Archive for the 'Shhh…work…shhh' Category

Published by PaintingChef on 10 Jun 2014

Because you just never know what will end up being a good fit.

All my life I have been a creative person. And while I never really settled on one particular thing as my best outlet of expression, I don’t think that anyone who knew me for more than 5 minutes would ever imagine that I would be in a field that didn’t involve some degree of creativity.

So imagine the surprise of… well… all the people when I agreed to come work for my father as his office manager. Accounting. Human Resources. In a nutshell, a very dry and seemingly analytical job. And it is. On the surface, my job is about numbers. Debits and credits. Health insurance. Office management. Not exciting.

And I’ve never really admitted this to anyone but I took this job not for me but for my husband. He was slowly suffocating in his previous job. Giant, global corporation. Day in and day out, unpredictable hours, tiny raises, little to now recognition, meetings to plan meetings. He was being crushed by it. And coming back home to work for my father’s company was like a second chance. On the surface, it was a pay cut (for him… quite a nice raise from me but then again… I was working part time so that wasn’t exactly hard to do.) But I was terrified to take this job for so many reasons. I’m bad at math. I wasn’t sure about working for my dad. I was apprehensive to move back home. The idea of sitting at a desk day in… day out… I really wasn’t too sure if this was going to be a good idea. But we were a package deal and for him, for his happiness, I would happily do this.

I was shocked at how much I liked it. I think that I underestimated the fulfillment I would get from knowing that I had a direct impact on a company every single day. And the longer we are here, as we drive around this area where we both grew up, I am able to point to things and say “Our company built that. That is our foundation. That is our retaining wall. Those are our sidewalks.” I LIKE that feeling.

And no… my contributions to those buildings aren’t immediately visible. I didn’t design a wall or figure out how to make that foundation strong. But I helped the people who built them. I impacted their families. I worked with them to get health insurance. I helped them with their vacations and sick days. I sat down with them to talk about benefits and retirement plans. I filled out forms so that they could qualify for car loans and mortgages. And when things went badly for them, when they had to talk to me about wage garnishments or child support, I did it with compassion and without judgment. Those are MY guys out there working. And many of them have been at this company longer than I have. They are my extended family and I would do whatever I could for them.

So as we drive around and point to something, yes, I see it as something that I helped build. Because MY guys built it. And I hope that while they were building it, I was able to make their lives a little easier. I never thought that I would find satisfaction in this job. But every day, I love it a little more. I’m good at this. Mostly… my organization leaves something to be desired. And… sometimes I get distracted (right this second, for example… I have a stack of invoices next to me that need to be entered and I’ve made it through the “H’s” but then for some reason this whole thing popped into my head and I decided to get it out before I lost it) but having the freedom to get distracted is invaluable. I’m here alone right now. Patrick and dad are both out at jobsites. My aquarium is bubbling happily behind me (except for that one dead fish… I know he’s in there somewhere and I know he’s dead because I haven’t seen him in a week but I CAN NOT FIND THAT LITTLE ASSHOLE… or what’s left of him at this point, I suppose). I have Netflix open also because everyone has watched all of Orange is the New Black but me and I’m not even done with episode ONE! I’m such a slacker. I could have watched it this weekend but there was sun and lake and pool and now I’m tired and bordering on sunburnt but oh so very content.

It’s not even in the same universe as the contribution I imagined myself having. But I’m part of something. It matters whether or not I show up every day. I may have taken this job more for Patrick than for me but I’ve gotten so much more out of it than I ever thought I would. And for some reason, I just felt like I needed to get that out and remind myself that there are other things in my life besides the batshit crazy roller coaster we find ourselves on with being foster parents.

