03 April 2010

The Layoff Chronicles Part 74: Job Search

I applied for a job doing what I used to do, but in a different industry.

My old job was basically technical writing - a lot of time spent translating complex weirdness into English, making sure the writing conformed to company style, tracking the progress of massive amounts of information through the pipeline, making sure all the tasks got completed on time, and producing large, heavy documents which no one would ever read.

Company X called me and said they wanted to do an assessment over the phone and we set up a time. I figured an "assessment" was some kind of pre-interview thing.

The woman called and the "assessment" was that she wanted to test my Microsoft Word 2007 skills on the phone. To be precise, on speakerphone with other people in the background.

What the everloving hell?

I was stunned. First of all, how exactly does one assess computer skills on the phone? And second, I dunno about you, but I don't THINK about the software I use - I just use it. That is part of being good at using it. You don't think "Step 1: Open a new document by pulling down the 'file' menu." It is just automatic, and I can't tell you how I do most of what I do.

Third, but probably most important: if you think that MS Word skills are the most salient thing about a technical writing job, you are so far off base that I don't want to talk to you because you are an idiot.

I did not tell her this. I escaped the horror by asking her if the job could be done from home, because I live 2 hours from their HQ (their ad didn't specify). She said no and I said goodbye.

It is a weird, weird world out there.

31 March 2010

Life Lesson Day

After aqua aerobics this morning (going to the gym in the morning is yet another perk of funemployment), I drove over to a nearby shopping center. I was looking for a parking place.

This woman driving a white car zoomed down a side aisle, flew past me AND a huge SUV and into a parking place, narrowly missing hitting the SUV.

The SUV driver and I threw up our hands and then I saw that the SUV driver was my aqua aerobics teacher, Delia. Delia pulled up behind the crazy driver, so I stopped, too, waiting to see what was going to happen.

The white car driver did not get out of the car. In fact, after a couple minutes, she put her car in reverse. Delia gave up and moved on. The crazy lady pulled back in her spot and exited her car.

"Nice driving," I yelled.

"Oh, I'm so, so sorry," the woman stammered. She ran up to my car.

"I never do things like that. It's just that I'm so upset. My...my husband just called me at home and he forgot to file some paperwork and he said we owe the IRS $6000 and we don't have the money and I didn't know what to do but I just had to get out of the house and I was so upset that I wasn't thinking and I saw what I did and I thought 'Oh my dear Lord I could have killed someone' and I just want you to know I'm not that kind of person."

Then she burst into tears.

Which is how I ended up holding hands with a complete stranger in the middle of a parking lot out the window of my car at 11 a.m. on a Wednesday morning.

Lesson Learned: Don't judge, because you never know.

30 March 2010

Don't get me started

Now that I have admitted my crush on Mystery Date, I thought I'd share some of my other infatuations with you.

First, and foremost, #1 above anyone else: Craig Ferguson

Tall, dark, funny AND a Scottish accent? Oh my. Oh my.

And while we are on the tall, dark and handsome track, let's stop and say hi to Idris Elba:

Someone has photoshopped him so badly that his teeth are glowing, but I'm sure he doesn't have that problem in real life.

The only one of my crushes that I have ever actually spent time with - and who charmed my socks off - chef/author/bon vivant Anthony Bourdain:

He smokes, though. I have to mark him down some points for that.

Come to think of it, almost all of my crushes are tall, dark and handsome:

Have I ever mentioned that I find extremely skinny guys attractive? Well. Adrien Brody, mmm.

I don't know if Bono would be totally great or a total tool. But I'd be willing to take some time and find out.

Another musician from another part of the world, A.R. Rahman. His talent is astounding, and his full lips are gorgeous

How much do I like Antonio Banderas? I named my cat after him. My cat was also very good-looking

I know Cesar Millan would love Goldie. And that means almost as much as his sweet face:

Chef Eric Ripert. Suzanne has eaten at Le Bernardin. She can tell you about this man's food. And have you heard his accent?

Clive Owen. Who DOESN'T have a crush on him?

Normally I don't forgive dreadlocks or tattoos, but Michael Franti has such a sweet personality that I'd make an exception:

Pro surfer Kelly Slater doesn't have much hair, but somehow it works out ok

When Jason Bateman was 18 and I was 26, I felt like an old lady crushing on him as he played Valerie Harper's son on TV. But somehow as the years have gone by, we have gotten closer in age. And the years have been kind to him:

Ok, that's entirely enough. Who are your crushes?

28 March 2010

Once again, maturity escapes me

Do you know about TED? I hate to do this at the beginning of a post, because I may never get you back, but the TED website has some of the most interesting talks available online.

So when I found out that we had a local version of TED happening, I began bugging my editor to let me cover it so I could save $40 on the ticket price. Hey, I'm unemployed. Also not stupid.

Anyway, our local TED conference had a fascinating lineup of speakers, so I was all geeked to go. I got up at 6:00 on Saturday morning, put on my girl reporter outfit and headed for the eastern part of the county.

I got there, entered the theater and sat down. There was a guy two seats to my left. I glanced over and I don't know what it was, but I felt like the tractor beam from the Starship Enterprise was pulling me in.

Ladies and gentlemen, I had a crush.

Don't ask me why. He was just a normal-looking kind of guy. He was dressed well and looked to be about 50. He was minding his own business, going over some notes and I just could not stop looking at him.

The man really, really buttered my toast.

I leafed through my program and figured out he was one of the speakers.

Then this big, clumsy dumb guy came and sat next to me on the other side and talked and talked and talked to me until I began choking him and screaming "DON'T YOU UNDERSTAND?? MY MYSTERY DATE IS SITTING RIGHT OVER THERE! FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, MAN, SHUT UP!!"

No, I didn't. I just sat there and listened.

And then we went out for the break and came back and I sat right next to Mystery Date and we began talking a little and I began babbling about some idiocy tangentially related to his speech topic until I proved I had absolutely no idea what I was talking about and I should never, ever talk to anyone again and then the lights went down and I wept into my hands because I am such a big dope.

No, I didn't. But I proved to myself, once again, that I am a 14-year-old trapped in a peri-menopausal body.

My friend Dan was at the conference but had to sit in a different part of the theatre, so we didn't meet up until lunch.

When we went to eat, Mystery Date was sitting with his back to me next to the most beautiful young woman in the world. I mean drop-dead model beautiful. She looked 24, tops, and I was like "Oh, no, you didn't, buddy!"

Of course Mystery Date had a gorgeous, barely post-teen wife. Of course.

(Wrong. She was one of the presenters. And she wasn't in her 20s. She was 17 and is doing ovarian cancer research. See how my freaking brain works? I'm insanely jealous because of a man I have exchanged maybe 200 words with.)

Anyway. I had to go file my story so I couldn't even see Mystery Date's presentation. I walked in toward the end of it and had no idea what he was talking about because it was so complex. Let me state for the record: smart. And did I mention the cute part?

At the end of the day he and I shook hands and said it was nice to meet one another and I'm pretty sure there was at least a second and a half where we really connected on a very deep level. Or not. I can't tell. My brain was not functioning properly at the time.

That's kind of the end of the story. Sorry to disappoint with a lack of resolution, but I'm a dope and I just couldn't make even more of a dunce of myself by trying to talk to him again.

The thing I got out of it is that I can still be attracted to someone. I can't remember the last time it happened (oh yes, I can, but I'm not going into it here) and I had kind of thought that maybe that fluttery butterfly feeling was all in the past for me. But nope. All systems are in order. Including the one that lets me shove my foot firmly in my mouth.
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