Lessons Learned In Job Hunting! Also, I’m Too Sexy For Work!

Let me begin by saying, I do not have permanent employment.  I am at the same temp job I wrote about with the yummy soap. Apparently I confused people, but I had a story . . . .

Guess what? I got a job!  There’s one small catch, though.  It hasn’t started yet.  I got this job on my very first interview, probably two weeks after I lost my job with Boss. I took the drug test and signed my rights over for a background check.  And then I waited.  Waited, waited, waited.  I eventually came to the conclusion that this job would not happen, mostly because they said, “It won’t happen.”  I peed in a cup (among other places – why is it so freaking hard for women to do that?) for nothing.  I did learn a lesson, though.  Talk is cheap.  Words mean nothing and until your butt is parked in a permanent chair and business cards have been ordered, don’t believe a word anyone says.     

This lesson also applies to the company who says, “We will be making a decision in two weeks.  We have to move quickly on this.”  Yeah, right.  I’ve been waiting five weeks and despite my friendly phone calls, have received not even a fare thee well, not a no nor a yes.  (Also, it should be noted that this applies to the temp job that was supposed to only last four days, although in this case I’m very thankful.  I’ve been there over a month now. Every week we have the same conversation – “Can you come in next week as well? Yes?  Good. See you Monday.”  What a Godsend.)

Want to know some other lessons I’ve learned?

Not everyone gets my fabulousness.  I know, it’s shocking.  I can’t believe it either. Probably it doesn’t help that I inflate my ego every time I write a cover letter for a position (which I have done more than 60 times now) to submit with my resume.  I get all big-headed talking about what an asset I will be to XYZ Company, but when XYZ Company rejects me after I’ve spent seven hours of my time interviewing with them, taking four proficiency tests (in which I did very well), taking two email tests (again, did very well), critiquing my own cover letter and thank you note (fantastic, once again) and being assured that I was the strongest candidate (by two different people), I get knocked down a peg or two.

Another lesson from that one?  I am not particularly fond of rejection, no matter how nicely worded it is. I reckon I needed a comeuppance.  I sure got it.  No worries about my carrying around a big-ass balloon for a head.  Crushing.

Something else I’ve learned is that taking the Microsoft Office Suite proficiency tests over and over again will increase your scores.  I’ve taken them three times already.  I would have taken them five times except two staffing agencies just “simply forgot” to send them to me.  They “simply forgot” three times – I’m not entirely sure how that happens, particularly when they say to me as we are on the phone that they are “sending them as we speak, right this very minute!”  Anyway, I’m quite good at the test-taking and apparently I can type like mad, although I thought the days of having to prove it were long behind me. 

A final lesson, and this one is very important.  Yesterday, I visited with another staffing agency.  Again, I took all the tests, had high scores on all of them, got glowing reviews of my resume over the phone with my agent, and made the appointment to meet in person.  We discussed my qualifications and my goals for new work and then had the following conversation:

Agent:  “So, a question.  Do you normally dress like that?” she asked as she waved her hand in the general direction of the very nice dress I had worn.

Jimmie: “Yes.  Is it not alright?”

Agent:  “Well, you did work for the same man for a long time so I assume you just got comfortable in your wardrobe? We will need to dress you for interviews.”

Jimmie:  “Sure, okay.  Not a problem for me to wear a black suit.”

Agent: “Do you have pearls?”

Jimmie: “No.”

Agent: “We really prefer pearls.” <big sigh> “I suppose the necklace you have on is fine.”

Jimmie: <silence> <Okay, the silence is only on the outside.  Inside I’m screaming WTF and wondering what the h-e-double-hockey-sticks is wrong with my very tasteful necklace that I bought at Tiffany as a present to myself when I reached a weight loss goal. I had no idea that my being an ex-sorority girl was only helpful if I had pearls to go with that title.  But, whatever.>

Agent: “Does your hair always look like that?” she asked, again with the hand wave in a circular motion near my head.

Jimmie: “No, not always.  Why?”

Agent: “It’s too sexy.”

I repeat:  My hair is too sexy.  I wheezed with mirth until I realized that she was serious.  And with that, I think it’s best if I just stop right there and not mention anything else she said about my sexy, sexy hair.  There was more, honestly.  But I will say this:  I thought the 40s were supposed to be my sexy years, not the 39s.  I was aghast as I hadn’t even touched my hair with a backcomb nor had I fluffed it unnecessarily.  I think in some way I was strangely thrilled that someone found my hair too sexy but I’m not sure how I can equate that with something positive just yet. 

I do take some comfort that she found my makeup “acceptable.” 

