Posts Tagged 'Friends'

Job Search Express

“I’m so much like you.
Restless and reckless,
I need a clue.
So show me a sign.
I feel like making a move,
Real geographic, a change in mood.
We’ll let go of everything we know.

You and I will ride tonight,
‘Till the past is out of sight.
We don’t have to look back now.
From the dark in to the light,
We can leave it all behind.
We can stand together,
We don’t have to look back now-ow-ow.”

~Puddle of Mud (We Don’t Have to Look Back Now)

This morning I attended a state-run training session for the unemployed entitled “Job Search Express”.

I expected an overview of things like where one should look to find a job, how to create an attention-grabbing resume, and tips on cover letters and interviewing. I figured I would know pretty much everything the instructor had to say but perhaps I would get some new inspiration. I was wrong; the whole thing was a joke.

First we wrote our names on cards to set in front of ourselves around a large U-shaped table set-up. Then we went around the room and introduced ourselves and mentioned what we used to do and what we were looking to do. By the time we got around all 30 of us (an hour later), there were lots of little side conversations. The instructor realised he had lost control of the group and had us take a 20 minute break. After our break, there was universal griping about how the unemployment benefits office/system is run, a debate about our “work search logs” and how frequently can you list the same employer on your log, and the handing out of three pages worth of totally useless q & a (eg, “Do I have a right to be angry? How long will I feel like this?). And that was it. We were free to go. What a waste of two hours!

However, I knew two other people in the room. LD and LT were also let go from the same company I was, and we shared hugs and a few grievances and phone numbers. LT’s doing ok; he’s never been the sharpest tool in the shed, but he’s looking for work and enjoying the extra time with his children. LD’s doing even better; she’s working to start her own business, and has found out tons of information about assistance programs and grants. They are both healthy and happy. It was good to see that and to see them.

I’ve been so lost. I was initially so scared about being unemployed that I tried to jump right in to job searching. I failed to realize that I needed time to grieve and do some soul searching. I’ve done next to nothing in the last two weeks, and being sick isn’t the only excuse. I am a procrastinator; actually that is my “biggest weakness” that interviewers ask about. If I have a mile-long to-do list or a series of deadlines, I get down to business and set the cruise control. If I have little to do, I do little.

Today I received my final check from my old employer. Next week I will receive nothing, and the week after I will begin receiving $344 /wk, before taxes. The deadline is now upon me. I’m wide awake and suddenly focusing clearly.

I am better off than most of the other people sitting in that room this morning. I have an education, and I’m not to proud to take something beneath my skill level, providing – and this is what separates new job from old job – there is room and expectation for advancement.

So what are my job prospects?

1) I’ve been communicating with an individual who works for a government office. This is potentially my long-term dream job. However, this individual is unsure that my skill set suits their available openings and is looking into it. She does expect the office to expand within the next year, creating jobs in subject matter I am educated in. Maybe I can’t work there next week or next month, but this woman is really the first person to take notice of me and seems to think that I might be a match for the organization.

2) The local hospital is advertising two positions that interest me. The first is for a histologist, and the position involves performing chemical experiments on tissues and fluids. Cool. I like chemistry. I do not have the requisite certification, but perhaps there is training available. The other position is in billing and only requires a high school diploma. I’m good with computers, good with numbers, and have a willingness to learn about the medical field. I’m going to the hospital tomorrow morning.

3) A major financial corporation has a call center near here and has advertised two positions online. I applied to one but did not receive a response, which thus far has not been unusual. I’m not going to bother with the online application for the second. Instead, I’m going to go directly to that office and show them that I can be the aggressive sales agent they need.


I See Your True Colors Shining Through

February is Black History Month, so who better to quote than Martin Luther King? “I have a dream that one day my four little children will live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

When that nation exists, how will you be judged?

I was flipping tv channels last night and came across “The Devil Wears Prada”. For those unfamiliar with this movie, it is take on the ugly-duckling-becomes-a-swan-but-doesn’t-change-on-the-inside concept. There is a scene near the end of the movie where it is suggested that to succeed in business, you must occasionally step on other people. It caused me to reflect upon my current situation.

