Editor’s Note

So sometimes (a lot of times) I write blog posts and the unintended consequence is that it evokes lots of pity and/or sadness and not a lot of understanding and/or entertainment.

Erin’s reaction to last week’s blog:

Erin: that was a sad post though my friend. i”m going to give you one of those creepy hugs you hate

or just hold your hand when you’re not looking

cuz i’m here for you soul sista

Megan: ugh. damn.

Ultimately it’s evidence of my weakness as a writer and my tendency to act really extrasupermelodramatic about everything. I accept this. I’m self-aware. I don’t necessarily prefer it, but I accept it.

But this weekend I came across this tweet from one of my very favorite websites:

It is a far happier and more eloquent version of my grievances. If you read my post and could empathize for even a moment, I promise Brain Picking’s “How to Find Fulfilling Work” is worth a glance.

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Words with Friends

Hey. We’re alive. But only barely.

Somehow Erin and I have had the same sort of week, the kind where someone in your office goes on vacation and all of the sudden you are doing two people’s full time jobs instead of just one and you’re still slightly new and everyone’s panties are in a bunch about things you only kind of understand and/or care about. The kind where you’re CC-ed in on a thousand different emails that don’t have anything to do with you or have everything to do with you and you start suffocating under the weight of just how mundane your Outlook-related stress is. The kind where by 3 pm you’re a mere a shell of a person, brain short-circuiting, patience pushed to the brink before it is maliciously punted right over the edge by some self important bitch who spreads her miserable, black unhappiness like the plague and then dares you to come back for more. The kind where you go to bed at 9 pm because you’re falling geriatrically asleep on your sofa but it’s okay because you don’t  really want to be alive anymore anyway.

As you might imagine, our work-time chats have reflected this. And really, this is the truest snapshot of our lives since we last spoke.

Exhibit A.

Stress-eating: it's real.

Stress-eating: it’s real.

Just kidding. You didn’t really think that was accurate right? Look a little closer*.

Exhibit B.

That's right.

Ahh, yes.

There will be much drinking tonight.

*The merits of swearing from a totally respectable and reputable source

American Idle

So this whole “trying to get a job” thing has turned out way worse than I imagined in the months leading up to this move. I should’ve known better. Positivity and optimism really aren’t my bag. But I was hypnotized by the availability and variety of jobs (and tacos) this town promised.

I’m not sure what to attribute the difficulties to, as Erin found a job and is (happily? unhappily? It’s hard to tell) employed and has been for quite some time. So I can’t help but think, maybe it’s me? Then again, maybe it’s them. All of them. But maybe we all have our fate. Maybe the world is shit. Maybe everything happens for a reason. Maybe God is dead. Maybe the next interview will go really well Continue reading

Death and the Office

My grandma died shortly before Easter. I made the trip back to Omaha. My cousin came by, and we taped photos of our grandmother’s life, most of the pictures previously unknown to us, on a science fair board. Scotch tape and cardboard. It stood in the back of the church for the next few days. I attended the visitation, rosary, funeral, acted as pall bearer, shook a lot of hands.  I flew back to Austin the night after the service, considering over the course of two dark plane rides, the legacy of dementia in the genes of my father and brothers and me, constantly fighting with my iPod as it churned out, unbidden, the saddest of my sad bastard jams. I wouldn’t cry, not while I shared an armrest with some fast food-smelling stranger.

I was up early the next day to begin the New Job, in which so much time and interviewing and cover letter writing had been pumped.  First days are a grim business. One has to be determinedly cheerful and friendly, exude an air of gratitude and aggressive industriousness that would make Willie Loman blush. This was to be who I was for the next few exhausting months.

I’d been smiling so long when I sat down with the creative director that even when shit started going south my face didn’t falter.

“Make this job the priority in your life, and you’ll be successful here,” he said, all steepled fingers and knitted brow across a conference table.

That, I think, was the catalyst. A small bloom of claustrophobic panic opened up in my chest. That a job that I took out of rent-paying desperation and a lucky knack for the business should become my life was laughable, but it had also unquestionably brought the exhilarating (and selfish) momentum of moving and running around for the last 6 weeks to a halt. Where there were open doors, there was now routine and a silent, soul-searching commute to bracket the parts of the day that belonged to them.

Is it coincidence, the constant convergence of these things (grandmother, job, death) in my head? How can I help but read my own future in all this shit, predict that these are the days that my rotten brain will play on a loop for me in, what?, fifty years? This is the present that will replay because these rote office days outnumber the days that can be counted as actual living. Is this what she saw, eyes open through the morphine?

Blow Jobs

Did I enter into this situation voluntarily? Yes. Did I assume the first few weeks would be depressing and frustrating? Yes. But did I also tell myself that of all the job markets to willfully enter Austin is about as promising as any? And that the pain of job searching and temporary poverty is far outweighed by the promise of better jobs, not to mention a more robust life seasoned with peer socializing and a spicy blend of food and music and entertainment? Yes and yes.

<Begin Job Search>

I can think of few scenarios as soulrapingly horrible in which to knowingly place yourself as ‘requiring employment’. It’s starts off innocently enough with a standard list of complaints that anyone might have under the pressure of a dwindling bank account and few prospects.

