Saturday, December 31, 2011

What I Learned This Week

     So, the insurance thing didn’t work out. I’d spent nearly a thousand dollars and over three weeks of time on it and was still at least a couple of weeks away from seeing anything that might resemble a pay check. I couldn’t wait any longer and I could not afford to keep driving out to Daniel Island. The bottom line is that I need to get paid. I need to know when I’m getting paid and I need to know how much.
     As I drove away it began to occur to me that there were some important lessons to take away from this experience and job hunting in general that I should share. If you have the time they are listed below.

1. It’s okay to cheat - I had always felt that looking for a new job while you have a job is like cheating on your girlfriend. If you’re not happy, break up. Then, you can shop around without feeling like a schmuck. Wait until the cupboard is bare before you go to the store. (I have more analogies but that should be sufficient) The truth is, in the business world, moving out and moving up is both accepted and expected and not at all like making a pass at your date’s best friend’s sister when no one is looking. I can handle being alone on a Saturday night because I’m a stand up guy. Being jobless because you’re a stand up guy is stupid.

2. Be picky - You do not have to act like the ugly girl at the prom who dances with anybody willing to ask. It’s okay to say no thanks. This is my biggest downfall. I’ve had maybe 15 interviews in my life and been hired nearly every time. There are some I wish I hadn’t accepted. The insurance thing is a perfect example. It was the first interview I got and because they hired me I stopped looking even though I knew it may not be a good fit. It was just so nice to be wanted. Just because they smile at you doesn’t mean you have to put out.

3. Beware of scams - If it’s too good to be true, you can be damn sure it is. If everyone in management says you can make a fortune, but the only employees you see working have less tenure than a green banana at the Piggly Wiggly, then something is seriously wrong. Also, when applying for jobs, if the application you submit online redirects you to another employment worksite or solicits you for an online education, there is no job. The same is true for anyplace that asks you to bring in your own credit report, but encourages you to use their recommended free site. Real jobs do this kind of stuff themselves. There is no job.

4. Do it yourself - Every yahoo with a computer just applied for the same job you did. In fact, finding a job on Monster or Craigslist is like winning the lottery. It’s the same as walking around with a sign that says “I’m available” and then wondering why you can’t find a date. You know what you like. You know who you like. Go talk to them. You don’t know if they’re looking too unless you ask. They may not need a stupid sign. It doesn’t mean they’re not single.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Keep Smiling and Curse Under Your Breath

     God, I am such a cynical bastard. It’s not that I find fault with everything around me it’s just that the suckier something is the more it sticks out and the easier it is to lampoon. Starbucks coffee cup lids, shrink wrapped produce, and any pop culture item that contains even a whiff of sentimentality are the usual victims. Stupid people doing stupid things, especially so. Do not drive 55 in the passing lane. If you do I either have mocked or will mock you in the future. It’s uncontrollable, like a tick or a seizure.
     I have to keep reminding myself not to go there. That is why I smile, a lot. It is hard to act like a shit when you have a smile on your face. I have tried to make snide comments while grinning and they just don’t have the same impact. It’s simpler to change your outlook.
     It is not that I am some beacon of positivity. I’m far from it, in fact. I just try to make a conscious effort to not let things get me down. There is nothing to be gained in acting like bummer all the time.
     Also, I swear constantly, but it’s okay. Scientists say that swearing actually eases stress and lowers one’s pain threshold. Apparently, if you hit someone on the thumb with a hammer it hurts them more if they say, “That was painful. Please, if you will, refrain from striking me again. It would be most appreciated.” than it is to say, “Mother fucker! If you come within six feet of me with that Goddamn hammer again I will shove it up your ass and turn you into a popsicle. You piece of shit!” I don’t understand the science behind it, but it makes sense.
     I come from a long line of swearers, although you would be hard pressed to get anyone in my family to admit it. The casualness with which four letter adjectives roll off their tongues is amazing in its effortlessness. I doubt anyone ever took the time to count them or realized their abundance.
     I don’t even flinch at the word shit. It is so useful and so commonplace that I can interject it into virtually any conversation. The f-word is trickier. The only appropriate times to use it are either when under great stress or as part of a comedic gesture. Any other usage is potentially vulgar.
     I learned swearing etiquette on the playground in eigth grade and excelled at it. It was also around this time I started smiling more. It seems that when your face is expressionless people assume you are sad or mad because they cannot tell what emotion you are feeling so they try to fill in the blanks. It is very annoying to have people ask is everything is alright for no good reason. I’d just smile and assure them I’m fine then mutter to myself “asshole” as they walk away.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Sh*t or get off the pot (A cautionary tale)

