Friday, March 26, 2010

Reject Me Like It's Your Job

I'll have to be as vague and non-name-cally as possible as I publicly air my next grievance to the world. I have a problem with hiring managers who are too busy or too flakey to reject me.

If I have earned anything, it is a brief "sorry, not you" email. I came into your office and interviewed with multiple members of your staff. I answered your poorly worded questionaire even though I had already addressed every question in my cover letter. I took a writing test. And, in the case of a babysitting position, I came to your home and spent an hour learning about your kids' allergies and pooping habits. In all these examples, I know I was one of the last few standing. You said you'd call, and you didn't. So why the blow off?

Don't think I didn't follow up. I did. Thanks for the interview. Have you moved forward in chosing a candidate for this position? That's nice I know when your kid poops, was there even reason for me to know? Do these people think I can't handle being shut down? Because I can. I've asked out guys before who have rejected me (once). I can take it, especially because being rejected from any one of these positions is something I rightfully deserved.

But, these people instead opted for silence. I agree it is an effective to let someone know your decision. But I also think only 12 year olds should be able get away with turning their backs and going for the old ignoring bit to get a point across. But when it's your job to hire or not hire people? I think you need to man up and learn how to let people down. Especially if they know when your kids poops.

Monday, March 22, 2010

30-Second Stories

I am at the packing table at threadless. We are sending tees to Sweden, New Zealand, Norway, and beyond. "I like looking at where the shirts are going," says a girl next to me. "Sometimes I wish I could climb in and go along with them."

I am leaving the grocery store and something very strange makes me stop. After a few seconds, I realize no, someone has not taken my women's vintage blue Schwinn sprint with a black Working Bikes sticker from my apartment and locked it to this pole. I put down my gallon of milk on the sidewalk and pull out my notebook. I jot a short note and string it through the brake cables of the bike. I write "Dear owner of this bike. I have the exact same bike! I bought it at Working Bikes, too!"

I am trying on designer jeans. The sales woman asks what I think about a pair of Joe's. I tell her I think they make me look homely. She gives me a bizarre look. "Homely? I think they look good." I don't even know what about these jeans is homely. Can one describe jeans as homely? Did I just feel like using that word in a sentence today? She says they make my butt look good. She is right. I buy them.

I finally run into my neighbor with the typewriter. "What are you writing?" I ask. He is working on another novel, but wants to finish this one for once so that he can get it published. He says he is sorry if the typing bothers me. He hasn't quite caught up with the times and purchased one of those laptops. "No, I like coming home to you typing," I say. "It inspires me."

Friday, March 19, 2010

Saving Money Like It's My Job

I don't know how it happened. I sort of only know why it happened. Regardless, it happened. Couponing happened.

Sometime recently, I started following all these coupon blogs. They link to printable coupons, post senarios where you can get stuff for nearly free when you pair multiple coupons with a sale, and give information about rebates and free samples. The blogs started to get to me. I wondered how much money I could save if I followed their advice, which is: Clip and organize mass amounts of coupons. Pay attention to the sales. Strike with your coupons when the prices are the lowest. Instead of going shopping when you're out of something, live off your stockpile of toilet paper, or body wash, or frozen fruit juices that you bought for almost nothing. Save tons of money.

I experimented with the concept at Target last night. I gathered a handful of coupons. I made a very specific shopping list. I spent a pretty long time shopping because I wanted to make absolutely sure I was getting the right products. And when I got my receipt, I found out I had saved $18.97. I don't do math. So I'll round up. I saved 20 freaking dollars. And that was only a backpack full of purchases. I was so excited that I spent $20 at a bar last night and did not feel the least bit guilty, because it was almost like I got two glasses of wine and a tall can of PBR for free.

So now I am going to get crazy about coupons. Yeah, it takes time to save all this money. But saving money is one of my most favoriteist hobbies ever. I am thinking if I ever get a legit job, I'll still keep this up and put the money I'm saving aside to fund my future travels. I'm coming for you New Zealand.

I promise this is my first and last blog post about coupons. I am sure my blog readers do not care about the combination of razor blades I purchased to save $7.21. But just know that while you are going about your normal daily life, I am saving hundreds, possibly millions of dollars on groceries with my precious coupons.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Past vs. Present

I would like to share this Google buzz conversation with you. For context, know that I shared a Paris mapcut by Karen O'Leary:
don - I'm pretty sure I'm just gonna change the label from "Buzz" to "Betsy really wants you to know how great France is by posting a ton of links about it everyday 14 mars
me - well then unfollow me. 14 mars
amy - betsy used to live in paris. 11:10
jake - older than jesus riding a dinosaur. 13:35
I included the date and time so that you are also aware that, yes, my gmail is both in French and military time.

