I Hate HP

See HP customer service nightmare comments here, here, and here. So if you’re having crappy service, call (877) 917-4380 ext. 79 to speak to an English-speaking case manager. Not that it’ll help matters much, but hopefully you won’t be restricted from accessing your personal e-mail on a daily basis.

And I don’t mean to be racist, but I really CANNOT speak to (East) Indians about technical issues. I have enough trouble trying to get Americans to understand me.

I have comments on Furious Seasons’ post here, but maybe once I can get my life back, I can throw my thoughts out. Eventually.

About that job search…

… there’s a position available for editing and layout design at a pharmaceutical company in the editorial/marketing department. I amuse myself by thinking I should apply for it, but feel like I’d be violating some kind of personal ethics. I probably won’t apply for it, but I am certainly amused by the idea since I’m qualified for it.

Constructive criticism complaining and oh yeah, I'm technologically S.O.L.

I’m feeling particularly crappy today. I fell asleep around 1 a.m. and woke up at 6:10 a.m. on the dot. I know, I know, sleep is important. If only I could adhere to a schedule…

I’ve been avoiding my blog because I basically have nothing to say except to complain, complain, complain. I really shouldn’t, but that’s what I want to do.

As I said before, it’s peer-review time at my company and the main feedback I’ve gotten is "Marissa needs to handle change better and become more adaptable to fluctuating, hectic circumstances." I could take one of two positions here: I could basically say that all of my co-workers view my ability to handle change incorrectly OR I could accept their constructive criticism and admit it’s a weak area.

I feel a little bit of both. But then again, I am incredibly subjective. I’m trying to assess how it’s a weak area of mine. My defensive mechanism jumps up at that and I think to myself, "They don’t know me! I deal with the way I need to! I’m high-strung anyway when it comes to stress. That doesn’t mean I don’t handle it well! I get my tasks done and I do them effectively. What’s the big deal?"

Then I try to step outside of myself and view myself objectively (as much as I can) and think, "Well, if I saw someone stomping all around the place during a hectic time, looking grumpy, constantly complaining, and looking freaked out and stressed, I’d tell her she needs to improve as well." I battle back and forth with this.

"This is just the way I am. I can’t change."

"Yes, you can. It’s a behavioral pattern that you can take control of."

"I used to work at a daily newspaper, an extremely stressful environment. I handled shifting priorities well there!"

"Apparently, you’re doing something wrong if your co-workers feel this way about you."

So I’m left hanging. I’m pretty open to constructive criticism so I do realize my co-workers have a good point. From my POV, of course, I don’t see things the way they do and feel like it’s just a part of my personality and they need to get used to me. But at the same time, if my co-workers need to work with me, they need to feel I’m reliable enough to stay level-headed and get the job done. I really don’t want to work on the latter. It’s out of my comfort zone. Regardless, I’ll have to anyway.

I also think, "I’m looking for another job. I can ignore what they say here and go there and work much better." True. But if the criticisms of my co-workers are valid (they do have merit), it’s a characteristic I need to work on, regardless of where I work.

I’m disappointed. I’m new to this whole peer-review thing so my "constructive" criticisms for others weren’t very helpful. Out of the four people who requested my feedback, I don’t remember really handing out ANY constructive criticism to ANYONE. I’m pretty unobservant and try to see the best in everyone. I feel like the retarded member of my team. I probably criticize myself (not constructively) more than anyone on my team. The closest I came to constructive criticism for one member was, "So-and-so can continue to develop her technical skills and attend training programs to become a more effective member of the team." My competitive nature always gets me paranoid. I’m pretty certain that everyone on the team likes her more than me and thinks she works better than I do despite the fact that I’ve been here for one year and she’s been here for just over three months. So-and-so is sweet, funny, has a good spirit, is always upbeat, and within the span of three months, has made enough work friends to attend attend happy hour with them regularly. I’ve been here a year and am lucky to eek out more than, "Hi." I shouldn’t care what other people think of me, but I can’t help but realize that I’m an incredibly lame person when it comes to social skills. I often wonder if my impaired social skills have to do with being an only child. (We’re pretty rare.)

I was right. All I’ve done this entire post is complain. I no longer like my job. (I’ve learned to love the paycheck I get every other Thursday, though!) I don’t handle constructive criticism as well as I thought I did (or used to). I feel socially impaired. (It doesn’t help that I met many of my friends and my husband via the Internet.) My competitive nature drives me nuts. (I’m constantly worried about how I stack up to others. Especially those with less experience than I have.)

I’ll stop here. I’m feeling incredibly low and I need to focus on my work. The boring, boring task that I’ve been assigned to makes me want to put a .38 caliber to my head. (Um, I guess I was kidding.)

