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Archive for March, 2009

Writer’s Block

I like to channel my anger into blogging. My writing has become better because of it.

However, I haven’t been able to write about anything in the past few weeks, anything of substance anyway.

Does this mean that I’m not angry anymore? Or does this mean I’m only a writer when I’m angry?

Anyway, I will be back as soon as I can shake this writer’s block.

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Being a recent graduate in a free-falling economy is a pretty big blow to the ego. It’s one thing to be a recent graduate (I’m actually not even that recent anymore) completing with other grads to find your first “real-world” job. It’s a completely different thing when, on top of the other graduates, you’ are now competing with the millions of qualified people who were recently laid off. Once again, we have been pushed to the bottom of the barrel. No one wants to hire a recent graduate with little experience when they can take a qualified people who has been working in the job force for 10+ years. No one wants to hire a recent graduate when they can dub a position as an “unpaid internship” and give it to current college students as a means of free labor.

I will say, for the record, that chances are, these people who are more qualified probably need the job more than I do. After all, I don’t have a family I need to support, nor do I have mortgage payments or even loans to pay off for that matter. In that aspect, I do consider myself extremely grateful. However, recent graduates need to start somewhere too. We don’t want to continue to be a burden to our parents. We want to be able to sustain a steady income to support our future family. We are juts as important as all the laid-off employees.

Needless to say, I’ve become pretty bitter.

However, seeing that I have been blessed with an excess amount of time, I’ve been trying to see the good things in life, even if they are so tiny that it doesn’t matter. In the past couple of weeks, I have watched my mood fluxuate up and down and I have noticed that, when my mood is up, it is because of tiny details. Tiny enough that it would have otherwise gone unnoticed had I not been paying close attention.

The little things that make my day

  • A sunny day with white clouds in the sky. Okay let’s face it Californians, there’s a reason why we are hated by the rest of the nation (aside from housing Hollywood), it’s because our weather can’t be beat! You gotta admit, a nice day versus a dreary day can really make the difference in your mood. That being said, while I appreciate the sprouts of rainy days we’ve been getting (it’s really needed) I have definitely been enjoying this great weather, minus the summer heat.
  • Nice people during traffic. Again, California is home to the angriest drivers in the nation. So when you come across that rare person who waves to let you into their lane during 5-mph traffic, it makes you a little bit happier to see such random acts of kindness. Yes, in the state of California, that is considered a random act of kindness.
  • Sleeping in. While, I envy the people who get to look forward to a paycheck every 2 weeks, I don’t envy their 6AM wake-up call to fight traffic just to sit in an office all day. Although I hope I’ll be able to enjoy the workforce soon, I will take full advantage of my ability to sleep in as late as I want.
  • Personalized mail/mail in general. Does anyone even send out letter mail anymore? It’s no wonder its always a nice surprise when you receive a letter from an old friend, or a package for something you ordered on the Internet. Okay, that last one you already knew it would come but still, it’s always nice to see mail with your name on it.
  • Hearing an old song on the radio. Yes we all have the ability to customize our music playlist but it’s always nice to unexpectedly hear a song you haven’t heard in ages. Maybe it’s the nostalgic feelings that come with it or maybe it just reminds you of a good memory. Either way, you can’t help but smile when you hear a blast from the past. It’s even better when you’re in the car with your 10-year-old cousin, who has no idea what the song is or who the artist it. It shocks you and then you realize you’re just getting old.
  • Friendly and helpful customer service. It can come in any form: an attentive waiter, a helpful customer service rep, a friendly employee who makes your life just a little bit easier. Whatever it is that you are looking for or need, these people make the transition for you ever so smoothly. You gotta admit, these people make your life a lot simpler when you only have to spend 2 minutes on the phone with them, as opposed to the unhelpful customer service reps who take 2 hours of your life trying to find your information on their computer.
  • Finding a great sale online that expires before 5PM. If I were employed, I would not have been able to find these deals.
  • Empty malls, empty restaurants, and most importantly, empty parking lots. If you have ever spent 30 minutes trying to find a damn parking spot, then you will know how much that will make or break your day. That being said, your day is already looking good when parking never even becomes an issue.

What are the little things in your life that make your day? Count them. I’m sure there’s a lot more than you realize.

