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I have this cute little pig-shaped ceramic refrigerator magnet holding my current weekly “shift-schedule” to the freezer door. The past couple times I opened the door, the magnet fell and the poor little pig lost a leg… which reminded me of a joke I heard once…

It goes like this …

One day a man drove by a farm and saw a three-legged pig. The man went up to the farmer and said, “Excuse me sir, but why does that pig only have 3 legs?”

“Well sir,” said the farmer, “that thar pig is very special. One time my wife was cookin’ somethin’ on the stove. She stepped out of the kitchen and burnt the house clear down to the ground. That pig saved me, my wife, and my 2 kids!”

“That’s amazing sir but why does that pig only have three legs? Did he lose one in the fire?” said the man.

“Then there was that time the pig saw a big storm a-comin’ and we didn’t. That pig ran into the house and dragged all of us out to the storm cellar to safety. If it weren’t for that pig we’d all be dead.”

“But still, that doesn’t explain why the pig has only…”

“And I remember the time my youngest son was stuck up in a tree but I was too far away to hear him screamin’. That pig came running towards me and led me di-rectly to my son.”

“Well, that is a miracle but how come that pig only has 3 legs?” the man said quite annoyed at this point.

“Well,” said the farmer, “with a pig that special…

…you can’t eat him all at once.”

###

It’s a good thing I’m such a wealth of talent.

End of story.

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“It’s not your fault.”

“It’s never been your fault.”

So goes the text of a rather humorous exchange posted on YouTube that sends my daughter and me into fits of silly laughter every now and then. The visual that goes along with it is of 2 cats trying their best to put paranoia into the mind of their friend — just for yucks.

###

The other day while my daughter and I were out picking up a few things in the grocery store, she turned to me and said,”it’s not your fault, mom.” And then clarified. “it’s not your fault that you work in a grocery store now.”

“I know, it’s never been my fault,” I answered, trying for a chuckle … but it hit too close to home.

…if it just leers back at you with that “Cheshire Cat” grin?

catmoon

Today I have to re-group. Re-organize my head. Look in the mirror and see someone else.

I confess, I bought that mantra: “You are what you do.” So, if you are underemployed… or worse yet, unemployed; who are you?

My chosen career: advertising, has taken a huge hit. The 30 years that I put into it are virtually gone. I worked in print, and print is just not where it’s at today. A former colleague remarked at the quality and quantity of true talent now walking the streets. Sad, really.

I continue to fling resumes to undisclosed companies. My goal is one daily. No more than 3. It can be too disheartening when you consider the input vs response ratio. In the past year I had two interviews –neither of which was in advertising.

Yesterday, at the second of my 2 interviews this year, I found myself defending the reason for all my interests.  The prospective employer said they would be hesitant to hire me because it looks like “you’re all over the place.”

OK. Maybe I forgot. Administrative positions require disinterested parties with boring lives. They just want someone to come in; get the job done; and go home.

Maybe I wouldn’t be a good fit.

It has been haunting me though… why was I chosen to come in for an interview if I didn’t look the part on paper? Were they just curious to see what an interesting person looks like?

Me.

It’s amazing that I am still (well, barely) employed.

I’m mere days away from my 1 year anniversary and if this blog started out with me at the bottom… I can honestly say, I am now even lower in rank.

Yessireee. Lower. As in now “part-time”. Benefit-less.

You see, that’s what you get when you try to get ahead. (See “Don’t cut the line”)

I was thinking today, whatever gave me such drive to try to move ahead so quickly? Well, the economy, for one. I have basic needs that have to me met and these all require the “almighty dollar.” I am an adult and I have a family, mortgage, and bills. And yes, due to some last-minute optimism, I dug myself into credit card debt.

One of my first mentors at work suggested that I get ahead by learning more about the company. “Take our Company University Classes,” he said. So I did. 15 of them. That idea apparently backfired though. Many of the classes I watched were by players in the company who preached how “open” things were. “We want your opinion. We need your input. Your ideas are valuable.” Right.

As I drank the cool-aid, I felt empowered to say more; to do more; to bring ideas to the table. Little did I realize that, let’s face it, NO ONE TAKES THOSE DARN CLASSES! Well, certainly not the kids running the place, anyway. Not only was I now empowered; I now had KNOWLEDGE. I was learning things about the company – faster – without doing time. Depending on which side of the desk you are on when it comes time for the job dialogue believe me, it is not always a good thing.

My most recent review was a mess! Horribly juvenile. It was so off-base that I had my jaw in my lap astonished at what I was hearing. Little did I know I was being set up… to lose. My job dialogue; my “permanent record” is now haunting my ability to even transfer laterally because it is so professionally damaging.

What the heck did I do that was so bad you might ask? Well, being an adult –with experience –who was told they would have no problem moving right on up –I let out the gas, too fast. And then stepped on the brakes.

Here’s what happened. I’m in a department where creativity is somewhat necessary. (It doesn’t take much to repeat actions to produce a product, but I was actually coming up with new products. Regularly. I was praised and encouraged to do more (of course). But after my first review, when I was told that I would not be moving anywhere– let alone up– I will admit, I pulled my creative production WAY back. You see, if you are constantly being asked to create, but you do not get paid for it, to me –that’s exploitation.

So, to make a very long story short, I was told you have to be careful what you do: “this place is like high school”. It is only now that I see what she meant. Try as I might to move ahead, or even sideways, my PERMANENT RECORD is now following me around. Issues that should not have been put there without a warning, or at the very least prior discussion, are now haunting me.

It is horrible –just like high school.