Thursday, January 28, 2010

Of Peace and Quiet. and Not.

More discoveries made today that may help in the future; when dealing with someone with whom you do not get along with it is better to just avoid that person all together(if possible). Tried appeasing the head-chewing beast with a recipe for roasted red-pepper and hummus dip (she's a vegetarian) and for a couple of days got good behavior. Also manned the gallery this week mostly by myself and found I rather liked it.
I like the serenity of the gallery and the quiet dim lighting. I like being surrounded by pretty objects. I like greeting the people who come in and being able to tell them all about the current exhibit and see how much they like it. What I think I like the most is that not only am I allowed to screw around on the computer for three hours if I want, I can sit there and read or sew or draw and its fine as long as I keep an eye on the gallery.
I like meeting all these new people in and around the school.
All this is in great contrast when GM shows up. Have decided either GM is a tightly strung individual or has bi-polar. I was hoping it would be just me again so I could get some sewing projects done while I gallery-sat but Director, as she was leaving, mentioned GM was showing up to do some shopping for upcoming auction event. Appeasing the beast only works briefly, it seems. On one hand she's super nice; complimenting my outfit, gushing over the cuteness of my sewing project, thanking me profusely for being here and helping out but on the other hand she has her 'snap' moments. This is my favorite GM moment of the day:
Sitting in the employee lounge we were going over the sheet listing artists who were donating art pieces for the auction. First GM asks if my hand-writing is decent because she can't stand other peoples handwriting if she can't read it, then said never mind because many people would be writing on the list so I guess it doesn't matter?
Then we have a nice little skermish on how exactly should we keep track of all the artists, art pieces and how to number them. So I thought the logical thing to do was to number each artist on the list 1 to 100 straight down but as I penned in number 6 GM lets out a screech of 'DON'T DO THAT!!!' making me pause in a sort of shocked awe that someones voice could have that sort of penetrating quality. Another scuffle ensues that I should have automatically known that she wanted to number the artists as they came in to drop off art pieces and NOT assign them numbers before hand. Then she decides oh what the hell, let's just number them now but not in my handwriting and we throw the first list out and reprint it with the numbers.
My second favorite GM moment of the day was meeting her boyfriend who reeked of cigerettes and was the tall, Gumby type. I see lots of those types nowadays; six-four, in desperate need of caloric intake, all skinny arms and legs. I always wonder how in the world they manage to look like an emaciated scarecrow; don't men eat these days? Anyway, I got to suffer through the love-dove syndrome of watching those two go 'i love you' *smack* 'no i love YOU' *smack* 'noooo, I love you!'. seriously. I was happy to get out of there.
Tomorrow we are taking down the current exhibit and taking in donations from 2 - 4. Am hoping that in being surrounded by many people GM will be slightly's the phrase I'm looking for? Not so tightly wrapped, two-faced, ankle gnawingly nuerotic? Seriously, the only other people that have ever screeched at me like that (for something so minor too) are family members. Not entirely certain what to do about her. Will consider super glueing her car keys to the desk or something more creative. (no not really)
But you know my parents took me out for sushi tonight so that made me super happy.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Valentines and Glass