“Oh damn,

1.) …this is a disappointing selection of opportunities available here on (Craigslist, Monster, Indeed, Bright, Careerbuilder, SimplyHired, LinkedIn, USAJobs, AdministrativeJobs, TexasEmployment, etc). Bummer.”

2.) …this job here that I’m really interested in only pays a little more than the carwash down the street. Balls.”

3.) …this job requires me to write a painstakingly detailed and specific cover letter selling myself like a two dollar whore. Blurgh.”

Fair enough. These issues are to be expected. If getting hired were easy, everyone-

blank

Yeah.

<Begin Downward Spiral into Job Search Hell>

However, after the first hour or two of active employment seeking, an assault of inconvenient and/or mockingly stupid obstacles begins and it makes you doubt that a.) this kind of hoop-jumping nonsense is ultimately worth your time for said job and b.) you are even interested in an employer with such a deplorably asinine application process.

Examples of this kind of dickitude include but are not limited to:

Second Person Job Descriptions“You are detailed-oriented and a real go-getter! You love to be ORGANIZED and can’t sleep at night if your memos aren’t perfect! Now PROVE IT!”

“You are an ass-kissing cheerleader! You’re desperate enough for a job that you would just about anything wouldn’t you? Now down on your knees and prove it!”

Parsing ResumesWhat do you mean your previous job title isn’t “August 2010”?

Please upload your resume here so we can fill in the boxes all wrong and you have to go back and fix everything anyway. For the nineteenth time. This hour.

InternshipsHere, click on this awesome and exciting new job! (Just kidding, I mean, um, unpaid internship. We don’t have any money for you. Can’t believe you were dumb enough to click on that!)

Get your shit together people. If I wanted a job that doesn’t pay, I would have a blog.

And my favorite, Salary BracketsPlease enter your minimum and maximum salary requirements.

Yes, because I just feel really uncomfortable making more than $70,000 a year. In fact, if that’s what this position pays, I’m going to need to decline right now. Too much. I thrive only on Ramen and off brand toilet paper. Thanks though.

no

<Continue Downward Spiral into Total Self Reproach and Misery (It’s Getting Darker)>

I assume that for people with a definitive degree and desirable “skill” (ie software development, accounting, nursing, you get the idea), this process isn’t so brutal. You have a career goal in mind, you can tailor your application and communications to that career goal and the rest of these ‘bumps’ are just there to get your heart rate up.

But for someone like me with what has proven a fairly useless liberal arts degree and whose primary experience lies in clerical work and customer service and delicately attending to the egos of the assholes whom I ‘administratively assist’ (a very fucking under appreciated talent if I do say so), this routine gets really demeaning.

“Tell us why you want this job and why you love administrative work.”

Because I need to pay my rent and because fuck you.

“List all job related training or skills you possess and machines or office equipment you can use, such as: calculators, printers, computer equipment, types of software”

SInce you are unemployed and have loads of time, let’s play a game that will totally waste minutes of your life you’ll never get back and that will make you feel like a lousy piece of shit. Close your eyes and pretend you’re in an office. Now, list all the things you see there that plug in or require batteries. Bonus points if you can name more advanced equipment like paper shredders and cd-roms. Double bonus points for jump drives.

Office Administrator: Duties include supporting c-level executives, managing all incoming calls and documents, greeting guests, assisting with client relations, and general housekeeping.

And general housekeeping. Meaning, it is your job to clean up after the lazy jerks who are far too good to do their own dishes because, well, you fall underneath them in the career hierarchy dontcha know? Also, since we put it in the ad you can’t get mad when we treat you like a servant k? K.

Or worse even, “If a job with low pay, limited hours, a sometimes high amount of stress, and no benefits interests you, please reply to this posting with your resume and a cover letter that tells a bit about yourself and why you want this position”

These are positively heinous hurdles you might encounter when searching for a job. The mental energy required to battle these constant insults to my intelligence has drained me of any capacity to truly enjoy Austin (and living in general) right now. And it is having the perverse effect of making me expect a far better job than I’m probably even qualified for, because surviving this with your psyche intact is a fucking profound and unsung accomplishment.

everything

<Job Seeker: Meet Rock Bottom>

I’m not even sure I will survive with my psyche intact. I’ve found myself clicking on the less savory categories of Craigslist, wondering what “other ways” there might be to make some money.

Single Executive needs help (Austin/Round Rock)

Single male executive needs open minded female help with errands, odd jobs.Please email me and let me know a little about yourself and how much you charge. I also would like to see a photo of you. If you’re open minded and can give a massage even better! Perfect for college student I pay well.

Looking To Hire New Escorts Start Today… (Austin)

We are a busy agency looking to hire a few new Thin escorts white & hispanic,ladies must be 18+, have a drive to make money, sexy an attractive. We are currently hiring for the day shift, drivers are provided.If interested please send 2 pic’s ( face shot included),along with name, availability, contact info, start Toady.

