“What was the Last Game You Played?”

The last game I played was my lifelong love, the Sims.  I was introduced to the game when I was about twelve, and I’ve never looked back.  One of my favourite childhood memories was playing the Sims 2 when I first got it.  There were so many amazing new features and adjustments from the original game and my sister and I spent hours exploring it.  There are always families you make that stick with you.  For TS2, it was Hayden and Alyssa and their brood of offspring.  As TS2 didn’t allow for the whole neighbourhood to age up simulatatiously (that was introduced in the Sims 3), I spent many hours playing Hayden’s family, then Alyssa’s.  I started with Hayden’s parents.  I saw them meet, fall in love, marry, get pregnant with him then his siblings.  Then I played Alyssa’s family and oversaw the same progression.  As these were some of my first families that were able to age up (the original Sims didn’t have an ageing feature), I got very attached to the families.  When I finally got Hayden and Alyssa to meet and marry, I was so happy.  It had taken so long to get the two families to become one, so it was really special.  They had kids, and I played through them too.

Anyway, I digress.  The game I played most recently was the Sims 3.  I have the Sims 4 but I just don’t like it.  I don’t like that the neighbourhoods are segmented, that it doesn’t age together, that it’s so complicated to get job promotions and romance happening.  I just feel like it’s a lot of hard work.  I especially don’t like that everything seems to have taken a backwards step – the babies are attached to their crib (the Sims 1 did that!), the neighbourhood doesn’t age together (the Sims 2 was the last to do that), no toddler age – my favourite age group (the Sims 1 was the first and only game prior to skip this).  This is why I’ve stuck with TS3.  It has massive amounts of expansion packs, custom content and is basically the best of all the games combined.

As I’ve played the game for so long, I’m always on the hunt for different ways to play.  The family I’m playing right now is the Johns.  I started with Aubrey, a young adult.  I put her on a vacant lot, used a cheat to completely wipe out her funds, and sent her to go fishing.  The only way she was allowed to earn money was from making it herself – she wasn’t going to get a 9-to-5 job, but she could do things such as fish, paint, write or steal.  For a long time, her day consisted of fishing from mid-afternoon to midnight, then inviting herself over to a random person’s house, then stealing 3 items from their house (as a kleptomaniac, she could steal 3 items every 24 hours, but I can’t control what she steals, only who she steals from and what room it’s taken from).  Slowly but surely she started to build her funds, and her house.  At first she was forced to used her local gym for toilet and shower usage, and she’d nap on one of the couches there.  She’d buy fruit and vegetables from the grocery store and snack on that.  It was great when she was able to afford things such as a bar fridge, toilet and bath.  It was even better when she could afford to build walls so she didn’t have to live under the stars.

Her whole young adult life was focused on building up her money and house.  When she aged up to adulthood, she had a small house with a few rooms, and a little bit of money tucked away.  She was driving a flashy car that she’d managed to steal, so that was nice.  The second part of this family challenge was she was to adopt all her kids, not get pregnant.  I did this as I’m so used to the old meet-marry-reproduce routine that I decided I wasn’t going to do this any more.  I also decided I’d use coin flips to decide the gender and age of the kids she’d adopt, and I’d use babynamegenie.com to randomly pick a name for them, as I liked in TS2 when you’d adopt, they’d come pre-named (something that doesn’t happen in TS3).  To add to the rules and to tie into the first part of the challenge, she had to have enough money to be able to give each adopted child their own bedroom.  She adopted her first – Logan, a toddler-aged boy – a few days after her birthday.  It was a lot of fun, though challenging, as she still had to fish and steal, along with teaching him how to walk, talk and use the potty (oh, that’s another rule too – all adopted kids must be taught the basics!).  She managed it though, even if it meant she was almost always in a constant bad mood and state of exhaustion.  After Logan aged up into childhood and went off to school, Aubrey adopted another boy, this time a baby named Owen.  This was an even bigger challenge as not only did it mean he was really young for longer than Logan was, but he needed care around the clock.  Aubrey began skipping her fishing trips more often, though still kept up stealing which was the higher-income-generator of the two.

After Owen aged up and was taught everything, Aubrey adopted Quincy, another male toddler.  Having two toddlers and a child and very little money was definitely tough, but I tried to get her back into fishing as much as possible.  On top of that, I also had to get her too cook dinners for Logan (she’d been living off quick meals until then but kids get hungry a lot more quickly with those).  The house was filthy with rubbish everywhere but she just didn’t have enough time to clean on top of everything else.

It was great when Owen aged into a child as it took the pressure off Aubrey a little bit.  She taught Quincy everything, and stole some quality stuff so she could afford to upgrade her house a little and build another room.  From there, she adopted her first daughter, a child named Tess.  It was great to finally adopt an older kid, as it’s a lot less work.  It meant that Aubrey could focus on fishing a lot more, and she soon had a lot more money than she’d had for a long time.

She then adopted a toddler named Boston.  Thankfully Logan was now a teenager, so he was a great help with the latest addition, and between the two of them, Boston was taught the basics very quickly.  The family was starting to really take shape and get everything together.  The kids were doing well in school, the money was flowing in steadily, everyone was in good moods.

Aubrey didn’t adopt any more kids for awhile, focusing instead on juggling the family she already had, earning extra money, cooking meals to feed all those mouths and keeping the house clean.  It seemed like her life was finally becoming easier and less of a struggle.  The kids all started to age up, they got good grades and had friends in school.

After awhile, Aubrey decided to welcome her final two additions to the family, two children – a girl named Rachelle and a boy named Shaun.  The house was at bursting point, but Aubrey didn’t want it any other way.  She achieved her lifetime wish of “Surrounded by Family” and aged up into an elder.

