Tag Archives: sports writing

This Is the End

As mentioned in my last post, I was going to put up my “bye” post but didn’t know what to write other than “bye.” A few weeks ago, I went online and found these funny GIFs for the post and was going to write a post that same night…just didn’t know what to write.

Then, of course, my Macbook Pro decided to act silly (because that’s what Macbooks do), and I ended up dropping $200 on a new (used) motherboard (they call it a “logic board”), which I installed myself over a week ago. (In the meantime, I wrote my last post on my Dell laptop–yes, I have two laptops, and if you think that’s bad just try and guess how many cell phones I have. But the Macbook Pro is *supposed* to be for programming.) And now that I finally feel sure that I did well enough that this laptop won’t burst into flames, I’m going to be brave and spend more than 15 minutes on it so I can show you what I call my “bye” GIFs (again, I found them online–they’re not really mine).

twerk-lol

Let’s see if we can adequately sum this blog up…

Doesn’t it look like Beyonce is saying “Later, hoe”? That’s right, ya heard–I’m sayin’ LATER to you, you WordPress HOE!

That’s me being an @ss. I mean…not literally me, but…telling someone “later, hoe” is so me nowadays. The jobs and the people I’ve complained about throughout this blog will make you that way–“crunk,” as one of my “work friends” calls it/me.

And for my fellow football fanatics, especially college football…

You throwin’ me out, WordPress? Yep, pretty much. I suck just that bad, kind of like this quarterback did.

Oh my goodness–I remember the first time I saw this. When I first started this blog, I was a sportswriter on the side while working a migraine-inducing tech support job with a whole bunch of psycho clients calling in. And I worked with a psychob!tch I called “Female Tech Geek” (FTG) and several cool geeky guys. One of the cool geeks introduced me to LSUfreek, who makes these funny college football GIFs, and I laughed so hard when I saw this one. The funniest thing I’d seen, next to Dave Chappelle’s “Black White Supremacist” skit. Of course, it helps if you know about South Carolina, Steve Spurrier and Stephen Garcia–makes it funnier.

And, of course, there’s relationships. Though I have no GIF for that, I do have a song that kind of fits–but especially the chorus.

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The Three Years That Changed My Life

I talk a lot of schitt about college. It is a bitter topic for me, and I try pretty hard to convince young people not to go because no one grabbed me and told me I shouldn’t go. It sounds odd because, for decades, adults have been grabbing young people and telling them why they should go to college. It’s just that I found first hand with both college and then graduate school that the things adults tell young people when they grab them aren’t quite true anymore. College dropouts become rich CEOs (or rich rappers with aptly-titled CDs, not to mention slut-wives) while people who see college through end up in debt for at least 10 years while getting a starting salary of maybe $25,000/yr or $30,000/yr…whenever they’re lucky enough to even find a job.

At the same time…I have a hard time reconciling this knowledge/experience with the other experiences I gained from attending college and grad school, not to mention how to reconcile it with the respect I have for education and academic institutions in general. In fact, I can honestly say that grad school had a profound effect on my life. It changed my life, for better and for worse.

I skipped out on work Monday, and my mother and I went several places. One of them was a store that sells all college gear, particularly for sports fans. I’m always up for buying schitt that reps the University of Michigan (I damn-near have Michigan everything), which was my grad school–the school that changed my life. After we returned home, my mother and I were talking about how she, my father and my oldest sister lived in the San Francisco area before I was born. It was interesting that this came up, because I had been thinking a lot about something recently. This led me to tell my mother something no one knows about me.

Everyone who has known me for long enough knows I love Michigan. Love Michigan.

But Stanford is my dream school. It was my dream school when I headed to Michigan. If I could think of a reason to go to Stanford and afford it right now, I would. And as much as I liked Michigan, had I gotten accepted to Stanford for law school as well, that’s where I would have gone. Of course, the three best law schools in the nation rejected me (Harvard, Yale, Stanford); I very nearly had my choice of top law schools aside from those. The only other school that felt “right” aside from Stanford was Michigan. So, despite the better scholarship offers from other schools and the questioning from fellow Southerners, I went to Michigan.

My mother’s response–to my mentioning that I didn’t get into Stanford and that was the only reason my parents didn’t end up taking trips back to the SF area for [at least] three years instead of to Ann Arbor for three years–was something along the lines, of course, of “everything happens for a reason.”

Oh, of course. I know Michigan happened for a reason. I wouldn’t trade my time at Michigan for Stanford. Would I trade it for less debt, to get back the debt it put me in? That’s a tougher question, it really is.

See, among many things, Michigan is, for me:

-Where I realized I could actually be friends with other women

-Where I fell in love with sports

-Where I truly accepted that I am, and started identifying as, a lesbian

-Where I learned that college towns–not suburbs, not the country and definitely not cities–are right for me

-Where I found the only “community” to which I 100% love belonging (um, sorry, blacks and LGBTs and women)

-Where I really began to recognize, love and appreciate the black or African-descent woman, as well as her beauty

And it’s not all positive experiences.

