It’s January 19th, and I Don’t Know Where the Bathroom Is — November 20, 2015

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I said good-bye to my job at Blue Cross Blue Shield this week.

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Bye Blue Bear!

I started at BCBS back in January — January 19th to be exact — and went through the lengthy claims examiner training class with my group.  (It was a tough class and I had all the stress dreams to prove it!)  We got out of class, got to work, and even after all those weeks of training, we found the learning curve to still be extremely steep.  I almost felt like I was starting each day at the bottom of a sheer cliff, all smooth rock, staring up towards the top before starting the arduous day’s climb.  There were a lot of days when I felt certain I’d been given a dull pickaxe and flimsy houseshoes for the day’s ascent.  A friend and I developed the saying, “It’s January 19th again.  We just got in the building for the first time and I don’t even know where the bathrooms are.”  It was a more fun thing to say than to try to express our true feelings of full-on confusion!

But of course, when you’re new, I guess some level of confusion is to be expected.  We carried on, and then early May hit and we were called into a meeting.  Topic: OUTSOURCING.

(cue dramatic music)

It was certainly a shock to find out my brand-new job was going away!  We were given a timeline for the end of our positions and that was basically the new reality from that point forward.  This is the second time that I’ve had a job end with a planned layoff.  (My first job out of college ended as a result of a similar meeting.)  I’m here to say: it just really isn’t any more fun the second time around than the first!

Fortunately, I was able to find a new job, and I ended my time at Blue Cross this week.  It has been a really hard few months trying to keep all the plates spinning and myself motivated when gloomy reality loomed largely. Even still, quitting was bittersweet in some ways. I don’t really like quitting jobs and I’m not very good at it….and quitting two jobs in one calendar year is more than I really thought would happen in 2015!  But we do what we have to do.

The neat thing about BCBS is that it gave me an opportunity to have a couple of experiences that I always thought would be interesting to try:

  1. I finally got to live the cubicle-lifestyle.
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My cubicle, from my birthday this past year.

I have always wanted to know what it would be like to have a cubicle and live in your own little space!  I’ve never had that before.  And, this pic above is in no way a reflection of how my cubicle usually looked, hehe.  My space was barren and devoid of basically all touches of humanity.  It was a sterile space, that save for  a box of Kleenex, pretty much looked like no one lived there.  I liked it like that!  Plus, the cubicles made for a really quiet environment most of the time, which was also great for me.

2. I finally got to work in a place that got neat perks.

When I worked for Capital One, I was always a little jealous because our nearest large office was in Plano and they were always doing cool stuff.  They got to bring in vendors for things, have parties and other fun events, but we were always too small for that.  Well, Marshall BCBS was large enough to get to do fun things — like eating!  I was totally well-fed at that place.  :)  I can’t even begin to guess how much free cake came with my job.  Lovely! Then there was our “purple day” when we had all purple foods:

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This is grape soda, purple colored rice krispie treat, and purple chips and queso.  Yes, it was unnerving to eat that glob of purple and taste cheese!

3. I finally got to have a “mystery job.”

I remember several years ago talking to a manager at CVS about my ideal job.  I was telling him that I’d love to go to a job and work really hard all day, and then come home, and know that no one really knew what I did all day long.  Yep — that definitely sums up my life for the past few months!  There were some days when I wasn’t even sure what I was doing all day, (hence the title of this post!), but I got enough compliments on my work that I must have been getting it right — at least most of the time.  :)

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And now we move on to the next new adventure.  I’ll be working for the Harrison Central Appraisal District, so I’ll be back in the world of counting money — my familiar world!  Looking forward to what’s to come — let’s get started!

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Marshall Mall – My Own Personal “Groundhog Day” — November 12, 2015

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We like to walk on our breaks at work, and since the Marshall Mall is connected to our building, we often walk in the mall, especially if the weather is iffy and we can’t walk outside.

The mall here is pretty scrawny and mostly empty. As such, it’s got a little personality all its own, and for me, it’s like a scene from “Groundhog Day” every day.  It’s the same world over and over again every time – nothing changes – I just visit it for a few minutes and relive the same scene over and over.  Either every day in there is really the same, or else it’s on an eternal loop and I break into the time warp periodically for a visit.

