OnidDay
Touch the hem of his garment

That TEDtalk::::they came up with something that worked. Something that stuck around for a long time and people quoted and repeated in pop culture. They must have done other things.but this was the thing that made them thousands and the company billions. Now is the time to analyze it to death.

They are going to talk about it endlessly. Did they know that they had something special when they came up with it? What did they feel when it took off like it did? They are going to ascribe to this thing a kind of genius. This is the reason for the talk. I heard that commercial and they talked about “universal truths” and “tugging at heart strings”.

That is the insight? That is what they could come up with? Advertising buzz words that are repeated to each other endlessly? Repeated so often that they are stripped of any meaning. Only the people in that talk see anything in that at all. These are the people that believe that if they follow Richard Branson on LinkedIn and do things like he does they will be a billionaire too. If they pay hundreds of dollars to be in the same room with these people it will happen for them too.

Religion I guess…

I am not an atheist. I think that I have shed the superstition though. The fear that something is going to happen to me if I don’t follow the rules. Now, how can I reconcile this in my own mind is what I am working on right now.
There are people who argue against gay marriage and about god causing earthquakes or other natural disasters because of it. This just strikes me as absurd. It is 2014 and this person, these people, believe that earthquakes happen by some person or spirits will? There is science out there that explains these things but these people go through their lives and believe that things happen because of some bad hoodoo. I can’t think of this that way. Not anymore.
That being said I do not think I have to make a stand like some petulant teenager trying to figure out where I stand. I can go through the motions and make Mom happy. I suppose I am still working through that too.
~~~~~
I always thought that this was all about tradition. The belief in the story makes the traditions. It is all enmeshed and comes across as one thing. How can Fr. D even argue and entertain leaving the tradition aside? Maybe there are people who go through the motions because this is what they have always done but why judge them that way—that harshly? You risk losing them—and the money in those collection baskets—completely. Don’t you?
~~~~~
The absurdity of it to me is also about arguing that this random crap that happens to you in life is somehow controlled by a spirit who we must praise for the good things that happen to us and accept that it was his will for the bad things that happen also. It is a great sales job. There is nothing that the spirit can do wrong. Absolutely nothing.
Another part of it is finding happiness not in this life but in another after life. Sure you got fucked over here for real in this life but you will get your due after you die. It seems a harsh penalty to pay for some little bit of good. This part of it always seemed to me to be like the mailroom employee claiming that he could run the company better than the CEO but he stays in the mailroom because he doesn’t need those kind of headaches or money it would seem.

Following Dreams

That blog post says what I have been trying to say. A billionaire tells you to put a couch in your kitchen and to do what you want to do—to follow your dreams. This is easier to do when you are rich. And this is what those LinkedIn influencers are saying. I am not doubting that they worked hard but—but at the same time—there was a huge break that came their way also.

There is a podcaster that talks about being a self made man but the part that he glosses over was that he became friendly with a guy already on the radio. The guy is funny for sure but if that break was not there he would not have what he has now. There are many skilled people out there in the world that got stuck. They just didn’t get that chance to move on to other stuff.

When I was in college an internship was required. I was working full time during the day and going to school at night. I was determined to get that internship requirement done though so I kept applying to any one that I heard about. I got one at the local public television station. In order to do that I lived off of credit cards and took more flexible temp jobs. In the end I was passed over for a job in favor of the girl who was majoring in Portuguese and Jazz piano at Northwestern. She ended up leaving for Portugal about a month after starting the job. I ended up with thousands in debt that took me almost a decade to pay off.

She had a freedom that I did not have. She had money behind her. It took me years to actually start a career. I turned down ‘safe’ jobs with my family behind me telling me to settle on a job with benefits and stop this foolishness. She never had to do that. That makes a huge difference.

The byline of the book was a sentence about handling whatever ‘reality’ throws at you. It smells of someone who wanted to be more clever than the ‘whatever life throws at you’ and came up with ‘reality’. It is a self-help type book based on her experiences. My reaction would be who the fuck is she but that is not what others think. She will sell a few books and then ride the wave of ‘I wrote a book’ until she dies.

