Archive | May, 2020

We Are Getting Called Back into Physical Work :(

21 May

Even though we can do 100% of the job from home.  And we have been working from home just fine since March 15.  And we made production records.

Nothing has changed with the Covid pandemic since they had us work from home.  In fact, cases in Arizona are going up.

They are still adamant we must return to the building June 1st.

And our building is not conducive to reducing the risk of getting sick.  I am absolutely certain people will spread the virus.

We work in one open room.  157 on the claims side, then however many on the opposite side of the fairly open building in Customer Service.  Our cubicles are short, and management already said it would be too expensive to raise the walls.  As I complained here many times, I could already feel the cough/sneeze air of the gal in the cube behind me (because she doesn’t cover her shit).

The long hallways are open, kitchenettes with the water, microwaves, and refrigerators, are part of the big, open room and shared by most.  We all have to enter and leave by badging in and out of one central bottleneck.  There are 2 women’s bathrooms only with 5 stalls and 3 sinks.  They are crowded routinely.  We share them with the CSRs.  The janitor cleans the bathrooms twice daily, and when he does, he closes 1 of the bathrooms so the entire female claims and CSRs share 1 bathroom of 5 stalls and 3 sinks.

I am very concerned.  We already got many messages through the emergency system that someone in our building had been diagnosed with Covid-19 (this was toward the beginning of work from home).

Work says our health is the number 1 priority.  But I find that hypocritical since they’re dragging us back in with no justification in the middle of a global pandemic.

Leadership sent out a handout of the guidelines:

Do a self-survey and self temp check before entering the building (people are not careful, people lie, some carriers are asymptomatic)

Wear masks in common areas (except common areas got perverted to ‘not our big, open room where we all work and breathe for the majority of the day and there is recirculated AC.  Oh, and my supervisor diluted the manual’s instruction more by telling us that the masks are a recommendation, not a requirement)

Social distance and stay 6 feet apart (except the said our short cubicles are 6×6 so we’ll be the same distance as always.  And the bathrooms are going to be a bottleneck.  And the kitchenettes because so many of us have to share them.  And I’m worried leadership will come right to my desk to tell me things or help me with work.)

They said they’ll increase the air flow rate in the buildings they own.  (They don’t own our building.  Even if there is increased rate, it’s still a closed building, and the AC is still recirculated all day long as everyone breathes–without masks).

Work said they’re following federal, state, and CDC guidelines.  (Trump hasn’t really implemented any plan whatsoever, and he has ulterior motives to prioritize the economy over everything else so he can get reelected.  Our governor also prioritizes buisiness because the state ran out of money probably and he’s bought and paid for by corporations.  Our governor has already opened stores, malls, dine in restaurants, bars, gyms, pools, and casinos if that tells you where his priorities are.  And when people broke his recommendations by opening earlier, or having enormous groups with no health measures–he did nothing.  It was not enforced at all.  No fines, no orders to close down.  Nothing happened.  So we can’t depend on that douche to implement public health measures that are reasonable.  And the CDC has been politicized and muzzled, so their recommendations are weak and diluted.

So the federal isn’t doing anything for public health–they’re actively working against science and health measures.  Our red state is tired and inconvenienced and money over lives so no one is helping prevent the spread.  We are in a right to work state, so I have no protections if my work demands I go back–even if I feel unsafe doing so.  And I know even if I fight, they will say we’re essential health care workers so they really don’t have to make any accommodations at all to require us back in the building.  And obviously we HAVE to keep the job.  That’s not even close to an option.

But I don’t like it.

But I get so tired of capitalism and corporate interests jerking the little people around.  I want to have rights and a voice, and wish unions were mainstream.  We needed Elizabeth Warren to take care of some of this corruption and money over lives ideals that Americans just have to live by.  I want to feel safe at work.

I’m legit worried as soon as we step into work we will get the Covid-19.  So what was the point of us working from home at all, if we go back before the peak even hits the state?  I never thought moving to a red state might literally kill me…

How to Eat Less (At Least, What Worked for Me)

12 May

I used to have a magical metabolism.  I ate whatever I wanted, in whatever amount, all the time and was still thin.  I was never a heavy kid or teen.  And I got a little more hefty my first year of college when I was living off Domino’s Kickers and gummy worms, but only like 5 extra pounds.  I had this gift of a metabolism until I turned 34.  Then, things started catching up with me.  Suddenly, I had to pay attention to what foods I ate and how much.  And I did not like it.  It was different.  I had never, never had to pay attention before!  And it first, it was like I noticed it, but it didn’t really impact my weight.  But my clothes just fit different.  Then, clothes I’d worn since 6th grade, suddenly just didn’t fit.  Then my cute-stuff shorty-shorts didn’t fit the same.  Then, I suddenly couldn’t wear my jeans.  Abruptly, my weight shot up!  At an alarming rate, too.  Once the number budged, it just kept going up and up.  I was upset and heartbroken, yet I didn’t really want to stop eating like I had.  I love food!  So I tried to out-exercise it.  Instead of just the 1 mile per day, I added strength.  And crunches.  Those did help tone me, but did not fix my clothes situation.  And I was determined not to buy a whole new wardrobe!

