Thursday, June 25, 2009

Introspectrus, part 2: Ambition, Smambition

When I was in 3rd grade, I was in the lower reading group and we were working on some unit. I got finished first. The teacher yanked me out into the hallway and asked me if I wanted to be moved up to the upper reading group. At that point, I was crying. I was crying because, well come on! Do I really need to explain this? When a teacher yanks you into the hallway, it is because you did Something Really Bad.

TO THIS DAY, no matter what I say, my mother thinks that I was crying because I did not want to be put in the higher reading group. The way the teacher told it to my mom later, I started crying after she asked me. From that day until now, my parents have held the belief that I am lazy/have no ambition.

Let’s look at the definition, shall we?

Ambition: NOUN

-An eager or strong desire to achieve something, such as fame or power.
The object or goal desired: Her ambition is the presidency.
Desire for exertion or activity; energy: had no ambition to go dancing.

Hmmm. Fame and power? Yeah. Not so much.

I’m not good on the front lines. I’m not a soldier. I used to be. (insert flowery piano music while I reminisce). When I was in college I spent a lot of time fighting, I was good at it, and I enjoyed it. As I write this, I remember talking with Jackie about such things and she said that at the ripe old age of 36 she was no longer interested in fighting the fight. Leave it for the younger crew (that would have been me, at the time). She needed to get on with her life, raise her kids, get her educmacashun. I didn’t understand then.

I do now. At the ripe old age of 34.

Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely fight for some things and will to the end. No discussion. But not in a job. Not anymore. I have learned the hard way that if I work for A Cause, that Cause becomes my life. It envelopes and engulfs me. I get lost in the fight, and I lose myself. Not healthy, not good for a relationship. Not good overall. As much as I’d like to I cannot do it anymore.

It’s like art and crafts for me. Would I like to learn to quilt someday? You bet. Now? No. It would take over the house, the hunt for really cool fabrics and spending money on them, time on piecing, switching things around and then back again, and sewing…sewing….sewing. I have to limit my art/crafts interests to a mere 1-2 things. Hence, jewelry right now. Temari very occasionally.

Anyway, back to the front lines. Not great. I’m much better working in a support capacity. Let someone else have the limelight. I know that they got there because of me. I don’t need the fame. Don’t want the power, because as soon as you have it you worry about keeping it and/or getting more. No, thanks.

So, how about this instead:

Aspiration Noun:
3 a: a strong desire to achieve something high or great b: an object of such desire

So. Ambition vs. Aspiration? Fame/power vs. the desire of something great? Two totally different things, IMHO. Of course I aspire to things. I have desires. Defining that ‘high or great’ thing is where we get stuck. And who considers them high and great is even more of a problem.

Join me for the next installment of Introspectrus, part 3: The Higher, The Fewer!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Jon and Kate Break Up

Is anyone seriously surprised about this? I don't watch this show, but.....a few thoughts:

  • I wonder how the network feels about breaking up a family. I wonder if anyone there feels this is anything but Higher Ratings!!! Adds the Baltimore Sun's David Zurawik: "I wonder if [viewers] feel exploited by TLC selling ads and making millions of dollars out of a show announcing a divorce that will not only leave eight kids with a shattered family -- but a video record of their family coming undone..."
  • I really am angry that any young couple would put children in such a position. It is just short of...what? Not to mention the fact that the PA Department of Labor is investigating whether or not this show counts as illegal under child labor laws....ahem.
  • When asked what worries her most, Kate said it's "the label that we've failed, how that will affect our kids ... how they'll be another statistic." Um, didn't you make them a statistic when you decided to have not one but two rounds of multiples??

I just don't even know what to say, what a load of crap. Tell me what you think...

Monday, June 22, 2009

Not Buying It

I've decided to do this in 2-week updates instead of weekly. Feel free to play along!

Clothing: Did another Goodwill trip and wound up with a skirt (gasp!) and two tops for around $10. I’m still trying to fill out my summer wardrobe since the 20lb drop.

Food: Eating salad from the garden for lunch, along with homemade oil and vinegar dressing, so I’m not buying any lunch fixings for the foreseeable future. Making bread. Dried a batch of pineapple, OMG it is good, and 4 lemons worth of lemon peel for baking or zesting later. Had breakfast with some strawberries from the patch over the weekend, too.

