Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Kung-Fu/Jesus approach to a job search

Quote du jour: Most self-made men worship their creator.

One way to tell when a man thinks he's God is if he speaks to you in parables.

The job search consultant guy is trying to be helpful, I know. And he's got a doctorate in Psychology, so I'd expect him to try to respond to questions by starting with the psyche of the questioner. The disconnect is that I expect straight answers to my specific questions, while his responses are most often in the form of stories.

I suppose I should be grateful that he's not calling me "grasshopper" and telling me to go chop planks with the edge of my hand.

Exercise du jour: I want to do a whole hour of ellipticalling. No martial arts.
Done. Now off to set up an interview between Damn Knee and Mr. Icepack

Monday, August 29, 2011

And now for something moderately different

funny pictures history - An Easier Way To Clean
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Quote du jour: The way you treat yourself sets the standard for others.
- Sonya Friedman

Yesterday, I managed 50 minutes on the elliptical without any complaint from Damn Knee. Today, I want to try something different. I want to see if I can jog, even just a little. Slow jogging, slogging, for a minute or so at a time with intervals of brisk walking in between. Worth a try. If it turns out to be too much for Damn Knee, then I'll go back to the elliptical for a while longer. Just so long as I get out there and move. Besides, it provides me with an excuse to ignore the housework. That's always a plus.

I figure posting this up here is the one way to guarantee that I'll actually get out there and do it. Otherwise, inertia will claim me for her own.

Done! About 15 minutes walking with some slow jogging. Plus, 20 minutes on the elliptical to warm up.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

And while I'm lying on the ground being kicked, maybe you could take care of my wallet?

Quote du jour: You're never as good as everyone tells you when you win, and you're never as bad as they say when you lose.
- Lou Holtz and John Heisler, The Fighting Spirit

So I submitted a résumé to a job site, as I have done many and more times before. This time, I get an email a few hours later. Not from someone who wants to hire me. This email is from someone on the job site who has been "assigned to review my résumé to see if it comes up to their standards."

Sadly, it does not. While it is clear that I have loads of experience in technical writing and editing, my résumé "does not have the sparkle and pizazz that one would look for in someone of my experience."

On the plus side, for a mere $350 they would be delighted to rewrite my résumé and make it stand out so that I would surely get hired by anyone with a pulse or a brain.

To me, this is like kicking someone when they're down, and then offering to take their money from them so that no one else will want to kick them. Purely as a kindness. Gosh.

Exercise du jour: 50 minutes on the elliptical
Done! And without any complaint from Damn Knee.

Friday, August 26, 2011

In search of Serenity

Serenity  is a road trip

Quote du jour: Life isn't boring, people are small and let life escape them.
- Thomas Wolfe, Look Homeward, Angel

Something about a job interview gives me the urge to get the hell out of Dodge. I'm going to be good and do the job hunt/exercise stuff this morning. This afternoon, I'm heading off somewhere shady to get out of the heat.

Is it sad that I need to schedule in time to relax, or am I being active and proactive and all that kind of stuff?

Exercise du jour: 30 minutes on the elliptical before it gets too hot.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Good Interviewer, Bad Interviewer

I realize that job interviews are a mixed bag; people are a mixed-up species. Even so, some established conventions of behavior are generally observed.

For example, in an interview one does not usually see the interviewer:
a) sigh deeply
b) clear their throat meaningfully
c) shift from side to side impatiently

Granted, all of this behavior occurred when her co-interviewer was talking, and he was talking most of the time. Equally, it could also be read as her impatience with this interview taking so long, if she'd already decided to write me off early on. Since I don't know the woman, I have no way of knowing.

The male interviewer, on the other hand, was really easy to talk to. I found him nice, intelligent, relaxed and with a sense of humor. Him, I could work for.

Honestly, looking back it was like a case of good cop, bad cop.

Exercise du jour: I managed a whole 10 minutes on the elliptical before it became too damn hot and sticky to work out. This weather has got to go. I took two baths today before the danged interview. I was ready to throw myself at the interviewers' feet and offer to work for air conditioning.

Pictures from Glen or Glenda courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Nothing like a fine whine

Depressing study du jour: Both getting married and getting divorced cause weight gain. You're doomed either way.

