make it work

17 03 2010

I’m toying with the idea of going back to work full time and letting Shaun do a stint as stay at home Dad.  Or at least hire a nanny or something.

When I say toying with, that’s what I really mean.  I know that with the heart problem and the migraines, that I need a very flexible environment and I also know that I can do the best for our home and children by being here.

I just REALLY miss working.  Not only is it 10,000 times easier than this SAHM deal, I miss figuring out problems.  I’m one of those people who has a knack for making abnormal things fix what needs to be done.  I like instruction manuals because if you read them with a critical eye you can find the ways to… adapt it to your purpose.  There, that’s a nice way to say “open door.”  If there isn’t a manual, that’s ok too.  I’ll figure out how to break it into its parts given enough time.

Tim Gunn would say I make it work.

I just hacked a mop.  I’ve been painting my Circa discs with nail polish.  Later today I’m going to turn a computer desk into a table for my sewing machine.

I even scheduled laundry days for everyone and color coded the hampers (they’re really rubber bins from the garden department at walmart) to match their water bottles and their toy boxes.  They also match their junior Circa journals.  (Which the therapists promptly copied and started using for other kids they treat.)  And yes, when the kids are on a scorecard/reward system – those will match their colors too.

I miss feeling like I’ve done something worthwhile at the end of the day.  Well, on some days.  Other days I came home feeling like I was the captain of the good ship WTF.

Ok – I miss being able to say “I can provide a service that you aren’t going to find anywhere else.”

xkcd today says that the average internet user SAYS they have an IQ of 147 and has a 9″ penis. I may not have a penis, but my IQ is a bit higher than that.

I used to say “if you can teach it, I can learn it.”  Now I’m more likely to say “if you can build it, I can break it.”  Then again, I also say “if you need a better mousetrap, you may as well just start naming the mice and congratulate them on their upward evolution.”  You can either make the problem work for you or you can buy a cat.  I’m a big fan of making problems turn into assets.  “That’s not a defect, it’s an unexpected application!”

Then I get a call from the teacher saying that my child is screaming that if the teacher doesn’t make it so that she isn’t in trouble, then she’s going to make life living hell for everyone.  I can hear her screaming in the background at the top of her lungs.  And it’s good I’m only 5 minutes away from the school because I know how to fix her, too.

This is the part where people laugh and say “a good smack would fix her!” But no, my daughter is not an Apple nor does she suffer from chip creep.

I know how to make it work because her IQ is a little lower than mine but still higher than 90% of the people in her school.  I don’t talk to her like a child and I don’t dumb it down.  If she can manipulate you or out-think you, you’ve already lost the game.  I’m probably the only parent you’ll ever see saying to a 6 year old kid “I don’t appreciate you trying to manipulate your teachers.  You can’t change the past but you can stop making it worse.  Your part on the team is to take care of yourself and keep your brain turned on.  If it’s not smart – don’t do it.”

She has the mental capacity of a child twice her age.  I get pissed off when someone talks down to me and I don’t expect her reaction to be any different.  (And yes, we’re both Capricorns.)  It’s best that she learns objective and logical reasoning skills now.

OK – off the tangent.

Another problem I foresee with going back to work is that I don’t have a degree.  I have several certificates from several colleges.  I have some co-op experience at a different school.  I have a year of actual college down but I got REALLY bored with it.

I was one of those kids who was hired directly out of high school into a dotcom because of my “special” skills.  Financially, it was the right decision because I was smart enough to put a little in real estate and made some well-timed stock sales.  It’s enough to make it where we’re able to live off of one income as long as we’re frugal. It just meant that I turned down a scholarship (and it’s accompanying student loans) to take the road less traveled.

Not having a degree wasn’t a problem with my resume as long as I stayed with that company because I could bank on my reputation alone.  Now that I’m looking at jobs equivalent to what I did for that company, they require a BS or a BA.  Only one listing I saw said “or equivalent work experience.”  Now, if the company does their own hiring, it won’t matter but if they’re using a recruiter or head-hunter I’d be hard pressed to get an interview.

THEN, once I did do the initial interview, I’d probably decide that the company didn’t fit my “niche.”  I’ve tested the waters and applied to a few places since quitting and here’s how one of my interviews went:

Nice Lady: I need to be sure you know <name of certain retail book keeping software.>

Me:  I haven’t used that particular one before, but I do have extensive experience designing and reporting with many of the more complicated financial systems.  <I named a few that I’m sure she’d never heard of.>

NL:  But you’ll need to know how to enter the data from our invoices into this program.  You really need to be experienced.

Me:  By the time we speak again, I’ll have learned enough about it to make it do exactly what you need it to do.  I just have a knack for software.

NL:  I see that on your resume you have experience coordinating teams and schedules.

Me: I do.  I’ve coordinated a team of 34 people and designed reporting systems on several hundred team members that were hand delivered to all levels of management.

NL:  You will, if you get this job, need to greet people as they walk in and also handle the schedules for myself and my husband.  You’ll also keep the files orderly and handle invoices and incoming phone calls.

Me:  Ma’am, your ad said that you were looking for a coordinator and manager with experience in financial systems.  Isn’t that correct?

NL:  Yes…

Me:  It sounds to me that you’re looking for a receptionist.  If you need someone to create reporting systems or work out a specific problem then I’m your girl.  However, if you’re looking for someone to smile at customers and do basic data entry, you probably need a different applicant.

NL:  Um… ok… thank you for your honesty.

Me:  You’re welcome.

This was all over the phone, thank goodness.  I doubt she could have looked at me and been as polite.  All my tattoos cover up and I clean up very well, but I’ve been told that I’m rather intimidating when I’m talking.

I’m the secret agent girl. 😉  I walk in to a meeting, looking young and well-dressed, carrying my signature bomber jacket Circa and a few documents disguised as simple files.  I get mentally written off as a girl who got hired to do grunt work and be an art piece for the male and lesbian contingent.  Then I wait for a lull in the conversation of “power players” and I say something outrageous.  All eyes turn to me and I open the file to my supporting document and prove to everyone that I’m right and I am going to get what I want.

Smart managers know how to use that to their benefit.

Not so smart managers are either enlightened or pissed off.

Neither matters.

Because THAT is what makes work worth going to for me.  I’m not looking for money or acclaim or to climb the corporate ladder.  I could give less than a damn about a vertical promotion.  I love solving problems in interesting ways, making them work, and convincing people to support the solution.  My thrill is in creating harmony where there was none and in turning data into a language people can understand.

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