I was laid off by someone I considered a friend. She wasn’t the only one to make the decision, but of the six people in that meeting, I would have expected at least four of them to stand up for me. The “Friend”, M, just fanagled her way into a promotion and probably a raise. It was all available to her for the low low price of a couple friendships. I hope Karma gets her, hard and fast.

I may have been able to preserve my job by throwing my work partner of two years under the bus. I was the reason our productivity was so high, and I had the better attitude; he is just a grumpy old bastard. Everyone knows these facts, and they are spelled out in our respective employee reviews. Why is he still there and I’m not? I have no idea.

It had been my plan, when layoffs were first discussed months ago, that I would throw him, or anyone else, under the bus to preserve myself. But I didn’t do it. I couldn’t. And given a do-over, I still wouldn’t. That is not who I am. I threw pride out the window when I started crying and begging, but I sit here with morals intact.

Wedding Bells

Here comes the Bride
Doo do d’doo
Doo do-d’doo do d’do do d’do.

There are three weddings this summer of my peers, marking the first of probably many more to come. Certainly, people have gotten married before, but these are my friends and relatives near to me in age and in life journeys.

My Cousin A will be married in September to D, her boyfriend of eight years and an already accepted member of the family. To be honest, I’ve previously wondered why they weren’t already married! The wedding will take place in their favorite restaurant, an old converted barn, near where they live (Massachusetts). Her younger sister, J, is the Maid of Honor, and is way more involved in planning the wedding than free-spirit A. Examples: J is absolutely horrified that A has already purchased her wedding dress – without trying on 100 first. A found her dress on EBay – and it fit, no alterations necessary. A still hasn’t sent out her save the date’s yet, because they are being handmade out of metal by D. J is impatiently awaiting that mailing so she can send out wedding shower invitations. A and D are currently trying to buy a house and have a two-year-old dog – an Australian Cattle Dog/Border Collie mix named Tig. They have experienced stress and grief together, including the long-term illness and death of her father (my mother’s brother). I have no doubt that these two will be strong together for a long time to come.

My coworkers L (the bride) and S (the groom) will be married in August. They purchased a house last fall and are in panic mode trying to get it fixed up in time for the wedding, which will be held in their backyard. It was originally suppose to be a fairly low-key affair but seems to be ballooning beyond what they pictured. Their biggest hurdle seems to be S’s mother, who is picky and a control freak, but not helpful. L and S have been living together for several years, including at least two years spent living on a 40 foot boat in the Caribbean. I don’t know them well outside of work, but as employees they are both intelligent, hard-working team players, but I get the sense that L maybe pushes S around a little.

My old friend, A, is getting married today, to T, a pretty, quiet ER nurse, who I’ve only met a handful of times. She strikes me as quite unlike every other girl he’s ever dated, and there have been a lot. Maybe that is the attraction. It is a destination wedding for 35; the guests are almost all family members. It sounds beautiful and peaceful and most definitely not the stereotypical extravagance (which, perhaps I should note, would be absolutely unexpected from pretty much everyone I know…we aren’t divas and socialites). I’m not one of the four friends invited, but I’m not surprised by that as we’ve grown apart in the last couple years. I hope it works out for them and they are happy forever. I also hope they manage to work out their financial issues: she has an obscene amount of student debt, and he has a history of maxed out credit cards and phone lines getting shut off due to unpaid bills. They have already been denied for home loans twice.

So, among all of this, Boyfriend and I have recently passed the two year anniversary of our first date. People keep asking us when we’re going to move in together already (uh, we’re not), or what the future holds. I suppose we’re just (quite happily) taking things one day at a time – it really doesn’t seem like we’ve been together nearly that long!

An addendum: Wow! There are so many young mothers in this town! They can’t all be baby sitters. It seems to be the thing to do to push a stroller around downtown, with flip-flops and skanky unflattering clothes. Extra points if ciggy-smoking baby-daddy shuffles along beside you. Absolutely frightening. I’m proud to say I don’t know any of them.

a poorly written ramble

There was a party after work on Friday to celebrate the completion of a beautiful, yet lengthy project. While waiting for it to start, I was chatting with Red-Headed Friend and New Girl, who are both among the small group of sub-thirty-year-olds who work there. They have a different job title than I, which I consider superior to mine, although I’ve been assured that is not true, and it shouldn’t matter because I don’t want their job any more than I want mine!

