Monthly Archives: December 2012

Living With Your Parents As An Adult

So, I’ve gotta tell you the truth…

I really like living with my parents.

Two years ago this wasn’t true. It wasn’t that I didn’t like living with them. It was more so that I didn’t like the location. But I also took living with them for granted, i.e. how easy life is when you live at home. I went to Chicago to live with my sister, and living in a place like Chicago with my sister changed all that. Sure, I’d still like to move back to Michigan. But I’d like to take my parents with me (they don’t want to move somewhere cold and snowy like that, even though they do like Ann Arbor, where I used to live. True enough, older people don’t move to Michigan from the South–other way around).

I’m now wondering why living with mom and dad as an adult is stigmatized, especially if you’re single (if you’re married, I do think a couple needs its own place). I know that people view it, especially with men, as a sign that someone can’t take care of him/herself, lacks ambition, is unsuccessful and things along those lines.

Let me give you another perspective:

I’ve worked at my new job for almost exactly a month now. I’ve been spending money like crazy since I started this job (not all has been on myself–I have bought my mother so many things I can’t even remember, including a $200 watch she wanted). I think it’s a mental thing, just knowing that I make more money now–more than I actually need. I can afford to live on my own and still pay my student loans now. I absolutely do not want to move out. Admittedly, that I can spend money like crazy and still check my bank account and see a nice amount saved in it because I don’t pay rent anywhere, don’t have bills and that kind of thing? Very much keeping me at home. I will not be moving out any time soon, even though I can now take care of myself.

Am I successful? Well, you decide. I am now settled in one of the two fields I most wanted to be in, which is a field in which I have no educational background and no certificates when there are other people coming out of 4-year programs trying to break in and/or getting all these certs, hoping they’ll help. I make good money for my job description and for where I live. And this is the case, having only worked in this field for about a year and a half. I work at one of the best companies in the area, where I have been told several times that I’m doing a good job. And I get all kinds of things as incentive to keep me where I’m working–a $50 gift card for Christmas, a new bag (which is really nice and something I actually needed), bonuses every six months, free lunches on random days by the company and being taken to lunches I don’t have to pay for wherever I want to go every six weeks by the employment agency that placed me. Oh, and I can pretty much take off work whenever I want. I will still complain about work-related issues, but this other stuff? I don’t know anyone else who has it this good, in terms of their career and the big picture.

Ambition? I’ve already told people that I don’t want to have this job forever and likely don’t even want to remain at the same company. I will be surprised if I am still doing the same thing two years from now, and I have a better job now than I had before and certainly couldn’t have imagined having a job with this company a year ago.

So why will I continue living at home with my parents?

Um…I like my parents?

Living with my parents just works well for all three of us. We have a good relationship, and I think that’s one big difference as to why a lot of people my age couldn’t handle living with their parents. The only rules my parents have are things they know they don’t need to articulate to someone like me. Schitt, my sister had way more ridiculous, restricting garbage rules going on at her house…and even more things that should be rules but just aren’t with my parents (like doing housework).

Other people would feel as if living with their parents limits their freedom. Schitt, I don’t do anything here, and I would hardly do anything if I lived by myself. I’m a sports addict. I come home from work and plop right down in front of the TV to watch games. I play a little music, some video games, eat and sleep. That’s just me. Best part, though, is when I watch games, I usually have someone to watch games with. We spend Saturdays September through mid-January watching college football. We watch the NFL playoffs. We watch college basketball March Madness, and we watch Michigan play.

People want to get away from their parents. I follow my parents around, especially my mother. My mother is probably my best friend. We talk about all kinds of things. If I’m bored, I look for my mother. If I don’t see her in the rooms she’s normally hanging out in at home, I look for her. Sometimes my parents tell me to go away because I’m following them too much.

More reasons–and these are probably the biggest reasons why I don’t understand people who aren’t close to their parents or who seem to value friendship more…and, to a certain extent, why I don’t understand people who put their boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse first…

My parents are retirement age, which means…although their mortality was always an eventuality, as it is with all of us, theirs seems far more near. I think about that a lot. My sisters are nowhere near as close to my parents as I am, and I know that’s bad for me in the sense that I can see myself having far more difficulty with the passing of my parents in the end. I’m always with them, so it’s going to be hard to not be with them. But somehow, thinking about the fact that I don’t know how many more years I have with my parents makes me not want to leave home even more.

