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Archive for May, 2009

It’s official. Okay, maybe not official since I’ve been up here for the last four months but after I hauled all my clothes up from Orange County this past weekend, I feel like I officially live in the Bay Area.

Most people I know from this area always wanted a chance to live in LA but no one from down south EVER wanted to live in the Bay Area. Except me.

Although I did not anticipate my unemployment/bum status for this long, I gotta admit, it’s been both nice and frustrating living in a new area (although it looks like an older version of Orange County) Without my usual group of friends or usual hangout spots, it’s been interesting trying to settle in a new place.

The pros:

1. Everything is new. I can actually try new restaurants because I don’t have the comfort of old ones to fall back on. No more complaining of “Ugh, what do you want to do tonight? Nooo we did that last week!” because everything is now, “Hm, I’ve never been there, let’s try it!” Realistically, the new area is just a different cookie-cutter version that I was used to back home. However, the people are different and it’s just nice to have (somewhat of) a change.

2.New Friends Okay, I have to admit, I’ve lagged on this department since I devote the last five months to job searching. It’s also hard to find new friends considering I don’t know where to go and I’m not privy on just walking up to random people. It also doesn’t help when all the friends I do have here, all happen to live 45+ minutes away. Okay, this one will take a while but it’s nice to meet new people without the “Oh hey you’re ____’s friend/cousin/co-worker/classmate/etc”

3. Being on my own. It’s a weird feeling but it’s kind of nice. On the one hand, it’s pretty lonely coming home to an empty house, on the other, it’s great to come home to an empty house when you don’t feel like talking to anyone. I don’t have roommates I need to cater or take into consideration. It’s all about me. But again, it’s still kind of lonely. Maybe I should’ve brought my dog up with me.

4. Using the “I’m new here” excuse. Lame but true. It’s a good excuse when I don’t want to talk about some area-related business. It’s an even greater excuse when I do dumb things like get lost because it’s the only excusable one (aside from a family-related emergency). It’s especially great when stupid companies try to sign you up for things so I have to tell them I’m still not sure what my address is (totally not true but if I can get away with it, I will). It’s so much easier to stop them that way. For some reason, saying “I’m not interested” launches all customer service reps into 5000 different options in case they hear those three words.

The cons:

1. Everything is new. Something as simple as finding Target or the post office turns into a full-fledged Google search. Finding a restaurant or new hair salon forces me to rely on Yelp, which is either a hit or miss. What used to be a mindless task of running errands and turned into a full day itinerary for looking up the closest banks, grocery stores, retail stores, and all the best routes that don’t require you to drive all over Silicon Valley (which I’ve already done on more than one occasion)

2. You are your own Terminix. No more screaming for your brother or roommate to come into your room to kill the giant spider in the corner. No more screaming as you watch them kill it effortlessly with a paper towel, then hold it toward your face to make you scream some more. No, now I rely on my designated giant cup and magazine so I can scoop it up myself, run to the hallway bathroom and watch it be flushed down the toilet, all done while whining and crying. Then, you have to make sure to close to lid, just in case the spider miraculously crawls back out of the toilet, into your bedroom and onto your face for revenge. Hey, you never know.

3. You are your own 411 guide. No roommates or family members to bother when you have a question about anything. Calling is too much effort so you resort to sulking in your chair and then turning to your trusty computer to help you out. Sure, sites like Yelp can help you out but it can only go so far. The best are personal recommendations from friends and no friends means no recommendations.

4. You are a loner. Let’s face it, you don’t have friends yet. Why? Because you don’t even know where to start. The pro is making new friends, the con is finding them. Sure you can have your friends introduce you to friends but that would require your mutual friend to be there. You don’t want to have dependent friendships. So in the meantime, your laptop is really, your one and only friend. That and the man who works at Chipotle who sees you four times a week and know your order by heart. Sad but true story.

Hopefully in a few months, I will be able to find more pros than cons and not equal amounts of both.

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Interviews are nervewracking. It’s long, it’s tedious and it makes or breaks your chances of getting your foot in the door. What happens when the interview isn’t even conducted in a professional manner? I’m in my second week of my new job and I sit here, grateful that my six month search has finally come to an end. I also think back on the 27 interviews I went to. Some were good, some were bad, some were downright ridiculous. I think it’s safe to say I have a pretty good idea of how the interview process works, or at least, how it should work.

Sure some companies like to differ from others, giving creative interview questions such as “Describe to me your favorite cereal” or “Act out any Disney character trying to change a tire” (an actual interview question if you want to work for Disney), but at the end of the day, most interviews are generally the same: they want to see if you will fit into the company culture.

There are dozens of work articles that teach you important interview etiquette and tips. These articles hit more topics including what to wear, body language, eye contact, research the company beforehand, etc.

