’t from K, and it sure as hell wasn’t from me.

And can I point out what a Big Woman this is?  I ask to be taken off your mailing list.  You refuse.  I ask again.  I get a snarky reply.  I point out my irritation of your techniques. So you BAN me from every emailing your organization again?  Have I just been un-friended?  By a business entity?

I’m going to go ahead and admit that I was less than polite, and that had I unlocked the “pictures” which turned out to be links, I could have been off this list quite a long time ago.  However, this exchange just further confirms my opinion that this is a poorly run, unethical organization that is out to make a cheap buck off of unsuspecting and uneducated people.  In my opinion, if you are going to sell a “business opportunity”, you want people investing in this opportunity to check you out, and independently verify your claims.  To be vilified for doing just that tells me that ABS is not a company to be trusted – or invested in.

(Interestingly enough, I got that last email when I was on the phone with my mom, and she suggested I blog about it.  I had been just waiting for an opportunity to use that picture from LOLtheist.)

 

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I am no fun July 20, 2007

I don’t know that I have a loyal enough following for anyone to have noticed that I have not been blogging much lately.  It’s not that I don’t have things to say – cause you know I always do – but because I don’t have much positive to say, and frankly, I tire of me and my whining. 

 

I have been sick – I was in the hospital again last week (for the fifth time since October, for those of you that are keeping track).  I talked to the immunologist, and I will go in next week to talk about having plasma infusions every couple of weeks to head of the attacks instead of treating them as they come up in the ER.  That would be cool.  While I’m not looking forward to heading in every other week to be infused for a couple of hours (or about the port-a-cath that might come with that new territory), I am pretty darn excited about not having as much swelling.  Since I had the plasma last week, I have had almost NO swelling, which in and of itself is some kind of minor miracle.  I’d like to keep that trend going, thank you.

 

The condo has still not sold.  As of today, we have been on the market for nine months and 18 days.  293 days.  7032 hours.  421,920 seconds.  Not that I am counting.  We have had a few showings, but the feed back we are getting indicates that the people who are looking at our place are not serious “lookers” in that they have very little intention of buying anything, let alone our place.  That’s when we get feedback, which has only been about half of the time…also indicating that the people looking are not serious, if they are not even willing to perform the professional courtesy of replying to requests for feedback.

 

Which leads me to the real Big Issue that bums me out these days, which is my shitty job.  Yes, I know that I have been complaining about Shitty Job* for some time now, and there seems to be no end in sight.  Why, you ask?  Well, because I can’t get a new job until we have a new mortgage locked in…and that involves buying a new house…which involves selling the old one…which isn’t going to fucking happen in my lifetime.  (Oh, and btw, if one more person makes bland platitudes about how the housing market is going to get better, or how it’s going to be any time now, I will shove something very hard and unpleasant in a spot you are least expecting it.  No, not there.  Not there either.  Not even there.)

 

Anywho, not only do I have the potential mortgage to deal with, but we also have the health issue.  As long as I stay at Shitty Job, I am protected under FMLA which basically means I can miss all the work I want for being sick, and they can’t can me or anything.  In theory, they need to do pretty much whatever it takes to keep me employed between the FMLA and ADA.  This will come in handy when I need to take about a ½ day off every other week to get the infusions.

 

Flash forward to looking for a new job.  There ain’t no one going to hire someone that tells them straight off that they are taking a ½ day every other week until the end of time (and yes, this would be a forever therapy…it’s not like I’ll spontaneously start producing C1 esterace inhibitor again). 

 

“But, Di,” think you.  “Aren’t they required to accommodate that under the ADA and other applicable work place laws?”

 

Think again, Scooter.  Applicable law states that I can’t be discriminated against for my disability (damn, I hate using that word) as long as it doesn’t interfere with the “essential functions” of my job.  However, if the company that I am applying for deems that working Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. is an “essential function” (such as Shitty Employer does), they can determine that I don’t meet hiring criteria, and not hire me.

 

There is a serious lack of part time professional work or companies that offer true flex time in this area (in all areas?).  In about 8 months of searching, I have found only one such job and they didn’t hire me (bastards).  Shitty Employer is unwilling to let me go part time, even though I haven’t worked a full week since the beginning of the year. 