I suffered from depression for at least a semester while I was at Michigan, which led to my seeing a psychotherapist. The psychotherapist was one of my friends, but we still had real sessions. It’s interesting–for much of my life growing up, I wanted to be a psychologist…got my psych degree. Never once did I think that people could walk out of counseling sessions feeling worse than when they entered them, but that’s how I felt after every session with my friend/psychotherapist–every…single…one. Needless to say, that’s not how I recovered from depression…but that’s a story for another time. 😉

I also had a racial experience at Michigan that is the base reason for why I just don’t view white women in a romantic light/as a romantic option anymore and probably never will again. Obviously, you can’t make an entire race/sex carry the burden for something that happened with one person of that background, and that’s not really the case here…but it got the ball rolling, I learned a lot about the deep lack of understanding between black people and white people (of each other, not just white people not understanding blacks), and now I’m where I am. I must say that, although I wouldn’t quite say I’m glad the experience happened, it was good for me in some ways. Out of it grew the way I now see black women, which is a way in which I didn’t quite view them before. And I think it’s important for black women to completely see other black women’s worth, beauty, intelligence, attractiveness, etc. If we can’t see it, who can/will?

And obviously, it goes without saying that being in debt for the rest of my life is not anything positive that Michigan gave me.

But even out of these three negative experiences came a lot of learning, very important learning and experiences. I went through everything and then some at Michigan–really could have a TV series based off it…we’ll call it “Ann Arbor 48109” or “Michigan Law”–whereas my college experience was relatively uneventful.

I mentioned one of the things I gained from Michigan was a love of sports. I even did some sports writing on the side. Well…people who don’t understand sports or diehard fans or why fans and experts get so emotional…they often ask about it. One of the things I try to articulate, perhaps unsuccessfully most of the time, is my belief that love for a particular sport or team usually doesn’t develop from the sport/team. To me, there is usually something else–being from a particular city or state, the people around you, the school you attend. First and foremost, I love my school because of everything I went through there, everything it made me, everything it taught me. And that led me to support my school in whatever, be it sports or anything else. It’s the reason why I will watch garbage like baseball from time to time or softball (which…softball, for some reason, I actually like now)–if it’s Michigan playing, I will watch.

My favorite sports are football and basketball. I grew up playing basketball, and my family is a basketball family. My father has basketball championships. But I hated football growing up. After attending Michigan, a huge football school, football is my favorite sport. I didn’t suddenly become interested in guys running for three yards and passing for 15 yards just because it was interesting. It never was, originally. Truthfully, if it’s the NFL, it’s still not interesting greater than 50% of the time. I just don’t have that NFL equivalent to Michigan, no emotional connection. I hate where I’m from, so why would I root for my state’s NFL team?

Michigan is why I like college football and why that’s my favorite sport. And the love I have for my school is why losses are so painful–particularly certain ones. Any loss to Ohio State or Michigan State (rivals). The loss to Indiana in basketball earlier this year that cost Michigan a conference championship…that still brings tears to my eyes because of the way it happened. Even my father cursed and was angry after Michigan lost that game, and he, being an SEC guy, likes to pretend he is not a Michigan fan (he is). There are other Michigan losses I could reference using just two words, and [college] sports fans would know what I’m talking about–Appalachian State and Time Out. Horrific and horrific. We (Michigan) have the most legendary fails in college sports, for real, so you can’t blame me for feeling pain. But we are also among the most successful programs in college sports, so you can’t blame me for feeling pride, either.

So, would I want to give all of this back for, oh, $100,000? I don’t know who I’d be without all of this.

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My Second Job Offer

I actually got the job where my lazy former co-worker works–it sounds like in large part because he pushed very hard for me to get the position. Pending a background check, of course. Right now, it’s looking like I’m going to have to take it. I still haven’t gotten a start date for the place I’d rather work, and it doesn’t sound as if I’ll get one soon. I called last week to check for an update, and it didn’t sound like that company is in any rush–even though when I first spoke to someone about it months ago, he made it sound as if they were looking for a lot of people and were in a hurry to get people.

I checked with that same guy a few days ago, and he said he was frustrated about the standstill. I’m the one who should be frustrated, as should the other people they have holding on who are probably largely unemployed and really need work. It doesn’t make the company look good, either. I could have been out of my crappy job months ago, doing something I actually like. And now I’m not going to get that opportunity. My father suggested that I just take this less appealing job offer and then quit when the other job gives me a start date. I would lean towards not doing something like that, especially after everything my former co-worker went through to get me this job.

After speaking more with lazy tech, as well as the supervisor at this new job opportunity and some of the people at the staffing agency, and being at the place, I actually feel a lot better about the job than before. I just still would rather not have another job where I deal with people all day, and I also would rather not work 8am to 5pm. I did that at my current job when I first started and always felt like I spent too much of my waking day at work. When I started working 7am to 4pm, it made a big difference. It felt as if I had an extra hour in my day and more free time, which I technically do. I’m not a morning person, so it’s not as if I’m going to wake up early just to get that hour back. Personally, I prefer hours such as 6am to 2pm or 7am to 3pm and either not getting paid for lunch or not taking lunch at all on jobs that pay hourly. Or working overnight.

