So.. old entry.
One.. (and a half) more day... Then blessed blessed weekend.
I do feel conscience bidden to remind my dear roommates that we really REALLY need to pull Bobcat out, install the artshow checkout software on all of our 'registers' and make sure the whole shebang works, as I'm sure no one wants to spend the entire convention screaming at obstinate machines.
My plans for the weekend are simple. Do nothing I absolutely don't have to. I will probably clean our bedroom, and continue to be obsessive about the cleanliness of our kitchen, but that's it. Oh yeah, and maybe some laundry. Clean clothes would be good.
Next week, I work for two days, then I have a 5 day weekend for MFF. Thursday will be spent waiting for various people to arrive- I think there's only two people that Roho and I actually need to pick up, as Feren has claimed tarinfirepelt. Koz, seriously dude. Wear the bullet proof vest. We offered to go get you and he insisted. I think revenge is coming. yotogi will be coming in to the freaky Greyhound station again, just Friday morning rather than Thursday.
Soo.. I'll get to sleep in on Thursday, which will be utterly blissful. I won't get to sleep in on Friday, but that's somewhat to be expected.
The other night, my youngest brother emailed me out of the blue to tell me he ran into one of my old high school buddies. (They met on the mud Three Kingdoms, and.. I'm not really sure how my name came up, or how they knew me, but.. it did. I'm happy. I introduced Nic to 3K when we were still in high school, but he was never interested in that sort of thing. I guess he changed his mind. =)
Anyway.. I've written to him, trying to find out where in the country he is now, and trying to figure out what happened to our other mutual best friend. The three of us used to be part of our own little clique in high school- we had a group of 10 people that the rest of our class called 'The Inbreeders' because we pretty much just dated each other. Ahh.. high school memories.
I dreamt about my high school sweetheart last night. I'm really not sure why. Part of me wishes I had gone to the last reunion to see if he was there, part of me is glad. I don't know what I'd say to him anymore, and there's so much history there I don't know if a friendship would be possible. Bah. I do wish I had better contact with my old friends- I can see them all in my mind, and I can't help but wonder how they've changed, what experiences they've had. Hopefully theirs were easier/better than mine, but some of them... I don't think it was. Mike (Disney)... ahh yes.. blonde hair, baby blue eyes, and a big big boy. We looked quite a bit alike, for all that I was short and he was quite tall- we both had similar facial structures, to the point where people would assume we were siblings. Dis definately looked upon me as a sister, to the point where he threatened dire things to Michael if he ever hurt me. I don't think he knows about the divorce. Probably just as well.
Mary... Mary would go far. Her mother was in the Louisiana House of Representatives, and while I don't think politics were Mary's cup of tea... she had the intelligence and drive to do whatever she set her mind to. I just hope her drug use never went beyond casual use of weed.
Chanda... I know Chanda is doing well, since my mother actually ran into her while in Lafayette. I seem to remember that she got married, and I think she's a teacher now? Chanda was the goody-goody of the group, and she always approached everything with the utmost confidence that she would get her way. Strangely, she always did. Strange how that worked out.
Allie probably has her masters in engineering by now. In some ways I always envied her drive to succeed and overcome adversity. She raised her two young sisters, despite being away at school, was physically gorgeous, and had a very sweet temperment to boot. One of those people you'd love to hate, but can't. :P Last I heard, she was getting married to her high school sweetheart, John. She and John met our junior year in high school, at Mardi Gras. John was a sophmore at.. I want to say Tulane? And Allie flashed him for beads. Having seen her breasts, I can't really blame him for wanting to get to know her. :P It's also a bit disturbing that Bren's sister Ali reminds me quite a bit of Allie- not just the name, but the cadance of speaking, the intelligence and sense of humor. Physically, they look nothing alike.
Jamie... I really wonder what happened to her. She got pregnant our senior year, ostensibly date rape from the son of a prominent New Orleans lawyer, but... we all felt that it was more 'After the fact' rape. Jamie liked the boys. Disney became her protector throughout her pregnancy, but I think she ended up breaking it off. I know Dis would have married her to help provide for the child (a little girl named Jasmine), but Jamie opted to give her up for adoption.
Nic, the fellow my brother ran into, was... an interesting character. If Louisiana had a mobster family, Nic would look like he belonged to it. He had sweet baby cheeks and a jovial face, but was fascinated with the darker workings of the world, and one of those people that had a lot of emotional and mental issues. I wouldn't say he was psychopathic, just... screwed up as a teenager. For all that, he managed somehow to always make his endeavors a success- until he got bored and moved on to something else. He was fiercely protective of me, Mathew, and Kristina.. probably because we had the most patience in dealing with him. Well. Mathew and I did. Kris just used him.
