Tag Archives: jobs

YO, WHAT IT IS, PEOPLE! (Filler Worth Eatin’)

I’m doing a lot of writing for work right now. Writing for work, to find work. Other work.

Writing for the soul? Not so much.

It’s too bad, too, because Spring is when one ought to be writing for the soul. Given it SNOWED last Thursday, perhaps Nature has had a hand in the Soul-Squelch Factor. Cherry blossoms be damned.

So, you know, soul-squelch aside and all, I thought I’d pop in with a warm-and-fuzzy “Yo, what it is, people” journalling post and see where that gets us.

It’s a difficult Spring for me. A lot is going on. But I’m also kind of kicking adversity’s ass as it continues trying to suppress me. Emphasis on it “trying.” Because I am Ass-Kicker Girl, and I am getting it done.

Back injury rehab is stupid, but somewhere on the other side of this town, a good man in his early 40s is nearing the end of his life, and I’m reminded that life is not always easy, but always worth fighting for, and some of our “struggles” can be important reminders of what we’ve not been valuing. How much I’ve realized that of late, I can’t tell you. Thank you, Derek.

There’s a lot going on beneath my skin these days, simmering-thought-wise. Just… so much to wrap my head around. Where I’m going, what I’m doing. Pretty pleased with all of it, scared too. A lot of choices on priorities have to be made, and it ain’t gonna be simple to get there from here.

If anyone gets there from here, though, it’s me. I’m all about journey-making… just forgot to get on the road for a while.

People forget that life is like driving — you can’t just be watching the car ahead of you, you gotta be watching the car ahead of the car. That’s where success is: foresight, anticipation. I’m working on that, and it doesn’t make for intelligent status updates, tweets, or emails.

Speculation sounds ass-hatty because so much of what we actually undertake and accomplish is bump-in-the-night. Or, should be. If you’re too married to the mapped journey, it really limits the ability to improvise with unexpected opportunity and divergent paths.

Going hands-free, unmapped the whole way ain’t so bright either. Can be amazing if you’ve the balls, luck, and creativity to make it happen, like someone else I know. Balancing a mix of planning and improv, that’s a tricky deal, but I think I’m starting to get it done.

Doing what I gots to do, I’ll tell ya ’bout it when it’s all said and done. Weeks? Months? Whatever, baby.

Yes. WorkWorkWork. Weeks, months. God knows I hope it’s weeks before the future reveals itself. Months, whew.

I’m tired of having nearly no time for people. I have to be rehabbing, recharging, that sort of thing. I need to do the self-employed looking-for-work stuff, working the work I’ve got, and juggling the rest. I watch TV to shut the brain down in between. I need the dumb-ass recharging provided by network television today. People enter the scene sparingly, and not many of ’em.

It’s a tricky balance the best of times, working/rehabbing/finding more work, but it’s one of those times I know I’ll get to the end of it and feel really damned self-satisfied, since I’m the one putting this tired ass to bed every night and I know what it’s taking.

In the meantime, it’s so isolated and repetitive.

GoGoGoGoGo, STOP, Rinse, Repeat. GoGoGoGoGo, STOP, Rinse, Repeat.

Fuck, man. I tell you.

You know who’s got it going on? Cats.

We call cats stupid, but that’s just what they want us to think. We say, “Oh, stupid cat, just lying in the sunbeam, batting a little ball around. Lazy thing.”

Cat’s lying there, thinking, “Yeah. Stupid. Uh-huh. Look who feeds me, washes me, pays for my medical, and works 40 hours a week to get it done. Oh, look — the sunbeam moved. I’ll just wriggle to my left. Drive safe, schmuck. Seeya in 10 hours. Bring me some bacon.”

When I die, I want to come back as a cat. A long-hair, just to really fuck with my owner.

But, for now, I’m the hamster on the wheel. Thank god I don’t have a cat, might just find myself eaten one of these days.

Summer’s here, though. Or, almost. I still have slippers on. Naked warm feet, THAT’s summer. The sunlight and slow-warming trend is a welcome battery recharge and brain-jumpstarter of late.