Currently, all the adoptees are teenagers.  Three of them are dating, all of them are doing well in school and the house (which started from an empty lot) is now 13 rooms big.  As per the challenge, each kid has their own room.  They’ve each got a desk in their room, and a bookshelf.

The family also found and adopted an unicorn named Pepper, who is a fantastic racehorse and super pretty.  It wanders around the neighborhood at will but always comes back to eat and sleep.  It’s a crazy household but it’s been a great challenge and is definitely different to how I usually play!

My favourite moment so far was when one of the boys accidentally set the kitchen on fire.  Fires are always dramatic in this game, and it spreads pretty fast.  All the household runs towards the fire (logic, right?) and stress and scream and basically just get in the way.  Well, Boston got too close and went up in flames.  Luckily, being a child-friendly game, he casually walked out of the flames, got his sister to extinguish him and he was good as new.  It was a stressful moment though as I don’t like any of my simmies to die!  After that happened, the fireman rocked up, and his name was Jeffery Jeffrey.  That’s one of the more amusing names the game has randomly generated!

unnamed (1) unnamed

Do you play the Sims?  What’s your favourite family?

This prompt, and many more, can be found here

Time to Change – Day Forty-Two

Wow, it’s been a whole week since I blogged about my life.  I knew it’d been awhile but I didn’t realize it’d been that long.

Another weekend is here and again, I’m so grateful for it.  I really thought by now that I’d have started to readjust to full time work…I mean, I’d been doing it for four years prior to losing my job, and there was only a relatively short period of time in between that job and this.  It’s been three weeks and I still get home every night absolutely exhausted.  By the time the weekend finally arrives I wind up sleeping half the day.  I initially assumed it was just because I was in learning mode all day and it was taking its toll, but each day I’m getting more competient and independent so I don’t think I can really blame that any more.  I know it’s only going to get worse before it gets better as pretty soon I’m gonna have to start my public transport daily commute, which not only takes longer but is also more stressful and requires more exercise.  The last part is good, don’t get me wrong, but will definitely deplete my energy levels more.

Anyway, it’s been a pretty good week overall.  Much of the same of what I’ve been doing, but with more confidence this time around.  So much so the guys trust me to help teach the other trainees (who have all been there longer than me).  Lucky they didn’t take offence to that, because I probably would have if the roles had been switched.

I had my first aggro customer since starting there yesterday.  It’s weird, at my old job as part of management I’d serve heaps of aggros and it was fine.  I mean, not my favourite part of the job but I could do it.  At my new job though I just couldn’t.  She wasn’t even yelling, she was just really rude.  I’d made the mistake, I guess that was part of it (I’d have never made a mistake like that at my old job, but the systems were much different there).  I was really taken aback by the whole thing.  I guess I’ve always had an issue with rude people to a certain point, even at my old job.  There’s just something worse about it than yelling or swearing.  I think it also came down to not having the confidence yet to believe what I’m saying.  It didn’t help they were questioning everything I was doing which made me doubt myself.  It was a stupid mistake I made, but in the whole big scheme of mistakes I could have made in this job, it was probably the least damaging possible.  She didn’t see it like that though and I had to ask one of the other girls to help out.  I just couldn’t deal with it.  I suppose that’s what they wanted though – the second I said I was training they kept hounding me for stupid requests and questioning everything.  They basically didn’t want to ask for someone else (heaven forbid that might come across as rude) but they wanted me to feel obliged to get someone else.  Why are people so horrible?  I don’t know.  Either way I ended my working week feeling frazzled and horrible.  At least I learnt something out of it – double check everything, even if it seems simple!

My diet was very up and down.  I’d eat a pretty good breakfast most mornings (strawberries and blueberries with no fat vanilla yoghurt and Chia and quinoa), then back it up with fruit for lunch.  I just couldn’t see it through to dinner most nights and would wind up eating something really bad.  It all comes down to how exhausted I’ve been…I just don’t have the energy to cook.  My friends have been telling me to get onto Lite N Easy.  I’ve been putting it off because it’s expensive, but I think I might have to bite the bullet and go onto it, just for dinners.  I’m not losing any weight at all at the moment and it’s because I’m sabotaging myself at night.  Plus if I don’t have the energy to cook now, I definitely won’t in a couple of weeks.

What else is new this week?  I upgraded to the iPhone 6s Plus.  I already had the 6 Plus but I wanted to move my number over so I could get my staff discount.  I’d been waiting for it to come in stock and it finally did on Thursday.  There isn’t heaps of differences (as expected) though I have noticed it’s a lot quicker to unlock with fingerprint unlock, and the camera is a lot better.  3D Touch is pretty cool too, though I haven’t found a lot of use for it yet.  It’ll no doubt be better once more apps support it.  The best new feature of the phone though is the colour – rose gold is so pretty 💜

As part of my upgrade I also got a Sonos Play:1 WiFi speaker.  I haven’t had a lot of time to put it through its paces but so far it seems pretty awesome.  The set up was a bit of a pain.  It needed to be connected to the modem via an Ethernet cable, and my modem is plugged in up high in my wardrobe.  The speaker isn’t light so holding it awkwardly while trying to follow all the instructions was tough.  Plus the instructions were vague at times so it took longer than it should have.  Still, I got there in the end and it’s got decent sound quality for a semi-small speaker.  My other annoyance is that it doesn’t support Apple Music (apparently it will by the end of the year but we’ll see) so it can only play the songs physically stored on my phone, or songs through other paid streaming services.  A year ago it would have been fine because I used Spotify back then, but I made the switch to Apple Music and I’m not too keen to have to go back to Spotify just for the speaker.  I guess I’ll just have to ride it out.

