27 November 2013

This is Almost Better Than Goats (or Time Management 101)

For the first time since milking goats in the freezing cold at 6 a.m. for free, I can honestly say that I love my job.

07 October 2013

Is That Code for "Too Obviously Liberal"?

My reaction to being told, unceremoniously (because I deserve ALL THE POMPS AND CIRCUMSTANCES), that I was "not a cultural fit" was quite frankly, "no shit." The reactions others have had to the above comment, however, has been much more negative.

My mother, upon hearing their justification re: not extending my contract was appalled. Other friends mused, "sounds like a lawsuit." I had trouble wrapping my head around their very negative reactions.

"Simply put," Adam explained. "It sounds like they were saying 'we don't like your kind of people.'"

I realize I should probably and logically see that as an insult, but I jut don't. Why?

Frankly, the majority of the people who I have had the great fortune of encountering here are the sort that Phil Collins wrote "In the Air Tonight" about. (And don't you fucking knock Phil Collins because Genesis.)

More than that though, failing to fit in to a corporation's so-called culture is a very common and very current justification for the termination of - or in my case, the failure to extend the contract of - and employee. It seems almost fashionable, part of one of the newest trends in HR/business dominance theories that are constantly changing in the corporate world. You know, Six Sigma, or Strengths Finder, or Tony Robbins Philosophies, or whatever other hocum the business folk are worshipping and to which they are sacrificing their home lives on the altar of six-figure salaries these days.

But that isn't even the tip of the iceberg, really. Regardless of the fact that I look at almost all business practices with a skeptical and jaded eye, I can't help but wonder what sort of person I would have to be to have been considered a good "cultural fit."

As Groucho Marx once said, "I wouldn't want to be a part of any club that would have me as a member."

So I put my nose ring back in for the first time in months, previoulsy foolheartedly declaring I'd never wear it again. Bullshit. My stubbornness has once again lent itself to thumbing my nose, as it were, at the powers that be. I will show you how much I don't fucking fit in with you squares. 

That said, the paycheck is nice. It will be missed sincerely.

06 October 2013

I Think Your Eyes Deceive You

For much of my adult life, I have experienced a bizarre phenomenon that I can find little explanation for in any logical terms. People constantly tell me that I look like I've lost or am losing weight.

25 September 2013

Perhaps You Were Premature in Being So Direct...

I really do appreciate that my boss was upfront with me and gave me fair warning regarding my terminal case of temporary employment. I also understand that employers usually wait to tell an employee that s/he is let go so they don't come down with a serous case of the Fuckits. 

24 September 2013


My boss, who I do like even if, as a manager, she's about as effective as Dan Quayle proctoring a spelling bee (yes, I cull completely untimely and unfunny jokes from my childhood. If you don't like it, gtfo), very kindly informed me that my contract will not be extended. I am done at the end of October.

11 September 2013

"Were you just discussing some sort of life-altering fear of moths with one of your little Internet friends?"

Irrational fears are one of the freakiest little absurd joys of my life. I'm not generally a skittish person, but when I am, my reaction is pure and visceral.

Moths, for instance, are my insect nemesisesseseses.

09 September 2013

Politics and Paranoia, or I Need an Isolation Chamber

I have come to the earth-shattering conclusion that I am truly, truly horrible at office politics. Anyone who knows me even a little probably understands this intrinsically. 

Most of my inability to play the politics of any given office setting is my misanthropic bent. However much my MA in human rights might belie the aforementioned assertion, the reality is I'm a cynic and misanthrope at heart, not because I hate people per se (or rather, the idea of people), but because I cannot reconcile their accompanying bullshit.

08 September 2013

The New Deal

Honore Daumier: Baissez le rideau, la farce est jouee. (Lower the curtain, the farce is ended.)
In this case, it continues on in a new act.
As you can probably tell by the above picture, as well as the new look, title, and feel of this blog, I've done some serious housekeeping and I might also be obsessed with art deco styling (the latter is nothing new). And if you've popped in for a read in the last twenty-four hours, you've probably seen the awkward birthing process of this whole ordeal. Really, it was time for a change.