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I got hustled today. Outside of Walmart. In broad day light.

Damn these girls. There they were, dressed in their green vests and white undershirts. You couldn’t avoid them. They were literally right outside the doors of Walmart. Prime traffic area.  Their wide-eyes staring up at me telling me about how the proceeds would go to help…I don’t know. I was too mesmerized. Mesmerized by the boxes in front of me. Thin Mints. Somoas. Tagalongs. Staring at me, waiting for me to pick them up and hand over my $4 for each box.

These girls weren’t even that friendly. They already knew I got suckered in. You could see it all over my face as I stared at those boxes for a good minute without talking. They didn’t even need to convince me anymore. One of them even held out her hand for the money, before I even said I wanted to buy a few. She already knew. Those conniving little girls.

What is it about these cookies?! I want to say it’s the girls but honestly, these boxes sell themselves. It doesn’t help that they come out once a year and all of us are too lazy to just go directly to the makers themselves. Instead, we opt for the middle man, who come in the form of green-vest wearing nine-year-olds.

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Relationships are complicated. Anyone can vouch for that. Everyone likes the giddy butterfly feelings in the early stages of dating but for some reason everyone always denies the frustration and aggravation that comes with it. The flirting, the teasing, the will-he-or-won’t-he-text-or-call-me-back? From the  does-he-really-like-me questions to the why-haven’t-I-heard-from-him thoughts, it all evokes the same feeling: anxiety

The same goes for job hunting. They give you a call, it makes you smile. It makes you wonder: Do they like me? Do they want to call me and ask me on a date (aka interview)? Then you get the call for an interview. Score! You prep for an interview like you prep for a date. You brush up on your communication skills, you prepare what you’re going to talk about the night before, you lay out all your clothes, making sure that you will dress to impress. Then comes the interview. You meet, you smile, you laugh, you connect. You get good vibes from them. You feel like this is going well. You leave feeling confident. You go to sleep thinking that it was a success. Then you wake up. Welcome to the waiting game! Your mind starts to brew: Did I impress them yesterday? Was it just me or did was the feeling mutual? Do they like me enough to call me back for a second (interview) date? Why aren’t they calling me back already?!

Let’s all be honest okay? When you first start dating someone that you’re really interested in, you find yourself constantly checking your phone, seeing if you got any missed calls or text messages. You’ll flip open your phone every hour or so (or maybe even every 15 minutes or so) just in case you might have missed something, even though your cell phone volume is on full blast.

Let’s be honest okay? We do the exact same thing when looking for a job. We constantly check our phone for unknown numbers that call because hopefully, that unknown number will be my future company calling me with a job offer. Instead of checking for text messages, we’re checking for unchecked voicemail messages.

Sucks doesn’t it? This is the real-life version of playing The Bachelor/Bachelorette: Job Hunting edition. Will you get the final rose (offer)? Will it be you?!

It still amazes me how a company will either make or break my day. So far, they’ve all been breaking my day. But like the perfect dumpee, I always tell myself, “It wasn’t a good match anyway, it wouldn’t have worked out in the long run” Like any well-conditioned girl, I am trained to tell myself that there are plenty other companies in the sea who are willing and ready to have me as their employee.

So attention all companies: Stop with the teasing. Stop with the mind games. If you don’t like me from the get-go, please reject me before the interview is over. Spare me the agony of playing the waiting game.  Thanks

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I need a job soon. Not for the money but for my sanity. I absolutely love sleeping in but I hate feeling unproductive. I need to be able to interact with people, even if I don’t consider them friends. I need to be able to do mundane work that ultimately contributes very little and continues to deteriorate my work ethic (haha kidding). I need to be able to have some sort of schedule to work around so I can start planning future vacations, trips or personal crap, whatever that may be.

Okay fine. I don’t need those things but I really want those things. I also want an income so I don’t feel guilty eating out anymore or buying a shirt that’s on sale. I want an income so I can actually have a social life without trying to calculate in my head if this cheeseburger will have a huge impact on my weekly budget. I want an income so I can focus my worries on other things. I want an income so my friends can stop giving me pity. Geez, I’m unemployed, I’m not poor. I don’t need your free lunches (although it’s very nice of you to offer). I don’t want to be your charity case.