Which brings me to Kristina. God. She was (is) a real piece of work. She was the first friend I made at LSMSA, as our rooms were just down the hall on the same wing. She was a user, plain and simple. She manipulated people to suit her, then dropped them when they stopped being amusing. It irked me a great deal when she decided she wanted Mathew- I guess she saw the potential in him and decided to grab him before someone else did. She quit our school after the first year, returning to her old high school for graduation. Mathew did as well- although I suspect his reasons were financial rather than Kris just deciding to quit. Kris eventually got pregnant by another friend, and convinced Mathew to marry her. I need to find out what happened there.
Mathew... Ahhh Mathew. My treasured friend. Of all the people that were there in those two years, Matt was the gem. He (and maybe Allison) was the best of all of us. I really miss him. We kept in touch when he went away to college, and part of the reason I flunked out of my first semester was because I was constantly driving down to Baton Rouge to see him and Matthew Neau (the high school sweetheart mentioned above). Matt lived with Mike and I for nearly two months in the summer of 1999- I hated seeing him leave to join Kristina in Nashville.
My junior year in high school was, I think, the best of my teen years. I had a close network of friends that I've never had since, and I really miss it sometimes. I've tried to contact some of my other friends, and had the attempts fall through as everyone has busy lives, and as we've grown older, we've grown apart. In 4 months, I will be 26 years old. It will be 10 years since I moved into a dorm, and cried myself to sleep because I was terrified and lonely. The group of people above really made a huge difference in my life. We had good times, we had bad times... and... that's what growing up and having friends is all about. Even though they don't read this... thank you guys. I hope you're all doing well.
Work is continuing to grind me into a mound of messy pulp. I don't know what the hell is going on in the minds of Management, but right now they're pulling people off of projects to support the outrageous promises they made to major clients, and the major clients that they're pulling people from are getting really pissed with the drop in the service levels. I feel like the rope in a tug of war, and I really don't like it.
I'm trying really hard to just sit back, relax, and do what I'm supposed to do. Turn off the Quality Control buttons, and just be a regular CSR drone. I'm not terribly successful thusfar. When I'm doing a shoddy job, I feel guilty. When I try to do my usual stellar job, I get stressed out and frustrated by the lack of information and support. Looking at it from the company's standpoint... okay no. Even looking at it from the company's standpoint, I -STILL- can't see how anyone thought this was a good idea. Basically, we signed a major contract with one of the largest retail chains in the country. We then took over ANOTHER contract from the company we purchased earlier in the year. Basically, the child company was handling it, then we decided we'd take it and make it better. The problem is, these two retail chains are direct competitors, and while one isn't nearly as large as the other, that's like saying a F150 pickup isn't as large as a Doulee. There's not that much of a difference. ANYWAY. We signed this huge maintenance contract that covers everything from customer abuse to meteors falling from the sky. So basically, some brat knocks a phone off the wall, we cover it. And with Ridiculously Huge Client 1, we have to have the ticket closed, from start to finish, in 24 hours. Need a part? It's got to be sent Counter to Counter. If it ISN'T closed within 24 hours, RHC1 calls to bitch at our PEO (Productions Exec). The shit falls downhill, as the saying goes, and ends up in a huge pile on the poor CSRs. Now. When we signed these huge maintenance contracts, we hired new people AFTER the fact. So these people have to be trained, ect ect, say about a month before they're ready to seriously make a dent in this collossal workload. We hired 5 new people. Yay for putting a bandaid on a fucking gunshot wound.