The heck with depressing studies. I'm too tired to care right now. Not really in the mood for much of anything. Maybe if I start off blogging, I'll get motivated to do useful work around the house. (Well, it's possible.)

The original plan was to take Friday off, but I ended up having to send work samples to one recruiter and wait for another recruiter to schedule another interview and on top of that I had to go out to lunch with a former co-worker.

Tangent: Why does the above paragraph sound so whiny? They weren't bad things, just not part of my original plan of having a close encounter with my hammock under a nice shady tree.

I knew that if I stayed at home Monday, I would spend the time brooding over the impending interview and the potential maybe interview from the company who wanted to review my work. So I figured the best thing to do was take Skye's advice and head for the ocean.

By the way, the Pacific ocean is nice and cool. Well, freezing would actually be a better word. Even when the air is hot, the ocean is not. Whenever visitors come from afar, they always say something like "It's July! I'll be sure to bring my swimsuit!" I do warn them that we import our ocean fresh from Alaska, but they always seem want to try anyway. Rarely do they try twice.

Ms. Skye, being a native, didn't expect me to bring a swimsuit. She was kind enough to show me the sights of her corner of the coast. I always see coastal towns as places for tourists; it was nice to see the livable side of town.

Walking a mile or so in deep sand is really good exercise. My calf muscles were stiff the next day, and Damn Knee was swollen, but it was a good workout. Then I went home and prepared for the upcoming interview by going shopping. My last interview outfit didn't look so good once I got it home (I presume it shrunk on the drive home?), and I couldn't face the thought of another interview in that thick wool coat, so really it was my duty to stimulate the economy a bit further.

Okay, I typed all that out and I still don't have any energy. I suspect my cutting back on the coffee is starting to affect my energy level. Or I need to get my thyroid tweaked. Or I need air conditioning, so I can get my house to cool down at night so I can sleep.

Geez, I thought I sounded whiny before. Clearly I should stop before I begin moaning about how unfair life is.

Exercise du jour: I'm going to crank out 15 minutes on the elliptical. Even a woman with no energy at all should be able to manage that.
Done! Dang, but it's hot. Just 'cause we sent them an earthquake or two, the other side of the country feels impelled to send us their heat & humidity. They're too kind. Really. No, I meant really.

Friday, August 19, 2011

I'm taking the day off. 'Cause we unemployed people can do that sort of thing.

Need An Actor? Imma BE Dat!

see more Lol Celebs

Quote du jour: God wisely designed the human body so that we can neither pat our own backs nor kick ourselves too easily.

Site du jour: In case your day is not going as well as it should, this link should make it okay.

I'm taking the day off. No job hunting. No required exercise. I ain't gonna do nuthin' unless I really, really want to. Maybe a little walking. But it's optional.

There's something unutterably freeing about this notion. Just this once. Just this Friday. No expectations.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Survived the interview

funny pictures history - Despite his best efforts, Cedric still didn't pass his driving test.
see more Historic LOL

Quote du jour: Shyness has a strange element of narcissism, a belief that how we look, how we perform, is truly important to other people.
- André Dubus

Survived the interview. I think I done good. I did not wear fishnet stockings and high heels, but I did dress up in a very formal thick wool tweed jacket that looks very professional and is a pretty blue-ish color. Did I mention the part about it being thick wool? In August? Yeah, I suffered. But I think the interview went well, so it was in a good cause.

I'd love to know why I had the panic attack after the interview rather than before or during, like a normal person, but the outcome was Panic Attack: 1 Exercise 0.

Tomorrow. Another day. That's my story.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

High heels, fishnet stockings & resume

They said "Dress up"  for the interview. What do you think?

Quote du jour: Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage.
-Anaïs Nin

Site du jour: An article on what to do if you don't have a job, or at least don't have the job that you want. I thought this article was the typically chipper/blithely depressing type of article: "Can't find a job? Well then, do something you love instead!" But actually, upon reading it, the author made a few good points.

Got a job interview tomorrow, so I thought I'd spend today productively, i.e. going into a tizzy, dithering, blathering, panicking, and rushing around trying to make myself look good. (The first four activities aren't going to make me look good, but I like to get them out of the way before the actual interview if possible. Doesn't add confidence if the interviewer watches you dither.)

