Quote of the Day

•August 30, 2009 • Leave a Comment

“To read is to fly: it is to soar to a point of vantage which gives a view over wide terrains of history, human variety, ideas, shared experience and the fruits of many inquiries.” 

– A C Grayling

Quote of the Day

•August 21, 2009 • Leave a Comment

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“This is love, isn’t it? When you notice someone’s absence and hate that absence more then anything? More, even, then you love his presence?”

–Jonathan Safran Foer, American author of Everything is Illuminated and Extremely Close and Incredibly Loud

Tangles

•August 21, 2009 • Leave a Comment

When I was little my mom had this stuff called No More Tangles®. I think it was Johnson & Johnson. It came in a spray bottle with a picture of a little girl with thick silky long hair on the front with her attractive mother combing her ponytail. They were both smiling beautific smiles. Goffman would have had a field day.  Anyway, you spritzed it on your hair when it was wet and – allegedly – it took all those snarly, knotted tangles right out without having to tear your hair out by the roots. 

I just got off the phone with my on-again-off-again-non-boyfriend and got to thinking about No More Tangles®.  Wouldn’t it be loverly (in the words of dear Eliza D.) to have a No More Tangles® for your life? Quick, I need a patent! A serum you could just smooth onto whatever area of life you are having problems – in relationships, at work, at home, with friends –  in that would just straighten it all out when you  ran a comb through it?  Because unfortunately, in real life, we are stuck with working through the knots all by ourselves, sorting and untangling different strands until they have some semblance of tidiness. 

My non-boyfriend, who we will call Country Boy, is my polar opposite.  I am a socially liberal English major, from Western Washington who loves shopping and shoes and reading and Rilke.  He is a gun- and fishing pole-toting, conservative redneck from Eastern Washington getting his master’s in environmental engineering and enjoys hunting, fishing, and four-wheeling and hasn’t read a work of fiction in his life.  Other than in high school when he read “The Great Gatsby” and called Daisy Buchanan “Daisy Boo-chan-in-in.”  He calls a novel a “chapter book.”   The only things we had in common was Bush light tallboys, quick tempers, and the fact that we make each other laugh.  We dated for one tempestuous year, living together until I graduated from college and moved away.  Since then, our non-relationship has been a swinging pendulum of jealous rages, confessions of love and hopes for the future, and then sighs of “I just don’t know…”. 

It is exhausting. I don’t want to do it anymore but nor do I want to give up on him…I don’t think? I’m so confused….I don’t know what to do anymore.  Maybe if there was a No More Tangles® for relationships it would help me out but maybe it would just make things come out the way they were not supposed to…

Besides, whenever my mom used No More Tangles® on my hair, it always just made it greasy.

Quote of the Day

•August 19, 2009 • Leave a Comment

man's back

“We die, we die rich with lovers and tribes, tastes we have swallowed, bodies we have entered and swum up like rivers, fears we have hidden in these wretched caves. I want all these marks on my body, we are the real countries, not the boundaries drawn on maps with the names of powerful men.”

– Herodotus, writer of The Histories, a Greek historian who is regarded as the Father of History by much of Western civilization.

Quote of the Day

•August 18, 2009 • 1 Comment

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“People think a soul mate is your perfect fit, and that’s what everyone wants. But a true soul mate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that’s holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention so you can change your life.

A true soul mate is probably the most important person you’ll ever meet, because they tear down your walls and smack you awake. But to live with a soul mate forever? Nah. Too painful.  Soul mates, they come into your life just to reveal another layer of yourself to you, and then they leave. And thank God for it.”

– Elizabeth Gilbert, “Eat Pray Love”

Clam Chowder

•August 18, 2009 • Leave a Comment

So I meant to write this yesterday but I got distracted by, among other things, an episode of “The West Wing.”  Yesterday was the day I decided I would get out there and get my hands dirty, so to speak, in terms of job hunting. Until recently, I have only applied for jobs like Editorial Assistant, Assistant Editor, Administrative Assistant, etc.  I have not had much luck with any of those, despite my qualifications…grrr.  Anyway, I have a friend who came home from school, where she had been partying for the four years it took her to get her AA and quitting every job she ever got by basically just not showing up, and she handed out resumés at several downtown restaurants and was offered a job at Anthony’s as head hostess, on the spot (despite only working as a hostess once before, hating it, and eventually quitting after only a few months).  I on the other hand, with my bachelor’s degree and resumé full of steady employment, am unable to find a job. So, I decided I would suck it up and apply to “lesser” positions – no offense to those positions – in the hopes that I, too, would be offered a job on the spot. Spoiler: I wasn’t. (This is one area where it helps to be five foot ten and look like a model, like my friend.)

So I went downtown and applied to several restaurants: Anthony’s Homeport, Anthony’s Hearthfire Grill, Mercato, Ramblin’ Jacks, and Batdorf & Bronson’s coffee shops.  I have no real desire to work at any of these places (hopefully their hiring managers are not searching the internet reading this…) but work is work and at this point I’m too broke a begger to be a chooser.  I struck out at the first three I went to (Mercato and Ramblin’ Jack’s owned by the same person and I was told to come back the next day to speak to the hiring manager, and Anthony’s wasn’t hiring any more hostesses), filled out an application and returned it to Batdorf’s, and drove along the pretty little winding drive to Hearthfire Grill as my last stop.

I got to Hearthfire Grill just as they were offering open interviews. Well, a half an hour early, which was to my benefit because then I had time to fill out the application.  The guy took me and three guys into a banquet room and gave us a lecture about Hearthfire Grill (turns out their meat and seafood is all owned by the same Anthony’s corporation from the cow’s birth and seafood caught, respectively) which was actually quite interesting, and then sent us individually to meet with another hiring person, who immediately endeared himself to me by telling me that my major “sounded like a really interesting thing to major in.” It was. Anyway, I was my most charming and polite self, my heart sinking while the manager told me that I was “exactly the kind of person [he] would want as the face of his restaurant” (as a hostess) but that they weren’t hiring at the moment. He told me he would call me at some point in the near future if a position opened up. Yeah, yeah. I’ve heard it all before. 

The worst part was, I didn’t even want the job. It required you to be available every weekend and holiday, and I am DEFINITELY a 9-5 kind of girl. But I love the restaurant, and the atmosphere with the floor to ceiling windows overlooking the water and the dark polished oak and colored glass walls.  He interviewed me at a table in the bar, and there was an elderly couple sitting by the window eating an Early Bird Supper of clam chowder bowls, and all I could think was, I would so much rather be seventy years old and sitting with the love of my life eating clam chowder than doing what I am really doing, which is, being twenty-two years old with a college degree with an on-again-off-again Republican non-boyfriend trying unsuccessfully to find a job as ANYTHING. 

The thing is, I thought as I was driving home, I’m not really the kind of person who enjoys change. I like routine. I like stability.  Of course I like to be busy, especially when it is something I am passionate about and enjoy doing, but I like to know well in advance the boundaries between my “busy” time and my “down” time.  And being unemployed is one of the most unstable things there is to be. I am so lucky that I have a family who will support me while I find employment, because I honestly don’t know what I would have done.  My dad says it is because I am over-qualified for what I like to call “shit” jobs, like waitressing at Red Robin or selling t-shirts at American Eagle, but I am not qualified for “real” jobs, like, in an actual office with actual tasks that make a difference (this would be because I do not have 3 years of experience, which all jobs seem to require these days, despite having been in COLLEGE for the last four years of my life).

I ended up feeling even more depressed than when I started out.

Resumés and Other Super Fun Things

•August 18, 2009 • 1 Comment

I am so sick of resumés. Seriously. Can you hire a professional resumé writer?

In the course of my job search, which began around the end of January but didn’t really pick up speed until recently, I have compiled a folder of over twenty five resumés.  That seems excessive, you may say. Why yes, you would be correct. While I do have about four different resumés geared towards different job sectors (one for writing and editing, one for design, one for food service and one for administrative assistant/office work jobs), the reason I have so many resumés is because…everyone on planet earth seems to have a different idea of what a resumés should look like!

My first resumé I put together for a class trip to New York City. The class was an apparel merchandising, textile and design (AMDT) class that went to an array of design houses and large apparel corporations and color forecasting companies and we were required to bring resumés and, if applicable, portfolios to hand out or show. This resumé was a basic functional resumé because, as a student, I had yet to actually apply many of the skills I hoped to use at a future job.

When I got back and came home and started looking for actual jobs, my dad gave me a book by the 5 O’Clock Club that was about getting the job you want – I can’t recall the exact title.  In this book were several sample resumés, one of which I used as a model for the next adaptation of my resumé. This was somewhat between functional and chronological and had a top-of-the-page center alignment of my contact information and, all in all, was pretty damn boring.

When I showed this to my dad, he immediately found a million things wrong with it and – voíla! – the 3rd reincarnation of my resumé was born.  This version went through about ten drafts and different focii (plural of “focus”…that is how you spell it, right? Anyway-) before I settled on a more functional resumé with a “Summary of Qualifications” section at the top – my dad had some article from the Times about how recruiters and hiring managers love this little paragraph summary of who you are and what you have done.

Then, I went to email my resumé to a friend who lives in Los Angeles but knows a guy who has a dad who works for a museum in Washington, D.C.  He told me that he liked my resumé but I should try and make it more visually/aesthetically pleasing. Which is true, and as a graphic designer, I should have probably thought of this but I had heard so much about how people throw away resumés that look too “graphic-y”.  And, I was sick of my resumé at this point.  So he was trying to explain it and I just couldn’t figure out what he was talking about, so he sent me his resumé to see the formatting.  Now, he is a dear friend and just one of the most generous, helpful people you will ever meet. But his resumé made me feel a million times worse!  He is one of those people who is just all-around perfect – he works for Wells Fargo’s corporate headquarters, plays the piano like Elton John, volunteers on several boards of non-profits, and, oh yeah, he just graduated a few months ago…several months after I did. And his resumé reflects this, just reiterating to me how many times I just went down to the river to fish and go tanning all summer instead of what I should have been doing, which, clearly, was interning at the New York Times or The Oprah Winfrey Show or Bank of America. Sigh. But, he has been enormously helpful because my resumé now looks much more professional at first glance and my information is more streamlined.  The only problem is…I don’t have the amount of experiences to put on it that he does because most of my skills come from classroom projects, which you can’t put on a resumé.  So now I am trying to adjust my resumé to reflect more of the freelance work I did in college – web design, editing papers and portfolios for my sorority sisters and classmates, etc. 

I have a sneaking suspicion that, like everyone I show my resumé to, every hiring manager or recruiter has their own preferences on resumé formatting. I figure that as long as it is in black and white with at least a minimally coherent structure I will be ok.  But I still want it to reflect my best efforts.  Only I’m so sick of my resumé at this point I just don’t care. Which is why I took a break to write this post because, well, I’m an English major and therefore a procrastinator by nature.

Arghhhh.