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Update on the Job Hunt

I’m no longer tired, but I am very frustrated.

I worked at the bakery three days last week. I started having a pain in my back on night two. I was sore all over my upper body, arms, shoulders, back, but like sore muscles from working out, those sore areas went away, especially with more exercise. This back pain did not. It became so severe, I was clinching my teeth together and panting to keep from throwing up. By Friday night, my knees were buckling.

I’m just out of shape. I’ll be fine after the weekend. I slept most of Saturday, I was tired. I didn’t sleep well Monday, but it didn’t matter. It’s not like this job required a lot of mental energy. And no, I don’t think my lack of sleep was the problem. I was well rested. I was feeling great! An hour in and still no pain!

And then it hit. It felt like venom shooting its way into my back and up my spine. It was only on one side.

Ignore the pain. Relax.

My first break, I took two ibuprofen and rubbed my back with horse liniment. I placed a baseball between me and the wall and rubbed it out. I went back ready for the challenge!

It only got worse. Again, I was clinching my teeth, but my knees had not yet started to buckle-I could finish this. After all, I would get used to it, or so they said.

I changed my position. I changed my movements. I ignored it. I forced myself to relax. Nothing. Worked.

Second break. More liniment. More pills. More of the baseball. By now I was texting my husband to see if he was still awake. He was. I was dreaming of working back at Wal-mart. It was a dream come true to this. I didn’t mind the work at the factory; it was just the pain. The searing, unending, unendurable pain.

I went back out. The pain continued. It got even worse. I forced positive thoughts through my head. “I can do this. I can do this.” I couldn’t do it.

I gave up. I told the manager the problem and begged for another position. He gave it to me. I didn’t last an hour. I know it was at least thirty minutes from the time stamp on the cupcakes that went by me. My new job was to make sure they were stamped correctly.

My knees buckled. The nausea came harder. My knees buckled. Again and again. My eyes teared—what was wrong with me?

Another lady there came over and asked if I was OK. I said no, that I was about to throw up from the pain. I could barely stand by that point, holding onto the sides of the conveyor just to keep from falling to the floor. Tears fell from my eyes by this point. This was no sore muscle. This was something bad.

With wet eyes I told my manager I was sorry, I couldn’t do the job. His face made it clear that the pain showed in my face. By that point, co-workers had started staring at me anyway, so I knew something was up.

That was early Tuesday morning. This morning, Wednesday, I drove my child to school. It was painful, but doable. About halfway there, my husband and child wanted me to pull over and let Dad come and do it. I had had a spasm, jerking the car to the left. I refused of course.

This afternoon I went to the massage therapist. She couldn’t be sure of course, but she gave me some advice to tell my doctor, with whom I have an appointment on Monday. She also told me to take my muscle relaxers and rest as much as possible. I had to let my dad take and pick me up from the therapist.

The job search is on hold.

Day Two-Surviving Third Shift

The one thing I thought I would hate the most and not be able to handle, I’m doing well with. Third shift. Now, I know this is more like day three, but I was too tired to write day two. That’s not because of third shift issues, it’s because of my third tip-get an exhausting job. That being said, I’m apologizing now for this post, as I’m so tired, I’m sure it’s far from the best, let alone grammatically correct.

         1. Have a bedtime routine.

My main tip is to have a nightly routine. I had one, and it helped a great deal. When you have a specific routine of 10-15 minutes before bed every night (at least M-F), your body becomes accustomed to it and will “get sleepy” when you do it. This was very beneficial to me in my transition.

My first day, I took a nap. I wasn’t very sleepy then, although I was earlier, mainly because of the normal anxiety of starting a new job.I did something really bad and ate some carbs to get sleepy and then did my normal routine. I was able to take my nap and stay up. This routine also helps when trying to sleep in the day, although that’s not really a problem for me now, as you shall later see.

