Overheard

July 28, 2011

A conversation, as I boarded the elevator down to the lobby in search of lunch today.

I got on in front of a hiring manager (whom I don’t know) from my company who was holding a clipboard of information, and an interviewee in a fancy suit who was (he thought smoothly but I thought nervously) attempting to make a final lasting impression of being–hey–a swell guy. The hiring manager was seemingly less than impressed. It went something like this:

Interviewee [as the elevator doors open on the 18th floor and we all get in]: “Man, something smells goooood downstairs.” [laughs for no reason]

Hiring manager: “………..yep. Not bad.” [we begin our descent]

Interviewee: “That’s, uh, another reason; I’d love to just work in the Loop. It’s just got to be so much better than Schaumberg. Nothing to do out there, you know? [clearly searching for common ground] It’s just terrible.”

Hiring manager: “……yeah, it’s probably….the best place to work in the city. The Loop.”

Interviewee: “Yeah, tell me about it. Tell me about it… Where do you live again, in the city?”

Hiring manager: “I don’t. I live in Barrington. …Right next to Schaumberg.”

Interviewee [suddenly more optimistically]: “Oh. …Yeah, alright, alright, well–” [door opens]

Hiring manager: “Well, thanks, and have a nice day. Your way out is to the right.”

Lovely. I think there’s nothing that amuses me more than other people’s awkwardness sometimes. I was just glad I got to be there for it. It was like my 30-second theatre break.

Really bet he gets that job…

Today

July 28, 2011

And not just today.

Beer Me That Job

July 25, 2011

There are just so, so many things that bother me about the job search process.

For instance: why is it that nowadays, if you want to send in a resume to a job that’s located on a site that isn’t Craigslist, often they make you register with a multi-step process for their own stupid site, which then begins to send you more spam than exists in the entire state of Hawaii? News flash: If I’m looking for a job, I need to be checking my email account for serious job inquiries or, like, videos of kittens happily attacking watermelons sent from friends who want me to be less depressed about the dejecting work of job applications. I do not need it bulked up with requests for me to apply to jobs for which I would never apply and so, you know…I didn’t.

“Job available in your field: Prison Barber” Is it? Is it?

Or bulked up with ads directed at me, the job seeker. Alleged head-hunting agencies that—if really scammy—want you to pay to play, or—if merely sleazy, useless, and opportunistic—desire for you to go to their advertisement-marinated web page that no one actually uses to find jobs. Hey, glad that while I can’t find a job, you’re able to make lazy cash off advertisements springing up in my face like so many unwanted joke nut can snakes.

https://gomersasquatch.files.wordpress.com/2011/07/4e4f5-circussnake.jpg?w=344&h=373

Job peanuts.

Don’t believe me that they’re not there for you to apply to jobs? Actually attempt to apply to a job on one of those sites some time. More often than not, you can’t submit what you need to, it’s unnecessarily convoluted to the point that you end up just not applying, or you have to sign up for more advertisement abuse in order to submit a resume.

Departed are the days of sending in an application directly to the company via email or in a very simple one- or two-step process. Dead and buried are the days of just going over the building and handing the resume in.

(Yeah, try this some time. Then as you leave, hide and watch the receptionist unenthusiastically use it as a great big wrapper for stale gum.) Just, really. In a vast majority of careers, the physical resume is all but obsolete in the eyes of an employer.

Which is fine. All I wanted to do was to email the damn thing in anyway. But it’s just never that simple.

There are other things I loathe about the job application process, too. For example, feeling like the worst sort of corporate whore, having to sell yourself on your cover letter to please the sadistic evil hiring machine of the non-desperate, already-job-havin’ HR dementors while they muse over your life’s accomplishments in the most trivial of manners and make capricious decisions about the fate of your life.

Or that’s at least what it feels like. I know and love a few hiring managers—family members and friends. That’s really not dementors. …that we know of… But I’m fairly certain that all the hiring managers who’ve gone over my resume and cover letter have been exactly like this. Evil suckers of hope and identity.

But most of all, what I cannot handle about the job search process is the interview. The terrible, horrible, stinking interview.

