Saturday, February 21, 2015

Neither Precious Nor Darling

Ever noticed how adding the suffix -ette to a word makes it cuter, more diminutive or dare I say, darling? 

Rock+ette= those lovely leggy dancers. So much more fun to watch than a rock.

Flower+ette= something already lovely made smaller, likely more abundant and presumably cuter.

Kitchen+ette= that room from whence food comes compacted to an easier to manage & easier to clean size.

Bunion+ette= a foot deformity not near the big toe like a regular bunion, but by the little toe or metatarsophalangeal joint. 

I have a bunionette on my left foot from too many years working in retail, performing as a dinner theatre actress and wearing high heels. Also, my left leg may be a tiny bit longer than my right leg, and I have flat feet with wide toes, which certainly doesn't help my pitiable foot situation. My bunionette is neither precious, nor darling. It is not dimuniutive. My bunionette is red, inflamed, angry and seems to be growing. 

It may be time for yours truly to get a desk job. 

I wonder if I can start a crowdsourced funding campaign for my future bunionette correction surgery and physical therapy?

Most importantly, where can I buy cute and stylish orthopedic shoes?

Sunday, February 08, 2015

Laundromat Observations

Our washer broke. I know one shouldn't speak ill of the dead, but I never liked that fussy, front loading washer. Goodbye. A new top loading, still high efficiency, energy star washer will be delivered this week! Chad and I can't wait! Also one of the cats barfed on the bed, and we had a backlog of laundry, so we really couldn't wait to do laundry, and went to the laundromat today.

Our trip to the laundromat made me feel simultaneously like one of the people, proletariat, working class; and also bourgeois, snobbish, gentry class that we can afford to buy a new washer to replace our old one, and that we have a house with a laundry hookup.

The walls in the laundromat bear battle scars of rolling carts. The ceiling tiles sag with brown water stains. The smell is a combination of chemically scented detergents, disinfectant and the vague burnt odor of textiles left in the dryer too hot for too long. The fluorescent lights aren't doing anyone any favors in the beauty category. Handwritten "out of order" signs pepper the machines. Two giant TVs mounted from the ceiling are mercifully muted with subtitles and one has a grainy picture, but it's showing a cruddy movie with commercial interruptions, so who really cares.

We fold our laundry at the laundromat, not wanting wrinkles to set in. In front of the other laundromat patrons, it occurs to me that my PJs are looking rough. I need some nicer, new ones. Chad folds some of his more colorful skivvies with a hint of a sheepish grin. We team up to fold our king-size, high thread count bedding like we're royalty or something.

Later, back at home, I'm less than pleased to discover that our clean laundry does not smell like the environmentally-friendly, natural lavender and blue eucalyptus detergent and dryer sheets that I love and use loyally, but like the residue of so many strangers' Tide, Gain and Bounce.

I'm thankful that we can afford a new washer. I'm also thankful that we're not above going to the laundromat when necessity dictates it.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

My Three Worst Job Interviews Countdown

#3: I answered an advertisement for a sport clothing salesperson with a major distributor (think t-shirts, shorts, polo style shirts, sneakers, flip-flops). I should have politely declined when the hiring manager asked me to meet him at a Wendy's fast food restaurant (in a pre-Starbucks-in-every-city era), but I was fresh out of college and fairly desperate for employment.

At Wendy's, I met at a small table for two with a poorly groomed, sweaty, not very confident recruiter. He opened a binder and began showing me pyramid shaped distribution charts, I immediately clued in that this was a multi-level marketing scheme; not a job, but an investment opportunity, that I did not want in the least. Within five minutes I wished the poor guy well and made a hasty exit. He called out after me that I wasted his time. I resisted the urge to reply that he should not have misled me about the "job" and thus wasted my time. He made me sad for many reasons, chiefly because he looked like the opposite of success, the antithesis of aspirational.

#2: The manager (this time at a bonafide, brick and mortar, workplace) met with me in her corner office. She did all the talking, telling me about her history with the company, and how she rose through the ranks after starting as a lowly receptionist. I hardly got a word in edgewise. I'm not sure she asked me many questions, but I guess I said enough to impress her, or at least did not spoil the delusion that I was a younger version of her. I left thinking I totally blew the interview.

I got the job, staying there for about eighteen months, one promotion, one huge raise and one annual bonus. It was a terrible fit culturally, but impressive work experience and financially lucrative. Had the interviewer/my boss bothered to let me speak more, we both might have realized how out of sync the job was for me and I was for it.

#1: Fresh from a former retail management stint, I interviewed at a very cloistered, but very well respected workplace that was founded as a family business in Texas and grew beyond the state's borders. I met first with a young man who didn't bother to explain what his role at the company was. He shook my hand, said his name, and started talking. He asked good questions. I answered them well. First indications pointed to a good job match.

Then the young man asked if I could meet with another person and essentially have my second interview right then and there. Sure! After a ten minute wait, during which I completed application paperwork, a lady appeared in the office. She was not introduced to me, but began having a conversation with the young man as if I wasn't in the room. Context clues led me to believe that this was the man's mother, also his boss, and the heiress to the family business. Later sleuthing confirmed all of this.