Lesson learned from that experience:  Jimmie is too sexy for work! Who knew?  I sure didn’t, although this would have been helpful to know ages ago.  It would explain an awful lot.

I will leave you with one final lesson, really more a plea for someone out there.  Someone really, really needs to invent a method for women to successfully pee in a cup.  I won’t go into the details about how your hand gets more liquid than the cup and how disgusting that is, but I can pretty much assure you that if you succeed in this endeavor, you will be an instant billionaire.  And when you have your celebratory big-ass party, I will bring my big sexy-ass hair to celebrate with you.  Because we could all use a little more sexy. 

 

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I Am A Civil Servant! On A Jury! For $10 A Day!

You guys!  I know this is going to make me sound like a big old nerd but I got called for Jury Duty and holy moly, I was excited.  I’ve always wanted to be called and for years wondered what was wrong with me that I never got picked.  Everyone I know has been picked and they all lamented about having to go and there I sat, wanting desperately to be called.  You can see why I was doubly irritated that I never got picked before.  Well now that has all changed!  I am now an experienced servant of the court! 

The week before my duty, I received a parking pass and the worst map of the city I have ever seen.  Probably the map part is not entirely fair because we all know how handy with directions I am, but still, even after working downtown for two years, I had the most difficult time finding the parking spaces and the court building.  (Madre and Daddy-O, this should please you.  I have never had to visit that court building for even a traffic violation.  I know I’m your favorite.)  After being lost for approximately fifteen minutes, I found my way into the proper building and went through the scanner and the pat down.  You can yell at me all you want, but I never even thought about my pretty pink pocketknife and my pretty pink cuticle cutters being in my bag.  Sure enough, they were confiscated.  I know it is my fault but the guy who took them was kind of a turd about it and I’m totally glad that when he rifled through my small bag of girlie supplies he got embarrassed and I hope he cuts his finger open on that pocketknife because I know he took it home.  Anyway. 

I piled into the room with the other jurors and after a time, I was called for a courtroom. Then I was lucky enough to get pulled as one of the first fourteen contestants and then was even luckier enough to make it all the way through the final cut.  For the first time in my life, I was on a jury!  I looked around in wonder at all the members of the court, the equipment, the defendant.  I loved it.  I loved answering the questions for the attorneys.  I loved listening to the judge. I loved the swearing in part.  I loved hearing “All Rise!” when we walked in to our seats.  Ah, the formality of it!  My biggest disappointment, though, was that nary a single member of the court had on a seersucker suit or a bowtie.  I realize it isn’t July yet, when seersucker suits abound (Right?  Please tell me I’m right.), but aside from men’s golf wear, attorney wear is next in line for radical deviations from the norm and I was sorely disappointed in the legal teams’ choice of attire. 

I’ll answer the question before it gets asked – the case involved the sale of a controlled substance, the sale of that substance within a thousand feet of a school, and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.  Nothing too dramatic really, but fascinating to me nonetheless despite my never hearing a shout of “Objection!” nor any sparring between the legal teams.  I was sold on the entire process until a couple of things happened. 

Firstly, the defendant stood up to enter his plea of not guilty.  He was a big man and he looked angry although that might have just been his look.  Here’s what got me, though.  He was overweight.  He was wearing a baby pink shirt and nice dress pants and he was overweight.  He said, “Not guilty” and stood there in his nice clothes and put all his hopes in us, the jury.  Secondly, they brought his uncle in to testify against him.  He walked in wearing an orange jumpsuit and leg chains and his voice cracked with nearly every statement he made.  It cracked while he admitted to his many, many crimes.  It cracked when he accused the defendant of the actual sale of the drugs.  Truth or lie, it was sad and it hurt. Both of these men displayed their humanity to us, the jury, and that humanity just slayed me.  The belly in the pink shirt. The voice that cracked.  The breakdown of a family, right in front of my eyes. 

Y’all, I totally got overwhelmed with this.  I got teary-eyed in the jury box over this whole mess.  I was so gung ho about the process that I forgot about the man.  This was a man’s life and he put his fate, at least a chunk of it, into my hands, into our hands.  Twelve people got to decide what happened to him, and when we adjourned for deliberations, I realized that I no longer wanted to be a part of the process.  I no longer had any starry-eyed notions about the courtroom.  Make no mistake, I feel that both of these men are guilty of the crimes accused against them, and that both of them willfully chose to commit those crimes.  I have no doubt that finding our defendant guilty of at least something was the correct and just thing to do, but my heart cracked and broke and bled for these broken men and I didn’t want to be the one responsible for them.

