Posts tagged with "work"

Running Down

I left work about halfway through the day. A sharp pain was start­ing to devel­op on the sides of my head, and I was gen­er­al­ly sore all over. Even while chew­ing or swal­low­ing, there was a tremen­dous pres­sure from the head of my mandibu­lar condyle to the inner ear. Most like­ly, I was start­ing to run myself down; the last time I felt like this was after an all-night shift at the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy, and I end­ed up run­ning a fever and miss­ing two days of work there. Shirley con­vinced me to take an extra strength Tylenol (with codeine), which is some­thing I rarely do. I’ve always believed in pay­ing atten­tion to the pain sig­nals that the body gives off.

Trolley and I, with the assis­tance of Aaron, moved a sig­nif­i­cant por­tion of chat­tel through the week, trans­lat­ing into late nights and mis­er­able days. Every pre­vi­ous night, I’d ver­bal­ly con­sid­er sleep­ing in the next day know­ing how hard it would be, and as Trolley not­ed, I’d nev­er end up doing so. Even this morn­ing I could­n’t sleep, so I got to work at ten past sev­en, more than half an hour ear­ly. It’s good to know that I was able to be stronger men­tal­ly than phys­i­cal­ly, some­thing that has always been dif­fi­cult for me to bal­ance. Usually it feels like my body is giv­ing out first, but after­wards, I real­ize that I could have han­dled more. This time, my body is actu­al­ly telling me that I’m over­worked. I think the key is con­vinc­ing myself that phys­i­cal dis­com­fort is just a tem­po­rary feel­ing that can be ignored.

It’ll all be worth it once I’m set­tled down, which will most like­ly not be until I get my clos­et doors installed. I’m replac­ing my white ones with mir­rors, and since the clos­et runs the entire width of the wall, they all need to be cus­tom sized. It’s the last thing that’ll be done before I real­ly feel like I’m in my own home. The mir­rors should make the room look twice as big and appro­pri­ate­ly dark­er. I got the quote today, and it’s just under two grand, tax in, includ­ing instal­la­tion. I decid­ed to go ahead with it, since it’s actu­al­ly cheap­er than I expect­ed, so they should be arriv­ing in 6 to 14 days.

Next week is hair­cut, get­ting cus­tom-fit­ted venet­ian blinds, Christine’s birth­day din­ner, and a lot of unpack­ing.

Another Rough Day

Wow, it was a rough day. It start­ed off well enough, because I was in what one would call a bet­ter-than-aver­age mood before I had even arrived at work. Shirley had stopped at Timmies to get an every­thing bagel with herb and gar­lic cream cheese for break­fast, and decid­ed to also buy me a large cof­fee, which I found, hot and steam­ing, on my desk this morn­ing. It was the first cof­fee I had in weeks, and it sent my heart rac­ing after the sec­ond sip.

I final­ized a two-page ad for a local quar­ter­ly newslet­ter, due for pub­li­ca­tion at the end of the month. The only prob­lem was that, for the last few years, we’ve had a reser­va­tion of only a sin­gle page. The mid­dle two pages of this pub­li­ca­tion are reserved for the most impor­tant mes­sages from the orga­ni­za­tion that runs the pub­li­ca­tion itself, and are most like­ly the first two pages looked at by its read­ers. My boss, besides being the best fuck­ing boss in the world, was also ambi­tious enough to request the mid­dle two pages (I think of Michael Corleone ask­ing if his cred­it is good enough to buy out Moe Green). At his behest, I made a call to nego­ti­ate the book­ing of space. I had been prep­ping for this since Monday, being unsure of how to approach the per­son at the oth­er end of the line in order to max­i­mize my chances of get­ting the two most lucra­tive pages in the book­let. They did­n’t know how old, or young, I was, because they could­n’t see me, and this was help­ful. I believe that age has worked to my dis­ad­van­tage in the past for tete-a-tete nego­ti­a­tions, because I can see in the faces of old­er peo­ple how hard it is for them to take me seri­ous­ly. At the end, I offered to reserve two pages instead of one (some­thing which they did­n’t know we had every inten­tion of doing, no mat­ter what the result), in return for the mid­dle of the book­let. I was able to get the mid­dle for this month, but unfor­tu­nate­ly not for any sub­se­quent issues. We want­ed to hit the local area hard with the ener­gy in our lat­est mar­ket­ing cam­paign, and being the first to take the mid­dle of the pub­li­ca­tion, even if only for a sin­gle issue, was good enough. I told my boss, he shook my hand, and ver­bal­ly con­grat­u­lat­ed me.

Then I quick­ly fixed up and final­ized the mailout for this month, to be print­ed on our new cov­er stock, a great idea by Shirley, because the thick­ness and bright­ness of the stock make every­thing look fuck­ing slick. By this time, the caf­feine was mak­ing me jit­tery. I had slept alright the night before, but I was start­ing to feel tired, espe­cial­ly in the eyes.

I start­ed to work on a one page fly­er to go with a spe­cial invi­ta­tion sent out to over 600 clients and poten­tial clients across the city (which also ties in with the adver­tise­ment in the local pub­li­ca­tion men­tioned above — fuck­ing wicked). My boss gave me the mate­r­i­al yes­ter­day, and the prob­lem was that it had to be approved by him before the end of the day, because he’s leav­ing the coun­try on busi­ness tomor­row.

