Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Crash Test Dummy

Hello! I apologize for not posting on Monday. I loaned out my laptop and was working on a cross stitch project I really wanted to finish.

So Monday was the interview with the first job agency. Since this was in an area I wasn't familiar with, I invited Smoke along for a ride. He decided we should bring Scooter too.

But first I had to get ready. Since it was a job agency I decided to wear a suit jacket and pants (instead of the skirt--it's too cold for a skirt!). I also decided to pull out my hooker boots. Ok, they aren't really hooker boots, but they do have the zipper on the side like Julia's in Pretty Women. They just aren't as tall. They do have heels. They are a couple years old, but make me feel confident.  

After we leave, I quickly find out that having a dog with light colored fur, who seems to shed a lot more than a short haired dog should, is a problem when you are wearing a black suit jacket. I'm constantly brushing off my sleeve because for some reason he enjoys leaning against me. I'm pretty sure it's on purpose.

The drive down there is a long, about an hour, but it's a straight shot. Compared to my last commute which was going towards the city (the city being DC) and along many different highways and back ways, this drive seems so easy! Why hadn't I thought of this area before?

We find the agency with about 10 minutes to spare. I'd put my bag of emergency supplies in the back, so that's where my lint roller is. I open up the trunk and Scooter pops out and tries to jump on me. "Mommy, please don't leave me! Take me to your interview!"

I'm pushing him off because he's just defeating the purpose of the lint roller while at the same time Smoke is pulling him back in. There are windows facing the parking lot and in the back of my mind I can just see all of these people looking out saying, "This women can't even go anywhere without her dog! Does she think she's Paris Hilton?"

I stuff Scooter back in the car and do the best I can with the lint roller. Then I take a deep breath and go into the agency.

I give the lady at the desk my name and she has me sit down in the reception area. There are windows facing the parking lot and I can see Scooter in the back of the car staring down the building I'm in. For a minute I wonder if he can somehow see me from that distance. He's a spooky dog!

The lady has me go back to a computer and fill out a survey. This survey has questions like, "When was the last time you did Meth?" Uh... Did these people watch Breaking Bad too much? I type, "I'm doing it right now." Ha! Not really. There are also questions about cocaine, pot, prescription drugs and alcohol. They keep asking you if you would steal from the company. The way they phrase the questions seem kind of tricky at times so you really have to read them. Since I'm pretty clean (unless you count coffee and life), I finish the survey in no time.

She tells me to sit back in the waiting area and I ask her where the restroom is (see list about turning 40). As she's leading me there, I'm like, "I'm sorry. I've been driving a while." A voice in my head is like, "Are you apologizing for needing the restroom? And stop offering up more information than people need!" (Also on list of signs your turning 40).

Finally, I'm led back to my agent. Is that what you call them? The lady who is supposed to help me get a job. We start talking and I keep mentioning how old I am, how things were different back when I found a job before. Again, the voice is like, "Don't tell people you are old! Jeez. Nobody cares, geezer! So what if you walked to your job up-hills both ways!"

She's super nice (which I'm pretty sure is part of the job, but helps put me at ease) and writes down the kind of jobs I want and how much I want to make.

After we are done she tells me I need to fill out more forms and then I should do some testing. I hate to make Smoke and Scooter wait longer for me, but I want to do the testing and I don't want to put it off. I want work!

I fill out all the paperwork, which is mostly benefit information and then the front desk lady sets up the testing. Well, actually, the first computer she sets me up at doesn't work and I have to go back up and get her and I feel like I'm starting to annoy her at this point. I'm pretty sure she wrote in my file, "Annoying. Takes creepy dog with her everywhere. Talks about her bathroom habits." 

The problem with testing on programs like Word, Excel and Outlook, is that even if you worked on it every day for at least 13 years (which I did), it doesn't mean used every single feature of it. Some you just didn't need. Plus they've upgraded so much, things you used to know how to do have changed. They do give you a lot of chances to go back if you did it wrong, but if you can't do it after so many tries, you just don't know. I don't think I did bad on those, but I'm sure I could've done better.

My words per minute is 68. It's 70 before mistakes. I don't know if it's that good or not. Since all I've been typing for the last six months are job applications, cover letters and blog entries, it seems pretty good to me.

Another problem with the testing is that it's getting later in the day and the employment office is getting louder. They are sending out tax forms to their employees and with stamp prices going up it's going to cost them over a thousand dollars to send them out. I hear about this and many other discussions while I'm trying to concentrate. I feel like they should move the computers a little further away from the front desk, especially when someone is taking a test.

Finally everything is done and I take my folder and free pen and say goodbye to front desk lady (hoping my cheerful disposition will make her forget my annoying habits) and go out to Smoke and Scooter still waiting in the parking lot.

Now I just wait for a job. Judging by how busy the office is it's not going to be as fast as I hoped. They have a lot of employees. I told her I would even take short term assignments if they came up, but so far my phone is quiet. (I's only been two days. But still!)

Yesterday I was supposed to go back to that second employment agency, but I never got a confirmation email. I called the number that called me and left a message on the voicemail. Still no response. Then around two (an hour after I was supposed to be there), I get an email apologizing for not sending me a confirmation and asking when I wanted to reschedule.

I'm not sure about this agency. It doesn't seem like it's going to be very helpful if they can't even get back to you in a timely manner. I will probably go because I have to look into every opportunity, but I'm even less hopeful. It's closer to the city too, which I was trying to avoid.

After all this I'm not quite as optimistic as I was at the beginning of the week, but I haven't given up hope. At least I have other people helping me find work now! Every step is a good step. Take it a day at a time. That's how I look at life. Today I'm breathing. I have coffee. I have my spooky dog and evil cats and I just watched a reunion of the guys from Full House on GMA. Life is good!

Thanks for reading this long post and coming along for the ride! And thankful for the good luck wishes here and on Facebook. Having a place to talk about it helps me get through it!

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