Oh and yeah, my laptop’s crapped out on me for the THIRD time. I’m S.O.L. when it comes to checking my personal e-mail now. Sigh.

Contentment vs. Discontentment: Round 1

I began working at my current position exactly one year ago. I’m not fond of it. Despite the many critical posts about the pharmaceutical industry (and hence, pharmaceuticals), I’m not a fan of medical writing. (I can make an exception for psychology/psychiatry or following pharmaceutical trends.)

It’s peer review time. My coworkers rate me and comment on how well I’m doing at my job. Here’s one person’s input on improving my performance:

"Marissa is eager to learn new tasks related to editing; however, sometimes this enthusiasm replaces a focus to fulfill her assigned role. The most important thing I can suggest to improve her performance would be to focus on efficiency and accuracy for the assignments she has been given and not allow a desire to edit or make decisions override the more important task of performing her assigned duties accurately." [emphasis mine] (My name’s been changed and I’ve revised some of the text so it doesn’t give away exactly what I do.)

I’m not saying that I’m perfect and don’t have room for improvement at my job. (I probably do focus on editing more than my actual job – mainly data entry.) But that comment alerts me that this isn’t the right job for me. I don’t write original copy; I don’t edit; my job allows little room for creativity. As for the "make decisions" part – you got me.

I think back to my first job out of college and (I don’t mean to brag, but) I did one heckuva job. I worked at a daily paper and dove into my position as a copy editor/page designer/proofreader. Within seven months, I was designing and editing front page articles. I also organized and maintained a supplement publication after the chief page designed left. (The supplement was – as my husband likes to put it – an absolute "clusterfuck.") By the time I quit, I’d left it in an organized and manageable state for others to work with. I worked my ass off until 2 a.m. sometimes. I know my boss saw this and appreciated the work I did.

Now, I’m in Philadelphia working as an entry-level medical EA and basically performing data entry. (I admit, I get paid a really good salary to do this.) I’m dealing with it, but starting to look for something else. There’s an editorial assistant position with another company closer to home that actually involves interviewing, reporting, and editing. I interviewed for a similar position at the company last year while living in the South, but had to decline the second round of interviews because I couldn’t afford the airline expense (or the time off). I know I’m much more suited to it than what I’m doing now. It won’t be copy editing – which may slow me down in writing my articles – but it’ll be more than converting Celsius to Fahrenheit and kilograms to pounds. If it’s still available by the time I get my resume together (maybe this weekend), I’ll apply for it.

Continue reading “Contentment vs. Discontentment: Round 1”

Get prescription medication without a prescription

I went to retrieve a printed document at the main office copier/printer/fax yesterday and noticed two unsolicited faxes sitting on the upper tray. The first one was the generic tropical vacation deal; the second was from myfirstpharma.com encouraging whomever to order “prescription medication without a prescription.”

You can go on the site and order the prescription medication they offer:

“Just fill out our online questioner [sic] and one of our doctors will write your prescription. Our pharmacy will then fill your order and ship it overnight to your Door.”

First, let’s address the online “questioner.” It doesn’t ask for your symptoms or why you want the drug. The only exception is purchasing a weight-loss drug. You fill in your height, weight, and BMI to verify obesity. So of course, you can’t lie and say you’re 5′ 4″ and 210 lbs when you’re really 5′ 4″ and 110 lbs. [sarcasm] Click the “Buy now” button and all of the shipping and billing information pops up with the “questionnaire” at the end. You must agree or disagree with the questionnaire that consists of the following:

  1. I agree not to take any over-the-counter medicines without approval from my pharmacist. If you disagree, please explain why.
  2. I agree not to take medication if I am pregnant, breast-feeding, or trying to get pregnant. If you disagree, please explain why.
  3. Please list all current medical conditions.
  4. Is there anything in your medical history that you consider to be relevant?
  5. Please list all over-the-counter and prescription medications that you are currently taking and the length of time for each.
  6. Please list all medication that you plan to take while on this program.
  7. Please list all past or present allergies including allergies to any medications.
  8. Please list all past surgeries and provide details including the condition that was treated with each surgery.
  9. Please explain the specific medical reason for ordering this medication. The physician must know the exact nature of your medical problem in order to prescribe this medication. This cannot be left blank.
  10. Are you currently taking this medication? If yes. How frequent do you take the medication in one day?

If you disagree with any of the above, you need to specify why. (Not sure if you get denied, but it’s what the site requires.) Need an anxiety medication? You can buy Buspar. Want to try different antidepressants without having to go through the hassle of seeing your doctor and dealing with insurance? You can choose from Bupropion, Fluoxetine, Wellbutrin, Paxil, Effexor, and Lexapro.