Being on the other side of the interview, I’ve compiled a list of things of how an interview should not go. For the record, I’ve never conducted an interview in my life but I’m pretty sure I know what shouldn’t be done.

Here is a list of the do’s and don’ts of how to conduct an interview. These actually happened to me and I would never want it to happen for anyone else.

1. DO show up to interview me. It’s rude to skip out on an interview without cancelling first. It’s also rude when I, the interviewer, show up and am told that you decided to take a lunch break five minutes our scheduled interview was about to start. Maybe you forgot, maybe you wanted to play the authority card; whatever the reason, my time is still precious to me, even as an unemployed citizen at the time. I don’t appreciate spending 45 minutes just waiting for you to come back from your lunch break. At the very least, please give me a call to let me know that our interview will be pushed back until later. I respect your time and would have done the same for you.  

2. DO let me sit down. Uh, this is just cruel and unusual punishment, mostly unusual. Had I been interviewing for a position that required me to stand for hours on end, this would make sense. However, given the fact that you are sitting down and I am standing up staring down at you, it makes for an awkward looking and awkward interview all together. It’s even more awkward when we stand in a room full of chairs and you won’t allow me to pull one up to sit down in front of you. Maybe it was a huge miscommunication? Who knows, but this was probably the weirdest interview I had ever been to (especially because it was the same one as #1)

3. DON’T have me interview with someone who doesn’t even work with the company. When you first brought your uncle over to talk with me, I assumed he worked for the company too. After all, it was a small business, perhaps it was a family-run business. However, when I found out that your uncle was merely visiting and had no connection with the business whatsoever, I was beyond confused. Maybe he was just getting a feel for my personality. Maybe he wanted to see how I dealt in unexpected situations. Whatever the case, I really don’t know how talking about his two daughters and their desire to attend Julliard had anything to do with anything.  

4. DO give me the right address to your own company. It’s one thing for you to expect me to research on your company before I get to the interview, it’s entirely another when you don’t even know your own company. I get it, you just moved office locations. If you got the wrong office number, it’s somewhat understandable. It’s not understandable when you give me an address that is completely random and not even the address of your old office location. How do you expect me to know the basics of your company when you yourself, do not even know?

5. DON’T have me run a personal errand for you after our interview. If I was your personal assistant, hell, if I was even employed by you, it would make more sense to do an errand for you. But asking me to drop off your dry-cleaning when I don’t even work for you? I wouldn’t want to work for you even if I got hired. Maybe it was a test to see how dedicated I was, but considering I was not officially offered a position yet, I have no obligation to do your dirty work for you. Honestly, this entire scenario made no sense. I thought the interviewer was cracking a joke, until he pulled out a handful of work shirts from under his desk and handed them over to me. Being afraid (and stupid) to say no, I took them and dropped them off. And then I never heard from them again. Good to know that you wanted to play the power card right before I left. Also good to know that I’m a sucker who can’t say no to doing things like this.

6. DON’T Facebook while interviewing me. Hey, I get it. You want to be hip and up-to-date with what the kids are doing today but please don’t be updating your profile while you’re interviewing me, especially if I can see your computer screen. If you expect me to work for you and not conduct leisure activities while on the clock, please give me the same respect of not doing the same, especially if our interview is only 15 minutes long. I think you can pry yourself away from Facebook for that long, right?

Okay that’s all I can think of right now. While I am grateful for being able to improve my interviewing skills with every interview, I’m even more grateful that I’m not doing this anymore. It’s been exhausting and I hope no one ever walks into a ridiculous interview.

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Looking forward to..

Since moving, my friends always call/msg to ask me what’s been new with me. Sadly, I can never give them any interesting updates because my life is so uneventful 😦

In the meantime, I look forward to:

1. Celebrating my 1 year anniversary with the boyfriend in Vegas this weekend. Who knew he’d walk into my life a year and a half ago and become this important lol. Sometimes I still make fun of him for that fateful night in February.. (Liz & Caroline were witnesses HAHA)
2. Eric’s wedding in June.  I love weddings because really, I just love the food, and celebrating the marriage of course.
3. Possible vacation at the end of June (Hawaii? Carmel? Chicago? Vegas again??)
4. My birthday. Which will probably be spent sitting in the office.
5. Fran + Tim’s wedding in August. The first from our church to get hitched! Eeeeeeee I’m really looking forward to this one 🙂

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I can’t believe how quickly things can change. As I was updating my calendar yesterday, I took a good look at the month of May and couldn’t believe how different it was from the month of April. Seriously, things change so quickly, it’s almost scary. Don’t believe me?

The month of April

April

The month of May

May

For those who know me well, they know that I like feeling productive so it’s a little weird to admit that I prefer having a month like May over having a month like April. I just didn’t think it was be that big of a difference.

I’m a little excited (and sad) that every month from now on will probably resemble a May more than an April. I wonder how long it’ll take until I start missing having a month like April.

