Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Rejection Fitness Stretch

This exercise is meant for those who are currently job hunting. As we all know, no response from prospective employees means REJECTION (like a stab to the heart!). This exercise is part of the Faceless Employee(TM) I Can't Get Over It series.

Step 1: Stand upright with feet shoulder width apart.

Step 2: Unceremoniously flop your upper body over, like someone with no core strength.

Step 3: Let out a sigh that can be heard in the next room, like someone without hope. 

Step 4: Straighten back up, smile, and fake it 'til you make it.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Cover letter - Janitor

Dear Hiring Manager,

I am keenly interested in the Janitor position you posted on your website. I attach my resume and hope my experience and credentials match your needs. After reading the information on your site, I am energized and enthused at the prospect of vacuuming your office floors and emptying your trash cans.

As background, I am Associate Director of Despair for the Best Organization Of Boston Society (BOOBS). I am responsible for reminding everyone that we work under the direction of an unethical employer who is also a disastrous manager and administrator. A typical day for me would consist of waltzing into my colleagues' offices, offering them chocolate, and then informing them of the latest near-criminal act of the man we all work for, such as influencing a high-ranking government official to revoke a rival's visa, or directly causing the resignations of 80% of the Board of Directors, who incidentally are 50% of our revenue stream. When my colleagues start weeping into their Hershey Bar, I know that I have succeeded.

I love handling garbage. In my three years at BOOBS, I have shoveled vast amounts of it down the throats of potential funders, some of whom were so overwhelmed that they gave us money to go away. I can sweep under the rug unpleasant facts about mismanagement and incompetence, and would be delighted to do the same for the dust bunnies in your office. I also only drink coffee in my own home, so you need not be concerned about my using the company credit card to buy soy chai lattes at Starbucks on a regular basis.

I am extremely detail-oriented--a skill vital to ensuring that all parts of our Office Propaganda Machine work properly. I am passionate about health and think that pushing a vacuum cleaner around your office will help me achieve my fitness goals. This position seems to be ideal for my background and interests, and I hope you consider my application as you move forward with filling this position.

Thank you very much for your consideration.

Faceless Employee

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Faceless Employee: The Leak

Well Played, Student, Well Played

"At an elite university like Harvard, we are meant to learn the skills that will help us succeed in careers but those that will help us shine in the accompanying cocktail parties."

Excerpt from "Aulus and Me,"M. Schwartz '12, Harvard magazine September-October 2011

Dear editor,

There's a word missing in the sentence above. Also, would like to know where these cocktail parties are, as have not been invited so far.

BOOBS employee

New Faceless Employee comic to be posted soon! 

Friday, September 23, 2011

Movie Review: Drive (2011)

Drive tricks you at the start by using a pink script font to introduce the cast and crew, to the beat of pulpy music. Viewers follow a soft-spoken getaway driver played by Ryan Gosling on a job, where he demonstrates his skills, and then we watch him shyly fall in love with his cute next-door neighbor, played by whatserface from An Education. Carey Mulligan, that's it. The Driver (also known as "kid") and neighbor and her little boy enjoy quiet moments together, and it's adorable and sweet and you really root for them to get together. Then the movie veers into ultra-violence mode. Drive gets really dark really quickly, and Boyfriend and I spent the last 45 minutes cringing at all the heads being blown off/ skulls being smashed in/ people getting their forearms slit/ being drowned/ stabbed/ et cetera. WHOA! And the entire time, Gosling's voice never goes above a murmur.

This is a very technically competent film, with unbelievably good cinematography and a deliberate use of slow motion shots and thematic music. I especially liked the song "A Real Hero" by College. There's a gritty realism to the acting, and let's not forget all the makeup used to make Christina Hendricks look less gorgeous. The story is linear, with some very quick flashbacks during key scenes to establish plot points. In Drive, it's the storytelling style that really shines. Come for the Gosling, stay for the film techniques.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Job Interviews, Part One

