Friday, February 28, 2014

Jobless near Seattle

We recently moved to Spokane, WA.
I realize this is not actually that "near" Seattle but the Meg Ryan allusion was working for me.  

Because we relocated 13 hours away from my previous job, I have been without a paycheck for over two months. (it makes me cringe just to type that)
I have joined the unflattering class of Americans labelled "unemployed". 

It has not been pleasant. 

It would be better if I could at least blame my unemployment on something or someone but I've yet to find a responsible party. 

I've considered blaming my useless degree - for some reason nobody with the means to employ me cares that I studied four years of bio-medical anthropology. 

Identifying random bones and knowing what Margaret Mead learned about Samoa in the 80's does nothing for me.

N  O  T  H  I  N  G

Surprise Surprise.

So here's a word to the wise - when your parents tell you not to get a degree in something obscure like underwater basketweaving - trust them. They, unlike you, know what they're talking about. 

I've thought of blaming it on poor people skills - but let's face it - my people skills are awesome. 
If I get an interview, a real one not a phone one, I'm a winner. 

Which just leaves me. I am the reason I am unemployed. 

I applied to be a copy editor for the Spokesman Review.
Writing skills? check.
Excellent grammar? check.
Communications degree? minor check.

I went in for an interview, the first of many here in Spokane, and nailed it.
At the end of the interview I was asked to take a test to prove my grammar expertise. 
No problem.

They sat me down in a tiny desk across from a peeping secretary who confiscated my phone so I couldn't use technology to bolster my score. 

I started the test and flew through the first three pages.


I was beyond confident. I cockily flipped through the pages circling appropriately spelled words, correcting poor conjugation usage and crafting grammatically pristine re-writes. 

I was a winner... until I reached page 4. 

An entire page of athletes to identify. 

I panicked. 

Why on earth would a copy editor need to know who's who in the world of sports? 

I legitimately knew two of the names on the list: 

Tiger Woods the famously seductive pro golf player 

Smarty Jones, a racehorse I happened to watch a documentary on at some point in my perusal of Netflix. 

I put an exclamation mark next to Smarty's name to emphasize just how proud of this random knowledge I was. The rest of the page was marginally white.

I was unaware of just how lacking my sports knowledge was until this point, which is apparently a colossal deficiency. 
The empty page mocked me. 

Rather than leave the page blank I decided to showcase a little creativity and inventive personality. 
I filled in my page as follows. 


Believing the worst to be over and the fact deficiency mitigated with wittiness I turned the page.

It got worse. 

Not only was the test requesting athlete names known by most Americans, but now the test wanted area specifics. 

Here are some questions asked about sports in the Spokane area. 

1. Name as many Spokane High Schools and their mascots as possible. 
2. What year did the Washington State Cougars go to the ________ championship? 
3. Fill in the championship blank in #2
4. Who coaches the Chiefs? 
5. The bulldogs are mascots for which Spokane collegiate team? 

I had lived in Spokane for a total of 1 week at this point. 

... So I made up answers here too, and put my anthropology degree to work. 

In short, I made up or gave up on most answers pages 3 through 6. 

And I found out, after the test of course, why the quiz was so sporting centric. 

I wrote an addendum to my exam explaining that I'd only lived in the state of Washington for a grand total of 7 days and promised to brush up my sporting jargon but I'm pretty sure my excuse fell on deaf ears. 
Shockingly, they didn't call. 

Sad face.  

Since then, I've interviewed at over 20 places. 
that's an average of 3 per week. 

Here are some highlights from my interviewing repository. 

Bums should not be discussed during interviews. 

You should always remember your interviewers name. 

Meeting the CEO right off the bat, in a closed meeting, is not always a good thing on day 1. 

Despite my numerous interview blunders, these experiences have not been entirely unfruitful - I have had a few job offers.

In fact, I even took a job. 

I was going to be a Property Manager at Eagle Point, a large and lavish apartment complex in a neighboring city. 

That lasted for a grand total of 3 hours. 
I quit more quickly than expected. 

After those three hours I realized I hated property management, I wanted to do something entirely different and I didn't NEED to settle for a sub par position. 
At least not yet anyway. 

That was about a month ago. 

Three job offers and no paychecks later, I think my husband is about done with my job search, and I'm right there with him. 

My new approach to career hunting is to actually read the job postings (shocking advice I know) and only apply to positions I'd actually enjoy doing. 

So... if you live in the Spokane area, you should hire me to do awesome things. 

If you don't live in Spokane, I probably miss you. 

Wish me luck :) 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Learning to Forgive

I moved from Colorado in the middle of the 3rd grade.
Since I attended a private school in Colorado - and was put in public school when we moved - I was a bit ahead academically than the rest of my peers. 

