Unemployment Diaries: California Edition Part IX

My follow up interview was at 3:30 Monday afternoon, and I did as much cleaning, exercising and organizing to settle my nerves.

I was meeting the rest of the team at the Marconi Automotive Museum, and to not test the jinx rule, I wouldn’t allow myself to get too excited just yet, and it was hard to keep my emotions level.

But I kept my chant of why not me going in the back of my head.

True to form I showed up early, but not as early as the previous interview. I still had a case of the nerves, and I felt more anxious than I had the Friday before. Probably due to the fact I knew I could possibly get the answer I had been waiting for, for the past 10 weeks since graduation.

I was potentially going to become a productive member of society, and I could almost taste the sweet nectar of victory.

An hour later, after meeting the rest of the Marconi squad, I was pleased with how comfortable I felt during this interview, too. They all seemed like motivated, successful and fun women to work with, and I was hopeful I would be added to their team.

As the interview began to wrap up …..

I WAS OFFERED THE JOB. 

Say hello to the new marketing coordinator for the Marconi Automotive Museum!

It’s a wonderful thing when the universe works in your favor. As my FIL would say, “when it happens, because it doesn’t happen often, it’s like you understand everything completely. The path you took now makes all the sense in the world.”

And it’s true. I think the universe knew I didn’t want to live in Texas for another tornado season. It knew I wasn’t made to be a Texan for life and that California living could be the place for me. But due to my stubbornness it also knew I had to feel like I had given it my best shot before exploring other options seemed plausible.

Why not me. 

I will hopefully never serve another cup of coffee or Thanksgiving dinner as a waitress. I was able to make my phone call home and scream “you’re moving to California, I got the job!” And I was able to jump up and down with my in-laws (still too early to be nerdy with the Marconi squad) singing I got the job, I got the job!

I can’t wait to learn and grow as a communicator and begin this new chapter in life. A special thanks to my husband for pulling the trigger and shipping me to California, because he knew I needed the change and helping push. To my in-laws for housing me and loving me like their own, and to my parents, thank you for the constant support. I am who I am today because of you.

Life is good.

Unemployment Diaries: California Edition Part VIII

My interview with the Marconi Automotive Museum was scheduled for 1 p.m. on Friday. After the fiasco on Wednesday with a previous company, I was hopeful I couldn’t have two wonky interviews in a row. Plus, my family is filled with gear heads. Wouldn’t that be perfect?

My Hubs is attending UTI (an automotive school) and is currently in the top percentage of his class. And to brag a little because I’m super proud and excited for him, he’s been receiving offers from top manufacturers to attend their additional training courses after he gradates. Ironically, a majority are located in Southern California.

My father-in-law eats, breathes and dreams about rebuilding old American muscle cars, and has an ’07 Shelby getting a facelift in his garage as we speak. Him and my Hubs spent some time rebuilding a Chevy Impala when the Hubby was in high school. Not to mention, my FIL’s garage is what man dreams are made of …

My pops has always had a love for motorcycles. He wasn’t ever a fan of the sporty bikes, but enjoyed the classics that are meant for cruisin’. And his father, my grandfather, had a hobby of rebuilding cars when my pops was a kid.

Almost to good to be true, right?

I didn’t want to jinx it and get my hopes too high. I’m a believer of the jinx, and partially because I’ve been a Buffalo Bills fan for the entirety of my life, rightfully so, the Bills have annually managed to break my heart.

I arrived to the interview an hour early. I was able to drive my in-laws ’06 Mustang and I think the beaut gave me an extra pep in my step and shot of confidence. The front of the building was all glass and after 10-15 minutes I realized I didn’t want to look like a creeper. So I went in 40 minutes early. No such thing as being too early, right?

I told the receptionist I was here for an interview and that I was much too early because traffic wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. She offered to let me walk around the museum and would have my interviewer, Missy, come get me when I was ready.