Now, this routine needs to be something you do in your bed. Brushing your teeth and everything is fine, but you need something that actually happens in bed. Maybe it’s watching a show, reading a book, playing on a tablet, being with your spouse, or even prayer. I don’t recommend prayer though, because then you start falling asleep in the middle of it, and that doesn’t help anybody. My routine is turning the TV to whatever show I’m going to sleep to and playing a game on my Kindle. My eyes will droop within minutes.

I cannot stress this enough, do this routine even when you don’t need to. I sure didn’t need to do this routine when I came home last, but I did it anyway. This is what makes it routine and what makes your body accustomed to going to sleep or being sleepy when you do it. It’s also an excellent way to start your routine. If you’re sleepy anyway, take the time to do that one thing for a few minutes in order to get your body started with it.

2. Drink lots of water.

Another tip from others is to stay hydrated. I agree. I was very thirsty my first two days. Drink lots of water. Even if you don’t get thirsty, you’ll have to pee alot 🙂 and that’s will help you stay awake.

3. Get exhausted.

My job is physically exhausting, at least at first. I may not be having trouble with the one thing I thought I would, but I am with the one thing I thought I wouldn’t, the job itself. I honestly thought it would be easy. I’ve worked production before, it was pretty easy. This is not. My back hurts; my arms, fingers, and hands hurt; my feet hurt. Every part of me is tired, except my abs. I honestly need to work my abs, it would help my back, but I’m too pooped to.

Obviously this isn’t something everyone can do. I just threw it in there because it’s helped me. I do NOT have a problem going to sleep when I get home.

Well, I’m going to leave it at that. My brain is too foggy to think anymore. I know what you’re thinking, “If you’re not having trouble with third shift, how come your mind is so tired now?” Because I’m pooped. You know how you sleep in on the weekends? Well, I’ve been doing a very demanding job and would love to be asleep. I did sleep in a good hour, but I’m making myself stay awake during working hours in order to keep my schedule straight.

My First Day on Third Shift

I’m pooped. Really pooped. Really really pooped. As I’m sure you’re aware of, I have been on a job search. I have applied several places, one was the bank down the street. In the meantime, I got an offer at the bakery that’s a lot closer than the law office was. Pays more too. It’s like the receptionist at the law office (who also worked as a waitress at Longhorn) said, “I make more money in 16 hours at Longhorn than I do my whole time here.” True. I told her at the time that the receptionist job could eventually lead to something better, and that’s possible, but I also told her the truth. Production work pays far more than admin. Period.

So, what was my first day like? Exhausting. I got two days to prepare. So day one, I took a nap and stayed up until 5:00am. The next day I slept twice and stayed up until 9:00am or there abouts. The third day, I took two naps (I do better splitting my sleep up for now. Things may change as my routine gets set) and went in at 1:00am. I worked until 8:00 this morning. My job? To put cupcakes into those little plastic things that hold them.

I had watched people on youtube and marveled at their ability. I did well, but I’m still going to be several days to a couple of weeks before I can officially “do” it on my own. Fine by me. I’ve worked some hard jobs before, but this is one of the hardest.

It was an easy day in comparison though. About half the week, you do the same product all day for several days, just standing there moving cupcakes. Last night though, it was the other half. Those are the days we switch products one or more times a night, and when it’s switching from an allergen product (like peanut butter), that switchout is even more inclusive and time consuming.

It was an amazing madhouse! People everywhere. Feeders, that was me, pull our items out of the way and clean off a few things like trays and catchalls. QC comes in then and really cleans! They wash down the belts and the machines and the floors, etc. Another group, or just one woman, I’m not sure which, went through and tightened everything and made sure everything was the way it needed to be. While we were feeding, she watched the machinery to make sure it performed well. It messed up a lot.

Now for the bad part. As with any job, it’s not the job you do, it’s the people you do it with. And as usual, there’s always people to put up with. This factory has a “no profanity” policy. This factory makes snackcakes, and our break room is filled with snackcakes for us to eat, all we want. If we take any home, we are fired. Period. Well, my trainer, and everyone else I worked with, used more foul language than I have heard since the last one star NR movie on Netflix. Furthermore, upon leaving, the woman that trained me left with two boxes of snackcakes.