This week is going to be interesting.  I’m in store again Monday, then it’s a public holiday Tuesday (yay extra sleep!), then I have 3 days of training (another round of it), then I’m working my first Saturday shift in store, which is going to be mental.  At least the day will go by quickly.  I guess I should get used to crazy though, my new store is probably going to be like that all the time.

I don’t think I have any more updates to add.  I really need to find time to write more often!  Hope everyone had a good week 😊

-JD

“The Word No is a Complete Sentence.”

This took me a long time to learn.  I guess I’m still learning it.  I think we’ve all been taught you can’t just say “no” with no explanation.  It’s rude.  It’s blunt.  Why?  You can’t say it without a reason.  Parents drum it into children.  “Why?” “Because.” “Because why?”.  Teachers demand explanations.  Bosses want answers.  All this is fine, and in some places and instances, you do need to supply an answer.  But sometimes you don’t.

If you don’t feel comfortable, if you don’t think it’s in your best interests, if you think you’re gonna get hurt, you can say no.  You don’t have to tell you friends or your partner why if you don’t want to.  You shouldn’t feel like every time you use that word you need to justify it with an answer.  What happens if the answer isn’t good enough?  Then you feel obliged to do whatever it is you don’t want to, or make more excuses.

You shouldn’t feel forced to do anything.  If people want to think you’re rude or a flake or a scaredy-cat, then let them.  No is a powerful word.  A very powerful word.  If you start to throw in reasons and excuses, it loses it’s power.  It allows people to twist it, change it, weaken it.  You don’t want to go home with that guy?  No.  You don’t want to drink tonight when you’re out?  No.  You don’t want to take that dead end job?  No.  You don’t want to let someone treat you poorly?  No.

It’s tough.  It really is.  I didn’t drink when all my teenage friends did.  Every time I turned down a drink, they wanted to know why.  They wanted to change my mind.  At first I gave excuses, but after years of coping it from people – including people saying “I’ll just slip some alcohol into your coke!” – it was easier to give no explanation at all.  Why is it anyone’s business but mine?  Why do I feel the need to justify my answer to anyone who’ll listen?

It’s time to break the habit.  It’s time to stop letting other people’s questions and opinions overrule your judgement.  It’s okay to use the “N Word”.  It’s okay to stand by it.

No.  No no no.

Grumpy-cat-no-5

This, and many more prompts, can be found here.

“What is Your Favourite Childhood Christmas Memory?”

Christmas was one of my favourite times of year as a kid (as most people will say).  The countdowns with advent calendars filled with terrible tasting chocolate, writing messy handwritten letters to santa asking for ridiculous things, all the school activities in December leading up to it.  It’s magical.

Every Christmas Eve we’d sit around the TV as a family and watched the Carols (for people outside Australia, it’s a three-hour show where celebrities – I’m using the term loosely – sing Carols and the Wiggles and Santa Claus would come on for the kids).  My sister and I would put cookies and milk out for Santa in front of the fireplace, and shaved carrots for the reindeer.  We’d hang our oversized stockings up and head to bed, with my parents strict instructions “No getting out of bed until 7, otherwise Santa won’t come!”.

I’d always sleep terribly, too excited for the presents waiting in the lounge room.  The second the clock hit 7am, I’d be tearing up the stairs, bowling into my parents’ room, begging them to let me open my presents.  My sister wouldn’t be far behind.  My parents were always way too slow for my liking, but eventually we’d run down the stairs and into the lounge room.  There were always piles of presents, some under the tree (the presents “from my parents”) and ones in front of the fire place (from “Santa”).  I remember one year “Santa” changed it up and left me and my sister bikes behind the couches instead.  Another year, he left us a trampoline in the backyard.  This was probably the most memorable Christmas as within 24 hours of getting that trampoline, my sister (who was about 4 at the time) broke her leg on it.  We were on it together and we must have bounced too close together or something, and the next second she’s howling in pain.  Surprisingly, it wasn’t anything to do with the exposed springs, which is usually how injuries on trampolines happen!

I remember my dad rushing her to the closest doctor’s office – one we’d never been to before – and him coming back, carrying my sister awkwardly, telling mum they’d said it was just sprained.  My sister was still screaming and crying, and I guess mother’s intuition kicked in as she told dad to go straight to our normal doctor’s office instead (I’m not sure why he didn’t go there initially…I guess they may not have been opened that early or something).  I remember the time dragged on and they were there a long time, and when dad came back, my sister had a big cast over her whole leg (right up to her hip) and she had something called a ‘Green Stick Fracture’.  I didn’t know what that was, but it sounded funny.  I now know it means she basically broke the bone clear through.  She was so little that my mum had to hunt around for crutches small enough.  For the next six weeks, she had to have baths with a garbage bags over her cast, she had to go into her old stroller that she was miles to big for, that her kindergarten had to make special arrangements for her.  There was also a new rule that was never broken (possibly the only one to not be!)  – “only one person jumping on the trampoline at once!”


This prompt was found here, along with a whole bunch of others.

Mourning

So, as I’ve discussed in previous posts, I lost my job a few months back.  I’d been there for five years, and while it had it’s rough patches and downsides, for the most part I was happy there.  I’d met heaps of wonderful people (some who are now my closest friends), learnt a lot, found myself and honestly thought I’d be there for a long while to come.

