Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 Rundown. Sort Of.

I keep trying to write a fitting ending to the blog for 2010 and I keep coming across like a douche. Apparently I have nothing interesting or funny to say about 2010. While I was living it (most of it anyway) it seemed pretty great. Sure the Olympics and I had some misunderstandings before they arrived but when they were here, they were glorious. Something to tell the grandkids for sure. Yeah I lost my job, but what kind of job was that anyway? It sucked! Getting laid off was awesome (aside from the fact that I didn't get to do any of the things I fantasized about had I been able to quit. Like throw John under the bus)

In an attempt to finish this post I keep looking back and reading some of the posts that I've read. I meant to compile a list of my favourite posts, or a list of lessons learned but honestly? I just didn't and now I'm reading them thinking, you know maybe I should have because some of those posts? They're not half bad. But I can't choose any specific ones to brighten your day with. So maybe that's something that you can do with your hangover. I promise the Cubicle Confusion archives are excellent.

Do you make resolutions at this time of year? I used to but I stopped because I don't follow through and its bad for my self-esteem. If you do make resolutions, more power to you. Maybe I will start making resolutions about things that I already do. Like I resolve to Be Awesome or Stay Blonde. Then I'm keeping my resolution and bettering my life but I'm also upping my self-esteem with some good old fashioned follow through.

Did I already mention to you all that we finally got our sh*t together and set up the spare room? I'm writing this to you from a shiny new desk. Well it will be a shiny new (to us) desk once we power sand the hell out of it and paint it a shiny new colour. I'm torn between blue and red. Leaning towards the red. But the blue is really great too. They are Behr colours: Licorice Stick and Blue Luxury. If you have nothing else to do maybe you want to investigate these colours for me and offer your opinion? There's a futon in here now too. A nice, organized, clean space for us to get stuff done in. Stuff like blog and find a great job and download movies. No I'm kidding, I don't job search on my own time anymore.

I think we're going to paint this room too. Right now its stock condo beige and I hate beige.

Going to be getting your drink on tonight? Its basically mandatory isn't it? I'm not the biggest fan of New Year's to be honest. Seems like its always one of those things where you're supposed to have a really great time but really? You spend a bunch of money to drink somewhere and then you end up dropped on the ground on the way to the skytrain which...only runs until like 2. I'm sure that Translink is googling themselves into the new year and so let me take this opportunity to say that you guys do a great job at Translink. Buses run on time and the operators are normally very pleasant. But we have a bit of a drinking and driving problem in this city and this citizen places some of that blame at your door. Offer better, longer service so that transit is a real possibility if you're out at the bar (not that I condone drinking and driving. I don't. But cabs are expensive and people are stupid. Transit should be a reliable option). The bars close at 2 or 3. Your last night bus (certain routes) leave downtown at 3.10. Ever try to reason with a drunk? Extend operating hours. At least on weekends. I'm not even going out tonight- we're having people over here and still people refuse to drink because there's no way to get home on the bus. Considering that I live at a bus loop, that's bad.

Alright, there's no need to drag this on any longer. Plus The Boyfriend is getting bored without my sparkling personality to entertain him. I hope that you have a wonderful and safe New Year's and that all your dreams come true in 2011!

Or you know, something that sounds like that but less douchey.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Good Reads

Since its the last week of 2010 (Vancouver, can you believe that 2010 is almost over?! All those years counting down to the beginning of 2010 and now we're at the dawn of 2011!) I thought that this week might be an appropriate time for summations, and looks back. Traditional, end of year fare.

On today's agenda, Good Reads.

I set myself a challenge at the beginning of the year to read 75 books in 2010. I'm proud to say that I'm currently on my 75th book- clearly I'm going to have to up the ante for 2011. I urge you to join me in this valiant attempt. I thought that having read 75 books I could choose my Top 10 to share with you.

Choosing 10 out of 75 is no easy feat so I may have found a couple of ways to cheat. Nonetheless, here are my Top 10 Reads of 2010.

1. Jen Lancaster. I know Jen Lancaster isn't technically a book, but she's an author and she's changed my life. I relate to her in ways I didn't know were possible. It started with Bitter Is The New Black, continued with Bright Lights Big Ass and was solidified with Such A Pretty Fat. Since my celebrity news access has been blocked at the new job, Jen Lancaster's blog is the only thing that gets me through the bleak periods. If you haven't discovered the written power of Jen Lancaster I just don't know what you're waiting for!