07 September 2013

Individuality and Pinning It

or, I Am Such a Fucking Unique and Special Snowflake

One of the reasons I even remembered that I have a tattoo is because my friend Kat pointed out that my tattoo has a life of its own, largely on Pinterest. Kat's blog, Unbecoming, is fantastic and crafty and bookish and adorable and I highly recommend popping over if you have a chance, but she has a Pinterest account and my tattoo showed up on her feed one day. I don't have Pinterest, I think it is essentially the Internet equivalent of folding a fitted sheet, but that's neither here nor there. Kat asked, "Is it weird that I can recognize the back of you?" And I thought, "not really, I mean, my tattoo is unique..."

07 April 2013

She Who Has the Gold...

It's no secret that ever since I quit my job in the den of racist privilege back in October of 2011, Adam and I have not exactly been rolling in dough. For a long time, I relegated the household expenses to him, as he was the main breadwinner and I felt it would be inappropriate if I started making calls on how he spent his money.

25 February 2013

In Defense of the Renaissance (Wo)Man

A few weeks ago, an old associate of my father's invited me in to his very prestigious, very successful advertising and marketing firm for a chat. I intrinsically understood that this was a casual chat, but I couldn't help but hope that a job in some form might miraculously materialize out of this meeting. I went in with high hopes in spite of myself and the downward trajectory that my job hunt and self-esteem have been on lately.

When I sat down to chat with the man, a Steve Jobsish clone in his mid-fifties who invited me to have a cup of coffee while he selected a 5-hour Energy for himself, I quickly realized that the conversation was not going to go the way I was hoping.

18 February 2013

On the Go

I finally got a new phone. My old iPhone 4 was in shambles. I'd never updated the operating system because my computer is ancient and is too old for the newer versions of iTunes. I dropped that thing so many times that after replacement screen three, Adam patently refused to work on it again. For nearly a year, I've used a phone with a shattered screen, spotty service, and outdated software. And it worked!

24 January 2013

On Account of Excessive Excitement

I got my 1,000,000th rejection email from one of the big, local insurance companies today. They really should have a giveaway associated with that, but seeing as they're mostly technically competitors, I can't see them going halfsies (halvsies?) on anything like that. The giveaway could be really exciting, like "Free Yugo with Your 1,000,000 Rejection!" or "Free Health Insurance for a Week with your One Millionth Rejection!" The alternative, of course, would be to just give me a fucking job, but whatever. Sweepstakes are apparently NOT FOR EVERYONE. ("Everyone" likely being all of us looking for jobs right now.)

22 January 2013

Failure Like the Back of My Hand

If  you look at this picture, you might assume that this past weekend I got into some crazy bar fight, or I worked at the farm, or possibly slipped dramatically on my way into work today and cut my knuckles on ice or the odd stack of junk mail. None of that is the case.

On Friday night, I gesticulated wildly into an overhead hanging light fixture at a dive bar. I'm 99% sure I have hepatitis now. (No worries, I was only using my liver under the powers of evil, anyway.)

17 January 2013

The Real Cost of Things

Simon, far, and Chloe, our newest family member.
On New Year's Day, the three of us - Adam, me, and Simon - woke up at Rob and Arnica's, who good friends of ours who probably enjoy Simon's company more than ours (though their yellow lab, Maddy, might disagree). I woke up first because the double bed the three of us were sharing was not big enough for two adults and a 100 pound puppy, and made my way through their house, helping to tidy at way too early an hour for a person who went to bed at 4 a.m. Arnica rose shortly thereafter and we  groggily cleaned and attempted to make small talk through the alcohol haze.

16 January 2013

Salmo Salar

Salmo salar, the Atlantic Salmon,
image c/o nationalgeographic.com
It occurred to me today, as I sat fuming at my desk, methodically, if not emphatically, pushing the keys on my keyboard to the rhythms of Wilson Pickett, that I have a the unhelpful habit of consistently working against myself. Rather than selecting the most logical, easy, well-worn route to any destination, somehow, I almost inevitably choose the path of most resistance. Surely, there must be a singular word for people who consistently work against their own best interests, aside from masochist, but I can't find it. [Unrelated, if you Google "people who consistently work against their own best interests," you will get a slew of articles attempting vainly to explain why anyone votes Republican. I shit you not. Give it a try!]