In addition, I want to put together the interview outfit and see if I can make myself look like a respectable, confident, hard-hitting go-getter employable woman. If I want to sell myself, I suppose that means I should try wearing high heels and fishnet stockings.

Exercise du jour: I'm getting really tired of typing in "Elliptical" in here. At the same time, I don't want to try stressing the knee out and limping into the interview tomorrow. I think I'll try 30 minutes on the elliptical and add a couple miles of walking. See how Damn Knee feels about that. Fail. Too much to do! Maybe I should make the To Do list a bit shorter in the future.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Ever feel overqualified?

job fails - I'm Overqualified!
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Quote du jour: Experience is not what happens to a man. It is what a man does with what happens to him.
- Aldous Huxley

Site du jour: Save the Words. Adopt a word today -- take it out, give it a run. The experience will not be vappous.

The job hunt continues.

Spoke to a recruiter yesterday, another one this morning. I'm definitely getting my name out there. This last recruiter was a bit disconcerting to talk to. Every time I made a comment, she would laugh uproariously, as if it were the funniest thing in the world. I don't think I'm that funny.

Well, not every single thing I said. I exaggerate slightly. She didn't laugh when I mentioned salary. Just mentioned that it was out of the range for all the positions she had available. She did ask if I wanted to apply for a job that was a two-hour drive away from my house. Was I supposed to laugh? I'm not sure.

Exercise du jour: Going for 30 minutes on the elliptical. This time, before Midnight.
Done! And with almost three hours to spare. Proactive, that's me. Sorta.

Monday, August 15, 2011

"Sell" myself? My mother warned me about that...

Hey, everybody! Look at me!

Quote du jour: Welcome to Sales! If you haven't been in Sales before, you are now.
- job seminar

Apparently, the "in" thing in Today's Job SearchTM is self-marketing. It's counter-intuitive, to put it mildly. Basically, it's taking the information from my résumé, reformatting it, then showing this to people who are not in a position to hire me, and asking them for their advice. It's supposed to increase my networking ability. What I'm thinking is that if I showed this to some former co-workers, people who are emphatically not up to the latest in Job Hunt TechniquesTM, they're going to feel like they're being put on the spot, that somehow I'm expecting them to help find me a job.

I'm sure it's a good idea to put together a marketing plan to showcase my skills, but frankly I'm not sure it would be a good idea to try to sell myself with it. I think it would be most helpful just for organizing my strengths in my own mind. That way, I would have the information readily available in case I were asked about it in a job interview, which is the place where I'd really be trying to sell myself. (Sorry, Mom.)

Yes, I know I can't just sit by the phone and wait for someone to lift their damned magic wand and flourish the ideal job into existence.

It would be nice, though...
What's that? Hugh needs a shoulder-warmer? Move aside, Nicole!

Exercise du jour: 30 minutes on the elliptical. It's not romantic, but it seems to be about my limit as far as Damn Knee is concerned.
Done! With only 20 minutes left in the day. Why is it, when I had 24 hours to get this exercise in, I waited until the 24th to get it done?

Peacock courtesy of Hypergenesb.
Hugh and what's-her-name courtesy of Gandalf (and you thought he was busy making movies)

Friday, August 12, 2011

For you, more Hugh

Quote du jour:Luck is preparation meeting opportunity. - Oprah Winfrey

Another morning spent in seminars. Now I get to spend the afternoon outdoors. It's too beautiful to stay indoors. For all you office workers, I'll leave Hugh up here for you to look at.

Exercise du jour30 minutes gentle bicycling. See how Damn Knee feels about that.

Photo courtesy of CoolGuyz.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Shakespeare would never have made it as a hiring manager

I'm not fat, I'm fluffy! And I've got claws.

Quote du jour:
Let me have men about me that are fat;
Sleek-headed men, and such as sleep o' nights.
Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look;
He thinks too much: such men are dangerous.
- Shakespeare, Julius Ceasar Act 1 scene ii

You have to look good in a job interview. The lean and hungry look is in. It's sleek, it's chic, it's ... not my style.

Went shopping for an interview outfit yesterday. Was thinking they really should post those suicide hotline numbers in dressing rooms. Maybe I should spend the next week concentrating on the three Cs: carrots, celery, and cabernet cabbage.