2. The One Week Job Project by Sean Aiken. Perhaps you might remember when I wrote about the impact that this book had on me. Looking back now, in a strange way it gave me hope that there was more out there than a soul-sucking job for no money. The book was funny, the writing engaging, but the lessons I took away from that book are what will stay with me.

3. We Need To Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver. First off, Lionel Shriver is a woman. A woman with the most insane vocabulary ever. And she writes some seriously disturbing sh*t. But sh*t in a good way because the things she writes about are things that need to be discussed. Like this one about the aftermath of a school shooting and what its like to be the mother of the shooter. We've all read about these incidents in the news, Lionel Shriver takes you inside, what it was like raising that child. Its a really intense read, the kind that you sit and think about for a while after.

4. The Millennium Trilogy  by Stieg Larsson. I can't claim immunity from the Lisbeth Salandar mania that seems to have gripped the publishing world this year. Every time I think about the kicka$$ heroine in these books I think about what a shame it was that Stieg Larsson never lived to see his books become publishing juggernauts. If you haven't jumped on board the Millennium train yet, please do. Just don't blame me when you're still up at 3am trying to finish one off.

5. Spooky Little Girl by Laurie Notaro. The first of 2 recommendations made by Jen Lancaster that I read this year (I'm not kidding when I say this woman impacted my life this year!). A truly original story that I read in 2 sittings. It made me laugh, it made me cry and it made me write to Laurie to tell her how much I enjoyed it (something I have NEVER done). She even emailed me back, solidifying my loyalty forever.

6. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte. Admittedly the Brontes are not everyone's cup of tea but what really struck me about this book was how modern it actually was. Alcoholism and spousal abuse are the main themes of this fantastic book about a woman just trying to start her life again. I can't imagine that there were too many novels addressing these themes at the time. An excellent classic for your reading list.

7. The Lost Life of Eva Braun by Angela Lambert. Only the second biography of Eva Braun ever written, the first by a woman. I've long been fascinated by the idea of Eva Braun- what kind of woman falls in love with the man responsible for the Holocaust? A naive 17 year old that's who. This portrait of Eva Braun made her relatable, gave her a human face and above all dispels the aura of mystery that has long surrounded her. I found this one at the library and as soon as the money starts to flow in more regularly I'm ordering a copy for my collection.

8. The Long Walk To Freedom by Nelson Mandela. I probably could not have chosen a better time to read this book than during the World Cup in South Africa this year. It was recommended to me by my good friend Mona and I can't thank her enough. Obviously I studied apartheid in school but that was just touching on it. I had no idea. I thought Mr. Mandela was a good man before I read this but I had no idea how much he sacrificed, how forgiving and how honourable a man he truly is before I read his book. Thanks Mona!

9. Orange Is The New Black: My Year In A Women's Prison by Piper Kerman. Another Jen Lancaster recommendation. I don't know about you but I've never given that much thought to the lives of women in prison. Its just not something that has crossed my mind. Piper Kerman made some bad decisions in her youth and a decade later those decisions come back and she has to pay the consequences. She writes about her fellow inmates with respect and humanity, paying tribute to their resilience and integrity. An eye opening read.

10. The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls. Many times while reading this book I had to stop and remind myself that the author wasn't making any of it up, but that she had lived it. This is how she grew up. Its an unbelievable story- you won't believe any of what I tell you. You just need to read it for yourself.

Honourable mentions:

The Twilight Saga by Stephanie Meyer. Not because they are well-written and life changing but because I spent 2 or 3 days holed up with all 4 volumes, ignoring everything else in my life just so that I could finish my lines of book coke.

Freakonomics and Superfreakonomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner. I'm not big on economics but what these guys do with economic theory is entertaining and thought provoking.

One Fifth Avenue by Candace Bushnell. I didn't like Sex and the City as a book but every one of her books since then has gotten better. One Fifth Avenue is definitely the best of the bunch and I look forward to more.

If you're really lucky (and/or I run out of posting ideas in the next few days) I will post a complete list of all the books I read this year. But like I said, only if you're really lucky.

What was your favourite read this year?

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Dear Santa

This morning I was all "this place is awesome! I can totally make a go of things here!"

I had my giant tea without an extra helping of attitude from the barista, I got a box of very nice chocolates from one of the bosses, was throwing around 'merry christmas' to all.

Spreading some goddamn holiday spirit I was.


