Tag Archives: janitor

“I cain’t quit you.” [Part 5]

26 Mar

Written 6 years ago, but I read it today and thought, ‘go me!’  It’s funny how things may come to fruition easily when you don’t want it or don’t care.  I was not intentionally playing hard to get or anything like that, I really wasn’t invested.  But it seemed to help.  Also, having a strong background in negotiation skills from my parents making me haggle for spending money or on chores, etc… is really a priceless, valuable skill set to have.

During the dental yesterday, my boss teased me (in a half-serious) way about how she wished I would re-consider and keep cleaning.  It’s a difficult position to fill because it requires trust to let someone come in during off hours.  I told her I had made up my mind and wouldn’t be pressured!  Also jokingly.  And she talked about how it seems like an easy job, but she is having trouble finding someone to work few hours, on off-times, and trusting said person would show up, work, and do a quality job.  Which I told her were all traits I was excellent at, but I didn’t want to have any crutch with this new move of mine.  I had explained how I didn’t test into my LVT (even though it would garner me a job anywhere, be an instant, raise, and “legitamize” me in any setting.  If I had my LVT and failed at any new career endeavor, or couldn’t get a job–it would make sense to use that and work in vet hospitals.  And that’s not what I want for myself.  If I can’t be a vet–I don’t wanna ever be satisfied with a thankless, dead-end, menial job.

And that’s why I couldn’t work for my current job–in any capacity.  It would be just too easy to get scared, and back-slide right back into my comfort zone where I have most experience and where I have an “in.”  Because I know if I wanted it bad enough my work would be happy to have me back.  They know the quality of work I deliver, and vets never want to trust anyone new–and they can always use the help.  So even though I could make the TIME work, I didn’t want to keep even one finger in my past.

But my boss said don’t give a negative answer hastily–just think about it.  And just that little bit of (half-joking) pressure got in my mind.  I thought it would be some income for me.  And I could easily do it.  There would be a flexible schedule and I wouldn’t SEE anyone so nothing could irritate me.

But I really didn’t think about it that much because I didn’t think my boss would press the issue.  And before work I told Cool that IF my boss brought it up, I would just ask how much it was worth to her.  Because I didn’t really think it would come up, and if it did I was almost certain my boss wouldn’t agree on a sum I’d be happy with.

But at work, my boss made a quip about it, then quickly said she was kidding–so as not to be terribly obnoxious.  But I said I had taken her seriously and thought about it.  And she practically scampered across the room asking if I would really be willing to do it.  But I wanted to know the expectations.  And she started saying every day (which is MORE then I currently do). . .  to which I was like–no, no never-mind that won’t work.  But I could see she was desperate because she asked what I was thinking.  And I told her 2, 3 times a week max, on a flexible schedule.  At this point I showed her my checklists that I date as I accomplish things.  I pointed out the frequency in which I currently do things is not as often as she thought (proving vets really don’t know who does what or when just as long as it doesn’t directly affect them).  She said she’d have to think about it–and I figured she wouldn’t go for it and oh well–no loss to me.  But 2 minutes later she came up to me and said that would work.

But I persisted that I needed to know expectations–just to make sure the cleaning I’m doing now is what they want.  Because my work isn’t the greatest at communication, and I didn’t want anyone disgruntled in the future.  So all these talks were loud and in front of everyone.  Which I am normally not a fan of–but I wasn’t all that invested in this.   I had already planned to quit all-together and if I could help without too much headache on my part, great, but if not, great.  But once the ball got rolling, and it looked like I WAS going to keep cleaning, I got a little worried I had not mentioned the financials.  That was the thing that this decision would be about.  Because it did go against what I had decided, was because I bent to pressure, and would hold me back from my future field just a little).  So I wanted to feel like I wasn’t totally being a push-over.  I needed to get MORE out of the deal–and I apparently had leverage.  That is not a very familiar place for me to be.

I tried to deviate from my normal ultra-serious talk and keep it light.  I told my boss we would have time after the dental to talk 1:1.  And she was like, more?  And I was like of course.  So we get up there, and I told her I broke the cardinal rule and told her what she wanted to hear FIRST so she stopped listening.