I’ve gotta tell ya–you drive up to this building, and it’s huge. It’s nice. You go inside, and it’s incredible. You really feel as if you’ve “arrived.” No wonder they pay so much money to do a ranky-dank job. I also was told after I was offered the job that we get big bonuses every six months. A lot of things I was told by lazy tech were confirmed by other people, so I don’t really feel that he was just lying to me to get me to this place. I also found out that they use a payment system that is almost like billable hours in big law firms, so it’s nearly impossible for lazy tech to not do work. The people at the agency told me this and explained the system, and the guy who would be my supervisor told me the same thing. The guy at the agency told me lazy tech has already gotten overtime pay because of this, which means lazy tech is really doing work and making a lot of money.

Lazy tech also admitted to me that he’s frustrated there because, being new, he gets issues he doesn’t know how to handle. This is the same thing I deal with where I currently work, except I have been where I work over half a year and still have that problem due to the way I was trained. Lazy tech is in a particularly bad position because he’s new there and doing the position by himself due to their firing someone. At least I wouldn’t have to deal with that.

Anyway, like I wrote before in the post to which I linked above, I can’t really justify staying where I currently work a job I hate when I can go somewhere else and do something similar and at least get paid much more for it. Those seem to be my only options right now. Lazy tech told me he likes it better there and that the clients are a lot different because they’re in-house clients, and the supervisor said the same thing. It also seems like I’d learn system admin skills, which I’m not particularly interested in but would definitely add to my resume and marketability should I stay in IT or look for another, higher-paying job in IT vs going deeper into sports journalism.

Speaking of sports journalism…I know I had written months ago that I was going to try to stick with my own blog instead of writing for other companies, unless it’s a major company (i.e. ESPN, CBS Sports, Fox Sports, etc). But I checked out this one site that seems to post quality material and suggests that they allow their writers to have a lot of freedom as far as content, how often they contribute, etc. They also make their best writers featured columnists, and their best material gets posted on major sites like the ones I mentioned. They hire the best writers on full time, as well, so I could end up with a good job with them that would allow me to get out of IT altogether (don’t get me wrong–still love technology…just don’t like that so many jobs involve dealing with people and that my favorite thing to do with tech is repair, which is low-paying and doesn’t allow me to make a living with big student loans). They have a sports radio show in which their writers sometimes participate, and I had kind of been interested in messing with that a little to see if I like it since I listen to so much sports radio.

The key for me with this, other than their reciprocating my interest (which I’m waiting to find out), is how much freedom I get as a writer in terms of content. If it’s something that will allow me to do my thing the way I do it, then it would be worth my time. I’m proud of the work I’m doing with my sports blog and will still keep the blog going, but I just don’t have the readership. I have built it up some, but I know with blogs from scratch it takes years. It’s a little frustrating, even knowing that, because I feel I’ve written all this great stuff. I write a lot of the same things major writers publish sometimes before they write it, and they get all the readers and ideas attributed to them.

Oh, forgot to mention–got a start date for this job with lazy tech, as well. This company really seems a lot more together than the one with the repair job, as well as probably the business for which I currently work. So, one way or the other, I’ll soon be starting a new job.

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Competition Between Women At Work and Life

Everything cleared with the background check, so it seems like I’m just waiting to hear about when training begins on the new job. Still haven’t quit the old one, just in case something goes wrong and the new job falls through.

So, my current employer started a new employee this past week. It’s a guy to replace the lazy afternoon tech who quit. It took weeks for them to find someone decent. At this point, he is being trained even worse than I was. I was trained for, like, a day and a half and then immediately thrown right into the fire. This guy basically comes to work and sits and does nothing. No one is really training him. At this rate, I don’t know if he will actually get trained at all. It’s worse to not train him than it would have been to not train me because he is eventually going to work all by himself since he will be working the shift that goes into the night as opposed to my working with people in the day. The new guy was kind of trained part of the first day he came, and then the rest of the days the guy whom my employer makes train everyone has barely interacted with him.

One day last week, the trainer actually didn’t show up–he called in “sick.” I didn’t really think about it, but this was going to affect me. I had no idea how much so. The one thing I should have realized, though, was that this would mean I’d be asked to stay late that day. I ended up staying at work 10 hours that day. Extra money for me, sure, but money vs getting out of a hellhole–I want out of the hellhole. I already lament working a 40-hour week…don’t really want to work more than that.

What I didn’t see coming, though, is that my supervisor would essentially ask me to train the new employee that day.

Um…been working at this place for, like, 6 months…or just a tad longer. Don’t really know the job well myself. My bitch co-worker, the female tech geek (FTG), has been there, like, 8 & 1/2 years. But my supervisor came straight to me with this. I was just kind of thinking to myself, “Um…why would you ask me?!” I had an idea why, though, which was later confirmed. But my supervisor was asking me to train him that day and was complimentary towards my performance, saying this is why she was asking me. She did all of this in front of FTG.