After a few moments of ignoring my existence, she glanced at my résumé, and said, "What's J.Crew?" Before I could answer, the son let out a micro-sigh of exasperation and said, "You know what J.Crew is. You have clothes from there." Then the mom asked why I only stayed employed at J.Crew for four months. I politely, but firmly stated that I was employed at J.Crew for two years and four months. "Oh, I misread that," she said with a dour expression and no apology. She asked if I had any children, displeased when I said no. She asked if I had pets, and completely tuned out when I started to talk about my two cats (at the time). "I don't hire cat-people," she barked dismissively. I defended my love of all companion animals by saying that I wanted a dog, but my rental agreement didn't allow it. She seemed somewhat appeased, and said that I would have to submit to a background check and drug test. No worries. I leaped through background check hoops with flying colors when I got my Securities Exchange Commission Series 6 License a few years before.

After leaving the interview, I knew the job was mine, but that Mama Bear and I would continually butt heads if I worked there. Within the hour I called Baby Bear (the son, with whom I interviewed first) and told him to please pull my application from consideration. He seemed surprised, and asked why. I couldn't tell him that his mom/boss was awful, and that I could never work with her or for her. I said I'd rather not give a reason, and thanked him for his time.

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Bad Decision

I made a bad decision. I took a job that I now hate.

I was in a semi-desperate, sleep-deprived state of on-call, part-time employment, when the recruitment offer came. My former employment situation was somewhat similar to being in a cult, but without the support network or uplifting sing-alongs. I allowed myself some magical thinking when the new job offer came on a day I had worked at my previous employer from 3:00 AM to 8:00 AM. I saw the monetary benefits and the promise of more reasonable working hours at the new/current employer, and loved the idea! I also fell victim to a bit of bait and switch, thinking that I was hired as the visual coordinator (a.k.a. the make-it-pretty-boss) at my new/current employer. In reality, I spend most of my working hours assisting customers and dealing with customer service issues when other employees over-promise and under-deliver.

I'm a bit of an introvert with an outgoing personality. I put on a good show of loving people and handling interpersonal challenges efficiently, but too much time interacting with people drains my energy. I need quiet time to finish projects and think about things, versus a constant barrage of interruptions and forced interactions.

An unreasonably irate customer called the store today. Unluckily, I answered the call. He proceeded to yell at me, curse at me and then tell me to quit apologizing. One of his verbal gems, "I don't know what the hell to do, maybe jump off the roof. I want the damn jacket I ordered." I managed to finally get the man's name and phone number, told him not to jump off the roof, and that I would research the situation before getting back to him. I did research the issue and outline some good possible solutions. Then I begged another more-seasoned, male employee to call the awful customer back with some options for problem resolution. The customer apologized profusely to the older male employee for how he treated me, even offering to apologize to me directly if I wanted to call him back. No. I never want to talk to that awful customer again. Never, ever.

The majority of my working life has been spent in retail, thus reflected on my résumé. The job offers I get are for retail or sales positions. And I never want to work in retail or sales again. Never, ever.

I'm going to speak with a career counselor before I jump into another job. I never want to be the square peg forced into the round hole again. Never, ever.

Now I need to figure out how much longer I can bear to stay at my current job. I never want to utter the words, "I don't know what the hell to do, maybe jump off the roof." Never, ever.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Merry Christmas

hazy shade of winter tidings

candy cane ribbon & outdoor ornaments, oh my!

the wreath that won't fit under the security door

close-up of our needle-thin living room tree

stockings hung on the pub mirror with care

dining room runner with modern touches of gold, incense & myrrh

throw some green & red on that ottoman

ancient wise one (17!) with her holiday flair pillow

tiny floor chandelier in the bedroom with pastels aglow

snail reminds me to slow down, reflect, and enjoy Christmas

As I struggle through days as a retail manager/visuals coordinator, I wish you and yours the merriest, most peaceful Christmas. Be kind to one another. Quit shopping and snuggle in for a few days.

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Made Some Pretty

I styled a bookshelf for a property management group. They wanted a neutral color palette with minimal objects, and some of the minimal objects needed to be lions. I think it's great for a modern office setting. Also, I got paid!

Then I made it snow in downtown Austin. It involved climbing ladders, lifting, peeling, sticking, stapling, stringing, scattering and unrolling. Oh, and redressing some mannequins.

After I finished the winter windows at work, the tailor from my store came and gave me a hug. For context, I should mention that English is his second language. He said, "You the best. Congratulations!" 

I replied, "Thanks. Why?"

He explained with lots of hand gestures, "Those windows. Everybody on the sidewalk stop and look at the sport coats. You the best!" 

Then my store manager who seldom doles out compliments, said the windows looked "great" and thanked me for updating them. Also, I got paid. 

I miss having free time to go to the gym, have hobbies, socialize and keep the 1952 House sparkly clean, but I like getting paid. Also, I like compliments on my work.