Sunday, July 3, 2011

I'm A Worker Bee....Again

I is alive! I would love to say that I have been doing wonderful, marvelous things this summer. But mostly I have been depressed and unhappy, and that's not fun for daily blog fodder. Thus, radio silence.

Oh, but I haven't been totally useless, I have been applying and interviewing for it's my job (get it, get it, I's made a funny). And finally after about 9 months of searching, I have finally been found worthy of employment. Yay for me! Someone hired me. Someone liked me more than another candidate. Yay! I am very excited about this new opportunity, especially since it means a paycheck! Oh wait, I am also excited about the position. It is with a small tech company out of California, and I will be their East Coast Coordinator. Don't ask me exactly what that means because I'm not 100% sure yet. However, it will require my unbelievable customer service skills, organizational abilities, and my love of multi-tasking. But best of all, I will be doing something that is totally out of line from my background and will allow me to learn a new skillset and gain new industry experience.

Oh, and didn't I mention the kicker - travel. I start on the 5th of July and work from home for a week, and then I fly out to San Jose for two weeks of training. What did I hear when this was explained to me? VACATION! Two weeks, alone, my own hotel room. Hallelujah! This is the first real vacation I have had in two and a half years (thank you Ben). So while I will miss my little man (I'll see you on Skype buddy), and am anxious about how he and J will get on without me (it's gonna be like a cage match and only one will survive), I cannot wait to board that plane! It'll be a nice change for J to find out what it's like being me and bearing the majority of the parenting duties. I expect it shall be a life-changing two weeks for us all.

Sidenote: When J told Ben I was going back to work, he replied "Oh yay! Congratulations Mommy! Can I come with you?" My sweet little goofball.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

He Did It All for the Cookie

B: Hey Mommy.
Me: Yes, Benny.
B: I have an idea.
Me: OK, what?
B: Umm...Let's have a picnic!
Me: OK. What should we eat?
Me: Cookies, really? Sounds reasonable for 10:30 in the morning.
B: Yay! A picnicky with cookies!

Ten minutes later, cookies and milk are assembled and we are on a blanket on the floor. Ben eats his first cookie, and yummy yummy yummies. I grab my first cookie and hear, "NO! Mommy that's mine! No sharing!"

Happy Tuesday!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

What Color is My Parachute? Do You Know?

Can we just talk about personality tests for a minute? When did personality tests become so pervasive in the recruiting world? I know I have been out of the HR game for a few years now, but I have kept up with trade publications and must have missed the issue on TEST, TEST, TEST. I have taken so many different personality tests in my lifetime as a Psych major and then as an HR professional, but feel like I may be taking more as a candidate for employment. I mean, before you even meet or speak to me, I need to take 5 personality tests to prove my worth? Really. Is this cost effective? It seems that you would weed out a lot of the unqualifieds just through a simple phone screen, and save a lot of money in the process.

Let's take my most recent job opportunity (which I am hoping turns into something solid because it's a great company). A friend referred me to HR (which is pretty much the only way to even have your resume seen by actual eyeballs), she told HR she wanted me in the sales pipeline for future opportunities that she will have in the next month or so. I then have to go online and apply for a "fake" job just to get in the system. Then HR emails me a link to fill out a more in depth application and upload my references. Cool. Then HR emails me a personality test. No biggie, it's because I'm already in the pipeline so I'm getting fast-tracked. I do the personality test (which is always hard for me because my Psych brain and my HR brain are at war analyzing the best way to answer and my gut is saying "just answer it!"). After the 30 minute personality test, I email HR to let them know it's completed. HR emails me another link for a more in-depth personality test for just sales candidates. Okay. I start the test. Three questions in and there is a word problem. WTF? How does a word problem help you analyze my personality? Also, when you tell someone it's a personality test, that is timed, you should also warn them if there will be math. I needed an f'ing calculator! I grabbed pen and paper and my cell calculator and got to work. Can I tell you how much I hate word problems? I do. I'm not bad at math by any means, but I have always got the cold sweats from word problems. Whatever. I get it done. Move on, more personality questions. Crap, another word problem. But wait, this one requires me to remember the basic area of a triangle in order to answer it. No kidding. Geometry. People, I sucked at geometry. Also, I haven't had to do it or use it since early HS. I don't know how I remembered 180 degrees, but I did (please tell me that's right, I never googled after to check). Anywho, I get through it and some additional reading comprehension questions which were ridiculous. Whew! A few hours after the test, I get a call from the outsourced company that administers the test and they want to set up a phone screen for me. Okay, why isn't the company's HR doing this? Apparently the outsourced personality company pre-screens candidates that pass the personality test before they are moved on to interviews with the actual company. Weird, but okay. Phone screen is set up and I'm ready. Phone screen time comes and goes, and I am stood up. Yep, they forgot to call. I call them and reschedule. The second phone screen starts late and the person I am supposed to be speaking with (who originally stood me up) is busy so someone else is handling the phone interview for him. Okay, whatever. The chat goes well and he tells me that I will be forwarded as a candidate for sales positions at the company. But he won't reveal any of the personality test results with me....unless I am actually hired. Annoying.