The warehouse is huge and it’s filled with fast rare cars. Mr. Marconi was definitely a fan of the Lamborghinis. I had checked out its Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and WordPress pages. And I felt like I got a good understanding of what the company was about; No weird California laws prohibited its openness (see previous post about wonky interview).

The company was everything I hoped I could land after graduation. It’s a nonprofit that gives its proceeds to a hearty amount of charities for children. The space is used as a venue to host events such as: weddings, birthdays, office Christmas parties, etc. And the job description was almost a mirror image of my resume.

Is this real life?

Many people will warn you throughout the higher education path that you’ll most likely not land a position in your desired field, because it’s difficult and companies are looking for somebody with more than entry level experience. This common conversation pushed myself to gain as much real world experience as I could before I’d walk across a stage (for the last time) and receive my diploma.

I was determined to land a job I would enjoy. This doesn’t mean I was arrogant to jobs I wasn’t too thrilled about. I applied to as many communication, writing and planning jobs I came across, because ultimately my goal was to get out of the food industry. I promised myself I wouldn’t work another Thanksgiving this year, and I had a few months to meet my deadline upon graduating.

I anxiously awaited for my interview to begin as I strolled through the impressive warehouse. I started to get a bit too excited and began imagining all the possibilities I could do if hired as the marketing coordinator. And before I could get way to excited, my interview began.

After an hour and a half of speaking with the Marconi ladies, I was asked to come back the following Monday for an additional interview. And yes, it was hard not to leap for joy into their arms and jump up and down with them in unison. Thankfully, I understand that would be awkward and probably a tad bit unprofessional.

I felt at ease during the conversation. It felt like I was catching up with two friends whom I hadn’t seen in some time. I didn’t have to search for the answers to their questions, I just knew them. And I wasn’t anxious, fidgety or afraid of saying the wrong thing. I couldn’t imagine it going any better.

I could hardly wait to tell my husband and family how well it went. As soon as I left on the train a few Mondays ago, I hoped I would be able to call the Hubs and scream I got a job and we’re officially moving to California, pack your bags!

Earlier that morning, before my interview, my FIL stopped at the bottom of the stairs (my bedroom / Hubs former bedroom is at the top of the stairs) and said a silent prayer for me to have a wonderful interview and to have all the right words.

My MIL anxiously waited for 1 o’clock to strike before bowing her head at her desk and prayed for the exact same thing.

Call it coincidence, karma or divine intervention; I had the best interview of my life. Now, I just need to make it through the weekend.

Unemployment Diaries: California Edition Part VII

After one week I landed my first interview. I was excited to have at least one hit on an application and spoke with HR to set up a time and date to interview.

Before I responded to the offer, I looked them up online and did some research. I suggest all future applicants of any kind check out the magic world of Google and Glassdoor. I inspected its website and social media pages as well. It seemed legit. I even dug further to make sure I wasn’t pulling just the top posts that made them look reputable.

All good.

The only issue I found was nowhere did it explain exactly what the company’s function was and what brands it collaborated with. I figured it wouldn’t hurt to at least go through the interview process to see what came out of it, plus, there’s no harm in practicing your interview skills.

I booked the interview.

A few hours later the pit of my stomach told me to continue searching, because there wouldn’t be any harm in being more informed. And I’m glad I did.

The company has affiliates all over the country, so the reviews I had read and dug through weren’t for the specific location I had landed. When I noticed my error I Glassdoor-ed its specific location in Orange County and realized far more negative reviews than positive.

“They promise you a chance to move up in position, but instead keep you in a low hourly wage position. They have a high turnover rate.”

“I was hired as the marketing coordinator under the impression I would be working on campaigns, but I ended up selling products in Costco at a booth.”

“It’s all a lie.”

“If you want to work in grocery stores at a booth all over Orange County and never get reimbursed for gas, this is the job for you.”

Needless to say my heart sank well into my stomach.

I had already agreed to come in for an interview and kept in mind, if anything this would be for practice.

