Thursday, April 17, 2008


Well, surprise, surprise, I accepted the first job I was offered. My streak continues.

However, I did cancel an interview with three hours notice at company #2, because I had decided to take job #1. Company #2 sounded quite disappointed, tried to persuade me to come in anyway and hear what they had to offer before making my decision, and then asked me to call them if my "plans change." Leading me to think I would have been offered job #2, also, if I had gone through with it. freaked, actually. Job #2 would have been the safe, well-paying job with a big corporation in a business very in line with my career to date. Very familiar, very doable, very boring. Job #1 is the poorer paying job (although they offered me more than I expected, which made me happy), at a small business (15 permanent employees!) with very very few benefits. I've never worked for a small business before, and am quite boggled to hear, for example, that they don't offer any kind of paid maternity leave (yes, I asked. Just speculative). No retirement benefits, either. This is going to be a very different world.

And, did I mention, I have zero experience in the job they've hired me to do? Yikes.

My stomach is doing crazy flip-flops. I am not a risk-taker. And it has been a very, very long time since I have gone into a job with absolutely no idea of what my day-to-day work life will look like. My last four jobs were all pretty similar to the job I had before. Sure, each company had its own idiosyncratic way of doing things, but the basic activities, the way the contracts read, the way meetings were held, the way fairs were run, the way sales were made, recorded, serviced--these were basically the same. With this job, I know what the job is, but I have no idea how it gets done. I will be learning everything.

But this job is in an area I am very interested in getting into, and didn't know how I was going to convince anyone to hire me in. Just like that, I've got the entry, and I'm pretty excited, when I'm not terrified.

My sweetie and I are heading off to Italy for our delayed honeymoon tomorrow. When I come back, I will be a working woman.

Wow. I totally should have enjoyed my free time more!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Some nonsense

Meet Howard:

A few years ago, I acquired a couple random balls of fun fur yarn. I had an idea that I wanted to make my sweetie a fur lined hat. However, none of the fun fur yarns were sufficiently fur-like to realize my vision, and I also found that I hated knitting with fun fur--it's utterly impossible to find or fix mistakes or dropped stitches, and don't even think of trying to frog the stuff!

Howard is made from the last ball I had left (I turned a few others into a potato chip scarf), and as it lost its ball band long ago, I have no idea what it is, who it's made by, or even how much yarn I had. I discovered, too, that the very things that make fun fur annoying to knit with are kind of advantageous when you're making something a bit haphazard like Howard: you can make mistakes and no one will ever know :-).

This took me maybe six hours to make; I had a tiny bit of black yarn left from my long-ago alien scarf, and his eyes are buttons from my button box (consisting entirely of spare buttons from clothes I've owned), so Howard is a true scrapyard monster. I wish this picture were sharper, because his button eyes are some sort of shell, and therefore somewhat bloodshot with pink streaks.

I think he's kind of cute, actually.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Job hunting

I've been job hunting. Job hunting is my least favorite activity in the world. I would rather go to the dentist every day. I hate it.

For some reason, I have always been absolutely convinced that I am unemployable. When I was in college, I went to a group interview for Cutco knives. I honestly don't remember why I went to this interview, but I did, and I was offered the job. My mom made me turn it down, because it involved going into people's homes and demonstrating the knives. She thought this was unsafe. I remember crying, and saying, "But I got the job! No one will ever hire me for anything!"

To date it remains the only job I have ever turned down.

It's not that I don't think I'm capable or smart. I actually feel fairly confident that I could do most any job that does not require specialized education (like a doctor or rocket scientist or something). The problem is convincing someone to hire me. I absolutely believe that I am incapable of landing a job for which I am not the obvious candidate because of my experience. No one will think creatively about me. No one will even interview me to give me a shot at convincing them.

After I left grad school I spent several months in London. I had a 6-months work visa, and so was trying to find a job. I interviewed all over the place, generally for retail jobs, and couldn't land one. I was either overeducated or underexperienced, or both. Finally I got a one-month temporary Christmas season job. I took it. After it was over, I didn't even try to find another job. I goofed off for another month in London, and then continued traveling.

When I moved to New York, I found a job fairly easily, because I had gone to a publishing course over the summer. This was a way of getting a short track into the industry, a leg up on finding a job. I absolutely believe I would not have gotten a job otherwise. As it is, I only got offered one job, after I had interviewed at half a dozen, though of course this could be attributed to the fact that I took the first job I was offered.

Some years ago I was desperate to get out of my job, and I tried to apply to jobs outside of publishing. This was a miserable failure: I never even got an interview.

Every job I've gotten after that first job in publishing has been because I had directly applicable experience and, eventually, a network of people who knew me. Publishing is a relatively small world.

Now, though, I am looking for a job, outside of my little world. My sweetie and I are leaving for our honeymoon at the end of next week, and he has been encouraging me to relax until we get back, to not look for a job now. I haven't been able to listen. I am convinced I am unemployable. I got started early, because I figured this will take a very long time. I figured I would have to apply to a billion jobs to get even one interview.

Well, this week I have had interviews with two companies.

One is a job where my publishing experience is actually relevant. The other is a job for which I have absolutely no experience, but they like my resume and they are happy to train me. (Who knew companies with that attitude even existed any more? Everyone wants directly applicable experience these days; they figure if they get someone who already knows how to do the job, they won't have to train them. this is a total fantasy, but it's pervasive.)