 

So, I feel stuck, which is the worst feeling in the world.  I’m stuck at my job, because of the mortgage and “protection”, and even once we get rid of the condo (stress reliever Number One), there is the little “problem” that I am getting to the point where I cannot handle a full time job, or if I could, I’d still have some significant time off work.  The companies that do have some semblance of flex time are not kinds of places that I’d want to work (they tend to be giant, soulless corporations.  As little as I feel I am doing to help humanity now, that would make me feel even more like a mindless cog.)  I don’t have the skills to make it as a free-lance anything (except maybe bitcher), and although Kristy and I are looking at starting our own business, that process isn’t even going to start for another couple of months….(not to mention that when we do start, I don’t have the time/energy for much more than current Shitty Job, and no time off to go catch clients for the new venture).

 

Of course, I could just chuck it all and go out on disability.  I’d almost certainly qualify, and that would give me some income, while being able to concentrate on getting the infusions and not feeling like death all the time, and allow me some time to work on other things that are important to me.  However, I hate taking advantage of that system…I’m just not that sick.  Yes, I require constant medical treatment.  However, I don’t require it to the extent that I can’t work, I just can’t work in the fashion that Corporate America wants me to. (What happened to the flexible work environment we were all promised in the ‘90s?)

 

So, that’s where my brain has been stuck for a few days.  Hopefully, soon I’ll be healthy enough that at least one thing is off my mind.  The last year has been tough with the frequent hospitalizations and the other swells that aren’t bad enough to go in, but aren’t good enough for me to get out of bed.  Once the condo is sold, that should release some stress and further add to my feeling of well being.  If only the job thing would get better….Fairy Godmother? Are you out there??

 

In happy news, last week I adopted a hedgehog, Furrow.  I’ll try to download the pictures this weekend to show everyone his adorableness!!

 

*I am shocked, appalled, and ashamed to note that I have been at Shitty Job for longer than I have ever held any other job.  Ever.

 

Help Wanted June 11, 2007

As you, my faithful readers, know, I have been unhappy with my current state of employment for quite a while.  I am almost embarrassed to note that as of next month, I will have been at Current Employer for longer than I’ve been with any other employer, and I’ve been unhappy with it for most of that time. 

 

While I’ve been casually putting feelers out for a while, I haven’t been die-hard searching until the last couple of weeks.  Even now, when I am checking out postings about every day, and sending resumes and (ever-useless but still required) cover letters, I can’t say that I am searching hard-core.

 

Most of this has to do with the fact that I’m not sure that the job I want exists.  I did some soul-searching a while ago about my “ideal” job, and it doesn’t seem to exist in our current market.  Now that I’ve done the work and know what that “ideal” is, I’m not terribly interested in settling for something that is far less than that picture.  I don’t think that I’m being terribly picky…but I do think that our current work culture is set up all wrong.

 

Here’s what I want:

 

Non-Corporate/Non-Big Business

I want to work for an organization that actually does something to help people, and isn’t just focused on selling a bigger widget.  This doesn’t mean I am against making money – I’m not – but it needs to be as a sideline.  I don’t think that people are best served by “bottom line” and “right sizing”.  If a service is provided, that is of value and doesn’t screw the customer, and happens to make money on the side, then I’m all good.

 

This does not necessarily mean that I am only interested in non-profit.  I work in non-profit right now, and it could not be further from non-corporate.  I need an organization that is friendly, willing to work with and listen to its customers and employees, and always do its work in the best interest of those it’s trying to serve.

 

Task Based/Not Time Based

I think one of the things that annoys me most about my job is that what I do can generally be accomplished in less than two hours per day, and I spend the rest of my time trying to look busy without looking like I’m engaging in no-nos (like talking to my fellow employees, surfing the web, etc).  Having me sit here do nothing is a total waste of time.  I don’t mind working full time if I have 40 hours of work to do, but when I have ten hours, the other 30 are a waste to me and the organization. 

 

Why don’t more companies go for the task-based job?  If a job takes 20 hours, then you get paid for 20 hours and go home.  If it takes 40 hours, you put in your 40 hours and go home.  If part of the job means that you need to be “available”, then you have a cell phone or Blackberry so that you are “available” for that time – but that doesn’t mean that you have to sit at a desk in a neutral location desperately trying to look busy.