"Come work inside us!"
Early-morning adventures in traffic aside, my two interviews went all right. The first one was for a senior admin position at a very well-known teaching hospital, and the other was for a proposal writer at a large company. I found the second one a lot smoother, mostly because the interviewers were very down-to-earth (despite their power suits) but extremely focused on what they wanted, which I hope to God is me. The first one was a little scattered -- they had a list of questions, but kept skipping around, and it wasn't clear right away what they were looking for. The difference in interviewing style and effectiveness was very clear to me after I came out of the second interview. I appreciate knowing exactly what the position calls for, and knowing a little bit about the history of the organization, instead of being asked cookie-cutter questions of boringness right off the bat. Interestingly, even though both sets of interviewers asked the same questions -- "Where do you see yourself in five years?" and "Name a customer service challenge" -- I found I was more enthusiastic answering the second one because their description of their work was very exciting to me, and yes, I am a huge nerd for wanting to write complicated proposals and do research about market competition, sue me.

Anyway, both were good learning experiences. Now I know: (a) what to look for in a job ad; (b) how to prepare really focused answers for the interview; and (c) to bring a small bottle of water. Bloody no one offered me a drink! I had to scout around for water fountains! Waaaaah! Life is so hard!

LOL j/k

Please pray for me!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Moral of the Story Is...

At our office staff meeting yesterday, I coined the phrase, "Summer of turmoil, Fall of sorrow," which my coworkers repeated with chuckles and sad sighs. I really do foresee things getting worse, not better, and nowhere is this more obvious than in the imminent return of Horrible Coworker (HC).

Let me break it down for you: HC thinks she's special and entitled to more benefits than everyone else. She's rude on e-mail, calls us "unprofessional" at every opportunity, and delights in gossiping. Her spelling and grammar are beyond atrocious. For a brief, shining year, she suppressed her psychosis enough to be friends with a bunch of us, but there were enough episodes of her snapping and suddenly acting like a petulant grade-schooler that we all eventually backed off, and she found herself without real friends in the office.

She found a new job in July and I did a happy dance. But now she's coming back, for reasons unknown. The kicker is that she firmly believes we should apologize to her. Apparently, when nobody likes you, the problem is definitely not you. This person, my dears, is a prime candidate for a study examining rationality as an evolved illusion.

What to do? The answer is obvious! Stay positive! Be professional! ...And then consume copious amounts of alcohol and whine to my mom.

Ye gads...

Monday, September 19, 2011

Three Reasons to Live in Cambridge

Note: all events described below happened in one day.

Reason to Live in Cambridge 1: Yard sales.

My faithful steed, Gray Donkey.
I was on my way back home from having some blood tests done (update 9/19: I am not anemic, not iron-deficient, not B12-deficient, and my cholesterol is excellent) when I spotted giant signs for a nearby yard sale. I zoomed over and started wandering around the items. A very nice man gave me a giant Macy's bag -- clearly, he is very savvy and knew I would compulsively try to fill it up. I got the tiniest, cutest little steel dish drainer ($1), a few long-sleeved tops ($2 each) for the fall, and an unopened Kinerase Gentle Daily Cleanser ($1). That last item retails for $30+. Wheeee!!!

Reason to Live in Cambridge 2: Cyclist Culture.

You can't really see it, but the photo above shows that my bicycle seat is really messed up. So I popped over to the Broadway Bicycle School, which was super busy at the time, but I got helped right away! I got a new seat, and the guy also greased my gears and inflated my tires properly. I also made the dude go up a ladder so he can show me the spanking full-head helmets they had, only I didn't like the color (I want light-colored helmets so I'm visible and don't get run over) so he had to go up the ladder again and return it. Kyahaha, evil deed for the day complete!

Reason to Live in Cambridge 3: Vets are available in case the internet did not cure your pet.

When I woke up on a glorious Saturday morning, the sun was shining and my cat was compensating for the lack of birdsong by mewling incessantly. She hadn't eaten since Wednesday, so I checked the opening times of the two vets in the area -- yes indeed, we are two-timers -- and filed their Saturday hours away in case my internet fix did not work. What the internet said was, you feed one tablespoon of honey to the anorexic cat per 20 pounds, meaning a dollop of honey for the 6-pound Sheba. Man, did she ever fight. She hates it when I pry open her mouth and try to force-feed her, but she's such a gentle kitty that she grips my hand with her paws and tries to push me away, instead of, say, opening up my veins like a normal cat. To my delight, about twenty minutes later, she was at her food bowl. Thank you, internet!