Anyway, they were discussing things I have trouble relating to. They are both seriously thinking of buying houses in the woods out of town. I sometimes wish that I had a house, but I’m not settled enough in my head to settle in a house. And I definitely wouldn’t want to live outside of downtown hickville! I need some kind of human interaction, and I like being able to walk places. These coworkers have moved around a bit, and always returned to this area, so they are finally confident that this is the place they want to be. Having never really lived in many other places, I’m still pretty confident that this is not the place I want to be, but my coworkers looked at me like I had three heads and said that I don’t appreciate the beauty of this place, how nowhere else is like this. Ok, but maybe there are other beautiful places too, and frankly, a little not like this this might be good for me.

They also went on and on about how we work for such a wonderful company, but that the old-timers whine so much because they’ve lost touch with the real world. It doesn’t matter how great the company is if the job isn’t what I want to do. Oh, and my job really does suck compared to theirs, but they’ve lost touch if they think I have it easy, huffing chemicals and working through tendinitis. Good for them that they’ve figured out their calling in life; I wish I could do the same.

I get short-lived inspirations of what I might want to do, but generally I find out what it takes to get there and have to abandon that thought. Lately, I’ve been thinking about working in a hospital lab, performing chemistry experiments on people’s body fluids. No, it’s not creepy! I don’t want to suck their blood, and it is an actual job. My local hospital even has current openings, but they require a specific certification. I was thinking that with my math/science background and all the lab courses that I have taken I might need some kind of 2-week course in hospital safety practices. No. I’d need a whole ‘nother degree, associates for the lower level position, bachelors for the higher, to qualify to take the certification exam. Really? Are you kidding me? I wonder how many of the courses I’ve already taken could be applied toward that degree. But still!! I really really really don’t want to go back to school. It just wasn’t my thing. I don’t learn like that, with a disinterested person droning on and on at the students. I learn by doing. You know what they say, ‘Life is not a spectator sport’. So I guess I’ll cross this job off the list.

How May I Help You?

“Lean on me when you’re not strong
And I’ll be your friend
I’ll help you carry on
For it won’t be long till ‘m gonna need
Somebody to lean on”

~The Temptations (Lean on Me)

How are you doing?

I’ve been doing pretty well lately. I’m confident that my improved mood and outlook has much more to do with the increased daylight than the drugs I’ve been taking. My therapist doesn’t see it, though, and she keeps coming back to the concept that I don’t have much of a support network.

Ok, it is true that I no longer talk to a single person I went to high school with. I was ready to escape everything about that place and I’ve never looked back. I also no longer talk to anyone I went to university with, although I did keep in touch with a couple people for a while. There are a couple people I do wonder what happened to, such as my almost-roommate who transferred because her parents needed her closer to home, and the other three members of my “Brat Pack” from first year.

I’ve never had lots of close friends. I was very social and outgoing as a young child, but that diminished as I got older (I blame my parents for isolating me…. a long story). Now I’m a quiet person and I don’t really make deep connections with other human beings.

But I do believe that you get what you give. Karma. ‘Energy cannot be created nor destroyed, only changed from one form to another’ — physics / conservation of energy. I have energy, and I’m doing good these days, but someday again, I’m going to need somebody to lean on. Until then, how may I help you?

What Happened to You? What Will Happen to Me?

Perfumed and smoky,
She swears that she knows me,
She’s falling down drunk again,
I say she’s mistaken.
She’s visibly shaken,
Emotions all drowned in gin,
She said I used to be beautiful,
But now it’s all gone,
I let my dreams slip away from me,
That’s where it went wrong.

Go be young,
Go be free,
Follow your heart where it leads you.
Don’t end up like me.

~Edwin McCain (Go Be Young)

Hello, Old Friend. I’ve missed you. I haven’t heard a word from you since you went away, just rumors from people you must care about more than me. And now you’ve come back here? Why? Dear Friend, what went wrong?

I see so much of myself in you. Slightly older, you’ve always been one step ahead of me in life. I was following in your footsteps years before we even met. Did you know that I remember, as clearly as if it was yesterday, the day we met? I’ve loved our conversations that could run all night long, simply because we talk about anything and everything and never tire of each other’s stories. I’ve hated that you are flaky and unreliable. I’ve had many laughs with you; I’ve had many tears because of you. Again and again, I’ve promised myself to forget about you. But you are a drug, and I, an addict. When will I learn? You are not so special.

