On Hold and other Random Thoughts

For once in my life, I’m relishing the idea of being on hold but there are contingencies. See, I’ve been working at my entry-level part-time position for three months. I love this job and see myself advancing in the regular course of things. However, a position came open last month that is perfect for me. I applied. Now, here is the contingency. According to organizational policy, current employees cannot apply for another position until after 6 months. I understand the reasons for this policy. Six months is the standard probationary period of employment. However, I threw policy to the wind and applied anyway. The job in question, the job I really want requires a particular of skills, (cue Liam Neeson in “Taken”) degree, and experience that I have. Also, I was told that I beat out over 30 people for my current position. Nothing fuels hope like want of the thing one hopes for and a little evidence that the thing cometh, right? I really want it so I have to hope that this organization will cast this 6 month rule out of the window.

The days after the deadline to apply, I waited and hoped for that call. I didn’t receive it. When I checked the position status, two little words gave me hope, ‘On Hold.’ Why? Of course it doesn’t say why. But here’s my theory. The hiring manager saw my resume and cover letter and was totally wowed. “This candidate seems to be a good fit, but uh oh…she’s only been working with us for half of the probationary period. Let’s wait. It’s the end of the year so we can reopen the position in three months,” said the hypothetical hiring manager.

My supervisor and the other powers that be know that I am interested in full time, but I didn’t talk to them about it since I am still within the probationary period. I can’t hope with those who are supposed to tow the company line! I am realistic. I know that jobs can be put on hold for a number of reasons: lack of funding, change of direction, etc. This is a new position so anything his possible. Daily I check the website to see if the ‘On Hold’ still holds, if you will.  I have hope as I am on hold, but really I’m not on hold. I am moving forward, learning, growing, and flourishing in this current position.

“Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therein to be content.” Philippians 4:11

This verse is aspirational and I am getting there daily! 

I’ve got a copy-editing job! The job began as a simple task to ensure that the dissertation had citations, bibliography, and order of content according to Turabian and MLA style. However, it has expanded to consulting with the author on content. That morphed into a reconceptualizing of the author’s topic. Yikes! Unfortunately, this person is not receiving the help and direction needed from their committee. Go figure. I’ve been delighted to be a sounding board, offer critique, and encouragement. That’s one thing I loved about school, learning in community and I guess I should add inquiry, the exchange of ideas, critique, evaluation, analysis…all in the context of community. I miss it sorely now. I get snippets of it at work, reading, blogging, and writing fanfiction (when folks review). I think that’s why I had a hankering for a penpal back in the summer. But there is no such thing as an adult penpal phenomena unless you take social media into account. I don’t hang out on those sites as much. 

October is upon us. September is gone. 2014 is slippery, but I’m yet holding on.


Shopping While Not Paying is Bliss

Today I dropped my teenaged daughter off at the salon for her hair appointment. After ensuring that she was clear on her percents so that she wouldn’t again overpay the tip, I zipped off to my mother’s house for a visit. This was an expense SHE was incurring. Yippee!

Less than two hours later, I returned to collect her and we headed to the mall for a homecoming dress. But (the but is everything) the dress was on her! Her dad and I aren’t total misers. We brought her dress and all the accoutrements in previous years, but she has a part time job. Now back to the bliss…we walked into the dress shop, and after trying on a mere 4 dresses, she found the one, a frilly black strapless number embroidered with jewels that sparkled like the aurora borealis. This is fitting for the “Out of this World” dance theme. After she bought the dress (with HER debit card), she wanted to go to another store for an unrelated purchase.

After that last purchase (of hers), we headed home. The reality of it all finally set in for her when she took a gander at her bank balance. She’d spent her own money on two of the biggest items for the dance. I was able to talk her down from raiding her savings to get her balance back up to what she thought was an acceptable amount. “I feel broke, Mom,” she said. For me, however, it was bliss, at least for those couple of hours.

Book Review: Terms and Conditions: A Novel* by Robert Glancy

Terms and ConditionsThere are no new stories*


*The same stories are told in different ways.

This is surely the case with Robert Glancy’s, Terms and Conditions. Man is disenchanted with life so he grasps at a second chance.

His novel kept me turning pages because of the form in which he told this story very familiar story.* Every page is like a contract (The Terms and Conditions of X) with copious amounts of illuminating fine print in the form of hilarious and at times poignant footnotes.

The story is not a new one. In fact, it is reminiscent of the movie version of James Thurber’s, Walter Mitty, “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”. Frankly Shaw is definitely a Walter Mitty type of guy whose life comes in dribs and drabs because of his loveless marriage and meaningless job as a lawyer who writes the terms and conditions (fine print). Apologies in advance for any spoilers. When we meet Franklyn, he has amnesia as a result of a terrible accident the cause of which is a mystery. We don’t know that his job is meaningless or his marriage is loveless because he doesn’t. The journey to his “hypermnesia” and how he resolves his blah life is suspenseful, funny, and filled with enough poignant ‘aha’ moments to catapult the reader into his or her own sort of self-actualization, I think.

