Thursday, 29 August 2013

Work Thus Far

It's about time I talked about my job. I've been working here for 3 weeks now and I think I can give a fairly good update about things. The environment is pretty nice, everyone is fairly close knit and we joke and laugh at each other all the time. The downside is that everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, know about each other.

I mean, I've barely even know any of the drivers who deliver the concrete and yet I'll walk by the break room and get, "Hey, you're the new guy with the University degree!".

How much do they know about me?!

So I'm feeling a bit of pressure not to make mistakes or look stupid. I mean, I am an academic, I should be able to do my job better than most, right? Right?

Well actually if what I'm told is correct, I've moved along faster than most of the people I've replaced. I've learned the programs needed to do my job, the more important mixes of concrete, how to respond to customers and when to redirect them, etc. etc. all within the span of two weeks.

I've actually been on the phone taking orders for concrete on my own for this week and with more practice, eventually I'll be allowed to work in dispatch without supervision. Which would be great because not only is it more engaging, but it also pays significantly better.

Close enough.

Until then, I'll have to be delegated to dealing with orders of concrete. Whether it's taking, modifying, or cancelling them, someone has to be there to answer that phone. That's another perk to this job is that I can't fall asleep. Everyone wants something different, the phone is going off nearly all the time, and my shift goes by quickly.

And I'm pretty sure my coworkers appreciate the help. I remember one day when we only had one guy on the phones. Pretty sure he was there for a 12 hour shift with virtually no breaks, dealing with angry people who had to wait up to an hour to be talked to.

And while most of our customers are pretty nice and even enjoyable to talk to, we have a few notorious people who are absolutely horrid to deal with. One particular example comes to mind with a guy called Jim. The conversation goes like this:

Jim: Hi, so uh. I'd like to move my Thursday order to be on the Friday.
Me: So you want to get rid of the Thursday order and have it on Friday?
Jim: No, I want to uh, have the Friday order be like uh, Thursday, but have it 7 meters uh, instead.
Me: Ok, I can do that.
Jim: Except make it um, more. More like the Thursday one that uh, we're moving.
Me: Sorry? What do you want me to do?
Jim: If you could um have the Friday order more, but have it like uh, the Thursday.

This continues until my supervisor realizes who I'm talking to, grabs the phone from me, and later tells me that Jim is notorious for being like this,

Jim later called to change the order, again.

So asides from that things are good. I'll hopefully be having paycheques rolling in and we can begin to do serious damage to my debt. While I am supposed to just work 8 hours a day, that delicious overtime beckons, and I've been trying to find excuses to stay a bit later to learn dispatching.

That being said, my projects are taking a massive hit. It's hard to find the motivation to learn or write after a 9 or 10 hour shift while running on barely any sleep. I'll have to find a way to accommodate everything somehow.

Sunday, 25 August 2013

The End of Summer

I think this is the first time in 2 years that I've been this late for a post. In fact, I just realized that I missed my 2 year blogging anniversary several weeks ago. Oops. So before we begin this post, happy 2 years to me. I fully intend to keep on blogging (when the time permits) and hopefully will be able to keep visiting everyone.

Thanks to everyone who's joined on me on this ride so far. It's much appreciated.

I'm secretly a corgi and I've fooled you all.

There have been two reasons why my blog has taken a backseat this last week. First, I'm no longer able to stay up until 3AM (or later) in the morning checking up on everyone or writing posts. No a problem, just do it before midnight like a sane person would.

And I would, except summer is coming to an end, and with that, it means that everyone who is returning to school in the fall is going to get busy or fly across to the country back to their campus. This is pretty much the last time I can see them again before things get too hectic.

It's really disconcerting actually, considering that for the last 18 years or so of my life, I've been going back to classes in the fall. Not that that's a bad thing. I used to pay to suffer from sleep deprivation and stress, now, I'm being paid to deal with idiots. It's a good trade in my eyes.

A drink after a long day of work is acceptable, not so much for classes.

There was a 5 year reunion recently as well and about a third of my graduating class showed up. That's the great thing about only having 100 classmates I guess, you know everyone and luckily, most of us get along.