It would surprise me not even a little to hear that neither of them had known an earthly father.  It would surprise me not even a little to know that they grew up in poverty.  I have no doubt that the chances they received were far fewer and less glamorous than those most of us receive.  They have given themselves over to this sordid life and I wonder if they can see past it to find any glory at all. 

I dried my tears quickly in the jury box and gave my civic duty an honest effort.  We all did.  But these men stayed with me.  Reginald, our defendant, was found guilty on lesser charges and will be sentenced soon.  Michael, the uncle, is awaiting trial and things probably won’t go well for him.  That part is alright with me.  What isn’t alright is that I’m afraid they will stay there, in the battered broken life they have chosen, and that they will never look for or find their way out of it.  I have prayed for them a lot, but as time passes, I find that I think of them less often.  I think that is the way it falls sometimes.  People are brought in to your life for a season, great or small, and then they move on.  But for a while, they had my full attention and I hope in some small way, I was a part of doing something good for them.  God knows they need it.   

Birthday Wishes

Perhaps this will come as a shock to you as I know I have never mentioned it here, but I’m having a birthday soon.  A doozy – the big four oh.  You’ll be proud.  I didn’t cry at all as I typed that.  I don’t plan on crying on the big day either but as I’m learning lately, my plans almost never turn out the way I planned them.  More to come on that but maybe not today.

I’ve heard rumors that 40 is a great place to be.  I’ve heard rumors that your 40s are the sexy years, and quite frankly, I could use some sexy in my life.  I’m looking forward to new chapters, to new maturity, to more wisdom, definitely to a better job.  And some sexy.  Woo!

I mentioned once that I had my first and only hangover at age 37.  I have no idea why I waited so long but after I experienced it, I wished I had waited 37 more years.  It was not a pleasant experience.  I recall trying to get out of bed and realizing instantly that upright was no place to be.  I recall crawling slowly from my bed to my bathroom and moaning the entire way while my friend laughed hysterically from the sofa where she was experiencing her own hangover.  I recall eyeballing my friends in disbelief when they told me that I really needed food, that food would make me feel better as would a Diet Coke.  I recall that they were indeed correct.  I recall going to the pool that afternoon and I recall that when Dammit Todd came over to join us, I was filled with shame and embarrassment, so much so that I could not even look at him.

See, the night before was my birthday.  And I had made demands of all my friends with which they complied.  Shut Up Marc had to dress as Wolverine.  Miguel had to dance for me for six minutes. April had to make me a jell-o shot birthday cake (with whipped cream).  Billiam had to bring me a store bought present wrapped in birthday paper.  Bootsie just had to attend.  Pee-tah had to be my wingman.  And Dammit Todd had to be my shirtless bartender.  I was really going for a cummerbund and bowtie look but I settled for baby oil, a Sharpie and a shirtless Dammit Todd.  When Dammit Todd came to the pool the next day, I had flashbacks of me rubbing the baby oil all over him the night before and writing MINE across his chest with the Sharpie, which incidentally did not come off in the shower.  I know because he took his shirt off at the pool, too.

HOWEVER, I have grown up now. I am no longer that person who wants those sorts of childish things for her birthday.  This year I’m more mature.  And I’m celebrating with a giant 80s party .   See, totally mature.  You all are invited but only if you come dressed for the part.  I want big hair and lots of black eyeliner.  I want some neon.  I want some jelly bracelets and shoes.  I want white lipstick and George Michael.  I want foofy prom dresses.  And for crying out loud, I want some Billy Idol. Dancing with Myself, woo!

Also, I’ve been working on a list of things I want from you people.  It follows:

Freddie – I’m gonna need a cake from you

Felix – your choice of either a hug (whilst you are wearing yummy cologne) or a painting (done just for me).  Also, I will take both.

Phranke – I get a whole day with you, preferably at a spa

Quan – you need to buy me a GiGi’s cupcake and NOT EAT IT before you give it to me

Martie – I’m gonna need a cake from you

Coach – please fix my broken toilet

Dammit Todd – you are a lucky, lucky man this year.  This year I only want to meet your girlfriend.  I say that because I do not believe she exists.  Why else would it take you so long to introduce us, your two favorite people?  If you do not produce such girlfriend, I require you to be my shirtless bartender, this time with bowtie and cummerbund and black eyeliner and Flock of Seagulls hair. 

Madre – you get a pass because you birthed me, although I will take a cake from you

Daddy-O – I really don’t want to tell you this but you need to get me a new pink pocket knife (story later)

JiJi – I’m gonna need a banana pudding from you

Daddy-O – (because I forgot earlier) a stir fry and some spaghetti (these are to be separate occasions)

Javier – Wolverine sideburns.  You had better already be growing them out. 

