Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Shot down again

Date: Sept. 16
Mileage: 20.3
September mileage: 380.9

I had the perfect scheme worked out to ride the Golden Circle again this weekend, starting in Skagway with three solid days to reach Haines by Sunday morning. I didn't announce my plans on my blog because I knew my employer was going to pull back, again, and sure enough, I got the bad news today.

I was supposed to receive Saturday off as a belated Labor Day. But my replacement pulled out without much notice. Everyone else gets to celebrate Labor Day, the day to honor working citizens' contribution to society, on Labor Day. I can't celebrate Labor Day until my employers decide I'm not needed. I feel like I am the punchline of a real-life Dilbert cartoon, or maybe that Winnie the Pooh character that has a rain cloud follow him everywhere he goes.

I even had the weather report checked out and a fall-back motel called in Haines Junction and a plan to pack up my Karate Monkey with gear enough for rain and a camp out in temps down to 30. The worst part is, my employers don't even understand what they're taking away from me by withdrawing a promised day off. And it's hard to make them understand because in real life I am a terrible communicator. They probably think I spend my Saturdays the way everyone else in the office does, going to Home Depot and checking out the latest opening of whatever five-week-old movie came to Juneau this week. I wish I could show them that by first saying no to Trans Utah and then to the Golden Circle, they have effectively punched a big hole in my livelihood, and I don't have much left besides my job.


  1. your employers haven't read your blog?

  2. Seriously?

    Call in sick and do your thing.

    I wouldn't post your activities on the blog though :-)

    Life's to short and the paper gonna fold up if you ain't there?

    The last time I asked for a particular day off and didn't get it....I called in sick.

    Guess what?

    I still have my job and now when I ask off for a particular day-I always get it.

  3. Ouch that hurts!! They obviously don't know who they're messing with do they.


  4. Hey there ~

    Some thoughts on the situation:


    a) Now that you know the kind of employer you have the next time you have a promised day off ( regardless of the plans you have made ), make yourself inaccessible ie no cell phone, no email , no landline, nothing. Do not check any of these devices with an exception ie have a code set up for your boyfriend and your relatives so that in the case of an emergency they (and only they) can reach you.

    b) Or, if what you have planned or not planned is important to you at the time, then take a sick day. However, do not publicize ,write or hint in your blog what you did , didn't do or that you were sick ie leave no trail.

    2) This is a good point in time to reaccess what you are doing up in Alaska. By that I mean if , say the worst happens and you can no longer ride your bike, would you still live up there? If not, and the job is not enough, then it's time to explore other employment in Alaska to keep with your riding.

    a) If possible, find other employment out of Alaska to mesh with your cycling;

    b)Add something(s) to your life beside work and cycling;

    c)Start/continue to sit down with your self over a period and acknowledge that you have had an idyllic adventure in Alaska working, cycling and blogging and it is time to decide "What now?" ;

    d) The ultimate question to ask yourself : I have my job, my cycling that are so very vital to me what if both of these things are taken from me , what then?

    Although I don't know you personally, by reading your last few entries it seems clear to me you are coming or are already at a cross roads and decision point in your life.

    I do know this you are resourceful, tough minded, creative, hard working, passionate and the list goes on.

    The adventure in your life with or without cycling/your job/ Alaska will continue in some place in some manner.

    Cheers and Peace.

    Kazimer - "Kaz"

  5. at least you've got over 300 miles in for sept. i've been able to get about 10 in.

  6. Now, that Kaz was a cyber psychologist I can deal with.

    You are young and relatively unnattached. Now is the time to avoid the pitfalls that leave many with years of quiet desparation. Not sayin' they aren't honorable years of quiet desparation but...

    I would think about what I want to be doing for the rest of my life. You know, make your vocation your avocation, or something like that.

    Is it your dream to work at that paper. If so, great. Can you work at another paper without losing much? Is it your dream to cycle and write about it. If so, what's stopping you. Money? Attachments? responsibilities (real or otherwise),fear?

    Anyway, sorry for all that. If it was intrusive, give me a cyber smackdown. It just felt like you asked.

  7. steal office supplies-that always makes me feel better.

  8. I read your blog (got the link from FatCyclist site), but have never commented. Bummer about work and riding. Looks like you are at a crossroads. There are a lot of options out there, so keep an open mind and good luck. BTW our local newspaper is hiring (The Daily Herald - Utah County). As you know great mountain biking and hiking in utah.

  9. What's keeping you in Alaska? You seem to be a smart talented woman. I can't imagine you'd have a huge amount of trouble making ends meet in another part of the US.

    Reading Geoff's blog he seems to want to relocate which, I assume is an incentive for you as well.

    You should be able to find someplace that is as good for wet/cold/snow biking as Alaska...okay I take that back...=-) might have to sacrifice a bit and choose someplace that is drier and warmer - at least for part of the year.

