How to Blog After a Long, Hard Week

So here’s something new. I’m going to write a blog post while working on beer #2, and I don’t drink much. I only have 14 more minutes to accomplish this because I can’t miss The Carrie Diaries!

I’ll start with household budgets (no way am I touching the national budget!).

Budget Cartoon

We’ve been through the ringer the past three years. I got real about it in a previous post. Two months ago, we made our last payment on one of our cars and now have the title in our hands (well, it’s actually safely filed away because it would be difficult to go about our daily business with a title in our hands). Living on a budget is something we should have been doing before we were even married, but it is what it is, and we’ve suffered (are still suffering) the consequences. We are entering year 4 of a 5-year plan, and the elimination of a car payment is a huge milestone.

Somewhere along the past several months, a bill fell through the cracks. I’ve been late-paying it ever since (less than 30 days each time). That system bit me in the arse this past week, though. Through a miscalculation on my end, the payment was a few bucks short of the minimum, and they cancelled our auto insurance. FREAK OUT mode! I realized this on Sunday night when I couldn’t contact anyone about it to make it right … the day AFTER our son bought a new car. I don’t know how I managed to fall asleep that night in the midst of a panic attack. First thing Monday morning, I contacted my insurance agent and brought the account current to get the policies reinstated. According to my calculations, this was doable. Then along came Wednesday. Overdrawn! I must have been sheet white. My body was just about numb all over. I forgot to account for the energy bill payment still pending! So I caved and deposited a check drawn on a home equity line of credit account that I swore we’d never touch again – just enough to fix the situation. Breathing again, I managed to get to sleep that night.

Cut to today, PAYDAY! There was no overtime at all on my check for this pay period, but the next one will have about 23 hours of overtime on it. Everything is current at this point, so the overtime will go towards Christmas. With a final “rent” payment coming from our son, we should be back in a comfortable place. Praise sweetbabyjesus! Water and energy (gas/electric combined) bills should be back to normal now, too.

Work

Let me start by emphasizing how grateful I am to be able to work from home for a company that keeps growing and growing and growing! Being promoted to a “Senior Agent” on top of an exceptionally generous annual raise was a pleasant surprise this year. If that raise hadn’t happened this past spring, I don’t think we would be where we are right now.

Here’s the “but”. We are short-handed, and the work is piling up. Hence all the overtime lately. I haven’t clocked out on time in the past couple weeks. Today I took a call at 6pm (when I should be clocking out for the day). They had been holding for about three minutes already. I had to put the wrap-up from my last call on hold to take that call. I got back to that wrap-up at about 6:15. After that was taken care of, I wasn’t done yet. Nope! I was in the middle of a complaint case before THAT call came in. After finishing that case, I finally clocked out at about 6:45pm. That’s nothing! Last week I didn’t clock out until about 7:30pm one day. Thank goodness my commute is only a flight of stairs!

Nevertheless, working past 10 hours is exhausting. Working 10 hours is rough enough because I get absolutely nothing else done on work days. It makes that extra day off each week that much more beautiful, though. I have no desire to go back to five 8-hour days. I’m sure it played a role in my brain’s malfunction noted above (forgetting about a pending payment).

You know what makes it all worth it? The huge, heart-felt thank you I received on the phone today from a customer. Before reaching me, their customer experience had been lackluster. This person literally gushed over the fact that I took the time to really listen to the entire issue with empathy and finally took the appropriate action to help resolve the issue. I nearly cried! This shows how spent the entire department is. We hear similar problems all day every day and forget to treat each case like it’s the first instance of a particular problem. That’s a skill that I’ve worked hard to master and one that I’m proud to possess. Empathy, excellent people skills, professionalism, overall knowledge and understanding of all areas of my department as well a general understanding of other departments, and of course tenure are reasons I’m a great Senior Agent. I wear that badge proudly and take my job seriously.

OK. I’m done now. What goes in must come out … TMI, sorry!

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