~~”Hello, nice to meet you…”~~”I wrote a book…”

~~~~~~

((rewrite of a story I wrote before))

Hubris, pride was never my thing. In fact I tend to not be vocal enough about my accomplishments. This is why this story makes me uncomfortable.

I got a call from a number that I did not recognize. I figured that it was a recruiter or something like that but it was 7:30am and I was on the train. I figured that I could let it go to voice mail until I was in a better place to answer. In the next five minutes that recruiter called me three times before he left a voice mail and sent an email.

When I got to work I stayed in the lobby and answered his call. The contract that I am currently on was set to end at the end of March so I had begun looking tentatively. We chatted about the position and he tells me that he need to present my resume to his account manager. I put my phone on silent and went on in to work.

Four hours later I look at my phone at lunch and I had another six missed calls (all in burst of three within the five minute time period), three emails (two from the recruiter I spoke to on the phone and one from his account manager) and two messages via LinkedIn. This disconcerted me but I called back anyway. I talked with the recruiter and I was about to go ahead and schedule the phone interview when he said that his account manager wanted to talk to me.

Account manager was full of ‘concern’ about my not getting back to them in almost four hours. This was not real concern. This concern was a way to put me down, to make sure I knew I had fucked up by not returning their call. This was a way to put me in my place. I must be an idiot and I needed to be taught of their status as gatekeeper and my better. I told account manager that I was withdrawing my resume and thanked her for her professionalism.

In that moment I thought that I do not deserve to be treated that way. Like I said before pride has never been my thing. That whole ‘don’t you know who I am’ attitude is anathema to me but a woman that I did not even know was talking to me like a wayward child. That was enough in my mind. I do not deserve to be treated that way.

The happy ending was that my current contract was extended to May that afternoon. I have a little time to ride this out and not deal with this crap until I absolutely have to deal with it all.

A welcome break.

They are both at the P company. The company that called me in for an interview for a job that was not really there. She told me that people seemed to remember me there but they were not quite sure. I was reintroduced to several people who remembered me. I was then put in an interview with a girl who could barely focus. I had a rejection email within two days.

This is the part of HR that bugs the shit out of me. It was unprofessional and shitty but they are the gatekeepers. They can do that without a single repercussion.

They can call me three times within five minutes while I was on a loud and crowded train. I was expecting a voicemail after the first call that I would respond to within a reasonable time. There were two other calls before I could even put my phone back in my pocket. Within ten minutes there was a google voice message and an email. I answered the email saying that I might be interested in the position and that I would get back to him that afternoon. This set off another set of three calls within minutes of each other with only one voicemail. And a Google voice message and another email.

When I got back to him we spoke about the potential position and then I was treated to another conversation with his account manager. She voiced her ‘concern’ that it took me four hours to get back to them.

That was the part that got me. That was a cynical concern. They wanted that account and I had to ask how high as soon as they asked me to jump. Is it too fucking much to ask to be treated better than that? That they call and I respond. The fact that it was one call after the other means that there is not a lick of respect for me. They saw the good resume and I was a means to their end. The multiple calls, voicemails and emails during which they barely paid any attention to what I was saying meant that they held me in contempt. I do not deserve to be treated that way. They contacted me because of my resume and yet they wanted to treat me with contempt. Again, I do not deserve that. I do not deserve to be treated like a wayward child.

I did not jump through their hoops on their schedule. The name of the company was supposed to make me all tingly and answer as soon as they deigned to call on me. For now the plan is to stay put for two reasons. It is going to last until May after which a trip to Greece will be in order and another three months of not dealing with that shit will be a welcome break.

'Could be worse'

I think that I am looking back on it all with rose colored glasses. It was not confidence so much as it was rolling with the punches. This thing ended and this other thing started and the money kept getting better. My bills were getting paid and that is all that I was concerned about. Now, I am getting paid at a rate less than I made a decade ago. The job is good experience but it isn’t paying what I wanted it to pay. It isn’t paying what I used to make.

It is just another instance where I am taking the short end of it because ‘at least I have a job’. There has been way too many times in the past that I did that. Thought that it could be worse. The situation would suck from any angle that you looked at it but I came up with that way out. It could have been worse, right?

I have a plan. I have a thing that I want to do but in the back of my mind I think that I am going to have to settle again.

Odds and Ends

When I was a freshman in college it was at Loyola. I remember walking through the neighborhood and wanting so bad to live there—to move out of the house—but I never did a thing to make it happen. I could have. The desire was there but I never did anything about it for no real reason that I could articulate. I think that it was not so much fear as it seemed to be out of reach. I just didn’t know how to move forward—what the first step would have been.

The desire—though—was intense. I wanted to do it but I might as well have been hoping that I could fly. I think that I was also waiting for something to happen. Waiting for the chance to come to me and not trying to go get it.

Where did that energy go? All of those prayers, wishes that desire had to go somewhere, right? Not a thing happened until I did something.

~~~~~

Odd job~~On my second day there we all went to lunch at the same time. I think it might have been a welcome to the job type of thing. I did not bring my lunch so I bought a pre-made sandwich in the cafeteria. There was small talk and then the other temp asked me if my sandwich was good. I said it wasn’t. It was a little stale and did not taste that good.