 

Flexible/Work Life Balance/Self-Accountable/Time Off

This goes hand in hand with the above.  Not only do I want to only be at work for the time it takes me to do the job, but also have an option to work from home (if I am not able to make it into the office due to swelling), and be able to make my hours work for me.  If I have a doctor’s appointment at 9:00 a.m., then I get in at 11:00 a.m. and it’s no big deal.  Again, because I am responsible for getting my job done, I might be there into the evening.  As long as the work gets done, it doesn’t matter when I am there.  Also, there needs to be adequate time off (although that definition changes a bit when you have the flexibility to take care of business when it needs to happen).  And by time off I mean time off…no one is calling on the cell, and your vacation is not compromised.  The lack of vacation time for Americans is a whole other rant that I’m not getting into today.

 

Casual Work Environment

It’s more than being able to wear jeans to work.  Although, that would be nice.  In my ongoing struggle to wear natural fibers and start to make my own clothes, I have a feeling that a lot of what I wear it not going to be “workplace appropriate”.  (For example, Sarah’s employer forbids “knit fabric”.  That doesn’t leave much to wear on top if you want to remain itch and polyester free.)  So, acceptance of non-traditional business wear is key.

 

It would be nice to work in a place that’s got some character, maybe windows that open, with some plants and personal touches.  Also, a place where team building isn’t just company-proscribed activities, but getting to know your co-workers and care for them on a personal basis, without being “disciplined” for being “excessively chatty” (a problem that I, the extrovert of extroverts, have had with almost every single job I’ve ever had…even though it doesn’t affect my job performance.  In fact, one of my co-workers at Current Employer was just move because she and I dared to have a personal relationship.  Those are frowned upon here.)

 

I also need an environment that’s accepting and nurturing.  Again, I’m going off the example of Current Employer – unless your personal philosophy mirrors that of the company, don’t share it.  Expressing opinions is not ok.  Having ideas different from the mainstream is not ok.  Expressing your personality is not ok.  You are here to be a drone, and a drone you shall be.  Don’t be interesting, and for the love of FSM don’t have an opinion. 

 

Of course, while some of the problem lies with Current Employer and their philosophy of being an employer/taskmaster, a lot of the problem lies with the fact that my co-workers are just not my kind of people.  On average, the person that works here is a middle-aged woman that lives in the suburbs….way out in the suburbs.  They drive SUVs and mini-vans, shop at Wal-Mart, and haven’t set foot in anything locally owned…possibly ever.  The average person here thinks I’m “weird” for not eating processed food, a “hippie” for making my own clothes/shopping locally/hating big business/bringing my own bags places/thinking we need better mass transit in the city and not just from the ‘burbs to downtown/living in the city and having no intention of ever, ever moving to the suburbs.  They have been told that this job is the best they are ever going to get, and they are complacent about how they are being treated.  They would never speak up for themselves, or find another job.  Loyalty here is very high (and I haven’t been able to figure out why.)

 

 

I don’t think I’m asking too much – it comes down to:  treat me like a human and valuable member of your staff.  Don’t waste my time and I won’t waste your money.  Accept and embrace that I am an individual, and I will do the same.  Don’t be evil. 

 

Why is it so hard to find something that fits these criteria?  And am I alone in thinking that our current culture is not the best for getting quality work out of people?  How have other people learned to live with this real person/work bullshit dichotomy?  Suggestions are encouraged!!!

 

Chapter Three, Exercise Two (Part A) October 19, 2006

Filed under: what do I want to be when I grow up?,work work work — Diana @ 11:32 am

The Job From Heaven:  Let your imagination run free, and give yourself the gift of designing the world’s most perfect job.  Create your own hours, your own activities, your most desirable environment.  Don’t limit yourself with reality or practicality…..Remember to include what, where, and with whom?

 

Who:

§         Working with intelligent, passionate people who are placed in a job that is suitable for their skills and interests

§         A supervisor that is there when I need him/her, and not there when I don’t

§         A leadership team that really values employees and shows them that they are valued

§         Non-political environment:  everyone works to get along, and as a team.  No backstabbing, sleeping with the boss, usurping of authority, etc.

          

 

What:

§         Presenting information

§         Teaching/coaching on something important to the audience (participative)

§         Some paperwork/rote activity for days when I’m not “on”

§         Moderate travel, to somewhere cool

§         Assloads of money, excellent medical, time off and money for continued education

 

 

Where:

§         An office that I can go to as needed.  It would be in an old building, either an office building or converted house, with period furnishings and accessories, but with state of the art technology (phones, computers, etc).

