Thursday, November 30, 2006

Mom is Proud and Heaving a Huge Sigh of Relief...

Yes, Momma, I got a new job today!

It's always fun to get a job offer. It's new and fresh and exciting--kind of like a new boyfriend or a new car. You're all atwitter with anticipation at the outset, and then ya sorta get used to it after awhile, and it's not such a big deal anymore. But hopefully, you're happy enough with the situation that you enjoy staying with it.

My mom, God bless her soul, always worries about me. Now, I know--all mothers worry and want the best for their children, no matter how old we get. But Mom's got a different animal of daughter in me. Because I'm constantly going between freelance and contract work, I never really know from one month to the next how much I'm going to make, let alone save back for a rainy day. That makes her nervous, and I don't really blame her. There have been plenty of times when I've been literally down to the last five dollars in my bank account, when fortunately I got a phone call offering me a gig. Somehow I always land on my feet--knock wood--and claw my way back to solvency, at least for a little while.

Thing is, I'm just really lousy at keeping "normal" jobs. The ones where you sit behind a desk and stay there all day. Now, I don't mind doing that now and again--I'm a writer, for Pete's sake, so yeah, there are days when I sit down and crunch the keyboard for hours on end. But that's different. If I had to sit and answer phones or enter data into a computer 9 to 5, forty hours a week, without ever going anywhere, I'd die. Or I'd kill somebody. I simply suck at that sort of thing. That's why I'm in marketing and public relations; you never do the same thing every day, and you're always meeting new people. The hours are irregular and weird, but I like that. You have room to be creative and innovative--you have to be, in order to keep up. You have to be energetic and out in front of people on a consistent basis, and you have to manage your time extremely well.

I don't know if it's New England or it's me...maybe it's a little of both, but the problem with me is that it's very hard to find an employer who understands how the job really works, and how I need to do it in order to produce effective results. Some people have the idea that I'm out there just having one big ball of fun, and I get paid to do it. Well, that's not exactly how it works. Yes, I have fun at what I do--I'd be an utter dingbat to work in this field if I didn't enjoy it. But it's not an easy job, and it's not a free ride to weekly lunches and business functions. It's work. Some days, I don't feel particularly charming or energetic or personable, but tough noogies. That's what I get paid for, so whether or not I'm having a bad day, I have to pull out the smile and act like I'm the happiest girl on the planet. Doesn't matter how tired I am, or that my feet hurt, or that I have a cold and really want to be in bed with a hot toddy. I am there to represent my client and/or employer, and lots of times my day doesn't end at five o'clock. That's part of the deal.

I've had employers who genuinely didn't understand the necessity of going out of the office to do what I do--and I think that they have it in their heads that I'm on the beach somewhere working on my tan. It boggles my mind that there are still people out there who honestly hold to the belief that if you're not in the office, you're not working. Hello?

We are now a global society that requires us to be mobile. That's why we have those stupid Blackberries and cell phones and PDA's and laptops--so we can work outside of our cages. If you can go to the golf course and call that a "business meeting", then why isn't my committee membership given equal credence??

Anyway, I suck at the cage. I don't like it, I don't want to do it, and therefore it's hard for me to find a "normal" job with the kind of employer who really gets it. That's why I went into doing contract and freelance. I didn't always make as much money, but at least I could do the job the way I wanted.

Which brings me back to my mother.

She's relieved because I accepted an offer today from a "normal" employer. I've been interviewing with them for a bit, figuring out if I'll fit in with them. It looks good, and I'm happy about it. They're a nice bunch of people who seem to agree with my marketing philosophy, which makes me feel optimistic. I figure I'll ease into the job over the next few weeks, tone down a little on my personality so as not to frighten anyone, and then dig in after we've all gotten used to each other. I may even last longer than six months. And if they're just as nutty and off-center as I am, this could go on for years.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Gluttony, Stuffing, and Giving Thanks


I'm still kinda recovering, which I think is what the majority of my friends and acquaintances are doing. You know, I like Thanksgiving...sort of. At least, I like the food, which anyone who knows me will tell you is enough incentive for me to do just about anything. But I suppose I've gotten cranky as I've gotten older. Or maybe I'm just more cynical. Or lazy.

Does anyone else ever feel like Thanksgiving is the obligatory holiday? The one where we look forward to it with a mix of anticipation and resignation? I don't know how many people I talked to right before Thursday who said stuff like, "Yeah, I was invited down to my uncle's house, but it's such a long drive..." and "I'm supposed to go to my cousin's house, but God, it's gonna be a nightmare,because someone always starts an argument," or, "I volunteered to cook this year, and now I wish someone had stopped me before I opened my big mouth."