Slowly progressing to an equalibrium within the gallery; on Friday I managed to get my times screwed up and showed up nearly an hour late to the great digress of GM. and I have to admit I'm probably driving her to an early grave with casual screw-ups. (which is an even stranger thing because I'm usually a very competent person) I still get the feeling she looks at me like a retarded three-year-old. Today was better. They found someone to conduct calls so the pressure is off for me to go around telemarketing local businesses into giving up the goods. (which also leads me to wonder if they hired someone specifically to do these calls why did they have me do it in the first place and let me screw it up?) This little community within the University is strangely connected; I keep running into people I've 'known' (had classes with) for the last three years. One of the happiest things is that I get to work with other local talent and maybe find my chance to get a break into the art world.
Cleaned up the storage unit downstairs, rifled through boxes and drawers and found that the university keeps records of every show they've have since 1960. So I got to see some awesome trippy posters from the 60's and 70's (even though I was supposed to be sweeping). Turns out this year is the 50th anniversery of the gallery. Also found the Theatre's collection of vintage clothing (noo, I didn't try anything on. most of it was dead animals anyway). It's sort of a strange thought that the things I was tidying up in that storage unit have been around longer then I've been alive. Looking at the dates was interesting; I was thinking 'this year I was still in High School' and 'this year was when I had to go into counseling'. I'm sentimental like that.
Towards my last hour GM was actually interested in having a conversation with me; so we actually talked. We do have some things in common - we both love tea and be careful of what we eat and we both have strict feelings about financial responsibility. Also saw gender difference in the workplace close up (I watched a video about this in Gender and Society a year ago). Women tend to treat everyone like they are on an equal level.
Ex. today GM was telling me what needed to be done (mailing letters, cleaning floor, putting dishes away in staff room kitchen) then she burst out and said, 'I'm not trying to boss you around, it just really needs to be done'. Trying to reach to me as an equal where as if it were a male dominated staff I would have recieved orders, been expected to get them done and report back for more without a fuss (hierarchy). Iiinteresting. I think I'm more comfortable with the hierarchy approach. If you're the boss you tell me what to do and I'll do it. Maybe it's all those years in J.R.O.T.C.
Also looking into finishing a drawing for the Valentine Auction (deadline is Saturday). This is a big event of the year seeing how these donations and profits will fund the gallery for the rest of the year. I kinda wish I were getting paid for this but at the same time I guess you can't expect work to be fun like this. Well, sometimes it's fun. And sometimes interesting. Most of the time so far I sit behind a desk in the gallery and make sure people don't poke the art work.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Pecking Order

You have to admit, standing back and looking from a different angle at all my neurosis, that it's an interesting study in behavior and psychology- what sets off the anxiety within me. This morning I had worked myself into a fever pitch, complete with the shakes about going in and continuing volunteering even though the logical portion of my mind says, 'WTF, suck it up idiot'. Of course logic also dictates that the alternatives are undesirable; I could quit and run away but the consequence would be a slide back into depression and feelings of worthlessness rather than coping with the anxiety and trying to expand my little world.
So I went.
And I learned more valuable lessons in life and dealing with people. I learned today that GM does not like me. I wouldn't say a personal dislike and it may improve with time but for the moment; oh yea she doesn't like me.
A moment, please, to explain how my brain works when dealing with new situations and learning new concepts. A pattern that my teachers noted even when I was a child was that while it seems to take me longer than most to get the concept, once I've gotten the concept I'm a genius with it.
So, right now, when I ask GM repeatedly how something works its not that I don't get it, or I'm not getting it, it's just how my brain works; it'll take a while for me to assimilate but once I've understood how it works I'll work wonders. It's do you explain that to someone without coming off sounding like a retard?
and the woman has no patience. at all.
Today was a sort of blah day. First week of the new semester, not much going on, just sitting around mostly. I met several other volunteers that I liked quite a bit. Talked to Director of gallery (hearby known as the Director) and I like her quite a bit too; she's very easy to get along with. Learned that snark in the workplace is not limited to retail as one visitor bitched out GM about not having lables for each and every one-hundred and forty four items in the gallery that will only be up for two weeks. Ah, it was like old times; people biting your head off for stupid things like not having pre-shrunk cotton t-shirts on hand. I don't think I'll ever work in retail again if I can help it.
Noted the admirable difference in personality with GM as she's super cheerful with other people but short and bitchy with me. My favorite moment for the day was dropping off boxes in storage and she bends over to heave one in her arms (seriously, wtf are you doing with it?) then barks out, 'I need some help with this!!' becaaause I'm supposed to read her mind apparently. Mother advises me to chew her out, father tells me its the pecking order for the newbie and to just stick it out. Hmm, in this particular situation seeing how we are working closely together I don't honestly see the merit in getting into nasty fight (which is what it would turn into) and have to work with those bad feelings and know that behind my back she's saying aaall sorts of happy things about me. Which I get the feeling she's already doing. Seriously, is this how it is in the work place?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


