Tag Archives: professional

Shopping Update

Spent $450 at Ann Taylor yesterday after 4 hours trying on just about everything in the store. Why must every single top have some weird ruffle on it this season? Not only do they look ridiculous, in the rare cases they didn’t, I just thought what that poor ruffle would look like after being through the wash once or twice. Or even hand wash. I don’t like to do dry clean only for my tops.

Showed my boyfriend my $350 worth of Theory purchases and while he liked my sweater jacket thing, he disliked the dress (I don’t really like it either) so that’s going back to the store. $150 return. Cha ching. As for the Ann Taylor stuff, I got a grey pencil skirt that fit nice (but may wrinkle too much… why must things wrinkle?), a pair of size 12 petite black pants that are a little bit too big (the 10s looked like i was going clubbing the way they hugged my ass, so I opted for the larger size), a kind of pretty navy blue shirt with short sleeves, and a pair of patent leather shoes that don’t fit at all… they are going back to the store too. So my $450 trip will be a $300 trip and my $350 trip will be a $150 trip once I make all my returns.

I’m forcing my boyfriend to come shopping with me tonight. I don’t agree with his taste in everything, but he did help me go through some of my clothes in my closet last night, and we discovered that while I own a lot of “slutty” clothes as he likes to call them (I call them thin-strapped tank tops, not work appropriate) I don’t have much when it comes to work wear. I’m throwing something together for today that I’m not 100% happy with. Really, the most important thing I need to get are shoes. I own one pair of shoes that will work for today but they’re so worn out on the heal that they make me walk crooked. They were great while they lasted.

Off to My First Job Interview Since Being Laid Off

While I don’t like to put all of my eggs in one basket, and surely have some small freelance gigs and the unemployment to keep me going, this job is the first “real” gig that is more than just a hope, so I want to at least nail the interview. I’m tired and a little nervous. I’ll get more nervous when I get on the train and get to their corporate office in the city.

I’m not really nervous about the interview itself, just the chance that I say or do something embarrassing in the process of meeting with the four people. I’ve only been on one other serious interview before with more than one person, and that was for my last job. But that was for a 1099 contract role for 20 hours a week at the time, so it didn’t feel as huge, and it was also for a startup so it was very laid back as far as interviews go.

This, however, is going to be as corporate of an interview as the west coast gets. I’m putting on my skirt-suit that I purchased last week at Express, and likely straightening my hair soon, to look as polished as possible, while not losing myself in my clothes entirely. I’m wearing a fairly bright blue shirt, but it works with the grey suit, I hope. They’re not that corporate, it’s a smallish team of mostly engineers and a few business folks.

On top of everything, I recently found out that this job is a “W2 Contract” position which means I’d basically be in a temporary position without the benefits of full-time (no paid vacation, sick days, benefits) even though I’d be W2 so I wouldn’t have the flexibility of an independent contractor (have to work at the office 9-5:30 every week day.) It’s definitely better than being unemployed and for such a big, known company it would probably be worth it for a year or so at least — I can always take time off, I just won’t get paid for it. And if something better comes along with benefits, no one could really fault me for leaving. I think the whole W2 thing is designed so you can leave easier as well. I’m not really thinking about that much now, I’m more thinking about how I have to nail this interview. I’d at least like to have one job offer to consider and take in the next few weeks, and this is looking like the only real potential to fulfill that goal.

The Joys of Working for a Startup

There are plenty plusses and minuses that come with working for a startup. The biggest plus, in my opinion, is knowing when your money will run out. This gives you ample time to prepare for what’s next if needed. While layoffs still hit smaller startups, it’s not like at a big company where one day you have a great job and the next day you’re in the unemployment line. With the risk of being in a startup, you get a little more security in the short term.

I’ve never worked for a big “stable” company. One day I’d like to, even though I’m fairly sure I won’t be able to stand big corporate politics. Even though my job isn’t perfect, I love that I sit in the same room as the CEO and that for the most part, there are no secrets about the business. Not everything is out in the open, but I can ask questions and get answers to most of my questions, and I try not to pry beyond my welcome.

The cons are largely in not being in charge and having little control over the direction the startup will take. If you are in control and you have VC backing, that’s a lot of pressure on you. I’m not sure I could take that kind of pressure, so a part of me is glad that I get to sit on the sidelines and watch the game plays, even if I don’t always agree with them.

Still, it’s tough to know the date your job may end. I’m lucky that I’m young and single with an emergency savings account so being unemployed for a little while won’t kill me. The question is, though, when is the appropriate time to jump ship? Do you wait and go down with the ship, and receive the honor that comes with that, or do you wage a full on job search?

So far I’ve sent out a few applications here and there, but the economy is limiting options and I haven’t even landed an interview yet. My whole life I’ve been a roll-with-the-punches type gal, and I’ll probably ride this little adventure out the same way. After all, my professional life has been a series of ups and downs leading from one job to the next, bringing me closer to whatever my dream job might be. When I got laid off from my part time admin job one morning and three hours later got a call from the company that would, within a week, offer me my first full-time job I knew to just trust the way the world works. I don’t believe in God or karma, but I think things work out in the long run. In the meanwhile, you have to be smart, especially when it comes to finances. I’m no Einstein of dough, but having all my savings makes me a lot less nervous about the day, likely in the next year, when I will be out of a job.

Should a Career Bring Life Meaning?

So many people are slaves to their jobs, indentured servants of corporate America. Their lives, while mostly spent at the office or in the field, are not defined by their work. Their work is a means to living a life of meaning. And they are thankful to have a job.

