Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Tip of the Iceberg

I'm pretty sure that when they did the initial hiring of people for the company I work for, they basically hijacked a handicap bus and emptied them out single file at our front door. "Alright people lets go, single file. Don't forget your helmets!" There is no doubt about 80% of the people that work for our company are "special", short bus through and through. Our company is ginormous, our building has 20 floors and all of them are at least 50% full of people. We aren't a little mom and pop shop where everyone knows everyone else and we all have BBQ's on the weekends. When you send a package to someone you can't just ASSUME that the mail clerks will know where it's supposed to go, you have to put ATTN: to someone. You'd think our field people would know this. Nope, not so much. You'd also think that when the field people are being told NOT to do something, they would stop. I have actually heard reps say that they thought certain policies only pertained to certain people. It also doesn't help when we have no communication in our own office let alone to the outside. Some reps aren't even told that policies change until we find out we have a major issue on our hands. Like when we found out that sales reps were still mailing payments to the office in FL that we closed over a year ago.

Everyone kinda does their own thing, and changes their "thing" quite often which really just leads to complete pandemonium and me receiving an email that says, "This account is fucked, please fix it." Ok, maybe not those exact words, but that's pretty damn close. Usually preceded by this phrase, "Oh by the way we've had this issue for the last two months and we told the customer it would be fixed three weeks ago, so can you have this done tomorrow?" I look at the clock, it 2:30, and month end, statements were run earlier that day.

My favorite scenario is when I contact someone and ask for their assistance, because to the last of my knowledge they were the ones handling these problems. I get an email back saying that they no longer do that. I email them back asking if they know who now takes care of problems like these, they email me back and tell me to see so-and-so. I email so-and-so and they too no longer handle those problems, and direct me to whats-her-face. I email whats-her-face and she too no longer handles those problems, but tells me to see whoosie-whatie. Well whoosie-whatie is actually my bosses boss. I walk over to my bosses boss' office and ask her if she is now handling these issues. She says yes. WELL YA KNOW WHAT?!?! IT WOULD BE FLIPPIN NICE TO LET PEOPLE KNOW THIS. Fixing this issue has been on hold for the last 3 hours because I've been shooting emails to random people and waiting to hear back from them, and you, 10 steps from me, could have fixed this. SURELY the burning anger is steaming out of my ears. I smile and say, "Could we send an email out to the rest of the team so that they are aware?" She looks up, "Oh yeah, we should do that." Are you kidding me?!?! GAH!

My favorite issues though, are the issues at our "processing center". Like when they don't charge the credit cards on certain invoices, just cuz. No clue why they haven't been charging those hundreds of cards. Now those customers owe us THOUSANDS when their cards should have been charged all along. Or when the customer's invoice is for $550 and processing charges the credit card $5,500. OH YEAH, I LOVE those phone calls, those are the BEST. Nothing jump starts your day like a frantic sales rep and an irate customer phone conferencing you at 7:25am, about their card being over-charged thousands of dollars.

Our sales teams have a deadline on Friday at 9pm, I believe, to get all their ad details in at processing to make the next magazine issue. I try to leave at 4pm, especially on Fridays. I thoroughly enjoy receiving those emails at 3:45 from a sales reps manager demanding customers be taken off credit hold so that their ads can run. I look at the account, the customer hasn't paid us in over a year. This, of course, may or may not be true, seeing how we have payments floating around between us and Florida, and during a system conversion we mis-billed the majority of our accounts for about five weeks in a row. So I frantically spend the next 1/2 hour trying to figure out what's REALLY wrong with the account, only to get an email from my bosses boss saying that she took it off credit hold and everything should be hunky dory. Again communication is something that is lacking at the company I work for.

THIS, my friends, is only the tip of the iceberg...