15 January 2013

The Importance of Being Earnest

I wouldn't normally write more than one post in a day, but it seems I have the time and the will this morning to do exactly that.

I just had the strangest phone interview of my life. After a very successful traditional interview for a work-at-home job I would positively thrive in, I returned a call from a headhunter regarding an account coordinator position to which I applied last weekend.

The headhunter, before saying anything other than typical pleasantries, asked what I wanted for pay because "this position doesn't pay well."

I responded by knocking down my ideal pay grade by $10k.

"Ok, so you're still in the running," she said. "Before we go on, I need to tell you a bit about what I call the job from hell."

Thankfully, this was a phone interview, so she couldn't see my eyes bug out of my head. The very honest headhunter went on to describe a job that would essentially entail sitting in an office for eight hours a day, responding to client emails, and translating client requests to the design department. 

"I'm looking at your resume," she sighed. "You'd be bored to death here. There is no room for professional advancement, only expansion if duties. You're far too creative and smart to stay with this horrible, poorly paid job..."

I stammered a bit. Firstly, the job she described wasn't really at all the job I applied for. The job I applied for described traveling and event planning and marketing. Secondly, the headhunter, who also owns her own marketing firm, broke it down so candidly that my brain shut off. Who the hell is that honest these days? It was so refreshing that it was like being forced to participate in a polar swim.

She went on to compliment me thoroughly and completely reject me as a possible candidate for this job. I understand that her job is to find a permanent employee for the position and she wasn't going to stick me in there knowing I'd be bored and leaving in a short time. We shared a hearty laugh over what I'm doing now, and she passed on a few company names that do what she does, but might actually have a job I'd like. 

I can't quite wrap my head around why she even contacted me to begin with seeing as she accurately determined I wasn't right for the job long before we spoke, but I was not only impressed but motivated by her candor; there are other marketing professionals out there with a intolerance for bullshit.

Subterranean Homesick Alien

You three regular readers might have noticed that things have changed around here. The former blerg layout that I was using seemed strangely antiseptic to me, so I spent the two hours last night pointlessly sifting through free templates and code on the Internet only to get fed up with the crap and opt for a stock blogger background image and stock blogger layout that was exceptionally fun to tweak (no it wasn't).

I wanted to create a blog, or blerg as I think I'm calling it from now on, that both textually and visually represented who I think I am.

First off, I'm not a coder, or a web designer, or any of that, because if I were, I wouldn't have a stock photo of the Houses of Parliament slapped behind whatever nonsense I write. I got frustrated and a little bored, and more than a bit stiff from sitting on the couch squished by two dogs, so I stopped looking. Ergo, I ultimately opted for an image that makes me happy. Perhaps I'll change that someday, too, though I do enjoy the color scheme. Secondly, in the 120 minutes I burned sifting through blog templates, I discovered that I loathe 99.9% of the free layouts out there and the .1% I do like were in xml and I was just not willing to deal with that shit. Patience is not a virtue with which I have ever been blessed.

The thing is, I was searching for a blog that was clean, subtle, but without the coldness or sterility or grunge explosion that makes up so much of the trends in design happening in the last few years. So my other options happened to be fluffy, flirty, cutesy, crafty, girlie templates that almost all had the shared descriptor of "whimsical." If there is one thing I am not, aside from bubbly, it would be whimsical. Sure, Alice in Wonderland is one of my favorite books, but if you read the novel rather than drink the Disney Kool-Aid, it's not exactly all on the up and up. And Lewis Carroll was probably a pedo, anyway, which is horrifying.

At any rate, I selected an image that makes me at once nostalgic for a time and a place that probably wasn't as good I would like to believe it was, but better than I feel right in this moment, and sometimes a little melancholy is ok. I don't know if it's normal to feel homesick for a place that's not really home, and possibly never was, but there are times when I want to go back and do it over, do it better, and find myself a permanent niche in the city that still holds so much of my heart.