I spoke to family, explained the situation and how it angered me a company thought it was ethical to imply it was a marketing job, when actually it seemed like a sales position. I went over questions I would ask to see if the reviews had been true, and told the Hubs numerous times I wouldn’t be suckered in, I wouldn’t take another waitressing job with a different title.

My mother-in-law scouted the Internet for additional job listings and emailed links to apply. I spent the next two-isn hours applying to as many jobs my fingers would allow before cramping. I will find an honest job.

***

I got to the offices an hour early. I wasn’t too nervous, but more anxious to see what would be said about the company. When I walked into the lobby it was filled with older men wearing suits, all filling out an application on a standard clipboard. This could be a good sign, right? 

I figured I would be waiting for quite some time because of the number of people ahead of me in the waiting area, and was surprised to hear my name called 10 minutes later.

A lady escorted me to her office and closed the door, and with any conversation it started out with regular chitchat. I explained what type of position I was looking for, why I was interested in communication and how I ended up in California. I mentioned I wasn’t too sure what the company provided for its clients and if she could elaborate both the position I was interviewing for, and the company’s mission.

This is where it went wonky.

She explained because of weird California laws she wasn’t permitted to discuss the business aspect of the company on its website. I think because she knew I was new to the area, this would make sense to me, because what would I know about California? 

They worked for small brands trying to make an impact in the consumer world and promoted products at different events. She continued the conversation about what her job description was and her daily roles. That she needed help managing the 40+ events she manages daily.

I was taught to listen and observe while attending journalism school, and I noticed she never actually answered my question. So I asked again, using different terminology. And again, she circled back to what is expected of her in the business, this time including “big marketing words” to sell the company’s mission. She was trying to sell me the job. 

After she finished, I asked again what exactly my daily function would be in this office. And again, she circled back to her job description and the company’s mission.

By this point I was almost certain I would end up at a booth in Costco selling vegan corn chips to busy shoppers who didn’t want to be bothered.*

 I finally asked, “Would you be putting me in a Costco to sell these products on a regular basis. I have read some reviews about this company and would like to know if these are true, because that isn’t something I would be interested in.”

She didn’t appreciate my question.

“Well, I can’t just hire you into an executive role without proper training. We can discuss your role further at another time.”

And with that she stood up, extended her hand, thanked me for coming in and showed me the door. I held in my fits of giggle until I had left the lobby doors. I wasn’t even upset; I was liberated.

I almost wet myself replaying the interview in my head and especially enjoyed the executive position remark. I mean, when did I imply I wanted to be hired as a top dog? I asked multiple times what my daily duties were, and she couldn’t give me an answer without patting herself on the back, or speaking about how wonderful of a service they do for their brands and business partners.

I was polite, I let her finish her rambles, I smiled and asked questions (which heads-up, you’re allowed to do!). She realized she wasn’t the smartest person in the room, and I wasn’t falling for her sale’s pitch, so she dismissed me. I cried laughing the entire drive home.

***

After I got home, I called immediate family and relived the bazaar interview over and over again. I was pleased I hadn’t allowed her to distract or circle talk me away from my original, perfectly understandable, questions. And I felt validated everyone agreed.

I didn’t barge in to the interview demanding high wages. I didn’t feel I acted like I was above any job because I had my bachelors. And most importantly, I didn’t imply I was desperate for employment. Plus, I learned a little something to watch out for in future interviews.

It took about two hours to inform my family before I sat down at the computer to check out more job listings. I wanted to check my emails first, not that I was expecting a second interview. Sitting at the top of my inbox was an offer from a nonprofit to schedule an interview.

I responded quickly and crossed my fingers it wold be better than the last.

Unemployment Diaries: California Edition Part IV

I had the the whole day on the train, but it felt nice to know I was halfway done with the trip. Traveling by train is interesting and definitely something I can check off my bucket list, but I’d suggest traveling by train would be more enjoyable with a friend.