I highly getting recommend Effexor on your own. [sarcasm]

Pharma AdNeedless to say – but I’ll say it anyway – this is ridiculously dangerous. It’s cheaper to go through your doctor ($15 copay, most likely) and insurance (probably a $20 copay), but if you can’t afford that and can somehow afford prescription medication on your own, you’d better cough up some serious dough. Here’s the going rate for effexor on the site:

30 pills at 37.5 mg – $191.00
30 pills at 75 mg – $209.00
30 pills at 150 mg – $217.00
90 pills at 37.5 mg – $361.00
90 pills at 75 mg – $447.00
90 pills at 150 mg – $427.00

In KBTX.com’s article about the subject, Dr. Garth Morgan of University Family Medicine makes a few good points:

“It’s actually very scary for this type of website to actually exist. You have no way of knowing the physician that is prescribing this to you, or if they’re actually a physician,” [Morgan] said. “Looking at the website there is nothing on there that tells you who the doctors are that are prescribing it.”

“Medicines on the site are addictive, medicines on there have a black market value, and people could sell them on the black market,” said Morgan. “If people get on these sites and start ordering these medications and taking them incorrectly they’re going to be coming to the emergency rooms or my office and I won’t have an idea what they’re taking.”

“The medicines that are meant for prescriptions mean you have to have someone follow over you, look over your shoulder, work with you,” said Morgan. “It doesn’t mean it’s just an inconvenience that you have to have a piece of paper to get the medication.”

I found some more information on panicdisorder.about.com (of all places) about the risks involving the purchase of non-prescribed medications:

What is dangerous about buying medications online?
You may find yourself facing the following dangers if you purchase drugs online without a prescription:

  • Web sites offering medications without prescriptions are illegal and are not regulated in any way. The medication you purchase may be contaminated. It may not be the correct product or it may not even be a medication. You may be given the wrong dose.
  • Wrong medications and dosages put you at risk for drug interactions and other health consequences.
  • Both the FDA and the American Medical Association agree that it is unsafe to take prescription medication without seeing a doctor for a prescription. These illegal Web sites often will provide you with medication after you have filled out a questionnaire. A questionnaire cannot determine if a treatment is appropriate for you nor can it figure out if you have any underlying medical conditions that may be complicated by the medication.
  • If you purchase medications without a prescription from a foreign Web site, you are at risk for being ripped off financially and there will be little you can do about it. It is generally illegal to import most drugs purchased from these kinds of sites.

I’d like some illegal Percocet, but I’d be too much of a scaredy-cat to give any of my credit card info online.

Here’s the lesson, kiddies: Don’t purchase meds online, even if your PCP is clueless to the risks of psych drugs. It’s worth adding that you shouldn’t even purchase psych meds if your PCP is prescribing them.

(photo from The Red State)

Nothing to say

So I finally have a bit of time to post, but my mind is blank. I really have nothing to say.

I have a swirl of ideas in my mind and half-finished posts on various topics, but I don’t have the energy or the focus to write out anything coherent. See Bipolar Blast. (Watch this change later on. I’m great at contradicting myself.)

We’ll see what I can come up with, but in the meantime, I’m a total blank. Check out …salted lithium.’s post on debunking the "manic depression made me do this" excuse.

Saturday Stats

"A recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) concluded that the frequency of severe and fatal reactions to prescribed drugs in the United States is ‘extremely high.’ More than 100,000 people per year are estimated to die in hospitals from drug reactions, implicating medications as one of the nation’s top killers. Depending on the specific estimate, drug reactions in hospitals may constitute either the fourth or the sixth leading cause of death behind heart disease, cancer, and stroke." — Breggin & Cohen, "Your Drug May Be Your Problem"

A few things

I’m having the crappiest time with technology (and interpersonal relationships at work). My laptop has crapped out for the second time in the past two months so it’s off to HP for another  fix. (I’m not happy about this.) This means little to no personal e-mail access for at least a week – maybe two – and a possible lack of updates. I do most of my blogging at work, but work has been coming in waves so I’ll have a straight week of posts and catching up on blogs and then I have no time to myself. To top it off, my laptop has put my Shuffle on the fritz so I can’t even listen to music while exercising or commuting.

I know I’m complaining, but I figured I’d put this post up to let people know that I haven’t disappeared or committed suicide or anything. I’m just having a crappy few weeks. I hope everyone else’s week turns out better.

Saturday Stats

"Rates of mania caused by antidepressants frequently reach or surpass 1 percent of patients." — Breggin & Cohen, "Your Drug May Be Your Problem"