How to survive weird work hours

Along with having pretty random jobs, I have also had pretty random hours for shifts.

At one point doing school portraits full-time and working at a gas station part-time I would be up for hours on end and sometimes days with only small naps in between – and let me tell you, that doing an overnight in any kind of work is hard, and requires certain key things in my opinion. So I give you my…

Four Must Do’s to Survive Weird Work Hours!
1. You must find something to keep you AWAKE: I am talking caffeine people! I know this one is pretty self explanatory, but honestly, I used to go for the energy drinks, and still in a pinch I will pick one up if I really need the boost, but you can crash with energy drinks, especially if you are not used to drinking them. Coffee. Tea. Whatever is your thing? DO IT. Keep those beverages coming!
coffee
2. Sustenance to keep you from the overnight shift hang-over: The first time you EVER do an overnight your brain feels so funky the next day, I find that you can counteract some of the funk the next day by drinking plenty of good fluids and eating healthier options throughout the night so your brain doesn’t feel quite so bad. You may be depriving your body of sleep and depriving it from a routine that you have been in pretty much your whole life, you should not deprive it in other areas when it is in it’s hour of need.

3. Always have a task: The trick here is to not think about the fact you are up, you think about what you can do next. I find I can process and do more things in the middle of the night than throughout the day if I just stay on task and keep moving.

4. Have some awesome people to work with: Whenever I worked overnight at the gas station, my boss would be in super early in the morning, and she was awesome. Even the guys delivering fuel in the middle of the night were awesome. At one point I even started recognizing the middle of the night regular customers. It helps that even in the job I’m in now when I work evenings, I still get to hang out with some awesome people.

Now these are my must do’s when I work weird hours, what are some of yours?

~ Andreah

And a very merry Thanksgiving to you!

Thanksgiving in our household is something of a haze. To be honest, I don’t remember a really good Thanksgiving that sparked the love I have for this season when I was younger. I do remember the delicious food…

Scratch that. There was one where the sisters and I were falling apart in every sense of the phrase – mentally, physically, emotionally – and trying to pick each other back up. Where Toni had more than her share of vino at dinner, and our family let go, laughed, cried, played games and grew into us.

That’s what sparked my love of Thanksgiving.

This sums up the infamous Thanksgiving!

This year there is SO MUCH I have to be thankful for.

It’s been the year of love. Not only did my soul sister Ashely and her handsome hubby welcome the most precious miracle into the world,

Baby

Baby Emma Grace

But my other, long-time, ride-to-die love and bestie since high school, Kim, said “I do” to the most amazing, warm-hearted man, Greg.

Thanksgiving for me has always been a reminder of the little things we take for granted. It is really easy in our everyday hustle and bustle to get lost in the stress, the annoyances, and lose sight of the big picture. For me, Thanksgiving is a time to remember the silver lining. To take those annoyances and find a reason to be thankful for them. For my Thanksgiving post, I tried to see some of my daily stresses as daily blessings, to be thankful for everything.

I am thankful for the bills I pay every month. These bills mean I have a job so that I can pay those bills. These bills also mean I have a roof, at times leaky, but still a roof over my head that shelters me. A home that Cody and I have built and will continue to build. Through harsh winters, stupid springs and much much more.

Paying bills with pizzazz!

The savings account that I have built up over the years is dwindling because of this year’s upcoming nuptials. This means I am going to marry one of the sweetest men I have ever met, a man that has more strength and determination than most.  I’ll save the rest for my speech. 😉

I just had to! HA!

The increase in hourly work weeks, more time sending emails and less time lazing on the couch or spending time with friends and family means I am in a field that is growing and thriving. That I have the ability to put in extra hours and have the opportunity to build up an amazing company. I have a job – period!  I am able to contribute to our household more now than I ever have before. Being able to help Cody with the day-to-day means more to me than anything.

Cody and my busy weekend schedules mean we have some of the most amazing friends that are there to support and pick us up when we are at our worst and celebrate when we are at our best.

If we were sitting around a table, this is the time where I would lift my glass and propose a toast to all the silver linings! Try and look at the tough stuff this Thanksgiving weekend and make it into a positive, find your silver linings exercise.

Happy Thanksgiving!

~ Jacqui

Engaged and looking

I thought when you met your life-partner, ‘penguin’, and live-in best friend, the frustration of dating, and especially the nerves of the first date, would be a thing of the past.

I should preface this by telling you that I was never great at dating – Michael can attest to all of my rookie mistakes when we were first seeing each other *hangs head in shame* –  so I was kind of relieved when he decided to keep me for life and asked me to marry him. I thought the days of first dates were over – after all I had earned this perk as sort of a rite of passage for being taken off the market.

Oh, how wrong I was.

Apparently, first dates also still exist for those who have shacked up. They’ve cleverly disguised themselves as job interviews – first, second and third ones – and include all the butterflies and nerves, the fleeting hope for a match made in heaven, the self-talk track to keep calm and confident in what you have to offer, the anticipation for the follow-up call or email in the days following – it’s all just a guise for a first date.

Even worse, interviews carry the same chance for disappointment as a flopped first date – the realization that he’s not your type, or the looks-good-on-paper but not so much in real life kind of first dates come with the territory. It includes the no chemistry matches, the mixed signals from one person being over zealous, the dashed hope and even the discouraging realization that you might be looking for a unicorn that just doesn’t exist.

While I am currently acting as nanny to three beautiful babies, I have also been actively dating a few new prospects for employment. Each time, the determination to find my match rallies the best parts of me to come shining through almost on cue – I’m charming and smart, quick-witted and friendly. I reach deep into myself to bring forward my inner sales person and I give it my all, every time, in the hopes of a possible long-term, mutually-beneficial relationship.

