In order to collect my unemployment compensation, I had to go down to the local CareerLink on May 8 - it was basically a "class" to help those of us who were unemployed find work, both through CareerLink and by other means. At least now I can get my money for unemployment =)
However, that's not going to matter that much as of late, because my break is over and I'm no longer unemployed - I'm back to work.
First, though, here's what has been going on lately:
Dad won a trip to a bed and breakfast last year at work and, since it was going to expire this June, my parents decided to go to it last weekend, which means I had the house to myself =)
They still wanted to make sure I was taken care of, though: Granny called every so often to make sure I was OK and also took me out to supper on Saturday. On Sunday, Grandma picked me up for church and then took me to her house for lunch. While we were considering whether or not to go out for lunch, she made a quick snack in the oven...and just after she finished, the power flickered a few times and went out completely (likely due to strong winds that were going on at the time). My aunt's cellphone and the one land-line in the house were the only things that worked - she called our local power company to report the outage; I called Granny to let her know of the outage and also asked if the power went out there, since both of my computers were on when I left. Fortunately, for me, the power didn't go out over there...but unfortunately, for her, the umbrella table she had outside was - if I heard correctly - blown over from the wind, shattering the glass portion of the table into pieces (the umbrella itself seemed OK).
Remember what I said about going back to work? The interesting thing is how I got the job...because, technically, I didn't put my name in for it. Mom was riding on her bike two weeks ago and was stopped by someone she knew along the way (near the place of business, actually). They talked for awhile...and they ended up getting me a job! I had to head down to their office to take a little organization test, which consisted of three parts:
- Alphabetical: by name, sorted first to last. When I got to the "Mc" and "Mac" prefixes, I accidentally sorted them at the beginning of the "M" list, rather than where they would normally be. I got my sorting order confused with the one I used when sorting voter index cards during the elections awhile back.
- Numerical: by number of digits, least to most, then digits, lowest to highest.
- Alphanumerical: by numbers, lowest to highest, then letters, first to last.
After that, I filled out and signed some papers they needed while I was there, followed by a few more that I filled out over the weekend and brought back the following Monday, my first day of the job.
When I started work on the 12th, my first task was to sort papers by number and date (in that order), hole-punch them and then place them into the appropriate book for the month they fell under; if I found any duplicates, I removed them or stapled them to their matching paper(s), depending on the case. For now, I'll have to do this every day as new papers come in, but those will only be a handful compared to the first time I did this, due to the backlog of papers they had.
My next task, which I should be finishing later this week, was to go through the books for the older months and make sure all of the numbered papers were there. Pages that were out of order were moved to their proper book(s); pages that were were missing were reprinted. I had access to a computer for this, as a few records had to be edited due to not having any data (and had to be marked "blank" so they would have something there). The program I used was custom-built by someone who works there. While working, I typed up suggestions for future revisions to that program as I ran into things, as its efficiency could be greatly improved in some places (not criticizing the programming; just stating that some little changes could have a big impact on its performance).
I also found the source of an intermittent slowdown issue on the computers there (most were at least a few years old) - Windows Defender was scheduled to run at a time when they were working, and runs at the same priority as any other process. Rescheduling the process helped a bit, though setting it to a lower priority would help a lot more...or better yet, we could just get new computers* ;P
(* - not entirely joking here...they work, but are showing their age; one or two brand-new ones have already been put in, so maybe the rest of us might get new computers after all =D)
While working at my job and talking to my supervisor, I found out what they key differences are:
- At the Courthouse (for all jobs, excluding election nights), I worked from 8:00 AM - 4:30 PM, had a 1-hour lunch break and made $7.15/hour.
- At my new job, I work from 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM, have a 30-minute lunch break and make $7.50/hour.
I'm currently working fewer hours (until this can become a full-time position), making more money per hour (but currently less than what I made at the Courthouse, due to the shorter work day), and have a shorter lunch (the only disadvantage so far, since I won't be able to order out often and have to skip over my snacks when I take a packed lunch). However, I'm also on a 90-day probationary period - my wage will increase some time after that and I'll also get benefits like insurance!
The best thing? It's close, roughly five minutes from where I live =D
I didn't have to go to work on Friday*, since my boss wouldn't be there and told me to take the day off. On that day, Mom and I went to the optometrist so she could get her eyes checked for her new contacts and so I could pick up my new glasses, along with getting replacement nose pieces for my now-previous pair. When I tried to clean the nose pieces awhile back (they were pretty dirty at the point they connected to the rims), I accidentally tore them apart - each one was actually two parts (a soft piece for the nose and a hard piece attached to the rims), but I managed to keep them together until earlier that week, when I ended up losing one of them. I dealt with it for the rest of that day, but it was uncomfortable - I ended up purposely tearing the other piece off to even things out; later, I used a nail file to smooth the edges and corners of the hard piece so I could deal with it until I got the replacement pieces.
Later that day, Mom and I went to Pittsburgh Mills (and a few nearby stores) to purchase a few things:
- Floral Craft Pieces and Candle Holders: Mom wanted the craft pieces to make something nice to put in the living room; the candle holders replaced the previous wall accents (metal stalks of wheat).
- Bathroom Fan: the one downstairs has been in place for a long time...it's rusted and doesn't work too well anymore, takes awhile to start up and sometimes makes a squealing noise when in use. We've put up with it for a year or so, but Mom can't put up with it any longer than that. The fan upstairs has also been acting up lately, so we'll probably get another one for that bathroom if this one works good.
- Wrist Cushion for Mouse: the gel-filled one that came with the mousepad I've been using somehow got torn the week before we went to the mall - I had to put a piece of tape over the tear as the exposed gel was sticky, and Mom wanted to get me a replacement for it. This new one uses plastic beads and it'll take a little time to get used to.
- 2 Capacity USB Drive Case: though my Cruzer Micro has a retractable plug, I'd still feel better carrying it in a case like my other little USB drive had. This one can hold two of them (one on each side), providing a rather snug and tight fit (a good thing, given how small the drive is), and can even be hooked onto one of the belt loops of my jeans if I want to. Finally, let me note that I got it in black, not pink as its main picture shows ;P
- The Cable Organizer: this helped reduce some of the cable clutter behind my new computer...but not by much - there's no way to fit more than a few cables inside, and some cables were too short and/or spread out to be put in the organizer. I bought another kit, listed below, and will probably move the organizer currently in use to the previous computer - it will be far more useful over there since that computer has only a few cables to deal with.
- Computer Cable Clips: these will hopefully be more useful for the new desktop, due to the number of cables and the fact they're spread out quite a bit. Since there are multiple pieces, I can better control how the cables are organized, which should help to reduce the clutter better than the above-listed organizer.
[Update (2008/05/23, 2:00 AM)]
I'm off this Friday as well...and also found out that, until further notice, I don't have to come in on Fridays at all =)
Along with Memorial Day this Monday, I'll have a four-day weekend! =D
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