Chasing My Tail

Last week, I sat with five total strangers in a dark classroom, taking a free adult education class on “Succeeding in Today’s Job Hunt”. Gathering what was left of my dignity, I followed along as we clicked through our personalized “Career Exploration” quiz. I tried to keep an open mind because occasionally these quizzes tell you something awesome, like which Disney Princess you are (Dory). If it gave me some winning Lotto numbers, I would also be content.

And bust my buttons, if it didn’t know me. There was nothing ambiguous about my results. I like working with other people to help them learn and grow. I enjoy teaching, giving advice (ahem), and helping and being of service to people. Also, I like positions that involve  leadership, risk taking, decision-making, and that can be done without following a set of rules.

I’ll take my tiara now, please.

“These types,” droned the heavily made-up teacher, “do not prefer cubicle jobs. They are up, on their feet, running to help someone. They are creative and innovative, and win the Lotto regularly.”

Maybe she didn’t say that last bit, but the rest is spot on.

Sitting a little bit taller in my plastic chair, we moved forward to the top ten job suggestions in our type. Eagerly, I scanned the list, looking for the magic door to my future, and found…my past.

Teachers Aid”, check.

Nanny”, check.

“Funeral Parlor Director”. Umm.

Morbid curiosity made me click the next link. It explained that, while I have the empathy, practicality, psychology and plenty of black clothing in my wardrobe, I also had to have a college degree and love the smell of formaldehyde.

For another minute, in the silence of my laboring colleagues, I saw myself in a funeral parlor, orchestrating floral arrangements, murmuring condolences, swaying a little to the soft Bach in the background. I saw myself writing obituaries that would make a gang lord weep. I watched myself lock up for the evening, toss my long black cloak over an arm, and slide behind the wheel of a chromed-up hearse. As I slow-cruised the boulevard, windows down, AC/DC blaring, I realized the hearse had hydraulics. I left the image hopping at the street corner.

After careful scrutinization of my past, I decided that – more or less – I could check this one off, as well.

“In today’s business world,” continued our fearless leader, “your interview is key to securing the job position. Here are the top five questions you want to ask during the process that will make you stand apart from the crowd.”

We watched a short Youtube video.

The suggestions were clever enough: use a bit of psychology to put your future employer on the spot in regards to the job description.

Having done a bit of hiring myself, I couldn’t stop seeing everything from the employer’s point of view. If an interviewee had asked me, “What, specifically, would it look like a year from now, that would indicate to you that I have exceeded your expectations for this position?”, my answer would be, “Specifically, you would not have been called into a closed door meeting and handed your hat.”

“Where do you see this company headed in the next three to five years?” the eager interviewee would ask, because companies with no vision may not be a good fit for you.

“I see us furthering the cause of the American dollar, with the person in this particular position sitting down and getting to work and not asking quite so many questions.”

I love the pro-active newby employee enthusiasm. You want to be a contributor. A hub. A pencil-whipper (I heard this phrase at a meeting once and fell in love with it). But most of the time, the employer just wants a cog in the wheel so things aren’t quite so lumpy as it turns.

When the video ended, I raised my hand.

I know. It explains a lot.

The other class participants had been quiet, slouching in their seats, faint perspiration appearing as we fretted over resumes and cover letters and websites and interviews.

They startled when my hand went up.

“I think what everyone forgets,” I began, “is that the interview is a two-way conversation, not an interrogation. You go in and sit down, and you’re nervous and you think you’ll forget everything you know or say the wrong thing, and maybe you will, but the person across the desk is just a worried as you are and that makes it a little easier to navigate.”

Just then, a presence appeared in the corner of our room. Completely unnoticed until now, a giant of a man rose from his seat. His frame unfolded to at least six foot six, and it was dressed in a blue suit that held his girth in check and topped by a balding head over a commanding set of eyebrows. He turned his gaze and a finger towards me and launched into a booming five minute speech in an academically intimidating accent.

Think Miranda Priestly meets Lurch.

He pontificated on my thought, adding the details that a prospective employer would worry about and the questions they wanted to ask, but couldn’t, and how very much at the mercy of the candidates they were to do the right thing for their company. He mostly talked to me, as half of the class couldn’t or wouldn’t make eye contact. My instincts were to curl into the fetal position under the desk, but it was filled with computer cables.

He introduced himself as the headmaster of the school, gave his best wishes for our job search, and left the room, audit complete.

Quickly, before anyone else could raise a hand, our teacher wrapped up the lesson and gathered her paperwork. I glanced to the student on my far left. Resuscitation is not something my job type prefers.

I left the room, chastised. I wondered two things: Specifically, where did he see his company headed in the next three to five years? Did it include our teacher, this class…maybe the cheeky student in the back row?

And also, would his coffin be grande, venti or trenta?

This can’t be happening…

Rip van Forty Winks

Y’all need to sit down and buckle up, because the last two weeks feel just like Rip van Winkle waking up in Lilliput. Or was that Buck Rogers?

This isn’t happening.

Maybe I’ve been living under a rock – aka working a full time day job – but crawling out from under it hurts my eyes. And my heart, just a little.

It’s the toilet paper that sent me over the edge.

I’m cleaning the guest bathroom because company is staying for the second weekend in a row but this time I can’t trust it to the kids because they left actual used Qtips in a drawer last week, so now I’m scrubbing the toilet and notice that the toilet paper is unrolling and wisping into the trashcan below it.

My sister-in-law will admit to being a paper snob. She insists on paper plates that hold food without bending and paper cups that won’t melt at the first touch of your lips and never in a million years would she allow single-ply toilet paper near her house.