Sometimes this attracts unwanted offers, sometimes it means my qualifications are out of their league, and sometimes I’m just not enough to make the final cut.

While I’m still looking for my fairy tale-ending in terms of gainful employment, I’m starting to understand what people mean when they say, interviewing is a valuable skill.

I’m learning quickly who I’d like to have dinner with, past or present, dead or alive; I know my top three weaknesses and strengths like the back of my hand; if I get asked what animal I’d most likely akin to, I know the answer that takes the edge off is a tiger because my name is Toni – which depending on chemistry I can say with a wink; running through my career path from school to present day is like recalling a well-read tale, with which I take care to highlight different parts depending on the role I’ve applied for. I have a proven set of favourite and creative questions to ask when I’m given the opportunity to screen my candidate to help decide if I’d be satisfied long-term, having this stranger hold stake over the majority of my time. Most importantly, I know how to break through and get my possible match to relate to me as a person, to find common ground quickly and figure out a few of their triggers.

Just this past week I nervously met with a candidate that I had been hoping to hear from – the organization, product and team structure all interest me and the role is exactly the pieces I’ve loved about each of my previous ones. When I left I felt comfortable and confident and now am dangerously flirting with the hope of a follow-up request to meet again. The second interview is more my pace, where I feel a bit more in control and am a little more sure of how they’re feeling about me. It will be the date that tells me if I’m all in or not.

In the meantime, wish me luck – I’ve got some research to do for my next first date.

~ Toni

Fairy-tale ending

Once upon a time, when I was a little girl, every story ended in a happily ever after. And the happily ever after was always very simple and straightforward – find the prince, get married, the end.

As a teenager, I genuinely thought that’s what was supposed to happen, but maybe with a bit more drama. Be alone, find the boy, find yourself, lose the boy, take a huge chance, win the boy, get married, the end.

During university, I had a hunch that the complication probably extended a bit further, but essentially the end was the same – get married, be happy, the end.

Unless your true love died.

During my second year of university, I met my prince, Ben, and fell in love. And in the summer before my last semesters of school, he proposed and I said yes. My happily ever after was on its way.

Funny faces

My prince and me (a.k.a. Ben and Julia)

There are things about marriage and the happily ever after bit they don’t even mention in movies. Or fairy tales. Or anywhere, really.

Here are some of the surprises that I have encountered in my almost 8 years of marriage:

1. You realize everybody poops. And farts. And burps. And wakes up with morning breath. And has disgusting grooming habits. And isn’t as perfumed and plucked, primped and dressed-up as they appear on the first date, or the fifth date, or even the 1-year-dating-anniversary date. Everybody is gross. And when you’re married (or living with someone), this is a shocking revelation. The only character who I think might not be able to hide these things so easily would be the Beast.

2. Jobs are hard. And sometimes you lose them. And then you have no money and you’re worried and now instead of just wondering how you’re going to pay for nights out or your car, you have to worry about how you’re going to support a family. They don’t talk about that in Cinderella. Or in any other fairy tale. Because someone is ALWAYS royalty with either a ton of cash or a crazy number of really valuable assets. Like castles. And horses. With fancy carriages made of gold.

3. You can’t go home after a fight. You’re usually fighting at home, which means you have to figure out how to sleep in the same bed (or same building, depending on how mad you are) without leaving in a huff and just calling or visiting with flowers in the morning. And when you get married, you’ll be told a dozen times that you should never go to sleep angry. They don’t tell you that that means you’ll be up until 4 a.m. and then a right mess for your day job the next day, which means your job just got harder (see number 2).

4. Your spouse becomes your best friend and then you can’t complain to your best friend about your fight. Or trouble. Or thing that’s driving you bonkers. Because whining about your husband, wife, partner, love-machine to your husband, wife, partner, love-machine is just awful. And awkward. And can lead to more fighting, trouble, and stuff that’s driving you bonkers.

5. Sometimes it’s boring. Like when you’ve run out of dinners you want to make. Or you don’t want to watch TV again tonight because you’ve been doing that for the past 7 weeks. Or you don’t want to go out or do take-out because you’re getting sick of it. Or you don’t know what else to talk about because you’ve both covered your day in five minutes flat and now you have a whole evening stretched out in front of you.

6. Sometimes it’s way too exciting. Or full of too many things to tackle together. Like losing your job, having someone close to you die, watching other married friends go through a divorce or infertility or a family tragedy, having your roof leak, your car break down, or a pet be really sick. Sometimes you crave boring and boring is nowhere to be found.

7. You should still date your spouse. Which sounds ridiculous. Isn’t it the dating ritual’s whole purpose to find you your soul mate so you never have to date again? Or is that another movie lie? All I know is that there’s nothing nicer than getting dressed up (yes, fancier than yoga pants and cotton shorts), picking out an actual restaurant (nothing with a drive-thru), and spending an evening together or a day together, where you’re just a couple. Not two people with busy yet boring lives. Two people with conversations to have and reconnecting to happen and a recharge on things. Inviting Mark Wahlburg wouldn’t hurt. I don’t think.

8. Happily ever after is messy. Especially if you decide to have children. Or dogs. Or iguanas. Or collect vacations. Whatever you do with your married time, happily ever after is not the end. And it’s not the beginning. It’s the middle. The bit between falling in love and saying good-bye. The part where you live the life you’re building together. The part that actually counts. And that was probably the most surprising thing for me – the wedding wasn’t the end. It was the beginning of the very best part there is.

Best picture

~ Julia