§         But working at least half time in my…

§         Home office, which is a sunroom looking out over trees, with lots of bookshelves, a cozy chair, and an old table holding my computer and other stuff I am working on.  The computer works.  And has high speed.  An iPod dock that plays whatever I want, or is tuned to MPR.

§         Excellent coffee and healthy, high-protein snacks must always be at the ready.

§         Moderate travel to somewhere cool

 

 

When:

§         Three to four days per week, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. with liberal lunch and coffee breaks.

 

 

How:

§         In jeans

§         With minimal phone interruptions

§         Customers that aren’t asshats

§         Flexible scheduling, and understanding client base for when I cannot do something due to health issues

 

Chapter Three, Exercise One October 16, 2006

Filed under: what do I want to be when I grow up? — Diana @ 11:45 am

Meaningful Work:  Write as much as you can about what you think the world calls “meaningful work”.  What makes work really worthy?

§         Positive impact on society

§         Helping people

§         Minimal impact on resources/environment

§         Compensated properly to allow for economic growth to continue economic well-bein

§         Fair treatment of employees and others that use the business

§         Color and situation blind

§         Personally empowering

§         Respectful

§         Demonstrates and expects ethical behavior

 

Chapter One, Exercise One October 10, 2006

Filed under: what do I want to be when I grow up? — Diana @ 11:55 am

Make a list of everyone who has been/is important to you and write down what they did/do want from you.  Since I am using this book to help me figure out my work goals, I will below make a list of the people that I grew up with, and the people that are important to me now, and what they want me To Be When I Grow Up, if I’ve gotten an inkling one way or the other.

Who What They Want From Me?
Mom When I was growing up, my mom never really said anything about what I should be when I grew up.  I knew from the time I was four (until I was about 20) that I wanted to be a teacher, and she thought that was just fine.  As I became an adult, and went into the working world, and haven’t had such a good time with that, she has offered suggestions that she thinks that I would like (most recently, librarian and real estate agent) and has expresser her concern that my current field is not really doing the job for me.

The most important message that I got from my mother was to be Independent.  She always made sure to tell me that I had to take care of myself, and make my own money, and learn to be on my own, because no one else would ever take care of me (and I think this is an unconscious wish, as she has always needed someone to take care of her…at least financially…and now that she is/could be financially independent (if she wanted to be) she doesn’t know what her purpose is, either.

Right now, she’s coming up with ideas that she can help me with – I think that her former message of Be Independent is morphing into:  do something that involves independence, and bring me with.  I’m not sure what to do with that message.

Dad (Alan) My dad’s prime motivator is money…he wanted me to do something that was going to make a lot of money.  In absence of that, I was to marry someone that made a lot of money so that I could “take care of him in his old age.”  He’s never really steered me in a career direction after the initial set up at SUPERVALU, but  he was pleased when I decided to go into business, and seems to think that (until recently) I’d made a decent career progression.

Interestingly, he has been with his company since the very beginnings of his career….almost 30 years now.  What he doesn’t get is my job hopping, and the always looking for something new and better.  He feels that I should find a good company, settle down, and collect my gold watch from them in 30 years.  He doesn’t seem to realize that, in today’s market, and in the field that I am currently in, that doesn’t happen anymore.

Dad My biological father was not around when I was growing up.  His wish for me during those years was to communicate with him, and there’s a whole big story as to why that didn’t happen. 

We have been in contact for about a year and a half now, and I am starting to seem some parallels between his path and mine.  He’s very smart, and has a Masters, and started out in one end of a field (electronics) and moved into another part (training people on electronic stuff) and now is working in training and development for several companies.

I don’t know how to say this nicely, so I’ll just go ahead and say it.  One of our parallels is that we are both very good at what we do, strive for excellence, and think that we know better than everyone else.  My way is totally the right way.  I get that feeling from him, too, and I think that it’s gotten him into some conflict in his work life.  There has also been a lot of change, and some uncertainty in his career. 

When I talk to him about job stuff, he doesn’t really steer me one way or the other.  I think that since we are getting to know each other as adults, he has more respect for my decisions than the parents I grew up with.  But I also think he understands me better…he understands the restlessness, the working for people and procedures that are asinine and ineffective, and the desire to do my own thing, but the need for stability.  He’s still struggling with it, so I’m not sure he has any answers for me, but probably a lot of life lessons.

