Sunday, April 13, 2014

My Dream Wedding

I have been in 5 weddings (3 bridesmaids, 1 maid of honor, and 1 flower girl gigs).  So, I have some informed opinions.  Here is the wedding I'd want:
  1. Mad-libs vows.  Imagine "Love is hairy love is blue." 
  2. Indian food for the reception
  3. The first dance will be NIN's "Closer"
  4. And we exchange the bracelets below:

Friday, April 04, 2014

Superheroes, Comic Books, and Movie Magic

When I was little I watched these:

I was Wonder Woman for Halloween when I was four.  I didn't even know there were comic books and I was a girl so getting into DC or Marvel comics didn't interest me.  The only comics I got into were for Robotech.  I was a huge geek growing up and I missed an aspect of geek culture.

Now, it is seriously The Age of the Geek and I am loving playing catch up as an adult!  If I have any questions, I go here or here.  Like who the hell is Ultron or Thanos since they'll be the Big Bads in future Avengers movies?

Iron Man got me into the comics universe and then The Avengers sealed the deal.  It was genius to have Joss Whedon direct and casting Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner was perfect.  Of course I have gushed over Loki/Tom Hiddleston.  Then, I kept hearing good things about Arrow on CW.  The first season is on Netflix streaming so I caught up.  It was pretty good and opened up an entire universe of new superheroes.  Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. came to ABC.  It's okay and I like the weekly Marvel dose.  Skye is annoying but Fitz and Simmons are awesome.

I had no idea there were two superhero comic companies:  Marvel and DC.  And in theory, X-Men takes place in the same universe as The Avengers.  But due to movie studio BS,

We get two sets of Quicksliver and the Scarlet Witch.  In my opinion, the top pair, Avengers, looks a lot better.  The new Captain America movie opens nationwide today.  I thought the first movie wasn't very good.  A decent origin story but really boring and hacky.

Captain America:  The Winter Soldier is really head and shoulders better than Captain America: The First Avenger.  The action sequences are amazing and the story is gripping.  Plus, there are a lot of surprise cameos!  It's a huge movie too.  It doesn't feel like a dinky spin-off movie like some of the Iron Man or Thor movies felt like.  It was so good, I want to see it again.  Also, make sure you stick around for two end credit scenes.

Now, there are two more upcoming movies to geek out over

If you love the music, it's two pieces 1)The movie Sunshine's track "The Surface of the Sun" and 2)The Thin Red Line's track "Journey to the Line".


This is going to be an awesome summer!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Why Were You Unemployed?

Believe it or not, I was asked that question on a job interview.  I have two things to discuss about this and I promise I will stop writing about this recent bout of joblessness. Even I'm getting bored with it!

First off, how does one explain to a hiring manager what the job market has been like for the past six years?  I temped at companies that had hiring freezes or huge rounds of lay-offs in the banking industry, consumer goods, and healthcare.  Was there an industry 2008 to present that did not have workforce reductions and still was hiring?  Did I lose the magical compass that pointed True Employment? My MBA degree got me interviews but did not open up employment options.  For three years I was a temp. How do I answer a question that implies there's something wrong with me and ignores what was going on in the job market?

Secondly, how can a fully functioning human being be so clueless?  Yes, I'm sure it must be nice in your cushy job that you've had for a decade.  Maybe you noticed there isn't a receptionist anymore at work or there are new faces in accounting every couple of months.  The office supplies closet is really dwindling and your health plan's deductible has doubled.  You don't listen to NPR and when you watch the news, the unemployed are Those People. The lazy, uneducated who would rather suckle at the government teat than earn a living.  Or, on the flip side, you are scared to death that you could lose your job so you stick your head in the sand.  If you meet one of Those People, you have to blame them for their joblessness because if it isn't their fault, whose is it?  That scares you.

I didn't get the job where that question was asked. I have to figure out an appropriate response to that question now because apparently that is still a question in MOTHER FUCKING TWO THOUSAND AND FOURTEEN.

Thank you.

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Welcome to the Flat Circle

28 days unemployed.  7 job rejections out of 97 job applications.  4 job interviews.  3 staffing agencies.

I had a second interview booked tomorrow morning for a job that felt like a great fit.  I had just pulled together my interview outfit and was prepping for the interview when I got an email saying that the position is no longer available.  That is manager speak that they gave the job to the CFO's nephew.

It is getting tough to keep positive lately.  I know it's really easy to buy into the idea that I have a huge kick me sign on my back for the universe's pleasure.  I've been playing with the idea of moving or completely opting out of the corpo-economic gang bang.  4 rounds of unemployment in 7 years does that to a person.

Now it feels like when I'm down, the hole has gotten a lot deeper.  What helped me snap out of it today was this board. There are people on there who are hurting a lot worse than I.  A couple are considering suicide.  I still have a roof over my head and options if I need to move.  I also have unemployment benefits until Jan. 2015.  My only dependents are two cats. So, reading about others suffering does help snap me out of self pity.

