Sunday, September 28, 2008

Beauty School Dropout

I hate salons. I've never been a real girlie girl. Salons seem to draw this out to a fine edge. A day of beauty is supposed to be relaxing and fun. I'd rather drop kick myself to Jesus. I swear. I walk in amid the coffee and chatter, the sounds of laughter, the smell of hair color, perms, products and instead of being greeted like a paying customer...all sound stops. People stare as if the ugly girl in the back of the classroom just walked into a room full of popular girls.

I try to make the best of it. Smile. Go to the corner and sit like they ask...and wait...and wait-while someone else who walked in off the street for a blow out gets chatted up and fawned over. After 30 minutes of waiting, they get to their fingers through my hair and say, "So, what are we doing?" I never know. I didn't go to Beauty school -I was born without the styling gene. So, sometimes I tell them-make me beautiful-how ever you want-just know I can only use a blow dryer and that to only some small success so the beauty needs to be in the cut. I've had them frown and sigh and hair is always too thick, too wavy, too dry, the wrong color. They want me to be more specific- so I tell them and they ignore it and do what they want. I've brought in pictures-which they spend time telling me how they can't duplicate and why would I want that haircut- whatever. When they actually start cutting, they spend time talking across me with the girl in the other chair and her stylist-as if I don't exist. My money isn't as green.

I swore I wasn't going to let this happen any more. After my last supposedly "upscale" salon made me wait at the last two appointments-and the last appointment the gal kept tisking and saying she had no idea what to do with my hair-as if it were a rats nest-trust me I do wash, condition and comb my hair. I waited two months-cut my own bangs-yes I can do that. but finally, I had to admit-it needed to be reshaped. So I made an appointment at a new "upscale" salon. When I made the appointment I explained how unhappy I was by being made to wait at the last place. The gal writing the appointment agreed. "It was highly unprofessional."

So I made an appointment for 11 a.m. An hour later, they called back and asked me if I could switch my time to 2 p.m. - I said, sure. What else was I doing...wrong. They tested me and I failed. It became about them. I showed up at 2-only to be told, oops, she had to speak with these other ladies and then clean her station. She'd be right with me-I could look around the shop or sit in a hard plastic chair in the corner. I waited long enough I did both. She not only "helped" those people for ten minutes, but she "helped" the next lady who walked in. I got up and stood next to the counter so she could not ignore me. She diddled for a while with no one there. Then, without a word to me, she turned the opposite way and walked to her station where I waited another five minutes while she moved stuff and swept...

Yeah, angry was a good description for how I felt. I KNEW once again I wouldn't be treated right. So I walked out... ten minutes later she called my cell phone-"You disappeared on me," she said. "No," I said, "I walked out. You made me wait over fifteen minutes. If you can't get my appointment time right. How can you get my haircut right?" Surprised, she apologized. I told her good bye and hung up.

I stopped in a walk-in place and was out with a trim in twenty minutes and saved $40 dollars.

My hair grows fast...which means I'll be facing the same ugly treatment in just a few short weeks. If I weren't job hunting and trying to look professional, I'd just grow the stuff out long, tie it in a fat braid down my back and move on. Only 25 years to retirement when I can do just that.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Back Where You Belong

There is a job posting located in the city where I lived for eleven years. I should apply, but I hesitate... I search through the minefield that is my current set of feelings and concerns.

Why hesitate?

1) I've applied at this company before and they didn't call-i.e. waste of time.
2) I, personally, don't want to ever "go back" in my life. I hope to always move forward. Then I think, does going back mean you were wrong to move away in the first place? If you go back-will you fall back into all the unhappy places and habits you were in before you left?
3) It's been four years. People change-friends move on-My view of those friends has changed. I kind of like them where they are in my life right now... If I go back then that, too, will change.
4) I have friends where I am now that I would like to keep. I think I'm better at making friends with the right people for me. I don't want to lose them.
5) I hate the weather there-but then ask me again in February when I hate the weather here and I might change my mind.

Now I ask- are these good enough reasons not to apply? Am I simply avoiding moving on? Or do I truly not want to go back? If I chose not to apply, will I miss the only job that will hire me for the next six months? I'm stuck back into being frozen in place-the rut of wondering how best not to make a mistake...

Truth is there are no right or wrong answers to these questions- the only thing is this- either I chose to apply or I chose not to apply and the rest will happen as it does-right or wrong.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Just Breathe

So the breathing thing...not working so much for me. I spent hours yesterday on the job boards. I would find a job-take the requirements over to my resume to highlight and feel as if I were breathing happening...just panic. I read the job to a friend who confirmed that I did indeed it wasn't that I was trying for some pie-in-the-sky job. So why the panic?