Tomorrow is Christmas Eve. The office closes at noon. How great is that? Just 4 hours! So easy to get through, everyone will be happy and then we can all go home to celebrate.

Everyone leaving the office at noon take one step forward. Hold it Job Snob, not so fast.

Even though it's Christmas for the accounting dept it's largely business as usual. Which means that some very important stuff needs to go out tomorrow as per usual. Since FedEx can only guarantee that they will be here by 1 (and we close at noon) someone has to be here to wait on FedEx.

And who better than the TEMP (did I mention I'm a temp for the first 3 months?) who started 3 weeks ago? She can't possibly want to go home like everyone else? She probably doesnt have a Christmas Eve dinner in Ladner she wants to get to. No she'd definitely be the best (and cheapest) option here. And since the rest of us have the day off anyway, what other option is there?

Who cares? As long as we're not staying!

Dear Santa, Job Snob here. You'd agree I was pretty good this year right? Put up with a lot of sh*t, smiled and took it. Still tried to be positive. If I could ask for one thing this Christmas? Please send me a new job that recognizes my awesome and treats me with respect. A boss that doesn't take advantage of my good nature. If it exists Santa, I know you will make it happen. I've seen your work before. I'm a fan.

Merry Christmas folks. If you don't celebrate Christmas, I hope you enjoy some nice time off courtesy of the baby Jesus.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, December 20, 2010

Climate Change

I've been back at the daily grind for over 2 weeks now (yes today was the first day of week 3, but still-more than 2 weeks) and I'd say that the new job has already made a big impact on my day-to-day life. I thought that since today marks the official end of my hobo-dom (I got off the Employment Insurance teat today), it was as good a day as any to discuss said changes.

Anyone else feel like use of the word "changes" in most circumstances feels like its going to be followed up with talk about your body? No? Just me. Let's carry on then.

Even though I have yet to actually get paid, I feel like I'm not quite destitute anymore. Like I said to The Boyfriend, even though I haven't got a paycheque yet I'm spending money like I have. Its Christmas guys, what can I do? It was just nice not to have to agonize about every little expenditure and be able to give some much needed donations to the food bank and toy drives.

There's more money coming in (OK, there's the promise of more money coming in) but there is decidedly less sleep. I have to be at work at 7.45 (even though I only get paid starting at 8...someone will be hearing about that at some point soon) and because it takes about 50 minutes to get downtown (40 minutes if traffic is excellent) I'm leaving my house about 6.45 (taking into account walking-to-the-bus-stop time). I'm up at 6, I spend the day around people (which is exhausting when you're out of practice) and I spend a good chunk of my day bored out of my skull. All of this boils down to the fact that by 9.30 I'm begging to be allowed to go to bed.

All this time spent working means a lot less time for Real Housewives. The Record keeps telling me that she had a lot more respect for me before she knew about my reality TV addiction. What can I say? NeNe appeals to the inner black woman in me, the Jersey housewives dazzle me with their bling and D.C? They try to keep sh*t classy in between their cat fights. But the working has seriously cut into my Housewives time and my life is the poorer for it.

I'm getting yelled at a lot more than I was when I was spending my days watching other people yell at each other. I mean, occasionally The Boyfriend would call me an a$$hole (with love y'all [yup, I'm Southern]) but he never yelled at me about couriers. I don't know if its because I'm blonde and they think my life's ambition is to be a Receptionist or if its because my predecessors were idiots, but people talk to me like I'm spending my days licking windows. Hopefully this wears off soon because it is wearing thin.

If you can imagine how much less time there is for Housewives (which I had to fit around The Boyfriend because God forbid he was in the same room as an episode) can you imagine how much less time there is for reading? I was getting through like 4 books a week while I was living off the government. Now I only have about 2 hours a day and I feel like I've been reading The Unruly Queen for months! Its partly that I'm having a lot of trouble just getting into it but its also that the ride into work has me so sleepy that its all I can do to hold the book up, let alone read and retain anything!

Which brings me to my last point: more Starbucks. I need it. I need more than I did before (upgraded to a venti). I am not a morning person and my days are starting early now, so a venti vanilla earl grey tea latte is all that' standing between me and mass murder. And even though one time the barista totally gave me attitude about my card not working (apparently my debit card has an expiration date and it won't work there but it works everywhere else) I go back every morning begging for a caffeine drip.

So there you have it. A comprehensive look at how my life has changed now that I'm no longer a drain on society.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Sad Men

I've been back at 'er for almost 2 whole weeks.