I studied philosophy in college–it was one of my minors. Just one of the “useless” fields to which I was attracted, along with English (minor) and psychology (major). Well, one of the “useless” things I learned while taking a hybrid philosophy/English class is the more you know the less happy you are. I have confirmed this throughout my life since learning of this idea in college. The downside to being an intelligent person is sometimes I know things I wish I didn’t know. I fear that I have “figured out” that there is no greater, true-er, real-er, enduring love than what a parent has for his/her child–and that includes the love between a husband and wife (or wife and wife or husband and husband). I know it’s not the same thing, but I still think that once my parents are gone no one earth can or will ever love me as much as they do. Besides, a lot of what matters most about love is the same thing. If you have good parents, you can say and do things that make them mad, sad, disappointed, let down–whatever–but there are just lines your parents would never cross, and they would never give up on you. But your spouse totally would. In fact, usually they do (more so with respect to crossing lines with what they say/do in response, but also–though less so–with giving up on you).

“Understanding” that is…not a good feeling/thought, especially when you think about how this can result in your ending up all alone. But it’s also, to me, a reason why your parents should be on a pedestal–not some guy or girl you met out in the world who is physically attractive and meets a laundry list of stuff you like in a person. And certainly not your “friends.” Most of my “friends” don’t actually give two schitts about me (and I’m starting to sound like Lazy Tech now–he’s all “how many fucks do you think I give? Zero!”), I don’t think, and I can’t at all say that about my parents. It’s kind of funny how people will move out of their parents’ house to share a place with someone who doesn’t give a damn about them, at least it is to me. No thanks–I’d rather stay with my parents.

The funny thing, really, is I’m pretty sure I met someone who thinks a lot like I do about parents…and it partially kept us from having a relationship. I’m pretty sure she has that “parents before random hot person from the street” mentality. She probably thinks I hate her sometimes, but if there’s absolutely anything I’ve never faulted her for and have always understood it’s this. I’m not sure in how many situations I should ever have come before her parents, but knowing and liking each other for less than a year? In that case, the answer is never. So, I salute her for being one of the few people in the US who “gets” it…and, of course, she “gets” it because her family is not American, and…however offensive this may sound, I often think non-American families are just about the only ones that adequately value/honor parents and grandparents. People from non-American families are also the only ones who have ever really told me it’s okay to live with mom and dad in your 30s.

So, I suppose I will move out someday, but I haven’t the foggiest clue when that might be. I still miss Michigan, still think about living there again and still want to move back there. But wanting to move back there? The desire is not quite what it used to be.

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Does Money Motivate You?

Lazy Tech (LT) still talks to people who work at our previous employer, so he is always mentioning things he hears from them or Facebook statuses that are related to how crazy things are there. Well, today he told me that everyone there got cash bonuses–which that employer never used to give out–and that the guy who now fills his old shift got a raise, as well.

I can’t remember if I mentioned this here, but I told LT about how they gave me a raise after three months and he got pissed. I told him this right when our current employer was trying to interview me for the job I have now. LT worked at our old employer for two years, never got a raise, and at best made what I started out making and at worst made less the whole time he worked there. I have a feeling, though, that they started me out higher than they normally do with new people because LT told me what his replacement used to make and what his raise was. So LT probably made less than I did, and so did his replacement. LT never deserved a raise because he was, after all, lazy. And he was not a good worker at our old employer at all. But I was told that I’d receive raises as long as I worked there.

We figure that our old employer is doing these things as a way to stop the bleeding, because they seem to have a lot of turnover. Two people left while I worked there, and I worked there for about 7 months. And then I left.