The woman before me was fired because the workers teamed up against her and told fibs on her to management. They came right out and told me this. They did this because she liked to “tattle” and run her mouth. In other words, I glue blinders on my eyes before I go in and leave them there until I leave. This is not uncommon in the workplace, but I was surprised to see it so openly done on my first day.

Furthermore, I’m perfectly fine not running my mouth. I have no problem sitting there silently. Although, it is expected to converse during breakdown/change over and be pleasant during break, although as the night wears on, the conversations dwindle.

So, I have had my morning sleep and spent some time with my family. I am exhausted. My chest hurts. This is common when I’m really tired. It feels like someone sitting on my chest. My arm, hand, elbow are all killing me, and I dread the thought of returning to the backbreaking job. But. I’m hoping it only gets easier with time. I’m very thankful for this job and the income it brings.

This company treats its employees better than any other place I’ve worked. We have free dinners every three months, excellent pay and benefits, an amazing set of break rooms with free food/drink dispensers and all the snackcakes you can eat (thankfully I don’t like them to begin with, so I’m not going to explode with fat cells-lol). We don’t get lunches. We get 15 minute breaks every two hours. I prefer that. That means I only work midnight to eight and then get paid a full eight hours. No clocking in and out for lunches, just nibble a bit on breaks. Get in and get out, love it. My work days are M-F, unless overtime is required, but they’re idea of Monday is 11:55pm Monday night, so I’m working 12:00am-8:00am Tuesday to the same Saturday. I’m having a heck of a time getting this straight with my thyroid medicine.

After 90 days, I’ll hopefully be hired on and be making, at minimum, what I was already making at the law office, and in a short time, be making far, far more. That’s nice. That’s really nice. In fact, with the overtime, I’m already making more than I did at the law office. Humans throughout history have done far worse jobs than this. I can do it!

Sometimes it is good to do nothing

I always have to be doing something. That’s actually why I learned how to knit, why I have have baskets, quilts, craved gourds, and a dozen unfinished craft projects lying around the house. It’s why I have 1000 lists and planners, why I have 24 books plotted (done in spurts) that I will never write. It’s also why I’m efficient, at least I like to think I am.

But it also means I can never relax. And that’s bad. Not being able to relax actually prevents you from accomplishing as much as if you could. Without relaxing, you spend time trying to, more time than if you had actually just relaxed in the first place. Shame really.

So tonight I will relax. I will allow myself to get into what I’m doing, even if it’s just watching TV. And I won’t feel guilty about it. I’ll feel good. (You notice I say this while I’m writing a blog post, right? After this blog post, I will relax 😉 )

Dear Mr. Bossman

Dear Mr. Bossman,

I had wanted for years to work as a secretary. It came to my attention that being a secretary by itself was low pay and hard to come by. I did see, however, that being a paralegal, or legal secretary, was better pay and easier to come by. So I went out to find a job like that.

Little did I know what I was in for.

I could write a small book on what all your problems are, but let’s narrow it down to this.

  • You are over 80 years old.
  • You are showing signs of Alzheimer.
  • You don’t want to be there anymore, and it is way past time for you to retire. It’s showing in every way imaginable.
  • You blame others for your mistakes, which are usually from a lack of memory.
  • I listened to you badmouth your previous secretary for the first 2 months of my employment to other attorneys. I can only imagine this will bode badly for me following my departure.
  • I have gone out of my way to protect you from your mistakes, but when you start blaming me, I stand up for myself.
  • The other secretary has noticed all of these factors and is very worried about her job there.

Today you told me that I use the stairs too much and therefore shouldn’t use the copier like I do. Our office is three stories. The copier is also the fax machine and printer. It is on a different floor than I am. I have to use the stairs. To follow your order of only using the printer during a specified time of the day would not only be ridiculous, but impossible. I explained this to you. I informed you that my computer could not possibly hold all those documents and would crash, causing me to lose all them. Your response of, “You’re a grown woman. You’ll figure it out,” only proved your ignorance and apathy. This was not the last straw. (Your demand of me memorizing all 81 defense cases I am responsible for made it clear to me that I will never meet your expectations.)

