Monday, July 7, 2008

Bad moods are just fine with me

I haven't blogged in two weeks.  Why, you ask?  Did I find a fantastic full-time job with benefits and challenges and a San Francisco-worthy salary?  Did I figure out how to put Christine Hassler's fantastic advice into practice and conquer my demons? Did I finally go back to Chicago and load up all of my belongings on a moving truck to make my relocation final? Have I been out making friends? Exercising? Am I dead?


Basically, I've had nothing to say.  It's been a crappy couple of weeks full of mediocre interviews, disappointing work, and porn site data entry (yes, I somehow find myself doing data entry temp work for a porn site. Don't ask).  I'm feeling lonely and becoming acutely aware of the financial crunch in this new home of San Francisco.  Without anything positive, inspiring, or even interesting to write about, I figured I should just lay low until I can write the exciting 'How I got my dream job' or 'Why you should relocate right now' blog entry.  I hope you're not holding your breath, because I don't foresee these sorts of topics being discussed on Working + Wishing for at least a little while.

Yesterday I realized this: while society has hard-wired us to strive for and boast about our happiness and success, I think it is more than fine to be a Negative Nancy (or Negative Nick for you XY's out there) for an hour, a day, a couple of weeks if you want.  Sure, I've written about keeping your chin up before... but there's a big difference between living in pajamas, subsisting on Oreo's and what I'm talking about now, which is just being pretty damn disappointed with your own situation.

We talk about crises in our lives, we talk about trying to change them, and we talk about dealing with the change as these crises get rectified.  What seems to get forgotten is that after you've set the ball rolling to change things, there is this horrible middle ground where nothing seems to happen, and where you forget that something will eventually happen.  You've done all you can, and now you just sit and wait in your own mess.  A physical and psychological purgatory.   The place where I've been for a month in San Francisco, and a year in Chicago.

While this 'purgatory' sucks, I can't help but find that it serves a purpose.  When you wallow in your own self pity for a little bit, you find out a lot about yourself:

1. You learn your personal methods of keeping busy.  I, for one, take on projects to fill my time (though right now they are threatening to make me a full-time part-time-er).  An example on the opposite side of the spectrum is a friend who has become an expert Guitar Hero player because he doesn't feel he's ready for the working world yet.  I do not recommend his method, but I am sure there are even worse ways of keeping yourself occupied out there.

2. You learn what else in this world bothers you, other from the mess in your own personal sphere.  Several things (mostly crazy) have gotten me spitting mad in this time of limbo: the out of control use of plastic shopping bags in Chinatown, childhood obesity, complicated public transportation, how much a good bra costs... the list goes on.  What makes you mad without you even knowing it?  When you're already in a shitty mood, I guarantee you'll find out.

3. You will realize that, deep-down, you are a neat freak.  You will clean everything. You will organize everything.  You will have Excel spreadsheets that would make any tech nerd blush.

4. You will prioritize your time for your emotions.  Being upset is not allowed when your boyfriend just got home from work, but definitely okay while you're washing your hair or inputting the stage names for all the 'actors' in Midget Gangbang (once again, don't ask).

5. You will incorporate an even more finely developed sense of humor.  When everything gets bad, it somehow gets hilarious.  Case in point: instead of making me cry for Chicago, San Francisco's fireworks display on July 4th (nothing more than faint flashes of color lighting up a thick fog) made me laugh.  A full, belly aching, pee-in-my-pants laughing attack at something that would've opened the waterworks mere weeks ago.

6. You will write a stupid blog post like this that will make you realize that you're suddenly not in as morose a mood as you were half an hour ago.  Things aren't so bad... or maybe it's that it's okay that things are so bad.  


Anonymous said...

I'll be hitting a year of unemployment on the 19th -- despite having a MA, I've yet to find a company that wants to hire me. And I continue stalking the ones I want to work for.

Ultimately, I have learned that you are where you are for a reason. It just might not seem clear at the time. 10 years from now, I'll probably look back at this year and laugh, but until then, I'm going to focus on doing the best I can with what I've got.

Victoria said...

Come mid-August, it will mark a year for me as well, since the fateful day where I realized my body really doesn't want to dance.

I also company-stalk... which turns into facebook and linkedin stalking... which turns out making me feel like I'm way too creepy to work somewhere as cool as the San Francisco Ballet or Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. But persistence is key, I think... as are informational interviews.

All I can say is hang in there... I agree that there has to be some crazy ass reason for why smart and motivated people get stuck for such long periods of time. I don't know that I'll ever look back and laugh on this, but in the meantime I just try to keep busy, and I'm sure you're doing the same.

Good luck.

Kate Hutchinson said...

total commiseration. I'm beginning to feel like nothing will ever get better, and I have to hug my husband and squish my cats and keep going. I do a lot of mindless projects too. I watch movies that people have always told me I should see, I read books, I'm pretending to learn how to knit and crochet, I take old cigar boxes and decorate them as birthday presents for friends, I collect cans to turn in for nickels, I talk to my neighbors... I don't know how anyone can stand life without a job or purpose.

Anonymous said...

I love LinkedIn, but haven't used FaceBook as much -- how effective is FaceBook assertiveness.

I find that anytime I'm routed through HR, my resume falls into a black hole, but anytime I can get to a hiring manager, prospects are slightly better.

I feel like a circle, and HR only wants squares.

Victoria said...

@Kate- I don't know how people can live without a purpose either.

@zakstar- Facebook hasn't been incredibly helpful, except for being able to stalk people who currently hold the positions you want, or are applying for. I don't know, I guess I'm just a nerd.

I feel like there is something horribly broken in the typical HR mechanism. When I talk to my boyfriend, his dad, and other people in 'big' corps with big HR functions, it is absurd how difficult they make it to get anything accomplished in the company.

For four months I was going through the recruiting process with Google, and I am 100% certain that I missed out on several great opportunities because of a lack of focus, communication, and follow-through in the HR department. This surprised me, as they're supposed to be doing things 'differently'.

I don't know what the golden ticket is... though referrals certainly help (easier said than done). My best opportunities have actually come from Craigslist, where hiring managers have been able to find me by searching what they are looking for.

Jun Loayza said...

Hi Victoria,

I totally understand what you mean. Some weeks I blog almost everyday, while this past week I have not blogged but just once. For me, its more than a time issue. I can easily set aside some time to blog, but sometimes you just got to wait for something interesting to happen in your life to blog about.

I searched for a contact on your page but unfortunately couldn't find one. Since you're a member of BC, I would like to invite you to the launch of my private beta:
I want to invite you to our FD
Code: junloayza

FD Career is a website where you can research companies and contribute by adding your comments about companies. This is a very early private beta, so you'll most likely encounter a lot of bugs. Throughout the summer, we'll be releasing more features like the FD RPG and FD Answers.

Would love it if you tried it out, added your contributions, and gave me your feedback.

Thanks Victoria!