(Oh yeah… about that… her parents are no longer allowed to have unsupervised visits with her. Long story and I would love to share the details but suffice it to say, everyone in the room at the last meeting left there shell-shocked because that outcome was NOT what anyone was expecting. But only two of us were happy about it…)

But we build stuff. And the guys that build that stuff are my people and I take care of them. Here is what my people built…

Published by PaintingChef on 30 Jul 2009

Some self-indulgent bitching on the state of humanity, if I may…

I’m not, by nature, an angry person. I like to think of myself as a generally happy-go-lucky person with a basic trust in the inherent goodness of people.

But can I just tell you? That is quickly becoming a thing of the past.

I can’t get into the details much with you as there are actually legal proceedings pending and this is a whole new area to me as far as what I can tell people and what I cannot. Probably I should just put this all in a recently emptied wine bottle, cork it and smash it against a brick wall. (That sounds oddly therapeutic and would probably happen if I weren’t already so damn tired of picking invisible pieces of broken glass out of my feet wince I dropped my Pampered Chef Batter Bowl from about shoulder height last week…oops…)

As you know, I now work for my father, a man I consider to be one of the most honest and ethical people in the world. I shit you not, the man’s word is his bond and he has no tolerance for dishonesty, opportunists and laziness. (Or Bluetooth earpieces but that’s another story.) Up until recently, our company has had an impeccable safety record but lately we’ve had what can only be called a “Series of Unfortunate Events.”

In the past week, so much questionable information has arisen about some of the injuries sustained by some of our employees that I honestly feel like I’m losing my faith in humanity. I know how dramatic that sounds. And I roll my eyes just reading it. But when the hits just keep on coming like this, I don’t know how long our company can weather them.

So I come to work and I seethe with anger as the shit keeps piling on. And I go home and the anger festers and I get madder and madder until I honestly just want to punch something. Naturally, this seems like the perfect time to add a big fat shot of fertility drugs right smack in my ass, doesn’t it?

There it is. No details. Just the fact that our company, an organization who treats its employees well, pays them very generously and provides a package of benefits unparalleled in this industry is getting screwed by a few individuals with dollar signs in their eyes. Apparently we just weren’t giving them QUITE ENOUGH. And I watch the toll that this, combined with the general slow state of the construction industry, is taking on my father and I just want to cry. He started this company 12 years ago and has built it into a very strong business with a stellar reputation. People in our industry know that he is honest and hard working. They know that the work our company performs is solid. They trust that when we show up to a job, shit is going to get DONE and done right. And I think it’s becoming harder and harder for him to see all he’s accomplished because people keep trying to take him out at the knees.

It’s something a hug just can’t fix. And that’s the only weapon left in my arsenal.

Published by PaintingChef on 25 Sep 2008

I’m angry… you wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.

I’m furious. I am nail-spitting, teeth-gnashing, fertility-med-like furious. Allow me to set the scene if I may…

One of the things I do at work is run out during the day to the post office. And as one of the people be-bopping around town in my Volkswagen with my Obama magnet on the trunk, I enjoy the camaraderie I’ve noticed with other supporters. We acknowledge each other in traffic and in parking lots. We smile and we wave. It’s kind of fantastic and makes me less stabby when I’m navigating mid-day traffic.

On Tuesday when I parked at the post office I parked in between two other cars who also had Obama paraphernalia on their vehicles. So I did my normal smile-wave-acknowledge a total stranger thing and IT WAS NOT RECIPROCATED. I was shocked! Being the tough cookie that I am, I choked back my tears and went about my business. But as I was walking back to my car, I noticed that something looked… off. Then I realized what it was. My magnet was MISSING. It had been there that morning! I know because I put something in my trunk that morning and saw it and smiled. Like I always do.

I know what happened. I’m pretty sure I even know who took it. As you are aware, I work for my father’s construction company now. Construction workers are a… notoriously right-wing group. At least in the south. This is absolutely ridiculous and asinine because I could sit them all down and explain to them just why they are making a poor choice for themselves and their families. But I would be wasting my time. So until now, we’ve happily and peacefully co-existed. I leave their rebel flags alone and they’ve ignored my Obama magnet. And when they parked a bobcat in my yard with a bumper sticker that read “Obama 2008: Death and Starvation” I rolled my eyes at the ignorance and ignored it. (For the record… they were doing work at our house, it wasn’t just a random act of Bobcat parking.)