Instead of skipping a grade and becoming "that girl"for the rest of my academic career, I decided to do my own work in the corner of my class instead. 

The move to the corner didn't help my social life, which was already damaged due to being the "new girl". In fact, I spent most of the 3rd grade friendless. 

Going into 4th grade, I abandoned the corner and decided to join the rest of the class in the normal curriculum, thinking I was bound to have more friends that way. 

4th grade did not go well. 
I was in Miss Peter's 4th grade class. 
Madge was in Miss Peter's 4th grade class. 
Madge didn't like me. 

I thought maybe just my doll playing was "the worst" so I attempted to join in other activities. 


Still the worst.

Madge seemed to take delight in making my 9 year old life miserable.  

She would never let me play with her or the other girls in my class, made fun of my lack of glasses (how does that work?) and convinced my only/best friend Tessa to ditch me every other day at recess. 

I hated school. 

Every morning I would drag my feet getting ready, dreading the moment I had to walk into the classroom and spend the day alone. 

One morning, I had an idea.

If you're sick you don't have to go to school - so I started my acting career and faked sick.

It worked on day 1 - I got to sleep in with the "throw-up bowl" and a bottle of 7-up by my bed. 

Later - my tummy ache went away and I got to play all day long. 

The next day I was sick again. 

Having used most of my drama skills the day before, I kept it simple.

She was skeptical on day 2 but retrieved my bowl and sprite anyway. 

And then I played with mom. 

Day 3 my acting career was over.

I was out of sick days. I couldn't fake it again and, unless I came up with some other reason I couldn't grace the halls of Greenville elementary, I was going to school. 

I contemplated 

1) "Falling out of bed", anding on my arm wrong and hoping that it broke. 
2) Pretending my teacher was force feeding me drugs
3) Running away forever. 

Instead - Mom found out why I didn't want to go to school. 
She did what any good mom would do - she hugged and me let cry. 

Then she came up with a plan. 
I imagined her marching into school, dragging Madge out into the hall by her stupid hair and either hurting her feelings or her face. 

Mom had another idea.

Mothers are wise beyond all reason, I don't know where the wisdom comes from but I hope it's just naturally grown with pregnancy because I definitely do NOT have it yet. 

As I walked into school with Madge's cookies, I couldn't help but feel angry and bitter. 
Whey on earth does Madge get cookies when she is the meanest girl in the 4th grade? 

I pouted the whole way into school, running scenarios in my mind on how to give Madge the cookies AND be super mean all at the same time.

The Idea Fairy visited me once more.

Yes. I ruined Madge's cookies and then gave them to the office as a "special delivery". 

She was paged to the office 20 minutes later and I smirked as she left the room because I knew she was going to pick up a pile of cookie crumbs. 


15 years later - now that I am friends with Madge and we've discussed this fateful 4th grade day - I found out she threw away my cookie crumb friendship offering.
I don't really blame her. 

I did eventually forgive Madge and she is one of my best friends now, but I harbored the hate for almost 3 years before I finally let it go. 

I'm sad to report I may not have completely grasped the lesson my mom was trying to instill in the 4th grade me - 

love your enemies and forgive easily. 

I am a natural harborer. 
I believe it's because I have such a great memory - but that may just be a euphemism to excuse my own vices. I am also accused of being judgmental, elitist and, at times, unwelcoming. 

This isn't to say I don't have any good qualities - but this post is not about my many (and there are MANY) talents - this is about my quest for change.

Do I like sharing these faults on the internet with all of my friends, family and acquaintances? 
No, not particularly - but I've come to some new realizations lately and think some of you may benefit from my epiphany. 

So here are my 5 steps for learning to forgive. 

1) Remember that people rarely hurt you for the fun of it. 
What they do is mostly about them - whether they're doing it unintentionally, in an effort to make themselves feel better or because you did something to them first, it's usually not about you. 
It's about them. 

2) Realize it's easier to forgive than to nurse a grudge for the next 20 years.
Anger takes energy - let it go and you have much more time for adventures - which is what life is really about anyway right?

3) Focus on the present 
Instead of dwelling on the past and reliving all the reasons this offender has ruined your life (or the 4th grade) focus on all the great things you've got going on. 
If you're reading this - you are using a computer, which means you have more than most of the people I love in other countries.

4) Service and selflessness. 
As much as I hate to admit it, my mom was right. By serving someone you think more about them than yourself. You put their needs above yours, which will make you happy. 

Plus, if that doesn't work, they'll at least feel super crappy about being mean to you because you were a sweetheart and they were a jerk. 

5) Cookies. Everyone needs a cookie. 

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