Tuesday, January 30, 2007

zoom a zoom zoom in a boom boom


Does anybody know how to accent the e on a keyboard? Because that's the word I want to write:

Re-zoo-may. Not resoom.

Although, resoom is a good word for what my re-zoo-may looks like. From a quick glance, you can see how quickly I've always resoomed the job hunt after accepting a job - almost every year of my life for the last 12 years. Maybe if I call it something different, people won't notice the resooming splattered all over it.

The Brits call it Curriculum Vitae. I like that. It makes me sound smart and lively ... as if I've been in school all my life. In fact, maybe that's a good way to spin my professional nomadism:

Curriculum - "To me, each job is an education."

Vitae - "For vitality ..."

Yes, I know that's not what that means. Shut up. How many recruiters know Latin?

Monday, January 29, 2007

blindingly fabulous

Does playing "hard to get" work with employers?

I certainly won't find out any time soon. On Friday, I practically slipped in my own drool in the rush to respond to someone who asked for my resume.

Why was I drooling? Was this the non-tech writing career opportunity I've been praying for?


It is still tech writing. It is a tech writing job where I'd truly be my own boss, yes, but that's not a drool-worthy proposition.

I was drooling because their office is downtown. Practically walking distance from my house. Definitely walking distance from a favorite bar.

I also was drooling because - and this is really embarrassing so get ready to cringe - the guy who recommended me was a former co-worker who I thought hated me. I was so thrilled that he respected my work that I nearly slipped in my own drool in the rush to apply for the job and, in the meantime, completely forgot what a pain in the ass this guy was to work with.

And it gets worse ...

My resume was not up to date so I wrote to the recruiter and said "I need a little time to get my resume up to date but here's an old one to tide you over." And then forgot to attach the old resume.

But I didn't realize this until Sunday when I was prepping my new resume and wanted to look at the old one for reference. When I went to my Sent folder, the resume was nowhere to be found. Oy.

(And worse ...)

So I ...

... called the recruiter to apologize.


What is wrong with me?

It is the job-hunting equivalent of calling someone thirteen times the day after you met them.

Off and on for the last year whenever I thought about bailing on my current job, I'd tell myself that I would stay here until something forces me out of it, like:

- Circumstances beyond my control


- Some position so blindlingly fabulous that I become like the Juggernaut in my relentless pursuit of it.

Maybe these silly antics are the work of my subconscious trying to undermine an opportunity that meets neither of these criteria.

Downtown Austin is quite lovely, but most definitely not blindingly fabulous.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

with a heavy heart

"Maybe working just sucks."

That's what a friend said to me as I was once again lamenting my employment situation. I had said something like "I hate my job but I'm pretty sure if I go somewhere else, I'll hate that job too."

Her answer is worth repeating:

"Maybe working just sucks."


At age 14, my first office job - temping for an accountant at an insurance agency - involved making copies of checks and filling out bank deposit slips. All day. My work table looked out over the highway so when I ran out of checks to copy, I'd watch the cars. Later on, by folding staples into tiny metal sculptures and attaching them to rubberbands, I designed an office supply-based jewelry collection. At least, I conceived of it and accumulated a large pile of folded staples. But I could never get close to finishing a piece before another pile of checks got dumped on my desk.

I don't remember being miserable. But I was 14 and had just escaped the clutches of a popcorn store where I couldn't really operate the equipment or the cash register. So maybe my perspective was warped.

Seven years passed before I found myself stuck at another desk.

No that's sort of a lie. I temped some one summer and actually spent three days in a windowless conference room assembling Albertson's bakery cookbooks with a girl who absolutely refused to speak to me. But that was tolerable because the end was in sight.

It wasn't until I was almost done with college that I got my first taste of the "real world" and it depressed the hell out of me. I interned at the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce for the guy who actually spearheaded the campaign to bring the Dallas Cowboys training camp to Austin every summer. (This ended in disaster by the way.) I don't know why I took that internship, except that I needed something on my resume besides "babysitter" and "lifeguard." I got no window. I got no desk. No staples to bend. A lot of busy work. A lot of rubbing elbows with cheesy dudes who talked alot of jargony, business-related nonsense and sometimes shot you with their finger guns.

I used to park on the top floor of the parking garage under the blazing summer sun so that every morning and every afternoon I'd be overwhelmed by sky for at least a few minutes. Just to alleviate that cramped, hemmed-in feeling that weighed down on me every day. To replenish the vitamin D that was surely being sucked out of my pores by all those flourescent lights. And most importantly, to bake the life force back into me after spending so much time in the cryogenic chamber that is every office in Texas in summertime.

How does one successfully transition from a life of constant movement across a beautiful college campus and across of a field of academic study to the sedentary and repetitive existence of an office job?

With a heavy heart.


Friday, January 19, 2007

climate control for polar bears

Let's ask ourselves a real question, shall we?

Who cares whether our 10 year old selves approve of our jobs? (That's not the real question, by the way.) Ten year olds are dumb and clumsy. They shout too much. They just figured out Santa Claus isn't real.

The real question is whether that's a good criteria for evaluating our jobs.

Oh wait ... so this: "Who cares whether our 10 year old selves approve of our jobs?" was the real question after all.