Apparently, my guests last week were fine with it, as it was never mentioned, but I feel like if they had any common sense, they would have reached for a Qtip which is more absorbent than an entire roll of single-ply.

I’m wondering if my boys just air dry but I’ll be darned if I ask them at this point.

I pulled a dozen rolls out of the pantry before finding the last of the proper-ply old stock. I guess I grabbed the wrong case during my last shopping spree.

Before you go judging, let’s all sit back and rethink the whole “day job” situation. A shopping spree in that lifestyle consists of running through Target after work in your heels, desperately grabbing TP, shampoo, and tortillas because you promised the family a meal and a can of refried beans is going to save the day.

Again.

And let me tell you that once I got home, I did not notice that we never replaced the broken microwave plate, that the dishwasher no longer cleaned dishes, or that the oven door had never been repaired.

Rounding out the kitchen appliance alliance, although our fridge had not had a working water dispenser for years, it now was no longer making ice.

None of this was noticed until last week, when I lost my job on Tuesday and kid #5 broke his ankle on Wednesday. On Thursday, I was really really wishing we made ice.

“Self,” I said, “This is not a good week.”

And ever since, I have been looking around me and noticing that I have not been home for over two years.

The freezer has a top layer of microwaveable fake food and just below it are layers of real ingredients. I pulled out a chicken with an expiration date of over two years ago. Worried that I may have forgotten how to cook (gasp!), I fluffed it up and put it in a pot. Chicken soup does not discriminate against old age. When I dusted off a can of tomato juice to add to the pot, I noticed the date: May 19, 2016.

Good enough. Don’t tell my mother.

And because I know you were wondering, marshmallows over two years past the date on the bag will not melt into the butter in the pan when you want to make the rice crispy squares you thought of making circa 2015.

They sauté nicely into little buttered, rubbery cubes.

Even old reliable – my faithful mop bucket – gave up on me. Full of cracks, it was thrown into the trashcan, along with five pairs of broken shoes, two dead houseplants, and every single rusted ring that had graced my traveling tea mugs to the office and back.

I will never drink out of a mason jar again.

But that is a story for another day.

Reaching into the freezer like….

Mother’s Day Hotline 2018

Good morning, and thank you for calling the Mother’s Day Hotline.

Please listen carefully, as our menu has changed.

If you are currently considering becoming a mother, please press 1.

If you are pregnant and searching for baby names, please press 2.

If you are wondering what it’s like to give birth, please press 3.

If you have a newborn and wish it came with crib notes, please press 4.

If you are currently surrounded with toddlers, please press 5.

If you are mothering elementary school age children, please press 6.

If you have children in the middle school zone, please press 7.

If your teens have made a strike towards independence, please press 8.

If you are desperate for a “mom break” by now, please press 9.

If you are considering leaving them all behind and rejoining the work force, please press pound.

If your children are grown and flown from the nest, and you want to sob hysterically because it all went too fast, please press the star key.

Thank you for calling the Mothers Day Hotline. Enjoy your toast and tea. See you again soon.

Spam I Am

There are some amazing perks that come with the blog life.

Staring out the window, swirling tea in a mug while begging inspiration to hit is one.

But also, there is fan mail.  So many world-wide celebrities attempt to hop aboard my blog-train that it’s hard to decide when to slam the door. Here is one of my top contenders; an athlete from Taiwan whose enthusiasm makes me – almost – want to pick up the phone and call.

____________________________________________________________

Dear Sir,

Truly passionate regarding cycling, I decided to devote myself in this business.

My inner world is pleasant and confident when I was sitting on the cycling.

My destination is not to make lots of wealth via the cycling; nevertheless, I want to influence the joy of everyone around me when riding the bike.

In my teenager, I was fascinated of the bicycles. So I disciplined myself to take challenges and training. From an amateur player to the professional player, by participating the countless downhill matches. Finally, I was being selected as the national representative of Taiwan to win honor for my country. 

You never stand on the podium just because GOOD LUCK.

Cause of fate, I quitted the industrial engineer and starting the sales job in my expert domain cycling. I could come up with the solutions for the customer in an extremely efficient way based on my working experience and my profession.

There’s one formula of success to obey which is never giving up and keeping hard-working. I realize the sportsman spirit thoroughly in my business, so there’s always room to improve. We never stand still; we never stay at our comfort zone! We are positive a trustworthy partner for you and also being your reliable consultant expert because we treat every customer by heart.

The consumer behavior changes rapidly day by day thanks to the Smart Phone and the Internet.

No matter how smaller your orders are, you are always our customer!

We are able to assist you to synthesize your driblet orders to achieve the best buy in price. Once our suppliers got out-of-season items to sale, we will notice you in the very same time. Due to the complexity and the numerousness of the products that we offer, we hardly to offer you every single piece quotation. So just send us the notice of your interest, we will come up with the quotation for you as soon as possible. You only need to contact us through a call or simply reply this email, we are eager to serve you already. If there’s further question, please let us know.

We are your long-term trustworthy partner now and forever.

___________________________________________________________________________

This level of writing is worth crashing your laptop for.

Spammer, you’re awesome. Your passion while sitting on the cycling is only matched by your eagerness to influence the joy of everyone around you.

You have inspired me to quitted my lucrative day job and starting the sales job in my expert domain writing. I expect you to synthesize my driblet orders because, frankly, I’m not quite on board with your formula for success, as fate is clearly calling me.

But as we are now in a long-term trustworthy relationship now and forever, I am eager to make demands already.

Move over Hubby, there’s finally someone willing to treat me by heart.