Adapting to Change

Since my post on the 9th, I’ve started working at a new job with an entirely different work schedule. The transition from working evenings (for over five consecutive years) to mornings has gone mostly well. I’ve adapted to the drastically different sleep schedule better than I expected. I enjoy leaving work in the early afternoon (as opposed to later in the evening). The freedom to do something on a Friday night is almost overwhelming. I haven’t had the option to do much of anything during the weeknights for years.

I’m still adapting to fitting things beyond the basics into my schedule. I’m slowly figuring out the ideal time to hit the gym, eat dinner, read, study, etc. Updating this blog regularly was something that I struggled with before this shift in schedule– so it’s not much of a surprise that I failed to write a new post last Monday.

That’s not really a good excuse. I know. I’m working on it.

The change in jobs has been an interesting experience. It’s a fairly small operation– less than 20 people work in the entire building. Everyone who works there is very friendly. There’s a lot of sunlight in my workspace (which is a welcome change after working in the dark minimum-security prison that is Gibson Acoustic). I started there in the midst of a transition; we’ll be moving to a different building in a few weeks. The logistics of moving seems to have placed my training toward the bottom of the list of priorities there (which is understandable– moving an entire shop over to a new location is not an easy process). I’m still learning something, obviously, but I don’t feel like my days are directed in any particular way. I’m asked to help out with some basic tasks on an ad hoc basis, then left on my own to figure out what I should be doing next. My frustration is primarily rooted in not knowing the workflow of my job. The order of operations has never been explained to me, which seems like a misstep in the training process. I would greatly appreciate more direction. I’m not sure I’ll get that direction until after the move though.

Aside from wanting more direction, the job has been a vast improvement over Gibson. I’m glad I made the move. Now, I just need to get the rest of my life back on track (ex. going to the gym on a regular schedule again).

The weather is finally starting to be warm again. Summer is nearly here.

Look for another post here by Friday evening. Until then,

-Will

Fighting Boredom in a Mundane Environment

(or How to Survive at a Lame Ass Job)

My current job is highly repetitive. I work in a factory doing production work, which is a nice way of saying that I do the same kinds of tasks over and over again for eight-hours a day.

Obviously, it’s not exciting work. It’s very easy to go on “autopilot”, and time will either drag slowly or fly by depending on your approach. If you’re in a similar environment, and you’re allowed to listen to whatever you want while you work, this post is for you. (It’s also a useful post if you have some other boring shit that you need to get done, but you want your mind to be focused on something less brain murdering.)

I’ve found that podcasts and other spoken media (like audio books) are the best choice to distract your mind from whatever mundane work you’re doing. Music is OK, but you’ll grow tired of playlists quickly if you’re listening to them repeatedly (much like whatever task you’re doing, repetition of anything becomes irritating over time). Podcasts have fresh content posted on a regular basis, and there are thousands of podcasts available. Here’s a list of some that I listen to at work:

  • Tech News Today (TNT) This is a podcast that features the technology news of the day every weekday. Each episode runs about 40 minutes, and new podcasts are posted every evening (typically by 9:30 PM MDT). The hosts can be a little cheesy sometimes, but the show regularly features interesting interviews with tech reporters from other outlets (like CNET, Engadget, TechCrunch, etc.). If you’re interested in technology and want to stay up-to-date on what’s new in the industry, this show is a fantastic choice. (This show is also part of a network of technology podcasts called TWiT [aka “This Week in Tech”]. I also listen to these other shows on their network: All About Android, This Week in Computer Hardware, Triangulation, and This Week in Law.)
  • Self Made Man This is primarily a podcast for male entrepreneurs, but the content is often useful for everyone. It’s a motivational podcast that features interviews with entrepreneurs in a wide variety of industries, often focusing on the skills, routines and habits, and discipline that led to their successes. Listening to inspirational content while you’re in a mundane environment is very refreshing. (You can also think of business ideas that could help you escape from the shackles of boredom.) New episodes are posted every Wednesday, and every episode ends with a banger EDM track (I have no idea why this is a thing, but I like it).
  • The Art of Charm If you’re interested in improving your social skills, this is the podcast for you. The show features content designed to help you interact with other people, by improving your body language, non-verbal communication, vocal tonality, and a myriad of other social nuances that you may struggle with. There are at least four episodes released weekly: Mondays feature short episodes with quick tips to start off the week, Tuesdays & Thursdays are longer-format interview episodes with guests from a variety of different fields, and Fridays are Q&A based episodes where listeners ask for advice with their difficult social situations. It might seem like a weird show to listen to, but the advice is solid and the interviews are interesting (previous guests on the show include Tony Hawk, Shaq, Larry King, and other notable individuals). This podcast has also been running for over a decade, so there are literally hundreds of episodes in their back catalog, which gives you plenty of old (but still useful, relevant, and interesting) shows to check out when you’re out of other stuff to listen to.

