Tag Archives: banks

Monster

28 Oct

Oh, man.

Um…why didn’t you guys warn me not to get absolutely, totally excited about my NaNoWriMo idea?  Oh yeah, and that once I got excited about it, I’d just have to commit, once and for all, because I have zero idea whatsoever how this new story is going to end?

I simply must find out.

In order to find out, I’ve got to start the thing.  And, in order to start this particular project come November 1st, there’s a bit of research involved.  

Ahem, did I say a bit of research?  I think I meant three tons of research.  Never fear, though.  I know (kind of) enough to write the thing right now (I think), to get a story on the page bare-boned.  It’s just that the research will make all the difference between a good story and an excellent one; it will make me a she-nailed-her-facts kind of author instead of a poser-extraordinaire.  And nobody wants to be a poser-extraordinaire.

So, yeah.  The rest of October, I’m going to get as much written on my WIP as possible, along with justenough research as necessary to get going for November.  After November, I’ll return to my WIP, let the NaNo piece simmer in a drawer, and come back to it later.  That’s the plan, anyway.

I am definitely a project-driven kind of girl.  How on earth did it take me so many years to realize that?  So many years spent in day-in/day-out futile jobs, jobs where you could see no progress over time.  Countless checks cashed, countless pitchers of milk steamed, countless chicken sandwiches hurled¹ at customers through the drive-through window.  Countless days waking up earlier than the sun, countless curse words uttered (loudly, in harsh tones) at me when I was the Angel of Bad-Banking-Account News², countless days of wanting — needing — to do something more.

Give me a monster pile of research any day.  I love projects, where results are visible, problems malleable, and an end in sight, no matter how far away it may be.

¹Poetic license?
²Your account probably didn’t get $1,000 in the negative by you being 100% on top of your budget, now did it?  And you really think I’m going to let you take all of your ex-husband’s funds from his account, which you are not on?  For more awesome opinions on working my lovely job at the bank, check out this old post I almost forgot about! (Warning: Sarcasm ahead if you click the link…)

I Am Not Regina Spektor, and other thoughts on Rejection

13 Sep

I did what I said I wouldn’t:  I got my hopes up.

Because, seriously?  How amazing would it have been to sing with Ben Folds, with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, at the Meyerson Theater?  How incredible would it have felt to sing the Regina Spektor part on the (self-proclaimed ‘disturbed and bouncy’) song “You Don’t Know Me” in front of 2,062 people?  

Pretty amazing, I bet.  

There is about a 99.5% chance I won’t get to find out how it feels, though, because I was not one of the three girls chosen.  I am an alternate.  It’s still cool to be an alternate, don’t get me wrong¹ — but what are the chances a girl will get sick or break her leg or whatever?  

I’m trying, really trying, not to get more bent out of shape over this than I should.  I should know from past experience that when I get passed over for something, which happens to me more often than not, it truly is for the best.

I’ve been thinking how my life would be different, had I gotten everything I ever wanted.  That life, that person I would be, is not the same as the person I am today. 

If I had gotten everything I tried for, I would have been a popular girl in high school, who got all the scholarships she applied for instead of none.  With that scholarship money, I would have gone to a different university instead of moving to this place that has totally shaped me.  

Let’s just say I ended up here, anyway, though.  I would have married the 100% wrong guy for me, instead of the sweetest man on earth who popped into my life a few years later.  I would have been working some corporate political job that is not me in the slightest.  I would have been promoted to a manager at places like Chick-Fil-A and the bank and Starbucks.  Then, I would have been tempted to stick around and be Important at places I didn’t want to be.  Oh, yeah, and I would have made it onto American Idol, where I’d be the focus of television cameras for a year and sucked into a, well, sucky and consuming contract that works out not-so-much in my favor.

Looking at it that way, that is not the life I want.  But, looking back, those are all things I was disappointed I didn’t get, when I got passed over in favor of someone else. 