The last year I’d spent there had been the best yet.  We had a great team, I was 50% of the management and the other manager was a close friend, we called the shots and everything was running as smoothly as can be expected.  I loved going to work every day.  About three months before the end, things started to go downhill.   The manager told me he’d found another job, which was devastating for me on a personal level as he was a lot of the reason work was so enjoyable.  It was also devastating for the whole team as he really was the glue that held us together.  After he left, things fell apart.  The new manager tried to change things that shouldn’t have been changed, I felt unheard, the part-timers got their shifts cut back, the roster was full of gaps and mistakes.  I dreaded going to work as I felt like I’d gone from co-store manager back to just one-of-the-team.  Alongside that, I was also copping it from my Area Manager, who told me brutally and in no uncertain terms that she didn’t believe I was ready to be Assistant Store Manager (she’d only been in charge of my store for about a month at that point, prior to her we’d had a different Area Manager who was really laid back and whom we barely saw).  I was furious.  Firstly because she’d been there for so little time so how would she even know?  And secondly because I’d been acting-ASM for nearing two years.  Her main issue was I wasn’t focused on sales coaching (I was very admin-focused at the time) and she believed that was what was required of an ASM.  It didn’t matter I’d done it previously, or that the old Area Manager never once had a problem with me doing admin, or that both the old AM and herself had looked me in the eye and told me the paperwork for my promotion was coming through.

As you can see, I was having a miserable time.  I applied for another job and hoped like hell I’d get it.  I didn’t hear back from them at all for almost two months.  Every single day I’d wake up and think about quitting.  I’d written out two different resignation letters, ready to hand in when I finally broke.  I guess there were a couple of reasons why I didn’t quit.  Looking back, I wish I had of.  The first one was that, despite being taken for granted, lied to, overlooked and basically treated like shit, I was comfortable.  I knew the team very well, I knew the systems backwards, I knew the products we sold, I knew where everything in the store was located, I knew the processes involved with everything.  It was easy.  That’s what it came down to.  Five years experience gave me a confidence in the place that I knew I wouldn’t have in another job.  The second was I couldn’t afford to be unemployed.  I was renting, in the midst of building a house, had bills to pay and a dog to feed.  If I still lived at my parents, it probably would have been a different story, but I was trying to be grown up about it.  Grown ups can’t just quit their job, even if it sucks.

The day started out like all the others.  I woke up, hated the thought of going into work, went in anyway.  Started doing my admin stuff, because that’s basically all I did.  I found comfort in it when I couldn’t in anything else there.  Out of the blue, I was told by the new manager that HR were here to talk to people about “stocktake results”.  I’d been on leave when stocktake was done, and I wasn’t even aware there were any issues.  I assumed that it must have just had a bad month or something and shrugged it off.  I kept going with my day, resenting every minute of it.  I remember texting my friend that morning saying that I should just hand in my resignation then and there.  I honestly felt like I was at breaking point.  I don’t even remember what exactly made me feel that way…I think it had just finally caught up with me.  Oh how I wish I’d actually handed in my resignation then.  Though I suppose it wouldn’t have mattered anyway, it was probably too late by then.

Anyway, for most of the morning I’d forgotten all about the HR thing.  I hadn’t seen them and I didn’t notice anyone leaving the store for extended periods of time (though it had been happening, I’d just assumed they’d gone on break or I’d just overlooked them).  One of the girls came back in shaken up, and it was only then I realized HR had been in the centre the whole time, quietly pulling people out of the store to speak with them.  That’s when I started freaking out.  I’d been through meetings with HR about six months prior and I knew it was bad news, especially because I had an overwhelming feeling it had something to do with me.  It wasn’t a huge leap to make – the new manager had only been there a couple of months, and the old manager wasn’t there any more, and I was the acting ASM.  I messaged the old manager and he said not to worry, it can’t be anything too bad as HR didn’t give notice about the meetings like they were supposed to.  He has a way of calming people (especially me) down, and I did feel a little better.

I remember the next part clear as day too.  I was on the floor, chatting to one of my closest workmates who’d just randomly cracked the screen on her phone, out of the blue.  She was really upset about it and we were trying to work out how it happened when the new manager interrupted and told me to go to my HR meeting.  I was a little nervous but I kept telling myself it was nothing.  I’d have known about it if something bad was happening, surely.

I headed into the meeting.  There was a guy I’d never seen before on one side of the table and a girl from my previous HR meetings on the other.  She was lovely; he was not.  The first thing he asked was if I was okay with the meeting being recorded.  The previous meetings I’d had with HR hadn’t been recorded…what was going on? The meeting turned out to be one of the single most traumatic experiences of my life.  He fired question after question at me, trying to catch me off guard, accusing me of lying, demanding things of me that my brain couldn’t keep up with.  I don’t do well in situations where I don’t have time to think.  I’m an introvert.  I like to think things through before I speak, otherwise who knows what will come out of my mouth?  The meeting seemed to never end.  He had so many questions, and the more he had, the more incriminating my answers became.  Some of the questions were so absurd or random that all I could do was gape at him.  He was a terrifying presence.  He enjoyed making me squirm, I could see it in his eyes.  After an hour and a half, he then finished the interview by asking if I’d felt intimidated by him.  What was I going to say?  If you’re intimidated by someone, you aren’t going to admit it to them.  Especially someone who would get enjoyment out of it.  Then the HR lady (who’d been quite almost the whole time) told me I had another meeting the following morning which “may result in suspension or termination”.  I knew what that meant.  We’d previously gone through it with another employee and my manager had to give him that line (word-for-word) over the phone.  I knew I wasn’t going back to work.  At the very end, the guy told me he’d be forwarding everything onto the police.  Well, if I wasn’t already shaking (and I was), that really got me.