Grandma My grandmother was my grandfather’s second wife, and my mother’s step-mother.  She was single and lived with her mother until she was about 45, when she married my grandfather, the year before I was born. 

She wanted me to married and have children.  That was it.  Jobs, whatever…my job was to provide her with great-grandchildren.  She never had her own children, but I practically grew up in her house, and I was the oldest grandchild by 11 years.  Her only hope.  She started talking to me about having children when I was 18….10 years before I seriously even considered the concept of becoming a mother. 

Grandma also taught me about empty time….once they moved to Minnesota when I was a few months old, my grandma never worked again.  She did some volunteer stuff, and was active in her church, until she really took on my full time care.  What I remember of her days was:  daily trip to the grocery store, the stock market channel, and soap operas.  She ate the same thing for lunch every day.  She followed a routine.  A week in which she had a hair appointment and a doctor’s appointment was a big week, and couldn’t contain anything else.

What I learned from her, without her trying to teach it, was to make every day count.  To not settle into a set routine, that can never be changed, and that offers no excitement.  I learned not to depend on one person for my happiness and stimulation.

But, and this is not career related, I also learned about love, and spending time with those you love.  Although I was the oldest by far, by the time my grandmother died there were five grandchildren.  When we were at my grandparents’ house for her funeral, the cousins were all talking, and it came out that each one of us had believed we were her favorite.  That is a gift that I carry with me forever, and something that I want to pass to my future child(ren) and grandchildren.  And something that I don’t want to give up to “go to work.”  That is work, and the most important.

Grandpa My grandfather was the best person that I have ever known.  He was smart, he was kind, and he believed in family.  He would never tell you he loved you, but he never had to. He made you a huge dinner on Sunday nights, and told stories until he laughed as tears streamed down his face, and you felt the love he had for each one of us.

He had succeeded in business with a high school diploma from a rural Ontario school, war service in the Navy, and some time working with the Provincial Police.  Eventually, he went into insurance, rose through the ranks of his company, was recruited into another company, and started up a new, very successful, division for them before he retired.  He believed in hard work, doing a good job, being loyal, and coming home at the end of the day.  I never remember him working late, traveling much, or stressing about work. You do what you can, as well as you can, and at the end of the day, that’s what you’ve done.  He was very pragmatic.

I think he also learned the value of family later in life.  My mother moved a lot as a kid, for his job, and he did whatever it took to move up the ranks.  However, I remember him later telling my dad (Alan) when he was considering a move for work, that he had done everything the company had told him to, had taken every move and every new challenge, and hadn’t gone up the ranks any faster than he would have had he stayed in one place.  Once that discovery was made, and his family was around him again, he never moved again until after retirement.  He found, and demonstrated, that family is more important than work. 

Mrs. Olson Mrs. Olson was my reading teacher in fourth grade, and the first of any of my teachers to really take any notice of me and what I could do.  I was always in the top reading group (I’ve always been a huge reader) and that year I had the first real opportunity to do some writing.  I wrote some sort of play about Demeter and Persephone, and she took notice.  The next year she convinced the gifted and talented program at my school to start a playwriting class, and told me that she’d created it for me.  She had to fight to get me into that class, as in the rich suburb where I grew up, gifted and talented did not mean gifted and talented, it meant my parents have money and want me to be in the accelerated classes so I can get into Yale like Daddy, even though I don’t have the brains granted to the common chicken.  I always remember Mrs. Olson telling me that she couldn’t get me into the whole program, but she’d convinced “them” to let me into this class.  After writing and producing a few small plays, our group was selected to write the script and songs for that year’s school play (adapted from a children’s book, but I sure can’t remember which one).  She was the one that introduced me to writing, and (although she didn’t know it) taught me that I could still be a good writer, and do some writing, even though I am not “creative” (I’ll never be a novelist, but I might write something non-fiction….that’s where my strength is).

By example, she also taught me about the Elite…and that I would never be one of them, but can get around that anyway.  A by-product of this is my serious distain for people and institutions that base their opinions on pedigree (my daddy has money) instead of skill (I have a brain).  That was the first time that I had seen that in motion, and I find that pattern repeated over and over in my professional life.