Am I crazy, but doesn't that seem like a lot of testing and applications? I still haven't even talked to anyone at the actual company...and I am a referred candidate. Crazy. What happened to actually talking to a candidate yourself and making an assessment. Personality tests are great, especially when used as a tool to strengthen your interview or for leadership training....but 3 tests before even talking to the hiring manager? Seems a bit much. Lucrative if you are the testing vendor, and I would love to get in on that business. Cha-Ching.

UPDATE: My friend called me today and we spoke about setting up a meeting for next week. Turns out that there will be an opening on her team sooner rather than later, so I will be considered for a position under her purview. Fingers crossed that all goes well. Also I passed all of the personality tests and scored well for a sales candidate. Good to know...since I was a successful sales person.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Win An Ipad 2

As much as I don't want to share this and decrease my chances of winning, I must in order to increase my own chances. It's a vicious circle. I’m posting this to enter a contest on offered by Brad's Deals at Sweetney! I want to win the white iPad 2! If you'd like to try and beat me, go ahead. But be aware that if you win, I will come and steal the iPad 2 from you - with force, if necessary. Consider yourself warned.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Girl, You Better (Net)Work...

Can we talk about how looking for a job is a full-time job? I haven't had to work this hard to find a job since I was a fresh-faced new grad jumping into the rat race. I had forgotten what an arduous process the job hunt can be, especially now that the landscape has changed so drastically with the addition of social media. And let's not forget that employers generally prefer to meet candidates that are currently employed, not those that have been a mom for the past two years. Oh, and the recession and unemployment at an all-time high. How could I forget about that?? *sigh*

I literally apply for at least one job per day, if not more. I am stalking the top companies in the area, particularly those with openings in my fields of experience. I have reached out on Facebook and LinkedIn, and have just generally bugged every single person I know. I am particularly obsessed with one company, and recently emailed the potential hiring manager directly for an open position for which I am definitely qualified. I received her information from someone who works at the company and is "connected" to me through another friend on LinkedIn. What is the etiquette for this type of email? I just winged it, but am wondering if it will help me or hurt me. Any advice out there?

There is no point to this post. I am just really ready to return to work, and I don't know what else I can do...besides hope. Two of my good friends started new jobs this week after searching for much longer than I, so I am hoping that job offers come in three's (like deaths, births, etc.). Please let me be the third. Mama needs to use this brain for more than just negotiations with a toddler. In the interim, enjoy some job hunting humor from the web.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Not So Dewey

Can I just talk about my luck with libraries? I am a huge library supporter, and have been since I was a child. I love books, love reading, and love the atmosphere of the library. So, I was excited to go to our local library today and get my new library card (since we moved and all). I park and see that the library is huge and rather new in comparison to my former haunt off Independence in CLT. So I am stoked! I have a list of books that I have been meaning to check out (get it, library humor) and this library in Cary is so going to hit the spot. I got my card in minutes and was off on the hunt. But wait, have I been away too long? Did how books are categorized and shelved change in the last few months? Because I am looking and looking and seeing none of the authors I need. I went to the handy-dandy PC and checked, and a few of my list are "checked in" to the library so what gives? I go back for another looksy. Still no luck. Okay, now I am feeling like an idiot but refusing to go ask for help. I will not let the librarians see me sweat! So aimless wandering it is, until I figure it out.

When did we decide to start categorizing our Adult Fiction sections? Is this a Wake County thing? I am used to Fiction, Non-Fiction, Young Adult Fiction....but Romance Fiction, Mystery Fiction, Sci-Fi/Fantasy Fiction sections? Really?? I am at a library, not Barnes & Noble. Fiction is fiction, just alphabetize it and keep it simple. What's worse is that the qualifiers (Mystery, Romance, Sci-Fi/Fantasy) are in such small print, that it isn't noticeable off the bat when you are wandering about in the Fiction area. Very annoying. Unless this is how it has always been, and then I guess I'm just a dolt. But I swear that Mecklenburg County libraries didn't sort their fiction like that - it was just a huge Fiction section in alphabetically order by author.

