Tag Archives: unemployment

Why I (Presently) Don’t Work Full Time

20 Sep

the capn

I wrote such a stellar resume and cover letter in response to a recent job listing that any prospective employer would feel foolish for even considering anyone else for this position.  And you know I mean it because I used lots of italics.

All active verbs and adjectives were prodded into action: I excel and complete things at both a high level and at a granular one.  I am not only an expert, I am also adroit, proficient and highly-skilled.  I use words like “proficient” and “adroit.”  I am a team player who enjoys working alone (especially if the uniforms are off the rack).  I am self-motivated yet capable of spacing out in front of a box of Cap’n Crunch while contemplating the contraction “Cap’n.”  I know what a contraction is, damn it, and I’m pretty certain that “Cap’n” is a fine one.

I am the greatest ________ who ever lived and I am willing to work for only a fraction of my worth.

So what’s stopping them from hiring me?  (PS: do I really want to work for a company who doesn’t have their uniforms tailored?)


Toner is what’s preventing me from fulfilling, nay, exceeding my potential by getting hired, being promoted (more than once) and taking over the company.  Toner.

Toner and The Boy.  (Which really does sound like a bad TV-cop show.)

The Boy, who, for who knows how long, has covered the walls of his room with downloaded pictures of Zooey Deschanel, Sophia Vergara and Tina Fey.  (I really should go in there occasionally.  If only to retrieve all the cutlery that he has also been stashing under the bed for who knows how long.)  It’s a teen version of “binders of women” on those walls- without the creepiness.

And I understand where he’s coming from: the shiny hair, the bangs, the curves and the general loveliness.  (Although he says that in Tina Fey’s case she represents smart and quick-witted women everywhere.)

It’s just that for as long as The Boy has been printing, he has also been putting empty toner cartridges in the place where full cartridges used to be.  And you know I’m mad because, again, italics.

(Side note: should you get an interview and decide that you no longer want the job, say, because the morning commute is eastbound and the early sun can damage fine skin, do what others have done: during the interview, drop random words into your answers then flee leaving the employers feeling, what I like to call, “dazzled and confused.”  Beginners will often start by referencing more popular words like “the Google,” “the Netflix” or “Sanford and the Son” while more seasoned interviewees know that the fun lies in making references that only your friends will understand.  Phrases like: “the Dufresnes study, as presented by Mr. Hedberg, puts forth that humans have limited patience.”  Or, “Robert Lee has been instrumental in introducing Asian philosophies to today’s workforce.”  The less they get, the more they will insist that the office cannot run without you.  That’s my theory.)

So, to answer your question, Spouse, The Boy is the reason I don’t have the perfect job today.  He used up all my toner and now I’ve lost all my mojo.

“Missing Her Mojo:” How one mother’s search for employment leads to an entire bedroom makeover.  (On Lifetime this Fall.)

Back to School

12 Sep

back to school

Here’s why I hate the first day of school:

First: I am not known for being quick.  To move.  To judge, well, who’s to say?  (Actually, I am.)

I revel in all things slow (side note: future NPR show- “All Things Slow”?)  Friends have been known to doze as I search for the exact word whilst in conversation (for example, “whilst”) while others have consumed an entire meal before I have properly plated my green beans opposite my cranberry sauce (Spouse, Thanksgiving 2008).

It takes about a week once school ends for me to fully develop my summertime groove- from switching bed linen to a higher, more luxurious  thread count, to picking berries to add to my morning beet smoothie (side note: future morning music show about ska-influenced music titled “Beat Smoothie”?) and then imagine, if you can, how disruptive deconstructing that groove can be.  You see now how the first day of school is overwhelming, at best, and, at worst, a total Weepfest (September, 2011).

Secondly: the paperwork.  Every year it’s the same.  Science lab rules, gym class rules, homeroom rules.  Where are the Stevie Ray Vaughn Rules rules?  Doctor’s information, emergency contact (where you ferret out true friends and then saddle them with caring for your sick child because the school cannot reach you at any of the contact numbers you provided- oops, did I leave off a digit?) plus an improved code of conduct- NEW for 2013-2014!  The “I will not wear sleepwear to school rule!”  (PS: I didn’t even know that wearing pajamas had been an option.  Oh, the Lifetouch pictures we could have had- complete with airbrushed option and crooked hair.)

Third: lunch.  The Boy has watched enough Food Network to now believe that only fresh basil and hand-hewned croutons are acceptable in a salad.  Who hews?  Of course, a PB&J is fine if you’re rushed (hello, it’s me) as long as the bread is stone ground whole wheat, preferably cold-climate grown.

Fourth: the clutter.  The constant jumble of socks and shoes and backpacks and lunchboxes.  And books and binders and paper and such.  All in front of the kitchen door.  You know, the door that we must fly out of right now if we are to make it “on time.”

Finally, about the quest to arrive “on time.”  I put quotation marks around “on time” because while “time” is more of a “concept” to me, previous employers have adopted a more literal definition of “time” and the “wasting” thereof plus the need to “show up on” it.  But, hey, we’re all different and both schools and workplaces benefit when tolerance is practiced.  Besides, who am I to judge?  Oh, right.  I’m the unemployed one.