LT seems to be someone who is motivated by money, and his decision to leave our old employer seemed to be motivated in large part by feeling he should be making more money. He had issues with the job otherwise, but he probably would have dealt with them if he made more money there. As far as I can tell, he didn’t make anywhere near enough money to deal with the crap that we dealt with there. But we make a lot more at this new place, and he seems pretty happy. He talks about money almost daily, and he says things that suggest the money should trump any crap at this new place. For example, there was a day last week, and I don’t know if we were just talking about our old job or if something happened at this new place. LT asks me at least once or twice a week if I miss our old employer, and that always prompts me to say something I am not fond of about our new employer. So that might have been what happened on this particular day. And then our paychecks came, and he picked them up. He handed me mine and said, “This ought to make things better” or something along those lines.

It had zero effect on me.

I’m not going to say I don’t care about money. One of the things I came to dislike about living in Chicago when I was there last year was I didn’t have the money to buy things when I felt the urge to buy them. I have always been able to just buy things when the impulse strikes, and I’m not happy when I can’t do that. This, ironically, means I feel that I have more freedom when I live with my parents. For example, because I pocket the money I make except for what I pay in student loans, if I want to spend $1000 to go to another city and watch a football game, stay in a hotel, buy some stuff…the only thing that will get in the way is my work schedule. It’s not going to be money.

Still, money does not make me want to work, it doesn’t make me like my job and it doesn’t make things I dislike about my job better (as mentioned in my last post, I think it might make me tolerate–at least temporarily–some things I dislike a little better, but I’m not sure). Money is also not going to make me run out and get a second job just because I can make more money by working two jobs, and it’s not going to make me be okay with or want to work overtime or crazy hours. There are people in this world who are like this, though, and I don’t understand them. I’m not saying they’re wrong–I wish I were like them. I would probably like my life better if I were, because most people do have to spend the majority of their time at work and it appears that I’m one of them.

At the same time, people who are motivated by money seem to think everyone else is, as well. LT clearly operates with that assumption. And when I did a little research to try to get a better understanding of why some people are so into money, I saw comments from those people who basically call B.S. when people say they’re not motivated by money or money doesn’t bring happiness. So they don’t understand people who aren’t motivated by money.

So, I’m still trying to figure this out.

I told my parents that I’m not motivated by money, and they kind of…reacted negatively, for lack of a better way to describe it. But I don’t think they were motivated by money when they worked. I think my mother was motivated by having kids to take care of, which is at least slightly different than being motivated by money. In that case, money is a means to an end–it’s not the actual motivation. By the way, she’s a huge hypocrite in tons of ways, but the job thing is the most annoying one right now. She gets pissed and/or lectures me if I talk about not liking my job, but she talked about not liking her job for at least 20 years and seemingly took off work every other day. I promise, she was always at home in my teenage years and my 20s.

I think my father is one of those people who needs to be busy all the time, and he uses work for that. My mother also says he likes his job, which I can’t fathom just in general but also can’t fathom for him since he “teaches.” And I say “teaches” because…well, I “joke” with him, and the joke is that he gets paid to talk for two hours a day to a bunch of people who aren’t listening.

But there might be something else with my father. I don’t know about LT’s background growing up. But I listen to a lot of sports radio, and there’s this one guy who is my favorite. He is another one whom you can tell is really into money. I read something about him online a couple of months ago, though, that discussed how he grew up poor and, essentially, vowed that he would work as hard as he had to or do whatever to keep from being poor as an adult. The article discussed how he had a lot of irons in the fire at a young age and, basically, was just really ambitious and worked his way up. Now he’s an elitist snob. My father also grew up poor and did stuff like play football, basketball and still work a job while he was in high school. That led to a basketball scholarship to college, and he was the first person in his family to graduate from college.

I didn’t grow up poor. I also didn’t grow up being taught that working hard was some sort of value and that something is wrong with people who don’t work hard, or that people don’t have anything or don’t get anywhere in life because they don’t work hard. To me, working hard has very little to do with being successful or gaining wealth. Frankly, I think you’re best off if you know the right people, have the right personality (i.e. the right people like you and end up wanting to help you), have the right body parts (if you know what I mean), have the right look (on several levels)…at least have one of these things going for you. But I think talking about “hard work” is almost like code. In other words, what are people really teaching their kids when they teach them the value of hard work? Are they really teaching them to work hard for hard-work’s sake or to build character? I think teaching “hard work” or valuing hard work is another way of valuing having or getting money. Nobody is going to work hard for a lengthy period of time if money is not at the end of the rainbow.