I raced out of there and called my old manager, as he was just as involved in everything as I was.  He tried to calm me down but it wasn’t going to happen, not this time.  He hadn’t been there, sitting opposite a guy who spat questions at you, who wanted to make you upset.  As I couldn’t be consoled over the phone, he agreed to meet up at our other friend C’s house.  We talked for a couple of hours about everything, and although I was still reeling and shaken up, I felt a little better knowing I wasn’t alone in this, and that they thought I’d been treated poorly in the interview as well.

The next day came and I headed into the second meeting, with C coming as my witness.  I was terrified.  I could barely hold back the tears.  How could this be happening?  After five years of loyal service and hard work, were they were really going to give me the boot?  We wound up going to the wrong building and having to race down to the proper one, which didn’t help my frazzled nerves.  We were ushered into a tiny room where my area manager (the one who’d told me I wasn’t good enough to be ASM) and the HR girl from the previous day were sitting.  I was absolutely shitting myself – I didn’t realize my area manager was going to be there.  Looking back I guess I probably should have, and I was grateful it wasn’t the asshole guy from yesterday, but this wasn’t much better.  I actually went okay though, considering.  The area manager read off a piece of paper, she asked a few questions, talked about the findings and outcomes from the day before, they took a break, came back in and told me I was terminated effective immediately.  I handed in my keys and left.  It was all over within half an hour.  Considering the horrors of the previous meeting, this was actually quite good.

I was a mess for about a week afterwards.  I couldn’t believe I’d been fired.  I had so many emotions running through me.  Firstly, I was embarrassed.  I knew how everyone was there – I’d be hot gossip for sure.  Everyone would be talking.  I hated knowing that people would see me as a bad person…I hated knowing I was forever going to be the “manager that got fired”.  I was ashamed.  I didn’t like being caught out for something dumb I’d done a year before.  I didn’t like that I no longer had a way to support myself.  I was hurt.  So many people I’d trusted and thought were my friends had caused this to happen.  They’d ratted me out for no reason other than self-gratification or because they were bored.  They had no need to do it, but they did it anyway.  I was lost.  My whole world for the past five years had been that job.  I’d put in long hours, I’d do extra work, I’d treated staff like family, I’d spent my own money on things to help the store.  Now all that was gone, just like that.  I’d never use the systems I’d come to know so well again, I’d never get to say goodbye to the people I’d gotten to know so well over the years.  I’d sit and cry for hours.  What if I couldn’t get another job?  Who’d want to hire someone like me?

After about a week, my despair turned to anger.  I was furious that people had done this to me.  How could they?  Granted, sometimes I’m not the easiest person to be around, but they were supposed to be my friends.  I’d never done anything to them.  Nothing intentional anyway.  I was angry at the company.  Okay, I’d fucked up, but did they need to fire me over it?  After all the loyalty and long hours?  Where was my recognition for all that?  I felt like the last five years had been a giant waste of time.  I’d worked my ass off and this was all the thanks I got?  I was angry that my old manager had gotten out of it all scott-free.  Even as I was feeling it, I knew it wasn’t fair.  He was one of my closest friends and part of me was happy he’d quit before this all went down, but another part hated him for it.  He was just as responsible for it happening as I was, but he’s got a great job now and I’ve got nothing.  I had to go through that tortuous interview alone.  They couldn’t point the finger at him so I copped it twice as bad.  I guess mostly though I was angry at myself.  I’d had a moment of weakness, and instead of stopping myself, I let it happen.  I knew it was wrong but I did it anyway.  Coupled with that, I was angry at the people around me who knew what I was doing but didn’t stop me.  It was fine for them to tell me now that it was dumb, but they certainly weren’t saying that at the time.

After the anger passed, I just felt hopeless.  By this stage I’d been knocked back for the job I’d applied for a couple of months prior (you can read about that here), as well as a slew of other jobs.  I felt like that’s all I did all day every day.  Search for jobs, change my cover letter, apply for it, wait to hear.  When I heard, I’d go to the interview, and inevitably get knocked back within the week.  This happened time and time again.  It was made worse by the fact that the asshole interview guy had said he was going to the police with everything, and I had no idea if he was just being a dick or whether he was actually going to.  I hadn’t heard from the police at all, but I wasn’t sure what that meant.  A lot of jobs these days run background checks and I didn’t know what would come up on mine.

After three long months, I finally landed a casual job, and then within a week, a better, full time job.  I was relieved as I’d had to rely on my parents again up until then, which I hated.  I hadn’t had to do that for years.  I was still nervous though, as although I’d accepted my contract, they still hadn’t gotten the results back from my background check, and the contract would be voided if anything was found.  My old manager said that the police would have contacted me months ago if they’d been involved but I still wasn’t confident about it.  I went to my induction, each day expecting to be pulled out and told to go home.  It was stressful and it sucked because all I really wanted to do was celebrate my newfound employment but I couldn’t.

I finally knew I was in the clear when I tried to login to the background check website a week later and couldn’t.  That must mean it’s done and came back clear.  Phew!  The asshole interviewer really was just a sadistic bastard.  You’d think after all that I’d be celebrating my new job, but nothing in my life is ever that simple.  I was told I was going to be training two stores down from my old work.  I was terrified.  All it would take was one person from there saying something to someone and it was all over.  I didn’t know what had been said about me, or who knew what happened, or who was on my side.  All weekend I was stressing out, thinking that now that I’d finally landed a job, I was going to lose it and have to start all over again.  I didn’t think I’d be able to deal with that.