Played hookey for the entire weekend (incidentally forgot Monday was a holiday) and now I'm finding myself coping with more aspects of a working life. I totally blew today off; oh yes I shouldn't have I know but I decided on Monday morning I didn't feel like coming in till Wednesday and honestly, as a volunteer, don't I have the right to decide when I will come in and donate free time? Isn't that why I decided on volunteering instead of working? Being torn in different directions by this whole volunteering thing. In one corner we have my father, the great weight of hard work ethic, give-it-everything-you've got-even-if-it-kills-you do everything you can and ask for more mentality that's pulling on me. I'm beginning to see where my patterns of panic come from; when you have that sort of pressure on you to do it, do it, DO IT no matter what it sort of warps you. So I'm starting to get flutters of panic when the curator emails me and says lets get together with GM to schedule you and last Thursday GM adopts the mentality that, after two days of working I should automatically know how every is supposed to work and I should start taking the weight of doing her job for her.
The other corner is me juggling nearly ten years of not working, there being no jobs, having these people treat me like they are actually paying me when they aren't (GM wanted me to baby-sit gallery today, all day when I said in my interview that I could devote maybe three hours a day to volunteering) and my only real work experience having been not a very good one. I did work for nearly two years at a gift shop in a Hyatt Regency; funny thing about middle-class jobs - they treat you like crap. So you've already worked eight days in a row? sorry bout' that, work for another four days. You've been working ten-hour shifts? well, I need you to stick around for a few more hours today. It got to the point where every employee jumped ship like rats on a sinking boat and there were only me and three other people working nearly 14 hour shifts, seven days in a row when I finally had a breakdown and quit. I later learned that the regional manager finally closed down the entire store, fired everybody and opened it later.
So I get a little jumpy when people start talking about 'working extra hours' and 'could you please stick around...' Being overworked and expected to take it or get fired sucks ass. I've been there, I went to college so I wouldn't be there again (or at least if I'm going to practically live where I work I want to work in something I like).
These people at this gallery are acting like I'm going to be the next gallery manager when I don't recall agreeing to it.
wait a minute, aren't I a volunteer? I agreed to this whole thing because it was supposed to be easy. I volunteered and didn't apply to work because as a volunteer you can come and go as you please, right? more or less? Sigh. Week two of me trying to be a real person in the real world. I wonder when I go down there tomorrow if they're going to fire me. from volunteering.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Deal With It

I think that's one of the phrases I hate the most; having heard it from numerous people at various times in my life. Today's volunteering did not go so well. It brings to mind things I've forgotten about the work place, probably the most important thing; the people you have to deal with at work. You don't choose the people you work with, usually, but they play such a vital role in what makes or breaks your day and your general outlook. On one of my brief forays into the working world one of the women I worked with sent out such a sub-level freezing vibe that it literally could be felt just by being in the same room with her. Her general outlook on life was one of such beaten-down cold misery she oozed unhappiness. There isn't anyone so bad at the gallery but the first five minutes upon entering I learned gallery manager (hearby called GM) was lacking sleep and wasn't feeling good. Then I sliced my thumb open. Then we spent a cheerful hour putting up shelving with a drill with a wall that had an aversion towards screws (and, funnily enough, I know a little about general home improvement so I asked if there was a stud behind a particular spot where the screw was not going in but was only met with blank stares and the suggestion that we get the hammer and nails out).
Also learned that while my father (and I suppose me, to some extent) may have lofty ideals of hard work and giving 110% ect. ect. not everybody else does. Professionalism differs; while putting in the very last shelf GM was having a hard time getting the screw in the wall and after it popped out for the fourth time she told me, mildly hysteric, to back off and give her some space in which I'm not sure if I should be amused, irritated or understanding. A little of all three I guess.
Now comes the fun part. Seeing how there is a Valentine's auction coming up the gallery sent out letters to local businesses asking about donating something. Most answered, some declined and about forty of them never returned an answer so GM asks if I would call some numbers and try and get some answers.
Do I have to reiterate my feelings on dealing with people and the public? Or for that matter telemarketing and pushing people into 'donating'? I hate it. It irritates the hell out of me. I hate calling people on the telephone, I hate dealing with people on the phone. Answering the phone for a business, not so bad. Deliberately calling people to harass them about giving you things, not so fun.
So even though GM says, 'if you're not comfortable don't do it' she then does a 360 and says,'its good for you to get out of your comfort zone, just try a couple' and calls one of the businesses as an example to have the woman snap at GM saying they've already called.
I do realize how important it is to do things that are not comfortable and phone etiquette is terribly important in a business -so I do it.
And do it rather badly.
First, one of the other people/volunteers/whoever copied down one of the numbers wrong so while I was attempting to call a book store I instead got the wine and spirits store. However, being oh so plucky I pulled that off just fine to have the man tell me they have no interest in us. A couple more and it wasn't so bad, gave the gallery number, got a fax number
THEN I managed to get another number mixed up and called the lady that GM called five minutes previously and harassed her a bit further in which I wish I had kept my big fat mouth shut about telling GM because instead of saying, 'well, that's okay' or even laughing about it (I mean, come on - comedy of errors here) she says, 'well that's not good. This is bad.'
I am in two minds about this.
First, we did have a lively little discussion about my comfortable-ness about telemarketing (and it is exactly that) in which I stated I was not comfortable and not even good at it but I did it anyway so she shouldn't be too disgruntled when I gave warning and freaking A this is my second day at the gallery.
Second, this is probably one of the most important things that I've done in a long, long time even including finishing college. My people managing skills are sub-level. So even if GM is cranky and not altogether pleasant to deal with today, even if I'm screwing up and am embarassed over it, even if it's not a good day it's experience that I really, really need to go out and be in the world. So I'll be there next week too.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Digging your way out