Loop Evidence #1 – The mall music never changes.  They have the music stuck on repeat, and every day it’s the same song:  Ricochet’s “Daddy’s Money.”

I get inside the door of the mall and it’s:

“Country As A Turnip Green,

She’s got Daddy’s Money,

Momma’s Good Looks,

Look Who’s Lookin’ At Me”

Every day.

Loop Evidence #2 – It’s the same people in the mall every day.

  1. There’s the little old guy with the tiny hand weights! He walks the mall daily for hours on end (or at least The Loop makes it appear that way.)  One day we were walking outside and the tiny hand weights were laying in the parking lot next to a car.  Did the little old guy break out of the time warp?  If so, he wasn’t out for long before they pulled him back in.  I saw him later that day, weights in hand.  His clothes never change either.

“She’s got Daddy’s Money,

Momma’s Good Looks”

…..sorry…..

2.  There’s the little old guy reading the novel! This guy is totally my favorite looper.  He’s a teeny tiny old man who walks the mall so super slowly that he can read a thick paperback novel and walk at the same time.  Don’t get behind him because you’ll never make it back around the mall before break is over.

a. The mystery of novel guy: he never gets beyond about page 50 in his novel. I can’t figure it out.  He’s walking nearly every day but never progresses in his book!  What happens here?  Does he get to page 50 and suddenly get bored with every book and trade it out for another?  Does he get to page 50 and then go home and speed read to the end?  Does The Loop not allow him to progress past a certain point?

b. The second mystery of novel guy: he’s so super old but doesn’t require glasses. Does The Loop stop aging?  One day I was walking fairly close to Novel Guy and a few coworkers of mine were a little ahead of me, between me and Novel Guy.  They were marveling at the fact that he could read that tiny print unaided by glasses.  I hope he heard them because they were truly jealous of his super strength eyesight, hehe.

c. The third mystery of novel guy: how does he not trip all over the place? He’s not even looking where he’s going! And his little old man steps are just little shuffles!  I’m trying to walk like a normal person and I’m running into things all the time in there.

“Country as a Turnip Green….

Look Who’s Looking at ME!….”

(Oh, ooops.)

3. It’s the college students playing Magic: The Gathering at the table in the middle of the mall! Dear college students – those cards you have laying out on the table are the same cards I stare at every day as I go past. I realize you’re holding a discussion about them, but you have to know that your game isn’t changing.

“She’s Got Her Daddy’s Money,

Momma’s Good Looks,

More Laughs Than a Stack of Comic Books,

A Wild Imagination,

A College Education,

Add It All Up It’s A Deadly Combination”

(ahhhh……it invades! it invades the skull!)

4. It’s the girl filling up the tartar sauces at the (one and only) food place in the mall! I have to ask: “Who is eating all this tartar sauce?” There is no one at your counter buying your food, ever! I don’t understand where the sauce comes from or where it goes, but she’s totally committed to getting all those little containers perfectly full.

Loop Evidence #3 – The Mall tries to pretend that it’s not on a Loop.

I walked in there one day and THE MUSIC WAS DIFFERENT.  We switched from Ricochet to Randy Travis’ “Digging Up Bones”

“I’m Digging up Bones, I’m Digging up Bones,

Exhuming Things that’s Better Left Alone,

And I’m Resurrecting Mem’ries of a Love That’s Dead and Gone,

Yeah, Tonight I’m Sitting Alone, Digging up Bones.”

I was so confused at the music change.  I stole furtive glances around to confirm my reality.  Oh look – there’s that roach that’s been dead in the corner for weeks – check!  Over there – the clump of dust on the floor mats that never gets swept – check!  And whew, that handprint on the door – signs of life…or a looper’s escape attempt….okay, we’re good.  Can’t go changing that music on me.  It alters the whole sense of reality.

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So, ironically, I might actually be the one who breaks the Loop wide open – I’m about to leave their world.  My last day at Blue Cross Blue Shield will happen next week.  Alas, that’s a whole story for another time, but we’ll eventually get there.  I’ll miss my Loop though.  It’s given me a lot of reason to walk down the mall giggling as I roll my eyes to the only Ricochet song I’ve ever known.  :)

“She’s Got Daddy’s Money,

Momma’s Good Looks,

And Look Who’s Lookin’ at Me”….