Monday, April 27, 2009

Let The Games Begin

The work blog topic came up during a recent conversation with Marina. Allow me to catch you up:

Steph: I'm afraid that writing about my job will overcome my soul and the monster within will be released
Steph: I know...I'm in sane
Marina: LOL
Marina: just submit to it
Marina: I'll enjoy it, at the very least
Steph: oh great, I sacrifice my soul for the sole entertainment for my friends
Steph: True sacrifice
Marina: :) That's the very definition of entertainment
Marina: I think maybe having a total freak-out about work would make you feel considerably better
Marina: typically losing control really lets me harness it better when I come to
Steph: like therapy, I guess
Steph: I suppose I could conjure up a work related post
Marina: let it flow from your hatred.
Marina: really feel it
Steph: it will be like releasing Doomsday to the masses
Marina: that's cool

Stay tuned...

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Great Scott, I Think I Got It!

In an effort to come up with a new direction for my blog, I brainstormed a list-the obvious-work, school, pets; the interests-scrapbooking, make-up, fitness, the environment, traveling. Yet none of which solid enough to base an entire blog around. There's a select few that would have any interest in reading about my scrapbook or latest make-up creation. Although I care very much for the environment I don't have much to talk about other than how to recycle and re-use items. Much to my dismay, I don't travel enough to keep a blog going. Unlike my friend, Erik, marketing manager for a BlackHawk clothing line, who travels all over the world quite regularly. Bastard. "Oh darn, they're sending me to Paris, AGAIN. Woe's me."

Then I got thinking, if I could write about anything what would I write about? What intrigues me? The journey to discover one's self. Most people know who they are, yet you discover new things about yourself all the time. You experience new things, or hear something that may change your perspective. I have always associated my identity with my career. What if I didn't have a career? What if I was a housewife? What am I missing out on by only basing my identity on mine and Ryan's careers? I'm no longer a military wife. Lately, my career has been dragging me through the stress tornado from hell. What if I said scew it, screw my career? I feel like the older sister from In Her Shoes. The sister with the law career who tosses it in the air to walk dogs as her job.

New chapter, new blog. Now obviously I can't just quit my job, I'm the sole bread winner right now, that would be a very bad decision. To be quite honest, I can't be like those radical people who throw all care to the wind and do things without thinking about the consequences. I will continue school. Although this serves to enable my career that I have decided to loathe with a passion, it could be likely that I will want or need to enter the workforce again in the future. I would rather be prepared and not do clerical work, by making sure I have my degree. If I never leave the work force, continuing my education can only benefit me; besides, it will always bother me that I never finished if I quit school now. I do have a job right now, and I want to do well, jobs are not easy to come by and I'd rather not lose mine at the moment. I'm rambling here-I have to keep my job, period.

I want this blog to focus on the discovery of one's self. Yes, I realize how clique that sounds. What does it mean when you don't know who you are without your career? Or your husbands career? I was Stephanie the Navy wife, and Stephanie the accountant. Now I'm just Stephanie. I wonder how many other people associate their identities through their careers, or their husbands careers, or their kids. Navy wife turned civilian after 5 years; career-minded 26 year old turned anti-career after 9 years. Now what do I do?

Thursday, April 23, 2009

SO....Now What?

I started this blog with the intention of sharing my life as a military wife. Our trials, our tribulations, our failures and triumphs as military spouses. Now that Ryan and I are no longer attached to the Navy, I sit here scratching my head thinking, "Now what do I write about"? A reservists wife doesn't exactly lead the same life as active duty wives. I'll be lucky if I had anything military based to write about once a month! I realize that about 1/2 my readers are my friends, and you guys will probably read my blog no matter what. The other 1/2 of you guys are random peeps or other military families/spouses that could relate to my posts. My hope is that I don't lose readers by losing the main concentration of my blog. I have this concern that my blog will turn into one of those normal, everyday boring blogs where you read what that person had for dinner that night, and what Netflix movie they got in the mail.

Every story, every book, every movie, has a plot, a conflict, a goal to be met. That's what usually keeps readers, or viewers. It's what keeps us hooked! We want to see (or read) the main characters triumphs, and failures. If we can relate to those triumphs or failures, that's an added bonus! That being said, I have no idea where to go from here. I could follow some advice I have been given and just write about mine and Ryan's day to day life. There's ALWAYS something going on at our household. Ryan doesn't have a job yet, I could focus on that, but when he does find a job I'm right back at square one. I could focus on my job, but well that place devours my soul and I wouldn't even know where to begin to discuss the insanity at that place. I try to leave work at work, I take the healthy route and pretend that I really don't work for that company.