Let’s not even discuss the switch to Standard Time where, from November to March, I am 59 minutes late for everything.  Oh sure, I eventually make up a few minutes here and there- mostly at doctor’s appointments because physicians have even broader definitions of “time,” “schedule,” and “appointment” than I do, but it’s not the same.

Plus the reason I am at the doctor’s office is due to some nasty germ that The Boy brought home from school anyway.

Then, from my scratchy-sheeted sick-bed, I will begin counting down the days until summer vacation again.

259 from today.

Why I eschew fame

14 Mar

Elle and I walk on Thursdays.  Elle is also a recovering actress so walking off memories of bad theater, monologues written by undiscovered playwrights and competing with Maggie Gyllenhaal for a role is our form of AA (Actor’s Anonymous) minus the opening prayer and without actually being a friend of Bill W.  We’d both rather be friends of Martin S. or Quentin T.

As we powered our way over the hills, we talked about how our decision not to become famous has worked out better for us and our families.  We were having this discussion while trying to remember how long our  unemployment benefit extensions last.

“Imagine,” one of us said, “that you had Chinese for dinner last night and, without thinking, woke up and took the dog out.”

“Next thing you know, your mom is calling because she saw a picture of you (walking the dog) in the tabloids and she wants to congratulate you on your pregnancy and find out why you couldn’t call to tell her- that she had to find out while on line at the Food King is a sin.”

Reason #1: famous people cannot opt for the Kung Pao bloat whenever they are too tired to make dinner.

Reason #2: famous people probably have to call their mothers more than regular people.  Or pay someone to do mom’s grocery shopping.

Finally, mom asks when you had your eggs frozen because you never even mentioned it and also to remind you that “after a certain age, everyone’s ass looks like Epcot.  Even Drew Barrymore has dimples.  Of course, her’s are on her face, but still.”

Reason #3: even Epcot is famous.

More untapped career choices

31 Jan

Here’s what happens when you’ve been unemployed for a while: the “dream job” that you often fantasized about while AT WORK becomes significant as your six-week review with the “employment solutions counselor” is here and you must have something to show for your time besides a renewed appreciation for the character “Lucky” as voiced by Tom Petty on “King of the Hill.”  (Side note: Tom Petty is a native Floridian.)


So, to my employment counselor I offer:

Second to Naan: a lunch truck that serves, stuffed or topped, freshly baked naan.  You may ask how successful an Indian lunch truck could  be here in Venisonland but that, I feel, is a question more for a counselor with “solutions” in her title than it is for me.  I’m too busy thinking.

Thinking: so obvious yet it appears on my soon to be released “List of Endangered Things.”  I could do this for any number of employers.

Batter Up: a food truck that will deep fry ANYTHING.  From baby shoes to engagement rings as well as the classics: Oreos, apple pies and sticks of butter.  Located in Cooperstown, NY, this service caters to visitors to the Baseball Hall of Fame and is aptly named.

The Truth Booth: a cardboard washing machine box that sets up anywhere (parties, reunions, etc.) to afford privacy.  For a fee, you may bring an individual into the booth whereupon I will tell them what you cannot.  Specializing in: “that hairstyle makes you look like you’re 100” and “your son (daughter) is smoking the (your) pot,” we also create custom rhyming verse like:

“Your spouse is a louse/get him out of the house./Yeah and the other day in the kitchen?/I saw a mouse.  You need to clean, girl.”

or even Haiku:


dry, dusty cooking

eternal sands of marriage

ketchup is my friend.


And from my employment counselor I request:

a part-time, sit down (in one of those vertebrae-aligning kneeling chairs and not a cushy wheely chair) but not too much sitting (as a visit to WebMD indicates that Spinal Stenosis can be aggravated by sitting), number- crunching (but not crazy big theoretical numbers with all kinds of commas and decimals), well-paying position with a mediumsmall-large company and a window.  For my ferret.


I suppose we may have to meet in the middle on this.

Meet in the Middle: a lunch truck that prepares selections from the middle of other restaurant menus and deep fries them.  For a fee.  Comes with a side of truth.

Lou and Karl and me

28 Dec

Lou and I found ourselves in a midtown bar at 3PM on Tuesday.  Actually, it wasn’t hard to find us, we had been there since noon.  It’s not that we didn’t want jobs, we just didn’t have jobs.

Instead, we did the next best thing: drink and wax philosophic.  Like Karl Marx after one or two (or five) beers.  By the time Lou returned from a trip to the restroom, I had figured out everything that was wrong with his life.  He didn’t even have to ask me.  Why are there no jobs like that?

Quite simply, Lou’s life contains too many one syllable words.  Moving to the outer boroughs has made him boring.  My scrutiny revealed that:

he drives a Ford.


Automatic or manual?  “Stick,” says Lou.

Color?  “Blue.

Married?  “Yup.”

To?  “Peg.”

Kids?  “Nope.”

Pets?  “Dog.”