Who knows. There is nothing to be done but slog forward. I managed to apply at four places yesterday-it took me 8 hours to do it. But I did it. It's all that can be done. Remember to breathe. Then distract with things like cleaning house, walking doggies, and working in the garden. The trick is not to distract so much I quit applying.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Enough rope....

They have a saying that you should give a person enough rope to hang themselves... yeah. When I first realized that my life as I knew it was over, I had several friends jump in and offer to try to get my old job back, or get a job at their work. But I respectfully declined. I didn't want to be rescued-as if I was some poor pitiful person in need of being taken care of-you know, I got myself into the six foot deep shit hole, I wanted to pull myself out-thank you very much. I don't need your pity or your open hand...

So, my gracious friends backed the point where they don't even notice me in my stupid, self imposed shit hole any more. And now, now I've learned.

After 8 months I learned that shit sucks-literally. Like quicksand, it sucks you back into the middle of the pit. Struggling against the tide. Pride got me here. Well, pride and stupidity. So, I don't blame my friends-they have their lives. They did their part in offering.

They are hiring in my old position-but I wouldn't be in charge any more and the pay sucks and the job is boring. (I only stayed so long before because it was part time-easy in and out and I could care for my kids.) Who knew there would be a huge economic downturn? Who knew that gas would soar? That every job that truly fit my qualifications would have some reason not to hire me. Who knew that I'd be here nine months later wondering if it would have been better to be at a miserable, low paying pity job?

Who knew pride could get you into this much trouble... Friday, I'm off to apply for seasonal retail work. Hopefully, someone will give me a break at $8 an hour. Looks like the only way out of the shit is on my knees asking the age old question, "Do you want fries with that?"

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Breathing In and Out

What a week-battling grief, self doubt and panic, I suppose it showed in my blog posts. It was also a full moon week, so it could simply be the natural pull of gravity that got me down. Thanks for bearing with me.
I rented a fun movie last night-Forbidden Kingdom. How can you lose with Jackie Chan and Jet Li? It was an epic tale of kung fu-funny in a sly sort of way as the "hero" was a white boy who had watched too many kung fu movies and knew nothing at all about the art. In a direct match to the "Wizard of Oz"-the boy is transported to a faraway land of beauty and danger and must reach a mystical mountain castle and return a staff to the monkey king before he can go home.
In the strange way that art imitates life, I watched the boy struggle to become what he dreamed-through deserts, forests of bamboo, and orchards of cherry blossoms, onward he trudges working on his craft. He is told that kung fu is the flow of art- the words of a poet, the craft of a carpenter. You can't think you know it, you must simply know writing. After miles of travels, the heroes find themselves hunkered down in the middle of a sand storm. The boy says to the monk (Jet Li) "We're not going to make it, are we? We've come this far and still have to face the Jade army. What if I get there and can't do it? What if I freeze?"
(These are profound questions everyone has asked at one point or other in their lives.)
The monk's answer is what I will take with me into my job search-into my writing projects-into my life whenever-like this week I panic and wonder if I can do it...
The monk's advice? "Remember to breathe."
Simple, I suppose and yet so profound. Don't worry, don't practice, don't argue-just do and when you're afraid you can't? Then simply breathe.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

About that chicken...

I didn't go to the meeting-see choke a chicken post. I chickened out.

In fact I had a meltdown. It occurred to me that getting a job and a second part time job meant not only the end of my marriage, but the end of my dreams. Working three jobs, there would be no time for writing novels good or bad. My dream of writing a best seller has been with me since I was 21. I've been writing and working toward it seriously for 12 years. That dream got me though days when there was only enough money to feed the kids. Nights when my drunk husband was passed out on the couch and locked me out. To give up that dream is to surrender my soul. Is that the sacrifice I have to make to move on?

I have already surrendered my love, my rights to guide my children's lives, any money I squirreled away, my religion, the only thing I have clung to- desperately- is my stories. To give that up and write about industrial parts instead, is the same as asking me to rip out my still beating heart. But the pay is good...and you will move on... with no heart and no soul, what's the point?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

I could and would choke a chicken

I spent four hours today listening to a very nice man go on and on about himself and his business-a small agency. I had applied for a freelance copy writing job to give me some fresh portfolio pieces and maybe get a little cash in my hands. He kept saying I had a nice smile...When he asked what my future plans were- I was bare bones honest. I explained I was looking to freelance to fill in the gaps until I found full time work. That I had to find full time work to get a divorce and move on. He was aghast that I had so many resumes out and hadn't found work yet. "I don't get it. You're the whole package." I simple shrugged and said. "Yeah, I am."