I went to the cafe car and bought some milk for my breakfast. I had brought my granola cereal and a few bananas to mimic my normal morning routine. The price of food is equivalent to eating at any arena events. To cut some costs, especially if traveling long distances, I would recommend bringing your own snacks and bottled water.

After I finished my breakfast I hung out in the observation car. The windows are larger and the seats are roomier, plus it’s an awesome way to break up the time sitting in your paid seat. I was still in Texas, but the landscape began to show we were headed closer to New Mexico.

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As the train stopped in El Paso, I was shocked to see what the real border between Mexico and the U.S. looked like….

I had traveled to Cozumel a few years ago and understood it was the touristy part of the country, but I had never seen the vast differences of the two countries side-by-side.

As I gazed down the rusted barbed-wire fence, it was apparent which country was which, even though the landscaping was the same, the way it was used was vastly different. Our roads were paved, cut into the mountains and rocky environment. Mexico’s houses were plopped on uneven surfaces up steep rocky roads. It looked miserable, homes barley had roofs or windows.

The fence was a physical representation of where dreams began and ended; a literal and concrete meaning of the “American Dream.” It was humbling to see it with my own eyes, and a reminder to not take what I have for granted. Not a single soul gets to pick what country they’re born in, and I should be forever grateful for my homeland luck.

***

The time zone changes were starving my stomach, because dinner kept getting pushed back later and later. I had also ran out of snacks. When my reservation number (you must reserve a dinner seat earlier in the afternoon with a train attendant) was called over the speakers, I flew quicker than The Flash to the dining car.

The waitresses assign you a place to sit and if you’re a party of one, you’ll be dining with four other strangers. It was a bit odd at first because I sat with three other older gentlemen. One was from England while the other two were Americans.

Halfway through my meal, the man sitting in front of me asked why I was on the train and where I was headed (a normal conversation starter while traveling by train). I gave an edited version of my reasons and of hopes to find a job in California. After learning of my recent graduation he asked what I got my degree in and what I wanted to do.

I expressed my passion for nonprofits, how I had worked for the American Red Cross over the summer and enjoyed every minute assisting during disaster relief efforts and writing blogs for the organization. His response, I kid you not was:

“Man, you sound like the perfect politician. A writer and spin doctor who enjoys working for crooks,” said Mr. Arrogant American.

My other two dining car buddies immediately shoveled more rice and salad into their stomachs. A zillion remarks zipped through my head in the matter of milliseconds. Instead of educating him or throwing my plate at his head, I resorted to a sarcastic quip about how it’s a shame so many people are uninformed.

#winning

Dinner was okay, I questioned how much of the chicken was chicken, but I was too hungry to truly care. I had one more night’s sleep in a coach seat, a few more movies to watch, and then I’d be greeted by my in-laws on the platform where my journey to what opportunities I could create in California would begin.

Blast From The Past

Music can act as a lyrical scrapbook. A few beginning notes from an oldie but goodie can snap your subconscious right from the present and into the past.

I can’t be the only one this happen to, right? I’ve been listening more and more to my old mix CD’s because the crap on the radio kills my buzz, usually. So, my movie flashbacks have been happening frequently. One second I’m on the way to Target and in the next beat, I have time traveled to 15-year-old Shannon or 10-year-old Shannon jamming in her mother’s car or bedroom.

I realized I’ve got quite a history with music.

Rusted Root – Send Me On My Way

I suppose this would be considered my first “break up” song. I was 15 and driving with my mom in the family’s blue Nissan Quest. Call it mother’s intuition or the unusual deafening silence in the car from her usual chatty teenager; she leaned over to me and said, “want to know what cheers me up?” She took out a cassette tape and popped it into the stereo.

After it was over I asked if we could listen to it again. And we probably listened to that song once a day for two straight weeks. Ironically when I hear it during reruns of Matilda or on the radio I smile. It reminds me of my mom cheering me up, not the asshole I had dated ;).

