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#Microblog Mondays 96: Addicted to Work

Not sure what #MicroblogMondays is? Read the inaugural post which explains the idea and how you can participate too.

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CNN recently asked me if I was addicted to work.  (I like to think that all headlines that reference the pronoun “you” are speaking solely to me.)  Um… I’m not addicted to work, though I am addicted to staying employed and being paid.

When asked of the general population instead of a specific case, it’s a question rooted in privilege.  Everyone I know who gives extra hours to work are doing so because they feel insecure in their position.  They’ve either been through unemployment and think doing extra work or giving their job extra attention will protect them from a layoff (or, at the very least, it’s the only thing they can control in a situation outside of their hands) or they want to convey how dedicated they are to their work place.  If they could be guaranteed by their employer that they would be retained as long as they did their job well, they would relax and work normal hours.

But no employer makes that guarantee.  And employers benefit from their employees feeling as if they need to go above and beyond for no extra pay.

Sure, there are some who throw themselves into their work to avoid other stressors and many who don’t mind extra hours because they love their position, but I think the vast majority of “addicted to work” employees are more addicted to knowing they have a paycheck coming and they’ve chosen a job they enjoy.

What are your thoughts?

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Are you also doing #MicroblogMondays? Add your link below. The list will be open until Tuesday morning. Link to the post itself, not your blog URL. (Don’t know what that means? Please read the three rules on this post to understand the difference between a permalink to a post and a blog’s main URL.) Only personal blogs can be added to the list. I will remove any posts that are connected to businesses or are sponsored posts.


June 27, 2016   12 Comments

How to Fix Your Blog When Comment Notifications Stop Working

This is a post for me as much as it is for you in case comment notification stops working again on my blog.  We had to try a lot of things to ultimately find the solution.

So I didn’t actually know there was a problem at first because some comments were coming through.  Maybe one in five.  I thought that commenting had slowed down.

My first indication that something was wrong came when someone wrote a comment that referenced her other comment.  What other comment?  I opened my blog dashboard and saw that there were dozens of comments I had never seen.  For about a week, very few comments were coming through.

I called my provider, and we tried a bunch of things:

  • Unchecking and rechecking the “send email” box in the Discussion section, saving in between the unchecking and rechecking.
  • Deactivating and then reactivating all the plugins.
  • Deactivating all security plugins, one at a time.
  • Deactivating Akismet.
  • Reinstalling the current WordPress files.

We got a little success when I changed the email address in the General section to a domain-specific email.  Meaning, some types of notifications would come through, though not comment notifications.  Comments held in moderation, broken links, and new post updates were sent to that new account.  Comments that went up on the blog still weren’t coming through in email form.

What ultimately worked came from a long Googling session after my fourth phone call to my service provider as well as an open ticket with tech support.  I changed the email address associated with the user account AND the email listed in the General section to the same, domain-specific address.  Apparently having the address only in one place was creating a conflict, and the bug is specific to @gmail, @mac, and @me addresses.  So if you use any of those as your blog email address, try switching to a domain-specific email address.  Even if this doesn’t work, it will help your provider see how the notification is being sent because everything is internal to the domain.

Hopefully this bug will clear up with the next update, but it looks like a bug that comes around frequently, so I may just leave the new address in place.

Hope that helps you, too.

June 26, 2016   3 Comments

601st Friday Blog Roundup

Truman is almost back to normal.  He is eating again, voraciously, which means he is pooping again, excessively.  He is back to his old tricks, like turning over his food dish (well, aren’t you a clever one!) and fighting water bottle (that old nemesis).  Though he seems to now be deaf.

I noticed he wasn’t responding to his name.  He’s usually pretty good about jumping up when you say his name or the word “cookie.”  I waited until he was asleep and then stood behind him clapping and shouting.  He didn’t wake up or flinch.  Which makes me think that he may be deaf.  I’m not sure they have actual hearing exams for rodents.

But his head tilt is gone (mostly), and he’s walking easily.  And did I mention eating?  If he were in charge of the world, there would be unlimited green beans.

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Thank you for all the kind words on my blogoversary.  Sometimes I think that I keep writing because I’m so terrible with change that it extends to all things.  Which means you are bound to still find me here 10 years down the line.

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Stop procrastinating.  Go make your backups.  Don’t have regrets.

Seriously.  Stop what you’re doing for a moment.  It will take you fifteen minutes, tops.  But you will have peace of mind for days and days.  It’s the gift to yourself that keeps on giving.

As always, add any new thoughts to the Friday Backup post and peruse new comments in order to find out about methods, plug-ins, and devices that help you quickly back up your data and accounts.

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And now the blogs…

But first, second helpings of the posts that appeared in the open comment thread last week.  In order to read the description before clicking over, please return to the open thread:

Okay, now my choices this week.

The Empress and the Fool has a non-apology for her absence from her blog, a breath of fresh air — full of honesty — about her space.  I especially love this line: “Hello to you, sister-friends. I’m terribly sorry for your grief, as I know it all too well.”  I just really loved this post for its frankness.

My Path to Mommyhood has a post about including ultrasound pictures with an announcement.  She wonders if this was done prior to Facebook announcements, or if ultrasound pictures were — at one point — a private image for close family.  She admits that the reason the image is such a trigger is that “once I had a picture not too different from that one, and it was all I had to cling to when I sobbed and sobbed after the dream was lost too soon.”  The post made me think.