I said any monkey off the street can clean–you are not paying me to clean.  You are paying for the trust, my dedication, my work ethic, and the fact I already know her expectations.  But of course I was getting nervous–despite having nothing to lose and coming from a position of leverage.  And she was like, calm down you’re just talking to me. Why are you getting worked up?  And I was like, I don’t know, I’m just putting myself out there I guess.  You make me nervous.  And she said, I’m that way too–I wonder why it’s so hard to ask for what you think you’re worth?  And I was like yeah it’s a funny thing because I KNOW what I’m worth, but the asking is awkward.  So I still felt like I had to put out the disclaimers, and included that she wouldn’t be paying a new person what she had paid me so it would save money.  I also said I would be working less hours, but still had to account for the gas, the time, and going back on my plan.  She asked how much I made now.  $12.00.  I think it’s $12.25 she says.  No, $12–and believe me, I know–b/c it’s been more then a year (even after my stellar evaluation) since I got a raise.  Then she put the ball in my court and asked how much I wanted.

Fail!  I hadn’t really thought that far ahead, because I honestly didn’t think the negotiations would get this far.  Always have a number in mind ahead of time!  But I didn’t. . .  And I was nervous, and too flustered to do any math in my head.  So I said I needed a calculator.  Maybe I could clear my head and walk away from the table for a second to gather my thoughts.  She handed me her phone.  With shaking hands (remember I’m nervous and completely unprepared) I plugged in my anticipated monthly fuel cost and my highest utility bill.  Then divided that into an hourly amount for the cleaning hours.  I know–totally random!  It came to $12.66.  But even in my nervous state, I know you aim high in negotiations so you have somewhere to go.  But for whatever reason $13 seemed scary.  I didn’t want to see some sort of horrible expression on my boss’ face or hear that my work wasn’t worth THAT much.  So I went for a nice round quarter-amount:  $12.75, with the expectation we’d go down a little.

Without batting an eye my boss said they could make that work.  And immediately I was regretful I didn’t go higher.  Both people should feel just a little uncomfortable if you arrive at a good number, and my boss had answered all too readily–apparently I had underestimated how much the cleaning position meant to her.  Damn–it was a 6.3% raise!

But I will just consider the extra 25 cents I should have asked for as the benefit of a flexible schedule.  They did try several times to get me to commit to certain days.  But I resisted for study/school/future commitments/vacation purposes.  So I will consider that my “benefits-package.”  Which I guess for janitorial is pretty good, and better then I would have done had I readily agreed to keep on cleaning.  And better then no income at all.  So everyone IS a winner?!  Maybe.

In summary:  Working at veterinary hospitals falls under the heading “I can’t quit you.”  Also, everybody needs to have some negotiation skills at the ready, because you could need to use them at any time.

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Moments of 2015-Bad

31 Dec

I see today (New Years Eve) as a day for reflection.  And I can’t say I’m sorry 2015 is over.  It wasn’t terrible, I’ve had much worse years.  But it wasn’t what I wanted either.  I like to know where I’m going, and in 2015 I never did.  I didn’t know if I would continue with school, and I didn’t know where my career would take me.  In the past, I’ve been severely disappointed when career objectives didn’t pan out, but this time I felt a calmness and grace about the situation.  Still, there is a dissatisfaction.  And now I’m left to really contemplate what I want in life.  But that’s a story for tomorrow, New Years Day, a day for goals and new beginnings.  Today I’ll post a few blogs about worst moments in 2015.  Which isn’t just picking the scabs of wounds, it’s thinking and it’s learning.  Seeing the worst times allows me to rearrange the circumstances to make next year better.

And again, I’m posting for the sake of time and forgoing a lot of re-writes.  I’ll edit later (maybe).

12TH WORST TIME OF 2015:  -Bob, at my new job, introducing himself as the janitor.  Trying to be funny, but offending me.  Insinuating of course he was much better than a crummy janitor.  He’s some client services administrator–big deal.  When he didn’t know that janitorial had been my very last job, and my father had been a custodian for 20 or 30 years.  What a D-bag.

11.  -Human drama at the YMCA.  Deb being all weird toward me because ???  and holding a grudge.  The churchy gal acting like a bitch and treating me like a lowly janitor.  Just coldness and unnecessary drama from people with nothing to keep their minds busy.  It was stupid, but even though I wasn’t invested in the drama, I noticed it, and had to DEAL with it.  Lame.

10.  -Rusty’s doors remaining half open in the winter.  Primarily because it rendered my remote start useless.  And obviously I NEED that.  I hate being cold.  So much so, that I had bought my own remote start and fought for them to put it in my manual–which is a liability for them and usually against the rules.  And I had always loved starting the car from inside the warm building.  But now it set off the alarm, because the doors were open just enough. . .

