Thursday, June 24, 2010

Working is weird.

So, I'm not sure if you all heard, but I have this job now...

I know. Awesome. Don't be jealous, though, because I spent over a year being jealous of people with jobs, and it did nothing but give me heartburn.

(And for the many of you who have asked, I'm not talking super openly about the job online not because it's a secret, but because I haven't seen many other people talking about the company online, and I don't want to breach protocol this early in the game.)

I can tell you this much: I am now working in downtown Portland for a large company (one that doesn't feel as large as it is) that's corporate, even though most people assume it's non-profit.

I really like it.

I think I'll do really well (I keep hearing Annie in my head, singing "I think I'm gonna like it here...")

Everyone's been really, really friendly and fun.

All that being said, it's some serious culture shock, for a couple of reasons.

The first reason is kind of easy and silly, but it's culture shock nonetheless. Robin and I planned to meet up for happy hour at the end of my first day, and since we were still there later, Eric came and met us (side note: My friend texted to ask how the day went, and when I replied "I am at happy hour with Eric and Robin" my heart got super-happy, because it's so rare that I get to say something like that, and those two are my absolute favorites. Aww.)

So, talking with Robin and Eric. both of whom have been employed downtown for years now, I realized that making these culture-shock statements made me sound ridiculous, like a four year old. Or an alien.

Happy hour stretched late, as it tends to do, and when Robin said, "Wow, it's 9 already," I responded, "Oh, my gosh, I have to go home and go to bed! Like, soon! And then.... I have to wake up and do it all over again!"

This, as I have since been reminded, is called having a job. But when I've been in school and unemployed and even working wacky part-time jobs, the standard 8-5 job has been hard to come by. Falling into that routine feels very awkward. And me and mornings fight, but the struggle hasn't been as hard as I thought it would be--presumably because there is the promise of a paycheck attached to this one.

Second culture-shock, being a confirmed Eastside Portland resident: Downtown is like a whole different city. It's still Portland, to be sure, and is definitely more laid back than other cities, but wow. Lots of pumps and suits and ties and things running around, and you practically never see that on this side. Luckily for me, my office is 'business casual' (also a new concept for me--finding cardigans turned into a huge quest), and tends to lean ever so slightly more in the casual direction. But the days in pajama pants? Those are called "Saturdays" now. Maybe.

So the downtown-ness is new, and the corporate angle is going to take some getting used to. But the office as a whole has such a positive, energized vibe to it, and the people are warm, and passionate about the work.

So, after months of feeling like I was floating endlessly, no horizon in sight, it's looking like God led me to exactly the shore I needed. Losing the sea legs will take a while, but the sand feels lovely under my feet.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

I have good news!

i am employed. 

For the first time in the past 13 months, I am employed.

And the job is a good one. The interview process started back in April (!), and they extended an offer to me today.

I'm not used to the idea of being employed. I keep forgetting for a moment, and then remembering, "Hey, you know that pit in your stomach over not having a job? You don't need that anymore."

And that pit is well-seated. When I was on the phone with the woman who offered me the job today, before she made the offer, I actually pictured myself getting out of the car and throwing up if I heard a no.

I am out of antacids.

I almost feel like I don't know how to take good news, how not to worry incessantly. The offer is pending the results of the background check, and even though there's nothing in my history, I'm still paranoid. What if they don't like your credit score?, the little voice of negativity in my head says.

But, in less than two weeks, I will be working at a good job. I will have much less time on my hands, and will remain grateful for all those friends and family who supported me over the last 13 months, during many of which I know I was less than a joy to be around.

I don't know what will happen with this blog. Largely because of the interview process, a short "blog vacation" turned long, and I know I won't post as regularly as I have. I can promise one thing: this blog will not become a space for me to complain about my job. I think I'll love it, in fact, but there will always be little things that you wish were different. I won't air dirty laundry or bemoan my employed fate here.

For now, I have to try to develop a normal sleep schedule, and I have to start remembering that words like "weekend" and "weekday" have actual meanings.

Because, hey, I've got a job.