The Squirt – I need for you to write something for me

Kindle – lunch, just you and me and possibly Phranke

Lynnette – a pedicure day

Jane – a pedicure day

Woney – a training session or five with you and Tony

Jonquil – a card with a rainbow on it

Aunt Judy – I’m gonna need a cake from you, a red velvet one

I have one final request.  This request is for the anonymous person who read my entry about how I’m overly concerned with running out of toilet paper and sent me this, right to my front door: 

Hahahahahahahahahahaaaaaa!  I love it.  Thank you very, very much.  Anonymous person and other assorted persons who have interest in my well-being, please know that I am inordinately concerned with running out of this now and am making a request for:

  • A man, of the Christian variety which means simply that his heart beats for God
  • This same man is 6’5” or so and has nice teeth
  • This man knows how to fix toilets and such
  • This man does not wear old lady cologne
  • This man does not live at home with his mother
  • This man does not sleep on NASCAR sheets
  • This man eschews excessive garlic, onions and coffee
  • This man prefers a woman with curves (see above: all the requests for cake)
  • This man has nice taste in shoes

I’m pretty sure I saw one of these on Amazon so if any of you are stuck with no ideas for a good birthday present for me, you can take that as a very subtle hint.  Just point, click and buy.  Free delivery is included for orders over fifty bucks. 

P.S. – Jonquil, seriously, thank you for the potty paper.  I truly have the best people in my life. 

 

The Power Of Smell

When I was a kid, I had a slight obsession with Band-Aids, the name brand kind.  I loved them just so, so much.  To really date myself, I’ll tell you that there was no such thing as a Hello Kitty bandage or a Princess pack with assorted colors and sizes. We had plain Band-Aids, or if we really wanted to get fancy, we could sometimes splurge and get the clear ones so that they were less noticeable.  Personally, I always thought that was a dumb idea, because every little kid knows that half the point of the Band-Aid is to show it off so that someone will ask what happened and you get to tell your whole saga about how you fell off your bike and destroyed your knees. 

I won’t lie and tell you that I was different that other kids, that I was really very noble about my Band-Aid wearing, that I only wore them when really necessary and shied away from telling my tale of woe about my skinned knees.  I will tell you, however, that my fascination with the Band-Aid had less to do with the attention I got from wearing it and far more to do with how it smelled.  I have always urgently loved the way a Band-Aid smells.  Isn’t that strange?  Once Madre bought a new box of bandages and put them away in the linen closet.  Just scant minutes after she closed the closet door, the horrible realization dawned on her that she had NOT PUT THEM ON THE HIGH SHELF!  Oh noes!  She bolted down the hallway in a panic, and just as she suspected, found me on the floor of the closet methodically opening and sticking every single Band-Aid to myself.  I had sniffed them out, see, and very much wanted to smell like my favorite product.  Loved them.

Other smells often cause the same intense reaction in me now.  I have a favorite shampoo that I spend an exorbitant amount of money on regularly.  It does fabulous things to my hair, making it all big and poufy, but honestly it would not matter to me if it made my hair look like rats had been sucking on it.  It makes my hair smell gorgeous and for that reason alone, I will subsist on ramen noodles for a week or two in order to be able to afford it. Other scents I love include: cocoa butter, popcorn, sausage biscuits (but never want to eat them), Felix, clean cats, New Balance running shoes, Jonquil’s pressed powder, bread at Subway, Clorox when it’s in the running washing machine, lemon stuff, suntan lotion, honeysuckle, horses, Armani’s Aqua di Gio and Warm Vanilla Sugar lotion from Bath and Body Works.

On the other end of the spectrum, Yankee Candle stores make me want to barf, literally.  The smells in that store cause me such violent headaches that even moving my eyes will send my stomach into roils of nausea.  And just let some guy walk by me who has bathed in his old man cologne.  Gak, I’m done for the day when that happens.  I cannot stand it.  Other scents I hate include: Febreeze in any flavor, old lady perfume, coffee brewing (smells like burnt tuna), Clorox when it isn’t in a running washing machine (smells like wet dog), tanning beds, coconut stuff, stargazer lillies (oof, another raging headache), and every flavor of lotion (aside from the Warm Vanilla Sugar) at Bath and Body Works. 