Very possibly it’s just that I’ve always been as inept with interviews as I have been with auditions or, say, blind dates. I lose all semblance of personality (or even what a human is and how it normally functions) when faced with the daunting task of “BE CHARMING AND SAY ONLY THE RIGHT THINGS.” What the hell? It’s like someone telling you, “Be funny.” Or, “Be interesting.” Or, “Be sexy.”  Uhhhhhh. Ummmmm. Buuuuuuuh. *blink, blink, rub eye, blink*

https://monarcaresblog.files.wordpress.com/2012/10/dog-stretch.jpg?w=198&h=168

“Is this sexy or interesting?”  “No, but it is funny.”

You can’t put someone on the spot like that and expect them to perform well. Least of all me. It’s like I completely lose the ability to comprehend the fundamental makeup of humor or normal speech patterns at that moment and instead sit thinking totally functional and moderately intelligent thoughts with a horrified expression on my face, unable to make them come out of my mouth. It’s amazing—another person’s power to abduct attributes you might otherwise rock when not having to try at them. In these situations, rather than funny, interesting, or sexy, I instead break down into a grotesque amalgamation of the antonyms of all three—a character I think of as Abused Meg.

Abused Meg has had handed to her some of the most ghastly, miserable experiences known to man or woman and is therefore now no longer able to talk with the usual shape or wetness of her former mouth, cannot consider numbers or manifest emotions with certainty, can’t find an appropriate volume at which to express her monosyllabic sentiments, has never seen the sun nor heard loud noises, is constantly on the verge of tears or hiding in her own arm crevice like a sad baby Dracula, and otherwise behaves just as an abused, neglected dog might. At best, she has no personality at all; at worst she’s strange and alienating with the ability to rob anyone else in the room of a sense of normalcy. I am not good at interviews.

And the thing with interviews is, you just can’t ask the freaking questions you want. Mainly—how much will I get paid, and what are my benefits? I don’t get why this is such a taboo. You’re not supposed to ask that until right before you get the job. Why are we all wasting so much time?!

I understand that employers want a person who is right for the job and dedicated to the work. I get that. That makes for a more pleasant work experience for all and a more dedicated worker. But here’s a thought that is applicable for every single person I’ve ever met—unless there’s something truly horrific about my current job, I am leaving my job to look for either comparable pay or a vertical move of some sort, like more pay and better benefits. If money weren’t important with regards to the job, I wouldn’t be working in the first place. I’d spend my time … I don’t know … rowing a fucking boat or painting pictures of me rowing fucking boats. I wouldn’t be sitting in a cubicle taking orders from people. Right? And you—the job dangler—are remarkably stupid in not acknowledging that out in the open and right away.

So why can’t I ask on the first interview—or hell, before I go take off work to waste my time and the potential new employer’s time—what the pay is going to be? Then let’s see if I’m a good fit. Because I tell you what—even if I really love a potential job, I—like most everyone else—do not live in a career utopia fantasy. I have rent and bills to pay. I have to eat. I have a life outside of work I’d like to continue living in a similar fashion or better. I need to find a new job that’s going to pay me what I need to make in order to do all these lovely lifey things. And nearly everything beyond that is a minor deciding factor. The order of importance has to be: 1.) Do I vaguely want to perform this job/am I qualified?  2.)Does it pay what I need/want to make?  3.) Literally anything else that might be a point of interest. It doesn’t matter.

Number 1 is taken care of when I apply. I got the job description, I’m interested so far. Number 2 should be next. Number 2 should always be next. There is no point proceeding if number 2 is a deal-breaker. PEOPLE—NUMBER 2!! Come on.

So, yeah. This is the aspect of our job culture that I think I find most aggravating and wasteful of everyone’s time and energy.  And so does Abused Meg. As she shambles off into the shadows, totally freaking out all who exist there with her wide-eyed weirdness.

**I should note that this is not about a current job search I’m doing. In fact, I’m on the brink of going down to part-time work in a month so I can start full-time grad school (Yaaaaaay!). But being around others who are currently looking for jobs, it brings me right back to that same old rant in my head. Why the senselessness? Why the time-suckage? You know what? Let’s all just quit our jobs and join a commune.

Or go back to grad school.

Oh dear god, I’ve finally reached the end of these old blog posts (the ones I wished to actually keep). Here you have it–post number six of six that I have pulled from the murky depths of my former blog, washed off, and set here.