Monday, June 7, 2010

A links roundup

I haven't forgotten about this blog, but I did need somewhat of a break. I have posts in mind, though, and may even post a second one before today is out.

This week, though, apart from the bizarre stress I've experienced (more on that in a minute) I've found a bunch of fascinating stuff via our buddy and enemy the internet. And since I'm now baffled as to how my Twitter page updates my Facebook without ever changing my status, I figured I would root the links and stuff here. David Bowie's you go (mostly in reverse order of discovery):

I DON'T EXPECT YOU TO READ ALL OF THESE. But I'd love to hear your thoughts on what you do read. 

Wal-Mart is coming to Cornelius, people are excited. Seriously, read it before you protest (and I don't like Wal-Mart either.) (KATU News).

Dehumanizing comes easy. The death of porn stars becomes too many punchlines. I love Salon--their articles are consistently--and simply--excellent ( .

"I'm spiritual but not religious." Interesting discussion on what that statement means... it would be a great group discussion over wine and cheese, I think (hint, hint). and as I said on Facebook, I don't consider myself religious, either. But is it an issue of semantics? (CNN)

The World Food Programme makes helping ease hunger simple. The website is also fascinating

,.. and I discovered that Free Rice, benefiting the WFP, will let you practice your vocabulary in English, Spanish, French, German and Italian, or your knowledge of math, art, or the periodic table, all while donating food. Incredible.

Amazingly, the same newspaper has been used in movies and television for years. Literally--it's one paper. (@culturepulp, a.k.a. Mike Russell)

This is the best news report I have ever seen. You will laugh. I promise. (YouTube)

And, in what I hope will become a tradition of sorts, my favorite text messages from the past week. No names, no context, to protect the innocent:

Are you? Chasing a carrot on a stick? If so, stop. They have carrots available at the store--no chasing required. 

Well, don't get too excited. You might pee yourself, and that would be gross. 

People are great.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

What I learned from May's Blogathon

Hi, friends.

As you all probably know at this point, I took part in (and narrowly missed successfully completing) the 2010 WordCount Blogathon.

Here's what I've learned:

1. Blogging is serious business. 

I started a blog because I like words, I think I'm funny, and I thought it would be good to make myself write.  When I joined the Blogathon, I thought I would find lots of people like me--people who make fun little observations about life and release them to the universe. And I did find some people like that.

But I heard a lot about branding, a lot about traffic and analytics, and a lot about acronyms that meant nothing to me (like SEO, for example). And I realized, these people are taking this SERIOUSLY.

I also got a lot of blogging advice. If I do decide to get myself a domain name and commit to this blogging thing, I don't know that it will be here. I love this blog, and I love doing it, and I love that you (yes, you, specifically) are reading it, but I don't know that I would ever call it a serious venture. I feel like this is like my think- and play-space, and I am incredibly honored that anyone would come along for the ride.

2. Someone has already written about this, and done a better job. 

I am a good writer. I'll even stick my nose out and say I have talent at it. But there are a lot of good writers in the world, and there were a lot of good writers taking part in the Blogathon. But here's one part of the encouragement of this realization. The fact that what I'm doing may not be 100% original or completely the greatest thing ever committed to language/thought/webspace doesn't mean I shouldn't do it. The fact is, I do have a unique voice, and people enjoy hearing it. Now, many of those people may be friends and family (who, really, unless they're jerks--and they're not--kinda have to like me), but many others were strangers to me on May 1, and are strangers still. And people are reading, and saying hello, and I get to get stuff--the silly stuff, the scary stuff, the serious stuff--out of my head. Everybody wins.

3. People are really nice. 

This one maybe isn't rocket science, but it's nice to be reminded. I have been so impressed by the amount of advice, support and encouragement I have received over the past month. Whether it's support in regards to jobs, like I posted yesterday, or encouragement when my life deflates, or even just direction on what to use for blogging and how to use it, people have been really helpful and kind. And so thank you, gang.

And just for fun, here is my favorite text message I received today (the sender shall remain anonymous):

I am drawing a shark in a business suit. Please kill me.