Now a while back, I had started forming a theory about the type of person FTG is. I know in one post I had written that she seemed like one of those kids you had a class with in school who was known for being a nerd and always having the right answer when the teacher called on them, and that’s the only reason you noticed them (I had part of this confirmed not long ago, the part about being a good student…). She’s just very reliable and pretty much always does her job well. But I have also almost always felt like she’s competitive (because of how she never helps anyone, steals work from me, races to answer the phone at times, leaves bitchy and/or tattle tail-ish notes in work tickets and doesn’t communicate with people regarding important work-related information), and I started putting two and two together to get the sense that she uses doing her job well to feel better about herself and to feel better than other people at work…which is why she reacts very badly if she feels there is any insinuation she didn’t do something correctly or if she’s given constructive criticism from our supervisor.

I’m kind of realizing that one of the reasons she’d need to feel better than other people at work is because she’s not really accepted at work, which I’d honestly say is her fault. But…people who lack adequate or typical social skills sometimes don’t seem to realize they’re a big part of the problem, and I really don’t think she does realize that. People like her tend to think people are just mean to them, don’t speak to them or alienate them for no reason, and they use being even more alienating than they already are as a coping/defense mechanism. It’s kind of funny how that works. Anyway.

Didn’t mean to turn this into a psychology session, but I’m bringing all this up because I think that I just had a good chunk of this theory confirmed with my supervisor coming to me and not her to train the new co-worker, offering me praise and not her, etc.

Here’s why:

I didn’t want to be bothered with the new kid because, honestly, I am lacking on the social side of life myself (I just flatout dislike people)–I just hide it better than FTG does. Plus, I have started keeping myself occupied at work by listening to sports talk shows and blogging over at my college football blog during the day. My supervisor told me I could say no, but I didn’t think that’d look good. So I was stuck with the new kid. Being as such forced me to talk and interact with people at work more than I like to–you know, pretend to be friendly and all that. It wasn’t that bad, though–it’s just not something I like to do. I like to be left alone. I could hear FTG at the back of the room talking to herself all day. No clue what she was saying, and I don’t sit near her so I can’t see her reactions or anything. There were four of us in the room, and three of us were actually speaking TO other people all day–each other.

At some point, FTG goes to lunch. Almost immediately afterwards, the field tech comes up to me and is like, “So, what is her problem today? Did you two get into it or something?” He actually does sit right in front of her, so he could probably hear her better. At first, I was like, “I don’t know.” And then I told him what our supervisor did and what she said to me about my work performance, and he was like, “Oh, that’s probably it.” And we talked a little about her, and at some point I was like, “She seems like she’s competitive,” and he nodded vigorously. The new kid also said that when our supervisor called him into her office to let him know he’d be working with me, she basically told him not to seek help from FTG because she’s not going to give it to him.

I was just like…”Why are people warning you about her, but no one warned me when I first got here?” Because this was one of his first days there, and pretty much all of us told him essentially everything he needed to know about FTG. I basically had to learn about her myself. One of the guys who works for my employer but doesn’t work in network support with us said he thinks it was an experiment to see how things would go between us since I was the first female that had worked in network support in a long time. I have definitely noticed she doesn’t seem to have any issues with the guys who have worked with us, and I haven’t seen any sign of her having a problem with one of the guys getting promoted when he was hired years after her.

I have started wondering, though, if it’s really just about being female or if it’s race or both. She seems like a redneck (which means something different when black people say it than when white people do–something along the lines of an ignorant or narrowminded white person, at best, and a racist, at worst…and no, I don’t think of racism as ignorance). I mean, this is someone who is in her 30s, has a kid and still makes fun of the accents people from other countries have. That’s something you do when you’re a kid or a teenager who doesn’t fully know any better. If someone is doing that as an adult, you’re damn right it makes me wonder how they, in turn, feel about black people, too, especially in the South. Regardless, it’s not the kind of thing I want to hear, i.e. her sitting there mimicking an Indian’s accent and laughing when all she has to do is say, “[Whatever his name is] is calling for you.”

Where I’m from, a lot of white people have a problem when they can tell a black person is intelligent, isn’t poor or both. That was something I experienced even before I hit high school and then several times thereafter. And most of my actual conversations with FTG have consisted of her asking me about my educational background. I attended better schools than she did and went to graduate school when she hasn’t. And as I’ve kind of suggested with the “nerd who has all the answers in school” description, she seems like the kind of person who prides herself on being the smartest, knowing everything and doing everything right in order to boost her self-esteem. She doesn’t seem to have a problem with my white male co-worker knowing more than she does. Don’t know if it’s the “white” part or the “male” part that makes it okay, though.