Why am I writing this letter to you on a blog? Because I know you will read it. You weren’t lying when you said you’re paranoid. I don’t like being investigated by a PI. And you should have ordered my transcript before hiring me, not when you think I’m too stupid to do the job, let alone have possibly gotten the grades and degrees that I did.

I am not stupid.

I am not the one with the memory problem, and I’m not taking this anymore.

I quit.

Marketing Your Sculpture

Your writing is a work of art. No one would tell an artist, “I think your art would sell better if his nose was bigger.” OK, maybe they would. I’m not an artist, so that’s just a guess, but I am a writer. And I know that some literature sells better than others. So do sculptures.

I recently beta-ed a friend’s work. The first chapter was from the X genre, but the rest was from the Y genre. Two opposite genres, btw. So, people into X will get mad come chapter 2 or 3, and people into Y won’t have the patience to get to their desired writing.

Now, my friend’s sculpture was beautiful. It was perfect. It was a glorious piece of art! But it won’t sell. So, he has to make his nose bigger. Is it fair? No, of course it isn’t fair! How dare his piece of art be treated as nothing more than a common piece of merchandise. Sadly though, that’s the way the market ball bounces.

So, how to do that? Listen to what others say. When an agent tells you to change it, consider that. When a beta says to change it, consider it. When your editor (providing you’re lucky enough to have one) tells you change something, consider it. Notice I said consider, not do. Every human being is different, period. So their opinions are going to be different. And you want to appease the masses. The bigger the mass, the more the sells, the bigger the income.

“But I don’t care about sells!”

Then this post is not for you. Don’t get me wrong. That’s great! The fact that you don’t care about sells means that you can produce high quality art without the pain of pleasing anyone but yourself. Wonderful! But for the rest of you, sculpt your beautiful art book, and then place it on a shelf in your house. Take a copy of this beautiful piece of art and change it. This copied sculpture is not yours; it belongs to the masses, and your job is to make them happy, not make great art. See the difference? I hope so. It’s probably the most painful lesson of authorship, but it’s necessary to rise in the market.

The Current “Trends” of Writing

I recently decided to get my books edited. It was mainly a factor of affordability. When I got my samples back, I noticed something. There were several “don’t use passive voice” (aka “was”), “don’t use helping verbs”, and “don’t use adverbs”. But only from the freelance editors that cost less. The editors that have been around for a good while and charged way more than I could afford. The ones with a looong resume or outstanding work, they didn’t mention these things at all. Not once.

They did mention important factors such as repetitious wording, arcs, etc. Active voice and adverbs are not rules are trends, they are a style. And no, they do not apply to all modern best-sellers. Using them is a style I personally like. Let’s look at some modern examples.

One of my favorite new series is the Ivy Pocket series. It is filled with adverbs and not empty of linking verbs. The Curiosity House contains both in great quantities. I could go on, but I shan’t bore you. If you’re ambitious enough to click on those links and read their samples, then you’re ambitious enough to find more on your own 😉 .

There are examples of middle-grade books without adverbs (but not without the passive voice that I could find). The Serafina series is one, but I don’t like it. I tried to like it. I have the first two books, both signed by the author who wished me well on my writing! And I really like the man! But I can’t finish his book. Heck, I can’t even get through the second chapter. Why? Voice. Style. It’s not my preferred style. Period.

And please, do not say, “Oh, well children’s books can get away with lower quality writing” because not only is it not so, it’s insulting, and not just to children. I’ve read plenty of recently published adult romance novels with adverbs (aka fun speech) galore, and they were best sellers! So please, if you like that style, use it, but don’t try to enforce it on others. Some of us find it lacking personality (aka boring). I’ve seen it done well, but that’s very rare from my experience. Hey, maybe I’m wrong. Maybe I’m actually of a lower intelligence who simply cannot process sentences without embellishment. Maybe I have so little of an attention span that I can’t force my eyes to maintain a constant pace without it being broken by “bad writing”. But personally I think this whole trend started by one article that other indie authors were too afraid to speak up against. Yeah, not me.