I think I might need to think this one over. Maybe I'll just wing it, and see where I go from there...

The Terminal Day

Today is our terminal day. We are no longer military. Ryan is no longer active duty and I am no longer a military wife. I hold my head high with pride saying that we are reservists now, but regardless we aren't "MILITARY" anymore. This morning when I handed Ryan my dependent military ID, it was like the world was in slow motion. I slowly pulled the ID out of my wallet while Ryan reached out his hand across from me. Our eyes locked and my brow furrowed. I placed the ID in his hand, he clenched it with his fingers and leaned in to kiss my forehead. *Sigh* Goodbye last 5 years of my life.

I have a very bad habit of associating my identity with my job or my title. If you have read my prior post titled "I Am..." you'll know what I'm talking about. Recently I was talking to Tiffany about my "9-5" and how it's killing me with stress and pressure. It has come up in several discussions between Ryan and I, how being a housewife could benefit both of us. I could work on school full time and get that done in a year vs. 2.5 years. I could have that vegetable garden I've always wanted, our house would always be clean and we could have the time to cook and eat nutritious meals everyday. As I was telling Tiffany all this, she sensed the caution and uncertainty of temporarily putting my accounting career aside, in my voice. She made a fabulous point, your job or title does not define you. Being in accounting is not WHO I am, it's what I do. Being a military wife is not WHO I am, (although at times it's very hard not to claim that as part of your identity), it's part of what I do (and I am very proud to be a part of that).

Transitioning from military to civilian has been very emotional for me, for the sole reason that I placed part of my identity as being a "military wife". Leaving the military aspect behind has been more emotional for me than I thought. Tiffany really turned on a light bulb in my head when she told me that. I have no idea why that didn't dawn on me before. Have you ever had someone tell you something that seemed so simple, yet hit you like a truck? Like slap your forehead epiphany, the kind where your mouth drops open and you say, "Holy crap I never thought of that"? That was me the other day standing on the sidewalk between our work buildings. "Accountant" isn't who I am. "Military wife" isn't who I am. It's not the job you have but how WELL you do the job you have. It's not what your husband does but the relationship you have with your husband regardless of what he does.

I am a proud patriot, I'm proud to say that I was a military wife for 5 years. My husband served in the Navy for 8.5 years. We have met some incredible people in the last 5 years, if there is anything the Navy has given us as a couple it's our friends. We have learned a lot about ourselves as individuals, and as a couple. For the last 30 days I have really gone back and forth with this transition. I'll be ready to leave the military behind one day and nervous the next. Thank you Tiffany for knocking some sense into me when I needed it. We are closing this chapter of our lives and now continuing on as civilians.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Insurance