Hopefully these podcasts seem interesting to you, but if they don’t, there are literally thousands of other shows for you to explore. I listen to podcasts through the Spotify app on my phone, but there are dozens of other (much better) options for podcast listening, including Pocket Casts, Stitcher, 60db, and TuneIn.

Good luck podcast hunting, and may your hours of boring labor fly by with relative ease.

-Will

Revival

…and just like that, the long dead blog I forgot about for the past three-years came back to life.

Welcome back to The Final Summer: a seasonal daily blog where I write about the events of the day, my interests and aspirations, and a myriad of other things (including original writing pieces and photography). This blog has over 100 posts from previous active years (the blog was primarily active during 2010; the most recent post before this one was written in 2014), which should give you a decent sampling of what this year’s run will look like. I plan on being markedly more consistent this year than my last few attempts.

Now that the introduction is out of the way, let’s dive into a brief recap & today’s post:

SINCE THE LAST POST….

  • I quit my job at the hardware store last summer. I now work at a guitar factory. Today was actually my one-year anniversary there. I have mixed feelings about my “new” job, but it’s better than my old one (I never got a free guitar from my old job).
  • I bought a motorcycle early last year. The picture you see in the header is one that I took whilst on a group ride with some friends. Owning and riding a motorcycle on the street has been an extremely rewarding experience so far. It’s an experience that requires your mind to be completely focused on the present. The result is complete liberation of the conscience– a kind of temporary bliss that you never want to give up. I racked up around 5000 miles on the bike last year alone, and I hope to ride more than that this year.
  • I’m still living in Bozeman. I’m still single. I’m still OK with all that (though I hope to move somewhere else by next year– more on this later).

As I mentioned above, today marked my one year anniversary at the guitar factory. Working at this job has been an interesting experience (and an incredibly mundane, brain-atrophying one as well). I get to work on guitars that cost thousands of dollars, and are considered by some to be the best in the world. I enjoyed wood shop class in high school, so getting to work in a similar environment is kind of neat (though not something I would have ever expected to do back then). While the job is incredibly repetitive, I have the freedom to listen to whatever music, podcasts, and/or audio-books that I want to while I’m working (which does help to counteract the mind-numbing labor).

I feel that working there is holding me back, though. I currently work an evening shift during the weekdays, and this prevents me from meeting new people, as most folks work during the day. The work itself also isn’t very personally satisfying, and I often wish that I was working somewhere that took advantage of my talents. All that being said, I am still thankful to simply have a job, and I don’t think that I’m above working there (or whatever other conceited notion my previous comments may have implied). There is a certain satisfaction that comes with doing an honest day’s work, and I often feel like I’ve worked my ass off at the end of the day. My hands take the brunt of the abuse, and I can feel the carpal tunnel setting in at the end of each shift.

As a writer, this is particularly concerning (for obvious reasons).

It also makes it difficult to play guitar (ironic, eh?).

Outside of work, I haven’t done much today. This job is also the perfect crutch for my night owl tendencies– another reason to get a day job. It’ll take a few days to get back into the groove of blogging, and I promise that future posts will be more interesting than this one.

See you tomorrow,

-Will

….and we’re back. (again.)

Hey, Internet! It’s been awhile. How’ve you been?

Summer 2014 is officially here, and TFS is back for another three-months. If I’ve learned anything from the past three-attempts at a reboot, it is to keep my goals for this project extremely modest. Daily posts are difficult to keep up with, and it’s almost impossible to produce consistently interesting content on a daily basis. I will do my best to post regularly and consistently this time around. As I get back to the project, bear with me; it’ll take a couple of days to adjust to posting on here regularly, and I’ll also try to find the best time of day to post. After I work the initial kinks out, I’ll focus more on the content.