I’ll be glad when my knee is strong enough to do serious exercise.

Exercise du jour: 30 minutes on the elliptical. I'm getting there, damn it.
Done! Plus 10 minutes stretching Damn Knee afterward.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Wow... this company could probably tell some tales...

All virtues are less formidable to us once the man is aware that he has them, but this is specially true of humility. Catch him at the moment when he is really poor in spirit and smuggle into his mind the gratifying reflection, "By jove! I'm being humble", and almost immediately pride - pride at his own humility - will appear. If he awakes to the danger and tries to smother this new form of pride, make him proud of his attempt - and so on, through as many stages as you please.

But don't try this too long, for fear you awake his sense of humour and proportion, in which case he will merely laugh at you and go to bed.
- C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters

Applied for a job online. After I submitted my résumé, I wound up in a site where I had to answer page after page of questions about myself. At the start of the questionnaire, I was warned solemnly that I had to be careful to answer every question honestly, as they "were able to tell if someone was being untruthful." After I'd answered a few questions, I started to notice a trend. See if you can spot it:

Page 1 - Do I use illegal drugs (for example: meth, crystal, ecstasy, heroin, morphine, crack, etc.) other than marijuana [all the time, often, sometimes, never]?

Page 2 - Do I use meth [all the time, often, sometimes, never]?

Page 3 - Do I use amphetamines [all the time, often, sometimes, never]?

Page 4 - Do I use cocaine [all the time, often, sometimes, never]?

Page 5 - Do I show up at work after using illegal drugs [all the time, often, sometimes, never]?

I mean it went on and on like this. If they'd just asked once, I would have thought nothing of it. But they went on at such length that it became first insulting then absurdly funny. I learned a lot of new slang words for meth (crank, speed, crystal-meth, ice, chalk, glass). After a while, the trend of the questions changed.

Page 6 - Do I think that people who are being disrespectful to me deserve a punch [all the time, often, sometimes, never]?

Page 7 - How frequently do I punch people at work [all the time, often, sometimes, never]?

Um... y'know... I don't think I want to work at this company after all. Never mind, guys. Thanks all the same.

Exercise du jour: 20 minutes with Michael Rhoda-Bhote. See how well Damn Knee likes that instead of the elliptical. Fail. Turns out that getting onto the rower involves a certain degree of knee bendiness. Who knew.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Even if you don't see invisibility, that's no reason to suppose it isn't there

epic fail photos - Oddly Specific: I Really Really Want To Be Aware
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Quote du jour: Be yourself, everybody else is already taken.
- Oscar Wilde

I'm breaking the elliptical exercising up into 10 minute intervals. It's not going to give me as much of a cardio workout, but it will help build up the strength again.

I've been resting my knee for a month, I have to build up the muscles before they become invisible. Also, I'm going to try an exercise DVD, something involving the core.

Exercise du jour: 30 minutes ellipticalling, 30 minutes of grabbing the nearest exercise DVD and doing whatever it tells me to do (so long as the instructions don't involve doing much with my left knee).

I don't know if this is a semi-win or a semi-fail. I did do the 3 sets of 10 minutes on the elliptical, with stretching, ice, and drugs afterwards. But I didn't go anywhere near an exercise DVD. I got caught up in submitting one résumé after another to different websites. Trust me when I say that there are some damn strange employment websites out there.

Monday, August 08, 2011

I AM smiling

funny pictures - I AM smiling
see more Lolcats and funny pictures, and check out our Socially Awkward Penguin lolz!

Cranky? Why the heck should I be cranky?

Just got off the phone with a recruiter who wanted me to take a position... pretty good fit. Except for the fact that he wanted me to take a 40% pay cut for a job where I'd have to pay for my own benefits. That makes me cranky.

Damn knee is making me cranky as well. All I did was try to kneel down for a minute on a hard surface, and it hurt for two days. My body wants me to take a 60% reduction in exercise, with no benefits.


Exercise du jour: Working out on the elliptical.
Done! Did 40 minutes on the elliptical. Thank goodness for drugs (i.e. pills I took to keep the swelling down, not narcotics, dude).

Friday, August 05, 2011

All is well

funny celebrity pictures - So we're just ignoring the shark huh?
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All is well.
Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.
All is well.
Would I lie? To you?