I was not taught this, was not taught about valuing “hard work.” I just grew up with a lot of security and still have a lot of it. I don’t fear being poor because I can’t imagine that I’ll ever be poor. I’ve never really had motivation to make sure I’m not poor. The closest I’ve been is living in Chicago, not being able to buy what I want when I want it, and that was very short-lived. Even then, it was like, “Hey, I can go home to my parents who have money, get a job there, pay student loans and pocket the rest of the cash.” And that’s what I did and do. So, why would money motivate someone like me?

I’m also female, and I think that matters. Everyone I know of for whom money cures all–in the job sense, not necessarily the gold-digger sense–is male. They’re the ones who will work outrageous amounts of hours and not complain, will work two jobs to make more money despite not necessarily needing the money (if you’re working two jobs to support a family, that’s something totally different), who look at a paycheck in their hands and say, “Oh, this makes all the crap all better.” I think this is for a number of reasons. For one thing, guys have that “breadwinner” mentality, even when they’re single. They think they need to make a lot of money to attract women, but I believe guys also think they’re expected to make as much money as they can. Women don’t really have these issues. We tend to have more security in the world one way or the other, although a lot of women are now head of household and have to bring in the money. My oldest sister works all the time and only makes more money than I do because she works overtime all the time–I actually make a higher salary, and you wouldn’t catch me dead in the office past my regular shift. She works OT because she has three kids, bills, rent, car notes and a husband who refuses to work.

So, my last employer assumed that they could keep me by paying me more and giving me raises, and they still seem to operate with the mindset that giving employees more money should keep them. Obviously, that’s not true for everyone. So how could they have kept me? They couldn’t have.

In my opinion, the answer for employers who want to retain employees is to find out what motivates them before even hiring them. That should be a job interview question–“What motivates you? If it’s money, that’s perfectly fine for you to say. I just want to get a better sense of what keeps you happy in a position.” My previous employer could have not even wasted their time hiring me if they had asked this question if they received an honest answer from me, and they could have kept LT and probably even gotten better productivity from him. See, all LT wanted was money. What I hated about that job was “trial by fire” training as opposed to a step-by-step “this is how you do absolutely everything”-type deal and dealing with jackass clients.

My situation would be tricky for an employer because it’d require honesty and self-knowledge, and a lot of people will take a position just because they need a job even if not everything about the position sounds good to them. But employers still need to paint as complete a picture of the job as they can to prospective employees and then try to find out if the employee fits that, as well as what matters most to the employee in terms of job satisfaction instead of assuming it’s money or just having any job in a rough economy. Not getting a complete picture of the job is a biggie, as well as the fact that employers never consider motivation when hiring–both lead to unhappy employees and turnover. If the prospective’s motivation is something the employer can’t handle, then the employer knows not to hire that person. If I had said, “I don’t want to deal with difficult people”–and I did basically say that to my new employer during the interview and currently hardly deal with difficult people–then I could have been mercifully spared. I probably now under most circumstances would not take a job that, training-wise, doesn’t provide enough hand holding vs putting me in stressful situations right off the bat and making me look stupid, and that would be something that an employer would need to see if they could satisfy me on before hiring me.

My former co-worker who I hated, FTG…you can tell, for example, that money isn’t her motivation so much as having a secure job with flexibility. She knows she’s not going to lose her job, and she can take off work pretty much any time she wants. She leaves early whenever she needs to, and she has no problem making whatever arrangements she makes for her kid. Making a lot of money is not much good to her if she can’t get off work early enough to pick up her child or take off with no problem when her kid is sick.

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Talkin’ (Writin’) Bad About the Co-Workers

Well, I’ve been working at my new job for about three weeks now, which means it’s officially time to talk schitt about it.