Dear Friend, ou’ve gone away before. This time, things were supposed to be different. You had a plan. You had a future. You were going to grow up. You were going to leave this dead end place and the only “careers” we’ve ever known. Forever. I let you go. I had to. I was happy for you. You gave me hope. You gave me something to believe in. You were going to make it, and someday I would too.

Why are you back here? What went wrong? Why did you give up? I don’t understand. And you’re engaged? What the hell?

You were supposed to make it. I was supposed to follow in your footsteps. Seeing you here is one of the saddest times of my life. What does this mean for me? Do I too have no future better than this one-horse town?

Perhaps we are more different than I think. Perhaps you have only returned to tell me to lead my own life. Perhaps I’m flying this plane now. But I’m sorry, Old Friend; I will be leaving your dead weight behind. I won’t let my dreams slip away from me. I will be young. I will be free. I will follow my heart where it leads me. I won’t end up like you.

Happy St. Paddy’s Day

“A barrel of malt, a bushel of hops, you stir it around with a stick,
the kind of lubrication to make your engine tick.
40 pints of wallop a day will keep away the quacks.
Its only eight pence hapenny and one and six in tax.

He must have been an admiral a sultan or a king,
and to his praises we shall always sing.
Look what he has done for us he’s filled us up with cheer!
Lord bless Charlie Mops, the man who invented beer beer beer
tiddly beer beer beer.”

~Traditional Irish Drinking Song (Beer, Beer, Beer)

I went out last night. Truthfully, I wasn’t looking forward to it. The party host, my Red-Headed Friend (RHF) has two roommates, who host a few huge drunken costumey ordeals a year. I am an introvert and a non-drinker, so these parties tend to be a little too much for me.

But last night I was pleasantly surprised. RHF had St. Paddy’s Party with lots of Guinness, beef stew, and a large collection of musicians (fiddle, guitar, drums, whistle, banjo) in attendance. The musically-inclined friends were fantastic. They had a large repertoire of fast and tricky Irish tunes. I never even knew some of them played, and they certainly had never all played together before. I’m a musician, too. I play the tenor saxophone, but compared to these guys, not very well. I can’t play without sheet music and nobody ever taught me how to improvise or solo properly. But anyway…

The party was more laid back and quieter than what I was expecting, with was more than okay by me! I got the chance to have real conversations with some friends I hadn’t seen in a while, and meet some new people. I even got a job offer from one of the new peeps if I wanted to drive all over and teach CPR classes. Actually, it doesn’t sound like a bad deal; I’m going to think about it. RHF and I even had some one-on-one conversation while setting up Irish Car Bombs. He and I work for the same company and used to be very close to a couple friends who have since moved away, but we’ve never really known each other well. He’s cool; he marches to the beat of his own drum and really knows who he is.

And then, a little later, a whole bunch of other people showed up. Several of these people work for my former employer; most of the others work in the same industry as my former employer. All conversation turned to that industry because some loudmouths made it so. This seems to happen a lot. This industry is the foundation of most of my friendships, even though most of us have moved on. We have gotten to the point in our lives/friendships where we are starting to have diverse interests. I like this; it makes us more multi-dimensional. Although we have our equivalent of “and this one time, at band camp” reminiscing stories, we’ve grown. And then these children show up. I don’t care about them or their stories. I’ve been there; I’ve done that. I’m so sick of meeting these people, and judging by the look on RHF’s roommate’s face, I’m not alone.

I need space. My former employer helped make me who I am, but I wish that wasn’t all that defined me. I love many of my friends, but I need to branch out. I need to find people who share other interests and create new memories. I don’t want to be stuck and pulled back into my past. There is a future, out there, somewhere. I just don’t know how to get there. I can’t even find the rainbow that leads to the pot o’ gold.

Oh. Interesting fact I learned last night: St Patrick is honored because he eradicated the snakes from Ireland. I am terrified of snakes. St. Paddy is my new hero.


There is a Chinese Proverb that states: "A bird does not sing because it has the answers. It sings because it has a song." This is my song. I don't pretend to have the answers.