~Now, to balance out all the sugar and rainbows above, here's the sucky crap that happened to me on the same day: twisted my ankle halfway through hiking, kept going anyway, and then the damn thing looked like a golf ball six hours later. I just did an X-ray this morning, and the tech told me it looks okay. Sure feels okay. It's a lot better than Saturday night, when I was hopping around in secret pain. On Sunday, I was doing such a good job of hiding my discomfort that Boyfriend kept blissfully walking ahead, way too fast for me to catch up, and I was too womanly to whine about being left behind. Derp?

This post had no point. I'm really just rambling. Ramble, ramble, ramble...

Friday, September 16, 2011

Oh, Well

This is how my 10-minute phone interview should have gone:

HR Person
Tell me about your work at BOOBS.

Me (smoothly)
As Impressive-Sounding Title, I oversee all aspects of the Propaganda Making process, from preparation to submission to reporting. I am also manager of the Online Propaganda Machine.

HR Person
Do you have a direct report?

Me (smoothly)
Not at this time. This is a very collaborative office.

HR Person
Why do you want to leave your current job? 

Me (smoothly)
I'm looking to work in a new environment. I want to apply my skills in a different capacity and meet new people. And since I've worked at this start-up for several years now, I would like to work in a stable company.

HR Person
Why our company?

Me (smoothly)
There are two reasons. First, this job seems to be a strong match to my skills and experience. Second, I'm attracted to mission-driven organizations, and I think your company has a set of core values that is very impressive.

HR Person
What are your salary requirements?

Me (smoothly)
Ideally, I'd like to earn more than my current salary. I don't have a solid understanding of the salary ranges in corporate for this position. I'm open to offers based on compensation and the benefits package.

HR Person
When would you be available for an in-person interview, if you were selected?

Me (smoothly)
Let's do lunch. I'll pay.

HR Person
OMG, totally.

This is how my interview actually went:

HR Person
Tell me about your work at BOOBS.

Me (stammering)
Uh, I am, uh, Impressive Sounding Title, and I, um, do stuff. But first I wasn't doing this stuff on the ad. I did other stuff for a year. But then I came back and did it again. Also I got a promotion in April. Also I do website stuff.


HR Person
I think I need to clarify a common misconception, which is that that we're a non-profit. We're not...

Me (interrupting)
I know that. (mentally beats self up for interrupting interviewer)

HR Person
...not a non-profit. We're corporate. (Gives details about company and position so I don't have to ask like the jackass that I am.)


HR Person
I'll forward your resume to the Department Manager and you might hear back from us today or next week.

Me (enthusiastic)
Thank you very much! 

HR Person
Have a great weekend!

Me (borderline manic)

Oh, well. It was good practice. Get up just one more time after you're knocked down. Earn your attitude. Learn your platitudes. Yeahhhhh.

Thank God It's Friday.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Another one!

Received another response! In-person interview next week, at ungodly hour in the morning!

I need interview clothes! Blazer, top, stockings! Maybe some pants! Perhaps a brand new face!


Edit (5 minutes later):

First valuable lesson learned during the job hunt:

Keep a record of the job ad. My multiple frenetic submissions wiped the memories of the details about what I applied for. Whoops. Me in the interview: "Sorry, what's this position again?"

Le sigh.


Please pray for me, readers!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

First success!

First response received! Phone interview imminent! Now must decide which voice to use:

-Broadcaster voice
-Dry, acerbic voice
-Enthusiastic young woman voice
-Robot voice
-Professional voice (not to be confused with above)

Meh, I'll wing it.


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Movie Review: Outbreak (1995)

Outbreak is clearly an allegory for the job crisis in the United States. As far back as 1995, visionary director Wolfgang Petersen foresaw the shadow of chronic unemployment looming menacingly over the horizon, and he hired Hollywood elites to act out his nightmare in a world where the cute, fluffy monkey from Friends represents the pernicious effects of globalization upon the human psyche. The scene where the monkey spat into Patient Zero's mouth vividly illustrates the toxicity of the monster we've created through individual abdication of responsibility, corporate greed, government deregulation, environmental degradation, and general effed-upness. Unlike the disease in the movie, unemployment is everywhere, rather than confined in a small, convenient location where I could have saved everyone by hiring them to be my maids or cat sitters. Wages are adoration and respect.

