Friday, September 18, 2009


And so it has come to this: if I can't get a job (or at least a promising interview) before the end of the month, I have to leave California.

It's not the ideal plan, I'll admit. Many people tell me that it often takes months to find work, especially out here in budget-wrecked California, but any fool could see that staying out here much longer is financially unwise. I've never been without work for so long at one stretch, at least not while trying to find work. It seems that things here in the Golden State are tougher than I imagined and while, as they say, "hindsight's 20/20," I am beginning to think that my desire for new lifebirds and greener pastures blinded me to just how easy I had it in PA and how long my savings (and loans) would last.

Yes, I was tired of the Pennsylvania snow.

And yes, I wanted to go someplace I'd always dreamed of living.

And oh sure, I felt like I didn't really "belong" in a state like Pennsylvania, where I was perhaps one of maybe ten hispanics in Centre County (I'm being generous; I only knew of me and my friend Ignacio) and where I'd only gone because of a now-defunct relationship.

AB keeps telling me that I can't look back now and judge my decisionmaking after it's turned out to be a total dud; if that were possible (or wise), no one would ever take a chance on anything. Or even get out of bed. But it's hard not to think about the fact that if I'd stayed, I'd still have a good job and I'd be with my girlfriend.

Must. Not. Think. About. That.

So where will I go, you ask? One of two places: Texas or Pennsylvania. BUT... the only way I can go back to PA is if I already have a job waiting for me.
...What, you think I didn't learn a lesson from this whole "Hey, I'm sure I'll find a job in a state where everyone's being laid off! Great idea!" fiasco?

I am furiously looking for work now through the same crap job-seeker engines (Monster, CareerBuilder, SnagAJob, etc.) that have failed to net me more than one interview out here in sunny NoCal. Don't think I've missed the irony of such a situation. At least The University has its own job Web site, though there's no telling the snail's pace at which The University might travel.
(Okay, okay, Mr. Unnecessary-capital-letter-policeman, I'm only capping "the university" out of respect! ...well, and a little karmic finger-crossing. Shhh.)

I know two weeks isn't a lot of time to find work anywhere, but this is the plan I worked out with my sainted father and brother, who are loaning me yet more money to pay the really late bills and buy food and stuff.

Yes, I'm 45 and still getting bailed out by my father. Perhaps I should run for president. I hear this kind of thing worked out great for the last guy.

I'm still trying to follow up on my California applications and apply for other positions, but at this point it's almost stupid to keep trying. I lost count after 60 of how many jobs I'd applied for, but I did get one interview (on my birthday, no less) that was going really well until they told me that although they loved my skills and experience, they didn't know when they'd be able to make an offer, much less hire me. Budget problems. Low sales. Downward trends. You get the picture. (I should've remembered that the last time I had a good birthday, I was in 9th grade and my dad was picking up all my little geeky friends and taking us to SkateLand for a big night of rollerskating to "Dancing Queen." It's like a curse, my birthday. Every stinkin' year.)

At any rate, AB is being really supportive, and we're both hoping that I can at least go back to PA and be with her. But again, I can't go there without a job, so I'll continue to hit the Interwebs super hard over the next week or so. This whole job-search is like a job in itself, a really boring one where I'm forced to write cover letter after cover letter, tailored to the specific job duties and my overwhelming ambition to work at Company X!, and fill out endless job-search-engine registration forms. I've gotten it down to a science, copying and pasting stuff into the blanks, but it's still mind-numbingly boring and soul-crushing.

The other night I couldn't sleep and decided to read a book I hadn't read before (those who know me know that I LOVE to re-read my favorite books, especially when I can't sleep). I noticed a book I'd gotten at a recent book sale, Barbara Ehrenreich's Bait and Switch, in which she "goes undercover" again, this time not as a minimum-wage worker (Nickel and Dimed) but as a middle-management-type white-collar jobseeker, applying for hundreds of jobs over the course of six months, paying for an image consultant, enduring life-coaching from several rather life-challenged individuals, attending endless "networking events," and ending up with nothing -- not even one interview.

Given my circumstances and my now quite fragile job-seeker self-esteem, reading this particular book might, just might!, have been a bad idea.

