I am at war right now.

I have a full time job, a leash around my neck, and a cold boss.

I try my best, but sometimes situations in my life prevent me from being the happy receptionist.

On one occasion, I called in sick while my boss was out, not to inconvenience her or her counterpart, but because it was necessary. On that such occasion I got written up and was told that I'm not to take a sick day unless I'm on my deathbed.

Another occasion I had a pregnancy scare, my immediate action was to go to Planned Parenthood at the earliest possible moment. I went, took the test, took the precautionary emergency pill, even though the test was negative, (don't even f*** with me "pro-lifers", walk in my shoes you'll feel differently). It took longer then I expected and my lunch hour ended up taking 2 1/4 hours. I got written up, of course. (At this point I am at my "final 90 day warning".)

Now my boyfriend is having a surgical procedure in a few days and naturally I want to be there to support him. Unfortunately right before I was ready to send the e-mail requesting the day off, the person who relieves me sent me an email stating that she was taking that exact day off. So not only am I unable to take the day off, I have to work 2 hours longer then normal. I hope I can make it through that day without bursting into tears. I've thought of possible solutions, but it is hard proposing anything to my boss because she runs hot and cold all the time - catching her in the right mood is very difficult.

I am on icy ground. There is no way I'll ever move up in this company, I've dug a hole too deep. However, this is the only stability I have right now and I'm trapped in job status hell.

The only way I will get a job I want is if I reinvent myself entirely. I must throw away my standard of living and recreate it to support the possibility that I might be making less money to be happy, I might have to settle for less benefits, I might have to make alot of sacrifices and mental changes. I might have to force myself to go to school with all the will I have left (a will which is deteriorating by the moment in this corporate environment).

I have been in the office setting to greater and lesser degrees since I was 16. If I knew it wasn't right for me then, I am beyond convinced that it isn't now. I went from a small office with 7 employees to a multi-national corporation with 20,000 employees in this city alone.

I feel dirty. Wearing these "business casual" (read dull, boring, uniform-like, unbearable) clothes, to try to fit some sort of standard of clones.

How does one achieve the balance it takes coexist in the world of work, and the personal world?

In a world of hypocrites, who really wins?

Somehow I have to take action, yet no jobs in the papers look remotely interesting, and the ones that draw my attention, I am probably not qualified for.
May I suggest looking for assistance in job/career planning? My university offered a semester-long course, but it should be possible to get information on this from a good community college or local university; you ought to be able to get assistance as a walk-in or with a couple of appointments rather than take an extended class.

The basic routine involves a sort of personality test, or two or three of them, that helps isolate which fields you're most talented in and which ones you're most interested in. After that, you can get assistance in finding out more about other possible careers, how to conduct an informational interview to get more information about working someplace, and so forth. This sort of thing was invaluable in helping me choose my current career path.

I would start by calling your favorite community college and see whether they have a department, or at least resources, for job and career planning. Then decide if you want to make an appointment to talk to someone there. It may cost you a few bucks to make the appointments and take the tests, but it's a small expense compared to the chance to pick your perfect career.

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