Meanwhile, I know what I want: To be a cat basking in a summer sunbeam.

Or, you know, [mumblemumble_TellYaLater_mumblemumble].

For now, I’m a gimpy girl hoppin’ on a bike before a busy day ahead.

Have a good one, minions. Stab ’em with your plastic forks if they give you a hard time.

After A Morning of Job-Surfing

Dear Human Resources* People:

I’d like to work for you, I would. But given that first impressions are everything, that first impression kinda cuts both ways — starting with your help-wanted ad.

If you’re not getting the really awesome people applying for you, maybe you might want to make sure you’re not writing ads that include the following, and here’s why:

1. You want a “rockstar.” Give that I’m not really a fan of doing cocaine off hookers’ bellies on bathroom counters, I’m not sure I have what you’re looking for. Keith Richards, maybe he’s your deal.

2. You’re looking for someone who can create “viral” content. If one KNEW how to make viral content, do you know what they wouldn’t be doing? Applying for your job. No offense. Anyone who consistently create “viral” content is the next producer of the year, okay, and not a $20-an-hour employee. If you want well-circulated web content, though, I can do that. That’s realistic, and it’s something you can ask for, and is what I’d deliver.

3. You want a “guru.” Sorry, but I’m still learning social media, and I guarantee you that anyone worth their salt is, too. Social media ain’t OVER, it’s still evolving, and we’re all on this ride together. Some of us are intent to be students and don’t think we’ll ever be masters — just highly consistent and always awesome. It’s not about where your “guru” is today, it’s what kind of an online community they’ve built for the long-term, because staying power is HARD on the web today. Some of us, though, epitomise it.

4. You’re using super-hip lingo buried in long paragraphs of uber-corporate jargon. You’re hip or you’re corporate, so decide which type of person you want on-board, because one isn’t the other, and you don’t seem to know which you are.

I can’t tell you how many jobs are written with the above styles, and they’re selling what they’re unlikely to deliver, because they’re overwriting and overselling.

This does you, and me as the job-seeker, a huge disservice.

Make sure your job posting reflects who you are and what you’re really looking for. Buzzwords might give you the impression you’re attracting those who are “a cut above,” but you might just be isolating more than those you’re attracting, because it doesn’t sound sincere.

I want to work for you. But, based on your advertisement, I can’t.

I’m a great communicator, a fun team-player, loyal as the day is long, and always thinking forward, not backward. I say exactly what I mean, and don’t need to oversell things, because quality sells itself.

When it comes to writing movies, books, stories, and songs — less is more. It’s true also of job advertisements.

Until we get to salaries.

Let’s be realistic — for most of us, the world revolves around money, and in Vancouver, there are a lot of folks who won’t apply if you don’t list a salary range. (I’m not necessarily one, but I certainly look for that information.)

We’re not expecting you to nail a number down, or to have you promise us the world, but we need to know if our financial responsibilities can be met with your position. If not, then let’s spare both of us some time.

We all know it’s not just about the paycheque. We all want to be valued, and find the right place. Know the job you offer, and who you want.

We don’t need to be oversold on our jobs. We just want to work someplace we fit into, and your job advertisement is where that relationship begins. Please think twice before posting.

Love Steff.

*Mostly PR, marketing, communications, writing, and editing jobs are what I’ve been surfing, obviously. Got solid part-time work? Maybe I’m your girl.

Closet Skeleton Pioneers

A friend of mine laughed at me the other day when I suggested that I was an “oversharer” on the internet.

“Hah! You? Oversharing?”

Yes, I know. Just a smidge. The thing is, I’m pretty good at toeing a line these days. I don’t tell you what I don’t want you to know. Pretty simple.

Learning how to toe that line, though, WHOO. I done fucked up on more than just a few occasions, s o much so that I jokingly referred to myself and those like me, who’ve been oversharing for years, as “Closet Skeleton Pioneers”.