Semantics ...

OK, anyways.

I don't appreciate it - this imaginary pre-pubescent creature looking askance at my profession. Who is she to judge? She doesn't have anything to worry about. Somebody else is putting food on her plate and clothes on her back. And rent? She doesn't even know what the word "rent" means. All she has to do is go to school, do her chores, and be a good girl. She shouldn't have any say in how I live my life.

And yet, I'm pretty sure, that long before H ever articulated this concept to me, I was asking for the approval of my 10 year old self. Most of the things I don't like about my job - poor management, lazy and/or crazy co-workers, being stuck inside all day, climate control for polar bears - are just as likely to recur in ANY profession I choose except maybe one that provides me with complete autonomy. I have a hard time remembering this, but when I do, it forces me to look at the content of this profession and evaluate it on its own merits ...

... from a 10 year old's perspective.

So ...

If I'm completely honest with myself, though I'll realize she hardly looks at all, askance or otherwise. She glances briefly, returns to her crayons, and forgets I'm even there. She's busy plotting her escape. With the $120 in the bank she's saved up from feeding neighbors' animals, she's figured she can live in the woods near her house for at least year - lunch meat is only 79 cents a pack - and she can walk to a bus stop that'll take her to another elementary school where nobody'll recognize her. She's drawn a picture nobody will ever see of herself and her brother sitting beside a camp fire, crying.


Thursday, January 18, 2007

princesses and talking animals

Would your 10 year old self be impressed with what you do for a living?

This is the criteria that my husband uses to judge his job. He can answer emphatically: "YES!" He designs movie posters and making-of movie books for a living.

Me, not so much.

After an explanation of technical writing, my 10 year old self would probably scratch her head and say: "You write books though, right?"

Now Me: "mmm ... sort of."

10 Yr Me: "About princesses? And talking animals?"

Now Me: " ... "

10 Yr Me: "And magic cauldrons? And ... and crazy little boys? And ..."

Now Me: "uh ..."

10 Yr Me: "little girls in log cabins during long winter storms ..."

Now Me: "Yes."

(See because, it is OK to lie to children right? Because they're stupid anyways, right? And when my 10 year old self gets to be my age, could she be more dissappointed than I already am?)

When I was little, my mom would ask me what I wanted to do when I grew up. I always answered "Write." As long as I could remember, "write" was the first answer.

What did Mom do? Mom came back with, "OK. What are you going to do for money?"

So now I make money. Plenty of it.

And I write.



Monday, January 08, 2007

seven ay em

7 A.M.

Ay Em.

It almost looks like "Amen!"

Which is what I really want to say because I decided last week that I'm definitely going to leave this job.


It might be in three months. It might be in six months. But I am going to leave and when I leave, I plan to kick up a trail of dust so thick noone will know which direction I'm headed.

What does 7 am have to do with anything?

Every morning for the next three months, I have a meeting at 7:30 in the morning. So, to gather my wits about me before hand - as if said wits were toddlers preparing for storytime - 7 AY EM is the time I have to arrive at work. Every morning for the next three months. While honestly that doesn't bother me too much because I'm a morning person and it means I can leave at 4 pm, it is a bad sign for the company.

Several months ago, a senior VP told us that they planned for the majority of developers to be based in India. This is a sign of that plan in action: 7:30 am to us is 7 pm to them.

In other words, it is more important to let them go home at a reasonable hour than it is to let the majority of us stay in bed until a reasonable hour.

First of all, can you imagine staying at an office job until 7, 8, or 9 at night? It would suck massively right? But imagine getting up at 5 or 6 am to get to work in time for a 7:30 meeting ...

I know you.

You're not a morning person.

(I know I'm a freak. I already get up at 5 am. )

You're horrified. Now imagine that has to happen every day for the next three months. Your blood is already running cold, isn't it? A sickly pallor has washed over your visage as you stumble toward the coffee pot ...

But coffee won't do anymore ...

You want brains! The brains of the senior executive team who has decided that India is more important than you.

Honestly, I have sympathy for those folks in India. It really would suck to have to stay at work until 9 pm.

But c'mon.

At least they're awake at 9 pm. Who, besides me, is awake at 5 or 6 am? You should see my bleary eyed teammates as we huddle over the speaker phone in that cramped meeting room. Worst of all, the phone connection is so poor that we can't even understand what the India folks are saying. They actually have to email their information to us BEFORE the meeting but they must still stay at work until 7 pm so we can strain our brains, necks, and ear drums craning across the two square inches of speaker on the phone in hopes of catching a comprehensible syllable.

We can't exactly give up on the possibility of understanding them, can we? We might have received a written transcript of what they're going to say, but if we're going to crowd around that phone at 7:30 am every work day for three months, can we really accept the futility of dialing in to an inscrutable conference call? Can we actually train ourselves to sit in that room and pretend to listen to garbled static just to justify our presence there at that hour of the morning?

I doubt it.

Well, I shouldn't speak for the rest of the team. I, for one, have already checked out. It is easy for me to pretend to listen because I don't give a shit anymore. I'm leaving!

Nota Bene: If you're my boss, I'm not really leaving. I just like to bitch.

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