     I am in a quandry. In August I quit my relatively well paying job because: a) I hated the damn place and b) I thought I might try to write a book. It was brilliant plan. I had enough money saved up that I could afford to spend to spend a couple of months on the couch and a story outline that I think has real promise. What's more, I knew that if properly managed I could handle any expenses. I don't have a lot of bills and my rent is dirt cheap.
     I had planned it to be a green vacation. I missed my youth where I had little to do but pay rent and enjoy myself. I used to love staying up late and sleeping until noon. I used to love not giving a damn about anything except lunch and basketball. There are few things better than that. I needed to untie the stress knots in my neck.
     It started well enough. I had a great drunken trip out of town. Then things went a little sideways. The basketball season was delayed because of a strike. Two trips to the dentist were unfortunate but not impossible to deal with. That took up about a month of my time to resolve. Didn't get a lot of writing done. Gobbled vicodin and laid on the couch. Then there was October. Got high and watched a lot of daytime television. I have never been so relaxed. I didn't get much accomplished.
     Novenber was supposed to be different but, I discovered too late that if you wake and bake it seriously limits whatever daily goals you may have set for yourself outside of: 1) brush teeth 2) eat bowl of cocoa puffs 3) play Bubble Town and Text Twist online until your hand cramps 4) nap often. Then I had to plan for Thanksgiving which one of the best eating/drinking holidays ever invented. There was no point in getting my shit together before then. November was a waste.
     By December 1, my back was against the wall. Not only had I only written about 40 good pages but I had done very little to curb my spending since August. My Amex bills had decreased from an average of $1500 a month to $850 but that is not a victory. I needed a job, fast. I flushed my stash and cut my hair. The hair didn't take long. There is so very little of it. I could easily secure the lead in the off broadway production of You're a Good "Old" Man, Charlie Brown. I put on my game face.
     I had not looked for work since 2003, when the internet was still a novelty, and had never in my life been out of work for more than a month. I assumed I'd print out a few copies of my resume, drive around town handing them out, and then wait for the phone to ring. No problem.
     People don't apply for jobs like they used to where you show up in tie and fill out an application on a clipboard that has a pen attached to it with a string. Everything is online. Everything is click and paste. It is easy to upload your resume. I'd do about ten a day. Of course, this meant every butthole with a computer could do the exact same thing. At least when you had to get in your car and drive to a place it weeded out the losers who were too lazy to wear pants. I knew every application I filled out was being dropped into a gaint bucket and that I had about as much luck of securing a job as winning the lottery.
     Then again, I have always been lucky. After one week I got an interview with an insurance company and landed the job. A week later I passed the state exam and got my license. It was not easy, the test is like the SAT's except you get 17 years to cram your brain full of stuff for the SAT's.
     So, crisis averted, you might assume. Not even close. I had to pay for the test and the license and the laptop I need for presentations and the supplies I need and upgrade my wardrobe from business casual to business proper, all the while bringing in no money because you get paid on commision. Also, there is training which, has been significantly hampered by Christmas week past and New Years week present that I still need to complete before I can actually sell policies. And, rent is due.
     If only I had started my job search earlier. I can't help but think if I had gotten off the pot in November I wouldn't be shitting now. I do miss Text Twist. I had gotten pretty good. At least basketball is back.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Because Jenny Said I Should

     I have a bad habit of not doing what people tell me I should do. It's as if because I didn't think it up on my own then the idea must be flawed in some way that only I am perceptive enough to realize. Clever shit that I am, I've probably missed out on a lot of lucrative and personally gratifying experiences thanks to my little character trait. Then again, I didn't get caught up in the whole housing bubble thing so it's probably a wash.
     I have always thought of myself as being writerly (I thought I made this word up but it's real) and have reams of half written story ideas and musings littering my personal archives. Those would be the dozen odd shoeboxes stacked in the back of my closet. What if I could find a less space consuming way to organize my addled mind? Is there anyway technology can help me out with this?
     My friend Jenny is one of the funniest people I know and she is a fantastic writer besides being beautiful and a snappy dresser. She has one of the best blogs in the entire world at . I read her Toolbag Tuesday every Tuesday or early Wednesday at the latest and I encourage everyone who hasn't yet to please check it out. Anyways, I was at an oyster roast she and her sister Joy threw at their house last week and somewhere between my eighth and ninth beer and after at least fifty oysters she told me I should start a blog. I thought it was a great idea.
     So, here is the first submission to Matt Wire's Deep End. Ideally, this is supposed to be a funny blog with funny stories but I called it the Deep End because I want to cover a lot of subjects whether they be philosophical or political or sophomoric. The whole gambit of the human experience is what I'm going for. My mission statement is everything. That's not too broad. Thanks Jenny!