So I knew I had to reign it in.  And it was a slow process, with a lot of embarrassingly loud stomach growls as I retrained my body.  Here are some hints that helped:

–>here is a key point:  -small daily** changes<– 

Seriously, don’t punish yourself.  Just like anything else, you have to work up to it.  Yes, hold yourself accountable.  Have goals.  But just go for one small change in habit every day.  Just one.  And when that gets slightly easier, challenge yourself a bit more.  Until you’re really getting somewhere.  Accountable and challenging, but don’t beat yourself up or too push too much, too fast.

-packing snacks in zip locks or tiny tupperware.  Because my appetite could have polished off a bag.

-Prioritize.  When I am trying to get my food under better control, I suddenly have to choose between foods instead of having them all.  Just do your favorites.  If you could take or leave donuts, don’t let yourself auto-grab a donut just because someone brought them to the meeting.  If you love pasta–fine.  But have smaller portions of light foods the rest of the day to counteract all those carbs.  Choose solid calories (vs drinks) because, let’s face it–it’s a waste to drink your calories and feel starving afterwards.  And remember, artificial sweeteners are 100x sweeter they so increase hunger.  Make what you eat count.

-Drinking more water.  And yes, at first this makes you feel even more hungry, but over time (like a span of months, so don’t give up) I think it really does help.

-Picking the right snacks.  Produce was like eating nothing at all.  I was starved out of my mind, hangry and cheatee.  But a handful of nuts, especially those flavored ones with wasabi or chipoltle were somewhat satisfying.

-Honestly, what really helped in those very early stages was adding a bit of soup broth to my water.  That salt (bad long term) really helped get my hunger back in check.  Just don’t over-do it, because soup is too salty for the heart and hydration status.

-Use smaller plates and tupperwares so you don’t SEE deprivation, and so you can clean your plate without overindulging.

-eat more fiber

-eat more protein

-I’m not good at eating my meals slower–ain’t nobody got time (or patience) for that, but I would pack a bag of Triscuits and just eat one every time my stomach growled at work.  So I’d work on a bag throughout the whole morning.  More power to you if you can stand to eat your meals slowly, chewing extra and all that.

-KEEP BUSY.  It’s all caps because it’s a big factor.  Don’t just sit there thinking about hunger, cheating, your next meal, or how you want to give up.  Focus on work.  Do extra chores.  Do anything to take your mind off of it.  Yes, it’s very preoccupying, especially in those first 2 months.  But keep busy, busy.

-Did you know belly fat stimulates hunger hormones?  Which doesn’t seem fair, since the problem just keeps perpetuating.  So doing that exercise is actually helping reduce the hunger too.

-When I’m fatigued and tired, I make shitty choices.  I grab the ice cream, skip the workout, then feel regretful.  So get your sleep!

I’m not gonna lie.  It takes a long time to reign it back in.  There will be times you’re super hungry, healthy meals that leave you totally unsatisfied, and some cheating.  But do stick with it in the long run.  I’m back in my jeans, back in my cute clothes.  And more than that I feel better, and have more energy than when I accidentally got fat.  It’s worth it, and as cliche’ as it is, YOU’RE worth it.

 

Work From Home

11 May

My company is adamantly against letting any of us work from home–ever.  But this pandemic forced them to have to allow it.  Because we work in an open room with recirculated AC and the 157 claims people share 2 bathrooms (and they shut down 1 for cleaning twice daily making the whole building share 1 bathroom) with the call center people on the opposite side of the building.

So we’ve been working from home since March 15.

And I love everything about it:

-I sleep better because I don’t have that anticipatory wakefulness trying to make the schedule.

-I use less utilities because I shower every other day since no one will see my 2nd day greasy, slept-on hair.

-Getting ready for work is low maintenance, because I don’t have to adhere to dress code, put on makeup, fix my hair, or prepare the house and cats for being gone all day.

-I can open all the windows in the cool mornings to use less utilities later in the day on cooling, because I have more time to open them, then I’m home to close them up only when the temp = inside.

-I can work outside on the patio and get some fresh air.

-I don’t have to think about the public bathroom:

*do people think I’m going too frequently?

*are they shutting one or the other down for cleaning so they’re more crowded?

*It’s my rule to pee only in the bathroom–but sometimes that makes for an uncomfortable day.