Table for Sisyphus, party of one! Table for Sisyphus!

I've really enjoyed California. It's beautiful, for one thing--you should check out the pics on my birdy blog--and I've gotten lots of new birds for my lifelist. (If you know what that is, you might be a geek.) The weather is lovely. But it's hard to enjoy the beauty when you know you have no job, no income, and not much hope.

- - - - - - -
On a lighter note, I'm excited to report that I'll be driving into Oakland on Sunday to visit Matty Boy. We're planning to bird at Lake Merritt and then go watch the Cowboys game. I'm totally pumped!

Eat your hearts out, bloggy gals!

Oh, I just thought of something: I haven't told him this bit of news yet, so if you're reading this post, Matty Boy, I'll give you more details on Sunday.

Meanwhile, if anyone knows of a job in the Rohnert Park area... anyone? anyone?

Thursday, September 03, 2009

"No matter how bad it gets, it can always get worse."

Those were some sage words of advice from my dad one time when things weren't looking so good for me. I'm sure he meant them in the most positive and encouraging way possible, but they always just made me sad.

So you know I'm not having much luck with the job search, thanks to that whiny post from earlier today, but Matty Boy just called (which did cheer me quite a bit) and after we'd discussed how much I LOVED Joss Whedon's Dollhouse, he gave me some bad news: Princess Sparkle Pony has stopped blogging.

I remember finding the Princess through a googles search for god-only-knows-what, probably something on Condi, and I just about burst my liver open, laughing. The Ex didn't much appreciate the Princess' wry humor, but I thought it was quite possibly the funniest thing I'd ever seen -- a whole blog devoted to that crazy Condi's hairdo and such. Brilliant.

I was then introduced to the hilariously smart comments of such future bloggy pals as Matty Boy, FranIAm, and KarenZipdrive, all giants in the field who've gone on to make their own great bloggy contributions. Even I started blogging, and not just about birds!

I could go on, but it's just too sad. Suffice it to say that Princess, you will be missed.

God, how I hate looking for a job

I've been out here in the Golden State for almost a month now, and I'm still looking for a job. The longest it's ever taken me to find a job in my whole life (and I've had lots!) is two weeks, but we're coming on a month here.

I still say California is beautiful. I've enjoyed seeing new birds and new places, drinking new wines and decent tapwater. But this endless job-searching is making me hate life.

I started out applying to editorial positions -- there were a few, actually! -- then I went to the administrative assistant jobs. Now I'm filling out apps to be a assistant manager at "THE HUT" (Pizza Hut, for all us non-hip people) and completing questionnaires with questions like "When I go into a restaurant, right away I begin thinking about ways they could do things better." Fortunately, I could answer "DEFINITELY" on that one, as it's rare that a restaurant doesn't piss me off in some way. When asked about why I like coffee (on the Starbuck's app), I talked about how it brings people together and you can learn about it, like wines, only without the big wine price tag. I also added that even people who don't drink coffee know why others do. (I just left it at that -- mysterious, no?)

I'm exhausted by all this filling out of online apps and paper apps and stuff. And nary a word from any of the places yet. AB told me that most places work on a different time scale than I do; they take a couple of weeks or whatever, and then they get around to calling for interviews. But I'm broke, people! Hurry up! I can do your job, trust me!

So that's what's going on in my real life. In my birdy life, I'm having a blast. My life list is up to 212, and I've got all sorts of great pictures and stuff. The other day, I even went to one of those "gravity hill" type places near here and I swear to you, it looked like the car was rolling UP the hill backwards! So that's all cool.

What's not cool is paying $212 to register my vehicle. TWO HUNDRED TWELVE DOLLARS? I asked the DMV lady if that was for the lifetime of the car, but she said no, it's every year. In Texas, it was like 60 bucks. PA, about the same. What the hell is it about this place? How can the state be broke if they're charging each of the kabillion cars out here 212 bucks each year? That's messed up, man.

I'm trying to figure out how I'll know when/if it's time to just pack it in and go back to PA or something. I mean, what's the cut-off? I could borrow more money, though I don't want to. But I don't want to give up and start driving back, only to get a bunch of callbacks for interviews when I'm hitting Nebraska or someplace. But what's the cut-off?