Friday, March 28, 2008
I almost never talk about my work here. For one thing, it's boring. I don't relish my days at work so much that I want to relive them in my entries. Work is simple, black-and-white, and requires no thought or analysis afterwards. For another, it's dangerous to talk about work on the Internet. Careless writers can and do get fired for revealing too much information, or even just for insulting the wrong people. In the past, I have made the uncomfortable discovery that at least one person I worked with was reading my blog unannounced, which reinforces the fact that you never know who's reading. For all I know, my manager reads this blog. (Or my 'little' brother--who has the nerve to suddenly be almost six feet tall and have a (really fantastic) girlfriend-- if you're reading this, munchkin, I do not recall giving you permission to grow up.) Or former friends, ex-boyfriends, whoever. You just never know, so I clear away from work-based issues and concentrate on my private life, figuring that anyone who wants to read about my uterus, my dog, or my Harry Potter obsession is welcome to do so.
Now, I'm going to break all my own rules and spill about work. Don't worry, Powers-that-Be; I'm not going to suddenly name the corporation that I work for, or dish any insider secrets. It's just that things have been coming to a head, and gradually/suddenly/lately(?) I find myself wanting to leave. My job has gone from merely not making me happy, to actively making me unhappy. I no longer wake up neutral about going to work, but dreading it. And it's not just my manager (although it's not NOT her, either), but the entire situation. My talent for fitting in almost anywhere has warped me somewhat, and makes it difficult to see when the square-peg/round-hole situation just isn't working anymore. I am not a salesperson. I never have been, I never will be. I'm too introverted, too honest, and not nearly motivated enough by money to sell things to people. And yet, my job is partially based on sales. It's not the only thing I do by a long shot, but it's the part that I'm measured by.
I have opportunity, in my job, to do good things-- that I am proud of, that I even enjoy. I get to help people, sometimes, and educate them; sometimes I can diffuse difficult situations just by listening and being empathetic. But nobody above me cares about that. I don't mean that in a wah-wah-wah, nobody-appreciates-the-good-that-I-do sort of way, just that it's not the part of my job that produces "results", and it's natural for a company to focus (solely) on the results.
Part of this unhappiness is the fact that there is very little similarity between my job and my job description. Every day, most of what I do is not what I "should" be doing as a ____-- and let's be frank, my pay and such are based on that job title. Because this company is so big, I can compare being the ___ here, with being one somewhere else, simply by chatting with old friends. I supervise two other associates-- definitely not part of being a ____. Supervisors and managers definitely get more pay and more status than ____s get, as they should. I am in charge of operational issues-- auditor stuff-- which again is not a part of the job. It's all due to the unusual set-up at this location. At a typical location, there is one person, who in addition to her regular duties, also orders all the supplies. Another, who is in charge of the cash vault, in addition to regular duties. A supervisor, who's main job is to oversee the operations/ audit stuff. At least of couple of salespeople, who do nothing but create new sales and address customer problems. And of course the manager and perhaps an assistant manager, to oversee everyone else. Where I work, there is just me, and two other girls. I do the ordering, the cash vault, the operational stuff. I do all the sales, handle all the customer problems, and oversee the other two associates, in addition to just handling regular transactions. Frankly, I'm exhausted and annoyed. There is never a single day when I feel as though I finished everything, or, lately, that I even care enough to want to. I don't get the support I need from the manager and assistant manager, who would prefer to not deal with our tiny little branch except to claim credit for the sales we make. My manager has tried to convince me that I'm gaining valuable experience by taking on all these extras, but when it comes down to it, my resume will still say: am a _____. It's not as though I can claim to be anything else, regardless of whatever I do all day.
I am tired of the Wednesday morning Sales conference call, the Thursday morning Operations call, the Friday morning staff meeting, and--recently-- the Tuesday morning Associate Appreciation conference call, which is so ludicrous that someone must be reading Dilbert, because the best way to appreciate your staff is to NOT make them come in early yet another day of the week. I am paid by the hour, but not allowed to accumulate extra time beyond the 35 hours I'm allotted; I can't come in late or leave early, so I am reduced to ridiculous contortions to get rid of the extra hours created by having to come in early three or four days a week. That doesn't even include the Saturdays I work; I have to "lose" those hours as well. It is well-nigh impossible to get rid of four hours in addition to all the rest, when leaving early isn't an option. It is not unusual for me to have to come in early for a call, help with opening, then have to "disappear" for several hours to make up the difference, and then be questioned at the end of the day for not getting enough sales.