Okay, I am obsessed with all things France and especially Paris-related ones. Moving to Paris was the first big girl thing I did after gaduating college, and I'm never going to get over it. Having said that, I came back to a city that I love perhaps not more, but equally. And so now I shall share one of my favorite poems.

HOG Butcher for the World,
Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat,
Player with Railroads and the Nation's Freight Handler;
Stormy, husky, brawling,
City of the Big Shoulders:

They tell me you are wicked and I believe them, for I have seen your painted women under the gas lamps luring the farm boys.
And they tell me you are crooked and I answer: Yes, it is true I have seen the gunman kill and go free to kill again.
And they tell me you are brutal and my reply is: On the faces of women and children I have seen the marks of wanton hunger.
And having answered so I turn once more to those who sneer at this my city, and I give them back the sneer and say to them:
Come and show me another city with lifted head singing so proud to be alive and coarse and strong and cunning.
Flinging magnetic curses amid the toil of piling job on job, here is a tall bold slugger set vivid against the little soft cities;

Fierce as a dog with tongue lapping for action, cunning as a savage pitted against the wilderness,
Building, breaking, rebuilding,
Under the smoke, dust all over his mouth, laughing with white teeth,
Under the terrible burden of destiny laughing as a young man laughs,
Laughing even as an ignorant fighter laughs who has never lost a battle,
Bragging and laughing that under his wrist is the pulse.
and under his ribs the heart of the people,
Laughing the stormy, husky, brawling laughter of Youth, half-naked, sweating, proud to be Hog Butcher, Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat, Player with Railroads and Freight Handler to the Nation.

- Carl Sandburg

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Lessons Learned on a Bike in Winter

It feels like winter is almost over, but any Chicagoan knows at least one mid-March snowstorm is still waiting to sneak up on us. Even so, I've been seeing a lot more people commuting to work on their bikes. I kind of liked having the road almost to myself all winter. It was an enlightening and empowering experience. So I compiled a short list of things I learned from biking through a not-so-bad Chicago winter.

1. Strangers admire you and tell you so. There were a couple weeks where I couldn't ride the elevator up to work without making a new friend. These new friends liked to tell me how they wished they could bike through the winter, asked me for tips, gave me tips of their own, and basically elevated me to Dalai Lama status because I had a bike helmet slung through my arm on a cold day.

2. Friends don't really care. "Well no one told you that you had to ride your bike." Okay. Fine. I'll stop complaining about being cold, because it is ultimately my own fault.

3. It's okay to conceed to the weather every one in awhile. I was determined to ride through a winter storm watch for whatever silly reason. I made it to work safely and was glad to have a change of clothes. Afterwards, I realized how stupid of an idea it has all been. It had snowed several more inches during the time I was at work, making the roads more dangerous and slick. Also, I would have had to change back into my still-damp riding clothes and potentially catch hypothermia. I decided I still wanted to live to see my next birthday and took public transit home. But then I had to lug my bike up and down stairs through trains and buses, and it was just a huge pain in the ass. I shouldn't have ridden in the first place.

4. Looking ridiculous keeps you warm. Early in winter, a veteran biker suggested wearing ski goggles to protect my face. That sounded needless and stupid. And then one month later, I was wearing ski goggles to bike to work. They kept condesation off my glasses and blocked wind from the upper part of my face. I ultimately didn't care about looking non-human. I was warm(ish).

5. In bad weather, remember you're not the only one having trouble braking. Being a smart biker means watching out for yourself by watching out for everyone else. I slowed at green lights and paused longer than necessary at stop signs because I assumed the big bad cars might not be able to stop in time to avoid killing me. And I'm still alive, which is nice.

6. It's nice that winter doesn't last forever. As proud of myself as I am for bearing it through some pretty low-temp days, I'm glad to be seeing a change of seasons. Changing in and out of three shirts, two jackets, one hat, two pairs of gloves, one balaclave, one pair of tights, one pair of pants, two pairs of socks and one pair of boots several times can be exhausting. Nice to make your reacquaintance spring!