In all seriousness, Outbreak is a terrific movie with excellent performances (everyone else's subtle and nuanced take on their characters balanced out Dustin Hoffman's foaming at the mouth); a thrilling soundtrack; brilliant cinematography; and a great script. Was it manipulative? Of course. Did I mind? Nope. Not when it has this dialogue:

Kevin Spacey: How many brain cells did I lose?
Dustin Hoffman: About a billion.
Kevin Spacey: So I'm only as smart as you.


I am now primed for Contagion. Bring it on, new semi-realistic epidemic movie!

Monday, September 12, 2011


The job market is worse than I thought!

Well, at least I have a heads up.

Job hunt story of the day: Got the "Not Selected" response on a Pearson job within seconds of submission. (bow)

Friday, September 9, 2011

An Invitation to Join BOOBS

Dear friend,

I am writing to formally invite you to join the Best Organization Of Boston Society (BOOBS) Board of Directors. Let me say once again how pleased I am that you so have so generously supported us despite our recent blatant disregard for law, ethics, fairness, and worker's rights. Due to numerous reports of your unpopularity in your own country, we believe that you would make a wonderful addition to the BOOBS Board of Directors.

The remainder of this letter sets forth several logistical and corporate matters:

            Term – In accordance with the Society’s by-laws, you have been elected to a one-year term, and you will be eligible to be voted in again, depending on our mood at the time.

            Conference Calls – The Board holds daily conference calls that generally last for five minutes, which is the time it takes for us to rubber-stamp everything put before us by the CEO of BOOBS.

Corporate Documents – For your reference, the following documents are included in this package:

·       1,000-page self-published autobiography by the CEO of BOOBS 
·       The Society’s Certificate of Incorporation
·       A memorandum from the law firm of Slowest Lawyers on Earth LLP, outlining the scope of liability for members serving on the Society’s Board
·       A list of your fellow Board members and their contact information
·       A binder with printouts of all the speeches ever made by the CEO of BOOBS

Please contact us if you have any questions. Thank you for your many efforts on behalf of BOOBS, and we look forward to working together with you as we move forward.

With all best wishes,
Board of Directors, BOOBS

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Movie Review: The Manchurian Candidate (2004)

I thought this somehow
involved China. Nope.
To prime myself for the upcoming Indecision 2012, and also to distract myself from the stomach-churning acceleration and turns of the bus, I watched The Manchurian Candidate remake as I rode back to Boston. All I knew was that it starred Denzel Washington, and that's usually enough for me to hit "play." I was delighted to see that Meryl Streep and Liev Schreiber also had key roles.

Manch Cand has a cool story. The movie follows a major in the US Army as he tries to piece together the events of a pivotal night in Kuwait in '91. Viewers get to see some of what happens in an opening scene: a group of soldiers is ambushed at night, and then... Denzel describes the heroics of Schreiber's character, now a congressman and a recipient of the Medal of Honor for single-handedly fighting off the enemy and guiding the team through hostile terrain. But did that really happen? As Denzel investigates, Meryl Streep chews the scenery as a super-tough senator aiming to place her son (war hero Schreiber, what a concidence!) as the candidate for vice president in the elections. It's really gripping stuff, and the film has choice themes for nerds like me: the fallibility of memory, corruption and science, power and humanity, and let's not forget nepotism and the Oedipus Complex. Yuck.

Is he?
But the real reason you should watch The Manchurian Candidate is to play a drinking game called, "Is Liev Schreiber Constipated?" The game works like this: every time he cracks a smile--
--take 1 sip if his character is clearly undergoing emotional turmoil;
--take 2 sips if his character is clearly in physical pain;
--take 3 sips if his character is clearly trying to be charming;
--take a swig if his character is clearly constipated;
--chug if you can't tell the difference.