By that I mean that everyone’s got skeletons in their closets — some lover they treated like shit, a job they stole office supplies from, a friend they betrayed, a speeding ticket, you name it.

EVERYONE has been a dick at one point or another. Dig deep enough and you’ll find dirt. (If not, you’re boring, live a little.)

Luckily for me, I hit the age of 21 before the internet got invented.

And my record’s been expunged. Hardy-har, right.

The point is, despite what you think you know about me, I consider myself a really ethical person and there are things I’ve done and said that I hope never see the light of day because I don’t want them taken out of context, since we all know context is EVERYTHING.

And that’s the problem. When you see a photo on the web or a snippet of a conversational exchange, context gets lost and objectivity goes right out the window with it.

We all know that’s true of many events in our lives.

Don’t we?

So who the fuck is doing all the judging?

Are you? Are employers? Is your lover?

Who’s doing the judging when my friend on Twitter reacted yesterday morning after he received an email after a husband found his wife “Facebook cheating” and sent the entire exchange out to their kids’ school’s parents mailing list? Ain’t just the hubby judging now, is it?

What were employers digging up that led Germany to introduce a new law that will make it illegal for them to do job-applicant background searches on Facebook? Probably they were digging up a lot of skeletons, right?

It goes without question: Things you say or do on Facebook, Twitter, and in other areas of the web can absolutely destroy your life.

But who is doing the judging?

There’s a reason it’s so damn hard to become a Saint in the Catholic Church, you know — perfection’s pretty fucking difficult to come by.

When I was a kid in Bible school, I was told a story about Jesus intervening in a stoning, saying to the angry crowd of sanctimonious rock-chuckers “Let he among you who is without sin cast the first stone”, or somethin’ thereabouts.

Really: In 2010, who’s without sin?

I mean, the Catholic Church outlawed SPEEDING, for crying out loud. Everything’s a sin. The Pet Shop Boys had it right.

When I look back upon my life
It’s always with a sense of shame
I’ve always been the one to blame
For everything I long to do
No matter when or where or who
Has one thing in common, too

It’s a, it’s a, it’s a, it’s a sin
It’s a sin
Everything I’ve ever done
Everything I ever do
Every place I’ve ever been
Everywhere I’m going to
It’s a sin

Was Neil looking back at his life on the web? Woulda if he coulda then, I bet.

So, let’s just accept that everyone’s imperfect, and, instead, (like this guy here and his “degrees of evil” guide to killers), get ourselves a handy cheat-sheet of just what level of assoholic or just plain edgy social behaviour one is guilty of and how it ranks them on the Good Versus Dick scale, okay?

Such as:

  • Never emails or messages you back, but pathologically lurks and knows Everything That Happens every time you talk in person. Creepy but not mean.
  • Likes kinky sex and lets everyone know it.
  • Thinks “cleavage” and “profile pic” are synonymous.
  • Considers social media his personal dick-dipping pool and has more numbers in his contacts than the CIA does.
  • Just LOVES drinking wine and doing so liberally. While telling you all about it. Every single night.
  • Keeps getting caught in masturbatory lies that make them sound great, but you know through the grapevine that they’re barely making rent and are shopping at Thrift Stores, while judging others for doing the same kinda “posing”.
  • Has, like the majority of people over 21, tried marijuana or something else questionable at a party at least once.
  • Speaks frankly about their disgust for political figures or employers.
  • Has a spouse yet endlessly flirts with others, without boundaries, and in public.
  • Has a pulse.

I mean, seriously. Half the things I do on a daily basis would probably get me fired from most jobs, because I’d never keep my mouth shut about what I hate and why. My old employers got a giggle out of it, but I assure you — it’s an acquired taste.

Despite what you may think of my loudmouthed, in-your-face, drinks-too-much, full-of-innuendo online persona (and, yes, it somewhat exists offline, and without a backspace key), I’m a good person.

I’m a really, really good person.

I hold the door open for men and little old ladies. I say “please”, “thank you”, and “sorry.” I look people in the eye. I pay my taxes. I’m honest, I don’t steal. I’m a quiet neighbour, a good daughter, a great friend. I bake muffins for lovers. I pay back my debts.