*What if I have to make embarrassing sounds or smells?

*other people are disgusting and shameless in the bathroom.

*the bathroom is an unpleasant mess!

*Touching anything in there is gross

*it’s a rule of mine to get in and out of the bathroom as quick as possible!

*I don’t like to talk in the bathroom, because of what molecules are floating around–but coworkers and leadership find it socially unacceptable not to say anything…

*I spend a huge amount of my work day worrying about the public bathroom…

-I drink more water because it’s easier to get and see above.

-I save tons of time just eating from the fridge.  I don’t have to spend bunches of time on weekends meal prepping lunches to just grab and go.

-I can pet the kitties any old time I want to.  And fill their water, or top off their food during the day, instead of rushing around in the morning trying to remember, or forcing myself to do it when I’m tired at night.

-Between claims, I can just, say empty the dish drainer, and do little chores.  Instead of having to do it after work, after our workout, when I’m very tired.  Or on the weekends.

-I can have things delivered during the day.

-I don’t have to worry about interactions with my coworkers.

-I don’t have to worry about my coworkers spreading germs (this was a concern of mine even prior to covid, b/c the gal behind me does not cover her coughs or sneezes and I can feel the air on the back of my hair and neck).  Also, we have that recirculated air.

-I don’t have to see my jerk supervisor face to face or have any awkward in-person interactions with him.

-I don’t have to plan my time-table around traffic.  I don’t have the stress of driving with fucking idiots.  I don’t pay as much gas, and the wear and tear on our cars is less.

-Asking questions at work is much less stressful, because everyone has to do everything in writing (my preferred form of communication).  I used to get nervous to ask, nervous when people came to my desk, awkward about what to say when I didn’t have time to plan it or check it, and nervous about people sharing their germs.

-Meetings are better.  I could listen to the meeting while swiffering my floors.

-We can do sit-ups on our breaks, b/c nobody else will see us, and we’re not in our nice work clothes.

-We can dance for a couple min every hour b/c there is no chance for anyone to see us.

-We can dress in our workout clothes last break so we’re ready to start our workout right after we clock out.

-Since we start our workouts so much earlier without driving and changing, we are also finished much earlier.

-I am not nearly as tired or fatigued after working from home, probably because I wasn’t exhausted by all the social interactions and factors of the job.  I’m fretting and preoccupied a lot by other people and the schedule when I’m at physical work.  As a result, we do our cardio, strength, and abs every single day, instead of lazying out a couple times a week!

-I’m less tired and stressed in general.

-Our timeline is more relaxed, and as a result so am I.

-Because we are able to get more done throughout the work day and during the week, there is more leisure time on weekends.  Instead of all our logistics stacking up like usual.

 

Also, I don’t know why we can’t always work from home.  At the quarterly meeting, they said we made production records since we’ve worked from home.  I don’t see why corporations are always so hot on dragging their employees into a physical location when people enjoy having work:life balance.  And the traffic impacts are exponential.  I could see if we were screwing around, not making our numbers, and making tons more mistakes–but it’s the exact opposite.  Yet we are being called back in probably June 1st–which is too soon b/c AZ doesn’t peak until June 7.  I’m sure they’ll pull the “essential worker” card, even though we are fully capable of doing 100% of our work from home.

I wish I could work from home all the time, forever!

 

If You Think College is a Bubble of Equality–YOU’RE in a Bubble

5 May

I listen to podcasts all day (practically) at work, a lot of them news and current events.  Today, one of them was talking about universities having to go online after the coronavirus social distancing restrictions.

A professor was talking about how the college experience puts each student on an equal playing field:  They all live in the dorms, eat the same crummy cafeteria food, and make their own ecosystem in the classroom.  This professor talked about receiving an email from one of her students after distance learning was put in place that broke her heart.

Cut to an interview with the student.  She never thought she would attend college–had really no interest in it until a high school counselor saw her grades.  This adult saw the grades and encouraged the student to apply to a private college.  Because of her economic status and grades this student got a full ride scholarship to attend.  The interviewer asked how that felt.  The response:  Tepid at best (my opinion).  The interviewer asked what she knew about the school at the time she received her full scholarship:  “I Googled it after I got the letter.”  She went to the campus for her Freshman year, even joining the lacrosse team.

So after the university sent everyone home to engage in distance learning, this student writes her professor an email.  I’ll summarize best I can remember (the interviewer had her read the email aloud for the podcast and she cried throughout):

I’m so sorry.  I am not going to be able to finish this assignment on time.  I can’t concentrate.  My parents own a food truck and since the coronavirus hit, they can’t do business.  They’re thinking about applying for a loan, but it’s uncertain.  I might have to help, maybe, but we don’t know yet.  It’s difficult to complete an assignment when it might be for nothing.  I don’t have a desk, and there are distractions here.  I’m sorry.  I feel so guilty.

