For the first time in my life, I’m on the Naughty List

Throughout my life I have always tried to do the right thing.

I have always tried to arrive on time at school, work and functions.  I’ve never taken a sick day when I wasn’t really sick.  If anything, I would go into work even though I was feeling very ordinary.   I have always met deadlines and continued working until the job was done, regardless of whether I was being paid. My previous employers would all describe me as being very hardworking, loyal and reliable. One of my previous Manager’s would consistently tell me not to work so late, because it wasn’t worth it.  Somewhere along the way this year, I wandered off my straight and narrow track and have found myself on the Naughty List.

Maybe it was when I took time off work because I was bored and went and contracted for another company for a week.  Or maybe it was because I went into work one day and told my Team Leader that I was enrolled in fulltime study and my availability for work was very limited. Or maybe it was because a week later I went back to my Team Leader and advised I was now studying part time and I could work pretty much whenever.

I have seen my colleagues that I started work with back in April excel.  Receiving increased hours, opportunities for training and advancement.  My hours have seriously declined over the last 6 weeks.  There was a time when I was working almost fulltime hours even though I was a casual, but that has all changed now. I am being consistently rostered for 30 hours a fortnight.  The job I have found to be really boring has become even more dull.

The other week I received a call from a temp agency wanting me to do an assignment working 2 days a week for a 4 week period.  I politely declined because I thought that I should be a bit more loyal to my current employer.  I was really annoyed at my self when I went back into work and found yet again, I had only been rostered for 2 days a week.  I should have taken the temp job, clearly I had the availability.

I have asked my Team Leader a couple of times about my hours.  I thought that my changes in availability would affect my roster initially, but I had hoped it would settle down.  I have had consistent attendance and availability for the last 5 weeks and my hours haven’t change.  I approached my Team Leader about the Naughty List but apparently it doesn’t exist. I was told that if my performance was truly an issue I would be taken to a small office down the back ‘for a chat’.

There may not be an official Naughty List, but I feel there is a mark against my name.  I know that I have brought this on myself, but maybe this has all happened because I applied for a job that I was never destined to enjoy.  It was never going to be exciting or busy enough. I have far too much energy to sit around waiting for a customer to call.  Most people would enjoy the quiet time at work, but it drives me nuts.

This is my year of discovery and I have discovered that quiet office jobs are not for me.

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What is the smart thing to do

To recap my adventure so far: I left my career as an Environmental Health Officer (health inspector) because it was no longer enough. I had changed, the industry had changed, but in reality I never really enjoyed what I did for more than 8 hours a day 5 days a week. 2013 is about discovering myself and what I want to be when I grow up, if I ever grow up.

I’m currently passing the time working casually as an inbound customer service agent. People call me and I give them general information. It’s boring. What I have come to realise about myself is that I like to be entertained. I like to be busy, I like action and I like diversity and change. Everything that my current job is not, so I went looking for some action.

I found a temporary position advertised for an Environmental Health Officer. The position was for only a week and I thought maybe that’s what I needed to put some excitement back into my work life. Clearly absence makes the heart grow fonder, because there was a time when I was sure I was never going back.

Once I enquired about the position, things happened quickly and within no time I had advised my current employer not to roster me for a week and I was back inspecting.

The first half day was pretty tough. I could not believe I had gone back to a career I didn’t like, particularly after it had taken so much strength to leave. Had I sold myself out? What would become of my adult gap year? I was a little angry with myself.

Once I relaxed, I soon realised that I was enjoying myself. It was one week out of my life. I hadn’t changed my mind about a new career path. It was just nice to be back in a job where I knew what I was doing and I felt I was using my skills. Time flew. The job I was doing was easy and why wouldn’t it be easy, I had done it for nearly 10 years. Best of all at the end of the week, I could hand the files back and drive off into the sunset.

So back to the customer service job I went. When I was first offered the job, I thought it would be great for my adult gap year because it was casual and it would give me some money and I would have the time to follow my passions. But now I am working fulltime hours in a job that I don’t enjoy, I am being paid not much more than minimum wage and I have very little time to dedicate to my journey.

I find myself being drawn towards contract Environmental Health Officer positions. It’s not something I really want to do, but I’m wondering whether it is the smart thing to do. Being a specialist role, the money would be good and I could work half the amount of time I am now, allowing me to up skill in other areas to transition to a new career.

My week returning to Environmental Health has made me realise that I don’t have a desire to work in the field again permanently. However I could do it on a short term basis if I have too.

Troubled by a dream

The other night I had a dream that I went back to being an Environmental Health Officer. In my dream I was happy. I awoke from my dream a little annoyed with myself. Do I want to be a Health Inspector again?? My immediate thought was NO!! So why am I dreaming about it with so much fondness. What am I missing?