14 January 2013

INTP Aquarius Seeks Skeptic and Cynic with whom to Mock Pseudosciences

Which one indicates a low tolerance for bullshit?
Last week I logged some overtime (!!), which is almost exclusively a good thing because we're so broke we're broken. The reason I worked overtime was due to a required meeting/Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator session. (Frankly, I think they should offer supplemental insurance at my place of work strictly for eye-strain from rolling one's eyes in an epic fashion.)

I realize that some people lurve the MBTI and think it explains their every motivation, just like some people are adherents to astrology, or numerology, or theosophy, or Dionne fucking Warwick's Psychic Friends Network, or organized religion. And I know that the MBTI is based upon Carl Jung's work, but Carl Jung liked to operate from anecdotes and rather despised hard data, and sure, when you operate in the amalgam of nonsense that is the human psyche, that's probably acceptable. Except when it isn't, which would be when you try to shoehorn me into a fucking box. (Don't get me wrong, a brilliant and exceptional friend of mine is currently getting her PhD in psychoanalysis - which is more Freud than Jung at any rate - and it is fucking AWESOME, but this rant is in relation to wasting my damn time at work with a test originally designed to sort enlisted personnel in the US Armed Forces into appropriate skill sets.)

The thing is - and here are is an anecdote for you - I've taken this test, or variations thereof, several times throughout my life. Several times because I spend A LOT of time dicking around on the Internet, that's why. Every time I've taken this test, or it's knockoffs, I've elicited a different result. Hm. Curious.

MBTI Certified Instructors (or Administrators? Directors? Henchmen? Pooh-Bahs?) will tell you that you can move among these indicators throughout your lifetime, but also that usually, types are fairly fixed. They will also tell you that the free tests for it online are not the same as the real tests, but I suspect that's because they paid for a certification course and are not pleased with the likelihood that a computer algorithm can do what they think they do faster and for free. Curiouser.

So I went to this required session, which wasn't exactly an administered MBTI so much as an informative session about the basic MBTI dichotomies and we all loosely made half-informed assumptions about on which side of each dichotomy we landed. Knowing this session was coming, I took an online MBTI assessment that morning and ended up as an INTP - Introvert, iNtuitive, Thinking, Perceiving. Really, that part doesn't matter. Go forth and investigate my personality, oh intrepid Internet skulkers! Or don't, because it's poppycock.

I call it poppycock because when you read each personality type, you can easily squeeze your own perception of yourself into many, if not all, of the possible types. Curiouser and curiouser.

It's like reading up on your astrological signs. Yes, I do fit the "typical" description of an aquarius, but I could just as easily be associated with any of the other sun signs. Astrologers will account for this through the implementation of ascendent signs, and moon influences, and planetary alignments. I account for this through a willingness on the behalf of both the astrologers (or test administrators) and their clients (or subjects) to find correlation to their experiences within whatever explanation is offered. Because life is easier when we can create simplistic and reductive explanations for complex things. This is a known phenomenon, it's why stereotypes exist - for better or worse - and why people choose to often base opinions on the paths of least resistance and minimized cognitive dissonance. So, many embrace their MBTI results, or their star signs, or e-meter Scientology readings, because they tell them what they ultimately want to hear.

After all, my INTP personality type du jour says immensely flattering things. I'm "The Thinker." Creative! Intelligent! Objectively critical! Also, they say shit like this:
They're very tolerant and flexible in most situations, unless one of their firmly held beliefs has been violated or challenged, in which case they may take a very rigid stance. The INTP is likely to be very shy when it comes to meeting new people. On the other hand, the INTP is very self-confident and gregarious around people they know well, or when discussing theories which they fully understand.
HA! Who doesn't that apply to? Rush Limbaugh, maybe, who takes nonsensical stances just to be consistently in the top running for The World's Biggest Schmuck. The other MBTI types also say flattering things. Generalized things. Obtuse and intentionally obfuscating and sometimes contradictory things.

And, as Adam pointed out, these sorts of assessments offer too many people a fucking cop-out for their incompetence or blatantly idiotic behavior. You know, the "well, I never learned to spell anything or learned to user a semicolon because I've got a math/science brain" people. No, you never learned to because you didn't feel it was important or you were lazy. It's why I don't give two shits about calculus. I don't claim I never tried because I've got a "humanities oriented" mind, I never tried because it was hard work and I'm lazy, but can recognize that I could still benefit from knowing it.

