Disturbed on So Many Levels

Disturbed on So Many Levels

It’s a quarter past two, and I can’t sleep. Maybe it was the chocolate cake at dinner. Maybe it’s job anxiety again. Maybe it’s my annoyance that John’s sleeping on the couch.

My day started off well enough. I got up early and took the dogs on their walk down Saratoga St. We returned to the apartment by 9 a.m. I had the whole day to do my things. I checked my email, wrote some blog entries, submitted some yelp reviews. Our Reston townhouse finally rented. Last last week, we had received a rental application from a couple– the husband worked for the Department of Homeland Security. They offered $100 less than our asking rate (and $50 less than our current rent). I played phone tag for a few days with my agent, who I think avoids phoning me. John and I were not happy about the offer, but our agent kept pushing us to take it, saying the appliants had a really good credit rating and it was safer to take their offer than risk having the house sit vacant through the winter. In the end, we heeded the agent’s advice. But a few days passed and still no confirmation. Finally, it turned out the bastards backed out. No explanation given but whatever! I didn’t want to rent to a DOHS tenant anyway!

Fortunately, we got another bite last week. This time, a young couple (+ infant) with an even higher credit rating PLUS our asking rental price PLUS October 1 move-in (so no downtime/vacancy period). Thank goodness! Boy did we luck out. I like to think though that my various postings (to Yahoo newsgroups) and flyers (to friends and acquaintances) had something to do with it. 🙂

Truthfully though, I didn’t even know the contract went through until I called the agent today to follow-up. See how I have to ride ass with everything? Maybe this is is a telltale sign that I’m a micromanager? Maybe but jesus, I don’t think it’s too much to ask that he keep me posted, you know?

In job news, I received a nice email today from a former PM at the solid waste association where I once interned (in 1996). He’s now a landfill gas project lead at the USEPA, and I contacted him last week seeking job advice and assistance. He was really sweet– said that even though we worked together just briefly (three months), he was impressed by my work. He offered to make some introductions with solid waste peeps in the Bay area. So I’m pretty psyched.

Like I said, the day was going well. In the afternoon, I researched certificates of deposit. There are some great short-term CDs out there. Took a bit of digging, but I finally settled on Schwab. Of course, I spent time opening an account online only to have the damn thing freeze on the last step. Fuckers. I had to call in and repeat the entire process over the phone. On the plus side, I had a great rep. Thorough, informative, helpful, courteous– definitely a rare find these days. After that, I decided it was a good time for errands, with the bike.

Tired of walking around with my Sisley slacks (purchased in Shanghai with Pamela) all poofy in the butt, I decided to get that shit fixed at the tailor’s. Man, $20 because they have to take in material at the butt/crotch seam AND the inner leg. What the hell? I had maybe lost like ten pounds (from March to July)? Who knew that would make such a damn difference. And well, I was pretty much committed to these slacks, considering I’d already splurged $50 on them. Oh well, as long as they come out ok, I’ll be happy.

So the bike ride to the tailor’s was exhausting. I have to get a bike basket or rack or something, because me spinning around with a retarded cloth grocery sack just isn’t cuttin’ it. And topped with my green bulky helmet? I looked absolutely ridiculous. I need to get my backpack out of storage from upstairs. Gotta slim things down, become more aerodynamic or something, because I look like a total geek. Oh well, I made it there and back fine. I won’t mention the mileage, because then you’ll really laugh (out loud). I’m telling you though, the drag on the mountain bike tires is killing me!

So evening came and John got home earlier than usual, because we were meeting people downtown. He was getting together with Brian, and I was meeting Kelly (visiting from Shanghai) and her Stanford buds for dinner. I totally envy Kelly. She’s fully fluent in Japanese, pretty much fluent in Mandarin, has lived/worked in Tokyo, is currently in Shanghai, and she has professional options galore. Already two competing companies are pursuing her; her current company has offered her the choice of Asia director in HK or VP in New Jersey; she may work for the Clinton Foundation in Beijing; she may apply for the Hopkins MPH program, or she may do the Japanese and Chinese master’s interpreter programs at the Monterey School of International Studies. So many choices. All of them great ones, and I’m so jealous. I so want the “I’m the independent working woman” job.