Flaws and failures and all, I’d rather be this person.  This girl, who is married to a kind, thoughtful sweetheart who encourages me to pursue my passions.  This girl, who knows she has something to offer the world even though – so far – the world has generally overlooked her.  This girl, who is determined to write a novel that will, one day, change the world, even if it only changes the world of one person.  This girl, who knows that when the time comes and someone notices, she’ll appreciate it a thousand times more than she would have if she always got every single thing she ever dreamed of attaining.

So, why do I still get bent out of shape when things don’t happen like I hope they will?  Probably because they’re awesome opportunities like singing on stage with Ben Folds in front of thousands, and because it hurts my pride.

I think these experiences are part of why I love outcasts, why I root for the underdog, why I write about the people who have great things to offer, but need to stop believing what the world tells them is true.  I write these things, because I know them all too well.  I guess that’s the little bit of sweet that comes from bittersweet rejection – the ability to be where I’ve ended up, writing about things I know with truth and authority, hoping it will inspire people to believe in themselves despite discouraging circumstances.

—–

¹Except the part where one girl who got a spot sang horrendously out of tune, and another girl sang the bass note (instead of the alto note…) on her entire audition.  I’m a little bitter, because not only did I take the time to perfect my part, I got it in by the deadline, too.  I will force myself to stop this rant before I cry again, like (most of) yesterday.

When Hard Work Goes Unnoticed

22 Jul

I want to be remembered as someone who did the very best with the talent she was given.

– J.K. Rowling, J.K. Rowling: A Year In The Life

Motivation: we all need it.  Some of us have it.  It’s sometimes easy to lose, in the face of difficulty or after hard work that seems to go unnoticed.  It’s definitely easy to lose in the face of hard work that will never get noticed.

I’ve been thinking about my novel’s characters a lot lately, and why they do the things they do.  It occurred to me to ask myself, the author, the same question: why is it that I do what I do?  Why do I love this work so very much, why does it feel so satisfying when I complete something that may never get appreciated by someone else?  I hope it gets noticed by someone else one day, but there’s no guarantee of that.

So why do I do it?

The quote above resonated in me when I heard it.  It’s no foreign concept to me – for a while now, this has also been one of my main reasons for writing.  What struck me about it is that it was THE answer she chose – not to be remembered for her uncanny knack at telling a great story, not for her rags-to-riches story, but for doing the best with what she had.

About a year ago, I was on my knees, scrubbing coffee from the undersides of the tables in Starbucks.  I spent countless days, not making the lattes, but taking orders and handing drinks out the window.

The years before that, I cashed checks and made deposits all day, most every day.  My cash drawer always balanced, and it was perfectly organized.  I got yelled at (um, cursed at, rather) for asking for ID.  I got yelled at for things I didn’t do and couldn’t change.  

I did those jobs as well as I could, though.  I learned how to craft great drinks.  I scrubbed the tables vigorously (more from annoyance than from love of scrubbing, I have to add).  I smiled at the people who yelled at me.  

I did the best I could, but I felt a gaping chasm where I should feel at least a little satisfaction in the work I got up every day to do.  I tried to push my pride aside when the (evil) man in the Starbucks drive through said, “Oh, your parents paid for college? I bet they’re really proud of you working here.”  I tried, but I was truly, deeply unfulfilled.

Why, though?  People do these jobs every day.  We need people to scrub tables, we need people to deal with the money.  Goodness knows I need my lattes!  I rationalized myself into staying with them, because they are good jobs and I am not above them.

One day, though, it occurred to me:  these are not bad jobs, but they don’t use all of me.  They use my people skills and my ability to be responsible with money, but what about my brain?  What about my passion to create?  What about thoughts about life, love, morality, spiritual things, and people?  What about my heart?  Where does being project-driven fit in jobs that have no end and make no progress?  

It’s not just about doing the best you can – it’s about doing the best you can with the talent you are given.  