It's a weird holiday. I went up to see my sister and her family for the Big Day. And I enjoyed it--don't get me wrong. Sis is a fabulous cook, and she makes a stuffing that I could eat for a solid month. She and I can find anything--and I mean anything--to laugh at, and laugh at long and loud, until tears are streaming down our cheeks. My niece and nephew are lively, energetic, and engaging kids, and I absolutely adore them, no matter how much they can exhaust me in an alarmingly short span of time. I love going to visit my sister; that's not the problem for me at all.

The problem is that it's kind of a letdown once you actually get to sit down and eat. It's anticlimactic; after all the cooking and waiting and drooling...and starving all damn day so that you have room for the turkey and fixin's...well, all I can say is, I've never been able to eat and enjoy as much of the food as I thought I would at the start of Thanksgiving day. And that really bums me out. I live for food, and Thanksgiving is the one day I can freely and uninhibitedly indulge in my love (or gluttony) for carbohydrates. To not be able to have second helpings of stuffing, mashed potatoes, biscuit, and green bean casserole is just criminal to me.

Not so bad, in the entire scheme of things, I'll grant you. But I couldn't help thinking of some of those friends of mine who truly could have been just as happy staying home and ordering Chinese. Thanksgiving can be a real chore, let's face it. It doesn't mean we don't love our families, or want to be around them. It doesn't even mean we really mind the cooking. It's just that it's the one day we're all pretty much expected to demonstrate these sentiments, or otherwise be thought of as bad progeny. And that's really not fair.

I remember last year we had a snowstorm Thanksgiving Eve. It wasn't really a very bad one; we've certainly had worse in this neck of the woods. But by morning the roads were still pretty treacherous and icy, and the drive to Sis' house is a good half hour on a really bad highway. I just didn't want to take the chance of ending up as part of New England scenery. So I stayed home. I think my sister was actually a little bit relieved, because the snow meant she only had to cook up a turkey breast and some side dishes for her, her husband, and the kids. She didn't have to spend the entire day waiting for an entire bird to roast, imprisoned in the kitchen. It didn't mean I didn't love her, or that she didn't love me, or that we didn't want to see each other, but I think both of us were pretty satisfied with the arrangement.

Me? I crept to the little market down the street, got myself some provisions, and happily spent Thanksgiving cuddled up watching movies and the parade in New York while the snow fell desultorily past my window. I was warm, full, safe, and comfortable. I was thankful for it, and so was my sister.

*Incidentally, do you know what was actually eaten at the first Thanksgiving? Nope, not turkey and cranberries and stuffing. The surviving settlers feasted on clams, seaweed, nuts, corn, and berries.

I suppose that's another thing to be thankful for. I'd boycott if there wasn't stuffing.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Falling Down and Getting Up

I gotta tell ya, the last three weeks have been difficult. There is nothing in the world that drives me crazier than my sleep rhythm getting f*cked up. With the change in weather, the daylight savings time thing, and stress, I couldn't get to sleep at a decent hour for love or money. Which consequently resulted in me getting up later and later. Which transformed me into a lethargic, numb, and brain-cramped lump with absolutely no energy or motivation do do anything.

Mornings have never been good for me. I am not now, nor will I ever be, one of those creatures who bounce out of bed with the sun, ready to greet the day with a kiss and a smile. I'm lucky if I'm revved and awake by 10am. I will never be a voluntary early riser, much less a "morning person". I really do my best creative thinking and industry in the late afternoon and evenings. Having said that, however, I don't fancy wasting the day by sleeping till noon, either. It makes me feel depressed and ticked off and isolated, and nothing really gets done in my life.

My sleeping rhythm is extremely sensitive. If I'm off by one or two hours getting to bed at night, it wrecks everything for a good two weeks--if I'm lucky. And it takes a long time for me to adjust myself and get back to normal again--which, God willing, I've finally managed to do. This morning I got up, and it was still morning. Did it yesterday, too. It felt like Christmas. The sun has literally returned to the skies of New England, which helps, and I don't feel like I'm in a dark cocoon anymore. I even folded up my afghans and put them back in their basket.

So anyway, now I should be back to writing regularly on this blog, and working on things that pay my rent. I have an essay I've been meaning to finish for a later post--one that a good friend of mine has been waiting to read and keeps asking me about. I wrote two proposals over the weekend and am delivering them today for review. Things are getting back to normal--well, as normal as they get in my life. Heh.

It is still 2006, isn't it?

Monday, November 13, 2006

Back From Hiatus

Sorry I've not been writing the last couple of weeks--I've had a few meetings and have been working on a couple of proposals, so I was somewhat scarce. New blogs coming up this week, I promise. For those of you who are still reading, thanks for sticking with me, and sorry for the delay!