So, if you want to jump to conclusions about me based on the image I portray on the web — knowing I’m a creative person with a gift for fiction — then you’re entirely entitled to do so, and I’m entirely entitled to think you’re a narrow-minded presumptive dick who’s not worthy of my time.

Or maybe I just see you as someone who needs to think outside the box a little more.

Who I am online might have hurt me in the past but it helps me now. I have something to gain from keeping this persona/point-of-view alive. There’ll always be a price I pay as a result of it, but I’m hoping that’s just the cost of doing business.

I’m not the only web-user with a persona, or with skeletons; I’m just hyper-honest about it.

As time goes on, though, all of us will have our skeletons exposed. Then, with more to compare and contrast, we’ll know who the real assholes are — unless, of course, none of it’s true.

And that’s the problem with reaching any conclusions based on the web.

How do you know it’s true? When everyone can enter information and nothing’s necessarily vetted on the web, how do you know it’s true?

Simple: You don’t.

Here’s how I operate.

I watch for how people actually are with each other, online and otherwise: How they argue, how they’ll never let up, how they want the last word, how they judge others, how they talk about others, how they scheme or gossip. Because it’s in their everyday words and behaviour that we really see who people are — special events, like parties with hijinks, are too out-of-context to really give us an inkling of who someone is.

Me, I’ve written a lot over the years, on topics about everything from drinking and drugs to kinky sex, but you’d be wrong if you thought I was particularly wild or exciting anymore.

I’m being boring nowadays. I just make it sound exciting.

And there you have the web in a nutshell, and why laws like Germany’s are long overdue — when it comes to the internet, you can’t believe everything you read. You certainly can’t dismiss it, either. But there are no litmus tests or polygraphs one can administer to online “personality” accounts to judge the veracity of their content.

It’s time people started realizing you really can’t judge any of us on the little you see of us online, and that the skeletons in our closet aren’t nearly as big or scary as you think they are, especially when brought into the light.

If you want to supplement what you know of someone by how they are online, and you can do so judiciously and with many grains of salt, then knock yourself out.

Just don’t be surprised when that spotlight hits your life, too.

In fact, some of your skeletons probably look awfully similar to ours. After all, dontcha know? It’s quid pro quo season on closet skeletons.

The Struggle to Identify Your Struggle

I had an interesting Twitter debate this morning after someone spoke of a Starbucks kid who screwed his store over by twice not showing up as the “keyholder” to open the shop.

The debate came from completely different perspectives — I’m getting on in my 30s, spent 15 years in retail, dreamed of a better day working in “real” jobs, but eventually realized my job never solved any of my problems in my life; meanwhile, the other debater’s in her early 20s, dreaming of a better time in a real job, and probably believes the same as I used to, that life really gets better with a different job.

Trouble is, one day you wake up and you realize that all you did was put on different clothes and cash a bigger cheque.

You dreamed of the trappings of success, but never realized it was really just a trap till it really had hold of you.

Deep down inside, the smarter-older you realizes the job has fuck all to do with your true happiness — it just gives you better means to avoid the issue and hide from the truth.

Anyone blaming their job for unhappiness probably needs to think twice.

I can’t tell you the hell I put myself through believing it was my job that was costing me any happiness in life.

I thought, “Oh, it’s a do-nothing, go-nowhere job. It’s why I feel so held back in life. I don’t make enough, I don’t do enough, I’m not special enough. I know — I’ll quit! I’LL SHOW EVERYONE!”

After two years of trying to get by in an endless parade of bad-fitting jobs, part-time work, and self-employment, I realized the job was never the problem.

No matter what I did, that current of discontent still ran through me. I was my problem.

Let’s face it, not everyone’s going to have a job that speaks to who they are. Not everyone gets to work in a career that radiates their true nature. We need labourers and waitresses too, you know.

There comes a point where the job just doesn’t matter.

If you think a career’s all you’ve got going in your life, then, yeah, okay, I can see how you might be in for a world of suck.