Ryan's terminal day is this upcoming Friday. No offers as of yet. In an attempt to prepare myself as well as I can on homefronts I like to think I can control, I have been looking at outside health insurance. HOLY CRAP, I have no idea what I'm doing. Growing up you have insurance through your parents. In high school and college, I couldn't afford it through my jobs and my parents didn't have insurance, they couldn't afford it either, so I went without, tried not to get sick, and paid for my yearly crap out of pocket. After we got married, he told me we had to go to the hospital to sign me up for Tricare. "What the crap is Tricare?" Ryan said it was our insurance through the military. Holy cow, I didn't even think about that! I get to have insurance now, SAAAWEET! Since then I have not had to worry about any medical issue for Ryan and I....EVER. It's fantastic! I could break my arm, I wouldn't pay a dime...have my yearly exams, don't pay a dime...been diagnosed with eye ulcers and had to have my eyes blow torched, didn't pay a DIME. It's incredible! Well, now that we are becoming civilians, I have begun to realize that the days of not paying a dime, are long gone. I looked at the insurance through my work, holy crap, at the end of reading the daggum TEXTBOOK of insurance plans, I was ready to scream. PPO, HMO, NET, what the hell is all this???? I got with Ryan, and since he's going reserves I thought maybe there was a way to keep Tricare. He called, thankfully as civilians we can keep Tricare for a period of time after he's discharged. We keep all our same doctors, all the benefits, we just pay a co-pay for visits and prescriptions. We have a deductible for labs, and hospitalizations, and it's $180 a month vs. being free like it was when he was active duty. When Ryan told me this, I crinkled my nose and said that that sounded really high. I got with the insurance girl at my work, $300 a paycheck for the 2 of us and the deductibles and co-pays are higher than Tricare and I have to swap doctors. That's $600 a month people, WTF? I looked online as the insurance groups that insure people outside of a work place, $800 a month! DUDE, no wonder people can't afford this crap! $800 a month would KILL my paycheck, and pretty soon we'll be living off my pay which really isn't a whole lot! It is so true that you don't realize what you have until you've lost it. Needless to say we're going with Tricare and can I just say how THANKFUL I am that we have the opportunity to keep that plan! I'm pretty sure that as long as you are fairly healthy, it would be less expensive to pay for doctor's visits out of pocket than have insurance these days! Thank God for military benefits dude!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Babies, Babies, Babies...

Just about everyone I know is preggo or just had a baby, literally. Tiffany is preggo, she's counting down the days till labor. My BFF in Indiana, Lisa, is preggo, she's about 1/2 way through. Just about all of our military friends are pregnant, or JUST had a baby.

I have never seen so many people having babies all at the same time. I guess Ryan and I are at that age where it's baby time now. Personally, I blame the economy. Nobody has any money to go anywhere or do anything, so hey it's Netflicks and sex, sweetcheeks. $14.99 a month, and the sex is free! Not that I blame people, you're entertained AND you save money. Not a bad deal.

If you remember one of my prior posts, right after Ryan left for deployment last year, I had a bit of a scare, I was SUPER late. Upon finding out I was just stressed and wasn't growing a baby, I wasn't nearly as upset about the possibility of being pregnant as I thought I would be, I was quite thrilled. Well we were planning on trying as soon as Ryan got back, but after much thought and changes of plans, we decided to wait. Well, I decided to wait. During a recent conversation with one of our friends, who also just found out she was pregnant with their second, she asked Ryan, "When are you gonna knock-up Steph?" His response, "Whenever the daggum woman will let me!" Needless to say, he wants kids NOW, however; he is willing to wait for me. I just have too many things going on right now. My job is extremely stressful, and it's full time. I go to school part time and that is stressful for me. I would not be opposed to finding out I was pregnant right now, but we are preventing it and will continue to do so until I finish school. Of course that's the plan now, who knows what it will be a week from now.

Until then, I will babysit Baby Havlik as much as Tiffany needs me too (the luxury of actually living near friends), and be the best gosh darn self-proclaimed, distance aunt to Lisa's, and a select few others, new babies.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Inspire Me Thursday-Spice

Muse word of the week is, spice. When I think "spice", two things pop in my head, oregano and the phrase, "spice of life." So then I got thinking, what is the spice of life? I'm sure each person interprets this phrase differently. What makes life tastey for you? Is it your career, family, your hobbies? What do you live for? What is your spice?

I'll be honest, mine changes a lot. I'm a moody person and my mind changes with the wind. One moment I might be career driven and all about climbing the corporate ladder. Other moments I might be all about having babies and wanting to attempt the stay at home mom "career". Most of the time, I want to do both of those, but it does change often. One day I might be looking at beachfront property in Maine and the next week I might say, "Screw beachfront, we want to live in the Rocky Mountains!" My husband is a saint for putting up with me.

