Wednesday, November 19, 2014

A bad day


At the end of October I took a contract that, turned out to be a better fit for me than most of the work I have done for a long time.  On paper it was going to be three months at nearly full time.  As I am writing this in the mid afternoon of a weekday is evidence to the contrary.  The good news is it is not me.  There has been a slump in the demand for the service and as an expendable pawn I was first to go, typical.  This would sit better if the preceding weeks had came through on their promise of full time hours, but they have been hit or miss.

So once again being whipped around by the economy, leaves me in a mood.  Usually I write around these moods, I don't want to face them, or they suck the urge to write from me.  They go against how come off in public.  To publicly come across as bitter, angry, lonely or depressed is not how I choose to be seen.  I will be silent at home rather than be a burden at other people.  Yet they are common enough that they are part of my identity.

Today I am all those things.  The day began after another patchy night's sleep.  Worse, the day started with no goal, for me so much of what separates a good day from a bad is waking knowing what I am facing.  Or if waking with a few options a day can be ruined by simply failing to pick one, the rest is wasted waffling between choices.  So I awoke largely thinking fuck.  It was very nearly a productive day, I started cleaning, tossed out some odds and ends that cluttered my closet.  The energy fizzled.

A TV Show was watched while eating what would have to be the worst stew I ever cooked, made over the weekend with no plan or attention to detail. Despite getting some protein rich calories in me I still felt underwater.  That feeling you get when you have holding your breath too long and your body is screaming for you to come up for air, that feeling only in my brain.

It is the same impotent anger, at my life that I have seen time and again during periods of un and under employment.  It is worse now, because, I am running out options and ideas.  Commingled with frustration and capped of with anxiety.

Quite honestly I don't know how to get ahead.  Or right now stay where I am.  I want to work, I can work often I can be good at things.  Yet two steps into the process I clamp shut.  As I try to rewrite my resume or send off a soulless cover letter the rage kicks in.  Anger and anxiety at having to do it again, and again, and again.  Doing anything else is better than that.  I don't want to fail that way, but I don't know how to hold myself together while I do it.

Today saw me recycling those thoughts while lying immobile in bed.  A bed in an apartment I have not be properly able to afford since the EI ran out.  An apartment I feel trapped in, because I know moving can be expensive, and the prospect of giving notice only adds to this disabling cocktail of emotion.  

There is a reason why I call it an impotent anger.  It is anger at a life lacks the desired form, but I don't know how to get it bent back up.  It is the anger I have at dictionaries and spell checkers, to have and idea trapped in my head because I can't remember if the word starts with Th or D, and gods help me in trying to sort out the e's from the i's.

An ironic twist as to why I don't often write about these moods is that, as it turns out the catharsis of writing softens them, it can feel hypocritical to change tone halfway through.  Yet this alone is an important reminder, these moods are never permanent, and they can be managed and prevented.  The management is hard right now, underemployment does not cost any less time than the better alternatives.  And right now it is not wrong for me to unhappy about my life.  The trend of each job paying less than the one before somehow manages to continue.  Despite paying off my student loans, am struggling with the rest of my bills.

Once again I default to the conclusion I reached in the spring or summer, I have to move to get the costs down and manufacture some extra breathing room.  Breathing room where a lost work day does not leave me panicking about rent but simply reduces what I can do for fun.

Here then is what I want, a suite nearish to a skytrain line, in a pet friendly house.  Must have useable kitchen.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Better work


I have the day off, this is unexpected and largely unwelcome. However, it gives me a chance to write what I have been digesting for the last couple weeks.  At the end of October, after a month of scares work and excessive spending I took a contract with a office furniture company.  My agent at the temp office suggested it would be close to full time, the pay was better by just a bit than the last long gig.  This is still wages so low that if they were any much lower I might as well be paying to show up.

As work goes it is strait forward. I show up where they tell me to and I move things about.  The previous two days were spent disassembling a cubical farm.  It still remains unclear what you farm in cubicles. The running hypothesis is we are being corralled by dust mights as a food source, as the office is home to tens of thousand mammal days* of dust and dander.  Other variations include riding along with the delivery drivers to help load and unload the trucks.  All simple enough stuff, simple enough that my brain has a few cycles to spare and could almost work on writing projects.

The worse of this gig has been the variability in the hours, often I start around 7:30 or 8am, but have started as early as 6:30am and as late as 9:00am.  The 6:30 and 9:00am starts are the worst. The early starts at the warehouse nearly an hour away without a car. I enjoy an early start but at this cold dark time of year it is too much.  As for the ungodly late start time of 9:00am, I hate it for the simple reasons, I could have started something else by then, and it is very nearly time for my secondus. The late start leads to horrible situation, working past 4:30pm.
So I have a far from ideal job that, bounces my hours around, approximates full time, if and only if we don't get the work done too fast.  And yet this is the best work I have done in a long time, why. Because, despite continuing the trend of being a human forklift, I am not confined to a single setting and my role changes some with each day.  There are also things to learn, right now I am a grunt lacking tools and know how, but there are clearly far more things to learn than I saw at my last long running gig.  It is despite its physicality less demanding than the janitorial work I did in May, which still stands as the physically hardest work I have done.  The last thing about this work is that it is starting to remind me of the things I liked in my past work.

My career as a geologist was short.  We had a fundamental disagreement on lifestyle.  One element that I did enjoy was the site visits.  It is genuinely fun to change up where you work and have range of expectable unexpected.  What broke me was a mix of core logging drudgery and living in industrial accommodations.  Now doing site work around the city I find my self thinking, yes there might be more technical jobs around town I could do.  Not that I know what that might be or how to land one if I did.

I still can't afford my life as it is.  Paying off my student loans in the summer stopped the phone calls but did nothing to make life easier in any real sense.  The rent is too high for my crap income, I have very little faith in my ability to increase my income.  Moving was loosely planned to try to shave those costs down to something that would let me creep head in the money department.  The balance of having enough, time, energy, motivation, and money to make a move happen is a delicate one.  The problem is simply it takes a fair bit of money to move, to secure a deposit, acquire movers, and to the other things. Fearing I don't have enough I struggle to hold on to what I have creating the situation I dreaded.  That of treading water, just barely getting by, eroding any surplus when a small problem arises.

So I feel stuck, a little scared and angry at myself.  I knew I should have pushed in the summer to get out of here.  On those days where I am left alone in my head these thoughts build up.  As a habitually solitary creature I seldom get the chance to talk things out, I also dread the notion that I may need to ask favours of people, yet those are things that could help me get unstuck.  In place of talking to people I will write about it.

For a little good news, my cat is losing weight. She had gotten a little too spherical for her own health.

*Mammal day, the authors measure of millimetres of dust created by the average domestic mammal in a day.  Ideally used for describing the capacity of a vacuum cleaner.