    If you loved Alaska, loved your job and your SO was there I'd get it. From what I can tell based on your blog only the first is true.

    Maybe it's time to move?

  10. Hang in there Jill. Bad moments pass.


  11. Jill,

    Someone left a good comment on your Sept 14 edition on a possibility in Leadville, CO... Might be good for you and even keep you and Geoff together

  12. Some day when you are lying on your death bed, will you regret missing out on life and passions for a company that obviously does not care for the mental health of it's employees? I am the same way, but if I could I would tell them off. Do it Jill, tell them off. Then write about it. we are listening... ah ... reading.

  13. Hey Jill ( and other readers ) ~

    My apologies to everyone.

    I came back to re-read what I posted ad saw the other comments, and realized that I may have come across as a cyber psychologist.

    All my best to you Jill.

    I look forward to reading more entries about your adventure.

    Kazimer - Kaz

  14. Most have already said it better than I could, but I wanted to say "Fight the power!" with a raised fist... eff those folks at the paper for not keeping their word.

    How bout a Grant-peterson-style S24O instead?

  15. It's good that you enjoy the work that you do but it's too bad your employment situation is frustratingly inflexible.

    But the white stuff is coming soon even through the gray - yay!

    Meanwhile, keep working on your writing project. You might be surprised with its success. Use it to secure a book deal. Make the deal revolve around your passions and include an expense account. For example, "The Most Extreme (Winter) Ultrasport Races on Earth - One Girls attempt to complete them all". Launch a sponsored blog to provide income and build interest during your global tour. Share this awesome promotional and testing opoportunity with select outdoor apparel and gear companies. Secure equity in Epic Designs and use the tour to launch Epic to the big time.

    I’m just kidding No I'm not. The sky is the limit for you Jill even if you can’t see it from where you’re spinning.

  16. You and Geoff should move to NC (you'd love Asheville) and you can stay w/ us in Charlotte while you're getting situated. (I pitched the idea to Geoff this past weekend @ Shawn's wedding)

  17. maybe you are looking at this job as a challange, just like your bike rides...and feel like you can't give up. maybe the real challenge is to 'take a good look' at where this 'trail' (job) is leading you to.

    you are an amazing person, most people lack your determination and courage...don't let this get you down.

    i wouldn't know much about your job, but i imagine it has something to do with palin and the they might really need you? if so, let this pass...and then pick your next trail.

  18. I love how people can read this small fragment of your life and feel they have the authority to give you advice.

    Sometimes we just need to rant about a negative aspect of our jobs (or life). It doesn't necessarily require the listener to become all indignant on our behalf, just to listen, nod, and empathise. Sometimes its just rhetorical.

    I empathise, Jill.

  19. Don't ignore the big picture stuff is common for a boss to demand more and more from an employee and to not even know they are doing it. Who does this happen to? The good employee who tries to live up to expectations no matter how unreasonable or unfair (it works for the boss). Who is going to make sure the situation changes? No one, except possibly the employee. If this is happening to you and is causing resentment don't just live with it---you don't need the resentment. And if you do need the resentment, consider reviewing the concept of codependence. Or just ignore me.

    Matthew Newlin

  20. Ah, but once again you have proven you are dependable and reliable. Not bad things to possess and dare I say it? Sometimes you just have to pay your dues. Feel good -- you live in a beautiful place, you have a real job in a field you are interested in, and you have parlayed your love of Pugsley into something BIG. Hooray for you. Job stuff is job stuff. We all have it. Me, I used to have reporters calling me constantly and carried a pager and cell phone (the old days) so they could reach me at home at 2 a.m. if need be! Now, that was a bummer. I hung in for a while, then moved on.

  21. I wish Paul Robeson had lived and sung in the era of modern digital recordings. Ole Man River would have reverberated much more effectively to give voice to the immutable human condition.


  23. I hope you don't have to relocate, Jill, but man - that sucks that you had that day off taken away. If you are ever thinking of relocating to the Vancouver, BC area...Ben and I would be happy to put you up!

  24. Work to Live - not the other way around. Here's what I know: you are a hugely valuable employee, and your employer knows that. That gives you power - you just have to use it. If you don't, you are never going to get what you want and/or need. What's the worst that can happen? They say no? And you are no worse off than you are right now.
    This isn't just something to learn when it comes to this job - it's one of those big deal life lessons that takes lots of practice. Don't just give in and be the victim - go ask for what you want and deserve.

  25. I give it three weeks before we get frost. I predict I'll have put off getting a mountain bike with winter tires, and further predict that I'll bust the road bike and my ass while sliding down Ballaine Hill after slipping on said frost. Chances?

  26. That is really tough! I am sorry you are going to miss out on the Golden Circle.

    You are a great writer. You boss needs to see that he can't lose this talent and needs to give you a little break every once in awhile. If he is not careful.. he could lose you!


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