This one is from 2006. Pause with me to see if you can remember it. Back before our hovercrafts and our robot nannies. Back when we still lived on the ground. Before our food was given to us in the form of small, flavored pills. Ah, 2006. How I faintly remember what a tree looked like.

Okay, moving on. Here’s my final post of yesteryear, a snippet of me in 2006. I give you Origin of the Phrase “Nose to the Grindstone”:

The phrase “put your nose to the grindstone” is commonly used today to mean “get to work.” Its origin has been traced back 5,000 years (by the etymological research department of UCLA) to when humanity relied on grindstones to sharpen all their tools, teeth, and household items. Carpenters of yore had made a startling finding about the sedimentary stone sandstone, and thus began using it solely to make the grindstones that sharpened their tools and other items.

The properties of sandstone were first discovered by renowned carpenter and gymnast William Van Metermeyer, who unearthed the fact that the stone, when grinding against something else, gave off a surprisingly invigorating lavender aroma (for which the stone is now best known). Carpenters began using it to build grindstones, because they found that it helped them to better focus and to stay more alert. When they would begin to feel fatigued, they would simply put their noses close to the grindstone and inhale the scent of the stone for energy, and then get back to work (hence the phrase).

As a related side note, this was also the birth of the popular new age practice of aromatherapy.

…this is all true.

Hello, happy campers! Here it is: post four (of six) that has been ripped from the cold, dead hands of my former blog. Re-posted here from 2007 for posterity, and may some relevant god have mercy on my sad soul. I give you Moral Turpitude. An Outrage.:

So, I was reading the RedEye this morning like a good little CTA rider, and I came across this small, glimmering gem of knowledge:

“One long-term study on rats showed that former binge-drinking rats—with a binge defined as exceeding the equivalent of a .08 blood alcohol level—had more trouble learning new things than rats that had never had a drop to drink. Tasked with swimming around a pool in search of a platform to stand on, the teetotaler rats were able to find the platform easily after it was moved, while the former binge drinkers—which had last been drunk three weeks earlier, the equivalent of six to seven human years—kept circling around the platform’s original location.”

Which just begs the question–if the average lifespan for a rat is 2-3 years, where are these rats being served? Clearly Chicago’s age enforcement for bars is not as stringent as we all thought. Shame on you, city enforcers. Shame on you. I move we discredit this study as unethical on the grounds that they must instead test on animals old enough to understand the effects of alcohol. Like turtles.

My Profound Apologies

July 20, 2011

Generally what looking over these old entries is like.

Entry numero trois in my series of recent posts that have been resurrecting old bloggity ghosts from my little blog graveyard where my former blog used to live a few years before I ever started writing this one. Let’s see if I can use the word “blog” some more. Blog bloggity bloggitude. Blog.

This post is actually decently interesting (to me), because it starts out as me around the year 2007, and then stretches back to my booze-soaked mindset around late 2005. And it is vastly different from the present, mostly due to slowly diminishing levels of substance abuse over those periods all the way to my current happy resting place of better emotional health. (Also, you’ll note I’m less snobby about online journaling now. Not related, but it bears mentioning since I have lots of current friends who use Livejournal and other things, and also since I’ve been much more emotionally candid on my own blog in recent years.) However, the message of my original 2005 post still resonates with me.

Isn’t that weird, by the way? When you find an artifact that proves the existence of a part of you you barely remember, but the artifact is still relevant?

So, anywho, here is my 2007 entry, My Profound Apologies (and, you know …my profound apologies):

I know I never actually post anything truly serious on here because I prefer to make my blog entries all very tongue-in-cheek, blatantly poking fun at the teary-eyed, attention-whore drivel that so many misguided, over-funded youths around me hammer out over weak-ass coffee and cigarettes they’re too young to buy and, likely, have to hide in the basement so their parents don’t find them. …Clearly I don’t speak from past experience or anything… I don’t post serious stuff because I live only very little of my life out of the public eye. Anything there is to know about me is pretty well-known by anyone I see regularly. There’s no need. Or ask me a question in person. I’ll give you an honest answer, and hey, probably offer to buy you a beer.