So that sounds bad.  But there is a list of things I have a problem with:

-She is on a full-ride scholarship!  Most students have to pay for their education.  I (vs. Mommy and Daddy paying) was responsible for funding my own tuition, so I had to take out loans.  Hardly anyone gets a free college experience.

-Her indifference to applying for college, dearth of knowledge about the school, participation in sports, and email asking for an extension really convey to me that school is not this gal’s priority.

-She was economically stable enough to participate in a sport.  And had to balance her studies with a sport.  This is a luxury.  Also, time-management.

-Who the fuck has a desk?!  I never did.  We work from home, and don’t have a desk.  You make it work.  Find a counter.  Balance your computer on a book.  Seriously–is she even trying?  Honestly, I wanted to tell her to put in some earbuds and focus up.

-A call B.S. on this story.  I’m going to go ahead and be cynical.  I’d be willing to bet this is a dramatized version of events (aka sob story) because a deadline was looming.  Nobody wants a bad grade, so a last ditch effort might be firing off an email to get an extension.  I would love to hear from teachers how common sob story emails asking for extensions are (during and prior to coronavirus).

-This gal’s parents might not be able to keep their business going.  But this is hardly a novel situation.  And it’s not new just because of coronavirus either.  Having a savings account is a rarity.  So, so many students come from a background with economic hardships.  And way worse than hers, too.

-I went on Twitter to remind everybody this is not a coronavirus problem, as the podcast let on.  Disparity has always gone on in every educational setting!  This is nothing new.  Every student except your white, middle to upper-class male has hardships and disparities.  I think it’s gross how many commentators were shocked and appalled that coronavirus has created disparities.  As if they haven’t been going on this whole time.  One (of many, many, many) current examples are the admissions scandals.  This has always happened!

-It’s offensive to me that people were wanting this girl’s particular contact info so they could financially help her.  I told a lot of them they should give instead to one of the many organizations that helps struggling students.  Because pre-coronavirus and now there are tons and tons of students facing numerous disparities, and they need help.  And yeah, a lot of them even finish their assignments on time!

 

Behavioral Interview Q&A Brainstorm

4 May

 

  1. Talk about a time when you had to work closely with someone whose personality was very different from yours.

I am a unique person, so most everyone has a different personality then me!  I like to learn through diversity, so it’s a strength when I can combine my talents with someone else’s different positive attributes.

 

  1. Describe a time when you struggled to build a relationship with someone important. How did you eventually overcome that?
  2. We all make mistakes we wish we could take back. Tell me about a time you wish you’d handled a situation differently with a colleague.

Spring break was the busiest week of the year for the hospital and everybody was expected to work overtime and do extra.  A coworker of mine did a lot of extra shifts during the week, but when we were scheduled on Friday, she was 2 hours late, leaving me short-handed.  I gave her the silent treatment, and she accosted me and asked me what my problem was.  I told her nicely why I didn’t appreciate her behavior, but it created a rift for the rest of our time there.  I’m not sure her reaction would have been any different, but I wish I would have just been up front in the first place.

  1. Tell me about a time you needed to get information from someone who wasn’t very responsive. What did you do?

Clients are reluctant or unhelpful many times when I tried to collect a pet’s history.  For instance, sometimes I could tell the cat had an abscess (which is usually caused by a cat fight/bite) because we saw them frequently, but the owner was oblivious and thought maybe it was a spider bite.  I asked the right questions in order to get helpful answers.  When the owner strayed from helpful info, I would redirect, by asking a specific and pointed questions to get at the answers the vet would need to proceed.

If the role you’re interviewing for works with clients, definitely be ready for one of these. Find an example of a time where you successfully represented your company or team and delivered exceptional customer service.

  1. Describe a time when it was especially important to make a good impression on a client. How did you go about doing so?

At Cat’s Meow, we had a gold star client who always brought her 5 pets in, and always did every recommendation and more.  I always try to give timely and friendly service, but I would make a concerted effort to keep things on time with her, and made a special point to remember details about her cats when she visited.

  1. Give me an example of a time when you did not meet a client’s expectation. What happened, and how did you attempt to rectify the situation?

At my last vet hospital, an irate owner took her dog home before we could start its dental because she was unhappy with the estimate.  After she had a chance to calm down, I called and offered to walk her through the estimate in person.  She agreed and I explained in detail what each line of the estimate was, why it was recommended, and why we couldn’t be specific about some costs.  I also patiently answered all of her questions.  When we came out of the room, she was all smiles and thank yous and not only re-scheduled her dog for the dental, but put her 2nd dog on the schedule also.  And she did follow through with both of those dentals.