But that’s your choice. You’re the fucking idiot that’s decided some dude with a wad of cash has that much power over who and what you are. God help you if you ever lose that job, y’know? Be MORE. Expect MORE. Live MORE than just your job.

I’m not my job and I’m not my bank account.

I’m the chick with a way with words who really digs thinking and living a contemplative life of slowness and relative quiet. I’m the chick who can find god on a riverbank and think there’s nowhere else I should be, and no one who should be with me. That’s me. When I leave work, I contribute to my end-of-life legacy with things that speak to me and who I am. Not as much as I could… that troubles me. I want to do more. But I’m further than I was, and do more than I did, and these are good things. And I know the things that call to me, that I should do, and that I know are going to be done. My time, my way.

My advice?

Don’t look at your relationship or your job as your source of unhappiness. I betcha dollars to donuts that the source is inside you. Things you’re likely not doing or facing, and it’s easier to use life situations as “obvious” blames than it is to do the hard emotional work of realizing a lot of answers lay within.

Running’s easy. Standing and fighting? Then you get a cookie. And some bruises.

Good luck with that. It’s so not the 2010 way — avoidance is an artform. We got yer pills, your cars, your portfolios, your adventure vacation packages, yer smart phones, yer funky gadgets… shit, we even got Lady Gaga. Is she a chick?

Is that ALL there is? Isn’t there more? We’re the wealthiest the world’s EVER been — so why the fuck are we all so empty?

Rip the fucking scab off. Prod your wounds. Do all the things that scare you. Find more to satisfy YOU in life, and stop blaming your inability to do so on your spouse or your job. It’s a choice and a matter of values. Make it happen. It’s quality, not quantity, so think about it.

Hiding behind time demands as an excuse for a life half-lived is a sissy 2010 thing. MAKE CHOICES. You can’t BE everything or DO everything, so CHOOSE. Offend people and don’t go to a few engagements. Big fucking deal. CHOOSE.

Seriously, if I could sit every 20-something down and say, “All this angst and sadness you have? Your shitty retail job isn’t the problem — your reaction to it is. Everything you need to know about life, you can learn here and now. If you want.”

And if I could sit every 40-something down and say the same thing about their office jobs? I would.

Because you’ll never learn about people better than in the workforce — their capacity for evil or infinite goodness, their irresponsibility and unexpected nature are all unavoidable, daily.

Don’t cop out and blame your job for unhappiness unless you really know you’re happy everywhere else in your life. If you quit and get the rude shock at another job that you’re still going home empty inside and, gee, that place has assholes there, too, then you’re in for a really crushing emotional defeat.

Trust me, I know! Been there, done that, the t-shirt didn’t fit.

Stay with the devil you know. Try a new sport, find hobbies, do things you love. Remember to take time to do things that make you a better version of you. When you feel you’re on the way there, then you can make other changes.

Otherwise, you’re likely just doing more harm than good.

Changing should always be done on the inside before you attempt the outside. If you’d like to see it take hold, that is.

Pfft. I don’t know, I’m still on my journey. But what I DO know is, I’m happier here, “on my way,” than I’ve ever been — and I don’t have a job or savings or security. I have more inside me, though, than I ever have, and I credit that to the really hard choices I’ve made to learn about myself and all my damage, over the last 3 – 5 years. I made some mistakes along the way and I’d rather others learn from that.

Fix you, and the universe will follow, seems to be the lesson things have been teaching me. Jobless? Moneyless? What I got you don’t buy, you don’t get given, and you don’t take. You earn it, slowly. Self-knowledge, faith, belief, and you learn it by going crutch-less and not dishing out blame.

Yep. Fix you. The universe will follow. It’s a fucking amazing thing.

PS: Sometimes your job really is a steaming pile of shit and you should run for the hills. But, you know, just make sure of that.

From There to Here

In 2007, I spent 7 months working for a toxic employer.