First, a whole new co-worker breakdown:

Lazy Tech (LT, formerly known as the Lazy Afternoon Tech)

Really, I could also call him “Let You” Tech. I will say that he actually does do work on this job, unlike the job we had together before. But when he doesn’t want to handle an issue, he always tells me “I’m going to let you do that.” Yes, “let,” as if it’s a privilege to me. And sometimes he even explains it as a privilege to me while other, less frequent times he’ll admit he just doesn’t want to deal with something. But more often, he tells me it’s “because I need to learn how to do it.” Even as a teenager, I picked up on “let” phraseology. I used to make fun of my mother and my oldest sister for using “let” in ways that benefited them more than it benefited me.

Wannabe Cool Tech (WCT)

This is the the dude who is “training” me at work. He’s a nerdy white guy–looks the part and is short enough for one of my company’s employees to refer to him as “short” before any other identifying trait)–but I don’t think he wants to accept that. The guys at my last job were tech geeks, they more or less fit that profile in terms of behavior and interests, and they were cool with it. He knows his stuff tech-wise. But the dude struts around, talking about how he’s going to this basketball game or that football game because he somehow got the best seats through someone at our company for all the major sports teams in our home state.

Er, first of all–no one here likes baseball. Heck, no one anywhere really likes baseball anymore. It sucks, and there are way too many games. Second, no one on this side of our state likes our NFL football team–no one. Except him, apparently. Guess he hasn’t gotten the memo that everyone else here thinks it’s cool to be a Dallas Cowboys or Pittsburgh Steelers fan. So, talking about going to those baseball and NFL games does not make him cool. Now, there are people who act as if they like our NBA team, but I have a hard time believing it. I mean, doesn’t everyone just like the Lakers and the Heat, maybe the Celtics? I wonder what my city even is doing with an NBA team. So, again, how does telling everyone every time it’s game night that he’s heading to the NBA game after work make him cool?

The kid also runs around saying stuff that black guys invented but have neither used nor thought was cool in the last 10-20 years. And the dude is obviously born and raised here, a Southern area. So imagine this short, nerdy white guy taking stuff black guys made cool in, like, the late 80s, trying to use his little “hip” voice…but he has a Southern accent. Huh? For example, the kid calls every guy at work “my man,” like “What’s going on, my man?” But he says it in his little “cool” accent that is all messed up because he’s a nerdy, Southern white guy.

Now, you can get offended if you want to. I’m just sayin’…for one thing, he doesn’t sound natural trying to mimic black guys, as most white guys don’t (and isn’t it always white guys? I hardly ever hear white females using 80s and 90s black lingo in an effort to be cool). For another thing, I don’t know a black guy who addresses guy acquaintances as “my man” anymore. The closest you’d get to that is “my mans an dem,” as in “That’s my mans an dem.” And even that became popular around the late 90s. So, it’ll probably be another 10 or so years before WCT and other wannabe cool white guys move on to that one. White guys who try way too hard always use outdated “cool” terminology that was, by the way, never that cool anyway–at least if you value standard English.

Final way this dude gets on my nerves? He sits in his cubicle all day playing with his cell phone. Yeah, the dude who is supposed to be training me. He expects me to just come ask him stuff all day instead of actually being with me, doing some training. And when he does help me with tech phone calls, he always has to tell the person that he’s training me, which I can’t stand (think about it–if you go to someone for help and find out he/she is in training, how much confidence do you have 1) in the person to actually be able to help you and 2) to do it in a way that won’t take all damn day? My mother and I have both been in situations where the person behind the counter was in training, and we just kind of rolled our eyes at each other.) The kid does next to no work himself. His iPhone is always in his hands. I don’t understand it, especially with one so damn nerdy. Who the hell could he possibly be texting all day? What else can he find to do on his phone all day long?

I don’t get people who are like that, but I really scratch my head over how he can text all day. Could it be that other people don’t see how poser-ish this kid is and actually think he’s cool or likable? Yeah, probably. After all, it seems like his type is taking over the white male community. It’s a shame, not to mention goddamn annoying–white guys really used to be a lot better than this.

He just seems self-important. I think all the talk about going to see pro games is flossing, as are telling everyone that he’s the one who provides training and being all into his iPhone as if people need/want to communicate with him 24/7.

