30 May 2009

I'm not doing it!

So, re: stupid interview for fake-job I didn't even want...

On Tuesday morning I sent a typically insipid email to Ms Manager saying, "I'm sorry I missed you again on Sunday. I'm still happy to meet you at the office. What time would suit you?"

Ms Manager replied immediately saying, "I have an appointment at 2pm on Friday. But I can meet you after at 4pm at the office."

Danger! Danger! It's Tuesday morning and she wants to set-up an interview for Friday afternoon? An interview directly after another appointment? All the signs suggested FLAKE-OUT potential was extremely high.

However, I replied, "Blah blah blah... great, see you then."

Then, today, Friday, at 1pm, Ms Manager called me. She said, "I am not going to office today. But you can meet me down stairs."

I said, "You mean downtown?"

She said, "Yes. At my apartment."

I said, "You know... I don't think I'm interested any more. This is becoming a little bit silly. Thanks for your time."

She said, sounding a little bit surprised, "Oh... okay."

I said, "Yeah. Thanks. Bye!"


I don't care. I had just finished getting dressed and doing hair, make-up etc, and then to find out she didn't even BOTHER to open the office today. Well, I can't be BOTHERED going downtown.

My only regret is I didn't use stronger language when withdrawing my interest. "This is a little bit silly..."

Come on, Dot! Grow some George Costanzas.

28 May 2009

Latoya doesn't live here any more...

I got a new cell/mobile number about a year ago. It's about the fifth number I've had over the past eight years. I'm not precious about keeping old numbers and am quite happy to let them expire and die along with junky phones they inhabit.

However, a problem with having had so many phone numbers is they become quite difficult to remember. So, now, whenever I get a new one I like to ask for an "easy number". This means something with a sequence of repeating or patterning numbers. Obviously.

My latest number is great. It's all 6's and 4's and 3's and 0's. And that's all.

However, when I got my little Sim mate home and plugged him in I realized pretty quickly that T-Mobile had given me a recycled number. The phone immediately started ringing with people requesting to speak to Latoya.


At first I thought that setting up my voicemail and telling all unknown numbers that 'This is Dot' would get the message across. However, a year later, people are still ringing for Latoya.

It's sometimes annoying when Latoya's friends ring late at night. Which they do a lot. It's also frustrating when I see 'unknown number' and get excited thinking it's a potential employer, so I answer the phone in my most chirpy upbeat voice, only to hear a dial tone.

However. In general I am becoming more and more interested in the mysterious Latoya, and have collected clues trying to work out who she is. Let me paint a Latoya picture.

Firstly, you can guess what she looks like.

Peak Latoya

Next, I know that Latoya is very social because she gets calls all the time.

I know that it was Latoya's birthday last week. She got a text message from a cousin saying, "Happy 30 Birthday Cuz!"

I know that a lot of Latoya's friends don't speak English because sometimes when I try to explain - this is not Latoya's number! - they say something in Spanish and then hang up and then ring back and then hang up.

I know that one of Latoya's friends isn't very nice because he once left a message on my voicemail saying, "Latoya, ah wan' chew to get me some cigerettes." He's also not very smart because my voicemail clearly says, "Hi, you've called Dot..."

I know that Latoya may be involved with gangs because on Halloween last year I got a text message saying, "Warning. Don't go out tonight. Blood and Crips are having initiation."

So, that's the evidence.

And I am afraid I have come to the conclusion that Latoya was a prostitute and she is dead.

She gets so many calls from different people, at all times, that I'm guessing her number is listed somewhere for 'exotic services'. Also, I reckon that the bastard who wanted her to "get me some cigerettes" was her pimp. Who else would assume ownership of someone's services like that? Also, the Bloods and the Crips text implies she was close to/involed with very very scary crowds.

As for the 'happy birthday' message: that was from a mourning family member who shoots a text message into the void each year on Latoya's birthday. One for the homegirl...

Rest in Peace Latoya. You had an easy number, and now it's mine.

27 May 2009

Isn't is stupid that, at 28 years old, I am applying for internships?

