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Life Update

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Hi, friends!

Friend, singular?

No one? That’s fine, too.

Alright, let’s see, my last post was…June of last year. Shit. Almost a year ago.

So, I’ve been gone a while. In my last post, I wrote about how I’d gotten a new job. Last week, I celebrated my one-year anniversary at that job. This was a huge deal for me, and I’m still in awe that I’ve been at my first Big Girl Job for over a year!

Caty Waterfield Final_picmonkeyed

My official work photo!

But, before we celebrate, let’s back up.

Back to last summer.

Shortly after I wrote my previous post, work got really crazy, really fast. My job began to rule my life.

In order for me to get up to the proper speed for the job (i.e. be able to complete the required amount of work), my supervisors ramped me up at an increased rate. I went from a very meager work week (~18 hours) to a full work week in a few weeks’ time. It was super hectic and incredibly overwhelming for me, but my team assured me that everyone had to go through that kind of training at some point and that once I was fully trained, I would be okay.

So I pushed, and I worked, and I sweated, and I cried (for real, it was bad).

BUT

I finally found a good pace. I adapted well to that kind of work, despite how overwhelming the training process had been. Around July, right at 4 months in, I was in a pretty good place; I had a routine.

Then the Bundles happened.

I won’t go into a huge amount of detail, but just know that Research Square offers several different services, and they decided to “bundle” some of those services and see customers’ reactions. We were not expecting the bundles to be a huge hit. But they were, and it literally happened overnight.

Suddenly, my routine was wrecked. There was now brand new protocol to learn and follow, on top of what I was really still learning. It was the overwhelming training process again, but on back alley steroids.

People couldn’t get enough of the bundles―which was great for company/employee revenue, but the fact of the matter was, we didn’t have enough manpower to accommodate the new flood of submissions. Which meant, I was quite literally working around the clock, as was my small team, to get all of our work done on time.

And it’s been this way since August. For a long time, I wasn’t working less than 50+ hours a week (my highest paycheck was for 115). I wasn’t getting a ton of sleep, and the piles of laundry and dishes were comical.

We’ve hired several new people on our team to help out, and while it has been helpful, the amount of work the newbies can do vs. the amount of work that needs to be done doesn’t exactly even out. I’ve still been working my butt off, but, happily, that has calmed down for the most part this month.

On top of all of this, I actually had started to edit my second book. All of my editing was of course put on hold to get my work done. I’d been using my work computer since it had the latest version of Word on it, and I was using the Guest account so that I didn’t have to disable or otherwise work around any of my Word settings under my main work account. Sometime during the summer, Windows 10 became available for download, and I obliged the Microsoft gods on my work computer. Little did I know, this update completely wiped the Guest account on the computer, which erased all of my edits.

It’s been a long year, guys.

A wonderful, but long and hard, year. I’ve cried a lot, and prayed a lot. I’ve chastised and rewarded myself. I’ve developed a ton of new skills and learned so much. Mostly, like usual, I’ve learned that there’s still so much to learn.

February was not any kinder than the year preceding it.

Maybe I’ll write an account of this later, but the short of it is, Justin and I had a small car accident (misleading term—it was an accident which involved our car) just after Valentine’s Day. We ran over basketball-sized rocks that someone put in the middle of the street, causing over $4K worth of damage, and we had to spend 20 days driving a small boat (read: 2016 Buick Enclave).

The following week, my work computer died in the middle of, well, work. Plus, it was almost midnight, so there wasn’t anything anyone could really do to help me. I had to use Justin’s tablet to finish some of the work (thank goodness he’s a quick thinker!) until I could get a loaner computer from work the next day.

We have the car back now, my work computer was fixed, and things finally seem to be looking up!

We were approved for our dream apartment. We’d had our eye on this apartment since last summer, but because these apartments are so awesome, they’re always full. A unit opened up, on the date we needed, for the floor plan we wanted. It was perfect, and we can’t wait to move in May. We’ve already started packing and strategizing.

So, there it is. A life update.

I’m sincerely hoping to update the blog more this year. We went from a team of 3 (me being the third), to a team of now 8. The workload is considerably more manageable, and I feel like I’ve got a pretty good handle on things. For the most part. 🙂

See you soon!