Beck – Loser

When I was younger I had no control over the radio, understandably. Us kids already controlled the TV with the infinitive reruns of Greese or favorite cartoons. The radio was off limits.

My mom had Beck’s new album on tape and would CONSTANTLY play this song, as pay back for how many times she had to listen to Greese in the background I’m sure. Nonetheless I couldn’t stand the song and begged for her to change it.

In those days there wasn’t a “next” button, you had to push and hold the fast forward button to “skip” through tracks. It wasn’t worth hassle so I never got my wish. When it comes on the radio I blast it, laughing to myself while I sing because I remember all the lyrics. But how could I not?

Eminem – The Real Slim Shady / The Way I Am

Let’s back up to the year 2000. I was 10-years-old and watching the MTV Music Awards. This was back when it actually was all about the music. Ahh Carson Daly and Sway. 

I remember sitting in front of the TV in awe of this dude and thinking his bleached hair was so cool, haha. The hundreds of lookalikes, the entrance, the beat, everything. It’s the first time I remember hearing rap and I have been hooked ever since. I’m also pretty sure I’d have his love child, already pre-approved by the Hubs, lol.

Jimmy Buffet – Margaritaville

My Dad and I would sit together in the living room and sing this song as a duet. It was guaranteed each time the glorious karaoke machine came out from its hiding place. I happily sang the backup vocals part. This is more significant if you know who my father is. Hint: he enjoyed eating potential boyfriends for breakfast and most of my friends don’t even know what he sounds like.

O.A.R. – Crazy Game Of Poker 

First, love this song and all their others. When I hear this jam I’m instantly in the crowd at St. Augustine Amphitheater, with my pals, doing my happy jig watching them in concert.

I had just met Matt, my then friend now husband. Matt’s roommate at the barracks begged to put in the O.A.R. CD every time we hopped in Matt’s Explorer and this was the pairs favorite jam song off the CD. When I went to the concert I called Matt on my FLIP PHONE and left it open so he could hear it live.

I was singing, he was singing, we all were singing. Good times.

Beyonce – Baby Boy

I would like everyone to keep in mind I was a freshman in high school when this next blurb happened.

Beyonce had newly released Dangerously In Love and I had put the new album on my MP3 player. I’m pretty sure I ripped the album from BearShare. Napster had been put on the fritz and LimeWire wasn’t a thing yet.

I’m stalling.

I was on a bus with the marching band on the way to a football game. It came on and I sang it to my bus buddy (the person you share a seat with, so scandalous back then!). Who also happened to be the guy I was crushing on. I SANG IT OUT LOUD WITH EYE CONTACT. I can’t hear the song today without cringing.

During my blast from the past music reminiscing, I still wouldn’t let YouTube load long enough to play the first few notes. I JUST CAN’T DO IT CAPTAIN, I JUST CAN’T DO IT!

The Fray – How To Save A Life

I had a really good friend in high school that I would do anything for, and more often than not I ended up it shotty situations trying to save his butt.

There’s a painful moment when I was out on the front lawn, crouched down bawling, watching the paramedics and firetrucks rush to his house. He had overdosed on pain pills and they were trying to save his life.

He was a good dude that made a lot of crappy decisions. It took me a long time to realize I couldn’t help him because I didn’t understand he had to want the help, I couldn’t force it. I kept this song close for a long time.

Journey – Faithfully 

Sigh, another heartbreaker. Long story short I broke up with my boyfriend (now husband) because I didn’t think we had known each other long enough to handle a deployment. I secretly sang this song while driving to work, to class and between running errands.

I couldn’t admit to anyone I had regretted my decision, so I could only express my regret through obsessively singing this tune. Now, I happily belt it out when ever it pops up during shuffle.

Florence And The Machine – Dog Days Are Over 

I was gearing up to welcome the mentioned-above-boyfriend home from his deployment. I was living roommate-less, hallelujah, in a tiny one bedroom apartment with my pup, Bella.