9.  -The unwelcoming, frosty environment at MSCL for my first 7 months working there.  NOBODY acknowledged me, talked to me, or anything.  I felt awkward and alone.  Those duds and douche-bags were the WORST!  Here’s an example:  I walk in as a brand new employee–and nobody (even my boss)  says hello.  Or I sneeze–and nobody says bless you or anything.  It was as if I was invisible.  I guess it’s because they have high turn-over, and they were change-averse.  And because it’s a lab, so people don’t have great any social skills.  But it still made me feel like it was ME.  And that brought back horrible memories of veterinary social problems that plagued my work life previously.  I had wanted new beginnings and to turn a corner in a new field–and this was not the start I’d hoped for.

8.  -Not getting into the UU AuD program, despite getting the 4.0, having extracurriculars, and working very hard on my application.  Was it the gay-themed activities I put on my application?  Bad interview answers?  Being from out-of-state?  I really don’t have any idea, and I feel like I should be in there.  Easily.  But this is toward the bottom of my disappointments (and the top of this list) because I’ve grown as a person, through my veterinary sagas.  I had to future plan, which wasn’t cool.  I still don’t know what I will do career-wise, which is scary and reeks of failure.  But I didn’t totally fall apart this time.  I took it in stride.  I do wonder how in the heck I didn’t get in that class, because I feel like I really deserved it and would have done an excellent job.  But I’m putting it on to them, not beating myself up over it.  And I’m not sure it’s what I want anyway.  I’m very disillusioned by the costs of school.  And I haven’t gotten ANY return on my undergrad investment.  And the forums scared me off of audiology a little, because they said Hearing Instrument Specialists can do almost exactly the same job, with NO school.  And they probably get paid equal or MORE than actual audiologists.  Also people talked about it being kind of a dead-end career, that’s highly redundant.  And I didn’t know if paying for 4 more years would even be worth it in the end.  But I’m still undecided, and haven’t closed the audiology door all the way.  Perhaps being 14th for a class of 12 was actually a favor to me. . .

7.  -When my parents insisted I call Dad’s chiropractor’s son about getting IN at Costco audiology–NOW, at the same time I frantically trying to complete a heavy-duty YWCA-UT job application and get ready for work at my current job.  They get overwrought and crazy and over-emotional, then there’s nothing for me to say or do to stop that crazy-train.  Unless I do what they say, when they say it, things fall apart quickly.  The whole thing just reminded me of every other time my parents tried to control me.  And how they were probably disappointed in me.  And that’s how the big horribleness of 2007 Cabin-Mansion had really kicked off the first time, so I was scared there would be a big blow up and subsequent melt-down of the relationship we had worked so hard to forge.

6.  -The meeting where work reneged on the full-time schedule, hours, and pay we had negotiated 3 days prior.  I had finagled the best schedule for my weekends, sleep, and time with Cool.  Everyone at work had left the meeting satisfied and happy.   They got coverage on a Sunday, which had been difficult to secure, I got Fridays and Saturdays off and a late-start Wednesday.  It was absolutely perfect and I commended myself for taking a chance and asking.  But 2 days later, they called me back in and told me I’d have to take the legit schedule I had applied for.  Because a girl (previously a bitch to me) who had more seniority, and was better at the job wanted to work Sunday.  And trying to please everyone, instead of defending me and the schedule they had promised me, they gave it to her.  So I felt betrayed (again) and like I had a much worse schedule.  But I also felt trapped.  What else would I do?  I needed this job, or it was back to veterinary assisting.  So I had to just accept it and deal with–while being really angry, frustrated, and un-trusting toward management–and that bitch.

5.  -When Cool picked a fight just 2 days after my good knows of getting a full-time job.  Cutting short my celebration.  Depression strikes this time.  Out of nowhere, Cool knocks the figurative wind out of me by acting like a major jerk.  It was awful, because I had just talked to my proud parents and had been super-ecstatic about my new job, and Cool knocked me down to a miserable level.  I was really sad about it, because I’m ALWAYS supporting Cool and she just didn’t have it in her to even pretend to return the favor–her depressive episode made it all about her.  Again.  I wished she could be supportive and celebrate with me, but instead her bipolar and selfishness ruined it all.  The memory of my new job is still tarnished.