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Me, after I won the Culture Champion Award at work. This award in nomination-based, so people voted for me because they believe I uphold my company’s values. Very awesome stuff.

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The Hardest Part

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First and foremost, I must present you with not only one of my favorite Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers songs, but also the incredibly awkward music video that comes with it.  Please enjoy as you read this post.

I meant to write this when everything first happened. But things got crazy. Everything happened so quickly and then continued to happen at such a rapid pace that this is the first time I’m able to sit down and write about it.

A little over two months ago, I started a new job. It’s an amazing job for an amazing company. I am now an Academic Formatting Specialist for a company called Research Square. I get to work in the middle of downtown Durham, the office itself is really cool and has free sodas in the kitchen, and I get to help people publish their findings in the US. It’s pretty much everything I could ever want in a job—plus I get to work from home whenever I want!

Last summer was very difficult for me. I had been let go from what I then considered to be my dream job and then, once again, I was unable to find work. I had to resort to unemployment benefits for a few months until I could find a job. One of the requirements to those benefits was to search for jobs on a consistent basis and provide proof of your job search. It was through one of my job searches to keep the benefits that I first met Research Square.

The photo taken of me on my first day!

I originally applied for an editing job there. I was called in for an interview last September, and, although I didn’t end up getting that job, I instantly fell in love with the company and the office and my would-be coworkers. I was absolutely crushed when I didn’t get the editing gig because all I wanted at that point was to work at Research Square.

Around the same time, I had applied for a job through a temp agency. I was able to begin work there very shortly after my RS interview, and the unemployment benefits stopped. I worked at the temp job until February of this year, and I actually really enjoyed it. What was supposed to be a two-week stint turned out to last over six months, and the pay was incredible. But, I knew going in that it was a temp job, and eventually those have to come to an end. I’d made enough money at that temp job to keep me afloat for another few weeks before it was absolutely essential that I find more work.

I thought back to RS and wondered, even hoped, that maybe there was something there waiting for me. I wrote an email to Amy, the woman I had interviewed for back in September, who also happened to be the hiring manager. I figured if anyone knew of any open positions, it would be her. She wrote back and was delighted to hear from me. Sadly, she said, there were no open positions available. However, she did advise that I set up a lunch date with a couple of people that were out of town when I interviewed in September.

So, I did. I didn’t know it at the time, but I had lunch with the woman who would be my boss in less than a month. There was very scant talk of a position that could open up down the line. After lunch, and for several days after, I constantly refreshed the open positions page on the RS website, hoping to be the first to apply for the new position. When it finally showed up, I applied immediately.

It wasn’t long after that that an interview was set up. Then the interview happened, and I was sure I’d made a fool of myself.

Things got tense, because the same temp agency I’d worked for earlier in the year had been working to get me another job—which I was very grateful for. The timing was very inconvenient, though. I was waiting to hear back from RS regarding the position I really wanted, but I couldn’t just say no to a job that was being offered to me. Justin and I decided that I would accept the temp position and then, if RS offered me the job, I could quit. That’s what I did.

Then, the night before I was to start the temp job, I got my offer email from RS! I don’t know if I can put into words how filled with happiness I really was. There was an email, staring at me, telling me that I was not only wanted somewhere but could start on this date for this much money. It was as official as it gets. I screamed, Justin screamed, we jumped up and down, he told the guildies. All the official stuff.

I began work on March 16 and it’s been going like a runaway train ever since.

Sometimes, work got to be too much to handle. I was working almost 70 hours a week, and I hadn’t even had the job for more than a month! Thankfully, this was addressed, and now my workload, at least to start since I’m still learning everything, is much more manageable.

I love who I work with and what I do. It’s not exactly editing, but it’s another form of editing. Not to worry, my meticulous nature is still being catered to. 🙂 This job is a big deal to me, not only because of what it is and who the company is, but because this is the first time I’ve been given an in on the ground floor. Every other job I’ve ever had through a temp agency or was part-time work. This is official from every side, and that’s amazing!

I got my square…because now I’m a Square!