If I had never left the wonderful country of Oz I would not be in this predicament. My career would, most likely, have started two years ago and continued on a straight and narrow path of increasing responsibilities, salary and fancy job titles.

However, I met an American man who tempted me to New York where I thought my good career could be made, like all American things, bigger, better and with more branding power.

Unfortunately there is 280 million extra people in America, and a Recession, and a way of doing things that I just can't get used to. Lots of people are giving me advice on how to get a job in These Competitive Times with ideas of 'find a mentor', 'exploit old contacts', 'use the side-door entrance', and always 'hustle hustle hustle'.

Brantley Foster shows us how to hustle and become a Carlton Whitfield

But, what if I don't have the charm and smirk to pull of a hustle? I'm more the stoic stuffy type; I can't 'sell myself', so instead I have this (deluded) idea that by writing a good application letter and backing it up with a solid resume, I should at least land myself a few interviews.

But it's never quite that straight-forward.

I had a job interview last Wednesday. The position was 'unpaid intern', which I normal don't apply for. However, the job description also mentioned, 'with potential for paid employment after two months in the position of Executive Assistant to the Director'. Haha. Such. A. Joke. What a tease! What a nasty sly mean low-down son of a... Slave labour! (BTW: This is the direction Australia was headed with Work Choices... your rights at work ARE worth fighting for!)

Anyway, it was my first interview since getting back from Australia (not including temp work) so I thought I should just go and at least try out a new 'job interview' outfit.

Except that when I got to the office for midday appointment it was closed.

I called and left a nice message on the answering machine, "Sorry to miss you... I assume there's been a misunderstanding... I hope I get the chance to meet you soon..."

Later that evening I got an email from the office manager apologizing for 'missing me'. She said she had to run out for an urgent appointment. Fine. Manager then suggested I could come for an interview 'Sunday at the office' or 'Monday at my apartment'. Both options seemed really weird. I opted for the 'Sunday at the office' rather than having to mess with a split-personility of being a friendly well-mannered guest and an enthusiatic proffessional applicant in her apartment.

So I went to interview on Sunday and found the office closed again.

I left another message on the office answering machine (with only a slight slight expression of my annoyance), "Sorry to miss you... I assume there's been a misunderstanding again... I hope I get the chance to meet you soon...".

When I got home I found an email waiting for me from the manager. She said she had been feeling ill and closed up the office early. She would be at home all Sunday evening and Monday and I was welcome to drop around if I had the time.

This is where I am now, and I'm not sure how to proceed.

There's so many things that are odd about this situation, yet who am I to criticise a potential employer? Although, it doesn't feel like I'm setting up a job interview any more, it feels like trying to arrange a time for a tea party with a flakey friend.

This company is obviously a joke. I recognize the sloppy style. Someone with a little bit of money is dabbling with their 'own business'. They've got the website and the office space set-up... but can't quite seem to get production moving (as this is when the real work is required). They are lazy and are doomed to fail.

However this doesn't necessarily mean they won't be good (short-term) employers. I have worked for dying companies before, and the dumb perseverance of some people to keep operations running, despite all lack of ability and network, can create great places for a 'young gun' to take on oodles of responsibly. Of course, I prefer to work for smart people, however the experiences of working in a stupid office can be very enlightening in a trial-by-fire kind of way.

Do I bother to reschedule interview? Do I want this ridiculous unpaid job? Can I afford to be fussy?

Can my self-esteem afford to sit interview and then not get job?

What would Carlton Whitfield do?
Job list revised...

1. Apply for jobs (ongoing)
2. Find new apartment (for same or lesser rent yet with more space and natural light)
3. Laundry
4. Write great work of fiction
5. Email temp agency, "Hi, thanks for placing me at the blah blah assignment last week. I really enjoyed it and look forward to being placed at blah blah blah again."
6. Go for a run!
7. Email all those friends you barely have anymore because you hardly ever email them
8. Blog about something (other than this)
9. Re-order 'to do' list and with more realistic sense of priorities

Achieved over last four days...