Household: Still working on using use & wash containers instead of ziploc bags.

Utilities: A/C still not installed. Shocked as to how cool it has been.

Gifts: Took dad to lunch on Friday (for father’s day). Found a freebie lavender for my neighbor.

Home and Garden: Visit the garden blog for more info. Cherry tomatoes are slowly coming in. Peas in abundance, freezing those. Hugemongous radishes coming in (look for a garden blog post about those tonight). Pumpkin and beans blooming. A few of the regular tomatoes have green babies on them, including the hanging baskets. Also, we removed the sod, tilled up, raked and put straw down on 2/3 of the new flower bed, and did some minor prep on the teeny new flower bed (pictures this week in the garden blog).

Also, we went an bought a pickup truck-load of mushroom soil this weekend ($20, a steal). I could describe the stink to you, but you wouldn’t understand. We also scored a large trashbag of pheasant poo and hay from our neighbors, which got layered in the auxiliary back up compost bin with the weeds from the blueberry bush, so yay that. Both compost bins are in ‘cook’ mode.

Weaknesses: Went out to eat a few times these past two weeks, but this week we will not be doing so. I have meals planned out. Also, signed up for Netflix.

Purging: Took a box of stuff and bag of clothes to Goodwill.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Introspectrus, part 1: Career Woman?

I took some time off from this blog recently to do some internal thinking and considering. I’m not sure if I”ve come to any conclusions, mainly because I’m not entirely sure what the questions were, but I thought I’d share some of my ponderings and thoughts here over the next few weeks. They may be a bit rambling. Deal.

It’s interesting, as I was going through old 2008 posts the other week while re-tagging them I came across an entry that said we were thinking of expanding the veggie patch 4-fold in the spring, and “let’s see if it actually happens.”

I had to smile, because not only did it happen but we’re almost done. It’s been a lot of work, my back aches…and I was sitting on the pine-chip walk today, in the sun, between the new tomato bed and the new bean bed, and I just smiled. It felt good. I felt good. My back hurts, but I felt good. I think you know what I mean.

I’m an only child, I was raised by two educated people with more-than-average IQs (although sometimes I’m not so sure about that!). I am also an educated person with a more-than-average IQ (not bragging, just saying). I was raised with the expectation that I would go to college. It wasn’t a choice. I did.

I was also raised with the idea that you didn’t go get a job. You had a career. There is a difference. And it is doubly important for women because women with careers get taken more seriously.

I was also very serious since I was very small that I wanted to go into archaeology. I did the joint high school/park service digs on the battlefield (growing up in Gettysburg has its perks), and majored in anthropology once I got to Clarion.

Imagine my shock when I found that I hated it. Most of it anyway. And the professors. I changed out to sociology, which fit better in some ways and not so much in others.

Flash forward 11 years. I’ve been in the same job for all that time. Note the term: job. Not career. Stupid as it sounds, I carried a lot of guilt about that split-hair for a while, being a BHL (Bleeding Heart Liberal) woman with a decent feminist streak. I’m supposed to be moving, working on my career, I said, not staying put at the same desk. But the job I’m in pays extremely well for the area, and I’d have to drive an hour or more into the DC beltway or somewhere else equally distasteful to get another paying the same. I’m 10 minutes away from home right now. So, here I stay.

Besides, my mindset started changing. I don’t believe anymore that corporate life, whatever the field, is right for me. I hate the conformity, the stress. The pressure to perform. I watch all these people scurrying back and forth and can’t help but think that this is NOT the way we humans were meant to live.

Then, last week and opportunity presented itself: a position. On campus. In a different building, different contract. A contract that is starting to be taken VERY seriously. The position looked like it was made for me. I called, got an interview. It went really well, and I am still interested in working there eventually. But. The position is a career-building position with a lot of responsibility, pressure. Only 2 people in the office, and I’d have to put out fires when the boss wasn’t around. Is that what I want?

Short answer: No. Longer answer: Not anymore. 10 years ago? You bet. If the office gets larger and I’m not the go-to person 24/7? You bet. But if I am 50% of the equation usually or 100% occasionally? Not interested.

And that was a difficult decision to come by due to the $20K more/year boost it would give me. Us. The household. We could really use it. Who couldn’t?

But I would be miserable. Is that a worthy tradeoff? $20K = miserable? Feeling sick to your stomach at the thought of going in to work every day?