Well, all right. I'm a bit worn out by the past week of highly intensive Being A Good Job Hunter sessions. It's work, being out there looking for work. Still, I can say I have not been bored, which is my criterion for a Good Week.

Exercise du jour: Today, I want to push the envelope, or at least the knee. Going to try 30 minutes on the elliptical.

Fail. Made the mistake of trying to kneel on the damn knee last night, and it's been complaining all day. Will try again tomorrow.Link

Thursday, August 04, 2011

The trouble with being unemployed is the unreasonable boss

Quote du jour:
"You know, I used to think it was awful that life was so unfair. Then I thought, wouldn't it be much worse if life were fair and all the terrible things that happen to us come because we actually deserve them? So now I take great comfort in the general hostility and unfairness of the universe."
- Marcus Cole, Babylon 5

Now that my official job is stalking the wild and wary job opportunity in its lair, I notice that my manager has turned into a thoroughly unreasonable woman. Spent most of today in "job consultant"online seminars -- no, correction: spent most of this week in seminars on how to spruce up my résumé, shape up my networking, and in general find some kind of gainful employment.
In between the online seminars, I've been getting in a few sessions on the elliptical, ten or fifteen minutes at a time. In the evenings, I've been working on creating a kick-ass website that will sparkle and shine and knock the socks off anyone who cares to glance at it.
The pertinent phrase in that last sentence is "working on creating." It's not there yet. I've had to reach back for skills I haven't used in seven or eight years, plus it turns out that the tools have gone and went and changed while I wasn't using them.
It's a good thing this doesn't happen in other fields; I mean, what would a gardener do if he picked up a shovel one day and found that it had transmogrified into Shovel 2.0® with Newer, Flashier Features that he never needed in the first place?
If I had been working at a "real" job (i.e. one that someone else paid me to do), then I would have taken lunch breaks & the occasional rest break to stretch my legs & hang around the coffee in the break room to chat with passersby. As it is, my boss feels like any break time is a Waste Of Time, What Do You Think I'm (not) Paying You For? Get To Work!!!
Yes, my new manager does think in initial capitals and use multiple exclamation points. It's sad.

Exercise du jour: I only managed 15 minutes on the elliptical. However, I am pleased to report that the knee hardly complained at all. (Probably was afraid of what the boss would say.)

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Branding: it's not just for cattle anymore

job fails - Career Counseling for the Ladies
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Things have changed. I know this, because everyone tells me so.

One older woman (i.e. older than I am, yes it's all about me) confessed, a bit wistfully, that all she was familiar with were the days when you sent out a résumé and sat by the phone.

Even since the last time that I went a-hunting, things have changed. Nowadays, apparently, you cannot hope to get a job unless you have Twitter and LinkedIn accounts. I'm hoping that I don't actually have to go on FaceBook as well.

So far, I'm not impressed with this "job consultant" guy. Either he's too busy to respond to my emails or all my emails are going into his spam filter. I would expect someone in his position to be able to handle a minor issue like that. I am frustrated with him.

Today I have a seminar on Job Search Communications. I have a feeling the word 'branding' is going to come up.

[Courtesy of Thomas Hawk]

Exercise du jour: More ellipticalling. The doctor used unfamiliar words like "patience" and "lots of time," but he also agreed that I should be exercising. So today I'm going to go a little longer on the elliptical. And I'm going to feel grateful that I have an elliptical machine to use.

Monday, August 01, 2011

Life in Merryland

My Office:

My Commute:
My co-workers:
Butterflies, squirrels, the occasional cat. Somewhere off in the distance I can hear a very persistent rooster, who seems convinced at mid-afternoon is the crack of dawn. (I can only suspect he's been reading Julie's blog.)

All I need is a paycheck, and life would be perfect.

Don't mean to sound like I'm bragging (much) but it is beautiful out. Not too hot, not too cold, but juuuuust right. This doesn't happen very often.

The job hunt continues. I polished up the resume and sent it off to a consultant; we'll see what he thinks. Tomorrow I start the 'self-help' seminars at the consultant's website. We'll see what I think.

Exercise du jour: Managed 15 minutes on the elliptical. The knee didn't start to hurt until 10 minutes in. Good thing I have such a short commute.