This shocked them way more than it should have. They asked me why I bought it if I didn’t like it. I asked them how would I know that the sandwich was not that great unless I bought it and tasted the damn thing? This made me weird and the loud Full Timer told me this.

When we were finishing up the loud one stood up and asked me if I smoked. I said no and that I had recently quit. I had no problem with her smoking at all. I just made a statement. She flipped out. She said that she didn’t care what I thought and she could smoke if she wants and she stormed off.

I was at that job for one more day. That day was spent trying to figure out why the manager seemed to be actively avoiding me. It was the oddest and most unprofessional job I had ever been on. Jobs at this company pop up in my inbox every year or so. They never work out. I don’t imagine that it is going to work out this time either.

Thoughts

T.V observations—That chick was on an MTV2 show where she was ‘dissed’ by Kanye West. I bet she brings that up in regular conversation.~~’Can I get an Americano? You know I was dissed by Kanye West on a show on basic cable. Really! Could you please leave room for cream?’
~~~~~

T.V observations—She calls it a bloodbath because your blood gets so hot and makes you angry and you can’t control yourself. None of it makes any sense at all to anyone but her. Yet why do I imagine that when she says it she is exasperated as to why other people do not understand. This saying looms so large in her mind—it makes so much sense to her—there is simply no way other people couldn’t understand.
~~~~~

the start up~~~their plan to sell the product was to go into these bars and restaurants, tell them about the product, have drinks and dinner and then tell them that they would decide if the place was ‘appropriate’ for the product. This plan did not go well for them.
I will always wonder what made them think it would work. Was this supposed to make them come beating down their door? “Pick me, Pick me!!”. There was a deal for electric billboards with one of the big three companies that control all of them that was declined by the start up because of how it would look later. There was talk about our profiles in future issues of Wired magazine.
The idea for the product of this start up was digital screens selling product in restaurants and other places. There were people doing that. The difference is that the start up didn’t think they needed to make the customers come to them. The customers did not come and when it all fell apart it was the customers that were stupid. Out of touch and out of step.

The picture is of an Evel Knievel toy. The way it worked is that you cranked the handle on the side and you pressed a button and the motorcycle sped off. The motorcycle is only slightly more fun without the launcher.I had this toy.

One day I decided to bring it in to school for show and tell. The boys in the class were suitably impressed. At the end of the day I went back to my cubby hole and the motorcycle was gone. I looked around and saw it in Billy’s cubby hole. I took it and put it in my bag.

The teacher saw and no amount of my explaining could convince her that it was mine. I even showed her how it fit in the launcher but that did not work. When Billy was called over he told the teacher that he was just looking at it and that I had told him that he could. I said that was not true and I was made to apologize for lying. I’ve never quite trusted authority and other people since.



That was still an awesome toy.

The picture is of an Evel Knievel toy. The way it worked is that you cranked the handle on the side and you pressed a button and the motorcycle sped off. The motorcycle is only slightly more fun without the launcher.I had this toy.

One day I decided to bring it in to school for show and tell. The boys in the class were suitably impressed. At the end of the day I went back to my cubby hole and the motorcycle was gone. I looked around and saw it in Billy’s cubby hole. I took it and put it in my bag.

The teacher saw and no amount of my explaining could convince her that it was mine. I even showed her how it fit in the launcher but that did not work. When Billy was called over he told the teacher that he was just looking at it and that I had told him that he could. I said that was not true and I was made to apologize for lying. I’ve never quite trusted authority and other people since.

That was still an awesome toy.

Thoughts

I have a longtime friend. He is management now and he reminds us of it regularly. He has taken to starting sentences with ‘Now that I am management…” and “As a manager…”. This bugs me so much when people do this. I understand that the thing used in the preface is important to the person. It is a milestone in life–I totally get that but applying it to every fucking thing is just annoying. I always feel that he is one step away from saying,”As a manager I am really enjoying this sandwich.”.

~~~

A Dominick’s employee was suspended one day before the grocery chain was closed permanently. He had made a video with some cheesy special effects about the ‘race to unemployment’. It was funny. The thing harmed no one besides a mildly sarcastic thank you to Safeway. I think—ultimately—it didn’t matter because the kid was about to lose his job the following day anyway.

Here is the point I want to make. There are talented, creative, funny people in all walks of life. They are there –working at a grocery store, driving a truck—and not on a stage or making films because of circumstances or obligations or any number of reasons. The platitudes about life being about taking a chance and taking that opportunity are bullshit. That opportunity might never come and people have to eat.