It's strange, 1 of us has already gotten married, another got engaged. Someone has traveled the world while many of the others are on their way to becoming successful doctors, engineers, and teachers. A few are even working on their PhD's in the fall. I didn't expect anything less from my peers though I feel like I've fallen a bit short. The Psychologist who has taken some time off to work in an unrelated field.

At least I'll have money and not be in debt.

Went out for many dinners and many drinks. It'll be a while before I see some of these guys again. Maybe in a few years I'll head back to school in the fall but it'll most likely have to be at an out of province University, especially considering that the University in my province announced additional budget cuts.

For anyone wondering about my new job, things are going well and I'm almost done my training. They tell me that I'm amongst the fastest (if not the fastest) learner they've had so far, which is a good thing I think. I already have a few stories to share though it's going to be a challenge, spreading out my evening hours between sleeping, blogging, and my projects.

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Full-Time Work

It's about time I finally gave some details about my new job. I'm paid more than double minimum wage, get bonuses and benefits, which is pretty great considering that I managed to get a job at all just coming out of University. It's a fairly cushy desk job where I sit in front of a computer and do stuff.

What kind of stuff you ask? Concrete. I know what you're thinking. How does a Psychologist get a job relating to concrete of all things? I don't know either, but the pay is good enough that I'm not going to think too hard about it.

Also, I sit inside all day too, so I'm pretty pleased about that.

The first week mostly consisted of training. I learned a lot more about concrete than I ever expected to. It's surprisingly a lot more complicated than I would have ever thought. For starters, it has a set lifespan but we have ways of accelerating or slowing down how fast it sets. There are tons of things we can put in it to change the strength or properties of concrete because a foundation for bridge isn't going to have the same stuff in it as someone's driveway.

Oh, and if there's anything I learned, it's that mistakes are expensive. The cheapest mistake will cost at least $2000. And it's not hard to make a mistake. Maybe a driver takes the wrong concrete, drives off, and now everyone behind him is going to get the wrong stuff. Or someone forgets to clean his drum out properly and the next person to get concrete ends up with a pink driveway. Or maybe a Thursday order gets sent out for Wednesday instead.

To put this in perspective, at my old jobs, the most expensive mistake I could make would cost $10.

And let's not start mentioning the mistakes that can cost over 100k.

So what is my job exactly? My job is to take orders for concrete. So a guy will want X amounts of Y type of concrete at Z location, and I'll punch in all the details into a computer and away we go. Easy as that. Maybe a guy wants his Monday concrete moved up to later in the day, or next week. No problem I check to make sure things are alright, and off it goes.

But this is kind of boring, and if I do well, I'll get moved to dispatch. What does this mean? Now I am in control of sending trucks of concrete all over the city. I have to see what trucks are available, who wants what, and when to send it.

Sounds easy. Until drivers start getting lost and I have to give them directions, or if someone decides to cancel their order of concrete, or if trucks break down in the middle of nowehere with a full-load of concrete, or someone calls asking where their concrete is because it's over an hour late.

And then you have the new guy trying to make sense of it all.

But the people are nice, friendly, and they seem to like that I'm doing my best to try and learn as much as possible and ask as many questions as I can. I might leave for a week in a bit to do some training in another city because of how understaffed we are. Not a problem for me as long as I have internet.

Oh, and before I end this post, here's something I learned if you plan to one day build your own house. ALWAYS hire a tester or some form of quality control on site. See, most construction workers/labourers are lazy and don't really care about the project unless it's for the city (because of the constant quality checks).

This results in the labourers weakening the concrete to make it easier to work with, or pouring less concrete to make things faster for themselves. Great, now your basement is going to crack more easily or maybe the walls are going to keep flaking, resulting in a dusty house.

If you're going to spend several hundred thousand dollars on a new home, spend a few extra thousand dollars, get someone to make sure that your house is built up to snuff.

Thursday, 15 August 2013

A change in Posting

It's been a hectic first week of work. And it shows. I'm still trying to change my sleep schedule, trying to learn as much about my new job as possible, and squeeze in time to work on my projects before collapsing into bed.