For me, writing is where I feel myself blossoming.  Hours and days fly by before I know it.  Writing a novel seems to be the perfect combination of using my brain, my creativity, my discipline, my organization, and working in all sorts of things I care about.  I get to explore so many avenues of myself just by sitting down to write.  Therein, I find motivation.  

Doing the best with what I’ve been given might lead to some great side-effects – publication, success (whatever that is), and seeing my printed ideas in the hands of other people.  But it might not.  Whatever happens, I love what I do every day, and it is satisfying to exercise all, not half, of me.

How about you?  What was it that motivated you to write in the first place?  What drives you to keep going, especially through times when you feel like nothing you’re doing is making a difference?  

 

PS: J.K. Rowling: A Year in the Life is a documentary put together by James Runcie, a novelist/filmmaker.  There’s an article about the documentary here.

PPS:  I notice, often, that people find this blog by searching for “When my hard work doesn’t get noticed,” and other similar things.  If this is you, I hope your situation gets better soon.  Under-appreciation is never fun, and boy do I understand.  Please feel free to drop a line in the comment section, I love hearing from new readers.

Satirical Instruction Manual, Entry No. 1

16 Jun

How to Use the Drive Through at the Bank

1. Do not use the buzzer as a weapon. Hearing the buzzer (especially in rapid succession from customers who have been in line for less than two seconds) is equivalent to being the object at whom daggers are thrown.
2. A deposit slip is used when you make a deposit — NOT when you only want to cash the check.

3. No, I cannot do ten transactions at once. You might have to wait a couple of minutes.

4. Yes, you do need I.D. if you want cash back. I don’t doubt that you’ve been our customer for forty years. However, I’ve only been alive for twenty-four of those years, and what’s more, I’ve only worked here for one of those years. And, I’ve never seen you before, so what makes you think I know who you are? Yes, I will need that I.D. Thanks.

5. What on earth makes you think that I’m going to give you cash for a $4000 check made out to your roommate’s sister’s boyfriend’s mom? 

6. We cannot hear you when the tube is coming through to us. Please don’t push the buzzer and then send the tube immediately after you’ve buzzed. For that matter, please don’t buzz at all. See Rule #1.

7. Please send in all transactions at once. We feel silly if we tell you “Thank you, have a great day!” more than three times in one visit. We also feel annoyed. 

8. On that note, if you have ten transactions, please come in, instead…

9. Rolled Coin + Drive Through Tube = Broken Drive Through Tube. Common sense could be Warning #1 on that lesson, Warning #2 would be the label on the tube that tells you not to send coin through. 

10. Rolled coin is better than loose coin, though. We don’t have a counter, and we don’t have time to count your 5,000 quarters. 

11. Don’t be this person: Tube comes in, with a check. “Would you like to cash or deposit today?” I ask. “Cash, please.” Okay. So I proceed to cash. “Anything else today?” “No,” they say. I send the tube back with the cash. BUZZZZ. “Yes?” They tell me, “I want to deposit now.” Did I not just ask you a) if you want to cash or deposit, and b) if you needed anything else? Grrr.

12. Plucking your nose hairs in the commercial lane is unacceptable. We understand that you are busy and may not have time to do this before or after work, but if you want your teller to be able to focus and get your transaction right, do not distract us with this (or any) sort of bodily grooming. 

13. Please have your stuff ready before you pull up — no one wants to sit behind you for fifteen minutes while you fill out the deposit slip that we don’t really need in the first place.

14. “For Deposit Only” is not an acceptable endorsement. Is it that hard to sign your name? 

15. And, finally, please don’t yell at us. We are the bottom of the bank food-chain as it is, why would you think we have any authority over the rules and regulations? We don’t make them. We get paid to keep them.

***

Fortunately, I am no longer a bank teller.  Just thought I’d share some of my most lovely memories and hopefully – hopefully – make the life of some other poor teller a little more bearable.