So, that’s what’s going on. I’ve had this tab open for several weeks, trying to find time to write about my new job, but sometimes life is hectic. I haven’t had much time to read or edit my second book, either, so don’t worry—it’s not just the blog that has suffered.

I’m hoping that I can continue updating this blog again now that I have more time to write. Thanks for following along, even in times of uncertainty. I know that the waiting is the hardest part.

Book Review: Skin Game

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Skin Game, by Jim Butcher

★★★★★

Skin Game is the fifteenth book in the Dresden Files series, written by Jim Butcher.  The book follows Harry Dresden, after Mab forces him to join his arch nemesis Nicodemus, on a quest into the Underworld. Read the rest of this entry

Book Review: Cold Days

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Cold Days, by Jim Butcher

★★★★★

Cold Days is the fourteenth book in the Dresden Files series, written by Jim Butcher.  The book follows Harry Dresden, a modern-day wizard fighting crime in Chicago, taking up his new mantle as the Winter Knight, and having to save Chicago from disaster on Halloween night. Read the rest of this entry

Book Review: Ghost Story

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Ghost Story, by Jim Butcher

★★

Ghost Story is the thirteenth book in the Dresden Files series, written by Jim Butcher.  The book follows Harry Dresden, a modern-day wizard fighting crime in Chicago, following his death at the end of Changes and his attempt to find out who murdered him. Read the rest of this entry

2015: Bigger, Better, Faster, Stronger

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Here’s to 2015!

Sigh of Relief.

At last, 2014 is officially over.  At first, I was optimistic about the year, but that light quickly faded.  The first three months were deceivingly awesome.  I got promoted at work, and thought the year could only get better from there.  Then April happened.  Bonnie got really sick, sick enough that I was convinced she was dying.  We spent an absurd amount of money trying to make her better and trying to just figure out what was wrong.  We finally did, and she was able to take some pain meds and get better.  I’m beyond thankful for her recovery, but it was one of the giant letdowns that 2014 brought us.  Then, in May, I got let go from my job that I’d been promoted to two months prior.  I spent the summer unemployed, in constant stress trying to find work.  I found a temp job at Duke and worked there for almost three months.  As of right now, I’m waiting to hear back on another job at Duke that I’ve interviewed twice for.  It sounds positive.  We’ll see.  In November, Justin fell off his motorcycle and had to spend the next several weeks recuperating.  It was just one thing after another.

On the bright side, 2014 wasn’t all bad.  I was able to reconnect with some people toward the end of the year, I had a great birthday, had a great time at D*Con, published my book, and learned new things.  I hope the coming year holds more of that.

Anyway, now that 2014 is finally in the past, let’s move on to 2015. Read the rest of this entry

2014: Bye, Felicia.

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I’m not sure that I’ve ever been so ready for a year to end.  Usually, I write a pretty sappy end-of-year post and review everything that happened.  This year’s post isn’t going to be like that.

Last year, when I wrote the EOY post for 2013, I was incredibly sad to see it ending, and remarked that 2014 wouldn’t be able to hold a candle to it.  And I was right. Read the rest of this entry

Forty Years From Now (Ago)

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This morning, the Writers Write Facebook page posted this picture to its timeline:

Now, I don’t know if I’ll still be blogging when I’m 70.  Hell, I don’t know if I’ll still be blogging when I’m 30, and that’s less than two years away!

But what I do know is that I love to chronicle my life — it’s the whole reason I blog in the first place. Read the rest of this entry

Book Review: Changes

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Changes, by Jim Butcher

★★★★★

Changes is the twelfth book in the Dresden Files series, written by Jim Butcher.  The book follows Harry Dresden, a modern-day wizard fighting crime in Chicago, and his journey to save a little girl from a blood ritual by the Red Court. Read the rest of this entry

The 2015 Book-A-Week Challenge

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This year has been pretty crazy.

I edited my book, then published it, I turned 28, I got laid off from one job and just started another, I went to D*Con, and now I’m getting ready to write my second book in November.

I haven’t had a lot of free time, not even for reading (or blogging, for that matter!).

But that’s changing in 2015.

Read the rest of this entry