4.  -Getting stuck with all the moving logistics, work, and most of the payments, because Cool went manic and in so doing abandoned me in a time of stress and need.  Which was the WORST because moving sucks anyway.  And there is so much to do and plan, and so much heavy physical work.  It wasn’t fair and I felt alone and unsupported.  Mental illness is the WORST sometimes.  It’s hard not to blame Cool, and that’s not really what I signed up for.  Cleaning the Spokompton apartment by myself was awful.  It was messy and there was so, so, so much left to do.  And it wasn’t fun, and I felt resentful that Cool had already started her job and couldn’t come do her share of the work.  Especially when I was cleaning things SHE had messed up.  Driving Rusty, alone, and wanting to come home and relax very badly, after such a tiring trip and no sleep.  Then walking into a messy house full of manic shenanigans, with a Craigslist ill-fitting futon we hadn’t talked about.  And dealing with having to clean and reconfigure everything, while dealing with a belligerent, unreasonable, manic person.  It was BAD.

3.  -Finding out I was just PRN (after they promised me something different in my interview).  I had interviewed over the phone for the job.  They said I was technically applying for a PRN job, but soon, they were posting a job with more regular hours.  That job was the same duties, but it was a year of guaranteed hours.  This PRN job, which had been posted was 25 hours a week for training, but then was substitute only.  Not stable, and not really what I wanted.  So they hired me during my phone interview, but told me they would call me when (slow) HR got around to posting the year-long job.  Then, I was to apply for that to make the paperwork legit, and that job would be mine.  I waited for the call to tell me that year-job had been posted and to complete that application.  And waited.  When I finally got the phone call from MSCL, they were wanting me to pick a start date for the as-needed job.  And pretended not to remember promising me the more stable-year long job.  I had written it down!  And the way my supervisor acted was callous–and I knew she remembered, but had just reneged.  But I had to take the lessor job, because what else was I going to do?  I needed an income after moving to a new state.  And sure enough on my first day of work, I found out they had hired a coworkers daughter for MY year-long job.  Nepotism had been at play, and as usual I got screwed at work.

2.  -The fear-phobia really, of being offered a job at a veterinary specialty hospital.  I had a sense of dread and sick feeling.  I should have never applied to veterinary hospitals, because my resume is just BUILT for them.  But I was feeling a little insecure and desperate about my guarenteed training 25 hours per week becoming true, as-needed.  I HAVE to work a minimum of 25 hours just to meet my bills, and that was soon to end.  And it’s my policy to ALWAYS interview for the practice if one is offered.  And while I know my veterinary experience is a major advantage in that field, I didn’t anticipate them loving me quite so much and being offered a full-time position on the spot.  The trouble was, it did seem like the best case scenario veterinary medicine could offer.  It was ONLY speciality referrals.  It was the BEST veterinarians in the state.  The hospital hirarchy was set up so there was a legitimate office manager and head vet tech to answer to–not the impulses of vets.  There was a true support system and everyone was on the same learning curve and truely didn’t leave you alone to fail.  And they seemed nice.  And said they didn’t yell–and I believed them.  And the technology was AWESOME.  They really had it all, not just the Idexx lab and digital x-ray.  Like ALL the toys, including MRI, and anything else spectacular.  But I had just such bad memories.  And I knew the schedules and the overwork, and the under-pay.  All the pit-falls, that really, I could no longer live with.  And it’s not what I want in life.  And the delimma was feeling like I HAD to take it, because I really had nothing else to fall back on, but feeling STRESS at the prospect of taking it.  In the end, I made the very, very difficult decision on not going backwards.  It was really hard (and brave) leaving veterinary assisting jobs in the first place, and I had done it for good reasons.  I had to keep up that bravery even when times got tough.  So I declined, but left the door open.  And they liked me so well, that they said to call any time I wanted a job.

  1.  VERY WORST 2015 MOMENT:  Thinking Goose might have thrown a clot to the leg, and worrying about his impending death, and worse, knowing there wasn’t a lot I could do to prevent it.  He randomly fell off the couch twice, and didn’t have use of his back leg.  It was too short to be a seizure (maybe) but didn’t have the pain of a thrombosis.  But my reference point was when the screaming cats had been brought to the vet.  Maybe there were precursor incidents at home that hadn’t been painful, and had gone ignored by owners–I didn’t know.  So of course, I thought the worst.  And I remembered the vets at Cats Meow preparing owners if there were any heart abnormalities.  Telling them to just make the decision to euthanize now, before emotions were involved, because once the clot was thrown, prognosis was grave.  And I remember the cats coming in-just screaming in horrible pain.  And owners saying it happened out of nowhere.  One day, the cat was fine, the next down in back and just SCREAMING.  It was awful to imagine that for my Goose.  And it’s still in the back of my mind, because he is a Maine Coon and they are notorious for heart issues.  But I’m hoping he was just being a clumsy dink, since it’s only happened twice, and the episodes were brief.