Dan Dan was my first love, my high school sweetheart.  We both worked in restaurants in high school, and loved the high volume, high stress (and, for me, the high drama of the other restaurant workers).  We talked about opening our own restaurant when we grew up.

That was the first time I really thought about what I wanted to do, and my scope was so limited…having worked in food service for my (very short) career, I kinda thought that was the only thing out there, especially since I didn’t want to work in an office, and Dan’s family thought that a college education was unnecessary for a future daughter-in-law (you don’t need fancy book learnin’ to birth babies). 

I think that the talk about owning our own restaurant planted the work at home seeds for me.  I wanted to be in control of my destiny, at the helm of my empire, a co-captain in the restaurant that was to be.  I wasn’t gonna work for The Man, I was going to do my own thing, and it would be fabulous.  I’ve never give up that desire to be independent of The Man.

Leitha My friend Dave’s ex-wife and I had an ongoing discussion of style vs. substance.  I think that she’s had some of the same experiences with the Elite that I had, and had formulated the theory that everything boils down to style vs. substance.  I learned through these discussions that I am almost all substance, and very little style.  I don’t schmoose, I find networking boring, and I’d rather shave my legs than go to a business dinner or cocktail hour.  But give me a task to do, or a direction to go in, and it will be done before deadline, well prepared, and exceeding your expectations.

Leitha agreed that I was mostly substance, but thought I should be more style.  I can’t say I’ve tried very hard, as that’s not the kind of person that I want to be.  I’m here to get the job done, and not to give you a warm fuzzy (unless that’s the job at hand).  The fact that the warm fuzzy people get ahead, when the actual workers are kept actual workers has never ceased to annoy me (and, I suspect that if I still knew Leitha, and if she had stuck to a traditional career path, it would annoy her to no end as well).

F.W. My ex wanted me to make money, and support him.  I had his support to do whatever I wanted with my job, as long as I was steadily employed, well compensated, had great benefits, allowed him to buy computer and video game parts, and came home at the end of the day to clean the house and make him dinner.  He wanted me to be Every Woman at work and at home….he had this strange pride that I was successful, but wanted to make sure that I knew that my true calling was to him and to the home.  (As long as I could pay for both, of course.)
Sarah Sarah wants me to find my passion.  It disturbs her that I consider work to be something that I do to pay the bills for the things that I really love…she thinks that work should be something that I really love.  Her feeling is that if you are not happy to go to work in the morning, that you are doing the wrong thing.
Jeff My beloved is the real reason that I am doing this.  He just wants me to be happy.  He wants me to love him, and to build a life with him.

However, he still understands that I am going to need to work, as we are no longer in a society that only one spouse can work and the other can sit at home eating bon-bons (although I’m really more of a chip girl, myself).  With that in mind, he is behind a change that I make 110%.  He knows that I need to find something that makes me happy, because I spend too many hours in a day doing it to hate it, and that effects the quality of our life together, outside of work.

All he wants is for me to be happy.

 

What do I want to be when I grow up? October 8, 2006

Filed under: what do I want to be when I grow up?,work work work — Diana @ 11:56 am

As my faithful readers might know, I am thinking about a new job and (possibly) a new career.  (Of course, my faithful readers might know this because most of the people that read this blog are not only readers, but I actually talk to them in person, too.  I don’t seem to have much of a following!)But back to the point:  I am not happy with my job, and I’m not so sure that I’m happy with my field.  Or with working in general, but that’s beside the point.  I’ve got all these skills, and a wish list of what I want and what I don’t want in a job, but many of those things are peripherals…they are not related to the actual tasks that someone would pay me to perform.  I mean, I don’t think that I can find someone to pay me to have an office, but work from home at least half time, and drink coffee.  I need to do something while in my pjs and drinking said coffee.  So, what is that, and how do I go about finding it?

That is what I am here to find out.  My beloved and I were reading a book that Sarah is reading for class, and he suggested another author that he’d read previously, Barbara Sher, and we ordered a couple of her books from PaperbackSwap.  We have been reading I Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What It Was, and I have committed to doing each of the exercises to see if can figure out what the hell to do with myself, and how to get there. 

I will be tagging these entries under What Do I Want To Be When I Grow Up? if you’d like to follow along for the journey (or learn how much longer it will be until I stop whining about my job).