Well guess what? I’m available.

i'm available pope

Something In The Way She Moves

It happened – I gave my boss my notice. And as guilt-inducing as that was (see here for another example of how bad I am at telling people I Quit), I survived crying in a bathroom stall and emerged on the other side, a human being about to be unemployed and on the road, sans health insurance and care. Once again I’m filled with the complete Don’t Give A Fuckitude of purest freedom. Word has got around the office.

Me everyday at work, until February 27th

The inevitable reaction by every coworker of mine to the announcement that I’m moving to Austin next month is as follows:

Response One: “Wow! So do you have a job lined up?”

Answer: Nope! Pre-move job searches are for pussies, sir.

Here we have encountered a problematic mid-American assumption. Everyone in this neck of the woods worships at the altar of Stability. Stability is not a virtue, it’s a condition and a contagion. It’s the state of having your balls removed. Symptoms include total paralysis..

Read this book and tell me you aren’t terrified of suburban malaise too

I know how much work change is, how it requires constantly deluding yourself about grass being greener and adopting an optimism you don’t normally possess. Why do I need a job before I go to that place I want to go to? I don’t! Will a gap in my resume render me unemployable, dooming me to a life of cheap prostitution and eventual death by sex crime? Sure won’t! Will moving to Austin put me closer to the music, beer, art and people I want to surround myself with? It will! Will that content me? I’m willing to roll the dice. The lure of Stability is strong, and I can’t lie and say that I never worry about careers or retirement plans or owning a pair of jeans that cost more than $20. Choosing not to do something that might, MIGHT make you happy because you don’t want to try? That’s some bullshit laziness, that is.

Response Two: Coworker looks wistfully to the sky and sighs, “Ah, well you can do that. You’re young!”

Why so many wists? For what are you wisting? You’re 35, Tim! You aren’t old, and I’m not young, and you’re not a tree, move where you want to, son! Take advantage of those god-given appendages and follow the warm gulf stream winds of your desire that whisper, “…southbysouthwest…..southbysouthwest….” in time with your heartbeat.

This whole Do Things While Your Young initiative is ridiculous, and also goes back to the stability issue. It implies that you’re making a mistake you’ll need years to financially and professionally recover from. It forgives you your ignorance, while ringing with longing. The speaker of this sentiment once came upon the same roads diverging in a yellow wood that I’m pondering now, and they, sorry they could not travel both, settled for the one that was not Interstate 35, South. No shame in that, though this route just happens to lead to beardy men, food trucks, patio day drinking and rocknroll music. Or, heaven.

Is this the last stop the Erin train will ever make? Unlikely. But it’s a new one, and that’s all I’m looking for. Quit your jobs and join me. Margaritas for everyone.

Please Don’t Go

Psst. Hey. You. Yeah, you Megan.

Oh, hey Blog. What’s up?

“What’s up”? Seriously? You ignore me for three weeks and then you’re all “What’s up?” like nothing is wrong?

Well I..

You what? You’re too busy?

Yes. I am very incredibly busy! I have A LOT going on right now, Blog. I’m sorry. It’s crazy busy at work (January and BOOM! Everybody wants to get healthy!). Not to mention we have this new doc that’s come on and nobody knows what they’re doing. AND we’re hiring someone to take my place so I can MOVE to Austin. I’ve been working like…10 hour days, Blog. And weekends!

Sure, sure. But really? I mean, 10 hours a day – that still leaves like 14 hours to show me some love?

I know. I know that things have been weird with us lately. I’m just so tired and my days are so boring, I have nothing to really talk about, you know? I wake up, go to work, my patients suck, I have ‘senioritis’, I’m hungry and sleepy all day, then I go home and stare at the tv for an hour. End day. My life is really dull, you don’t want to hear about that. It’s boring.

Pie

How do you know? Maybe I do.

Come on, Blog. I promise things will be better when I’m less stressed. Less tired.

But you’re not too tired to spend time browsing Pinterest and watching Seinfeld reruns are you?!

Oh, uh. Well, I mean it just helps me wind down at night, Blog. They don’t MEAN anything to me.

I SAW YOU WITH A GLAMOUR MAGAZINE THE OTHER NIGHT! AND IN THE BATHTUB NO LESS!

Shit. No one was supposed to know about that. I’m sorry, Blog. I really am. But I – I was thinking about you the whole time I swear! While I was reading that Glamour magazine, I was thinking about how “A Beauty Bucket List” is the most absurd thing I’ve ever heard and how I don’t NEED Glamour’s permission to “Let it go to voicemail and then text them back”. Really, I mean, that’s fantastic writing fodder. It was all for you, Blog. Everything I do is for you.

Yeah, well it still hurts.

Hey! I’m trying over here! Somebody has to make some money to afford the lifestyle you require, Blog.

You don’t commit to anything!

I’ll commit to punching your face.

You’re flakey!

Fine, I’m flakey! I’M FLAKEY! I’m still going to punch you in the face.

You would never. Your ego depends on my popularity. You would never hurt me.

I know. I’m sorry, Blog. Please don’t go. We’re just going through a rough patch. Soon I’m going to move to Austin where I won’t have a job and we’ll have all the time in the world to discuss food and jobs and drinking and fun. I promise, Blog. I promise. Please don’t go.