I don’t think I’ve ever really had a competition/jealousy issue with a white female. I have never understood women being competitive with each other or jealous of each other, except maybe in something that’s competitive by nature such as sports. Well, that’s not entirely accurate–once when I was in elementary school. But it has been a really, really long time. I used to feel like being around white women was safe, for that reason. I just used to think white women didn’t see black women as competition or anything to be jealous of–and somewhat vice versa–however racist that might sound, so it would cause less problems in my interactions with them. And I do think this used to be true to some extent. I just think there used to be more of a recognition and acceptance of the fact that black women tend to differ quite a bit from white women and vice versa, which makes it harder to compare the two and see competition in the other and such, whereas now there’s more denial of that in the name of political correctness and colorblindness. When I was growing up where I was growing up, white girls had petty issues with other white girls and black girls had petty issues with other black girls, and that pretty much never happened interracially (at least not between white girls and black girls). So, this situation at work is weird to me, but it’s also funny because she’s so ridiculous, caring about schitt that doesn’t mean schitt instead of focusing on herself.

Either way, it’s really going to kill her when she finds out I managed to get another job, because she was whining that same day about how hard it is to get a job. I know she wants another job, so I know that situation and her reaction will be hysterical. I used to get pissed about how she acts, but now I just laugh. I mean, imagine someone on a basketball court knocking himself out scoring points, hot doggin’, rebounding, shooting layups, going for three pointers and thinking he’s in a serious game with someone who is just standing on the sidelines checking his iPhone or hitting on cheerleaders.

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I Quit One of My Jobs

Last night, I posted and mentioned how tired I was from working all day.

I woke up this morning much the same way. I was so tired that I got out of bed late and almost made it to work late. I wasn’t even worried about making it to work on time. Normally, it takes two or three hours before I really feel mentally awake during the day when I wake up early–that is, two or three hours from when I arrive at work…although sometimes my energy drink does a good job of making me feel alert sooner than that–but today I didn’t start feeling that awake until the afternoon.

I guess sleeping on the issues I wrote about last night with my sports writing job was good enough, because first thing this morning I knew I had to quit that job. I’d spent all weekend and much of Monday working on stuff for that site while juggling my tech job, and I just didn’t have any energy left. I couldn’t spend all day today doing the same thing.

So I quit.

Now I have my tech job and still have my sports blog, which I already started working more on in terms of figuring out how to get more hits. So far, I’m happy with and proud of the written work I’ve done there. I think it’s really good. I just think more people need to see it, haha. And this really is more so what I’d rather put my energy towards than helping some other site make more money off lesser material, even if it would have meant more money for me in the short term. I think doing sports writing on my own terms will ultimately pay off more so for me, and I’m not really talking about the money–I’m talking about opportunities down the road.

Best of all…I get to relax tonight. I can watch my favorite currently-running non-sports show (“Jane By Design”–yes, sadly, it often feels like the best modern TV shows are the ones that really are more so for kids and teens) without worrying about getting work done.

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How Does Anyone Work Two Jobs?

It’s starting to kill me.

I am so tired. I have been working all day, and it’s only going to get worse since football season is basically right around the corner.

Working two jobs was easier for me to handle when I worked overnight. I could do quite a bit of writing overnight, sleep during the weekdays and watch college football on the weekends and weeknights. I can tell that it’s going to be harder to handle working during the day. There’s not always enough downtime working during the day vs working at night, and since I have to support clients at my day job I can be interrupted at any moment and often am. And if a day is busy enough, I am usually not going to get any writing done at work. I never know ahead of time when those busy days will strike.

Probably the thing that makes this most difficult is the sports site I was hired to write for seems to be demanding. And maybe if the job were better, it’d feel worth it. But more and more, I regret taking the job. I really only took it because of the money (one of the few sports sites I could write for at this point and be paid for my work–it’s too much work to not be paid) and because they get a lot of readers, which means more exposure for me. At the same time, they mainly want us to write boring stuff like game previews, team previews, game picks–things I don’t typically write and don’t enjoy writing. I am really more of a columnist type. I like to respond to big stories in college football, big games, and just offer opinions and analysis on what’s happening. And I was told I could write things like that for my sports job, but that just doesn’t seem to be their main focus.

Plus, we’re expected to get the boring material done quickly, and I just don’t have that kind of time. I’m not some 20-year old who is sitting around on summer break from college with nothing to do but read and write about college football. Furthermore, that other writers there get stuff written quickly shows in the quality of their work, and I’m not for that. I’m not interested in throwing weak written material on the site just for the sake of getting reads and, thus, money generated. I want my name on quality material and accurate material. One of the writers for that site puts up a lot of stuff, but the other day the site owner received an email from the athletic department of a university about inaccuracies in the writer’s article. The site also doesn’t look as professional as I think it should, and I have reservations about being attached to something that just generally doesn’t meet the standards I think it should.

Unlike most people, I don’t work two jobs for the money (i.e. to pay living expenses) or to help pay down debt. I’m in debt for sure, but I accept it. I know there are other people who don’t want to do that. They try to live their lives in a way that will help them get out of debt. I’m the type of person who can’t live without material things that I desire or without quality time to just sit, think, be myself and be by myself. Working a lot just does not suit someone like me, and neither does living frugally. I’d rather be in debt the rest of my life than deprive myself. That’s just how I am.