My parents have also returned from their vacation in Asia. This means my days of sitting around, sleeping in, and not answering to anyone are over. It was nice having the home to myself and my siblings, and contrary to my parent's belief, we didn't starve to death or have the house turn to ruin.

Also, as expected, my Mother doesn't approve of my new job. I shrugged it off.

But due to the increased workload I've been encountering, I have not been able to visit everyone as much as I'd like, let alone post. I'm changing my posting to every 3rd or 4th day to give me a bit more breathing room.

I'll see everyone sometime (hopefully) this weekend.

My sleep deprived brain finds this hilarious and I hope you do too.

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Job Hunt Conclusion

I was provided with this neat little guide from It's a chose your own adventure sort of thing but unfortunately, it seems to be geared towards American Universities. So I'm not sure how much they apply to a student in Canada. Still, it's an interesting thing to consider.

The path I took was pretty much what I've been trying to do. Find a full-time job, work for a little bit, then try and go back to grad school once I had saved up some money, paid of debt, and maybe even have my company pay for some of my schooling. If anyone else wants to take a look, I've attached a link to the guide here, because I can't format it properly to fit in this post.

Couldn't get it to fit, sorry.

I've spent the entire summer hunting for full-time employment. I wanted to pay off some debt, save some money and wait out the giant mess with my province's University funding. If it hasn't settled by the time I paid off my debt, I'd probably have to move to a different province for my Masters or maybe switch degrees.

But that was assuming I could even find a job. Again, I've been looking since May now. Few people answered back, and I received even fewer interviews. It was looking more and more like I'd have to go back to school in the fall and work on getting a second undergraduate degree.

That being said, I did get a few interviews.

Not everything is terrible.

Some of you may remember my stint with that one company, the one with the terrible recruiter. Unfortunately, after several weeks of waiting, I contacted the final interviewer and he said I hadn't been selected. Disappointing, but at least I got closure.

However, he did set me up with an interview for a similar position in a nearby town an hour away from the city. I decided to give it a try, see what it would be like, and off I went. They seemed to like me, and I didn't expect to get the job, I mean, my luck hasn't been that great, why should it improve now?

And then they offered me the job.


The first job offer I've gotten in months. Really unexpected especially considering that there were other candidates. What made it especially more daunting was that I'd have to move out to properly work at the position to cut down on travel time in addition to getting my own vehicle.

But after some quick math, I determined that it wasn't really worth it. After paying for rent, food, internet, gas, taxes, I'd be barely making any money at all. And despite how much I wanted the job, I had to decline.

And so, I began to register for courses. When suddenly I got another job interview. No big deal, except it was for a position I never applied for. With a company that never got back to me on the position I actually appled for. Still, I was willing to give it a try. The interview went like this:

Interviewer: So, psychology degree huh?
Me: Yep.
I: This job is kind of boring, do you like computers? It pays decently.
M: Yep.
I: Can you start on Monday?
M: Yep.

And that's how I got a job.


So I start my orientation on Monday. We'll see how it goes. Looks like I'll need to change part of my profile description as I am no longer a student.

I'll also have to change my sleeping patterns, not looking forward to that either.

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Project Jason: Getting swole

I've been consistently working out now since the beginning of July, 2-3 times a week whenever I can. When a fitness center opened up in the mall where one of my part-time jobs was, I really didn't have an excuse anymore for not going to the gym. After about a month, I haven't really noticed any chances to my physique but hey, this stuff takes time right?

Generally I try to get an hour or so before I start a shift at work but sometimes things don't go in my favor. This results in me trying to get in a quick work-out during my short, half an hour break. It's a good thing I don't really sweat that much. It's also a good thing that I'm working around grease all the time so that's all anyone can smell anyways.

Mmm... French fries..

Somehow, I got roped into getting a personal trainer for a little bit. It was pricey, but my rationalization was that because I haven't worked out in a long time, it might be a good idea to make sure that I'm using all the equipment properly. Don't want to hurt myself. Plus, there are tons of new machines that I haven't used before and I wanted a chance to learn how to use the free weights.

