Gratitude For Where Life Is Taking Me

Way back in 2017, when I started to face the fact that I had to go back to work full-time, I was having a real crisis of confidence.  I hadn’t worked full-time in four years, and I left my last full-time job to go on Short-Term Disability, which turned into Long-Term Disability, for my Bipolar Disorder.  During that time I applied for Social Security Disability (with a lawyer), was turned down, appealed three times, and was turned down three times.  So, really, I had no choice.  I had to figure out a way to support myself.

I was desperate not to go back into IT Desktop Support, which I was totally burned out on.  I got an opportunity to get some IT Security education and certifications through a grant program, and I jumped on it.  Unfortunately, despite the certifications, I wasn’t able to secure a full-time job in IT Security.  I had one three-month contract that was a total dud, then I spent about four months unemployed, trying and trying to get a job in IT Security, and finally had to face the fact that I had to work in Desktop Support.  It was like my worst nightmare.

Then it got a little worse.  I got a job in Downtown Denver – a 48 mile commute each way, an hour and a half to two hours each way.  But the people were great and I started working on my gratitude.  Gratitude for everything in my life – my family, my friends, having a home (even though it was a shithole apartment), having a job.  It helped my attitude A LOT.  I was exhausted all the time from getting up at 3:45 in the morning, but I just kept on going.

Then, out of the blue, a recruiter called me about a job in my town, another Desktop Support job, that paid significantly more money.  I would have to make an excuse to miss work to interview for it, but how could I not apply for this job right here in my own town??  So I interviewed for the job, and by the end of the day I had a job offer!  This was in May, and the contract only went until June 29th.  But I was desperate to stop commuting, and I thought that maybe the contract would get extended.  So I took it.

I was never told there was a chance of the contract being extended, and I was never told there was a chance of there being a full-time job there.  I just kind of went to this job on a hunch, or faith.  In fact, all of the Desktop Support staff, except for one person, had been laid off, and contractors had been hired.  Morale was low.  Attitudes were bad.  I made it my mission to have a positive attitude externally, no matter what I might be feeling on the inside.  I wasn’t going to feed into the negativity.  I was going to be grateful for this job, and I was going to shine a light of positivity, kindness and willingness.

About a month into the job, my contract was extended until December.  What a relief that was!!  I wasn’t prepared to be unemployed again.  One of my co-workers, also a contractor, had a HUGE chip on his shoulder because he hadn’t been hired full-time, even though that possibility had never been presented to him.  He disrespected our boss to an extreme that I found shocking.  Eventually, he was fired.  Ever since then, the remaining three of us in Desktop Support have been working a lot of overtime.  My paychecks are great!  But sorry you haven’t heard from me.  I’ve been a bit depleted.

In August, we opened the Tech Hub, which is a walk-up counter where you can get IT Service.  I call it the McDonald’s of IT Service.  Let’s be honest:  EVERYONE IN DESKTOP SUPPORT HATES THE TECH HUB!!!  But once again I decided that I wasn’t going to stress my boss out by bitching about it.  Plus, the Tech Hub is just part of the job now, and I have to deal with it.  So I needed to work on my attitude.  So I have worked on cultivating an attitude of positivity and service.  This is my opportunity to get to know the people at my company, and to extend kindness and even compassion when they are having an issue.

At our company we do have a Service Desk that is for 1st Level issues, and the practice has been that employees should call the Service Desk when they have a problem, and if the Service Desk can’t resolve it, they escalate it to us.  I should mention that the Service Desk is in Malaysia and a lot of our employees don’t like the real-or-perceived language barrier.  Well, all of that has gone out of the window now that there is a Tech Hub.  People aren’t calling the Service Desk for shit, they’re just coming to the Tech Hub!!  So, our tickets have gone way up.  While on a trip to California to meet with upper management, my boss very surprisingly got the go-ahead to hire another full-time employee!!