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Hello 9-5

I just wanted to give a quick update. After six months of bitching and moaning, 241 resume submissions, and 25 interviews, I officially join the workforce this coming Monday.

I celebrated by going home, logging onto my computer and deleting every bookmarked Craigslist section, job board and job search-related website. Then I changed into my sweats, grabbed a heated plate of mom’s home cooking and caught up on all my favorite TV shows which I had been “saving” from the last 3 weeks. 9 shows + 3 weeks = lots and catching up to do.

Although the company was not where I expected to end up, I’m still excited because 1) I never have to look at Craigslist again and 2) I won’t feel guilty when I go on an impromptu shopping spree for “work clothes” (because I really only have one outfit: my interview outfit). Kidding. I guess one should always be prepared to expect the unexpected so maybe this will open doors that I never even imagined. Or maybe I’ll end up hating my job but oh well, we’ll have to see in my future entries.

It’s funny because just a couple entries ago, I ranted on about good timing. Just a couple of weeks ago, I sat at a cafe with my boyfriend, crying over my creme brulee about how I felt like such a loser. He kept reminding me, “All you need is one job and you never know when your luck will change. Hell, it could change tomorrow. Just wait for good timing.” And talk about good timing. This job comes two weeks before I need to make my first payment of rent. I had been agonizing for the past few weeks, wondering how I could afford to pay rent with my so-called income that I was getting from tutoring.Well praise God because not only did I get a job, I also unexpectedly landed another student to tutor.

I can’t stress how much I want to kick myself for doubting God in these situations. When He provides, He always comes through at warp speed. It’s always at the perfect time, even if I don’t know it yet. He always has your back, even when you think He’s not there. After I was offered the job, I walked to my car and sat in it for a good 20 minutes, feeling sheepish for wondering where God had been this entire time (when clearly He was putting into motion all these things) and feeling shock that I no longer had to feel like a bum.

I have to admit, I’m a little scared and nervous about starting but I’m confident too. I’m hopeful for what’s to come. And by the way, I can now say I officially live in the Bay Area.

Watch, in a few weeks I’m going to start bitching and moaning about how much I hate work.

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Youtube Goodies

The only two times I ever log into Youtube is 1) to watch some video that someone linked to my Facebook or 2) out of sheer boredom

However, every once in a while, you will find a gem. In this case, I found three (although the last one is just interesting)

Enjoy.

This one brings a smile to my face.

This one makes me laugh the entire time at the ridiculousness of the video. If you can watch this video without laughing, then we don’t share the same humor.

This one is just entertaining and informative, although I can’t confirm the accuracy of the facts.

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Timing

Timing is everything. How many times have we heard this? I can’t count the number of times people have said this to me. Good timing is when you leave your house five minutes earlier and barely miss the car accident that would have otherwise cost you two hours of bumper-to-bumper traffic. Bad timing is searching for parking in a crowded lot and passing a car just as it’s pulling out of the coveted spot.  Being at the right place at the right time is easier said than done.

One night over desserts, I jokingly told my boyfriend that I wish we could have met later in life, so he didn’t have to see me go through this bitter/depressed job hunting stage of mine. He pointed out, however, given our background (he’s originally from the Bay Area and I’m from Socal), our age difference, and lack of mutual friends, we really only had one chance to meet: the night he unexpectedly walked into my life (and milked my good friend for info on me haha) One year later, I always look back on that night and laugh at how it all started. But he’s right; it was good timing that we just happened to be at the same place on the same night. The chances of that happening again was slim to none. Although I always poke fun at him about that night, I’m really glad he took advantage of that one chance.

In the same way, all I need is one job and all I really need to do is dazzle one employer to get that one job.

As I enter into my sixth month of job hunting, I’m starting to wonder when it’ll be my time. Meticulously crafted cover letters, carefully tailored resumes, follow-up emails and calls aren’t doing the trick. I’ve talked to friends, friends of friends, relatives, relatives of friends, friends of relatives, and more, letting each one know that I am ready and available if an opportunity presents itself.Although my emotions have run from motivated to bitter and back to motivated, I’m still waiting for good timing. And I’m still trusting Him.

For now, I’m on the lookout for all good timing moments. The week I reluctantly decided to becoming a writing tutor, a woman’s writing teacher quit because she was about to have a baby. What great timing for the both of us: I needed students and she needed a teacher. I officially start in three weeks. I’ve also gotten several emails and phone calls asking for my rates as a private tutor. Although most are still pending, I’m grateful for the good timing: They need a tutor and I need more private students.

For the time being, I’m thankful for this alternative. But I’m still actively looking for a job. As much as I want to give up,I can’t. I don’t want to miss out on great timing.

In the meantime, I’m struggling to trust this but I want to. I need to.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”–Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

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