Stanky Breath Tech

He’s probably my favorite, particularly when he keeps a good distance from me. If I go to him with a question at work, he almost always just takes over the issue for me instead of forcing me to do it like the above two do. It’s not the best way to learn my job, even though usually he will explain it to me at some point. This is probably what I’d do if I were training or helping a tech with something, as well, because it just is more efficient for resolving issues. It doesn’t totally make sense to have me on the phone with someone at our company for 30 minutes, putting them on/off hold a bunch of times so I can find out how to resolve their issue, for something that could be resolved in 10 minutes.

I think he probably gets that the way I’m being “trained” is tough to take because he used to ask me every day when I first got there if I was going to show up for work the next day. I kind of told him to stop asking me that, haha, and he has. But he is the friendliest person I work with, and he’s as helpful as he can possibly be. Lazy Tech is cool, but I wouldn’t say LT is intrinsically friendly. He is more naturally an ass, but he knows that, admits it, accepts it. That’s what I like–know who and what you are and accept it. Why can’t WCT be more like that?

The only thing about this dude is his breath, really. Sometimes the guy is several feet away from me, and it’s like, “Whoa…is that really his breath?” It’s not like that every day, I don’t think, but it has been like that on more than one occasion.

The Supervisor

I like him. So far, he’s cool and supportive. I’ve heard stories about some of the people he fired before I got this position. One of the guys was fired after three days because he didn’t seem to be “getting” what he was being taught. So, apparently, I’m not doing that bad. He checks in with me to see how everything is going and seems pretty genuine.

So, that’s basically who I work with. All in all, I prefer my previous co-workers, with the obvious exception of the female tech I worked with at my last job. There are certainly other techs where I work, but they don’t really sit in our area. There is a female tech, but I don’t really work with her. She seems okay, but I must say that I’m glad I don’t work with any women on this job. I’m not sure I know how to explain why. I guess I am not surprised by what the guys are like. I’ve known LT most of the year, so I knew what to expect from him. And, as I mentioned above, white guys–generally white guys 35 and younger, but I know of some older ones, as well–just seem to be trending towards being a lot like WCT, so I am, unfortunately, pretty used to guys like him. I just feel like I know what to expect from guys and feel as if they won’t view me as competition. And LT really should view me as competition, in a way, because we have to bill our time and try to bill 8 hours of tech assistance a piece during the day, which is usually not easy to do. But neither of us is worried about it, in part because we’re both lazy but also in part because he feels confident that he’s still going to get paid for a full 40 hours a week.

The Customers

I guess they’re technically my co-workers, since most of them work for the same company I do. They are a lot better than the people I helped with technical issues on my last job. I don’t really hate dealing with them the way I hated dealing with people at my last job. Mainly, I just don’t like how I’m being trained, especially since this job is more difficult than my last one was.

Happiness?

I have noticed that, though I am frustrated at times every day at work, still dread going to work and hate to go to work in the mornings, it’s not like it was before. My job is similar in a lot of ways to my previous job, but I’m more accepting of some things than I was before. I am not sure if this is because I make more money now, because it’s still too early or because I just know this is how it is with these types of jobs now. Or a combination. I do think that if I could reach a point where I’m mainly comfortable with what I’m doing, I’d still hate the thought of going to work–because I’m lazy and would rather sit around focusing on sports–but I’d be a lot more content otherwise as far as working goes. I also have realized working 8:30am to 5:30pm is pretty good…and that I used to be tired for hours in the morning at work and then again just a couple of hours after getting home from work because I was having to get up unnaturally early for me (I am a night owl by nature, and it wouldn’t take me long at all to fall back into a pattern of staying up all night). So, I’m a lot happier with my shift than I thought I’d be.

I have been wondering lately, though, if making more money does make people happier with their jobs. I took this job, knowing it would be like the one I was leaving, because I figured that I could at least make more money while hating what I do. But so far I don’t feel anywhere near the same level of hatred. And another factor could be that I no longer have a co-worker who is as bad as FTG was. Anyway, the money = happiness part is interesting to me, and I will monitor my feelings in relation to that and write more about it in the near future.

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