For the first time in three years, I am considering leaving this company and seeking employment elsewhere. I know that I have useful, valuable skills, and that somewhere out there is a job I can do well and that would make me reasonably happy-- or least, not make me miserable. I have squashed myself into this job and stayed in it, for all the wrong reasons: security, money, health insurance. These are not reasons to remain in a negative situation, I know. But I don't know what I'm going to do.
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Monday, March 24, 2008
I've been spending a lot of money lately, since the last miscarriage. Generally I'm decent at saving my paycheck, since I'm not that materialistic, and too bone-lazy to shop if I don't have to. Now it's just slipping through my fingers and I'm not sure why. Books and magazines, clothes, foodie treats. I know that I can't shop my way back to happiness or oblivion, so why the self-delusion? It feels like my inner preteen is rearing her head, screaming "I DESERVE this!" "And THAT!" "And a COOKIE!" But it doesn't work when it's your own money you're spending, or your own diet that you're sabotaging. It's self-defeating, and I'm trying to rein it back in. Heck, I need all my money right now, for the tide of medical bills that are starting to arrive. It's definitely time to stop indulging myself and get back on track.
Sunday, March 23, 2008
I've decided that doctors' visits are our new couples-hobby. Some couples take salsa dancing, some go hiking, some do bible study; we visit with doctors and compare notes after. I think we'll start hiking next-- all of the fun and bonding, but much less expensive and it burns more calories.
Still no decisions made re: Don's vehicle or lack thereof, which is OK with me. I especially liked our most recent conversation, which included this exchange: "Well in THAT case, it would make more sense for you to get the new car, and me to just take over yours, right?" Yes. Yes! But no. That would be totally unfair. We've also mulled over motorcycles, scooters, and bicycles with varying degrees of seriousness. Thank goodness his feet work just fine.
Friday, March 21, 2008
Me: That's good, right?!
Counselor: Yes and no. It's great that you don't have any of these problems and that we can rule them out. But it means that we still don't know what's going on with you, so you're still in the diagnosis stage. If you'd tested positive, we could start treatment, instead."
There are no simple answers anymore! Two weeks, still, until my appointment with the RE. Two days until my first post-miscarriage period-- those are always especially fun.
Monday, March 17, 2008
I like being a one-car household, even temporarily; it plays so well into my fantasy about living in a walkable place and not being as dependent on The Car, and all the walking is good for Don. Who wouldn't benefit from walking more every day, right? Don is less happy with the situation, as it makes him a little too dependent, but he's torn between fixing the truck and just buying a new vehicle. It's a complicated situation, financially and emotionally, and it's too easy to just put off making a real decision given the circumstances.
And speaking of infertility (for lack of better segue)...
This period of my life feels as though it would run better as a montage. I can picture it: flashes of waiting rooms and doctors' offices interspersed with late-night kitchen table conversations-- what if it's from my time in Iraq, they injected us with so much crap, there were news stories for years afterwards/ no honey, it's much more likely to be my hormones, you'll see-- all set to some meaningful background music as we telescope towards a solution. If only I were the director, rather than just one of the main players in my own little drama. Instead we have to go through it all in agonizingly slow real time, and nobody is selecting a sound track for me. Next week I have an appointment with the R.E. Exact time undetermined as of yet, as my managers nixed the slot assigned to me. The funny bit is that I'm not even sure what the appointment is for-- whether we'll just be talking and devising an "action plan", or whether this is for my (brace yourself) hysterosalpingogram-- a lovely test in which they will inject dye into my uterus and then x-ray it! I'm ever so excited about that one.
Actually, I am excited about it. Anything that could lead to a diagnosis and (more importantly) a cure is exciting to me. Now that I'm reading more about the test, it looks like they couldn't possibly do it next week because it's for a specific time within the cycle and they don't know where I am, cycle-wise. It's contraindicated during pregnancy and apparently requires that a home pregnancy test be taken before the exam, which strikes me as a little funny because it's an infertility test. Sorry, we can't run this infertility test on you-- you're pregnant! So you don't need it anyways, see? Then again, I guess there are plenty of women like me needing the test, too, as well as those that just aren't getting preggers.