One thing that has stayed constant is my desire to travel. I really love visiting new places. I have not had the good fortune of being able to travel to a foreign country, unless you call the back-woods of Georgia foreign, and if you do I really don't blame you. The majority of my traveling has stayed stateside. I would really like to incorporate more traveling and visiting new places into mine and Ryan's lives. Thankfully, exiting the Navy does allow for more of that! Ryan will have actual vacation time not POM periods to synchronize with. No deployments to work around, no underways to juggle. No more using all of our leave days for holidays only because that's the ONLY time we have off. My spice is traveling, and with putting the Navy behind us, we can now travel a little! NOW, we just have to make sure we have the money to travel...

Friday, April 10, 2009

The Effects of Procrastination

I never in a million years ever thought that trying to go back to school at 26 years old would be this difficult. I'm not the greatest student. I'm a more hands-on, learn through actually doing, and working in that field type of person. Learning through books and studying has never really been my thing.

Through the years, my grades have had a slow decline. I graduated high school with about a 3.5, finished my AA degree with a 2.8, and now, well I have about a 2.5. Let me tell you, it sucks. My husband tries so hard to be supportive. He tells me, "Babe! You're literally teaching yourself because it's all online, and it's all fast tracked, semesters don't last 3 months, but only 8 weeks. You shouldn't be so hard on yourself." As supportive as he is, it's hard not to get discouraged. Props to you single working mom who fits in time for school. PROPS...to you.

I was talking to my 22 year old sister recently, who is also in school. She took a break after high school to pursue a certain career, she later on decided to start college. She was telling me that after she finished her AA degree she's going to stop. I nearly dropped the phone, "NO Jackie, don't stop, just push through! TRUST ME! You'll regret not finishing while your brain is used to studying and test taking!" It truly is much harder going back to school once you've been out for so long, and I've only been out for 7 years. How in the world do these people in their 40's do this?!?! I finished my AA degree and promised myself I would never torture myself like that again. Well, here I am 7 years later kicking myself for not finishing my bachelor's back then. Oh how nice crow tastes.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Family Reunion

There's nothing better than meeting up with family, especially family that you haven't seen in a long time. We're in Nashville, Ryan hasn't seen his family in over a year and a half. You don't realize how long you've been gone until you see that the area has grown, family members have grown, you realize that you've missed so much. It's really quite saddening. You realize that relationships that you really want to have with people really are difficult to have because you've been gone so long and have missed so much. Regardless of your family or friends welcoming you with arms wide open, you've still missed so much.

The last time I saw my own family was at Christmas, things have changed so much. My sisters, mom and dad are such different people than they were, not in a bad way, just in a different way. You don't realize how much you've missed until you go back home to visit. It was the same with Ryan's family. Not near to the extent that things have changed with my family, but you still have those feelings of loss. Ryan's sister was telling him about her part on the school drama team and about her dancing, and it's so sad to see that we've missed so much. Other family members had big news to share and you realize that you won't be here to share that with them. We'll be the family members who live out of state and only see them on holidays. And then there's the fact that our families live in two different states. Even if we did move close to one of them, we'd still be missing out with the other.

Ryan's looked for jobs in Nashville and Charleston, there just aren't any. I've done the whole, "move and get a job once you've already moved somewhere" deal. That didn't go too well when I did it way back when, and there wasn't an economic crisis going on then. Lord knows how bad it would be to do that now. I know that you're to cherish the time you have with family, however little or much it is, and when you're military your friends really do become your family. Now that we're almost out of the military, you would hope for an opportunity to move closer to family, and that still may not happen.

I suppose this family reunion has made me quite reflective. At what cost is being part of your family and seeing them everyday? The loss of other family? Financial loss? Job stress? As my father says, "You don't remember what it was like to have all your bills paid, have some money in the bank, a house of your own, be minutes from all your family, and be content in your job." I answered, "You're right dad, I was born in the 80's, what you're talking about happened in the 50's." I guess we all have our pie-in-the-sky dreams.

Friday, April 3, 2009

The Interviews

Today, Ryan had his first face to face interview since he joined the Navy eight years ago. He spent all day at a steel mill in North Carolina, technical interviews, personality tests, plant tours, the works. He feels pretty confident that it went well. Tuesday he has an interview with the Pentagon. Keep your fingers crossed that we get an offer soon!