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Monday, December 26, 2016

My first workday

Contrary to what I had supposed, today, which marked my return to employment, turned out vastly different than I could have every anticipated. Since I have time to do so, I wanted to report on what's happened.

I was able to get up early enough to make the phone calls and to look into things that I needed. However, much to my frustration, many of those whom I tried to call were closed in observance of the Christmas holiday. I was able to have plenty of time to pray soon after waking up, and that was wonderful. I also had time for quite a good breakfast, which I have not been able to do for a while. I was ready in well enough time. I went in to work. Directly as I got to the door, Trent walked out, letting me know that, if I would take a seat in the lobby, my team leader (TL) would be there shortly to train me. While I was waiting, I got to meet one of my coworkers, who is from Hawaii. He will be working the graveyard shift, so I probably won't see him a lot. But he seems like a very nice guy.

Our TL soon arrived on the scene and took us back to talk about what the job would involve. Much to my surprise and delight, the bulk of our brief training was to remind us of ROI's policies on attendance, pay, the campaign, and what would be allowed during down time (of which she indicated there would be a fair amount). Much to my surprise, I was gratified to learn that. as long as we weren't on sites that stream (YouTube, TV shows, etc.), anything else was fine. In my case, this means that I will be able to do my normal multiple checks during the day of my favorite websites, Church-related and otherwise. She also indicated that Facebook use was allowed.

In training us for the job, she describe three types of calls we would be dealing with (being able to do both inbound and outbound calls, which are automated and therefore will come unless we are not in a ready status with our phone systems. She also said that, while we should clock out for lunch every day, as long as our breaks weren't longer than about 10 minutes, we could stay clocked in. Breaks are paid in this case.

When me and my coworker that started today were unable to start on the phones (because we might have had the incorrect login information for some of the systems we will be using), we spent the time just chatting and getting to know each other, our team leader, and some of our surrounding coworkers. While my coworkers said they appreciated the fact that I was a Latter-day Saint and that my religion is so much a part of my life, not many of them share my faith. In fact, the conversation around me mostly centered today on tattoo styles, getting them and having them removed, and the personal significance behind some of the tattoos they've gotten in the past. There was also talk of relationships. I was able to talk about how I met Amy, and even was able to show them a picture of her. They all said she was really beautiful. This is one of the few opinions I share in common with my coworkers. In fact, I have a hard time believing that she loves me enough to stay married to me, especially given how stupid, irresponsible, and selfish I have been at times.

While we were chatting, Trent called my TL and asked to speak to me. He said he was pleased to see that I had made it, and that he wanted to make sure that the campaign was still going to be a good fit for me. I assured him that it would be.

There wasn't all that much to do today with the phones down. Much to my surprise and great delight, I learned that, in view of the holiday, ROI was closing early for the next few days. I got off work at 4, three hours after my arrival. Tomorrow will be another short day, and tomorrow and the day after will be business casual, which is what I typically come to work in anyways. And I am not worried about not getting paid for the early work shift end. It will just be a great blessing to have money coming in again.

And happily, the way it works with my SSI is that there will be a two-month lag between my starting the job and any reduction in my SSI amount. Our food stamp amount might be lowered more immediately than that. It may be adjusted before my wages are factored in anyways. I was told there was a possible slight reduction in EBT benefits as a result of the annual COLA (Cost-of-living adjustment; my SSI for 2017 will thus be a mere $2 more than it was last year. And I honestly don't know how my wages will factor in to any reduction of my SSI amount. The situation of any money coming in affecting that SSI amount has been an ongoing problem. It seems that we can never break even: the SSI is such a small amount that it's not enough on its own to carry us through a month, and unless I can work well enough to allow us to be compensated for the SSI money that the wages take away, we still might have some problems. But I do finally anticipate us being able to make some major headway towards paying off some of our debts and allowing us to get back on our feet financially to the best of our ability.