So tonight was disturbing, because well, I met like six of Kelly’s friends. And they were all high profile professionals (with very proud Asian parents, I’m sure): an anesthesiologist, a pediatrician, a psychiatrist, a registered nurse, a child psychologist, a pharmaceutical research manager, and a patent lawyer. How can I not feel inadequate in such company? So once again, I am feeling anxious. Thankfully, I think I’ve found another vacancy that appears highly compatible– a project manager/editor for Sustainable San Mateo County, a green nonprofit. Tomorrow’s another day, I suppose.

Oh, I didn’t tell you– that outreach writer job I was gunning for with SF Environment? I hustled so hard to get it. In the end, the PM replied to my personal appeal email explaining they had received over 100 applications for the job, and they went for an internal staffer. Nice. Jesus, don’t fucking waste my time or anything, you know? I had to contact IBM in SH to get employment verification letters on official letterhead and shit. Fucking a. Seriously, if you already have someone in mind, you’re not doing anyone any favors by posting the position. Government, I tell you.

On the education front, I researched some classes… there was an upper level Mandarin class that started yesterday. I called up the teacher, but she said the class was full. Other classes (other subjects) already started in August, so I’ll have to wait until next semester. Maybe I’ll have my shit figured out by then.

The second thing that bothered me tonight was learning about John’s friend having a meltdown. He has a degree in psych but wants to get a job in SEO (search engine optimization). Naturally, none of the tech places want to take a chance on him. I’m so sick of these employers playing it safe. What happened to reading people’s vibes? It’s like everything nowadays has to follow some bullshit conventional track, otherwise it’s dismissed as being non-committal or flippant. Total bullshit. And I get so pissed off, because how many people do crap, sub-standard, piss-poor work? Seriously, if my personal encounters and experiences are any indication, the answer is A LOT. And yeah, these people probably have resumes that follow the protocol. On paper, they look right for the job, but in the end, are they really? I don’t even care if people just work these jobs to clock in and clock out. I don’t care if there isn’t an ounce of enthusiasm for what they do. But please, get the job done, you know? I don’t need the extra service with a smile crap– just perform the job duties and responsibilities; otherwise, you should get taken out. Anyway, I totally empathize with Brian’s frustration. And my instinctive reaction is to find a way. That’s where John comes in. John always insists he doesn’t know anyone, that his company doesn’t do this or doesn’t do that. I don’t fucking care. John has been working with his company’s second-in-command for over FIVE yers. Higher ups DEFINITELY know people, because their job is to schmooze. So what I want is for John to link us: me with Google or some tech writing place and Brian with SEO places. Maybe that requires John to ask his boss to comb through his contacts or maybe John has to ask his recruiter for company names. A link-up will likely require more than two degrees of separation, but I feel that attempting ANY degree of separation is worth doing. Otherwise, John’s not really putting his support where his mouth is.

Am I asking too much? Isn’t this entire concept the basis for networking sites like LinkedIn and Friendster anyway? Or even employee referral bonuses– this is what they’re all about. The idea is nothing new and my point is, no one else in the business world thinks twice about it, so why should he? It’s not as if I can’t do the job or as if I’m a total slacker whom he should be ashamed to introduce. I’m pissed. This is bullshit. Asking/prodding contacts is not some kind of embarrassing or desperate plea for help. Granted, maybe in a way it is for me since I’m getting frustrated, but it doesn’t have to be. It’s all about the way you ask anyway. And if people match up in the end, both sides benefit so who the hell cares? So I guess that’s why he’s sleeping on the couch tonight. Guess it’s back to my daily grind: building my contacts on my own. He’s been saying for weeks now that he might introduce me to their tech writer on staff. Whatever. I found her on LinkedIn and now at least I can see the educational and professional path she took to get where she is. So at least I have some idea (without John’s help, thank you very much).

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