So, for me to work two jobs, it has to not feel like work in some way. Unfortunately, my day job is my day job. It is to pay the bills. I can’t get around having a job I don’t like and would rather not be doing. But that’s partially where working in sports comes in. I love sports and I’d love to make sports my day job. But I have to get enough experience somehow and get my name out there, get my writing out there. Right now, it can’t be my day job. It just doesn’t pay enough right now. And usually, writing does not feel like work. Before I applied for and accepted this job at that sports site, I had started up my own blog–or, really, I had moved my blog from one site to another and, after months of not writing on it, started writing on it again. I like the work I do on that blog because it’s exactly the kind of writing I want to do. I also make very small revenue from it.

I’m starting to think I’d be better off just ditching the sports site I work for and just doing everything I can to make my sports blog popular so that I can do things my way, grow a large following on my own and generate more revenue. I think I can do it. Best of all, it won’t feel like work or like I’m back in school writing uninteresting papers on a deadline.

Money is not the issue in any way, except for replacing my day job. And right now, I don’t feel like I want to leave my day job anyway.

See, today I got a raise at work. A big raise. I was kind of surprised by how much they decided to give me. I didn’t ask for it. They’d told me when they were interviewing me for the job that they’d give me a raise after three months. And I’d been thinking about it lately since it is just past three months on the job, but I wasn’t particularly anxious to say anything about it because, as I said, money is not really a big issue for me. But they stuck to their word and informed me that I was receiving a raise. They basically told me that I will keep receiving raises in my current position. But they also told me I could learn a lot and move into positions there in which they will really pay me a lot of money.

I’d already thought about it and observed people in those other positions. It’s not anything I’d like to do. It would cut into that “me” time I need and want too much. But it’s funny how I’ve been sitting here writing that I hate people, don’t want to work with or deal with people and all that for weeks now, but the second I get more money at work and am told there’s more where that came from if I remain there and keep doing a good job…it makes me want to stick around. Will I still feel this way a month from now? Probably not. We’ll see. But this job will finance my living and leisure expenses just fine while I try to get a sports writing career off the ground.

In the meantime, I will go to bed after a day of researching, writing (mainly boring stuff) and serving clients…then get up tomorrow just to do the exact same thing.

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Good Service Might Lead To Good Jobs

I wanted to write a full post earlier today about some things that have happened at work. Instead, I spent most of the day messing with the crappy DSL at my house. AT&T is sending out a new modem…that we had to pay for. Completely ridiculous, especially since they gave us some cheap piece-of-crap modem to begin with. All of this fooling around with the DSL ruined my plans to write/finish some sports pieces, as well.

I am too tired to write much, so I’ll have to write more later.

But one thing that happened at work:

The Chatty Cathy of my work place told me that the CEO of one of our clients was asking about me. She said he never does that and he must have been really impressed with me. Apparently, after I spoke with him one day last week he sent her a text message asking what all I do for my employer and just asking about my background. She told him I have a college degree but she didn’t know what it was in. I am basically the only person who does my job and didn’t study anything tech-related in school. When she told me this about the CEO, I told her a bit about my background and the tech experience I have. Knowing how she likes to talk, I’m sure she will tell him. She works for that client part-time.

She started the conversation by asking me if I’d spoken with that company last week, and I told her yes. I thought I was about to get some bad news, like they complained. When she explained that he was asking about my background and said he must be impressed, I told her that I assist them on nearly a daily basis. They email us almost every day needing something done, sometimes multiple times a day. I check email constantly at work because I’m bored there a lot. So, when I see a client email, I usually get right on it. This is especially true for this particular client because what they need done is usually very easy to do. Most of the time, I email them back within 10 minutes letting them know I have done what they needed. The CEO is pretty much never involved in those emails–it’s usually two or three other people who work there. I am pretty sure they were not consistently getting their needs met as quickly as I meet them before I started working where I work.

I’m guessing the CEO knows about me through those two or three people I usually assist. I tried to call back last week and let one of them know I completed the task she called about, and he answered the phone. He was just very thankful, saying we do great work.

If you have ever read my blog before, you probably know I hate people. You also probably know I don’t care for my job.

The clients don’t know this, though. I amaze myself with how good I am with most clients. I sound very pleasant on the phone. I’m not pleasant. I act patient with them. I am not a patient person. I reassure them that they’re not stupid and that their acting stupid is okay–“stupid” being related to a lack of tech knowledge, not being a jackass. I act as if I’m happy to help them. I’m not–I just want to be at home. So, there are some clients who love me. Definitely not all of them, though.

I don’t really see what I could do at the company where the CEO was asking about me, so I don’t see anything really coming of that. But maybe one of these other companies where some of the people love me have positions I could do. One of our clients is actually a sports writer and sports talk show host. I’m not necessarily interested in doing radio, even if it’s sports radio. But this client does write for a major network, and it’s one where a lot of the writers get to do the kind of sports writing I’d most prefer to do.

I learned some very interesting things at work recently. More on that in the next couple of days.