I've been having phantom pregnancy feelings lately. Left over from last time? Who knows. It's really not possible given the timing, unless there's a way to get pregnant by talking on the phone; I guess it's just the final dissolution of my mind/body relationship, and I sign that I should give up trying to interpret anything my body does. Sometimes I really do think life is easier for the male half of the species.
Fiction on the left, Alcott-Auel-Austin marching neatly down to Tolstoy-Twain-Walker
Poetry and drama hang out together beneath
Billy Collins rubs shoulders with Shakespeare.
Non-fiction to the right, but more jumbled--
gardens--houses--babies--animals roughly categorized;
(I do not remember ever buying so many.)
They look lovely, but, to me, unnatural,
So they ebb away to form new groups--
A few on my desk, left open to some page for reference,
A stack on the bathroom windowsill, but only paperbacks and
(notably) only one that is bloated from having fallen into the tub
(it was the dog's fault)
A tower on my nightstand table that is threatening collapse
some hopeful immigrants hidden in the cookbook shelf
There is no artificial separation by subject or author here;
who knew that Bridget Jones would get along so well with the midwives.
(She seemed so prissy, it just goes to show.)
These little clubs grow until the shelves look sparse,
and finally in a fit of organization, they all flow back home
alphabetized once more.
Friday, March 14, 2008
I like my obstetrician, and Don does as well, which is more surprising. My general reaction to people is to like them as a default until something changes my mind, while his is rather the opposite; most people are unworthy until proven otherwise, going double for doctors. Unfortunately we won't be working with him now, as he's already referred us to a reproductive endocrinologist (say that three times fast!) to "get us pregnant" (I didn't point out the amazing ease with which Don and I already get pregnant; I figure it's part of his usual spiel and that he meant "keep us pregnant"), at which point we'll be bounced back to his care. At which point I'll probably try to switch back to the midwife I wanted to work with before, if that won't be too rude.
For anyone interested, the potential causes or recurrent miscarriage include:
1. Hormonal problems. An out-of-whack thyroid, too much of this hormone or too little of that one, or just the wrong amounts at the wrong times, can start a chain reaction that disrupts everything.
2. Uterine abnormalities, like it being shaped funny, or split into two parts, or filled with fibroids.
3. Chromosomal defects in either me or Don, or both, that would be creating embryos with fatal problems.
4. Bacterial infection.
5. Fetus-unfriendly antibodies in my bloodstream.
6. Blood-clotting disorders (thrombophilias) that block blood flow to the developing placenta.
(Two of those should be combined into one but I can't remember which.) I'll offer decent odds on any of the above except the last-- I've already had the panel of tests for the thrombophilias and proved normal,-- does anyone want to start a pool? My money will be on options one or two, as I already know that my hormones are a little out of whack, just based on the timing of my cycle, and that my uterus is in a funny position. I'm trying to decide what option sounds best-- isn't that funny, to try to figure out what bodily defect is the most attractive?-- and right now I'm shooting for the hormones, because they're the most detectable and the most fixable. Blood tests to determine, shots or pills to fix. (The doc said something about me getting blood drawn every day for one period cycle to check my progesterone levels, but I am pretending right now that I misheard him. I don't have enough veins to do that.)
Popular wisdom continually stresses the enormous life-changes that are pregnancy and parenting; I am starting to think that infertility is at that level as well. It feels like life will never be the way it was before Don and I found how difficult it is for us to have a family. The difference is that pregnancy (and eventually parenting) start off with a bang; one minute you're happily sipping white wine, the next you're staring at a positive pregnancy test, while infertility creeps up slowly. A few too many months trying to conceive, one miscarriage and then maybe another, and eventually, it's finally clear that something is wrong.
Monday, March 10, 2008
Arrive on time at the airport. Security is severely backed up, especially considering that it's 6:00am on a Saturday. Finally get through security and run sock-footed down to my gate, which is already boarding all passengers. Turns out that because everybody was delayed by the security issue, they kept the plane open for boarding for another half hour, so that at the time we should have been taking off, people were still scurrying onto the plane. Once everybody is seated--finally-- the captain announced that due to a snowstorm in Atlanta, our flight has been grounded for at least 45 more minutes. We sit (in the plane, on the ground) for another hour (this is so fun) until another announcement is made: possible two-hour continued delay and they are de-boarding the plane.
