Friday, February 28, 2003

The Friday Five

1. What is your favorite type of literature to read (magazine, newspaper, novels, nonfiction, poetry, etc.)?

It depends on my mood. I like magazines if I just have a little time. That way I can forward past the articles that don't interest me -- the stupid questionnaires that always put you in the middle, not to extreme on either side; the "30 days to a flat stomach" articles; the "new smoky look for evening" articles (OK, I do read those, but I can skim past the boring parts) -- and read about what celebrities are wearing and who's dating who! But I love a good novel. I know many people think he's a hack, but I love Stephen King. But I also like novels that have great characters, like books by Barbara Kingsolver or Billie Letts. I'm ashamed to admit that I rarely read the paper. I rely on my husband to keep me up to date.

2. What is your favorite novel?

My all time favorite is To Kill A Mockingbird. I love Scout. It's interesting to read it as an adult vs. when I was younger. You just see the great writing style of Harper Lee. Again, the book has great characters so it draws you in. And I like a book that can get me a little emotional and make me laugh at the same time. As a child, though, my favorite was Charlotte's Web, which I bought for my daughter. I know she's only 10 months old right now, but hopefully she'll like it as much as I did.

3. Do you have a favorite poem? (Share it!)

Not really. I always liked e.e. cummings because the style was so unique.

4. What is one thing you've always wanted to read, or wish you had more time to read?

I have The Odyssey by Homer sitting on my shelf at home. I always say I'm going to read it, just so that I can say that I have. It's just so damn big!

5. What are you currently reading?

I'm currently in the middle of two very different books. One is The Corrections, by Jonathan Franzen, which is actually turning out to be pretty good. It was hard to get through in the beginning, but he has a great style, a dry humor that I like. I'm also reading Standing in the Rainbow by Fannie Flagg. She always writes about quirky characters which is fun. Much lighter than The Corrections. Pretty soon, I will starting Atonement, which is for my book club.

Thursday, February 27, 2003

Clueless. That's my word for today. Yes, I'm going off on another work tangent, but it can't be helped.

Remember how I vented about the head of marketing position that I wasn't considered for a few weeks ago? At the time, I resigned myself to the fact that they would probably hire someone with tons more experience than me, someone "classically trained" in marketing. I told myself that I didn't really have all the requirements for the job, so not to worry about it.

But then I met the person who now resides in that position. He was promoted from within, and he is definitely the word that started this blog. I can't even begin to describe how clueless he is.

To steal the format from Red Synapse, who does such creative work on her blog, I'm going to give a little recap of a recent conversation I had with him to update him on upcoming projects that he will be responsible for now that I'm leaving:

Me: We have this ABC tradeshow (The acronym has been changed to protect the innocent).
Him: What does ABC stand for? I've never heard of that tradeshow, (ABC is only one of the largest industry groups for the company).

Later.

Him: So how did you get this contract job?
Me: Oh, I knew your management from my previous job and from my husband who used to work here.
Him: Oh, I think I met your husband at last year's ABC tradeshow.

What?

Him: So what projects have you been working on?
Me: Well, I've done these research papers, product information sheets, competitive reviews, etc.
Him: Well, where did you get that information? Who gave it to you?
Me: I researched on the internet, reviewed past presentations, etc. and created it myself.
Him: Oh. That's a lot of work.

Yeah. It's called doing your job.

And now he's concerned because today's my last day and he's going to have to do figure things out for himself. He asked whether he could call me to "pick my brain" about things because I'm such a valuable resource. Yeah, I bet. I'm not burning any bridges, but come on, it's kind of insulting to have this person say he would "go to bat" for me if I wanted to stay.

You know what? I don't think I want to work for a company that thinks someone like him is a good hire. I'd rather be somewhere that desires a creative, hard-working, SMART, person. This isn't to say that those people aren't at the company I work for. But I think they're often taken for granted by people who don't have any of those qualities.

So, it's sayanara (sp?) to this job after today. Now I can play with my daughter and hopefully watch her take her first steps soon. Thanks for letting me vent!

Tuesday, February 25, 2003

It's funny that for the past week or so, I've been writing about things in my past: my best/worst days at school, my first jobs, good times in college. It's almost like all of that was leading up to what happened to me this morning.

I checked my e-mail and I get a message from Classmates.com. I know most people get those messages, asking them to be a "gold member," enticing them with new names of people who you never remember going to school with.

But today was different. I got a message saying you have mail from V. "Torie." I can't even describe the excitement I felt at seeing that name after all of these years.

Torie was one of my best friends in high school. We met when I was a sophomore and she was a junior. Her father wasn't in the military, but he had been sent to Germany for some civilian job. She lived in the tiny town that I lived in in the German countryside, so we rode the same bus the 45 minutes to school.

Torie had such style. Everything about her oozed it. She had perfect clothes and hair and was just so pretty. But the best part about her is that she had no idea. She was actually very shy and lacked the self-esteem that I would have had if I had looked like her. And we became fast friends.

We went dancing every weekend, met the German guys in our town to hang out at the bridge, and cried over lost loves and past regrets. She was amazing.

I moved after my junior year, and after she had graduated from high school. We wrote letters for a few years, and I knew that she had gotten married. But as with many high school friends, we lost touch many many years ago. I've tried to find her over the years, but had no idea where she had ended up.

So today, I get this message from her that she had seen my name on Classmates.com and thought she'd say hello. She says she's been married for 13 years, has three kids and is a realtor in Tucson. So not only have I found her again, but she's only about 8 hours from where I live.

I can't tell you how excited I am that I've found my old friend. I'm not fooling myself that we'll have the same closeness that we had back then, but she's always held a special place in my life and I'm glad she's back.

Monday, February 24, 2003

The best job I ever had was working at the student newspaper in college. I know when people hear about student newspapers, they don't think they're a big deal. But ours was a daily paper with a circulation of 35,000 which is more than some cities in this country. And being a daily paper meant you always had to have story ideas for news, features, sports and commentary. It was a big deal.

The reason I liked it so much was definitely not the money. We really didn't make much. And when you factored in the amount of hours that we spent on the job, we REALLY didn't make much.

But it was such a great experience and really tapped into my creativity. I started as a feature writer, doing fun stories about plays and exhibit openings, doing movie and book reviews (I could never do music reviews because I just always seemed to write, "Well, they sound a lot like Toad the Wet Sprocket" or "I really like it.") I moved up to Features Editor, where I began designing pages and working with other new writers. From there I moved to Commentary editor, where I was responsible for contributed columns, letters to the editor, and the commentary, which meant I had to care about something going on in the world every day, which is harder than you think. I ended up as Associate editor, kind of responsible for a part of every section.

But it wasn't my power as associate editor (!) that made me like the job. It was just the hard work and knowing that what you put into it was what came out. There wasn't a lot of bureaucracy, everyone worked as hard as the next person, and we had such great times, ordering pizza in because you didn't have time for dinner, and working until midnight ensuring that every paper was perfect. Yes, it was stressful at times, especially when computers crashed or a writer failed to produce their assignment, but it was such a great experience for me. I really learned a lot.

Now that I'm older, I miss those days of taking smoke breaks while discussing story ideas or layouts, the Tuesday night special: $2.50 for baked spaghetti at the local Italian eatery, and getting great reviews from the advisor each morning. I need to find a job like that again!