There are so many variations on this theme, such as last Christmas (2011) when an extremely well-meaning, but entirely misguided extended family member gave me this book that was designed to set me on the right career path. I do love her, she is kind and generous and very, very intelligent and sometimes, I swear she lives in a universe that I am yet to explore. Just to paint a picture, a very successful something-or-other for a company that makes advanced weapons systems for the U.S. government, she once offered to get me a job at her company when I returned home from grad school with an MA in human rights. Clearly, her heart was in the right place, but there was a serious ideological disconnect there. Anyway, at Christmas dinner last year, she explained that she gave this to all her subordinate employees and it fucking blew. their. minds. (My words, just to be clear. I don't think she has ever dropped the f-bomb. Ever. Maybe once, in like 1973, but it was probably the wine and the heady intellectual atmosphere at Princeton.)

When she brought it to Christmas dinner, she proffered my unexpected gift along with the general caveat, "I brought one for Courtney, but, I do have some extra copies for those who want them." FORM AN ORDERLY FUCKING QUEUE, YOU HEATHENS.

Apparently, interning for free at a goat farm was bound to lead me to financial ruin, a new strain of swine flu, or possibly a persistent aroma of spoiled milk and hay. But everyone still liked the fresh chèvre gratis, I might point out.

For me to start this great oracle of professional personality, I had to create an online account, answer god-awful, ridiculous, leading, and NOT AT ALL consistently or logically dichotomous questions for an hour and a half. I could only take the test ONCE, so I had to make.it.count.you.lazy.bastard. After 90 god-forsaken minutes of these absurd questions, wherein I vacillated among offense, anger, and hysteria, I received a *bleep*boop*blop* from the website and was given five - count 'em - FIVE defining strengths. I think had to write them in indelible ink on my precious book, and then use said book to look up these characteristics and discover who I really am. I think around reading about Strength Three I discovered I was the type or person most prone to using this book as a coaster at best, and more likely as something with which to sop up especially bilious cat vomit. I mean, really, look at that book cover. Those words aren't even the same parts of speech! GAH. Also, the pocket-sized book costs like $30, so I just might be the type of person to figure out how to create bullshit metrics with which to hose large corporations, managerial staff, and well-meaning matriarchs. Think about it.

At work, we were told that we had to participate in this session so as to better interact with our fellow employees. The most comical part of that, aside from the inaccuracies and inherent individual bias that the MBTI elicits, is that my job really doesn't require any interaction with my coworkers. Cooperation isn't really a part of the work. That's not to say I'm uncooperative, it's to say that, for fuck's sake, data input doesn't require collaboration! But businesses love their metrics and matrices. And they relish their ability to place people in ticky tacky boxes so we don't question what the fuck they're up to or why the hell we keep working for them. Though, you know, that sentiment could be my INTP "problem with self-aggrandizement and social rebellion..." and possibility that "[I]f the INTP is not able to find a place for themself which supports the use of their strongest abilities, they may become generally negative and cynical."

Curious, indeed. 

13 January 2013

Commitment to... Anything

I'm usually good with attribution, but I lost this one. Mea culpa.
I'm almost 29. Crap. And frankly, the most stringent commitment I can make for myself is to attend a beekeeping class once a week for the month of January.

So, with that in mind, I'm making the commitment RIGHT NOW to write a blog post everyday until my birthday on February 2. Besides, I've been feeling restless and angsty and altogether far too much like a pissant, and I think that having this creative pursuit that I'm bound to will help break the monotony of work and job applications. Don't you worry, it will likely involve a lot of my typical kvetching about work, but maybe I'll remember how to be optimistic every once in a while, too. HA.

I crack myself up; and after all, what is this blog are most blogs if not mental masturbation?

P.S. Kat, I will count this as capitulation, at least in part, to your nagging.

Snobbery and the Great and Infamous Whore

My current reading material. Anything with that quote can't be that scary, amirite?
Image c/o the fantastic author's website.
A few days ago, while chatting with the only coworker who actually talks to me on the reg, I became aware of two things. One, reading on my lunch break apparently sends scary brain signals out to my fellow employees and they are intimidated by me and consider me an intellectual snob. And two, no matter how unobtrusive one attempts to become, others will gladly make decisions about who they think you are.