I worked through most of the day on the fly­er while tons of oth­er mis­cel­la­neous things-to-be-done popped up spon­ta­neous­ly, like label print­ing, print­er fix­ing, and back-up trou­bleshoot­ing. By this time, the caf­feine had worn off, only to be replaced by what felt like exhaus­tion. Near the end of the day, after get­ting the fly­er most­ly done, while colour cor­rect­ing and space adjust­ing, CorelDraw start­ed to real­ly, REALLY fuck up on me. If the print­ing com­pa­nies we dealt with would actu­al­ly spend some mon­ey on high­er end vec­tor graph­ics soft­ware, I would­n’t have had any prob­lems. Instead, I tried to print a file from CorelDraw, and it either spooled for­ev­er, or told me that there was not enough mem­o­ry to print (with my 1 gig of DDR RAM). If I tried to save, it either gave me an error mes­sage about not hav­ing enough free space, or crashed, and in the process, made the cur­rent work­ing space blank and saved it. CorelDraw seems to lose sta­bil­i­ty if any oth­er pro­grams are run­ning, such as Outlook Express or Winamp, while there are graph­ics above 300 dpi in the work­space, and I had over a dozen. In the end, I got the fly­er fin­ished, but not before repeat­ing an entire series of steps, sev­er­al times, due to crash­es while fine-tun­ing.

My nerves were shot by the time I stepped out­side to walk to the bus stop. For the first time in months, I lis­tened to my on-the-go playlist. I start­ed work­ing on it since the week of UPS crash­es in November (which would bring the entire sys­tem down at work, includ­ing tele­phone access), for days just like this.

The IT Budget Just Got Bigger

I was giv­en the oppor­tu­ni­ty to pur­chase a new machine (with my choice of parts) at work and put it togeth­er from scratch, some­thing I had nev­er done before. I’ve dab­bled in cas­es ever since I played games (the dri­ving force behind much of my com­put­er knowl­edge), but nev­er actu­al­ly assem­bled an entire box from parts.

It’s amaz­ing to see how far along moth­er­boards, and even cas­es, have come now. Overclocking can be done through soft­ware, as opposed to open­ing the case and fid­dling with jumpers. Fan speed is auto­mat­i­cal­ly con­trolled for a bal­ance of silence and cool­ing. Rail mount­ed dri­ve bays make hard­ware con­fig­u­ra­tions much sim­pler. Thumbscrews elim­i­nate the need for screw­drivers for a sim­ple dust­ing. Firewire ports, eth­er­net con­nec­tions, video sup­port, even 5.1 sur­round are all built onboard, for the option of extreme­ly clean, roomy, and cool cas­es, even if they are rather sim­ple.

I man­aged to put the sys­tem togeth­er with­out hav­ing to re-seat a card, clean a con­nec­tion, or wig­gle a pow­er cable. My machine is now a P4 3.2E (I sup­pose all high­er end Pentium chips now auto­mat­i­cal­ly come with hyper-thread­ing), with a gig of DDR RAM, a 200 GB ser­i­al-ATA HDD, and a 128 MB ATI 800XT Pro video card. I also request­ed anoth­er 17″ flat pan­el, and received it the next day, so I can take advan­tage of the dual dis­play good­ness.

Work was good, but now it’s just bet­ter.

Appreciating Both Sides

The days can go on with reg­u­lar­i­ty over and over, one day indis­tin­guish­able from the next.

—Travis Bickle, Taxi Driver

Every day I think that I’ll catch up on sleep at night, but I nev­er seem to get the chance. I have time here and there to write, but things don’t come out prop­er­ly when I’m tired. Even on the week­ends, when I expect to be able to sleep in, I’m always off some­where, doing some­thing. It’s such a change from how I was liv­ing last year; no school, no job, no girl­friend, with all my friends still attend­ing uni­ver­si­ty. I lost all sense of time.

I’m busier than ever at work, and it’s a great feel­ing to know that I’m respon­si­ble for so much…for meet­ing dead­lines, for com­plet­ing projects, for com­ing up with solu­tions to peo­ples’ prob­lems. It’s a lot of stress, but it’s a great chal­lenge. Being forced to work with a lack of sleep has made me more accus­tomed to think­ing while fatigued, some­thing that I nev­er thought was pos­si­ble. I used to need a prop­er eight hours a day to think, oth­er­wise I could only oper­ate at a basic lev­el. Only one day in the last month have I felt rest­ed. The fact that I’m still going and get­ting things done is a big deal to me. And now it feels like I’m final­ly work­ing towards some­thing, in my rela­tion­ships, in my career, even in my equi­ty and assets.

I remem­ber Pat telling me to enjoy my unem­ploy­ment, and I did exact­ly that. I appre­ci­at­ed every minute of it, and now I appre­ci­ate every moment that I have some­thing to do. I appre­ci­at­ed the free­dom of being sin­gle, and now I appre­ci­ate the com­fort of being with some­one.

What Work Has Taught Me So Far

I’m learn­ing more things at work than I had ever imag­ined was pos­si­ble. Now I under­stand things like the impor­tance of mak­ing a bud­get, the loop­holes to look out for on a lease, the dif­fer­ence between writ­ing an asset off as an expense or depre­ci­at­ing it, or even some­thing like the eco­nom­ic fac­tors con­sid­ered in set­ting month­ly goals. There are also gen­er­al work things I nev­er knew about, like how to deal with sales­men, how to leave mes­sages, what’s con­sid­ered a good health plan, gov­ern­ment reg­u­la­tions vs. union reg­u­la­tions, etc. I’ve even had to learn how to be a print pro­duc­tion coor­di­na­tor for marketing/PR mate­ri­als. Then on top of all of this, I’m learn­ing about the entire eso­teric den­tal indus­try, from the per­son­al­i­ties of den­tists and den­tur­ists to the man­u­fac­tur­ing process of every­thing from crowns to cast par­tial den­tures to haw­ley retain­ers, just so I can under­stand the tar­get audi­ence and under­stand what I’m mar­ket­ing.