However, gentle reader (I’m going to go ahead and continue by the off-chance that there is possibly one of you out there who has made it tripping over the long-winded structure of my first paragraph. Bless your little heart), I will write this one serious blog post. Because I think it is a good thought.

I have kept a series of journals since I was about 14 years old. Back before Livejournal or Xanga or whatever else people use, when some individuals (myself included) had the idea that private journals were, well, private matters. My journals are full of most of the experiences I’ve had, many of the late teens/early 20s entries are substance-tainted (and the substances vary), and feature some pretty interesting poetry inspired by…well, inspirational quantities of liquor. The great equalizer. (Makes my poetry roughly as bad as the next guy’s.)

Yore.

Tonight I came across a few paragraphs that were the end of my very last entry of my college career. I have no remembrance of writing it (not unusual for me), but I thought it was truthful enough to bear repeating. So hear it goes; an excerpt of the life of a one-time rum-soaked harlot:

“I would really like to take the end of this experience day by day, not thinking about it as a whole. That way, I guess I’ll be less saddened or scared about moving on. On the other hand, I feel like if I don’t stop and really take in the weight of this time of my life–this time on the brink–that I’ll never be able to hold on to these moments like I’m supposed to. I don’t know which will make me a happier person in the long run, or if it matters. I’d like to take more pictures before it’s over. Open myself up a little more to the people I love. Breathe these occasions in. There just wasn’t enough time for all I wanted to experience with these people. Will all of life be so evanescent? Shimmering briefly, then going out as quickly as it had flared up?

Maybe someday when I’m dead these words will be read by a few. Or by more, god help them. They’ll certainly think me a lush and perhaps too liberal with my sexuality. I hope so much, however, that they find the heart in all of it. The love of freedom of expression, the appreciation of people who’ve touched my life, the drive toward actual substance, and the strain for meaning and understanding. That is what should be taken away from every single entry. That is what I put into them, every time, in the middle of all these nights spent writing. The enjoyment, the lunacy, the abandon, the grasping, and the pain. Telling it as I see it, whether it’s meant to be read or not. I wonder if someday I’ll have grandkids who stumble across these journals in a box and are appalled by the way I’ve lived my youth. I hope not, though. Because I sincerely hope they’ll have truly known me before I’ve died, that age will not bring with it the fear of truth and feeling for me. Anyhow, here’s to the rest of it. Goodnight.”

I’m pretty sure I passed out in an alcohol-induced slumber at that point, but you get the gist, yes?

Reverse Darwinism

July 15, 2011

“I look busy, but I’m just drawing pictures.”

Huh. So, having been discussing animal collective nouns with my darling male companion last week, it caused me to remember I had once given conquistadors a collective noun classification. So, in search of the reference, today I stumbled across some old blog entries I had drunkenly or hungoverly pecked out back in those years, before I started keeping this blog, on a site no one ever visits anymore *coughMyspacecough*. Oh, I’m sorry, something in my throat. On Myspace, which no one ever visits anymore.

Anywho, if you’ve read these already several years ago, both of you, feel free to be excused to go have a smoke outside until I’m finished. All the rest of you must staaaaaay. 

Until then, I’ll post one a day for the next few days. Good? Good.

Note: it is entirely appropriate to accuse me of laziness for not wanting to write anything new right now. I actually have a good rant sort of worked out in my head, and also another ongoing bloggity project that’s been sitting dusty on an invisible shelf (that apparently collects real dust) for months. But, again–lazy. I’m getting there.

In the meantime, I give you Reverse Darwinism. Me, circa 2007. You lucky person, you.

Ahem.

“Hi!”

“Sources claim that Henry J Heinz began making ketchup in 1876. The recipe has remained the same to this day. Heinz was neither the inventor of ketchup nor the first to bottle it commercially. The tomato is a native of the Andes, and early in the 1500s, while living in Mexico a group of Spanish conquistadors discovered it, and the tomato followed them back to Europe.”

Evolution rears its ugly head yet again, apparently. Here I am looking up the history of ketchup (as one spends one’s time doing during one’s lunch break), only to read here that the first tomato ever discovered apparently had the ability to follow (and keep up with) a group of conquistadors… (Shit. is that right? Myriad of conquistadors? Gaggle of  conquistadors? An invasion of conquistadors? Let’s see….murder of crows, pride of lions, school of fish, silliness of Republicans, herd of sheep, bellowing of bullfinches, flock of camels…)—we’ll say ‘disco of conquistadors.’ Why? Because it amuses me.