Lastly, as a fellow Googler, I loved The Road Less Travelled’s post about looking for her 8th grade teacher and learning he was gone.  It’s a really sweet post, eulogizing him in a way that she never got to do while he was alive.  It’s a cautionary tale of Googling, and having to be okay with whatever we find.

The roundup to the Roundup: Truman update.  Blogoversary thoughts.  Your weekly backup nudge.  And lots of great posts to read.  So what did you find this week?  Please use a permalink to the blog post (written between June 17th and June 24th) and not the blog’s main url. Not understanding why I’m asking you what you found this week?  Read the original open thread post here.

June 24, 2016   11 Comments

10 Years Ago, My Blog Changed My Life

The title isn’t hyperbole.  10 years ago, I started blogging regularly — about 5 times per week — in this space.  All lives change over a 10 year period, but when I look back at what has happened over the last decade, I can say, with certainty, that it was my blog that set everything else in motion.

So thank you, little Me-shaped space.

All the changes together add up to something huge, but the moments themselves were so small that if I hadn’t continued to write, I wouldn’t have known what else was to come.  Isn’t that such an odd thought?  In the individual moments, my blog has felt inconsequential, and I’ve considered walking away from it a few times, thinking it would free up time and not impact anything else.

But that’s not true.  If I had stopped writing in this space at any point along the way, I would have missed out on so many paths that would have never been opened if not for sticking with this journey.

So that is my only advice that I can give you after 10 years of blogging.  If you love it, if you love to write, then keep at it even if you don’t think you’re headed in the right direction.  Even if you think no one is reading and writing your words will never impact your world.  At the very least, you’ve written your truth.  At the most, your words will lead you somewhere amazing.

10 years ago, the twins were toddlers.  They were about to give up their bottles.  We were trying to add another child to our family, and I was emotionally drowning.  I had stopped teaching and didn’t really know how I was going to contribute financially to the family and be at home with the kids at the same time.  I had an MFA, but I hadn’t published a book.  I had a translation degree, but I couldn’t get translation work.  I was so computer-phobic that I didn’t even know how to start a blog.  Josh set up this space for me.

10 years later, the twins have graduated elementary school.  They’ve been following their own bliss, making video games and writing articles.  We walked away from the fertility clinics, and most days, I’m at peace with that decision.  I work out of the house doing freelance writing and editing.  I’ve published 5 books, have a contract for a 6th, and am finishing up a 7th.  I taught myself several programming languages, and I’m currently working on making my first app.  I’m considered an “expert” in online engagement, for what that’s worth.

I think most people will look at this space and think about how my blog had a hand in my work accomplishments, and certainly, it has.  Would I have published all the books without it?  Maybe.  I don’t know.  Would I have made dozens of trips to the White House without this space?  Definitely not.  I’m not minimizing the work stuff — it has changed my life.

But what I always think about is the drowning.  The emotional drowning.  And how this space released something in me so I could breathe again.  It connected me to others who have held me up over the years so I’ve never felt like I was drowning again.  This blog changed my life because without all of you, I don’t know where I would have ended up.  Nowhere good.  You yanked me out of my head and let me know what there were so many millions of people out there who were on parallel paths to my own.  That is priceless.

Thank you for being here for the last 10 years.  Thank you for responding to my words, which was the fuel that kept me writing.  And that’s what I needed to do: write myself out of my head and into a community of “me, too.”  Thank you for catching me when I jumped here.

June 22, 2016   28 Comments

Graduation

The twins had their graduation from elementary school.  It has taken me a bit of time to process the moment.  Like many things, the anticipation was worse than the actual moment.  I cried, don’t get me wrong, but I also felt very numb and resigned.

It had to happen.

There were a few events leading up to the big moment.  Josh chaperoned his final elementary school field trip.  I chaperoned my final elementary school field trip.  There were rehearsals for the big day and a program to pull together and parties to throw.  Each time I would think, this is it.  That day I feared is happening.

I’m racing toward it, unable to stop.

The ceremony was lovely.  The kids sang.  They got awards.  They walked across the stage and stated their favourite school memory and wish for the future.  We watched a slide show full of pictures of their classmates from the last 6 years.  The kids sang along with the soundtrack, bouncing around in their seats while they shrieked out each other’s names.  I bawled seeing pictures from Kindergarten; their toothless smiles juxtaposed against the sea of braces across the aisle from us.

At the end of the ceremony, we walked through the school and the students from the younger classes lined the hallways and clapped us out.  The kids began down near the Kindergarten and special needs classrooms and then made their way past the first grade and second grade and on until they passed their own dark classrooms and made their way out of the school.

It was the moment I’ve been dreading the most; the one I didn’t think I would be able to get through.  I cried.  I bawled walking down the hall, all the kids staring at me as I passed and whispering, “That’s the computer lady” and they applauded.  I hugged their old teachers and said thank you.  I thought about all the things I had done in that school, the shapes cut out of construction paper and the xeroxing and the book club meetings.  And I said goodbye to the space, knowing that I would probably be back in that building again in the future, but it would no longer be our home.

I thought I wouldn’t be able to force myself to walk out the front door at the end, but there I was, putting one foot in front of the other.  We had to hurry to make a lunch reservation with friends, and, once again, the reality of the moment was nothing like the anticipation of the moment.  It was hard, it was bittersweet, but it also felt like what was going to happen.  So I could either struggle against it or let myself be carried on.

I let myself be carried on.

June 21, 2016   18 Comments

(c) 2006 Melissa S. Ford
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