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Thinking About Love, Friends and Careers

I’ve been busy this last week, but that’s not why I haven’t had any new posts. I got hired to write for a sports site, so I will have that and my college football blog in addition to my full-time job. I also got a call about one of the IT positions for which I applied. So, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking. For one thing, I’m trying to figure out how I can schedule a job interview for that IT position when I work full time during the day at a place that is not that flexible about time off for people who do my position. I’m also thinking a lot of different things about sports writing, as well as constantly trying to come up with stuff to write about college football (a little challenging, given it’s the summer and not football season).

Of course, I’m also continuing to just take general inventory of my life and my career. Just as when I worked for my last employer, I question whether or not I really want to leave for another job. In many ways, things have gotten better at work. But I also feel that some people at work are really starting to show their true colors, i.e. my last post about my co-worker. Between that and some of the annoying clients I deal with, I feel more and more like I need a job where I hardly have to deal with people. This is something that makes writing appeal to me all the more. I have thought a little bit about just writing full time. If I were going to be a sports writer full time, I’m not sure it’d be stable enough for me at the moment. I could get on with several sites at a time and draw paychecks from several directions, but what if one of those sites goes under or stops doing as well as it’s doing right now? I also don’t necessarily want to stop working in IT, but I don’t want to freelance in IT.

My mother told me today that, with all the people who come out with books nowadays, she can’t believe that I still haven’t written a book yet. It’s hard to devote yourself to finishing a book when you work full time, especially when you work in a field that is not creative. I have started a couple of books since I graduated from graduate school, but I haven’t started the kind of book that makes me feel like I can’t wait to get off work so I can write another chapter. I haven’t had that feeling since one particular book I was writing while I was in college. I just haven’t found the right story or subject yet.

On top of all that, though, I have also been thinking a lot about my last romantic relationship for some reason. My ex-girlfriend, for lack of a better way to describe her, told me months ago that she didn’t think we should try to be friends or communicate with each other for at least a year. Well, this past week I’ve been thinking about whether or not I should ever try to be friends with her. On one hand, the friendship was incredibly valuable. She never seemed to understand why it was so valuable to me. But I am always around people with whom I have very little in common and very little to talk about, and it was refreshing to have someone in my life with whom I had a lot in common and an endless supply of things to discuss. It is just very hard for me to meet people who are like this.

On the other hand…I have a big problem with the fact that I’m in the position I’m in now, which I feel is not of my doing or my choice. It’s hard for me to forgive someone who has basically told me she can’t be friends with me or talk to me, or doesn’t want to right now, and she’ll let me know when it’s okay for her. I don’t really care about the reason. And I’m tired of all these relationships–both friendships and romantic–in which someone else calls most of the shots. There shouldn’t be such a lack of balance where so much is about the other person or on the other person’s terms. I have to think about me, what I need and what I want. For me, I need and want the type of friend I had before, and that person is not there for me when I need her. It’s not good enough, and all week I’ve felt that I can’t forgive that. I guess that I feel she has ruined and/or thrown away our friendship, and I can’t forgive that. Is it fair or accurate to say she has ruined it? I don’t know. Thrown away? I do think that’s, at least, accurate. I’m also just tired of caring about everything more than everyone else does, including our friendship.

Could I get something out of the friendship later? Yes, definitely. But I am not sure we can ever just be friends and have a normal friendship with nothing more there. Frankly, I don’t see how we could. We probably never would have been able to. And if I say that, then I think that’s the same as saying no one ruined our friendship. We just never could have been plain ole friends. I also don’t want to return to the position of relying on the friendship and then have it yanked from me again for the next reason, whatever it is. In short, I don’t want to be where I currently am again with her.

But just as with my jobs and my career, I never can stick with a decision on this. Next week or next month I might have a different perspective on this. But if I’m right that we never could just be friends, with no one deciding she doesn’t want to or can’t handle it or she has romantic feelings, then…boy, I hate the thought of that. Being more than friends is not really an option, so it’s either friendship or nothing. Part of me would rather that these weren’t my only two choices. But since this is what I’m stuck with, this is what has been on my mind–friendship or nothing.

I don’t know why I’m even thinking about it. Knowing her, she’ll probably make a decision for both of us. Maybe that’d be a good thing for a change.

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Finding a Career Mentor

Not too long ago, I’d actually started thinking about seeking out a mentor in IT. I thought it would be good to find someone who has followed the career path that I’m interested in as far as building up a career in IT and get his/her thoughts, tips and direction on how to do it. I haven’t really figured out who to target, but I also haven’t looked into it a lot because I got off track by applying for jobs. I also have another blog now where I blog about college football, partially to make a little money on it but also to establish one place on the web where I have most or all of my sports pieces so that it’s easier for people to follow me and for me to gain more attention in sports journalism. I post new material on that blog every day, so it’s taking quite a bit of my time. Luckily, the down time at work is allowing me to write most of my pieces there, get them posted and then do some light marketing in order to drive traffic over to that blog.