And now we come back to something that I've talked about before. Ambition. (Stay tuned for Introspectrus, part 2: Ambition, Smambition).

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

I’m in a Bad Mood

I’m in a really bad mood today. It started yesterday. I was off 4 days last week, so I came back to some work that needed fixed and/or changed. I also had a pile of stuff that just didn’t get done. AND on top of that the bindery shipment picked yesterday to return, so I have to check all of those back in, which isn’t difficult but is tedious.

I’m also fighting off a toothache, which I’m hoping is going away completely. My last remaining wisdom tooth. I’m planning on getting it out over this summer sometime, while I still have some sick leave. Since the current company probably won’t be getting the contract in October, I’ll be back down to 0 sick leave. I might as well use it while I can.

Then, one of my coworkers cannot find a loose issue, 2008 #5 of this particular title (which costs us $8000 a year). The location is listed as ‘Current Issue’ which means it should be at the main floor, but it wasn’t there. #4 was there. #5 was missing.
The thing is, I know what happened. Lazy 20yo, one of our part-timers, is the one who usually shelves loose journals. She is sloppy. She does her work very very quickly so she can use the computers here for her schoolwork and the book she is writing. She has been doing this since she started. I have been complaining about it to management since then, as well.

Did I mention that she’s taking an online course this semester. Yeah. She doesn’t own a computer. Guess where she’s taking the course.

Did I mention we have a management problem? Or shall I say management-lack-thereof?

In this case, I’m going to bypass management and talk to her directly. She is doing college full time, working here part time and the money she makes here ($12+/hr) is VERY good for the area for a part time job. She is relying on it. She is young enough not to realize how lucky she is right now. Our contract comes up this year. If it comes down to losing a position, her’s is one that is on the chopping block.

One of the things I’m going to tell her is that if we had a serious manager who took seriously the dozens of times I’ve complained (with evidence) about her work she would have been fired long ago. And I’m not the only one who has complained. She will have a very hard time finding someone here who will give her a positive reference for another job.

So, then the headache began and I was doing a really good job of fighting it off when, oh bountiful Jehovah, one of the loudest Feds on campus decided to camp out and talk at us for 45 minutes. I left, went downstairs, but the damage was done. *sigh*

I was looking forward to getting home and doing some nice, quiet clean-up of the kitchen, making dinner, maybe afterwards going and looking and thinking about the flower garden soon-to-be, but nooooooo. I wound up helping Matt spread hay over some newly filled-in low spots in the lawn. Dinner? We ate at a ripe old 8:30.
I did, however, have a nice Sidecar
while I ate.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Not Buying It

I've decided to do this in 2-week updates instead of weekly. Feel free to play along!

Clothing: Haven't bought any in 2 weeks. I did realize, though, that in the case of sudden-omg-last-minute job interviews (like last week) I am seriously lacking in wardrobe since the weight loss, so I will probably pick up some semi-nice clothes that I can fit in shortly.

Food: Harvesting radishes, but of course we don't eat much in the way of radishes. Dried some strawberries for the pantry. Still making bread. Still not buying much in the way of pre-processed junk.

Household: Nothing much to discuss here. I did score a free food dehydrator from my MIL, she had it packed up in the basement and told me just to take it when I asked.

Utilities: A/C still not installed. This has been a nice, cool May and (so-far) June. We close up the house, the blinds, etc, after it starts to warm up in the morning. The house stays about 70* all day!

Gifts: Nothing this week, but my grandma-in-law came over for dinner on Saturday.

Home and Garden: Visit the garden blog for more info. We have one semi-orange cherry tomato on the vine. VERY early this year. Also, squash is seeded. We had a major freebie score this weekend, too. Bamboo. I'll post a picture soon on the garden blog.

Weaknesses: Went to the liquor store for a couple things we were out of, wound up getting 4 things total instead. *sigh*

Purging: Cleaned some glassware out of the kitchen. Next up: old/unused food.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

General Update

Most of you who read this probably already know this, but I had a job interview today and will find something out tomorrow. I'm really on the fence about this, and I'm not sure if I will be happy or disappointed if I don't get it. Stay tuned.

Also today I found out that my current company will, indeed, be bidding on the contract via the president's daughter's small business which was created just for that purpose. I was really hoping this wouldn't happen, but there you go. Again, stay tuned.

It's been a long day.