I Got a Perm

I was sick of my hair, sick of blow-drying, sick of fussing and still not liking how it looked. Growing it out from my previous pixie has been easy, until the last month or two. Something about endless blow drying EVERY DAY in the summer is just such a drag! So I got a perm, and I don’t care how out of style or retro it is, I LOVE IT. In fact, I like the retro-ness – it’s rather 80s, even a bit 70s in its retro stylishness. It’s VERY curly and very boho and I enjoy the way it feels on my head. I especially enjoy the fact that I wash it and let it air dry, and spray some stuff on it, and that’s about it. Furthermore, I only have to wash it every other day at the most, which means that even though I just tortured my hair with chemicals to get the perm, it will be better for it in the long run.

Side effects: it made my bob look a LOT shorter (I don’t mind). It made my hair lighter (I don’t mind). Depending on what I wear, it makes me look like a crazy old lady who doesn’t care how she looks (um, I kind of am a crazy old lady who doesn’t care how she looks).

Look at me, the middle-age hair and fashion rebel! LOL!

Never Knew How Awful It Was…

You know how sometimes you don’t realize you had a good thing, until it’s gone? I’ve discovered recently that there’s a corollary to that theorem: sometimes you don’t realize how bad things are, until you get into a better situation.

Of course I’m talking about my new job, which makes me so very happy that I might not have to go on Prozac after all. (My personal life is still incredibly stressful right now, parenthood and what-not, so having a job that thrills me really helps balance out the misery.) Here’s a short history of my work morale that will help to make sense of these observations.

Way back when, in the early 90s, I had just graduated from college and got my first real job. My first job was awful, I hated it, and I shortly quit. My next job was not so great, but I found it interesting, so I worked to make it better – and it worked! My job activities, responsibilities, and relationships got a lot better, and I was very happy (although I was not fairly compensated for everything I was doing, but hell, there was a recession at the time).

Then I moved to Columbus, and had a job in civil service which was both a.) boring and b.) low-paying, with a side-dish of demeaning for extra measure. From there, I circulated through a few jobs, some civil service, some not, most for non-profits, and dealt with my share of psycho bosses and managers and VP’s. When I finally got my first real IT job, I hit my stride – loved my work, loved my co-workers, loved the regular promotions I started getting. Life was good! That was my first taste of what a big difference true job satisfaction can make in your overall life.

After we moved to Northern Virginia, it took a while to find my next “perfect” job, but find it I did, and I happily spent seven years with that company. It was my second job in software testing, but I really grew and learned a lot in those seven years, developing my skills and dramatically expanding my knowledge and experience. Things weren’t perfect, but they were close. Unfortunately, I left because the contract I was on was ending, and I didn’t want to have to work on a different project with a long commute. That’s when things went downhill. I can honestly say that since then, 2006, I haven’t been truly happy at work…until now.

After five years of working in places where the morale was in the toilet, I’m finally working at a company where people are happy, including me. My skills are being used and developed again, and I really enjoy going to work. Maybe most importantly, the work/life balance is very important at my new place, and it’s made a big difference in my stress level. Whew!

The funny thing is, I never realized the full extent of how unhappy I was at my last job, until I started this one. My last job was not challenging at all, and in fact it was pretty boring most of the time. I certainly never had to take it home with me. Some of the management were buffoons, but I was able to avoid the worst of them. And there were always the really generous benefits to comfort myself with – and generous they were, extremely generous for our industry. But while I wasn’t exactly stressed, I also wasn’t fulfilled. My brain wasn’t being challenged, and my emotional well being suffered due to the low overall morale. I think I had some inkling of this, but I kept telling myself I was getting paid an obscene amount in salary and benefits to basically sit around, so why should I complain? And that worked for a while. But now that I have a job that I truly enjoy again, I can see how wrong that was.

TL;DR: Groovymarlin took a 14% pay cut to leave her last, dismal place of employment and go to work at her shiny new one. And hasn’t regretted it for a single second.

Varieties of Annoying Starbucks Customers

I’ve cut way back on my Starbucks latte consumption, but I still indulge occasionally. I usually prefer to use the drive-through specifically so that I don’t have to deal with the annoying customers in Starbucks, but there’s not always one available. Have you seen these customers in the wild? I saw most of them just this morning.

Annoying Cell Phone Talker: Has an emphatic and very loud conversation on cell phone all through ordering, paying, and picking up beverate. Usually involves things that are personal and make strangers who overhear the conversation kind of uncomfortable. Loudest thing in the whole store and seemingly oblivious.