In a lot of ways this new gig is really different. I listened to co-workers run in and out of an office this afternoon, screeching and laughing as they tried to help a guy choose an engagement ring for his girlfriend. 'Tis the season for engagements folks. The weird thing was that they were all having fun and no one got mad at them for it. People genuinely seem to like where they work, which is really different.

But many things are also the same. The blaming of other people (the poor 'green' [as in new] Receptionist is an easy target) for when you can't get your sh*t together enough to get your job done. The hours filled with nothing more stimulating than solitaire or the Vancouver Sun website (which, while interesting, doesn't exactly take a long time to read through).

I work with mostly men at this new job and that's something very different. They are all really smart with things like building bridges but when it comes to mailing a letter, they have no idea where to start. So it would follow that some of these gentlemen might have some...let's say challenges when it comes to dressing themselves. Obviously they have more worldly concerns on their minds than matching the belt to the shoes.

Here are some pointers for the gentlemen:

1. A rain poncho is never a good idea. OK maybe if you are at Niagara Falls, its a good idea. But if you work downtown, and you don't want to get wet, maybe an umbrella would be better, or a proper raincoat. Something with sleeves maybe? Definitely not a rain cape, and definitely not one that's pea soup green.

2. Pocket protectors, in theory, are a great idea. In practice they make you look like a huge dork. Just stop.

3. A man should always double check that the barn door is closed. Triple check even.

4. I'm not a fan of the short sleeved dress shirt. I feel like you should just get long sleeved dress shirts and should the need arise, roll up your sleeves. Not only does this project an aura of getting stuff done (literally rolling up your sleeves, get it?) it just looks so much better. When you are a grown a$$ man and you wear short sleeved dress shirts you automatically look like a little boy on his way to church.

5. Wearing a light coloured dress shirt and neglecting the undershirt is bad. Michael Jordan wears undershirts, undershirts are cool. There is no excuse to forgo this basic foundation garment. I don't like to see your nipples through your shirt, I find it uncomfortable. If I have to wear a bra (which I hate) then you have to wear an undershirt.

So yeah. A break from ragging on the office whores. I'm all about equality.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


Today I played solitaire.

I feel like that sums up my working experience at this new job. Obviously this blog is not going to become obsolete any time soon because it turns out I'm no closer to finding that something that I can do long term than I was when I was hobo-ing it up with the Housewives.

I just got back from my 9 hours in the office, a mind-numbing 9 hours that saw me get yelled at because the FedEx guy came too early, discuss fake toner vendors, and train the heavy lifting guy the art of the switchboard. Everyone seemed really concerned about whether I was going to be able to handle teaching someone else the switchboard. People, I've been here for 8 days, 7 of them on my own. Its not rocket science, its a switchboard.

Obviously the office would fall apart without me. We all know that the people that make the most money can't handle simple tasks like mailing stuff and scheduling conference rooms. But I'm boooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooored. Did I mention its been 8 days? Eight whole days and I'm already this bored. People keep telling me that as they see that I've mastered the daily grind, I will be given more work. (Does it not look like I've mastered this sh*t yet?) But I'm not sure that it will make a difference. Yes, I will be busier (and that will help to ease the agony of playing solitaire and thinking of websites to visit that aren't blocked) but will I be doing anything worthwhile? Probably not (according to me anyway, and what is our generation about if not pleasing ourselves? [that came out wrong {hehehe, came}]). 

Master of the brackets.

Anywhoodle, all is not lost. I used a good chunk of the day to search for something new. I'm on my way to apply for 2 more jobs right now. One is another reception gig but at least this one would be at a company that I could see myself transitioning into a more permanent role. 

It seems likely that for now though, this will be my daily grind. I'm about to become a master of the solitaire (I'm already pretty damn good). There are some good characters in this place that I will have to introduce you to. And I guess the silver lining here is that I really don't have to do anything to change this here blog, because although the job has changed, I'm still searching for something better.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

What Would Jen Lancaster Do?

I have been at my new job for 2 days. The people? Are awesome. Everyone likes coming to work, enjoys the company of their co-workers. Its insane.

The holidays? Actually matter. Not just with some bullsh*t one hour lunch potluck and some half a$$ decorations either. Today? I organized a courier to pick up cases and flats of booze. The office will be closed for the week after Christmas. You know, so that people can go home, be with their families, enjoy the holidays instead of spending it back in the office?

Its not the most challenging job I've ever had, but the atmosphere is amazing and I have high hopes for a future with the company.