Are you wondering what the point of the story is?  Here goes.  I have a temporary job for a week or two.  I’m very thankful for it as it pays better than unemployment and gets me out of the house and into a routine every day.  The people there are very nice and the work, while slightly boring, is stuff at which I excel.  I like it.  But the part that I really love about it, the part where I scored big is that it’s in a hospital.  And hospitals have a particular soap they favor.  And that soap, I’ll have you know, is hands down one of my favorite smells of all time, right up there with the Band-Aids and my ridiculously priced shampoo.   I am such a lucky, lucky girl.  BEST. JOB. EVER.  (nearly)

 

 

Life Unemployed, By Jimmie

It’s time for an update.  So many people have checked on me, sent me job openings, called with kind words, prayed for me, laid hands on me. I have gotten an edible arrangement, cards, kitty litter, tickets to a band competition, lunches, and more hugs than I ever dreamed possible.   I am overwhelmed by the love and support that I have received and I thank you, every one, for what you have done for me. 

I’m done with the crying now.  No more of that.  My eyes are puffy enough on their own.   Now I’m hopeful and looking forward to good things.   I’m still transitioning but now it’s transitioning with hope and not tears. 

I try hard not to worry.  Most of the time I succeed.  I do find that I am inordinately concerned with running out of toilet paper, so much so that I use public restrooms excessively before leaving any place of business.  I have no idea why I focus on that.  However, I don’t really worry about running low on food.  See, I cleaned out my freezer once the layoff happened and found all kinds of surprises in there. I eat it, sometimes without knowing exactly what it is.  I find it best to not question it, and since I haven’t died from food poisoning yet, I consider that a blessing.

I’ve been doing some work with the senior center where I volunteer.  Obviously I like the people and I have to say I like the work.  I don’t just do the Supper Club anymore.   Now I’m a kitchen manager for the theater there and an office assistant for the center.    I’m on my feet a lot and for someone who spent 40 hours a week sitting and talking on the phone while searching for the best travel arrangements, it’s quite painful. My toes are suffering.  I need regular pedicures now so it’s especially important that I find a job soon.  As kitchen manager for the theater, I cook for the audience.  I cook a lot, sometimes for upwards of 150 people.  Fortunately for me, it’s the same meal for every show so it isn’t difficult.  Unfortunately for me, it’s the same meal for every show.  I feed myself and others after every night in the kitchen but after eight days of the BBQ menu, we all are sick of it.  If anyone asks me to go out for some BBQ in the near future, you are guaranteed a fork-stick in the neck.  I’m not kidding.

Some other items of note:  I was on my Greenway the first week I was unemployed, and I was slightly panicky about getting to the center to conduct my job search.  I was rushing to the end of the path and suddenly I got a message: Slow down.  I was a little stunned at first, because I’m not entirely sure I know what that means.  Slow down?  I’ve always got somewhere to be, somewhere to rush to, and it threw me for a loop when I realized that I no longer have anywhere to go. It almost made me cry (and really, in the beginning that was no difficult task), but then I took the message to heart.  I’ve read some books I’ve been putting off.  I took some naps that I never had time for.  I stop and smell the flowers (or the honeysuckle, as it were).

I’ve also met some new people because I go to the gym later in the day.  Let me tell you about Cathy, bless her heart.  I’ve met Cathy twice, and I really mean I’ve met her twice.  I don’t think Cathy has a lot of short term memory because every time I see her, I get the same conversation.  It’s like I’m brand new. 

Cathy:  “Hi, I’m Cathy.  Want to see my baby doll?” She’s at least 60, by the way.

Jimmie:  “Sure.”

Cathy:  “We worked out today.  I love my baby doll.” Here she opens her purse and I see a little black boy baby doll wearing a baby doll three-piece suit crammed down in the bottom of it. 

Jimmie:  “Well, he’s awfully cute.” 

Cathy:  “Look at my shirt.  Isn’t  it pretty?  I bought it at the Goodwill.  It was seven dollars.  It fits me good.  I lost seven pounds.  My doctor says I don’t need to have this belly, I’m too small for this belly, but I worked out today.  With my baby doll.”  And she brandishes her purse with the doll again.

Jimmie:  “Okay, Cathy, nice to meet you.” 

Cathy:  “Nice to meet you.  I love you, Jimmie.”

Seriously, she tells me she loves me every time.

Ah, so yeah.  I’m going to be alright.  I’m not yet sure what will happen for me or how the timing will work, but I’m confident that something really fantastic is going to come along and I will be thrilled.  You know how I know?  Because I’ve been so worried about my toilet paper consumption, ridiculously so, and Phranke brought me some, totally of her own volition without me mentioning a peep about it.  Little things like that keep happening to me.  That tells me that God is going to take care of me and that really is the best feeling of all.

Still, though, if you hear of any great jobs that I might be perfect for (and I totally will be), send them over.  I’m a “Master Application Completer” now.  I should put that on my resume.