Name?  “Mike.”

Breed?  “Mutt.”

Favorite food?  “Meat.”

Drink?  “Beer.”

Snack?  “Meat.”

Spice?  “Salt.”

Band?  “The Who.”

Sports?  “Mets, Jets and Knicks.”

And so on.

By the time we left the bar, it was dark out and we were hungry.

“If  I could just get Lou to utter more than one syllable,” I thought, “his life will change forever.”  Emboldened by drink, we stopped at a hot dog wagon- this was my chance:

“How many?”  I asked.

“Two,” he replied.

‘Ketchup or mustard?”

The curse of the Mono-Syllabic Man was about to be lifted.  No longer would Lou be saddled with a boring, non-conversational existence; he would engage and be engaging.  He and Peg would become the center of a social whirlwind that resulted in notoriety, opportunities and meaningful relationships.  All because of me.

“Lou- ketchup or mustard?” I implored.

“Both,” he replied.

We ate and then each took a train home.  Me to my basement apartment in Woodbridge, Lou to Queens.  As if you couldn’t tell.

Austerity Measures (improved)

20 Dec

Instead of replacing his jeans as he gets taller, I buy my kid really cool socks.  Nothing rocks a Middle School Holiday Concert more than a violinist with purple argyle socks- exposed purple argyle socks.  From ankle to knee (mandigger) exposure.  In fact, as of right now, I am officially titling our new austerity plan: “Livin’ the Capri Life.”   As in, “go ask Grandma for money for the Book Fair- you’re Livin’ the Capri Life, son.”

Eliminate sugar from diet and call it a lifestyle change.

Eliminate food from diet as a wacky “New Year/New You” thing.

Eliminate a for-profit health care system, corporate bailouts, tax loopholes that only $400/hr lawyers can find.  Run for President, win, buy a yacht.  Just kidding.  Yachts for everyone.

Use the library for books, internet, newspaper, rest room, heat.

Get an even smaller belt and tighten it.

Make sure to go outside when it’s sunny to ward off depression.

Watch “Fargo” (again).  Challenge yourself to incorporate classic lines into daily conversation.  “I’m working with you,” “I thought we could take care of this here officer,” “He’s fleeing the interview” and “What the Christ?” are all easy enough- one traffic stop and you’re covered.

While this Fargo approach does not help financially, it will turn bleak couch time into happy- fun- time- now couch time, which also wards off depression.

Until things get better, sleep.

Spot the Theatre Major

27 Oct

At a party:

makes liberal use of the word “wonderful.”  From the crudite to the secondhand smoke, it’s all “wonderful.”  Except life.  Life, my friend, is a Cabaret.

At similar party with a piano in the room:

all roads lead to Streisand who, need I say, is “wonderful.”

In college:

spells theatre using “re” and then complains about constant battles with spellcheck.

At the unemployment office:

believes that everything happens for a reason and not just because she picked the wrong major, then complains about constant battles with student loan officer.

(Because this is a State office, underworked staff members will pretend to care but do nothing until 4:00 when they swiftly head home to complain about constant battles with their supervisor.)


is a blogger.

Maybe I’ll Become a Barrista

20 Oct

I rarely offer advice regarding employment.  I tend to stay in unpleasant employment situations long after the headiness of wielding power, bossing minions and firing incompetents has evaporated.  Oh wait, that’s Donald Trump, not me.  I eat pizza with my hands.

So here I am at the crossroads.  The advice-giving me is telling the hardworking-me that I need to quit my job like, yesterday, even in this economy.  (A quick aside: go ahead, ask me the words that I hope to never, ever, hear again for as long as I live?  “In this economy.”  Why?  Because there is always an economy and that economy will always favor the wealthy, trample the middle class and disregard the poor and that, my friend, will never change.  So enough with “in this economy.”  Besides, I need to quit “in this moment.”)  Wow, that quick aside should probably be a separate paragraph.

So, when you stop fantasizing about being involved in a minor automobile accident, like bumping a parked car, for example- no ambulance, no injury- just a little vehicular incident that takes some time to apologize and check over the damage which results in your having to miss this month’s meeting- when you no longer imagine this scenario, but rather, find yourself slowly driving along Main Street looking for a dented car that is precariously parked, it’s time to quit.

When you begin to wish that the stranger at the gas pump next to you would pass out so that you and only you must stay with that person until help arrives and end up missing next month’s meeting too, give notice.

When you pray that your child gets a slight fever, husband gets a flat tire, friend’s husband gets caught cheating; when you check the weather channel thinking “tornado.  C’mon, baby.  Mommy needs a little tornado.  Or “power outage.  Help me out, NYSEG.  Can I get a glitch?”  Not long enough to melt the Starbucks ice cream in the freezer, mind you, but enough so that the meeting is canceled.

When you find yourself contemplating the loss of full fat/high price frozen confections, just walk away Renee.

Whatever you do, don’t drive.

P.S.  Melted Starbucks ice cream is okay- it’s like an extra creamy cappuccino.  (That I can no longer afford because I quit my job.)

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