Well, he decided that I could work for him. Would I be interested in networking for his business? He really needs another sales person...not full time mind you, he doesn't have the cash-but in future...does that sound like something I want to do? (I always wonder why they ask that. Right now- I need money. I need work. Hell, right now I'd choke chicken for a living if the pay were right. I know, that's bad... self respect and all... How about saying I'd put lipstick on a pig if the pay were right.) He wants me to show up at a small business meeting at 7:15 in the am tomorrow to watch him make a presentation and talk about if I could do that kind of work. (Note: no pay involved or reimbursement for gas.) Look, all I wanted was to make a few extra $.

Once again the good girl in me keeps saying-yeah, sure-why not? Meanwhile inside I'm screaming- what?! No!- no, no, no, and hell no.... sort of like facing the damn chicken. Just put your big girl pants on and grab it round the neck and twirl...a little nasty crunching and stomach turning sounds and it's over-

Not-not-not what I wanted to do with my life...

What else am I supposed to do? The recruiter with more questions never called me back...job sites mock me. I could sit here in hell and watch my bills stack up or I could go to his meeting and learn how to sell his business. Guess I'm getting up in the morning and practicing my chicken call...

Sunday, September 14, 2008


Last week I was notified by a different recruiter on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. The Monday job-sent off my resume-not another word was heard.

Tuesday's recruiter was actually from the job I spoke of earlier where I re-wrote my resume using the description from the job ad-when she called I did not mention that I had applied for the same job four months ago- instead had a nice talk with the recruiter-who informed me-joy! that the job pays twenty grand higher than my minimum...exciting...I'm perfect for the job... Friday-she calls back...she left a message-"there are a few more questions..." I am left wondering if this is a new version of "they have some concerns"- see previous blogs. This merely means the recruiter did not do a good job with their presentation-and have one more shot to try to sell me-Which means I'm already on the outs before I even get a face-to-face. Sigh. I will call her back on Monday.

Wednesday I got an e-mail from a recruiter for a job-technical writer-am I interested? If so-pass on a resume. I'm still sitting on this job. It's what I did for a living over twenty years ago and I had thought I was beyond that... Maybe if I give him the salary range for the above job it would sweeten the pot.

They say when it rains it pours-I wish the rain was multiple job offers-not merely multiple questions.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Land of the Lost

It's been nearly two months since I had a job interview. There's nothing new to report.

I found a new ad that I thought was great. So I copied and pasted the job posting next to my resume and really worked to highlight what fit and delete anything that didn't. I was so proud. I wrote a dynamite cover letter and hit send. Then something about the company rang a bell in my head. I went through my files of jobs applied for and sure enough...I had sent my resume in for the same job four months ago. It was a bit deflating.

Then on Monday-in the middle of a family crisis- I got a call from a recruiter. Then an e-mail. Am I interested in this job? Then another phone call. They have an URGENT need to fill this job. So, I sent him my resume and job requirements- he passed them on. This Urgent job? It was one I have applied to twice in the past ten months...No, I'm not expecting a call. All I can think is: if they had hired me the first time, it wouldn't be so urgent, now...would it?

Off to the job boards...there's an opening for a correspondent in Moscow...

Friday, September 5, 2008

Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh, my...

Headline: Jobless Rate jumps to five year high of 6.1 Percent. 84,000 Jobs Lost.

Great. I'm sure these headlines sell papers and influence politics. But, let's not jump off the dead end. Being on the job hunt is sort of like being pregnant. Suddenly everyone has a horror story... two years to find work....too old at age 38... downsizing...mandatory retirement...standing in soup lines....selling apples for a dime on the street...

Makes me want to say screw it and jump out my window...except that the deck roof is two feet down and I'd probably just get a nasty bruise.

So, back to the job boards...I applied through a recruiting firm for a Marketing and Sales Manager position. A woman called me the next day. The first question she asked me was my salary requirements. I went low. She got huffy. "Well, that is way too much for this job!" "I have over ten years experience." "I'll put your requirements in your file. Good bye." Click.

Well, all right then...

I applied to another ad agency...I know, I know (see mad men post.) I should learn. But the job description is perfect for me. Still, I'm not sure I want to face another round of humiliation at the hands of an ass. I thought twice-then again before I applied. I have to remind myself that not everyone is an ass...

As for the contract job I was perfect for...(See benefits post.) I'm hearing crickets in the background...

And the job search goes on-I wonder what would happen if I started rewriting my resume using their exact job description...of course, I'd have to make up stories to match...

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Don't Settle

As I search through the endless job boards, I keep telling myself not to settle. But there is an executive assistant job not five miles from my house. Isn't that what a woman of a certain age does? Settles for typing reports and making travel arrangements. God, it sounds so 20th century.

Don't settle, don't settle, don't settle...

So here I sit- unemployed and dependent on my ex. Five more jobs applied for this week. Six jobs last week. 570 jobs since I started looking. The phone so quiet I have to check it every now and then and make sure it's still plugged in and turned on.