The song was fitting and I spent the better part of many nights jumping around the house dancing with my pup.

Journey – Don’t Stop Believing 

I don’t think this song can play and I not pretend I’m on a stage singing in front of a crowd.

I was 18 and it was summer. I had just moved out of my parents house and this was the summer’s anthem within my tribe of friends. We’d go to the same bar/pool joint and pay to hear this song on the jukebox. And then proceed to sing it to each other, loudly.

I don’t know. I think it’s a safe assumption every group of friends has a jam song they belt out to each other – sober or not.

And Finally:

Aladdin – A Whole New World

At my first apartments I made friends with my neighbors. The patio on the second floor was huge and connected four apartments. The guys that were caddy-corner to my house became additional roomies. Me and my roomie were either at their place or vise versa.

They would have frequent parties and when Wilma (Will) and I got to feelin’ good we’d do a duet for the rest of the crew. Always pretty hilarious, people thought we were ridiculous and it added to our drunken slumber. Good times.

I could go on and on but I won’t.

As I go through the constant-applying-for-jobs-hopeful-post-graduate-expierence with a mix of binging Netflix, the music has helped me deal with the inevitable and frequent rejections emails.

I couldn’t imagine a life without music.

I’ve got the ‘Ities & the Itch

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The art of writing is a sacred being, its appeal is charming and the idea easy, the latter is never true. Writing isn’t easy and it never will be. If you write long enough you acquire a passion for words and new ways to express them, but it’s never an easy journey, though nothing worth while hardly ever is.

Any soul who enjoys the magic of writing remembers when they first got the itch to put pen to paper and create something creative. Any “great” remembers the craving to prefect a skill became apparent. A jolt of weightless energy that hits you hard, causing the lightbulb to brighten above your head. That’s what I want to do!

Personally, I was little, maybe six or seven, too little to actually be thinking about future plans, but I knew I enjoyed reading what I wrote and creating short stories were my fav.

I acquired an eccentric style of writing while in grammar school, and my mom thought it was adorable. I had a funny tendency to only write on the left-hand edges of my paper, the rest of the paper seemed tainted. I remember thinking, look how many pages I can write! Well, when you only use half the page …

My signature trademark was soon corrected by the first or second grade, whenever the teachers start to send you home with real homework. I’m sure it’s Pre-K now, the books are heavier and the snow they have to walk to school in is deeper.

Anyways, my itch started with writing fan fiction, I didn’t know that’s what it was called, but regardless, anybody remember the T.V. series Arthur? Yes, yes I did. I wrote my own stories for Arthur and his family and friends to wander through. I wrote some stories that were funny, others were sad. Mostly, I liked to write ones that had a good moral buried in it. Typical Shannon, I was seven going on 30. 

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My mom used to keep them in her dresser, the bottom right hand drawer. By the time I was in my teens the drawer resembled how stuffed and worn it was, papers were being pushed from the sides, the handle was hanging on by one screw and the drawer had long been knocked off its frame. It was the perfect setting for where my mom crammed us kids’ works of art.

The prized possessions were all slightly brown and had obviously seen better days. Every once in a while I wonder if my mom still has them shoved in that drawer, but the memory vanishes by the time one of us calls each other.

It took years of denying any worth to my writing before I told myself to shut the -efff up. I started my higher education with the thought I’d never leave education, I’d just become a teacher. I did my classroom visits and almost ran out the door, though working with kids was rewarding.

I think that when something sinks its teeth into you, it’s hard to deny the sting it leaves. Writing got its dirty paws around me long ago, and the sooner I realized it, the quicker I believed I did have a purpose. College really does seem to suck the life out of you sometimes. 

When did your passions sink their teeth into you? Was it a furry, ( what was Arthur? An Aardvark?) cartoon friend that sparked your enthusiasm!?

-Ramble Out