So this brings me to the present day.  Of course, I applied for the full-time job.  I had a spectacular interview with my boss.  I asked her if she had anything she wanted me to address as far as how I do the job and her answer was “Frankly, no.  I think you are rocking the job!”  That was a very happy day for me.  So, I got a call from a recruiter from the company on Friday to let me know they are preparing an offer for me!!  My boss let me know “unofficially” (because she’s not allowed to let me know officially) that I got the job!!  I am so excited to have a “real” job with paid time off, benefits, 401K, all the trimmings.  I kind of feel like I’ve come full circle.  And I’m very, very grateful!!!  It’s been a rough road, but I’m grateful for where life has lead me, and I’m excited to see where things go from here.  Ah, it’s good to have HOPE!

This Bipolar Chick Is A Certified Ethical Hacker!

Whelp, I didn’t think I could do it.  Seriously.  I didn’t think it was going to happen.  I cried.  I prayed.  I studied my ass off.  But I didn’t think it was enough.  Well guess what?  Sometimes the Universe hands you a little miracle in the form of a PASS!  And I PASSED the Certified Ethical Hacker exam today!!!  Believe me, no one is more surprised than me!!  Sure, I studied.  But I didn’t own the material.  It was just SO MUCH TO KNOW.  I can’t even convey to you all the different tools they were testing on, things I’d never even heard of, would crop up on questions, and I’d be like, WTF?  I need to know this?  Or WHY do I need to know THIS?  It just went on and on.  I was feeling quite a bit of despair there at the end.  I prayed for a miracle.  And I believe I got one!

First of all, it’s a miracle that this training was even offered to me.  Second of all, it’s a miracle that I decided to try, because I didn’t really believe that I could learn this stuff.  After three + years off work and 40+ ECT treatments, I just thought my brain was fried, end of story.  But something in me said, “Try.”  And I can’t believe I did.  And I can’t believe that this is the outcome!!  To me, this just goes to show, you don’t know the end of the story.  You might think, this is it, this is my life, Bipolar has me beaten (which is what I thought), but Life might have another message for you.  And it might be really, really good.

So I am so encouraged.  I still have a dwindling bank account, and a car for sale, but I have HOPE.  And I have two high-value IT certifications that say that I can learn, that I’m a technical person, that I have abilities.  And I have six baby bird eggs about to hatch!  Life is good.  I think, I actually believe, that I’m going to be o.k.  And for that, I am extremely grateful.

CEH Test Scheduled!

You may or may not know that I have been studying for my Certified Ethical Hacker certification.  I previously studied for and passed the Comptia Security + certification, despite some serious doubts on my part.  Well, now I have some serious SERIOUS doubts about my ability to get the CEH certification.  I am passing the practice tests, because I studied the answers to the questions I got wrong until I could get them right, but that doesn’t mean I have a true handle on the information.  I’ve studied just about as much as I can, though, and I just have to hope that the questions on the actual exam are similar enough to the practice exams that I’ll be able to muddle through and get a 70%.  It’s a four hour test – WHAT THE HELL?!  I can’t imagine what could take four hours.  The practice test takes about an hour.  It is 125 questions.  The fact that the REAL exam takes four hours makes me worried that I am wildly unready for it.  What the hell do you have to do?  Hack a system?  Fuckkkkkkkkk.  It is scheduled for Thursday, June 29th.  Right now I am feeling too overwhelmed to study but I have to overcome that.  Sometimes I have to literally force myself to study.  When I am overwhelmed I just want to sit around and obsess.  That doesn’t really get me anything good.

Ok, off to take some more practice tests!  The next one is from the study guide I read, it’ll be new questions so it’ll test my knowledge instead of my ability to remember the answers to questions.  Wish me luck!

