Posts Tagged ‘stress’

or,

How Many Verizon Employees Does it Take to Connect
a Wire?

Congratulations, Verizon. I know you’re honored to receive this award. In case you don’t know how you happened to be chosen, allow me to tell you my story.

I finally made it into the millennium and got a smartphone, which is infinitely smarter than your customer service people seem to be. I canceled my landline service, with corresponding re-routing of the internet service on my laptop to “dry loop” (does that mean the wires on a phone connected to the internet are “wet loop?” Sounds kinda risky to me). This re-routing process, as the customer service rep who took the information (and at least five subsequent tech support reps) informed me, is supposed to happen automatically with no interruption in internet service. Which it did, if “no interruption” can be defined as “bit the dust for eight days with thirteen (literally; I counted) hour-long phone calls to Verizon in vain attempts to fix the problem, with the complete impossibility of speaking with the same person twice.”

Every day on the phone (often after more than twenty minutes to even find my account in the system), it was like the calls before never happened, and I had to start from scratch every time, like in “Groundhog Day.” “Put on your booties, ‘cuz it’s cold outside —it’s Verizon Clusterf*ck Day!”

The highlight was the day when, after ten calls and twenty minutes of waiting for the twit on the other end of the phone to find me in the system, he finally came back on the line and said, “So what’s the problem again?”

“Okay,” I said. “I think I need to hang up now, because I’m going to lose it.” I put the phone down and hollered into the sink.

When I finally spoke with a supervisor who at last seemed to figure out what the problem was (my internet service was apparently still connected with the landline phone number that no longer existed, and a missing wire also seemed to be involved), he promised that my service would be back up the next day. It wasn’t. Since he actually told me his last name and location, I tried to contact him to see what happened, figuring I might have better luck with someone who at least seemed to have decent critical thinking skills and already knew my situation.

Alas, my efforts to locate this person were in vain. The office he was in, in Andover, Massachusetts, I naively thought would be easy enough to find via Google or Smartpages. But as I soon discovered, Verizon, any actual offices of yours seem to be in an alternate dimension on the time-space continuum, like the island on “Lost.” I know it must be there, but I can’t ever get to it. Perhaps it’s stuck in 1974 before the internet existed.

The 12th call finally yielded an allegedly scheduled visit from tech support the next day, in one of those 4-hour blocks (this is done so that the tech people can catch up on daytime TV in between appointments, without having to stick to an actual schedule). Yes, I said “allegedly scheduled visit.” This is because they didn’t show up. And when I called around 11:15 (call number 13), I found out that, after the 45-minute call the night before, the person I talked to figured out that something needed to be connected in the office (a few brain circuits, perhaps?), so they didn’t need to come out. Of course, no one called to tell me that.

Finally, the supervisor I talked with checked into the Grand Clusterf*ck and, miracle of miracles, got my service back on (thank you, Karen — you were a beacon of light in the depths of the abyss).

Thank you, Verizon, for giving me a few more gray hairs in my eyebrows to pluck. Keep up the good work. If you play your cards right, you’ll torture enough customers to put the company out of business. One can only hope …

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Job search can be scary. Especially when your last unemployment extension is running out, you just used your last bit of savings to buy underwear because you don’t want to be picking your jockey shorts up off the floor when the elastic breaks in the middle of a job interview, and your Plan B has been blown to hell.