In the end, I found only 3 books and only 2 from my huge list. Apparently this library, while shiny and new, is in the boonies and all of the good books are in a more centralized library in another part of Cary. So yet again, I am on the waitlist for several books. Ugh. Mecklenburg County all over again. Going forward I will just check online before heading to the library...but it does take some of the fun out of a trip to the library. On the positive side, they have a lovely children's section and I will definitely be taking Ben for future trips.

PS - I checked out the following, in case you are interested. I gotta get my GoodReads button back up.
The Gates by John Connolly
The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly
The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin

PPS - Thanks Beckers for the recommendations!

Pop of Color

I heart DSW. I am too broke to really shop right now, but they are one of my favorite places to spend when I do have extra cash. So imagine my delight when I returned some shoes* that didn't fit (sadness) and was able to exchange it for this lovely bag.
I am in lurve. It is so pretty. I ordered it in the blush color, but it is also available in a grey hue. It is a huge purse, but that's how I like it. The better to carry diapers, juice boxes and snack packs with (and to hide illegal drinks and food when going to the movies). And, this purse makes me feel good about myself because it is VEGAN!! If you are in the market for a new bag for this spring, check out the deals at DSW and the Urban Expressions "Delilah" bag. Happy shopping!

(Sidenote: said shoes were purchased with Christmas gift cards...)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

A Letter

I know Willow Smith is all the rage on the tween music scene, but I think that these young ladies may have something more profound to offer than "Whip My Hair."

These girls are so well-spoken and have such a good message. I would love to see the girls and their parents on Oprah, along with Lil' Wayne, for an open discussion about how the words we use carry weight and influence others. I'd watch.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Free To Be Just Three

Recently, I had a discussion with a friend over lunch about the pressure to procreate. As a person that already has one child, I am referring to the external pressure to add another to the mix. Although I'd wager that as a married couple without children, you'd face even more pressure. What's wrong with you? Why haven't you had a child yet? I remember those questions starting as soon as we returned from our honeymoon. Either way, where does that pressure come from? It's a very personal decision (to have a child or to have more children), so why does everyone that knows you or has just met you feel entitled to ask the question?

So, in our case, I am happy being a family of three. I love our son very much and I enjoy being a mother, but I'm just not sure that adding another to the mix is necessary. I know it is not something we are ready or interested in doing at this point in our lives. And yet when I say that I am happy with just one child, it's like I am an oddball. As if because I became a mother, I am now committed to having those 2.5 kids. And hey, there are times that I *think* that having another kid could be nice...maybe. But they are just gut reactions to seeing a cute little blonde boy running around and wondering what a second child would look like. This is not a reason to have a kid. And then I think, am I doing Ben a disservice if we decide that he should be an only child? There are definite pro's (hello, we could not stress so much about money), but you rarely hear an only child say that they loved being the only one. My mom was an only child, and I heard all my life about how much she wished she had had brothers and sisters growing up. And I like the *idea* of Ben having a sibling to rely on when he's older, especially when dealing with the stresses of potentially caring for aging parents. Again, not a great reason to have a child.

At this point, I am firm in my enjoyment of being a family of three. Maybe one day we will change our minds. Either way, stop questioning me about when I will have another. Just because I am a mother does not mean that I want a gaggle of children. And if I choose to have just one, it's just as valid as your choice to have five. And for those married folks out there who are happy without children (gasp), good for you. And for those married folks out there that want kids but just haven't been able to yet, I really, really apologize if I ever contributed to that constant questioning.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

What 'Chu Watching?

What's up folks! Are there any of you out there? I am so random in my postings, I wouldn't blame you all for turning the page. Anywhoodle, what are you up to? I have been applying for jobs, still, and just being a bit of a lazy mom. If I were Ben, I'd fire me for not being more fun....but he's 2, so what does he know? He'll figure it out later, and can go to therapy to complain about how his mom didn't do enough art projects and such with him when he was a wee lad and stunted his creative growth. In the interim, I am proud to say that I have introduced him to the wonders of old school Tom & Jerry cartoons. He is addicted! What, you say? He shouldn't be watching so much television at his age? Yes, you're probably right. But mommy really needs to not build with blocks, race trucks and read book #984 about Thomas - so cartoons it is. And honestly, I am so glad that he likes something that I can watch and not want to poke my eyes out. Tom & Jerry is great folks, but only the classic episodes. And my kid, he is an efficianado - he knows the new crap isn't as good as the originals, and will not watch the slicker Tom & Jerry eps that Cartoon Network offers up. I take joy in passing this love of the classics on to my child. Next up, Bugs Bunny.