I admittedly didn't sleep well last night, and the stress and continual worry I have had about our situation, on top of the stress and worry surrounding starting this job today, not to mention the lack of sleep, gave me a really horrendous headache. But now that I am done with my first day and know beyond doubt, rather than merely believing, that this truly will be a great opportunity for me, and that I can do it, I expect to sleep much better tonight. And the stress headache itself should be gone within a day or two.

Today confirmed beyond doubt what I had tried to believe but which I couldn't quite convince myself: This will be an easy, wonderful opportunity. And I will be able to handle it with little or no inconvenience to myself. I only hope I will prove to Trent that he has made the right decision in giving me another chance.

After the way this all came together, how can I call the whole scenario anything less than the absolute miracle that it is? I have so much for which to be grateful. But I am particularly grateful for my sweet wife Amy, who has stuck with me all this time in spite of the many things I have done that might have caused a lesser woman to doubt the sincerity of my love and the honor of my intentions. And I owe her a great debt of gratitude for not giving up on me ever, and for continually giving me every chance (whether I have earned it or not) to improve myself.

And so, having the first day under my belt, I am determined to progress and be the very best employee I can be. I hope that, as in the past, I will become known for having a strong work ethic and that I can be trusted to be reliable and to serve the best interests of those whom I am assisting.

Thanks so much for taking time to read this. It has been a most wonderful day. More to follow as I can post of such developments in the future. As always, any and all feedback is appreciated. Thanks for your readership and support.

First post-Christmas Post and Last Post Before New Job Starts: Apostolic Age Statistics

Hello, all! I hope you had a wonderful Christmas Day yesterday. My wife and I had the opportunity, even though we weren't able to make it to Church, to spend time with each of our sides of the family. It was wonderful. As usual, our family's gifts on both sides were very generous. Yesterday marked the last time I would have a chance to see my older sister Joanna, her husband Lyle, and their children Grant (age 7) and twins Caleb and Alexis (age 1) for the next short while. I was gratified to learn, however, that instead of being away from the family until the next holiday when they might be able to come back, their plans merely involve a winter/spring 2017 residency for Lyle in Maine, and that they will be back for the entire summer next year. Also, with Maine being much closer than St. Kitts, the likelihood of us being able to chat with them via Skype increases substantially.

In the meantime, since my new job starts later today (while most of the nation observes a day off for Christmas falling on a Sunday), this may be my last chance to blog until I get into the rhythm and routine of the work I will be doing. I couldn't think of a more fitting blog post topic for this reason than an update on the apostolic age averages, as has been my custom every week for the last little while.

As of Christmas Day yesterday, the First Presidency average age was 83.02 years, while the average age of the members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles was 74.57, and the average for the 15 as a group was 76.26 years. There have been no significant changes from the last report in terms of who is closest to each of these averages.

Also, just by way of future milestones I am looking forward to, President Nelson will jump up two spots in his tenure length as President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles just within this next week, assuming the rank of 22nd longest serving Quorum President on Tuesday (tomorrow; passing Spencer W. Kimball) and 21st longest serving Quorum President two days later (this Thursday; passing the second and shortest tenure of Brigham Young Jr.'s two separate service periods as Quorum President). There are no other foreseeable changes in age ranks and tenure lengths for President Nelson or President Monson, nor will there be any change in President Nelson's noangenarian rank within this next week.

Well, as diverting and exciting as all this has been to report, it's time I take a serious look at wrapping things up in preparation for going to bed. I need to get as much of an early start as possible tomorrow given all I need to settle before starting work at 1 pm, to say nothing of what might happen during my first day at the Cedar Hills branch of ROI Solutions. I will see what regulations prevail for floor activities and evaluate at that time if I will be able to continue blogging as I previously did during down time at work. With the new project to which I will be assigned, nothing would surprise me.

Until I can blog again, thank you for your readership and support. Your prayers would be appreciated in my behalf as I adjust to the new schedule and to working again. Thanks.