But all this newfound happiness and job-satisfaction leaves us with a conundrum: What to do with this here blog?

Obviously part of the charm here was that I was so professionally unfulfilled and let's face it, down right crusty about it.

Now I have no venom to spew about my working environment. You're probably thinking, "Give it time, its only been 2 days" and you would be right. But unless you have experienced working in the kind of place that I did (ask The Record, she knows what its like) you just can't understand how this works. A tense, crappy, horrible working environment? You can feel that sh*t right away. You can see it on people's faces and unhappy people will freely vent to the new people (come on, I did that all the time). It doesn't take long for the mask to slip and the real face of a company to emerge.

Where were we? Right. The blog. So I started this blog as way to rant and rave (anonymously) about the f*cktards I worked with. And then it became about my job search when they so unceremoniously dismissed me. And now I'm re-employed and the blog as is, just doesn't seem to work anymore does it?

I don't want to be one of those people that blogs about nothing. I had enough trouble with a theme and I don't have the Jerry Seinfeld/Jen Lancaster/Dave Barry talent of making nothing hilarious and feel like something. So what to do what to do?

Thoughts? Comments? Suggestions?

Obviously I'm not fashionable like my friend Niki so that's out. I don't have kids so no amusing anecdotes a la Mommy blogging. I toyed with the idea of a dog blog but I don't have a dog...yet. I mean unless people want to read about my quest to try and convince my boyfriend that I'm responsible enough to get one...

The only thing I have going on is that I like to read. But aren't there a lot of blogs like that out there already? I think I would really miss blogging if I just stopped.

So send me your ideas people. I would also really love it if I didn't have to be anonymous anymore.

Friday, December 3, 2010

I Was Right

And I love to be right. Even though it happens often, I will never get tired of it.

You know how the other day I was card shopping and came across a card about a new job and I took that as a sign that good things were coming my way?

(Yes, I do believe in signs and all that sh*t- I'm a pisces!)

Well the Universe was right on. As we were leaving the grocery store I got a call from the recruiter telling me that the company that she had sent my resume to the day before wanted to meet with me. In 3 hours. I had to get home, run the dog, shower, get dressed, print off updated reference sheets, and get downtown. In 3 hours.

Which I did because I'm amazing like that.

The interview went really well, the people were fantastic. I was really honest about the fact that I have a Communications background that I want to establish a career in and that while I'm fine working as a receptionist right now (which is what the job is) I'm looking to move on in a certain timeframe.

I didn't know this at the time but the girl that is in the role right now has been there for 3 months and is being promoted. So I like my chances.

This is the long way of telling you all that I am officially no longer a drain on society.

That's right. I got a job. A job that can actually lead somewhere. A job that I'm confident I can be happy in.

I hadn't realized it but that other place? It really messed me up. I mean I realized it, but I didn't know the extent of it. When I temped last week, I was relaxed and happy. That's a state of being that I forgot existed in the workplace. My references were amazing (as they always are) and the recruiter told me that the HR guy that I interviewed with really liked my "energy" and that I was a "breath of fresh air".

Do you know how much that meant to me to hear? After John who questioned my mental health, after Veronica who made underhanded compliments, after Amy who told me that maybe I should just move on? You know, before she terminated me without cause. After all the bullsh*t I had to deal with, all the personal hits I took from those dipsh*ts, to hear that someone I will work with likes me?! I had no idea how badly off I was.

Anyway, I start Monday.

I'm going to be honest, I don't know what will happen with this blog, if anything. I started it as a way to deal with my last job and it turned into a way to think things through during my bout of unemployment. You've all been so supportive at these various stages of mental wellbeing and I can't thank you enough! But what the hell would we talk about now? Now that the prospect of being content in my working life looms large in front of me?

To be decided. For now, I'm just ready to start my new job, in a new state of mind!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Card Shark

Today I was doing groceries and went to pick out a Hallmark card (you know because I care enough to send the very best) for my friend's housewarming later this week and came across a card that I wish some thoughtful soul had got for me back in August. Hell I'd accept it now.

Basically the gist of it was that the sender was sorry that I had lost my job but that obviously I was destined for bigger and better things and this was just a speedbump in getting there. How thoughtful would that have been?

We were still searching for a housewarming card (seriously, they have a "workplace challenges" card but housewarming is impossible to find) and I saw a congratulations on your new job card. I'm taking it as a sign.

Good things are coming I can feel it.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone