Archive for September, 2003

Sep 23 2003

Work Philosophy

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A lot of people seem to think that my being surplus to requirements at my former job means that I can now find the job of my dreams. I can never make these people understand that I do not in fact have a dream job. Not now, not ever.

I have no particular talents, or at least, not ones that would generate a steady income on an ongoing basis. I hasten to add that I am not saying this in order to be contradicted (I hate that at all times) and told that I am being too modest and am in fact wonderfully gifted and fabulously talented. I know I’m not, and it doesn’t bother me at all. Having aesthetically unpleasing legs, for example, does bother me. Also being so damn old. But there is nothing to be done about either of these unpleasing facts of life, so I try not to worry about them, since that would cause wrinkles, which are equally unpleasing, if not more so.

My view on working is essentially this: it’s something you have to do in order to pay the bills and fund your real life, including vacations. The main thing is to find a job where they pay you enough to make it a fair trade for 9 hours of your time, five days a week. I don’t look to my job for emotional fulfillment. I think that’s what your real life is for. After all, they call it your job because it’s not your life.

Obviously, you should try and find something that you don’t actually hate, since work in this country does take up most of one’s waking hours, most of the time. But I don’t think it’s necessary to love it. Do the very best you can do while you’re at work, then get the hell out of there. But it must be great to have a job you do actually love, like my sister, who is an EMT, or these folks (the only one I truly envy is, not surprisingly, the wine taster).

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Sep 16 2003

Fires

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I don’t usually remember my dreams. When I do, they’re often so demented and strange that I have developed a theory to explain this while excusing myself from insanity. Once you go to sleep, your brain is off work, so it goes out to play. Hence the weird dreams.

I do remember having a dream about a fire last night, and it reminded me of a real fire when I was a girl.

We lived in the country, and our nearest neighbors were farmers. It was in the summer, and it was still light outside, so I really didn’t want to go to bed. To that end, I kept asking my Dad for various things: to be tucked in, a glass of water, etc. When I ran out of ideas, Dad had long ago run out of patience. I got out of bed and went to sit in my window seat, which looked over the neighbor’s fields. I noticed a strange glow in the sky, and I called out to Dad to tell him. He came running up the stairs, absolutely furious, and looked out of my window. He said “Oh my God” and ran out of the house, followed by his faithful dog Ginger.

Dad discovered that there was a creek between our house and the neighbor’s by running through it and ruining his pants. Swearing, he arrived to find that the barn was on fire. He and the neighbor managed to rescue all the animals in the barn before it collapsed in a blaze. The firemen arrived and put it out, and the fire didn’t spread to the house.

Naturally, all this excitement excused us from bed. My brother came downstairs wrapped in a blanket and got the cookie jar (which contained Oreos with mint filling – I don’t think they make this varietal now), and we went and sat on the front steps, eating cookies and watching the glow and sparks of the fire. From time to time, my brother said, “I’m scared”, but he certainly didn’t seem to be, even at the time, and if he was, it didn’t slow his consumption of cookies. It’s funny to think that he is now a country fireman himself.

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Sep 08 2003

First Interviews

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I ended up wearing this jacket, this skirt, and these shoes to the interviews. So it wasn’t exactly a suit, but it was formal enough (I hope) and I still felt stylish (always important). I must have looked OK, because I ran into a friend who told me I looked “fantastic” in a slightly surprised tone, as if he hadn’t known I could look quite that nice. I have to admit that I was slightly surprised myself by the improvement effected by make-up. I haven’t worn any or bothered with my hair much since becoming job-free, so I had sort of forgotten that I could actually look good. I was reminded of my little sister Megan watching me get ready for a date when I was in high school. I was about 17, so she would have been 8. She watched me for a while and then she said seriously, “Suzy, you’re so beautiful. But you’re more beautiful when you’re all colored in.” I think most of us are.

Anyway, the interviews went well. One was with an agency who has several jobs open in my field, which surprised me even more than my appearance had that morning, since all I had heard was how bad the job market was. But they said that someone with my skills and experience wouldn’t have a problem getting a job, and in fact, could essentially pick and choose to find something I really like, which was both flattering and encouraging.

And how’s this for weird? The agency is located not only in the building I used to work in, but in the very same suite our group had for my first year at the firm (after that, we had to move downstairs to join the general population).

The second interview was at a huge firm which has their own, brand-new building and really intense security. I had to check in at the front desk, show them my driver’s license, and get a temporary pass. I then had to show the pass to another security guard at a turnstile by the elevators, and when I finally got upstairs, you guessed it: I had to be let in. Employees would have to use their passes to get through the door. Amazing.

I’m not sure what to think about this job. There are a lot of pros and cons:

Con: It’s in an iffy neighborhood.
Pro: It’s a beautiful, brand-new building and very secure.

Con: They require a 10 hour day, starting insanely early. I’m not kidding. You have to be there by 4:30 am. Yes, yes. Or possibly, oh no. Did you even know they had a 4:30 in the morning as well as in the afternoon?
Pro: They pay for your cab to make sure you can get there on time. This also helps to deal with the iffiness of the neighborhood.

They would pay for me to get my Series 7 license, which would enable me to make trades. That would be a good skill to have and could potentially make me more money. Also, you can’t get one without being sponsored by a firm. But I don’t know if I could really face the earliness, which would require going to bed before most third graders, or the 50 hour work week. On the other hand, they have a brand-new, state of the art gym right in the building, which can only be used by employees. So not only would it be super easy to go the gym every day, it wouldn’t be open to the general public, so potentially less icky and crowded.

Lots of pros and cons.

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Sep 05 2003

Inspiration

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Well, if this doesn’t inspire me to go the gym, nothing will!

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Sep 02 2003

Suitable

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I’m not kidding about the interview outfit. While there is some truth to my being one of those women who walks into her walk-in closet and says she has nothing to wear, in this case it’s true. I blame “business casual”.

A few years ago, my former firm changed to business casual dress code. No-one knew what it meant, other than the forbidding of the always forbidden jeans. Why are jeans such outlawed attire? Given the fact that almost everyone in the entire US of A has them, making them the televisions of clothing, they are scarcely rebellious. Unflattering, possibly, and why most wearers would care to advertise their waist size to an unsuspecting public is beyond me, but they are practically a uniform at this point in time, which does make me wonder why they are considered to be as inappropriate in an office setting as, say, a tube top. After all, jeans really only reveal all too personal measurements instead of all too personal flesh. I can’t see anything inherently shocking in them.

But I digress. Those of us baffled by the new business casual dress code tried to find out what it was, and no definitive answer was forthcoming. It was rather like pornography, in that it’s difficult to define but the powers that be are convinced they will recognize it when they see it.

Not that I minded the new world order, which released me from the tyranny of nylons. But it does mean that I haven’t bought any dressy clothes in several years, so my wardrobe goes directly from wedding dress (probably not the right choice for any job interview other than mail order bride) to pants and tops (probably not the right choice for a job interview, either). Seems I have just justified a shopping trip, though a very dull one. Do I really need a suit? I don’t want to work where I would have to wear one and/or be re-introduced to the tyranny of nylons.

What’s worst? Having a job or looking for one or having to have one at all?

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