Archives for the month of: June, 2016

I thought this week would be pretty simple. Do my daily tasks for Epic Careering, proofread this month’s Epic Career Tale (which is awesome, by the way), work until 3AM at my night job. Maybe even post a short article for Damage Control. Simple indeed. Life, however, had other plans.

I felt a sense of foreboding when a Terminix car pulled up outside while I was on the treadmill. The Terminix guy knocked on my door, but he had the wrong house. He was actually looking for my tenant upstairs. I sent him on his way and then sighed as I wondered why she didn’t call me first. Not long after he’d gone upstairs I got a call from my tenant. I heard the words that no one, especially a landlord, wants to hear—bed bugs.

Her bed was infested with them and she wanted to know if pest control was covered by me on the lease. It wasn’t, nor was it required to be by Pennsylvania law. The gentleman from Terminix wanted $1500 to treat upstairs, but also wanted to treat downstairs, even though I didn’t have bedbugs—he checked for me. However, the cost for both units would run about $2300. Not an easy amount to cough up. To be honest, I didn’t have it, nor did the tenant upstairs have $1500 for her unit. Taking my mother’s advice to never make a huge expensive property management decision without her input, I gave her a call. She chased away Terminix and decided we would go the DIY route. I asked the tenant if she was okay with this, she agreed, and we went to work buying bed bug fighting supplies to treat the problem.

I had to make the tough call of dropping the bulk of my work for Epic Careering for the day and was late to my night job. However, when life hands you setbacks, there’s no point in wallowing in misery for an extended period of time. After all, being a landlord comes with its own responsibilities and sometimes things must be pushed aside. So today was spent trying to get on track to make for yesterday’s lost time. (Including this semi-late post.) On the upside, today felt quite productive and tomorrow will be productive as well. I’m just glad I don’t have another 3AM shift to deal with at the night job.

As for the bed bug problem upstairs, there are still weeks of treatment to go, and every time I’m done treating upstairs, my clothes have to go immediately into plastic bags to avoid bringing a potential hitchhiker home. Here’s to a successful treatment. Ah, being a landlord.

Have you ever dealt an issue where you had to drop everything in the middle of work?

Bug by G of Flickr

Not an actual bed bug. Those would be a little too gross to post.

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I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this before on the blog or not, but I play softball once a week or so after work. When I left my job last year, they asked me to come back and play so I said, why not? It’s been so much fun and a great way to unwind after work, not to mention that it keeps me in touch with friends from that office and keeps my name out there. Let’s call it unofficial networking :). Anyway, we had a game last night in the sweltering heat and, though we had a lot of fun and started the game out strong, in the end we lost. It was pretty disappointing, especially because I’m the pitcher and I walked two people during a crucial inning.

I’m the type of person that beats myself up inside when I make errors both at work and outside of work, as you all probably know by now! So, of course, last night I dwelt on my particularly bad inning with gusto, but then it dawned on me: this is not the end of the world! I know, shocking, right? I came to that conclusion all on my own, when usually I depend on a close friend or family member to say the words to me a few times before I believe them. I take that as a good sign! I’m improving.

I know I can be overly hard on myself, as I’m sure many people are (“You’re your own worst critic” and all that…), and it can sometimes be a while before I pull myself out of a funk. To me, my actions both at work and in my personal life are a direct reflection on me and my self-confidence. I want to be a person of integrity and I do believe I already am that person, but when I fail to deliver what I think I should, I go over and over that action in my mind to examine all the ways I went wrong. This can be a good thing because in some ways this makes me more introspective and it strengthens my self-image; in other ways, it can be a little destructive if my thoughts turn negative.

There is always room for self-review and self-criticism. I think it has made me wiser and overall a better person because it forces me to think about my choices and my reasons for making them. It’s when those thoughts start to drown out any positive outcomes that I need to take a step back and re-evaluate my thinking.

Introspection
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A little less than two weeks ago I completely shattered the back of my cell phone. I was having a heated discussion, lost my temper, and spiked my phone. The phone itself does have a protective bumper around it, but lacks a full case. After the spike, the phone hit the carpet, bounced and hit part of my dog’s cage. The impact to the back was right around SIM card slot. It left me unable to send or receive phone calls, and only able to receive texts when passing by areas with a strong signal. Since I don’t have a landline, I was completely stuck without the ability to make or receive calls. Oddly enough, I was able to use Wi-Fi to contact people via e-mail and social media.

I wasn’t sure how I would survive a week until the arrival of my replacement phone (thanks, eBay!), but the week turned out to be an interesting experience. On the very day I broke my phone, it was the same day I was to meet Karen and a few others for her mini Career Revival Concert. The event was in Blue Bell, about 40 minutes outside of Philadelphia. The area was unfamiliar to me and I realized I couldn’t use my GPS. Determined to attend, I printed out paper instructions. I haven’t used print instructions since 2008, so the experience was somewhat surreal. I made it to Blue Bell without incident, but discovered it was impossible to read the directions home, search for small street signs at 11PM, and drive at the same time. I ended up going the original way I came while reversing the steps in my mind. To be honest, it normally isn’t an exercise I practice when in unfamiliar territory since GPS is so readily available. Fortunately, I made it home without problems.

The experience also made me realize how much we rely on instant communication technology. I had to tell those close to me that I would be out of contact for a while, which forced me to either make in-person visits, or rely on Facebook to spread the news. Those trying to get in touch with me were relieved by my efforts, since they thought it was out of character for me not to answer phone calls or texts. However, a good chunk of being unavailable by phone was oddly calming. I didn’t have to worry about receiving texts or phone calls, nor did I need to urgently need to call anyone. Ultimately, I’m just thankful I didn’t find myself in a situation where I needed to use my phone. Perhaps the real lesson here is that we could all stand to take a step back from technology every so often. Also, don’t spike your phone during a heated conversation– just hang up.

(On another note, I’m thinking of turning my shattered phone into an MP3 player/podcast device. It’d be a shame to let a mostly functional phone go to waste.)

Have you ever been forced to go without your phone for several days? Was the experience liberating, terrifying, or both?

Droid Eris Meets Pavement by Robert Nelson of Flickr

Not representative of my phone

Well, this week has been insane. I’m finally getting another assignment at work and I have been in and out of meetings. Also, my freelance job is picking up a bit and I have been so distracted that I actually forgot to post here earlier in the week! I apologize to all the readers of this lovely blog for my neglect!

One of the aspects of starting something new at my job is introducing myself to and working with a different editorial office. I have to learn and adapt to the way they do things, and that can be difficult after working on the same publication for almost a year. It requires getting to know the new journal and the different people within my company who make things work. It requires patience from everyone. It requires resilience, as well.

It’s almost too easy to get down on myself when I’m feeling discouraged, overworked, and tired. It’s a challenge to pick myself up, dust myself off, and continue going when I feel like just giving up. Sometimes, all I want to do is come home after work and go to bed right away. Sometimes I don’t want to face my other responsibilities and obligations. Then, I talk to my co-workers, friends, and family and realize that I’m not alone. Everybody has these feelings. Everybody feels inadequate and run-down from time to time. The only thing that matters is that I don’t give in to those feelings and give up. I want to keep going and succeed.

Luckily, I’m going to the shore for the weekend with my family to unwind. I think it’s a much needed vacation, am I right?

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