Giant Order Ninja: Chick who gets in line all by herself, usually right in front of you, and then orders five very complicated drinks at the register. Bonus points if she spills one of them all over the pick-up area (I have seen this happen). Extra bonus points if she attempts to pay for each drink individually, using a different payment method such as cash, check, debit card, etc. (yes, I have seen this happen also).

The Mix Master: This is the person who orders a plain coffee and then stands at the condiment bar for 10 minutes turning it into a masterpiece ghetto latte or whatever.

The Draper: The person who orders, then drapes himself or herself all over the tiny little pick-up station, as if there’s NOBODY ELSE in the entire place who has ordered a drink and will also have to pick it up there. These people turn the pick-up counter into their own personal condo while they wait for their drinks. Seriously, what is WRONG with these douchebags?

People: in general, I hate them. 😉

Good Hair Day

This is a bouffant hairstyle

I have great hygiene!

While I may not have looked as styling as THIS lovely young lady, I had a really good hair day today.

OH YEAH! I also started my new job today!

Wait a minute. Let me back up a little bit and explain. I’m not the type to switch jobs lightly. I stayed in my most recent job for more than four years. Before that, there was a short blip at a place that was a bad fit for me, but before THAT I was at another place for over seven years. And that just about covers my entire career in my current profession (of course I had other jobs before that). So yeah, I like stability. When I get in someplace, I usually plan to be there for the long haul.

Now my most recent job had some complications. I can’t spell them all out in detail here, but I can state that generally: When I joined the company, it was a small company, but a year after I started it was acquired by a VERY LARGE and well-known corporation. And things just kept going downhill after that. But I still toughed it out another three years. See? I stick around!

Anyway, I started a new job today, and it pretty much addresses all the problems I had with my old company. It’s relatively small, I’ll actually be doing work in my field again, everyone can get up to $6000 worth of training every year, and they’ll let me telecommute regularly. I did give up some very generous benefits when I left Mega-Pain-in-the-Butt Inc., but I can deal with it. What surprises most people is this: I took a pay cut. Like a 14% pay cut.

Now you’re probably thinking I’m insane, but hang in there. See, working at this new place is going to make me a much happier person. It’s much more favorable to my work/life balance (see telecommuting, above), and has much more potential for my professional development (see working in my field, and training, above). I feel pretty blessed that I can even consider taking a 14% pay cut in order to “follow my bliss.” But to be honest, I was obscenely overpaid at my last gig, mostly because of my security clearance, which I am giving up in my new position, and that is not a coincidence.

Some of the things my last company did, some of the things I was personally involved with, made me feel morally bankrupt. Being able to get away from that, and still maintain the same relative level of comfortable, suburban lifestyle, is priceless.

So here I stand, starting the next phase of my life, and life is good. Sure, there are challenges, but I feel good about my latest career change. On top of that, I haven’t even mentioned the fact that I had a bunch of health tests last month (blood work, standard screening tests, mammogram, etc.) and my results were ALL normal. For me, queen of the false positive test result, that was exhilarating.

And OMG, have you guys seen this? Crazy. I just love this video. Who knew that redneck dude from The Walking Dead was so hot?

La la la I’m not Listening!

So WordPress is nagging me that there’s a new version available, and two of my plugins need updating, and am I getting right on it and taking care of that? No!! I mean I’ll do it…eventually. Like posting. I do it…eventually.

It’s not that I purposely make a post and then wait nearly a whole freaking month to make another one. It just happens, you know? Just like that periodontist my dentist referred me to back in oh…November? December? I dunno. I’ll make an appointment eventually.

In the meantime there is lots of stuff happening. Like: I’m starting a new job this month! And, therefore, leaving my old one! YAY! And I’m planning the Bean’s birthday party! And I’m dealing with passive-aggressive persons who seem hell-bent on bringing me down! And I have approximately five million errands and odd jobs to do during the week between jobs that I have PROMISED myself to take this time.

(I’ve never had time off between jobs before. I wanted to try it at least once.)

So, longer post later. This is just to assure the three of you out there that I haven’t forgotten this blog, or you. Let me direct you to this old post of mine about how to clean your sterling silver jewelry. It worked back then (2009) and I just used it again this weekend – guess what? It still works! YAY!

(Thanks Vauxhall Vixens for showing me this image. Perfect.)