And so my sessions start. Nothing too crazy. I like my trainer, he was pretty good, I liked what we were doing and I went home feeling more sore and tired than I normally would. Which is a good thing, what's the point of heading to the gym or getting a personal trainer otherwise?

And then suddenly I was informed that my old personal trainer had suddenly disappeared.


It was really weird too, because we were scheduled to have a work-out at 1PM. He calls me in the morning, asking if we can move it to 3PM. Sure, no problem. At 2PM, the gym calls me and says that he's no longer working there.

I'm given a new trainer, and while he was nice, I certainly didn't feel as exhausted as I was accustomed to. In his defense, we were doing more free weights and posture related things. And it was to make sure that my form was correct for future exercises.

My last session is on Friday. And unfortunately, I can't really afford to keep hiring a personal trainer. So that's that. Time to start working out again on me own.

Saturday, 3 August 2013

Projects Update

Current debt: $11,000

It's been a while since I've given a project update. I haven't accomplished as much as I would have liked but hey, I'm making some form of progress. In truth, the "opportunity" sucked up way more time than I would have liked so I'm going to blame some of my slowness on it.

This is my last month before going back to either school or work. I've read up on a few things, implemented what I learned, and hopefully they should boost my productivity on everything. But in the meantime, updates. I've also decided to be less vague about some of these and have added basic descriptions.

Nightmare fuel right here.

Project Pitch:

Goal: Improve writing/$$$$

After having so many things rejected I got a bit discouraged and stopped working in this project for a while. Meanwhile, someone else took a look at one of my rejected proposals and offered to co-write something with me.

We'll see how things go. I'm not exactly the most motivated at the moment.

Project Derp:

Goal: $$$$

I'm still hacking away at the second phase of this project. The goal is to pump enough effort into it so that the amount earned is enough to cover the monthly cost. So far, I'm only about halfway there. Profits are slowly increasing but I'm certain that with some more work, I should be able to get this project self-sufficient.

I mean, I barely touched it in July thanks to that MLM stuff. And I still saw a substantial increase in traffic compared to June. The growth is exponential, but I certainly don't mind helping it along.

Project Vegas:

Goal: Travel

The idea was to use the third phase of Project Derp to fuel this project. But seeing as it's taking a really long time, I might have to find a different way of doing this. Or keep it in hiatus.

Project Cold:

Goal: $$$$/Miscellaneous work skills

Door-to-door marketing is still going well. I mean, there's not much to talk about. I'm generally making triple minimum wage when I work but it's depressing when you don't get any commission. Summer is almost done and that means that this part-time job will be coming to an end soon.

Project Pandering:

Goal: Revive old skills

Fang has had a hand in helping me with this project. Well, half of it anyways. This kind of project requires daily practice and it could be a while before I produce anything worth showing. But I am working on it daily. A minimum of an hour a day, and hopefully I'll get somewhere soon.

Project Jason:

Goal: Exercise

I've actually had enough happen with this project that it deserves a post of its own. More details later. In the meantime, the picture below shows various body types for men. Right now, I'm easily at "skinny". Ideally, I'd like to be at "ottermode".

Decommissioned Projects:

Project copy:

Goal: Miscellaneous work skills

I've given up on this project as I don't think the skills that would have been gained from this would have really benefited me in the long run. They're neat to have yes, but unless I really dedicated myself to something in Business, I should focus my time elsewhere.

Project Koi:

Goal: Dating

After my last stint with Beverly and the lack of non-crazy women afterwards, I think I'm done with online dating. I think I should just get used to being single and go from there.

Project Raven:

Goal: $$$$

This project was my "unethical" one. Unfortunately, whether or not I can proceed with it depends on whether I go back to school or if I find a job. We'll have to wait and see I guess.

It be nice if the University or an employer got back to me.

So that sums things up for now. Again, seeing as August might be my last free month in a long time, I've done a few things in hopes of being more productive.

If it works, I'll share my secret next month.