I’m spoiled, and expect more than that from my career. Just like any long-term relationship, there are bound to be ups and downs in the experience. But I have this deep-seated desire to know I’m making a… difference? It’s not that I want to save the whales, or even the children. I’ve tried non-profit and figured out that directly helping people isn’t up my alley either. What I want is to contribute to something larger. Well, I want to be Steve Jobs 2.0. But besides that, I want to feel like my everyday work has a purpose, one that I have some control over.

A study on Payscale.com notes that the ten “happiest” jobs are clergy, firefighters, travel agents, mechanics, architects, special ed teachers, actors & directors, scientific researchers, industrial engineers, and airline pilots.

Gimundo points out that of the jobs in the top 10, most are service jobs relying on specific skills, which contradicts the common notion that the more education you have, the happier and more successful you will be. He points out Matthew B. Crawford’s book Shop Class as Soulcraft, which discusses the loss of respect of trades/manual labor in America.

After a trip home to visit my judgmental father, I know he wouldn’t think as high of me had I become a firefighter or mechanic (however, he did always say I should be an architect). I just wonder how much of my… “our”… needs for happiness are based upon what we were told matters when we were kids versus what really matters in our psyche.

My family definitely wouldn’t think highly of me if I were to quit my job to become Mother Theresa. On the other hand, they would think I went nuts if I decided to start my own company. My parents are risk adverse. Heck, my dad was an actuary, which is a math job all about mitigating risk for big companies in case their employees live to a ripe old age (how morbid). And my mom? She married the first guy she met in college because she wasn’t ready to risk being alone. She’s unhappy now, in a loveless and abusive marriage, but divorce is out of the question. That would be too much risk.

It seems for me to ever get to some point of happiness in my career, I need to put all the voices in my head aside, and really risk… failure. I believe that failure, after trying really, really hard, is important in growth as an adult, yet I’ve recently realized that I’ve never fully dedicated myself to anything. Maybe it’s the ADD, maybe it’s the self doubt, maybe it’s my inability to find something worth caring about. I don’t know. I have such a driving need for narcissistic reward that it’s unclear I can ever be happy without some role of power. Yet I’m afraid of power, because with power comes an even bigger risk of failure.

When I started my current job, I was really inspired. I loved working for a web startup, being part of a team building something for lots of people to use. I thought I could help. Now, well, I’m feeling helpless. Things have changed. I also showed too much passion which scared the powers that be who need to care more about the business versus heart. Not that they don’t have heart, it’s just their job, in the power role, to think about all those stressful things. It’s my job too, though not directly, and any passion I have — beyond obtaining statistics to support my theories — is unacceptable.

I look to someone like Steve Jobs as an idol, yet he’s said to be a total totalitarian and not-so-fun to work for. But he obviously BELIEVES in himself and in his ideas. And they have led him, and his company to great success. He failed, got kicked out of Apple for a while, and then they basically begged him to come back because above all it was his mind — his understanding of innovation, design, and decision-making — that was so valuable. Not everyone can be Steve Jobs. Not everyone would want to be. But sometimes I think my ideas are pretty good, that I’ve got some talent of seeing the bigger picture, that I might be successful if someone would just give me a chance to run my own project. I don’t need to run a company, I’d be happy with the responsibility to manage a product. Or even a piece of a product.

That seems like a job that’s out there, right? But I have no idea how to get it. Or if I’d be any good at it. And… risk adverse genetics keeps me tied to stability. I mean, my current job is not bad at all. I like the people I work with. I respect them. I still like working for a startup. It’s just company morale is kind of on a downward spiral right now. The folks in charge are stressed and have no time to deal with making employees… with shrinking job descriptions… feel valued. Which is fair, but I just hate the feeling of having no voice. It’s suffocating. I just am not sure what to do about it other than hold my breath and wait.

Professional Roadblock

For the first time in my life, I like my job a lot. It pays well, I work with really smart people who I admire, and I’ve managed to secure a full time gig… which means they like me, or at least the work I do, at least in the sense that I’m not that easily replaceable. All that is good, great, even, yet I’m still not doing exactly what I want to do.

I really want to do a good job for a long enough amount of time to prove I can stick it out. It’s just hard because I get a bit frustrated when I have no right to be frustrated. Basically, what I want to do isn’t in my job description. It is apparently in everyone else’s. I’m also a tad bit annoying in that I haven’t mastered the art of speaking yet… I talk too much, I think everyone dislikes me for it, and sometimes I don’t talk enough, and then I feel like I just disappear. Why can’t I fit on some middle ground so I can be respected AND taken seriously?

All I want to do is design. Do user interaction design, specifically. But I’m completely confused over how I can make the career switch, or if I even should. Grad school seems to be the only possibility, but even that is a far off dream. First of all, I’d have to GET IN to grad school… there are only a few top programs for this new field and each of them are hard to get into. Looking at the people they seem to accept, they want people with experience in the field. While my experience is related, it’s definitely not in the field. It’s gazing on the field with envy, if anything. Does that count?

My passion is great user experience. I tried to be a writer but I’m not really that great of a writer. I tried marketing but I’m not the best at marketing a product that has all these details that I’d like to tweak. I can fake it. I can fake it all. But in the long run, I don’t want to fake it. I want to cease this frustration and have a job where I can actually make a difference in the development of a product as far as the ultimate user experience goes. I’m still thinking an MBA might be a better route to go – get more involved in product strategy, stay out of the details, but then I end up futzing around with wireframes all night dreaming of a day when I could design interfaces for a living. Will that day ever come? And how much debt will I have to take on to see it?