One might have thought I would have made that last leap long ago, you know, as a preteen when everyone else got the fucking memo, but I never really did. Why? Well here it is. I recall being picked on in 6th grade by a precociously aggressive and surprisingly sexual peer. My response to her attempted jibe was one of cheerfulness and affected idiocy and she never bothered me again. When I later offhandedly recounted my tale to my mother, she said something about gossips being gossips and not letting small minds get me down. To which I responded, "I'm not important enough to talk about." And I've pretty much carried on with that thought since. This isn't a discussion of failing ego or low self-esteem, rather, I knew I didn't then, and don't now, strive to float about in the circles where people are the topic du jour, rather than ideas. As such, I was, even at age twelve, aware that I possessed little-to-no social currency and thought my impoverished state would keep me from being a hot topic.

So I have, as I always have, retained a quiet, observant demeanor in a new environment. (If I am welcomed in, or posited interesting ideas, hold on to your britches, but that's another matter altogether.) It's not like I don't talk to people. In fact, I cheerfully respond in full to anyone who addresses me, attempt to invite further conversation, and often try to chime in on discussions around me. Cubicles are horrible for privacy, whether you want some or not, and I will often attempt to join an occasionally topical, benign chat that people near me are loudly having with EVERYONE ELSE. This usually fails miserably, as if I am a scrawny chimpanzee attempting to join the silver backs' society, and I pop my headphones back in and turn up the opera (by opera, I mean an amalgam of Journey and ELO) and return to regurgitating meaningless information meaninglessly. (It's what we snobs do, don't you know?)

Listen, I know I can be an intellectual snob, but that usually only comes out in discussions, which I have yet to have with pretty much 99% of my fellow employees. So, by practicing what I like to call reading, I've somehow been painted a scary, horrible snob who wouldn't deign to speak with my fellow cubicle denizens. This is not true. I tend to try, at the very least, to take people as they are, for who they are, and find common ground. But I have problems doing so when the very act of opening my mouth is oft met with blank stares. And when one of the women sitting near me gossips mercilessly with a friend, quiet enough to be subtle, but loud enough for me to know I'd prefer not to be the subject of a discussion like that, I think maybe being quiet and minding my Ps and Qs is the best way to get on with things. But alas, it seems I have not gone as unnoticed as I would have liked.

Ironically enough, the book I've had my nose stuffed in most recently is the one pictured above, a comprehensive biography of Mary Boleyn, sister to the beheaded Anne Boleyn, second wife of King Henry VIII. I'm reading it because Kat left it behind after her week of being stranded in the US, and suggested I might enjoy it. I am, and Mary and her world are compelling and interesting. Her entire existence, as we understand it, was essentially colored and redrawn through gossips motivated by ulterior motives, whether to besmirch Henry VIII or her sister, or simply out of assumption and conjecture in the desire to paint a more tawdry picture of a young woman who seemed, for all intents and purposes, to exist without a meaning of control, but made the most of her time anyway. Not all that bad, in a nutshell. You know, except for being painted as a "great and infamous whore" for 500 years.  For those interested in history, and not the Scarlett Johansson and The Tudors festooned "historical" shenanigans that we've been subjected to of late regarding Mary Boleyn, it's a worthy read. Weir also wrote a biography of Eleanor of Aquitaine, which I bet is really fantastic because she was one saucy lady who lived to be roughly 80, which is not a bad run for our time, but unbelievable for the fucking twelfth century. But I digress.

The one coworker I speak with regularly is affable and odd and rather dorky. So, you know, my kind of people. I realize I could talk to him when he wrote an email to the ENTIRE department rife with Lord of the Rings references, which I deeply appreciate because if you can't chuckle at a good hobbit second-breakfast reference then GTFO of my house. But when he told me that others are standoffish because of their perception of me, I am saddened, confused, and more than a little annoyed at myself. What has this post been, anyway, if not a bolstering of the very fact that I am, in fact, an intellectual snob? But really, I tried. I asked to join lunch tables, participated in company activities, brought food to the potluck. And I'm not going to stop trying, but I'm also not going to stop looking for a job that is less freaked out by my intellect and more appreciative of it.