By the time I left my job, I was close to the highest I’ve ever weighed, at my most negative and always whining, feeling sorry for myself, and feeling pretty hopeless about everything, especially about writing, which I’d been sucking at for nearly a year at that point.

I quit that job, even though I was always taught leaving a job in less than a year was a crime I’d be judged heavily for. I realized  one day in August that, if I didn’t leave, it’d be the end of any Steff I ever knew; I was approaching the negativity point of no return. Continue reading

One of Those Dishwashing Epiphanies

So, there I am, washing up my kitchen, wishing I could have a barbecue later. My barbecue broke the other day. The valve thing just snapped right off. It confuses me. It looks like there should be a long pokey mount-thing but there’s nothing, so I wonder how it ever held together in the first place. This is the problem with letting men assemble shit: When it breaks, you need them to check it out ‘cos you never did it in the first place and you don’t know what to look for.

That’ll teach me for getting guys to do “guy” things that I know I’m capable of doing, eh? So now I’m all helpless femme (which is just disgusting, and I hate being) and I have to wait for GayBoy to come take a boo at it. If it really is broken, then I need to get in the headspace of chatting with Costco about getting a new one.

And, so, there I am, washing up, thinking “Ooh, I hope it’s fixable. I don’t want the hassle of having to sort it out with Costco. I hate conflict.

That thought just stopped me in my tracks. I hate conflict? I hate conflict? And I thought about it for a moment. Yeah, you know, I do.

I do conflict very, very well. I argue my case very, very well. I tend to get what I want. I tend to do it without being cruel. I tend to be very shrewd at it, and very tactical.

Yet, I hate it. Like, I’ll avoid someone or something for a good long time, just because I hate to be in that position of needing a victory. I hate to have to do the arguing. I fear losing. Even though I seldom lose.

I was avoiding talking to the cute young guy who works for free on fixing my scooter, in exchange for my baked goods, ha, for instance. My poor wee scooter is still very unhappy. Funny, it goes like stink these days when you get it to the upper register speeds — like, 85 kilometres an hour with the slightest of declines and a tailwind. Crazy. But it’s a slug off the start line and takes blocks to get to a decent running speed. It’s embarrassing. I’m that chick who rides between lanes, has off-roaded with her scooter, and who knows what it’s like to do a 200-kilometre day touring a valley on it — I don’t do “slow” and “annoying. Fuck! When the people behind me are thinking “Move, bitch!” I am, too.

People are not patient. Nor am I. So, anyhow, mechanic boy’s this kid who’s trying to build the world’s fastest scooter and is test-riding his latest generation ride at the Bonneville Salt Flats down in Utah this September. He’s taken a special interest in my ass– err, my case– and is doing all he can to fix my bike for cheap, cheap, cheap. But all his tricks haven’t solved the like-a-slug starts (but sure as fuck increased the top end!) and it’s just killing me. Now we must start throwing money at it. For a few hundred dollars (sigh, ouch) it should be the meanest bitch on the south side, man. But… summer will be over.

And even though I knew what the kid’s answer would be, and I knew he’d be cool with helping me out, I was dreading having the chat. How stupid is that? It’s amazing what we do to ourselves just because there are conversations we’re not really keen to have. What stupid, stupid creatures we can be.

And I have another one of those conversations I dread coming up, even though I’m secretly 90% sure I’ll get what I want: The Money Chat at work. It’s time to show me the love, baby. And though I know I’ve a great argument, and I know I’m likely to get everything I ask for, I’m in a state of dread. (It’s one of those things of timing — the chat’s been in the offing for three months, but first work got slow and I thought it was bad timing, then work got busy, but the two owners have been on back-to-back holidays for going on two months now. The chat will be initiated in 10 days. The wait will kill me.)

Dreading these conversations is killing me, I tell ya. Having them, though, that’s what it’s all about. ‘Cos then results happen. Change occurs. One way or the other, you better know what you got to do, right?

Ahh, the healing power of conversation. Blessed be. Ten days to go. God help me. Of course, you can feel free to donate to my alcohol and foodie fund, to ease the paid of the wait, by clicking here. :)