That being said, my social life has become pretty lame because let’s face it, 99% of social activities require money. Sure you can do cheaper things like rent a movie (which I’ve done so much that the workers recognize me now) or grab coffee with your friend but trust me, those little things add up. Trust me, I didn’t realize my “coffee dates” with friends would become 35% of my credit card bill. Conniving little coffee shop, you have robbed me. Therefore, I have chosen the anti-social life.

These are other things that have changed:

  • Bad TV has now become a staple in my life. I need my weekly fix of LOST, CSI and Grey’s Anatomy just as badly as I need Gossip Girl, Desperate Housewives, Girls Next Door and a half dozen more. What used to be a “I’ll save it for when I’m bored” has become a “If I watch one episode I will have one less hour to figure out how to spend it.” I find myself becoming sad when I see that there won’t be a new episode for the week or even for a couple of weeks.
  • I used to update my Facebook on a bi-weekly or monthly basis with random outings with friends. What used to be a 2 photo albums every 3-4 weeks has dwindled to half a photo album every 8-9 weeks with nothing interesting. Okay I realize this one is pathetic but it has revealed my non-existent social life to what it truly is.
  • I can’t contribute to a single conversation anymore that doesn’t involve the words “recession” or “unemployed” or “job hunting” How pathetic is that? Isn’t there anything else I can talk about? No because that’s all I focus my energy on. That and my weekly bad tv-watching schedule.
  • I update this thing more often now, I write on Yelp way more times than I really should, I twitter even when I have nothing to twitter about and now I know more about all my Facebook friends than I care to know, because I’ve gotten so bored I’ve looked at 95% of every actual update. My gosh.

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I know, I know, there are plenty of other people who’ve gone to more interviews and have gotten more rejections than me. In this world, there is always someone who has it worse than you. So here are two emails I got from two out of the 11 companies that rejected me. I’ll admit, it didn’t bother me at first because I became immune to it. Then 10 minutes later, I would mope and then 15 minutes later I would get annoyed. Why do they always say nice fake things? Why do they try to compliment you while rejecting you? That’s like the classic break-up line “You’re a really great person and it’s not you, it’s me”.

Example #1

Dear Diana,

Thank you for meeting with us last week. Although your resume was exceptional and impressive, we have been getting an unusually high amount of applicants this season and we have decided to pursue other applicants. We appreciate your time to meet with us and we wish you the best of  luck

Sincerely,
Company #1

Example #2

Dear Diana,

It was a pleasure meeting you last week! You really stood out to us and made a lasting impression. However, we regret to inform you that we have decided to go with another candidate. We’ve been receiving an overwhelming amount of applicants this year but we request that we keep your resume on file for future consideration. Thanks again and good luck with everything!

Regards,
Company #2

Yes I know it’s not personal. I know it’s strictly business. I hope they realize I don’t see it as, “Oh! They think I have a great resume!” because personally, I see it is “Hey you’re good…but not good enough so sucks for you!” haha okay maybe I’m just being bitter now.

So here is my letter in response to them and all future rejection emails that I will receive.

Dear Company-who-didn”t-want-me,

Thanks for considering my application. I’m sorry I didn’t meet your need. Please don’t feel the need to tell me that my resume was strong because clearly it wasn’t strong enough. What I would appreciate though is some feedback. Please tell me what wasn’t good enough. I understand that you are extremely busy but if all companies did this, I believe that every company, including yours, would get better applicants in the future. Why? Because we would learn what we’re doing wrong. Is it our lack of experience? Are we horrible at interviews? Do we give off bad first impressions? Please, tell us what it is! Everytime I get a rejection, I’m not sure if it’s due to my lack of experience (being that I’m a recent graduate) or if I’m just horrible at interviews. If it’s my resume then at least I know I can work on beefing that up (if I can get a job with the crap resume). If it’s my interviewing skills then at least I know I can work on improving both my non-verbal and verbal communication skills. Consider it constructive criticism if you will. If other companies had done this for their candidates who were now applying to your company, you could have gotten better applicants all together. So please, no more false compliments. If you’re going to reject me, just reject me and tell me why. If I really was a great candidate but someone was just a little better, that would help me too. I’ll just have to make sure my future competition won’t be better than me. Thanks

Sincerely,
Diana

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