1. Applied for internship (got a fab reference from ex-employer, now I'm just worried my essays on 'why I'd be a great intern for blah blah' weren't good enough...)
2. True Blood is available on Netflix... next in queue and I can't wait!
3. Chased up paychecks... $321 is all mine!

20 May 2009

The guilt list...

Dear Dot,
Stop wasting time roving all over the internet reading Wikipedia discussion pages and GET A MOVE ON WITH YOUR LIFE!
Love Dot
PS - I'm going to be checking up on your regularly, so you'd better achieve something.

1. Apply for jobs (ongoing)
2. Find new apartment (for same or lesser rent yet with more space and natural light)
3. Apply for the internship (the holy grail of all internships... it's a 12-month PAID one... application deadline 26th May... needs to be in post 25th May AT THE LATEST)
a.) Write three stupid essays
b.) Fill in application form and copy academic transcripts
c.) Get reference from old boss (most important!)
4. Write great work of fiction; semi-autobiographical, horror, comedy (mimic the character observations of Alison Lurie, the wit of Janet Evanovich, the imagination of Ursula Le Guin, the prose of Margaret Atwood and the commercial success of Stephanie Meyer)
5. Chase up paychecks... you are not working temp jobs solely for anthropological observations on the modern work place. NEED $$$.
6. Loose 2 kilos: 1 from stomach and 1 from bum
7. Email all those friends you barely have anymore because you hardly ever email them
8. Find way to watch first series of True Blood for free (library? Netflix?)
9. Re-order 'to do' list and with more realistic sense of priorities

16 May 2009

Friday afternoon drama (overheard from the reception desk...)

Harry: office slub, thirty-something, hapless...
Deb: office manager, late-twenties, not afraid to yell at someone, single
Tom: office goomba, late-twenties, single


: She sent me a text message saying, "Let's go to Blue Water Grill tonight." But I had just eaten a turkey burger for lunch and didn't feel like a big meal, so I wrote back to her and said, "Nah, I just had a big meal. Maybe we could do something 'lighter' and keep it low-key."

Tom: Wrong! Now she'll think you're cheap.

Harry: I'm not cheap, I just didn't want a big meal.

Tom: You didn't want to pay for another two big meals.

Harry: I'm not cheap! Anyway, so she texted me back and suggested another blow-out kind of restaurant. So I texted her and said, "I'm really not hungry. How about we meet at _____ [pizza place] in the East Village. If you don't like it we can go for a walk and find something else."

Deb: Uh oh. How did she reply?

Harry: She wrote to me and said, "The second date is all about ambiance. Simple is later in dating. Maybe another time. Bye."

Tom: She thinks you're cheap!

Deb: This is what girls want, Harry.

Harry: But she told me she ate Indian for lunch. What is she, a horse? She wants wine and steak after Indian for lunch? That's like 4000 calories a day!

Deb: But Harold, it's not about what you want. You're taking the girl out. It's not a mutual date.

Tom: Harry, you're becoming a weamb, know what that is? A woman inside a man's body.
Don't text her again. She's already pissed. Call her next week.

Harry: 4000 calories a day! I can't get over it. And really, 'simple is later in dating'? Who says?

Deb: The girl says. And she has a point.


Blah, blah... 5pm and I went home.


I giggled so much overhearing the above exchange. Harry did seem like a bit of a cheapskate, it was obvious he didn't want to pay for his date's meal at an expensive restaurant. And Deb and Tom's theatrical reactions matched Harry's indignation.

However, as I wrote down the conversation (to email it to myself for blog fodder = nerd), I got to musing on the world of Tom, Deb and Harry and I think this conversation really showcases a uniquely American (New-York?), and also quite nasty, side of dating.

1. The guy will pay

It's nice if the guy pays. It's nice if the girl pays. But surely, particularly on the second date when you don't know the other person very well, you would just split the bill? Or, if things go well, one person pays and the other person says, "Thank-you, I'll buy next time."