Now that the boring and lame introductory paragraph is behind us, here’s a brief recap of what’s happened since last summer:

  • I’m still working at the hardware store. I’m beginning to grow tired of the evening shifts, and the summer workload is just as bad as last year. My boss will soon be leaving for a “real” job (he recently graduated from MSU), and I’m currently in the best position to be his replacement. I’m not sure if I want the job, but I could use the extra money. My boss doesn’t have any solid plans as to when he’ll be leaving yet, so we’ll have to see what happens as the summer progresses.
  • I’m single. I have been since last September. (Last September was an especially shitty month for me; I totaled the Focus the day after my birthday, and I got dumped a week after that.) I’m trying to focus less on romance, and more on personal improvement.
  • My living situation this summer is much better than last summer. While I loved my old roommate, we had different lifestyle habits that didn’t mesh well. My new roommates and I get along great, and the past several months have been awesome; both of them are currently back in Billings for the summer though, so the apartment is empty. It’s pretty lonely, but I don’t have to worry about waking anyone up if I stay up late. I can also play my music loud and walk around my apartment in my underwear if I want, so it could be worse.
  • I’m back in school again, and it feels great. It’s nice to be working toward a solid, long-term goal again. I’m majoring in biochemistry again, and while that might seem silly, I really think it’s the best fit for me. I also have a clearly-defined goal to keep me motivated this time around. I’m trying to take a class during the summer session, but I still need to work out the details with my adviser. I’ll let you know what happens with that later.

I’ve met a few new people over the last year, but Bozeman still feels deserted during the summer. I really want this summer to be different though, so I’m going to try and get out more often, and hopefully meet new friends. My time as a lonely guy who stays at home and watches too much TV is done. It’s time to get out, live life to the fullest, and finally defeat boredom.

May we all be victorious against that bastard.

– Will

Work, Work, Camping, Work

In the ten-days that have passed since my last post, I have been very busy.

I’ve been working more at my hardware-store job, and I just started working at my new merchandising job this week. Last weekend, I went on a backpacking/camping trip to Mystic lake with Elijah, Katherine (Elijah’s girlfriend), and Sara. And in between all of that, I’ve been either sleeping, watching episodes of Adventure Time or Regular Show, or calling people about the apartment I’m planning to move-in to in August.

Arguably, there was probably fifteen-minutes or so in the midst of all that stuff that I probably could have used to update this blog, but alas, I did not.

Anyway, I’ll dive into some more specific details about the stuff I mentioned earlier now:

  • Backpacking to Mystic Lake was a really fun and awesome experience. It was my first backpacking trip, and it was my first time camping in a couple of years. I definitely appreciate how difficult it is to chop wood with a semi-dull hatchet (and basically zero prior firewood chopping experience)– it was definitely more difficult than I anticipated. Despite my laughable attempts at gathering firewood, we still managed to have a decent campfire, and we had a fun time in the great outdoors. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to go backpacking again soon.
  • My new merchandising job has been really awesome so far. While the online computer training is about as exciting as any other online computer training I’ve done for every other retail job I’ve had (translation: it was incredibly boring), the other aspects of the job have been great. This job has a lot of perks and privileges that I’ve never had with any of my past jobs, and a lot more personal responsibility, but I like it so far. I went on my first “real” day of work today (nobody else was there to supervise me or guide me), and it went well. The work is pretty easy, and somewhat mundane, but it’s fast-paced enough to keep me from getting too bored. It sounds like I’m going to be doing some traveling for this job as well, which I’m kind of looking forward to, and also dreading at the same time. I love the idea of being paid to drive places; I hate the idea of how much of my free-time that might consume.
  • The home-improvement store job has been giving me more hours lately, which is great because I need the money so that I can move into my apartment (in addition to various other expenses– like rent for my current apartment). However, it also puts more pressure on me to develop some sort of a time management system, because my free time outside of work is being compressed between both jobs. I might buy a planner of some sort after I get my paycheck next week… that would definitely help.

That’s basically all that’s been going on since my last post. I’ll try to post another update soon (maybe with some pictures from the backpacking trip?)– but no promises!

Until next time,

– Will

Post #100:

Before I dive into another “exciting” post about what’s happening in my life, I would like to take a moment to acknowledge the very minute accomplishment of reaching 100-posts on this blog. It’s taken a few years to reach, but I’ve finally hit 100-posts on here. (Wow. That is a lot of time wasted WELL SPENT.) Thank you for reading this blog, and I hope you stick around for (hopefully!) the next 100 posts.