The first job would probably pay me in keeping with my last job, and with my years of experience. The second job will pay me an entry-level salary, well below half what I was making at my last job. But the first job seems like it could be quite boring, and the second job new and interesting. I am torn.

Of course, I have not yet been offered either job, but I'm pretty hopeful about both. And, for the first time, I'm in a position where I might actually have to turn down a job. This is weird. I've always been so grateful to be offered a job, any job, that I've always said yes. But here, I'm actually a little worried that I will take the first job that offers itself just to have a job. But if I turn down both jobs, what are the chances I'll find another?

God, I hate job hunting.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Useless rant #18

It happened again.

My sweetie and I went out for sushi tonight. I opened the menu, looked at the list of a dozen or so "special rolls." I went down the list, reading the ingredients of each roll, and rejecting those which included avocado. I hate avocado.

As usual, there were only two rolls which did not list avocado. I shouldn't say "as usual"--this is actually pretty good. Sometimes there aren't any rolls without avocado.

I chose one of the avocado-free rolls. I said to the waitress, "It doesn't have avocado in it, does it?" She said, "No, I don't believe so."

The roll arrived. It had avocado in it.

This has happened more times than I can count. Avocado has apparently become a standard ingredient in sushi rolls, so standard that it doesn't even warrant mentioning on the menu. Like rice and nori, you can expect avocado in your roll. However, no one has bothered to alert waitstaff to this fact, because I am always assured that, if it doesn't say avocado on the menu, there is no avocado. Depending on my mood, I have been known to send the damned things back. Otherwise I just pick it out, grumbling the whole time.

This has happened to me many times in New York. It has now happened to me in Seattle. You know where it never happened to me? Japan. Never. Even though I could not read the menus and was often ordering by pointing, or not ordering at all, just eating whatever was put in front of me. In two weeks traveling in Japan, I ate a lot of weirdo things, but I never had avocado ever, at all, period.

It isn't authentic, and it bugs the crap out of me that it is so utterly unavoidable. My sweetie says I should just order everything "no avocado" even if the menu doesn't say it has avocado. That way, the waitress will write down "no avocado" instead of assuring me incorrectly that I needn't worry.

But for some reason, to me, it's the principle of the thing. I don't want to accept that avocado is as much a given as rice in sushi. I want to believe that avocado is an ingredient which must be listed. It baffles me that it can go unheralded, because most people like avocado; you'd think if a roll has it in it, it would be worth advertising.

Consider this useless rant #18. Actually, given how often I have cause to use it, I could move it to position #1, but I hate to admit is pisses me off that much :-).

Saturday, April 05, 2008


This is Elizabeth Zimmermann's Baby Surprise Jacket:

Elizabeth Zimmermann is something of a legend in the knitting world. She wrote books in the 60s and 70s that approached knitting in a very relaxed, no-nonsense way, and she's regarded as kind of a mother of the craft as it's known today. I admit I haven't read much of her work, but I have heard about the Baby Surprise Jacket for some time, and have been determined to knit one.

I have to say, the thing is a marvel. Look at that picture above. It's a blob, right? You can't imagine how it's going to turn into a jacket, right? It's knit all in one piece; in fact, if you have a length of yarn long enough (I didn't), you could knit it all in one string--at no point do you need to cut and reattach the yarn; that in itself is cool. Not only that, even though you know it's not the case, you feel like you're knitting a big rectangle, and that both cuffs are knit on one side of the rectangle, and the buttonholes are on the other end, and you have no idea how the thing is going to rearrange itself. I consider myself fairly good with spatial visualization, but I have to admit, the jacket is well-named: the "surprise" is that it makes a jacket at all.

Voila! Here is the Baby Surprise Jacket, properly folded up:

There are only two seams on the thing, running from the neck to the cuff on top of each sleeve. There are no seams under the arms or at the sides. Furthermore, if you examine the thing, you'll find that the cast-on edge runs across the back and around each cuff, while the bind-off edge runs around the hem and up each front edge. This is cool because the cast-on edge is always stretchier, just the thing you'd want to have at the cuffs. I swear, after I finished the thing, I spent about twenty minutes just looking at it, marveling at the design.

Seriously, it's magic.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Stupid cute

I know that, according to the last post, I am knitting a yellow sweater. However, I must confess I became disenchanted with the project this weekend, and I have frogged it ("to frog" = to unravel knitting, so called because when you unravel knitting, you "rip it, rip it") and begun something else with the yarn. To console myself for a week's worth of wasted knitting, I turned to a small project, for the new baby of one of my sweetie's coworkers:

These are Old World Booties from Interweave Knits. They took about three hours each to knit, and then 30 minutes in the washer to felt. They shrank, also: they were over 5" long when they went in, huge, even for the son of a man over 6 feet, but now they are about 4" long. Still big, but not laughably so.

I am utterly enchanted with them. They are my very first felted project (finally, I live in an apartment with a top-loading washer), and they're little and fuzzy and stupid cute. I am fighting the urge to dig up every random scrap of wool in my stash and knit up another dozen.

I've already started counting the expected babies in our social circle. There will be more.