Another short post; having dinner guests coming over soon. So after my fantastic fall to the bottom of the barrel the next day I went back out to the University to talk to my advisor to beg-er ask for something anything to do in the Art department and he said go and see if the gallery needs volunteers. So I did. And they did. and I'm actually doing something with my time now even if it doesn't pay. Today was the first official day 'working'. I figure this is like training wheels for getting a 'real' job. Volunteering will get me used to getting out of the house and working with other people BUT if I panic or freak out it's not a big deal if I say 'gotta go, see ya' when volunteering not like with a real job if you said, 'see ya' there is a good possibility you wouldn't have a job anymore. So today. This morning before I went in, of course, I was anxious. It's always that way when I go into something new (even though this is more like new/old because I've practically lived in the art department for the last four years) but the second I met up with the manager she had me dragging wooden podiums from storage to paint for the new exhibit which opens next week.
Then I spent a cheerful two hours labeling 141 hand-crafted books. It was freaking awesome even if it was backbreaking (two hours of squatting and standing) and I completely ruined the outfit I was wearing (haha, stoooopid; whaddya expect when you paint things?). I come back tomorrow to do office work, like calling people and bugging them to donate things. Oh, AND I get to enter something in the Valentine show coming up. I'm all connected now and it's awesome.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Oh Crap.

Having monumentally bad night. Missed church this morning, mother went without me and I think there was some sort of preservative in the chicken stock that's setting off the anxiety again. Or it could just be me. Do you have any idea how much I'm hating my life at this moment? How much the regret and resentment is pressing on my mind? This is my life; I'm here Sunday night all alone. I don't have a job to go to tomorrow, even the volunteer form I sent in hasn't been accepted. I have a degree that's worthless. I have a lot of talent and I don't know how or where to put it. I am so frightfully alone the only person I can call right now and cry to are my parents. This is not a fun feeling.
How did this happen? I never understood how I managed to be the odd one out. Why does everyone around me have somewhere to belong and I'm almost thirty and I still haven't found it. I haven't worked in almost ten years. To make any sort of change in my life seems to require years of effort. So, maybe, when I'm thirty-five I'll have a nice part-time job sacking grocery's somewhere.
I just, this is just one of those damn nights where you feel like your out of place, out of luck, with all your faults glaring you in the face. I'm still terrified of working. I still panicked when my friend came over to hang out and that was supposed to be enjoyable. I just don't understand why God made this way; why do I have to go through life like ...this. How do I change it? I'm terrified of my future. If I can't belong, if I can't find a place where I can support myself then what? It's becoming more unacceptable with each passing year. I just want a job I can do and some people that I can call when things get bad. I don't know what to do right now.