At this point, I'm not too worried. If we're going to be delayed, I'd rather wait in the terminal (where Starbucks lives) than on the plane. I have a connecting flight but I don't think I'll miss it; if all of the incoming flights have been grounded, it's not like my second flight is going to leave on time either. I call Don, let him know I'll be late; call my Dad to keep him informed; have a nice conversation with the woman beside me (she was going to visit her daughter, who's in graduate school in Atlanta). Then Dad called me back to say that according to the Internet, my second flight-- from Atlanta to Virginia-- has been cancelled, and that's when everything started falling apart.
The short version of what-happened-next is that I rescheduled my flights for the next day, Dad came back to the airport to pick me up, and I enjoyed a pleasant, unexpected extra day with my family. The long version includes more cancelled flights, overbooked flights, being shunted from my gate to the ticket counter (where the woman asked me, "why did they send you back out here, why didn't they just book it for you at the gate?", prompting the development of a facial tick around my eye) being squeezed onto flights that were already oversold ("we're really not supposed to do this, you know"), and worrying to pieces about the next day's flights being just as messed up, which would make me MIA at work today. It also includes two days of getting up at 4:30 in the morning, except that Sunday it was really more like 3:30 what with the Daylight Savings Time and all. Usually I'm a big fan of Daylight Savings, but not when I have an early-morning flight that same day.
Now I'm back at work, and instead of being well-rested from my vacation, I'm tuckered out from three consecutive nights with very little sleep. Tonight I'm going to bed at eight and getting eleven hours. Seriously.
Wednesday, March 05, 2008
I've read that many miscarriages happen without the woman ever even being aware that she was pregnant; now I can see how that could happen. If I hadn't been paying attention, tracking my cycle, peeing on tests; if my period could have been two weeks later than expected without my noticing, then I suppose the whole thing could have gone unnoticed. It certainly wasn't physically painful or traumatic. It's only that it breaks the rule of three that it's so painful at all, I guess-- you know, one is an anomaly, two is a coincidence, three is a pattern-- that it raised our hopes and got us thinking, 'maybe, maybe this time, it could happen'...Maybe this means that once we figure out what's wrong, it will be short work to get pregnant again.
In the meantime, I'm enjoying my time away from work, and the time it gives me to think things over (and write about them.)
Also, right as I was writing that post I was experiencing the beginning of a migraine, my first in almost a year. It was probably bringing me down without my noticing. Great way to spend a vacation day, in bed with a killer headache, yes? Better than having one at work, I suppose. But the migraine is gone now, Dad made me eggs for breakfast, I have a lunch date with a dear friend, and I'm down just about five pounds, which is maybe half of what I was hoping to lose eventually. (And that's in spite of the four boxes of Girl Scout cookies that Don brought home from work last week. Girl Scouts, why are you so evil with your delicious, expensive, will-power destroying cookies?) I have some cute new clothes and underwear. Life really doesn't suck, right?
Speaking of the underwear... When I was browsing at Victoria's Secret (because I needed new panties that have never been bled on, seriously) another random customer started talking to me, complaining about how bright the colors and patterns are on this seasons' undies. Personally, that's why I like their stuff: the bright colors and loud patterns. It's kind of nice to know, when you're wearing jeans and a neutral T-shirt, that your panties are screaming green or orange-- but perhaps that's just me. I really wanted to ask why she was shopping at VS at all if she wanted neutral, discreet bottoms; plain white is a lot cheaper and you can pick them up at Target in a 3-pack. The fit? The designer label? A chance to chat with other random underwear shoppers? Who knows.
Tuesday, March 04, 2008
This is seriously boggling my mind right now. Why them and not us? People who aren't even trying, who don't even want to get pregnant, successfully carry their pregnancies to term. People who don't take care of themselves, who are too ignorant or lazy to be educated about nutrition, weight gain, drug use, and all the other factors that can influence their outcomes, do just fine. (What is that expression, that God looks after idiots and children?)
This is the first time that I've had to think: something is wrong with me. There's something about my body, my self, that doesn't work as it should. I've always been able to take for granted that, while not perfect, my body was fully functional: anything I've wanted to do I've been able to. Now, I've been doing what I always do when faced with the unknown: read, research, study. We have an appointment with a specialist next week and I don't want to be unprepared; they won't be able to use any words or put forth any theories that I'm not already familiar with. The possibilities are mind-boggling, though. What is it going to take to bring a next pregnancy to term? In-vitro fertilization? Heparin shots every day? Sewing my cervix shut combined with complete bed rest? And will it be (please oh please) the next one, or will there be more losses first?