Well, for whatever reason, sports journalism opportunities keep presenting themselves to me before IT ones do right now. First, it was getting sports job interviews. Now, instead of finding an IT mentor per my original idea, I inadvertently ended up with a sports journalism mentor. He writes for one of the major sports news sources, and most of those companies with an interactive online presence allow you to email writers comments, questions, etc. A lot of people email these sports writers to call them idiots for what they’ve written or to argue with them about their viewpoint. I’ve gotten it before, and, thinking back on it, it’s kind of a compliment because I think that’s when you know your writing matters at all. At the same time, I almost never email sports writers because I think it’s generally a waste of time. Most of them read what you write, but they won’t interact with you unless maybe on Twitter. You might get a “thanks for reading,” but nothing that really lets you know this is a real person. I’m writing this as if it’s a negative thing, but I’m also a big hypocrite on this point. For me, most sports fans are too illogical and emotional to be responding to their emails or comments.

Well, I did email this guy, and he is someone whose writing I’ve been reading for two or three years now, which has spanned over his last two jobs. I guess I got bored enough to email him a sports question, and about a sport I only watch when the tournament comes around. He emailed me back, which was surprising to me. Even more surprising, he emailed me again when he put the question on their site to make sure I saw it. So, I figured he might actually respond if I ask him some questions about sports writing. And he did. We spent the last couple of hours while I was at work emailing back and forth. He answered everything I asked him. I never asked him for advice, but he gave it anyway and told me I can email him whenever and he’d be happy to help. I responded with some more information about my background so he could give more advice, and he paid attention to it and just responded to me as if we’re penpals or friends instead of in a more formal way. He interacted with me via email the way I interact with people via email, and I never find people who email the way I do–very attentive, detail oriented, covering everything mentioned, attempting to be as helpful as possible.

Having someone offer to help me without my asking him to is surprising to me because I honestly think most people are full of shit. Whether you ask people for help or not, it is my opinion that you can’t count on most people. I don’t trust people, I don’t think people want to help and I don’t like asking people for help. I’m sure this is a huge part of the reason why, until recently, I haven’t really liked my new job–I felt it was set up for me to need entirely too much help from other people. But most of the people around there seem to value “team work.” The trust/help factors also probably have a little bit to do with why I still don’t have an IT mentor, even though I came up with the idea to get an IT mentor and not a sports journalist mentor. Obviously, I am not anyone who would be good at career networking, and I’ve obviously never found a job that way. But my SJ mentor told me that’s how he got some of his sports jobs, and I know there are a couple of IT jobs I could get because of it–one from being related to the right person, and one from talking to the right person one night while I was still working in hotels.

What I’ll do with all this information, I don’t yet know.

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Rethinking the Job Search

So, quite a bit has happened this week in terms of job and career stuff.

For starters, just to confuse me, the past two days at work have been the best I’ve had since working for my new employer. I have not had to deal with jerks. They did call, but they asked to speak to someone else. Fine with me, if they have decided they no longer want to deal with me. My co-workers and I discussed this last week, because one of the jerks spoke with the other female tech geek after speaking with me…and then from that point on he started asking for one of the guy geeks. This jerk seems to take what the guy geek says and swallows it more easily than, certainly, with me. And I say exactly what the guy geek says. So, when he started asking for GG, I basically said to the others that, apparently, he does not believe anything the women say. And they mentioned it does happen there–one time someone actually asked to speak to a man.

Anyway, instead of jerks, I got grateful clients, compliments and a lot of issues I could resolve by myself. I have been getting along with the female tech geek, and I feel that I like almost everyone at work. I also was sufficiently busy those days. I think I have figured out how to game the system a bit, which helps make my job so much easier. In other words, I am figuring out how to get the issues I’d rather resolve and leaving other stuff to other people.

One of those days, I spent my lunch break doing a phone interview with a site that is interested in having me write for them. The interviewer is a Michigan guy, so we talked a lot about Michigan. Everything sounded great…except the job ad and site were misleading in a few ways, including the pay. I have basically concluded that writing for them wouldn’t be worth the effort, especially since there are other options out there. And if I am going to lose free time, it needs to be totally worth it. Plus, this is not even the sports writing job I was referring to a couple of posts ago. That one, I still haven’t heard back from. So, I’m moving on and considering another opportunity.

At the same time, I had mentioned applying for other tech jobs…and now I am thinking maybe I can hang where I am. If I get a sports writing job that would allow me, financially, to quit, then I would. But now it feels less urgent. I believe that, with as many good days as I’m having, there must be some super bad ones around the corner. I am not at all sure this is just me becoming more comfortable at work, because every time I start to something bad happens. And this used to happen often at my last job, which is a big reason I stayed there as long as I did. If I had not argued with my supervisors, I probably would still be there. But the argument changed everything for me–kind of embarrassed me because it made me act in a way I don’t like to and it also made me the subject of gossip–and I just can’t work where I feel my relationship with my superiors has been tainted.

Speaking of…when I mentioned that I like almost everyone at work…my supervisor is weird. I cannot put my finger on it right now. I can’t say I dislike her. But there’s something about her. She is just very awkward with me, and I can’t really say that about anyone else at work.

Bottom line, I don’t want to get stuck in an intolerable situation by being lulled into a false sense of calm. As it has been recently, I could handle working there. I still wouldn’t be learning as much as I might like at work, but I could be content.

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