Monday, December 13, 2010

Things to do in the post-employment era

My job is winding down.  Friday is supposed to be my last day, but rumor is we might be done Thursday.  Then again, last night was my last night of work until Thursday, so maybe last night was my last night of work.  I don't know.  Which is not at all surprising.

A week ago today we had a meeting with the top manager at our facility, and he expressed - not for the first time - surprise at how well everyone affected by this latest round of cuts was handling the situation.  How we were soldiering on, keeping up productivity and quality, doing everything to the same standards we had always maintained.  And I thought, What's the alternative?  Are we supposed to be slouching and moping, weeping in corners, tossing our wooden shoes into the machinery?

The thing is, at the time he was speaking to us I realized that my impending permanent layoff was not my top stressor.  At best, it was in the number three spot.

Number one was this nonsense with my insurance.  I don't want to get into all the details right now, but in summary, right after Thanksgiving I received a notice that my insurance company was cancelling my homeowner's insurance effective December 27.  I had until then to secure new insurance or - well, I'm not even sure what.  I think if I could not secure new insurance by then my mortgage company might yank my mortgage.  So while facing the impending loss of my job I was now also facing the impending loss of my homeowner's insurance and the potential loss of my house.  Unless I could make other arrangements in the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Hey, it's not like I had any other plans for that stretch of days.  Thanks to some tips from relatives I was able to locate a new agent who was able to set me up  with a new insurance policy - same coverage as the old one, with a nominal increase in cost, which I was expecting in the aftermath of the robbery anyway, even when you factor in the security system I had installed since then.

Number two, ironically, was overtime.  Believe it or not, we were scheduling overtime right up until this past stretch of days off.  I don't want to complain about the opportunity to earn extra money, bringing me back up to something closer to what I was making before my February 2007 layoff.  And I was volunteering for overtime every chance I got.  But, dammit, it took a toll.  Personally, physically, and every other way possible.  I honestly believe that the length and severity of this cold (which I still haven't completely shaken) were exacerbated by the stress of working so much overtime.  Add to that the uncertainty of it all:  when you put in for it, you don't know if you'll get it, and when you get it, you don't know if it will be cancelled or not.  And on top of that, even if you don't want overtime, there's still the possibility you will be mandated to work on one of your days off.  Unless you are cancelled.  Which you don't know for sure until ten hours before the start of the shift.

And then there's the loss of my job.

There's a lot I should be doing about that.  There's a lot I could have been doing about that.  But, hey, how much progress do you think will be made in a job search in the week before Christmas?  And for all the things I could have been doing, please see the preceding paragraph regarding overtime.  I've been routinely working sixty and seventy hour weeks, spending a significant amount of my time "off" feeling like a half-drowned sailor who has just washed up on a beach.  Add to that all the other stuff that needs to get done that hasn't been getting done - hell, I need a damned haircut before I can start a job search, and have needed one for weeks - and then factor in the insurance crap I've been going through, and you'll see that my life has become a tangled, knotted mess.  Having my job end will actually free up huge chunks of time to get things done.

Here's a list I made of things that I need to get done, rightly in the order that I want or need to get them done.

- Set up my mom's TVs.  The local cable monopoly has decided to putz with their systems once again, and this time everybody needs to upgrade to digital equipment.  I ordered and received the necessary boxes some time ago, but haven't had time to set them up.  (See above.)  As of December 7, channels started disappearing from my mom's televisions.  So I need to get these things installed.  The thing is, they're apparently pretty complicated to install, and you are supposed to install all of them at once.  Oh, and my mom's TVs aren't exactly set up with easy access to the back in mind.  So it will be a bit of marathon television surgery.

- Christmas cards.  I've started getting some, and I haven't sent any out in the past year or two.  I want to take care of that soon.

- Buy stamps.  For the cards and other stuff.

- Contact CareerLink for Initial Assessment.  I think I need to wait until the actual end of my employment to do this.  Maybe not.  But tomorrow I'm taking my mom shopping, and Wednesday I'm taking her to an appointment, and then it's (allegedly) back to work on Thursday.  So I guess I need to wait until the actual end of my employment to do this.  And then it's Christmas week.  And then the week between Christmas and New Year's.

- Bake cookies.  Once again I can't really afford presents, but I can put my mad baking skilz to work again this year.  Bake bake bake.

- Contact electrician about some necessary work.  Yeah, I won't go into too much detail with this, but it's something I've needed to get done for a few years now.  Had a mysterious encounter with the electrician today, too.  That was odd.

- Set up a tree on the library/storage side of the house.  Hmmmm, I could have done that today, if I weren't sleeping the whole while.  See the "half-drowned sailor" thing above.

- Prune grapevines.  This is something you're supposed to do in the winter when the vine is good and dormant.  I actually had this scheduled for the Monday after Thanksgiving, but I spent that day (as I have so many since) dealing with the insurance crisis.

- Get lamps from Target.  They have the cheapest floor lamps I have found, perfectly suited for my intended purpose.  Oh, I should get timers too.  And random on/off things.  And some inexpensive radios also.  All related to that electrician thing above.

- Weed around grapes and Forsythia.  The last time I did yard work was the day I discovered the robbery.  I have some work that needs doing.

- Mulch grapes, Forsythia, blueberries, and fence line.  I have some leaves that have been bagged for a few years now that should be just about ready.  Ideally I should have mulched a while ago, but see above.

- Review TAA and TRA.  Ah, the technicalities involved when your job goes to Mexico.  At least we have this benefit.  Still i need to brush up on all this.

- Open a claim for unemployment.  My old claim closed in November, so I have to open a new one.

- Forward mail to a friend in Ireland.  Some has accumulated since her visit in August.

- Get a haircut.

- Assemble a bookcase.  Several bookcases, really, but I have one in particular in mind.  This one will go on my "living" side of the house.  The others will fill out my "library/storage" side of the house.  That will let me get the rest of my books out of boxes and onto shelves.  I last assembled a bookcase the weekend that John McCain announced Sarah Palin as his running mate.  Time sure flies.

So.  That's just the next week or so.  Anything else?


Super G said...

Wow - my verification word is "hiating" - I don't want nobody hiating on me.

Good luck in the coming year.

Glad you got some insurance in place.

D.B. Echo said...

"Hiating" is a perfect word here! "Hiating - To be experiencing a hiatus." "I'm not unemployed, I'm just hiating for a while."

Cucipata said...

Look at the bright side, much more time for blogging...not that this is going to pay your bills :) Good luck hiating!

Betz said...

Oh my dear friend! the stress you are under? WTF?
it is all I can think of to say?