I have also had some free time to invest in new programming. Is anyone else out there a Fringe fan? Thanks to the lovely Beckers, I am now a total Fringe geek (or Cortexa-fan, inside joke). I troll message boards and fan blogs just to get a fix in between episodes. I haven't been this obsessed with a show since Gilmore Girls. Yes, odd reference since they are complete opposites in genre (but I digress). If you aren't watching Fringe, then shame on you! For me, Fringe is a mix of X-Files, Bones, Torchwood, Dr. Who, Lost, Inception, and so much more. The ensemble cast is amazing. And did I mention that Pacey, urh, Joshua Jackson is fun eye-candy? The writing is so intricate and layered, much like Lost, but it is just so much better. I just cannot express fully how great this show is. It is currently in its third season on Fox, Fridays at 9pm. I caught up on Season 1 and 2 via Amazon VOD, but you can find it many other places as well. In fact, you can watch the first 10 episodes of Season 1 here. Check it out!

My other recommendation is to watch An Idiot Abroad on the Science channel, Saturdays at 10pm. It is from Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant and is hilarious. If you have listened to any of The Ricky Gervais show on radio or HBO, then you are familiar with their favorite moron, Karl Pilkington. The show sends Karl to the seven wonders of the world and follows him as he tours the sites and the cultures. It is seriously hilarious, and honestly very telling of how many people view world travel (including me at times).

Okay folks, gotta run. Hope all is well in your worlds!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Reality Sucks.

The reason I haven't been blogging lately is that if I did, I would have to rename it "I Grumble, A Lot." I am in a deep funk, and really don't want to whine, whine, whine all day when there are people with bigger and more serious problems than mine. On the other hand, this is my damn blog and I am depressed and need to vent.

People, I am broke. Broke as a joke. Staying at home with Ben has been a blessing, and I know I'm lucky to have had the opportunity, and I know that I will always treasure this time, etc., etc. But I am broke. I have spent all of my savings to stay home for 2 years, and for the last six months have been totally dependent on my husband. And yes, I know, that's what a husband is for...but I don't like it. I don't like being dependent on anyone for anything. I don't like not having an income. I don't like not being able to contribute financially. I don't like having to ask for money and explain what it's for...and no, it's not like he's the CFO and I have to turn in an expense request sheet, but still it feels like I have to ask and explain. I don't like it. I don't like that I am now getting in arrears on certain things because hey, the hubs doesn't have lots of extra cash laying about either. So it stinks. Being broke stinks.

I have been looking for work and interviewing and basically nobody wants me. It feels a lot like being punished for taking time off to spend with my kid. I mean, my skillset is still the same - but it feels like I am being penalized for that time off. Also, the hubs is pressuring me to just take a job, any job. And I get where that's coming from - some money coming in is better than no money coming in. But I am loathe to do that because hey, I had a career before Ben happened. I was doing well, working my way up the compensation chain, and to just accept any job feels like defeat. It feels like I am saying that my worth diminished because I chose to be a stay at home mom. I would never ask my husband to take a $30-40K pay cut just to get a job. I mean, I get it, if push comes to shove, I'll work at Target if need be - I'm not so stubborn that I'd go bankrupt and let my kid starve or something. But while it's bad, I don't feel like it's time to admit career defeat and just accept some crap, entry-level job. And I know, how dare I complain when people are out there looking for much longer than I and would gladly accept a crap job - but hey, this is my blog and I should be allowed to complain about what I want here without worry of judgement.

And speaking of judgement, can I just complain a minute about fucking idiots on reality television who make six figures for being fucking idiots? Seriously, it pisses me off to no end that people from The Jersey Shore and Teen Mom are making bank while most of America is in the poor house. Fucking Snooki! She "wrote" a book, and the idiot masses will buy it. WTF? Who knew that stupid and slutty sold so well. Man, what was I thinking with that whole college degree and then working my way up...dummy! I should have just been a loud-mouthed, ignorant whore and I could have had it made.