On the morning of my first shift back at my old shopping centre, I finally decided to stop worrying.  I’d come this far – I’d landed the job, passed the background check and reference checks, survived induction.  I’ll be damned if I’m going to keep stressing about losing the job again.  I also refused to let the people who dragged me down at my old job, drag me down at my new one.  It was out of my hands where I was told to train at and out of my hands what was said, but it was completely in my hands as to whether I let them win or not.  If I was going to stress the whole time, and avoid them, and let them ruin my time there, that was letting them win.  I’d been working in that centre a hell of a lot longer than them and they had no right to make me think I wasn’t welcome there.

I’ve been at the centre over a week now and it’s been fantastic.  I’ve run into one of the people I don’t like (which was awkward), but I’ve also caught up with quite a few of the people I do and they’re supportive and it was great to see them again.  The people I don’t like haven’t said a word to me and are unlikely to say something to anyone else, so my fears were unfounded.  I feel like I’m back at home again in the centre.

That being said, I still really miss parts of my old job.  I still have dreams where I’m working there, and wake up sad.  I miss the old team and the way we used to get on so well.  I miss being confident in my role.  It’s tough being the new kid again when at my old job, I was the person everyone would run to with their random, difficult questions.  I miss doing admin and rosters.  I miss feeling like I belonged there.  I know with time I’ll get that feeling back with my new job, but right now I just feel out of place – partly because I’m training at a store I’m not based at, partly because it’s a different company with different systems and policies.

It wasn’t until I read an article that I realized this was normal.  People do mourn for their jobs.  It seems like a weird thing, particularly when you hated it towards the end anyway, but it’s legitimately a thing and it’s exactly what I’m going through.  The article said even when you get a new job, the grieving doesn’t stop, and it’s true.  I guess it’s like anything really…you don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone.  I took for granted my job security, my knowledge-base, my passion for the job.  When it was pulled out from under me so abruptly, I didn’t know what to do.  I think if I had of quit and had two weeks lead up to the end, it might have been different.  I could have mentally prepared myself.  Instead, just like that, it was gone.  I didn’t know waking up that morning, it would be my last shift.  I didn’t get that luxury.

I guess the most important part in all this is to learn from it.  It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been somewhere, or how hard you work, or how loved you are, companies don’t show mercy for mistakes.  If it’s big enough, you’re out of there.  It doesn’t matter if you didn’t do it intentionally or if you didn’t benefit directly from it or if you were trying to do the right thing…if they don’t agree, you’re gone.  I’ve also learnt how tough job hunting is.  Oh sure, I’d heard about it enough, but until you go through it and get knock back after knock back (even for jobs that are basically identical to what you’ve been doing previously) it’s really hard to deal with.  You have to have a thick skin or you’ll sink into depression, or give up and go on benefits and never get off.  I have a new appreciation for how easy that would be.  Luckily I never had to go that far thanks to my family’s support.  Even on my low days, even on the sleep deprived days, I’ll never take having a job and an income for granted again.

As for moving on, I’m trying.  It’s tough having to walk past my old work five times a week, knowing that I used to spend so much of my time there and now I no longer do.  Everything is so familiar there, it’s like looking into my home.  I could tell you stories about every inch of that place.  They still have my hand-created posters up on the walls.  So much of myself is still locked in there and it hurts to know I was evicted.  That being said, I feel myself getting stronger each day.  I have my good days and my bad ones, but I think it’s really helping that I’m enjoying my new job.  Once I start feeling comfortable in it, I think that’s when the mourning will truely end.  Until then, I’ve always got my wonderful memories and amazing friends to be thankful for.  I now know it wasn’t a waste of time…if I hadn’t of worked there, my life wouldn’t be as rich and amazing as it is now.

IMG_0824

-JD

“A Personal Story about Breast Cancer”

Thankfully, my direct family hasn’t been touched by this cancer…touch wood.  I do have a personal story from when I was young though, and it’s stuck with me (and always will).

I was about nine or ten when my best friend in primary school told me her mum had been diagnosed with breast cancer.  I was too young to fully comprehend what this meant.  I knew she’d get sick, of course, and I knew cancer was bad, but that was about it.  I’d often go over to their house, and I watched her get sicker, and her hair fell out.  I knew that was what happened with cancer.  She was always such a happy lady…other than no hair and looking tired, you’d never know she was sick.  She always had a smile on her face and was always happy to have me over.

Things got better.  I didn’t know the specifics because nobody wanted to tell kids that kind of stuff, and kids don’t talk about it with each other, but looking back I believe she must have gone into remission for a little while.  Her hair started growing back, she started getting her strength back, everything started going back to normal.

A year or two later (roughly, I’m not 100% sure), my best friend once again told me her mum had cancer.  Although a little older now, I was still fairly naive to what this could mean.  Oh, don’t get me wrong, I knew cancer could kill people.  I just could never imagine the world without her.  She was too full of life, too happy.  No, she’d get past this too.  She had to.

I remember when my best friend told me her mum had to have her breast removed.  I’d never realized that was one of the treatment options.  I’d always heard people having chemotherapy, it just kind of went hand-in-hand…and I knew sometimes they cut the cancer out.  I just didn’t think they’d remove whole body parts because of it.  It kind of rocked my world a little bit.  Nevertheless, my best friend’s mum kept her chin up.  She’d gone through major surgery and she was still smiling.  It can’t be that bad, I wrongly assumed.  She started losing her hair again.  She started looking tired, weaker.  Then she went back into hospital.

“They’re saying she isn’t going to come back out.” My friend had told me.  What?  I thought.  No.  No, they must have it wrong.  How could that be right?  I remember wholeheartedly believing the doctors were wrong.  There’s no way she’s not going to make it.  She’s too friendly.  Too kind.  Too smiley.  Her personality is too big.  It’s not possible.  She stayed in hospital for some time.  Two weeks, three.  I’m not sure exactly.