BABY! My heart is full of love and desire for you!

Moving on… I believe this suggests that the original tomato had, at least, legs, and then certainly arms for balance, likely opposable thumbs for wielding weapons (so as to survive when conquistadors get into a scuffle, as conquistadors tend to do), and a prehensile tail (clearly for hanging onto branch and limb when attempting tough terrain). Which just makes you wonder, I think, how we as humans have affected the evolution of the tomato so much that we have simply caused its appendages to fall out. Clearly our global footprint is deeper than we thought. This concerns me very deeply.

Pow!

My message to you is this: before we can inflict any more harm on the state of the world’s vegetation, quit pulling the vine off the tomato, or else someday—if evolutionary history repeats itself—our tomatoes will simply be red, round balls, inherently vineless and incapable of forming their distinctively pleasing shape. For the love of god, people, do it for the Earth. Okay? Who’s with me?

This is all true, by the way. Don’t bother looking it up.

Save

For maximum effect, play this while scrolling down…slowly.

da daaaaaaaaaaaaaa…

da daaaaaaaaaaaa….

DA DAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA…


DA DAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!

BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM


You know, I realize this now, as I board my train into the city every morning, hop off at LaSalle, and navigate through a mass of people darting about like dense schools of fish, unarguably more put-together than I. People wearing lipstick. People with their hair in beautiful professional updos, sleekly styled bobs, and well-gelled spikes. People with the steady stare of the remarkably awake, people holding travel mugs of coffee they woke up early enough to brew, people without the intricate crinkles of a balled-up makeshift hoodie pillow embedded deeply in their cheek and forehead. People unlike me.

The thing is, I actually consider myself a morning person now. Sort of. If everything’s relative, I am a morning person. No longer the bitchy vampire who will either bite or perish upon waking before noon, since graduating college, I now typically wake up between 6-7:30 AM, regardless of whether I have to work. And I enjoy being awake much of the morning, which is another argument on the side of “probable morning person.”

But no matter how many bio-rhythmic patterns I change as I lunge further into adulthood, I cannot comprehend this sunny-side-up metropolis lousy with gorgeous, polished bastards who look like actual people before 10 AM. What the hell? Where did you shop for your body, because my body is apparently defective. I got a janky one.

For starters, I think I’m part Puli. Where everyone else’s hair seems to be light, dry, and fluffy as a Snuggle bear by 7:30 AM, my hair hangs damp and stuck to my head until I get into the office, whereupon I walk to the women’s washroom, hang out like a creep until it’s vacated, and quickly throw my head under the hand dryer until I hear the click of the door opening. Then I straighten myself up with enormous, blown-out curls standing straight up from my head and try to awkwardly act like I was just chilling next to a hand dryer that happens to be on. Sometimes I throw in an incredulous look at the thing for good measure. “Who did that? Weird…”

This is ridiculous, I realize. Mostly, it is too early for me to think fast and play it off like I was just drying my hands. Especially since my hair is always about one fluff away from a Diana Ross female impersonator at that moment. I’ve also been caught a few times in the act, always to slight nervous laughter from the person who catches me. And, like… shut up. Like, hey there, princess—not all of us wake up to doves and singing mice helping us get ready. You’re lucky I showered.

And shoes. How do people look so put-together with their shoes? How they’ve done it alludes me. Generally, I don’t like wearing shoes that much. I got hippie feet, and I like ‘em. But I think the function of shoes, when necessary, is simply so that I don’t amass an urban collection of glass and cigarette butts on my feet as I meander about. And beyond that, I have a hard time getting myself to put effort into footwear—especially in the morning, when my choice of footwear is solely contingent upon “Is it raining?”

I mean, I do tend to prefer the more attractive shoes to the less attractive shoes, I guess, but as an equal opportunity employer, I generally employ both to do my fancy footwork with an admirable equality, I think. And even my pretty shoes don’t ever actually match what I’m wearing. The hell? They have to match what I’m wearing? They’re on my feet! Madness, and I don’t know how you all put up with this every day.