But no matter what your situation, it doesn’t work to operate from a place of fear, and let it make your decisions. The only time fear-based decision-making is a good idea is if a psycho starts shooting in the food court in the mall, and you make the decision to dive under the table instead of continuing to sit there and eat your mushroom omelette. Otherwise, letting fear rule your job search isn’t going to help you. Here are a few ways to avoid it:

  • Focus on the goals you’re shooting for. When you focus on your anxieties, they’re going to loom bigger and bigger until they crush you like a Brazil nut. Instead, dwell on what you want, where you want your career to go, and what you want to accomplish along the way, and allow yourself to believe it’s all attainable — because it is. Well, unless you want to be a Victoria’s Secret model and you look like Danny DeVito.
  • Brainstorm alternatives. If Plan B is dead in the water, then get creative. Without allowing yourself to analyze or censor your ideas, jot down a slew of options. I bet you’ll surprise yourself.
  • Be aware of when you’re scaring yourself. You know, all that negative stuff you say in your head that keeps the fear alive, like “No one is hiring now,” “If I don’t take just any crappy job, I’ll be unemployed forever,” “If I try to get what I want, I’ll end up homeless,” etc. Instead of collecting shopping carts and picking out your street corner …
  • … Replace your fear-based thoughts with power-based ones. Like, “I am in charge of my career,” “I have a lot of skills and experience that the right employer (for me) will value,” “I have the tools to succeed, and I will.” Come on, you can think of some more.
  • Practice visualization. Visualization is very powerful. As often as possible without crashing your car, picture yourself moving through your day in the job you want, doing the stuff you want to spend your time doing, interacting with terrific people, etc. Fill in as many details as you can — what specific projects you’d be working on, what your office or cube would look like, what you’d be wearing, the smell of fish on your co-worker’s breath after lunch — wait, maybe that’s a little too much detail. But you know what I’m saying. Allow yourself to feel the excitement and satisfaction you’ll feel when you’re in that job, and you’ll get there.

The first interview
arriving in his jockstrap
Whew! only a dream.

Don’t try to impress
give and take works best
kind of like good sex.

Job search is stressful
make sure you take time to chill
or you’ll pop your cork.

Staying positive and motivated can be tough when you’re counting the days ’til your next unemployment check. It’s scary and stressful, and generally sucks. Here are some suggestions to make it suck less:

  • Hang around people who have jobs. This may sound easier than it is in the current job market, since everyone and their Great-Grandma Mabel has been laid off, but contrary to popular belief there are actually still people who are working. You may wonder why the hell this will help you. There are 2 reasons. First, someone who is working is more likely to be around other people who are also working, and possibly have job leads. Second, though it’s not a bad thing to occasionally vent your frustration, you don’t want to wallow in it for too long, which is easy to do with your fellow unemployees (yes, I know it’s not a word. So sue me.). That doesn’t mean you should just diss your unemployed friends, or that job search groups aren’t helpful. They are, as long as they don’t become bitch-and-snivel sessions. Which brings me to my next point.
  • Banish people from your life who make you feel like crap. This is a good rule of thumb in general, but we’ll focus on how it relates to your job search. Assholes who bring you down, tell you you’ll never get a job, you can’t do this or that, discourage you, generally concentrate on the negative and tell you the roof will cave in are not people to hang with. Unless they’re roofers who actually know that, in fact, your roof will cave in, in which case you probably want to get the hell out of the house.
  • Do stuff. Volunteer, take a part-time job, join groups that relate to something you’re interested in. You’ll be less likely to lie around depressed, watching One Life to Live and Andy Griffith reruns. You’ll also get your social fix, have the chance to network and possibly find job leads, have something constructive to put on your resume for your unemployed time besides fixing the leaky faucet in the bathroom, keep your skills up, and maybe gain new skills that’ll help you get a job.
  • Do good stuff for yourself. Exercise. Gets those endorphins going, helps you be healthy and feel good. Take a bath (no, not because you stink. Well, maybe you do, but how would I know that?). It’s a free way to relax and pamper yourself. You can even indulge in scents and bubbles — even if you’re a guy (of course if you are, I’d keep it to myself if I were you). Eat healthy, but give yourself a treat once in awhile. Do deep breathing or meditation or whatever you’re into to relax.
  • Do whatever’s worked in the past that makes you feel better and stay motivated. You would know that better than me. Refrain from doing the stuff that hasn’t worked or made you feel worse, since that would be stupid.