The truth is, when, at a job like this, expectations are such that employees are asked only to go through the motions -- and in a culture that seems to actively quash the thought of personal development -- that's what people devolve to. And I work in a scenario that allows adults, bored and stunted, to live as though they are permanently in high school -- gossiping, snarking, and shunning at will. It's virtually inhumane. (And I'm allergic to the building. Thank Dog for Zyrtec.)

All the same, this persona non grata status does open the door for some intensely fascinating social fuckery. My new plan: get up from my desk exactly every 37 minutes and wander the floor of the office with a clipboard, taking notes while looking over my glasses at various individuals, and making thoughtful noises in the back of my throat.

Intellectual snob, out!

12 January 2013

On Pyromania

If you don't know/haven't seen it, it's about blowing up a bridge.
Also, it's a fantastic film.

I have a habit. A problematic habit that I only realized I have the other day in the shower when I was using my apricot face scrub on my legs because I can never get my shit together enough to remember to moisturize.

I realized, as I was considering the pictures of a baby who is the progeny of a friend from college, that I have only really retained contact with a few of the people with whom I attended college. And in fact, I completely cut ties with many of them, decisions to sever connections borne out of fits of angst or annoyance.

I don't just burn bridges, I blow them right the fuck up. And I need to stop.

Perhaps it's my overwhelming frustration with the kind sycophantic behavior which one is expected to perform during "networking" that prevents my super ego from relinquishing the idea that once I've moved on from a place, I'm done with it. I am not great at maintaining friendships over time and distance. I'm not sure why, exactly, especially with all our social media available that allows us to discover every whim and bowel movement that Sally in Shanghai has, but I tend to let relationships ebb and flow and - more often than I should - entirely dissipate. It's nothing intentional, but perhaps a symptom of introverted laziness, or shyness, or fear.

Here and there I have a smattering of friendships retained from previous employers, but never with supervisors or the so-called movers-and-shakers who could help retrain my career on the right path. I keep close with my peers, my teachers - the friends who show me something new about life every time I see them or speak to them - and my fellow proletariat worker bees.

The problem is that I see no intrinsic value in superficial relationships designed solely for my professional advancement. And even while I can type those words, I am extremely aware of the practical benefits of exactly those same relationships. But I have never been able to reconcile the two.

Recently, I applied for a job at a marketing company that seemed like a fantastic place to work. I was rejected form the initial position, but the CEO liked me so much, he called me in to interview for another position later on. I was flattered, extremely excited, and dare I say even optimistic when I interview for the social media manager position. I took a risk, then, and sent them to this blog. I also know that this blog is probably why I didn't get hired, but it was worth the gamble if it helped me obtain the position. Truthfully, I was also aware that my second go-round with the company was ultimately my last opportunity with them, job or no job. And the rejection hurt, even though I know I shot myself in the foot on this one. Regardless, I burned that bridge before it was even completed. Perhaps on some level, I knew I wasn't right for that company, or perhaps my irreverence toward authority got the best of me and my continual thumbing-of-nose at any and all structures of power overtook the practicality of finding a job that doesn't make me feel like I'm slowly being lobotomized.

I know I'm not the only one who does this. Adam told me once of his father's "Jerry Maguire moment" at a job; he wrote a scathing "manifesto" about the company he worked for and quit, presumably going out in a spectacular ball of flame as I am wont to do. I quit my last career-oriented job without notice, without any warning, and when I spoke to the HR manager later that day, I read her the riot act. She was a nice woman, well-meaning and entirely powerless. I only speak to a handful of people I worked with there, and even them, am cautious and guarded and can feel those friendships slipping away.

There's a resistance in me to play the game, as I've said before, but this is something much worse. I look behind me and see islands where there should be contiguous land masses, shadows where there should be friends and acquaintances. Irreverence only works if you can get paid to do so.

So, as the cliché goes, may the bridges I burn light my way... and hopefully one of those burning timbers will smack me upside the head the next time I'm tempted to strap dynamite to an abutment.