How is it that some people glide gracefully, eyes sparkling, down the sidewalk and into their jobs while I stare listlessly at the ground, running into wall corners, and sighing audibly as I shuffle along? Also, I’m pretty sure many of the mornings I have a slight limp until I fully wake up. Hunchback is the only way I know before I’ve had my caffeine. Why am I the only one? Damn you bitches not cramming 3 Excedrin down your dry and scratchy preprandial AM throat. How do you do it?

Where have all the cavemen gone?! My people.

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Damn. I didn’t get the dress code.

Now—despite being awash with witlessly talkative crowds of booze-sweating, open-mouthed, gum-chewing, body shot-downing, Jersey Shore-worshiping, tone-deaf, topless, hopeless, bright orange, lost-souled, salt- and lime-covered cretins—I have a totally valid and unabashedly cool reason to grace Cancun’s tourism with my humble (and clearly nonjudgmental, yes?) patronage.

I want—nay, need—to take in the Cancun Underwater Museum.

I mean, how completely amazing is this?

Where’s Waldo?

This aquamarine-saturated collection capturing stunningly graceful moments of daily life is an elaborate sculpture museum submerged off the coast of Isla de Mujeres and Cancun, Mexico.

Hmm.

Designed by master artist Jason DeCaires Taylor, these sculptures were actually all based on individual local residents of the area. Which is so amazing, it takes me from a nearly notarized, written vow of, “When I am King, I will enact a law enabling me to flatten with a giant ACME mallet any person who utters the phrases, It was totally sick, man and Cancun in the same conversation,” to an envious, “Why can’t I live there so my bodily features can be immortalized forever as an underwater spore hotel?”

I never thought I’d live to see the day. I was wrong.

Does anyone else feel splashes of rain?

Because this is just beautiful.

Yes, cancel that tuna for lunch, please.

And this image brings up a great point—I believe I would work so much better at the bottom of the ocean. Truly. I’d be so relaxed, I wouldn’t be bothered by office babble, my skin would finally stay hydrated while doing my job. True, I’d have parasites growing on my eyelids and terrifying, fishy-tailed predators weaving around my head, but what office doesn’t have its drawbacks? I mean, I currently have to put up with paper cuts and coffee spills. Underwater, both those problems—eliminated. I’m contacting HR right now.

Please bring me a Kindle for Christmas.

The finished project contains 400 of these sculptures.

Don’t cross the mob, or you’ll get what’s comin’ to ya.

I don’t know whether you’ve ever scuba-dived before. Scuba-dove? Scuba-swam in a downward motion. But it’s really a breath-taking experience if you ever get the chance to do it. (Just make sure you plan ahead, because you might not be able to do it so many days after or before a plane trip, if I remember correctly. Something having to do with the change in pressure being dangerous.)

Do Not Touch

I like the DO NOT TOUCH sculpture here. I wonder if there’s an EMERGENCY EXIT sculpture or a GIFT SHOP sculpture. NO FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY made out of barnacles. Or, like a giant stone map with a YOU ARE HERE sculptured arrow pointing at a cloud of fish on it.

Best pets ever.

I think the above one is my favorite of these ones.

I got nothing. These are just awesome, and completely beautiful.

Additionally, I find it fascinating how the marine life growing on these sculptures renders them living sculptures, in a way. That’s kind of deep.

Get it? Deep? Like deep sea?

You liked it.

In sum, I’m adding this to my list of things in the world I need to see once this blogging gig starts gently plucking the soft little heart strings of my readers (both of you) and I begin to receive loving cash donations in the mail with notes like, “Thanks for making me a better person through your inspiring, life-affirming blog entries.” It’ll be on the list with the Pyramids of Giza; various places in Africa where monkeys freely roam about; which leads me to think of Rome, naturally; the Parthenon; Bohemian Grove; Xanadu; that place Three Dog Night is singing about; all the worlds and lands Disney; and Tori Amos’s dinner table (but, like, invitation only. I have no current plans to come in through the bathroom window or anything).

Sorry. I lost my train of thought when naming awesome things.

Article in Chicago Tribune where most of these pictures originated from:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/travel/virtualvacation/la-trb-offbeat-cancun-underwater-museum,0,7067989.photogallery