You'll be drunk and a better conversationalist in no time!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

The Kindness of Strangers

September started off with a lot of kindness from strangers, and I'm hoping the trend will last, let's say for the rest of my life. First, a sweet old man at the gate of the Morris Arboretum made us feel very welcome, explained how to get to the parking lot and what to do after we parked, and thanked us for coming. At the guest house, a nice lady gave us a map and pointed out the main points of attraction, and more importantly, the restroom locations. As we wandered around, I casually mentioned to Mama that we were pretty close to Minado, a fantastic Japanese buffet about an hour away from NE Philly. Mama instantly decided we should go, and that we could definitely beat the 2:30 pm lunch closing time, and then she stopped at every. Single. Tree. On the way to the parking lot. You know how many trees there are in an arboretum? A LOT.

We finally tore out of there and I drove maniacally as politely as possible. We triumphantly barreled through the doors, only to be stopped short by the seater who explained that they were removing all the food in eight minutes and we wouldn't have time to go for seconds. I was pissed and had my face of death on, because I hate wasting effort. Mama just kept smiling benignly at the seater until he finally said, "Okay, if you decide to go, I'll only charge you for one." Imagine the Road Runner -- that was us running to our seats. So I plunked my bag down and gathered whatever grub was still left that I could conceivably digest, and was happily masticating when Mama returned with a HEAP O' FOOD. Turns out that she thought "charge for one" meant that only one of us could have a plate, and she'd collected enough to feed me, too -- if I were two teenage boys. Holy cow, that was a lot of food. But heck, half of it was free so we ate almost all of it! And I must say, Mama did an excellent job of hiding her unfinished remains.

We zoomed back to the Arboretum to finish our sightseeing (we'd only done half an hour and had about 90 more acres to go), and the old man remembered us and let us go through, with a warning that they would close at 4 pm (it was 3:30 then). Off we went, making sure to stick near the cover of trees so no staff member would spot us and kick us out until we went through the entire place. It helped that Mama wore green and kept hugging trees. I mean that literally. And sure enough, around 4:30, a golf cart stopped next to us, and a nice man explained that they'd closed half an hour before and we should probably start heading back. We were near the parking lot by then, anyway.

So all in all, we got everything we wanted: great sights, great food, and absolutely everyone we interacted with was nice, which in my experience is unusual. I'm not complaining. I want more of it. Life, please continue to be kind. I sure need it.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

@ Jersey City with the Birthday Girl

Yesterday we went to Jersey City "to return to my basic self," as Mama put it, meaning "to eat oily, fatty, delicious Filipino foods" at Max's of Manila. According to the menu, Max's was started right after WWII, when this dude Maximo served coffee, steak, and fried chicken to his American serviceman friends. Truly, friendship is the mother of innovation, because urban myth has it that Max's fried chicken is deep fried in pork fat. Doesn't that sound awesome? Excuse me while I quiet down my heart palpitations. We also had pinakbet, lumpia, and halo-halo, which is like the Holy Grail if the Holy Grail were filled to the brim with crushed ice, ube ice cream, coconut shavings, and sweet beans. Then we went to Red Ribbon, and at my repeated chanting of "discipline, discipline!" Mama only got two slices of cake (ube and mango) instead of two entire cakes, which was her impulse.

Then we hustled to make it to the trains before rush hour hit. From Journal Square we hopped into a PATH train to Newark Penn Station, where I had time to go to the bathroom. A lovely double-decker NJ Transit train pulled up and we zoomed into double seats, but were distracted by the conductor screaming, "This is the local, local, LOCAL train! It will make all local stops! The express is right behind us!" Mama insisted that we get on the express, so we trooped out. I saw a butt-ugly train on Track 3, opposite us, and checked the monitor, which said, "5:02 pm NJ Transit to Trenton, Track 3," so we got on. Haha, fail. It was an express, yes -- but heading to Jersey Ave., which if you check out this map is barely past halfway to Trenton, where our car was parked. Mama was giggling about the irony of it all -- we'd have to get off at Metropark, and then wait for the same train we'd gotten into in the first place before ditching it for an express. My iPhone died at Metropark station, so I amused myself by playing all the ring tones on Mama's phone so she could choose which one she liked best. She ended up with the default Nokia tone (tanaNAna-tanaNAna-tanaNANANAAAAA), probably because it wasn't an obnoxious techno one.

We made it home and turned in early. Birthdays are fun. And exhausting.

Movie Review: Hereditary (2018)