2. "the second date is about ambiance"

Blegh! That could be a line out of Seinfeld. Or even Sex in the City. It's just so cheesy, and Harry's girl's idea of 'ambiance' seems so cliched; steak, wine and jazz. Why not just skip straight to the marriage proposal up the Eiffel Tower?

3. "it's not a mutual date"
And a girl said this! There really are girls out there who's definition of an ideal partner is "treats me like a princess". Who cares about the guy's personality? As long as he brings you flowers, compliments the colour of your lip gloss and agrees with everything you say then he's perfect.

4. a man trapped in a woman's body = a pathetic man
Poor men! Poor women! Of course, the foremost implication is women are inferior. However, how is a man supposed to respond? It's a trap, for a man to either agree or disagree with this analogy he is confirming it as valid, ie, 'Oh no, I'm a manly man, and I'll prove it but doing the exact opposite of what you think I'll do!" or 'Oh yes, I count calories and expect to go dutch on the bill, so I guess that means I'm effeminte and therefore quite effete and therefore a horrible being with no use on this planet by your implication...'

Dating? I don't think people in Australia 'date' as much as they do in America. It's more about an informal 'hook-up' between friends, rather than a staged outing with rules and regulations.*

Anyway, I might be completely naive, but I think I'll stick with one night stands and marriage.

*Actually, this could be why Australia has never really produced any meaty scripted teevee shows (eg. sitcoms or dramas) about 20 & 30 somethings just finding their way through relationships. There's just not enough dating convention for writers to explore? 'Secret Life of Us' is the best example I can think of... Or, maybe it is just an issue of money, and population size, and people prefering shows about hospitals and police stations and court houses.

15 May 2009

This is sort of funny if you've been sitting in a windowless room all day...
Someone just called the reception wanting the "complaints department". Before I even had a chance to transfer their call to 'viewer services' they were off on their rant:
Loyal viewer: Do you do the cooking show? And those home shows? Well, first I just want to say the candles along the wall were ridiculous. That's so dangerous! I can not believe you did that! Also, about the cooking show. When the hosts have the long hair and the cleavage... it's disgusting. It's dangerous and disgusting. You shouldn't be showing cleavage on a cooking show. It's not healthy. Also, I tried to find a phone number on your website and I couldn't. It's very difficult to understand.
Dot: Thank-you for your feedback.
Loyal viewer: So, can you tell someone what I just said?
Dot: You can tell someone yourself. I can transfer you to our-
Loyal viewer: Oh no, that's fine. Just so long as you tell someone. Thank-you, good-bye.
Dot: Okay, bye.
So, now I'm telling someone. I'm telling the blog-o-sphere, and the blog-o-sphere is going to take this information was say... WUUUAAAHHHHH. (That's my interpretation of hot air blowing around a desert.)
Hello from the reception desk of a cable teevee network!

I was up for the challenge when I got the urgent call this morning for a last-minute job. My temp Counselor was quite dramatic, "This is your mission, if you choose to accept it..." And I was all, "I'm on the job! You can count on me!"

Dress code: "It's a very relaxed office, so you can dress casual. In fact, they'll look at you funny if you show up with a blazer or suit jacket. Of course, no jeans."

No jeans, no blazer, no suit jacket... didn't leave me many options. Blazer with jeans is my definition of 'office casual'. So, I ended up having to flip the outfit and wear suit pants with a cardi. Boring!

However, when I arrived at the office I found I fit right in. Everyone here is dressed in the black pants and cardi look. Many of them have slobbed it down even further with white sneakers (I'm sure they have their work shoes sitting under their desks, they just don't bother swapping over). It's quite disappointing. I was really expecting the world of cable teevee to be more glamorous... Unfortunately, it's more Wayne's World.

And then...

The fashion police rang: Marc Jacobs!

It was very exciting.