I wanted to be there for my friend.  I wanted to go over to her house, keep her company, help her through it.  My mum told me “no, it’s best to leave her to have family time”.  I remember it clear as day.  Now, my mum is usually good with advice (as I’ve come to realize), but in this instance, she was wrong.  I should never have left my friend to have “family time”.  Not like I did.  We began drifting apart, and I’m sure I’m completely to blame.  She became closer with one of our other friends…a friend that was there for her when I wasn’t.  I still to this day wish I’d never listened to my mum.  I feel terrible I was so distant.  It wasn’t my intention, in fact, it was the opposite of my intention.  I’d never been through anything even remotely like what my friend was going through, so I didn’t know what was expected.  I didn’t know what she needed.  All I could do was listen to the (poor) advice I was given.  It still doesn’t make me feel any less guilty.  I’m so sorry.

Anyway, I got a call from my friend’s new best friend, saying that she’d passed on.  I remember it vividly.  I was crying before the phone call had ended.  I went and told mum and she broke down too.  How could this happen?  How could this be real?  How could she just be gone?

We went to the funeral.  I’d only been to one other funeral in my life, a few years before, but that was for my 97-year-old great-grandpa, who had been in a nursing home for a long time and was suffering terribly from dementia.  This was totally different, and a lot sadder.  Plus, I was a bit older, so I guess I knew what was going on more than the previous one.  I remember the drive home, and still being a bit shellshocked about it all.

Part of me still can’t believe she’s gone…and that she’s been gone for so long.  It was my first taste of what cancer can do.  It has no mercy.  It comes back when you think it’s gone.  It choses it’s victims at random.  It doesn’t matter how strong and bubbly and loved someone is, they can still be lost to it.

Rest Easy, Lynne.  We all still think of you and miss you.

Click here to donate.

This prompt, and many more, can be found here.

Time to Change – Day Thirty-Five

I can’t remember a time where I’ve appreciated a weekend more.  At least, not in the past year or so.  I can’t believe how tired work makes me.  I guess it’s just trying to learn so many new things at once (coupled by the way the shop heats up so by the end of the shift I feel sweaty and sticky and horrible) but it still surprises me how draining it is after doing a similar job for so long.

Yesterday was another good day.  Aside from maybe an hour, I worked independently and fairly confidently.  Everyone is super friendly there and are all really easy to talk to and ask questions, which is really helping.  I wound up putting through two contracts and had three add-ons for the day.  The add-ons I’m especially proud of as I feel confident in selling them and processing them now, which I’m happy about as I feel like without knowing that, I’m dragging the store down with the contracts I was doing.  Plus, I feel like it’s another big thing I can tick off my ‘Need to Learn’ checklist.

I was practically running for the exit at the end of my shift.  I was so pumped to be heading home for a relaxing couple of days.  I had a long sleep in this morning, then went out to lunch with my best friend.  It was nice to catch up, and I got some extra steps in walking around the shopping centre.  I came home, tried to tackle my overflowing TV shows that had been piling up all week, then had a long soak in the tub.

I also decided to bite the bullet and update my Facebook details to reflect my new job.  I know this may sound mundane and not worth mentioning, but it was a big deal for me.  Initially I wasn’t going to change it until after my probation (that’s still my plan for LinkedIn) but the original reason for me not updating it is so the people who threw me under the bus at my last job didn’t know where I was working.  Well, that lasted a whole 3 days now that I’m working two shops away.  Plus, I don’t have any of them on Facebook anyway and my profile is set to “Friends Only” for everything.  On top of all that, in the week I’d been working in store, I’d had quite a few people spot me and come in and say hi.  I figured it was about time everyone was let in on the change so I didn’t have to tell them individually.  I just hope updating it doesn’t lead to issues down the line (my new job doesn’t know I got fired), but I’m 95% it’ll be fine.  I deleted anyone who I thought might be an issue prior to doing it.  I feel better for updating it, as it felt weird having my profile still saying I worked at my old work after how it all ended.  I didn’t really want to be associated with that place any more.  I’m trying very hard to close that chapter and this is another step towards it.  Plus, now I’m slowly adding people from my new job, I was worried it would be confusing to them if it isn’t accurate.  Can you tell I’m an overthinker?

Tomorrow is housework, a walk and grocery shopping…after another long sleep in, that is.  I can’t seem to even make a dent in my sleep debt but I’m going to give it a good crack!

After I go grocery shopping I’m going to get back on my healthy eating plan.  It’s been a terrible week with what I’ve eaten and how little I’ve been exercising and I need to get my focus back.  I refuse to fall off the wagon completely.  This is just a bump in the road.  I need to keep it up so that in the future, I don’t have to look back and wish I did.

IMG_0794

-JD

“When Did You First Realise You Were a Writer?”

I don’t really remember when I first knew…I just always sort of have been.  I remember writing stories and drawing pictures for them when I was really little, and getting mum to print them out and I’d show my grandparents.  I remember one in particular was about two aliens.  I wish I had of kept it.

I guess writing just went hand-in-hand with my reading habits.  I was an extremely avid reader as a child.  I’d average between 2-3 books a week when I was about ten.  I’d borrow dozens of books from the library at a time.  When I wasn’t reading, I was writing, or imagining stories and drawing pictures.  I loved creating little worlds and characters and back stories.