I am at week 4 in my new job. Recently I completed my timesheet. Sitting at my desk, I peered down at my total number of hours worked for the fortnight. It was 42. Uncontrollably a broad smile filled my face which soon turned into laughter. This was crazy; I only worked 42 hours in two weeks. Before I had decided to take my gap year, I would work more than that in one week. I was stressed, grumpy and tired, uninspired and felt unappreciated.

Although my income is significantly less then it once was, I didn’t think it mattered because I am happy. But I am beginning to wonder whether I am missing some of the challenges that come with a higher paid job……

The knockers

Recently I had a tough weekend at the office.  I say the office because I don’t have a job at the moment and some social occasions are feeling a little like work.

On a normal day I like to think that the world sees me as a strong, positive and outgoing person, but recently my spirit was given a little battering.

Over the course of a day and night I felt attacked, berated and interrogated by a series of people who I had called my friends. I was put in the hot seat and pumped for information continually. Tell me about your life, what are you doing? Where are you going? Why don’t you have a job?  Are you looking for a job? How do you feel about not having a job? Are you ok? Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?

I was criticised for my ideas not being creative enough or for not putting myself far enough out of what they thought was my comfort zone.

I had a number of demands from people wanting to read my personal writing catalogue, so they can provide me with feedback and then was berated for my writing being for myself and not wanting to share. Apparently everyone needs feedback……

Nothing was off limits. It was open slather on my life.  For most people who have been searching for something like a job for a while, you would relate to having some bad days. The self doubt, the frustration, the knock backs. It takes effort to not dwell on the past and move on.  Every week I feel proud of myself for not dwelling on the things that I cannot change, I am constantly thinking of new ideas or tactics and keep going. I am on a journey of discovery and I’m not looking for a quick fix, so I know it will take me a little while to get to where I want to be.

Although these were not the first people who had queried my life and my job choices, it was the severity of the attacks that left me feeling a little taken back.

Although I have since picked myself up and moved from the conversations of the weekend, things are still lingering in my mind.  I’m angry that I allowed the criticism and judgements of others to effect me so much and wonder why the opinions of people I know affect me more than others.

I have decided to distance myself from the people who are critical and judgemental of my life.  I think that your friends are a reflection of yourself and their attacks and negativity are not a representation of who I am and I would never do that to anyone.

In light of my weekend and my decisions to move on, I have decided to do something positive. I’m going to do something nice and brighten someone else’s day.  🙂

My first jobless quarter

Its now April, so what have I been doing for the first 3 months of the year??

My job seeking future started with a visit to a Career Coach recommended by a friend. It was not at all what I expected. I was in a hurry, I wanted to be given direction and move on with the rest of my life.

The career coach stuff was hard. I had to reflect on my life, my family, my work values, lifestyle values, what I didn’t like about my former career, my skills and areas of interest. In the process I had to face some demons and some realities about myself.

I am a controlled person and I’m reluctant to let people in, so telling a complete stranger deeply personal information is not what I had in mind. Then there were the activities; the sensual walks, artist days, morning pages, letters to myself, stories about my future and a vision board. This was out of my comfort zone. I just went through life getting things done. I had never been interested in preparing and planning out my life.

We spoke about finding the perfect job, but I don’t believe there is a perfect job out there for me. I anticipate I will have a number of different jobs and that’s ok. My last career was for 10 years. I think that’s a good start.

I like that the Career Coach challenged me to do activities I would never have done on my own, but I left the coach after a few sessions. I realised that I didn’t want to continually plan for a new career week after week after week. I just wanted to live it.

My first thought was just to get a job, any job and the rest would follow. I signed up with a few job agencies for temp work and they seemed to really love me. Unfortunately the couple of jobs they put me forward for fell through. I wasn’t too shattered because they weren’t really exciting jobs anyway, but that being said sometimes you just need a job to pay some bills.

What else have I been doing to get a job or kick start a new career???

  • I have applied for a few contract type roles with no success. Apparently I’m a little over qualified for basic Administration.
  •  I have been working on my entry level course into the Real Estate Industry.
  •  I called some wineries because I thought grape harvesting would be fun.
  •  I approached some local nurseries for part time/casual work because I like to garden and I could learn heaps.
  •  I have looked into Volunteering Abroad.
  •  I have an appointment next week with the bank because I would like to build and sell houses.
  •  I’m researching the possibility of doing a course in professional writing or an apprenticeship in hospitality.

I was talking to my husband last night. I think its time to make a decision and commit to doing something. We currently live in Central Victoria and may have to move to Melbourne which is a pretty big deal, but sometimes you just need to take a risk and hope it pays off.