Our office is divided up into teams, named after colours. Each team has 1-2 major contracts, and 4-5 smaller contracts that they handle exclusively, and each team is comprised of 4-5 people on average. Now. The Blue Team, the one that handles RHC1, was not nearly large enough to deal with the load that was just dumped on them. This team has been working 10-12 hour shifts to keep up with just the call load- we're not talking about the invoicing they're supposed to be doing. Now, with RHC2, the Orange Team is similarly swamped. Management decided that the Read Team had to have a Team Lead, so promoted one of the four people there, then pulled another to be moved to Orange, then a third went on short term disability for 5 months. So.. Red had ONE person for a while. Gee, I wonder why things are so backed up over there? They have evidently decided that they will pull people off the other teams to pinch hit for the ones in trouble. Right now, the Green Team (mine) is the only one that's meeting billing quotas, that isn't pissing off the clients due to poor response times, and basically, we're the only ones that are managing to meet the expectations our clients and management have put on us. So what does Management do? They decide we can do our work, AND help out with other teams. Last week my STL (Service Team Lead) flat out told Management that no, he couldn't spare me to go work on RHC1. Several times. They were most persistent. This week, they waited til he was on vacation, then dumped all the members of the green team into other team's queues after brief (15 minute) training sessions. So now, in addition to the 5 clients I'm already servicing, I'm handling 22 other clients. I do not know their procedures, I just have a very brief blurb for each one. This stresses me out. Immensely.
I'm beginning to realize that as long as I work in a call center, I'm going to be fucked over. As long as I'm in the service industry, I may as well have 'doormat' tattooed on my forehead. To succeed (and be content) working in a customer service oriented job, one really needs to have a certain mindset. I do not have this mindset. I cannot bust my ass to do something, then nod and shrug it off when the customer decides they want it done differently. I have a very hard time following orders that are obviously poorly thought out. I have a low tolerance threshhold for morons that don't know what they're talking about. I'm very impatient, and high strung (much as I hate to admit it). I like a challenging workplace. I do not like being treated like a resource to be strip mined.
I really need to decide what I want to do with my life. I need to sit down and decide what my requirements for a job are, then try and figure out which field fits that best, then get my education accordingly. And I need to try not to get annoyed with the people that are unemployed and whine 'I don't want to do X!' when they get interviews. It's Darwinism at work. I am stubborn and a survivor and I will not quit my job. Therefore, I will continue to collect steady paychecks, I will pay off my bills, and I will be able to buy fun things. I just need to keep my eye on the prize. Stay focused. Right.
Ummmm.. Lessee. There was another possibility for a job in the Boston area, but.. we don't think it's going to work out. It wouldn't be a transfer, it would mean starting over with a whole new company, and they seem rather less than enthused that Bren is a windows programmer rather than linux. C'est la vie. While I am somewhat disappointed that we won't be leaving Illinois, I am rather glad that we can take the opportunity to save up some more money and get ourselves in as stable a position as possible for when we do leave. We're setting a tentative (VERY tentative, as in... we'd really like to, but have no clue whether or not it'll happen yet) timetable for next summer. In the mean time, we've made some light plans for how we want to arrange the apartment, and I have indulged in a bit of home improvement and beautification projects. I've mostly been concentrating on the kitchen, since... well.. the kitchen is a small area, and therefore is easier to decorate. I picked up some organizational units- a shelf for over the sink, a mug tree- and rearranged to make the most of the space we have. Next on my list is one of those handy little things you keep recycleable plastic grocery bags in, then perhaps some shelving to go in the cabinets under the counters. Going into any of our under cabinet counters is much like spelunking. You reach forward and hope nothing grabs you. I also want more potholders, but I need to figure out where I'm going to keep them. The 'junk' drawer I have them in now is getting a bit full. Some major storage reorganization needs to be done, but I think we're waiting til we have a better idea of Fer's plans before we start anything like that- after all, there's no point in pulling it all out and reorganizing if we're going to have to pull it BACK out to get to his things. Also, I think I want to get one of those inexpensive step-stools. Being that I'm 5 foot nothing, I have a very hard time reaching the top shelves in the cabinets. I -can't- reach things that have been pushed back, and I hate having to try and climb halfway onto the counter, or pester Bren or Jason to come fish whatever out for me. Stepstool would be good.
Also on our list of improvements for our home... (Besides procuring our own art for the walls) I think we're going to break down and buy one of the littermaid automated litterboxes. Cailet is very particular about sharing her box, and if we don't clean it fast enough, she starts getting creative. Marcus has taken after her example (much to our chagrin) of leaving nasal-searing shits several times a day. I'm not joking when I say that we expect the UN to come knocking asking about our possession of two WMDs. My hope is that with the littermaid, the box would be kept clean enough to satisfy Cailet, and we could just pop the little receptacle off every couple of days, rather than clip a clothespin on our nose and flush the large mounds of waste on a daily basis. At least, that's the theory. I'm sure in practice it won't be nearly that easy. I'm thinking, too, that once we have the room, I will probably install a second litterbox to take a little of the strain off.
Oh- Another note to self. Discard the rug balled up by the washing machine.