As I entered high school, my reading habits died off a little bit, replaced with socialising and playing computer games.  With it also went my writing.  I enjoyed English classes and always excelled in them, but that was about the only writing I did, save for the occasional first chapter of a story I’d start then never go back to.  In year 10, I started writing poetry and songs as I tried to get back into it.  At the time I thought they were pretty good, but I’ve since looked back on them and they weren’t at all.

I’ve also dabbled in blogging on and off since I was about 16, first starting on MySpace, then Facebook, then on various other sites.  I never stuck with it all that long.  That’s my issue.  I get creative urges and then it goes away and I lose interest.  I think this blog is different because I am writing whatever I feel like, whenever I feel like, and I’m not linking it to my social media accounts, so I have an anonymity and a freedom that my previous blogs never did.  It makes things easier as I don’t feel like I need to sensor what I write or worry about what anyone is thinking.

I’d still love to write properly one day.  I think I’d be pretty good at it.  I just never know what to start, and I’m worried I’d start and lose interest like I always do.  For the moment, this blog will do.  I’m enjoying it a lot 🙂

This prompt, and many more, can be found here.

Time to Change – Day Thirty-Three

I’ve had another busy couple of days.  It seriously feels like I’m making up for all my laziness over the past few months in one big hit.  I’m enjoying it but it’s exhausting and a little overwhelming.  I’m trying to adjust but I’m struggling and I can’t wait for the weekend so I can relax.

Yesterday I started doing most things alone at work.  I decided anything I didn’t know I’d just try, and if I got stuck I’d ask questions.  I know that makes some of the other staff a bit nervous but it’s the best way for me to learn – I struggle to focus when other people do it and I have to watch, and most of the staff don’t explain what they’re doing or slow down for me to learn properly.  I don’t blame them – I’m sure when I was teaching new kids at my old job, I did the same thing.  I think I did well, considering.  It’s tough though.  I feel pressured to do things fast as I don’t like to make customers wait and get annoyed they’re stuck with the trainee, but the systems are a lot more complicated than my old job and going fast sometimes just isn’t an option.

After work I had to go to training in the city.  I’d only found out about this 24 hours before and I was in two minds about going at all.  It was basic training on one of the products I’d been selling at my old job for years.  I didn’t think I’d learn very much, and I dreaded the idea of having to go to it after a full day of work.  I decided I’d probably better go.  I was worried if I didn’t go I’d look bad, and I don’t want that if I’m aiming to get promoted sometime in the future.  The training was long, dry and boring, as I was expecting.  It didn’t finish until after 8pm and by the time I got home, it was after 9.  I picked up some pizza on the way home, throwing my diet further off track, but there was no way I was cooking that late…especially when I had work at 9am the following day.

Needless to say, it was a struggle to get out of bed this morning.  It doesn’t matter how much I’m enjoying work, I don’t do well on little sleep.  I’d had weird dreams all night, which also didn’t help my mood.  I headed in, feeling fairly average instead of my usual excited self.  Luckily, my day actually turned out quite good.  I ran into a couple of people from my old work who I’m still on good terms with, and they were really interested in what I’m doing now and happy to see me, which was really nice as I’m used to getting the cold shoulder from a lot of the people still there.  Then I had lunch with another friend from my old work who isn’t there any more either.  It was great to see him again.  I also got to have a good talk today with my (temporary) manager about how I’m progressing at work and hear his suggestions on how to learn more.  He was impressed with what I was already capable of doing by myself, and is really keen to get me filling in the learning gaps quickly, which is great because that was what I was hoping he’d say.

On the way home I stopped off at the automatic carwash, after procrastinating about it for months.  I don’t care what anyone says, these things are the best.  $10 and the car goes in filthy and comes out clean, and you get a cool show while it’s happening.  I wish there was one closer to me…I guess maybe there is, but I haven’t seen it.  I should probably take the time to find one, as I won’t be working in that area very much longer so it won’t be my local one any more.  End of an era 😦

My foot is starting to feel a bit better, finally.  I still haven’t gotten back into my walks as it’s only just started coming good and I’m still worried I’ll do damage by pushing it.  Hopefully by the weekend I’ll have a bit more confidence in it.  My weight is back up a little but there’s no surprise there, with my diet and no exercise.  I really need to get back into it, and will.  I’m slowly starting to adjust to my working life, so by next week I should be right back into it.

One more day and I’ll be in relaxation mode!  That’s the only thought that’s going to get me through tomorrow!

-JD

“What Are Your 5 Guilty Pleasures?”

My five guilty pleasures are:

  • Donuts.  Especially Krispy Kremes.  Oh god, they’re amazing.  And so calorie-laden that you feel guilty before even buying them.  I love them so much!
  • Tumblr.  While this isn’t something you’d usually put into the “guilty pleasure” category, the amount of time I can waste on that site is crazy.  There’s just so much good stuff on there and once you start you can’t get off it!
  • The Sims.  If I played it like a normal person, this wouldn’t be a guilty pleasure at all.  However, I’ve been playing it since I was 12, and have played all the boring storylines out to death.  So now, my sims all have crazy lives.  Twenty kids, random deaths in their family, sudden poorness, strange jobs, random hook ups and affairs.  I feel guilty inflicting it on them…but it’s so entertaining!
  • Snuggling with Toys. When I’m sad, I love cuddling with my old teddy and my new Build-A-Bear.  I guess it takes me back to childhood, and who doesn’t like to be taken back there sometimes?
  • Online Shopping.  It’s the mother of all guilty pleasures for me, as I spent money I shouldn’t be spending on stuff I really don’t need to be buying.  Nothing beats the feeling of the package arriving and it being full of discounted goodness!

What are your guilty pleasures?

This prompt, and many more, can be found here.