Just to give some background on me, I have Bipolar Disorder, some say Bipolar II and some say Bipolar I.  I tend to be more depressed than manic, in fact the manic episodes are few and far between.  The depressed episodes are entirely too frequent.  I left my last full-time job about 3 1/2 years ago due to depression.  I actually went on FMLA to have ECT, and I never went back.  I was in a suicidal depression and I was hospitalized twice.  I had over forty ECT treatments.  I still don’t know if they helped.  I tend to think that the Ketamine they used to sedate me helped more than the ECT.  The reason I say this is because I had ECT in Florida too, and they didn’t use Ketamine for sedation, and I felt like shit after those treatments.  I was on Clozaril for about a year and a half and it turned me into a zombie.  I think what finally brought me out of being a depressed zombie was switching from Clozaril to Abilify.  I don’t remember why we did this, but I am totally grateful.  I have been able to function better than I have in a long time, moved back into my own apartment, started working part-time a little more than a year ago, and then got the opportunity to start classes for these IT Security certifications in January.  The fact that I can study and learn is something that I would not have even dreamed of a year ago.  So that brings us up to date.  I am taking my last certification test next week and I have started looking for an IT Security job.  That is my next hurdle.  Full-time jobs are kind of like Kryptonite to me and my mental health.  If I can find a part-time job, I will know there is a God 🙂

NEWS! SO MUCH NEWS!!!

thank-you

Well I went from absolutely nothin’ going on last week to EVERYTHING going on this week!  I have to preface this by saying, I did one of those moronic new-agey affirmational asshole thingeys this weekend, I took a piece of art paper and my metallic gel pens and I wrote over and over in different colors across the page “Thank You” and I told myself “When you get your own apartment, you will hang this on the wall.”  Well, fuck me.

There are Thank-You-Gasms going on right now.  First, you may know that I applied for a $5000 grant from the local Workforce Center for some IT Training to get me out of godforsaken IT Support and into something more stimulating and might I say lucrative?  Yes, I might.  I walked into the Workforce Center last week and applied for the grant after two weeks of unanswered phone calls and emails.  I filled out the application right there on the spot.  The next day, I got another application, which I immediately filled out and returned. (I swear, sometimes I act like I have my shit together!).  Now, I was told that this grant approval process would take around a month.  So I hunkered down to wait for a response.  Well shoot me in the finger was I full of shock and awe to receive my determination yesterday:  I got approved for the funding!!!!  So excited I don’t know what to do with myself.

And now ladies and gentlemen we pivot onto Axis B, whereupon I continued my obsessive apartment-hunting on Craigslist, while simultaneously acknowledging its futility.  But then HELL-O!  Here’s a one bedroom apartment under a thousand dollars a month and it doesn’t even look like the Roach Motel!  It actually looks…kind of nice!  Trying not to overthink it, I emailed the landlord.  He replied with a Kiss of Death show time:  Monday at 5pm.  Now who in their right minds wants to drive to the next town at during rush hour?  But somehow my higher self prevailed and I accepted.

I saw the place and I have to admit I “got the feeling” which is exciting because I haven’t had intuitive certainty for a long time.  But I got the “this is it” feeling and the landlord kept sweetening the deal by dropping prices and offering flexible lease terms and I’m thinking, yeah, he has a hardon for me, this is good!  So me, even with my credit score of zero, literally, zero, no credit at all, decided to accept his TransUnion request and fill it out, and I sent him an email and said look, I have this much income and this much savings, and I have a $5k grant and will be studying, and I’d really like the apartment.  To my shock, (really I should have been spurting diarrhea), he responded and said yes, let’s go forward with the lease!  And THAT, my friends, is how you get an apartment with a zero credit score and sketchy income!  You get a MIRACLE!

So I went to see Dr. Drugs today and I told him “this is literally the best report I have ever brought to you” and goddamn it felt GOOD!!  Like, here I’ve been feeling so stuck and what the fuck else can I do besides IT Support, and wondering for literally years if I will ever have my own home again, and then ker-SLAM in two days everything is *poof* solved.  It’s a bit to drink in.  So yeah, I am grateful!  I am going to hang up my Thank You sign!  I’m going to keep being grateful!  Because the road from there to here has been a long one.  And I couldn’t see my way out of it.  But somehow the Universe has taken me by the hand and said here, I’ll help you get off your ass!  You’re welcome!  And so it is.