But that’s all changed now. And when I got back in my car at the post office all fuming and hands shaking mad I called Patrick. And told him what had happened. I warned him that I was headed back to the office with a “head full of steam” and if he didn’t want his wife to end up in jail maybe he could throw out the warning that if this was a joke it was done poorly and perhaps if the magnet were on my desk when I got back, I might be convinced to forget the whole thing. Um… I also may have mentioned something about holding paychecks for ransom, I’m not sure. I think I blacked out from the rage. (Obviously I didn’t hold anyone’s paychecks for ransom. As that would be just as wrong as stealing the damn thing in the first place. And I won’t stoop. No matter how badly I want to.)

NOBODY fessed up. I had to buy a new magnet (which I did! with a back-up!). And I’m still pissed. People are such assholes sometimes.

Published by PaintingChef on 20 Mar 2008

Breaking down the “Family Business”

Things the New Job Pays For that Make Me Very Happy and For Which I am Very Grateful:

1. Gas
2. Patrick’s Car Insurance
3. Cell Phones (although I do mourn the loss of text messaging)
4. Trips to Vegas with many happy and delicious adult beverages
5. Health Insurance
6. Patrick’s Shiny New-ish Tahoe (which he has already wrecked, ran out of gas, AND fallen prey to a red-light camera)

Things My Mother Has Tried to Convince Me The New Job SHOULD Pay For If I Would Only Ask My Daddy and If I Don’t Then She Will Tell Him To Pay For Them Anyway Because He Just Should:

1. The $400 I spent at the Bellagio Spa
2. A gym membership
3. Someone to clean my house twice a month
4. Manicures (because of the TYPING! All that TYPING!)

I think I am working for the wrong parent…

Published by PaintingChef on 15 Feb 2008

Kind of like a public service announcement… in a backwards sort of way.

It’s no secret around this place that I have, in my previous life, partaken in more than a few illegal substances. I’ve smoked, sniffed and otherwise ingested my fair share and yours. So let’s pause for a moment and reflect fondly and the 90’s, shall we?

But now I’m a grown up. And while it has crossed my mind that perhaps it might be fun to spend a Saturday this summer by my pool in a cannabis and margarita filled haze while soaking up the sun and the supermarket tabloid magazines that I have given up for Lent even though I’m not a practicing religious person (peer pressure… it’s a bitch and everyone else was giving up candy and cookies… like THAT will happen!), the chances of me doing that particular thing are slim to none for more than one reason. Lack of drug dealers comes to mind instantly and it is quickly followed by the look on my father/boss’s face when my drug screen comes back positive after I randomly bust my ass in the office doing something innocent like making coffee and have to be rushed to the emergency for a broken knee-second degree burn combo where I am automatically drug tested because of an “on-the-job” injury and our worker’s comp policy requires mandatory drug testing.

So. Like I said. That pool party is unlikely.

But here’s a thought. When you apply for a job and I send you to be drug tested because we drug test EVERYONE; don’t get all pissy with me when you fail your test because you have enough cocaine in your blood to firmly place Robert Downey Jr. (also in his 90’s glory) in the “weekend dabbler” category. Don’t think I didn’t notice you all twitchy-like when you filled out your application. I’m not a fool. I’ve been twitchy myself a time or thirty-seven.

Don’t waste my time. My company paid forty-two bucks for your pee. At least have the decency to TRY and cleanse your system. And don’t snarl at me and slam the phone down when I play the role of Captain Obvious and try my best to be nice and polite while telling you something that YOU ALREADY KNOW. I refuse to let you ruin my Friday, it isn’t even noon yet.

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