Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Change in Course

Last Spring, I had a few very choice experiences that dominated my personal life. They are generally pretty private -- but I decided to drop my Thesis class and write it this Autumn quarter instead.

In case you don't know, I have to write my thesis for my Master's Degree in Communication and Leadership from Gonzaga University.  Shortly after dropping said course (over half way finished with my thesis I may add) I had come to the conclusion that I just wasn't that into it anymore.

I know, I know -- I decided at my Thesis (the final aspect of finishing the degree fully) that I "just wasn't into it?"  What was I thinking?

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Well, I was thinking I had spent so long researching and building a thesis around how the DoD, and especially the Department of the Army communicates impacting hiring decisions -- that I HAD to continue focusing on that. 

Heavy stuff.  Even heavier if you are unemployed from DA (like me) and have been for nearly 2 years (like  me) and you watch personnel get hired for virtues such as being a man, being a 'yes' man, and being a retired service member.  (I didn't retire, I did six years honorably).  It made the final process just untenable for me.  It's a tough situation to realize that even following all the rules they say will help you (such as serving, and getting a degree, then an advanced degree) it just doesn't matter. 

So over the course of the late spring and early summer, I chose to just focus on making the Shop a full time gig -- something that would work for me and the kids.  It's been difficult -- and through it all I have been getting emails and phone calls to sign up for my Thesis class again.   I wasn't going to do it.

But then I ran into something absolutely fascinating -- how the VA communicates.  How they communicate with people like me, the veteran.  How they communicate with the public via blogs and their VA (dot) gov website.  And how the morning reports they put out each Monday on how they are doing with claims adjudicating and the back log doesn't mesh with what they tell congress and me as a caller.

An example:  The VA wrote me in April asking if they wanted me to have them reconsider my claim.  That was a tough day -- so I wire wrapped some necklaces.  It was a touch few weeks -- so I wire wrapped some earrings.  It's been a brutal few months -- so I perfected my timing on FB posts so I wouldn't have to wonder if I needed to "pay" to be seen through Facebook's weird algorithms.  But the issue at hand is this:  when I call the call center, the VA says it takes on average 15 months to decide a claim -- but when I look at the morning reports, it says it takes between 232 and 335 days at my local regional office.

Now, I'm no math wiz, but when I asked my teenage son, he verified that neither 232 or 335 days are 15 months.  Kinda makes you wonder, right?
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But under all the designing I was doing to not face what was going on -- I was of course, in my OCD manner, researching what was going on with the VA.  (I know what you're thinking: this has very little to do with jewelry, but trust me -- it's a catalyst that sent me to almost 300 items in the shop). And in a moment of clarity, after the dozenth email and phone call, I decided to change my course and sign up again for the Thesis.

I begin again in September -- and will be heavily structuring my time during autumn and the holiday season.


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