What got me up to a functioning human being was watching this and a bunch of his other interviews.  I'm still hoping that I'll have some kind of income when there's sunshine an it's 70 degrees out.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Entering Week Three

Unemployment in the dead of winter could be incredibly depressing and yes I've had those days where I don't get out of bed.  But on my good days, I have been able to register with three staffing firms, had two full-time permanent job interviews, and am set up with an outplacement agency.  That creates glimmers of hope on the horizon.  I'm also really lucky to have a severance package so money panic isn't too high right now.  It will kick in around May if nothing has panned out.

Right now, I am focusing on finding a full-time permanent accounting/finance position.  I was a Staff Accountant this past year and the years before that I was a Financial Analyst.  Just give me a desk, an ERP system, and loads of data in Excel, I'd be happy.  Since I've been laid off from huge corporations three times, I'm looking at start-ups, non-profits, or higher ed as possibilities.  I'm also thinking of setting up Microsoft Excel training through a couple local charities for job seekers. It will be something to do and will keep me sharp.

On the bad days, my thinking goes to really dark places like how I can't envision a future for myself. Basically feeling like if I can't work, I'll be in my fifties on the streets. I also wonder if it was easier to lay me off since I self identified as disabled.  The other day, a guy offered me money to blow him (oh Quincy, I love thee) and I said no since it isn't May yet.  I kid!  I kid!

It is interesting to notice what I enjoy/respond to changing now that my life is in flux.  I don't think it's a coincidence that I devoured two seasons of House of Cards.  Come on, if I was Frank Underwood I would not have been laid off. Two other people would be and there might be a dead body somewhere.  

When I saw the play Coriolanus, my crush on Tom Hiddleston could not alleviate my disgust for Coriolanus the character. Ugh, if he mentioned his wounds one more time... Actually, I don't know if that's a combination of Tom doing a great acting job and me being a plebeian newbie wanting her grain.  It is a great production BTW and you can still see it in the U.S.

I do have to say my friends and family have really rallied around me which helps my spirits and broadens my network with job leads.  Feeling like a connected human being not a patient with the unemployment plague makes me a better interviewee at least!  The cats are loving having me home so much.  There is a lot more snuggling nowadays.  I'm getting through my Netflix queue as well (Bad Milo - dumb, Drinking Buddies - good but not fulfilling, and Crystal Fairy - really good).  The apartment is cleaner.

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Make Ourselves Miserable or Make Ourselves Strong

I had an epiphany today.  For the last couple of years, I've had to deal with chronic pain from the car accident injuries.  I had trouble with daily tasks and went to physical therapy 3 times to address the muscular skeletal issues.

Guess what I did today?  I shoveled a good third of my apartment's driveway.  I am not lying prone on a heating pad or popping pain pills.  Sure, I'm sore but I'm not this fragile pain-wracked shell anymore.  I made sure I was smart about the shoveling and man it's so nice to be surprised by your own strength!

Hmmm... could that become a metaphor for my current job situation?  Yesterday was the day I let myself cry and feel emotions about the lay-off.  I got two phone calls from recruiters yesterday and since I was in my feely space, I wound up crying on the phone with them.  One gentleman was quite simply amazing.  He told me that it's okay to be upset and that I have an amazing background with a lot of experience.   I told him that I needed that recorded so I could play it on repeat and thanked him for his kind words. I have an interview with him tomorrow.  The human touch helps so much in these situations!

And since I am a numbers gal, I find a lot of comfort in analysis.  So, I developed a breakdown of my days of employment versus unemployment by company since my first lay-off in 2007.  The most recent is on top.

So, from the above you can see I have two recent jobs that have lasted for quite some time (with the 63 day blip in between).  And the most recent span of unemployment is just two months that happened in 2012.  So, the job market is probably not back at 2005 levels but there is improvement and you can see it from my experiences.  

I'll weather this latest challenge and let's say my goal is to land a job that lasts more than 611 days?  Since my body can heal and get stronger, my career can too!

Monday, February 03, 2014

Same Song, Different Verse

This morning I was laid off from my job due to a departmental reorganization.  All of us knew that there would be changes happening in our department.  From what I understood, the focus was outsourcing functions and moving people around.  The general timeline was April for when the big changes would happen.  I was the only person laid off today but my manager let me know that more will come.

Of course I'm shocked and upset.  But I was given a nice severance package so the panic isn't too severe.  Also, I am coming off of a year as a full-time permanent employee so I don't look like this unhirable temping flake. As part of the severance package, I will have 3 months of outplacement counseling.  I am going to make full use of that!  My health benefits run out at the end of the month and then I have the option to use COBRA.

I also have to say, being let go at this company was handled really well.  My direct supervisor is new to his role so I dealt with his manager who I had worked with often.  She actually cried as we discussed next moves so that made me feel weirdly better.  Also, rather than have me say goodbye in people's cubicles, she brought people in one by one to an empty conference room so I could say goodbye.  I really appreciated that and some people were more upset than me!  The manager also helped me pack up my cubicle.  So, I left the company feeling sad but very supported emotionally.

My plan is for the next two days to be my recovery period - let myself cry, freak out, and get angry.  Then, it's time to work on getting a new job!  How is the market out there?  I've been out for two years.