Justifying My Witchcraft

After a recent article on a celebrity practicing real witchcraft, I felt it necessary to post this. I am a person of Faith. I do not believe I should “practice magic” or “speak to the dead” as my God commanded me not to. However, I write fantasy in such a manner as practically praising witchery. How is this so? Let me explain.

My fantasy falls in line with stereotypical fantasy witches, Harry Potter if you like, things that are not real. Real witches do not ride brooms. Real witches do not have magic wands and cannot call out a spell and turn someone into a mushroom. Real witches do sacrifice living beings of various types. They do carve and/or write or draw symbols and spells into the floor or other objects. They chant. They pray. Many are nature “worshipers” if you will. My fantasy witches, at least the good ones, don’t do any of this. (OK, there was that one scene where Anya used the blood of Avaline, but she didn’t kill Avaline.)

I make every last thing up in my stories. In fact, I go out of my way to make stuff up. Gramwhats? I googled the name and several variations to make sure it didn’t match anything. I tried very hard to invent spell names and even character names (to a degree) that were not already in use. Not only did I do this for originality, but for the simple fact that my books are fantasy, not reality.

I love the Harry Potter world, but not all magic is equal. For example, I will not watch Bedknobs and Broomsticks. Why? Because Asteroth is mentioned several times in Scripture as a pagan deity, obviously to avoid. Yet the characters of this Disney movie are in search of the “star of Asteroth” to do their bidding.

I go so far as to leave religion out of my stories (at least the fantasy ones) altogether. This is also for fantasy’s sake. If I put God in there, I can’t have a lot of what happens. God is real, fantasy is not, so I can’t mix the two into a believable story in my mind. The same goes for science-fiction. Brief mentions of morality and God are OK (to me), but any more than that, and it brings me back out into reality where I start thinking too logically, ruining the whole story. I do not leave God out of my story simply to include a larger reading audience (although that does make it easier) I do it for other reasons as well. It’s a sign of respect to my God, not a sign of neglect.

I have total respect and understanding of anyone who disagrees with what I have written and therefore will not read it due to religious obligations. But. I wanted to make it absolutely clear how far out of my way I go to make sure it is not real witchcraft and just fun and games.

Happy GYFFAGOYD!!

What is GYFFAGOYD? Gyffagoyd (pronounced gif-a-goid) is the most awesome day ever. Why? Because it has no custom affiliation, no date affiliation, and no religious affiliation. It stands for:

Give

Your

Friends and

Family

A

Gift

Once a

Year

Day

(Sorry, I couldn’t figure out how to single space on this blog.) Pick a day-ANY day! and give your friend something that day. It can be all your friends and family, or just one. It doesn’t matter. It’s up to you. Anytime of the year. Period. And the really cool part about this? Your gift recipient can’t feel guilty! That’s right! Let’s say you gave them a gift, and they don’t have one handy.  They can give you your GYFFAGOYD present anytime they want, for that year. GYFFAGOYD presents can be random, planned, surprise-you name it!

There’s just one rule. And it is absolutely required. Absolutely no regular date, custom, or religion can ever be associated with it. EVER!!!

How did this start?

Well, we’re Messianic Jews…in a Christmas world. Celebrating Christmas goes against our religion. But our friends and family kept giving us gifts. So then we felt obligated to reciprocate. But we weren’t going to go against our God. Ugh! So…we made up GYFFAGOYD. Now, when it comes time that my friends and family expect something from us, I wish them a happy gyffagoyd, and give them a gyffagoyd present. They love it! And you will too.

Again, NO AFFILIATIONS ALLOWED!!! Ever. Period.

Happy gyffagyod!!

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