Here's what happened:

Marc: Hi, this is Marc Jacobs. Can I please speak to blah blah?
Dot: I'm sorry, who?
Marc: Blah Brown.
Dot: I'm sorry, did you say Mar... Brown?
Marc: No, Mar-gar-et Brown.
Dot: Oh! Sure, one moment I'll transfer you...
[I put Marc Jacobs on hold and searched frantically through staff lists. I couldn't find Margaret Brown anywhere. I returned to Marc.]
Dot: Hello, are you still there?
Marc: Yes.
Dot: I can't find Margaret Brown on my staff list. Which office does she work in?
Marc: She works in the interactive division.
Dot: Okay, one moment...
[I put Marc on hold again and called the office manager.]
Dot: Deni, I've got Marc Jacobs on hold and he wants to speak to Margaret Brown and I can't find her extension anywhere!
Deni: He wants Margaret Braun.
Dot: Ohhhhh, thanks.
[I returned to the man of patience]
Dot: Hello? Sorry for the wait, I'll transfer you now.
Marc: Wait!
Dot: Yes?
[I got all excited thinking Marc Jacobs wanted something from me...]
Marc: Can you please give me Margaret's direct line?
[I was sad to realise Marc wanted to bypass reception (and me) forever with Margaret's direct line.]
Dot: Sure. It's XXX-XXX-XXXX. I'll transfer you now.
Marc: Thank-you.

Goodbye Marc! I wanted to tell you that I brought a little Marc Jacobs knit sweater from ebay one time. It's blue with a patchwork design in pastel pink and yellow. My husband hates when I wear it with high-waisted jeans and pink cowboy boots, but I know that you'd appreciate it. I love you, Marc.

I was actually gmail chatting with Mars with Marc rang. Her response was typical, "Ask him if it's Marc for Marc Jacobs." Har-dee-har. Mars didn't even believe it was the Marc Jacobs. But surely it was. If you had the same name as someone famous you wouldn't just go around announcing yourself without explanation, would you? "Hi, this is George Bush, can I please speak to someone in advertising?"

Anyway, I type this at 1.30pm. Four hours to go. I think my day has peaked and it's all downhill from here...

Mr Patience and his most favourite receptionist at the "The Model as Muse" gala at the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

14 May 2009

NYC Temping Minefield

Back in New York. Unemployed and without funds. Once again, I've turned to temp employment to get me through this rough patch. And by 'rough patch' I mean 'nothing new in the career department'.

I've never been the temp in New York before. Generally my temp periods have come while in Australia trying to raise money for overseas trips. So temping has been a means to a $2000 plane ticket. This time, however, I'm the temp without a goal beyond the short-term feeding and clothing myself, which adds (subtracts?) a whole new level of shit-kicker to (from?) this practice.

Anyway, first assignment - hello from the reception desk of one of New York's largest property management companies! It's one of those reception desks that is downstairs in a lonely lobby, while all the real staff have offices upstairs. It's a plush place; leather couches, textured wallpaper and a curved staircase. Only, because this is the scumbag property scene of New York City, everything is done in miniature to save space. The lobby is about as big as a small single bedroom, there is no window and the ceiling is only 7 foot high, so I kind of feel like I'm sitting at a reception desk in the bowels of a luxury cruise liner.

Ahoy there, desperate renters of New York! Are ye looking for a land-lubbing bargain... argh, ye won't be findin' it here with prices starting at $2000 a month.

(The pirate talk is because pirates sometimes take holidays on the Superstar Gemini, you know, to have a break from the the looting and raping and visit some of the most enchanting destinations in the Asia-Pacific.)

Reception is one of my favourite temp jobs because:
a) I get to work autonomously, and
b) I generally get to play on the internet between phone calls.

Reception is also the temp job I'm worst at because:
a) I suffer from mild phone anxiety which means I panic slightly every time the phone rings
b) I'm useless at phone switchboards (I get "You just hung up on me!" as least few times a day), and
c) I have this strange Australian accent that some American's find incomprehensible

That's my job in a nutshell. It's only for a few days, then next week I'm going to be a 'line monitor' at a stationery trade show.

Hopefully I'll get to meet Michael Scott!


NB: Mars is currently on long-service leave from the blog. She should be back in a few weeks after major life re-arrangement. Or, she may 'choose life' and jump ship altogether... and sail off to enchanting destinations in the Asia-Pacific.