I’m beginning to fall back into the cycle of sleeping until the afternoon, wasting time until I have to go to work, working for a number of hours, and going to bed late.

It is an incredibly boring cycle to be in, folks. (I miss my friends; they gave me the motivation to get up and actually DO something.)

Fortunately, the day was not a total waste. I contacted the recruiter for the new job I’ll be starting next week, and I scheduled my pre-employment drug screening for tomorrow. (There’s nothing quite as fun as peeing in a cup at a clinic, guys.) I also got all of my tax-stuff for my job filled out, and I’m basically all set to start my new job. I just need to pick up a new pair of khakis and some dress shoes, and then I’ll be good to go.

I’m very excited to start this job simply because it will be something new and different. While I appreciate my other job (I’ll call it “Job #1” from now on, and I’ll refer to the new job as “Job #2” to prevent confusion), it is incredibly boring and somewhat frustrating. I’m hoping that this new job will bring an end to this boring cycle that I’ve been stuck in, and hopefully spark some motivation to do new things (like read, work out, and write regularly).

I’m also hoping that it will encourage me to begin organizing my life, and schedule everything out. One of the biggest difficulties I faced in school this year was a lack of organization, which caused me to start on assignments late, study for tests and quizzes at the last minute, and even miss a few online assignments. Juggling two jobs will require me to maintain some sort of organizational skills– I’m just hoping that they crossover to my academic life.

Anyway, I should probably be heading to bed (it is 4:30 in the morning; I should have been in bed hours ago). Stay tuned for another post in the near future!

– Will

P.S. By “near future” I mean sometime later this week. I’m trying to keep my writing goals modest as I come back to writing on this blog regularly, so I don’t want to make any promises about writing a post tomorrow. So while that does mean that a post could be on here tomorrow, it doesn’t necessarily mean that there will be a post here tomorrow. I will definitely have at least ONE new post on here by Friday though, so tune in sometime between now and then if you want to stay current with the blog. Alternatively, you can subscribe/follow this blog (to subscribe to this blog, scroll to the bottom of the page and enter your e-mail address in the form underneath the box that says “Subscribe”) to stay updated on when new posts are posted onto this blog. (I really hope this didn’t confuse you, but if it did, please let me know in the comments section below, and I will answer any questions you have. Thanks!)

The Writer Returns…

I’ve been away from this blog for nearly three-weeks. It would be pretty dumb to simply state that things have happened while I was away, so I’m going to avoid doing that.

Before I dive into a summary of what’s happened while I was absent, I would like to take a moment to discuss the blog’s format. At the beginning of this summer, I wanted to return to the original spirit of this blog by writing at least one post everyday for the entire summer. And while that was a great idea at the start, its become quite apparent that I will not be able to keep up with that goal. Life is too busy, stressful, and boring at the moment to maintain that format. Despite giving up on that goal, I would like to begin updating this blog regularly again. I plan to post on this blog at least two-times per week; this will keep new content coming in, and it’s a reasonable workload to maintain. Hopefully I’ll keep up my part of the bargain by remembering to post on here.

Now that I’ve gotten the boring format stuff out of the way, let’s dive into what happened while I was away…

Since my last post, I’ve gotten another job, took a week off from work to spend time with some close friends, and I ran over a cone with a truck at a job interview. In other words, I’ve been busy.

I recently was hired for a merchandising job at a large retail merchandising company. This position pays more than my current job, but I won’t be getting as many hours. With that being said, I do not plan to quit my current job; I plan to work at both jobs. I don’t start working at this job for another week, but I’m extremely excited to start. I’m excited to start earning more money, and I’m looking forward to the new experience that will come with this job.

Despite picking up a second job, my parents continue to harass me about getting a different job that will pay more money in some sort of seasonal field, like forest-firefighting. What my mother fails to recognize is that many of these high-paying seasonal jobs require previous experience in that field, and/or a trade-based skill that requires years of experience or some sort of vocational schooling.

My attempts to explain the difficulties involved with obtaining one of these jobs to my mother is a waste of time, and it only leads to arguments and nasty comments. I honestly wish there was a simple way to explain to my mom that quitting two jobs that will provide me steady, livable, year-round income in favor of a seasonal job (that may or may not be high-paying) simply does not make sense. If you want to keep a fire burning over a long period of time, you don’t just buy a gallon of gasoline and some lighter fluid and hope for the best; following the same logic, I’m not going to throw away two jobs with steady income in favor of one temporary, high-paying job. It just doesn’t make sense.

In addition to disappointing my parents by not picking up some high-paying job out of thin air, I took a week off from work to spend time with a few friends. Kelci took a week off to visit Ryan and me in Bozeman, and Sara also came up for the week. It was nice to spend time with them, and we had a really awesome week. I’ll definitely feel the pinch on my next paycheck,  but I don’t care; spending time with my closest friends is worth a little starvation (haha).

Oh, and I had an interview for a shitty satellite company job last week. It was a trainwreck. I had trouble finding the place and ended up being nearly ten-minutes late. The guy who interviewed me was a complete asshole, and he had the most horrendous unibrow I’ve ever seen. The interview started with a confined-spaces driving test, and involved driving a pickup truck in an S-formation around some cones. You had to drive forward through the S-curve without backing up, and then drive in reverse through the S-curve without driving forward. Simple, right?

I got through the forward-driving part of the test just fine; I totally nailed a cone on the driving in a reverse portion of the test because I swung too wide on the second turn.

Yes, I freely admit that I fucked up that test. However, I think it’s stupid that you aren’t allowed to drive forward to adjust your position, as this is a constraint that doesn’t apply in the real-world.

Also, I need to get more experience backing up a pickup truck, because I’m too used to driving my nimble compact-car.

That’s all I’ve got. I’ll write another post soon (hopefully!). Later.

– Will

I’ve been away from the blog for a few days– yes, I know that’s not how this is supposed to be going, but life is weird. Anyway, I’m going to post a proper update on stuff that happened while I was away later; right now, I need to vent about boring and frustrating work stuff.

I work at a large retail store in the freight department, and recently we’ve been receiving more product than usual due to a seasonal increase in customers.

While the amount of work has increased, the amount of working hours available for my department have not– in fact, my hours have been lower than usual.

So, instead giving the already trained and seasoned associates who have open availability more hours, they’ve decided to hire two new part time associates.

Yes, they would rather spend more money to train new people than reward their loyal, hardworking associates with more hours.

I could understand if we were all full-time, and more hours would mean that we would be getting overtime, but that is not the case– everyone is part-time. Why not bump us up to full-time for the season?

Because logic does not apply here, apparently.

Time to get a new job.

Later.
– Will

Motivation to Keep Moving Forward

Yes, I missed another day. No, I don’t have a legitimate excuse for missing a day.

Instead, I’ll fill you in on what happened.

I had an eight-hour shift at work as a cart-pusher, and it was exactly as exciting as you can imagine it would be…

If you have a poor imagination, you could recreate the experience by pacing back and forth in a confined area, carrying a rock from one end to the other, over and over again, for eight-hours (oh, and you get two fifteen-minute breaks, and a lunch break).

After work, I drove an hour-and-a-half to come home for a few days. Now, I’m in Billings, spending time with my family.

The point I was trying to get to at the beginning of this post was how incredibly motivating it was to spend an eight-hour shift pushing carts… I’ll get back to that now.

As I pushed shopping carts back and forth, I couldn’t help but to think about how incredibly menial the task was. I kept thinking about how I could have been spending my time doing something so much more productive, and interesting, and just better than pushing carts.

I scored in the top 10% of the nation on my ACT’s. Why the hell am I pushing carts?!?

It bugged me. It made me frustrated. It made the shift drag on for a small eternity.

….

I can’t wait to go back to school.

 

Work, Sleep, Repeat.

One day into my daily blogging venture, and I already missed a day. Whoops.

I would feel more disappointed about missing a day/post if yesterday was more exciting. I spent the first half of the day watching movies and sleeping (my sleep schedule has been really messed up lately), and I spent the second half at work. Fortunately, I have two-days off (today and tomorrow), so there should be plenty of time to do some fun stuff (as well as catch up on all of my “adult” responsibilities– like cleaning my apartment).

I’m debating whether or not I want to spend the early hours of today taking care of all of my responsibilities, OR just going outside and enjoying the nice weather. I charged my camera battery yesterday, and it’s looking beautiful outside…

Maybe I should hop on my bike and head to Hyalite? (Or at least throw my bike in my car, drive to the trailhead, and then bike up the mountain.)

Hmm… decisions, decisions…

I’ll let you know what I did with the day later this evening.

Stay tuned,

– Will