I enjoyed the time jumping which helped to enhance the suspense. It gave me a fuller view of Frank and his relationship to his wife, family, and co-workers. We get to know Malcolm, his brother, primarily through e-mails, but he looms large. The villains are even likable to a point, but I cheered when Frank triumphed in the end. I must admit wanting to read the scene where he confronted Sandra, his wife’s estranged best friend.

Read this book. The only terms and conditions are that you should prepare to be entertained with a keen desire to read every footnote.

Almost the First Day of Autumn

fall birthdayThe countdown is on until the first day of autumn and also…my birthday on September 22. Yippee! It’s no wonder that fall is my favorite time of the year. The hues of browns, auburns, oranges, and yellows accompanied by the slight chill in the air, harvest festivals, hayrides, football, soup, pumpkin bread, the start of a new school year, short days and long nights…these are all the sounds of beginnings to me, not endings.

It is the summer’s great last heat,
It is the fall’s first chill: They meet.

–Sarah Morgan Bryan Piatt (from A Woman’s Birthday)

I wrote a poem about my birthday when I was quite morose a couple of months ago. “Fete” Accompli I called it with a deliberate play on “Fete” or party in place of “fait accompli” or something that cannot be changed. I laugh at my poetry thus far and how I get a hankering to write it when I am low…with the exception of Loudly Silent Vibration. I am mostly in good spirits, giddy even, so I must let those high moods inspire my poetry too. The poem is snapshot of my emotions at that moment, but not the entirety of my life.

I’ve already made vegetable soup and two loaves of pumpkin bread. My birthday will be complete with a visit to Corn Dawgs’ corn maze and pumpkin patch and Stone Mountain Park’s pumpkin festival. Most nights my husband and I gaze at the stars, marveling at their twinkling while our dogs chase the toads that appear out of nowhere in groups of threes and fours. When the moon is full, we marvel at how big it is, reflecting the light of the sun. I secretly imagine that I can take flight and reach up and touch one of those stars. We pay our respects to the cosmos and turn in for the night.

I am surely looking forward to this first day of autumn, a new beginning where I accept the first fruits of a new harvest.

Book Review: Exclamation Mark by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld

exclamationmarkPair self-actualization with punctuation and you can’t go wrong, right? Right!

I absolutely loved this coming of age story for the punctuation mark, exclamation mark, who doesn’t quite fit in with his family full of periods. He sticks out–literally–except when he is sleeping. He tries to hide what makes him different but it just doesn’t work. He even contemplates running away. Then out of nowhere this other strange looking thing appears–a question mark who knows its purpose–and starts asking the exclamation mark a plethora of questions. After it asks the 17th question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”, exclamation mark screams as only he can, “STOP!” And then…it happens, the exclamation mark realizes his exclamatory gift! He starts to try it out. He shares it with others.  “It was like he broke free from a life sentence,” said the narrator. This is one of many clever instances of word play in the book. And thus the story ends, happily.  It goes off to “make his mark.”

This is an excellent choice for a mini lesson during grammar and writing time when teaching punctuation marks and the affect different ones have on sentences. Of course, there are many other ways to use this book in addition to reading it for the fun of it.  I’d love to read sequels with the other punctuation marks. The sky is the limit!

 

Poem: Royal Flush

i’mma little country
girl
livin’ inna city
world
shrugged at all
my
dreams now just
wanna
make some cheese…

and answer directional questions

The Sky…er…Grill is Falling

A crazy thing happened as I was leaving for work this afternoon. As I backed out of the garage and turned, I heard a scraping sound. After uttering a choice expletive, I got out of the car and looked at the damage. The front grill of my car had partially fallen off. Part of it was on the ground while the other part had fallen off. Instantly, I was cursing myself. My job is only 5 minutes away so I usually give myself 15 minutes. Time was ticking. I looked back into the garage and what would my eyes see? A dead bird!

I dialed my husband and tried to explain what happened. “I guess I it the car…?” I muttered. Thankfully, he was on his way home and could take me to work. I called work to alert them to my lateness, “I’ll be late because I think I hit a bird.”  Really, though I wasn’t sure what had happened.

My husband pulled into the driveway and assessed the damage. There was nothing to be done at that point. I got in the truck and he drove me to work. (I wasn’t late)  I apologized, still a little clueless. We discussed what happened. After I calmed down, we gathered that I hadn’t hit anything. My grill fell off of its own accord. There were no scrapes on the car or paint marks on the garage. I started to feel better. 

I’ve been in two accidents in the car through no fault of my own. Once I was broadsided and the other time I was rear ended. We surmised that the grill fell from wear and tear. When my husband picked me up from work later, the car was back to normal. He’d put the grill back in its place. Yay! for hubby. He fixed our washer when it broke a couple of weeks ago and now the car. Whew! I joked with a coworker that the dead bird and the freaky grill falling had a voodoo feeling to it. I guess the bird had been there, trapped in my grill for…I don’t know how long. 

I really must stop being so hard on myself. I instantly accepted the blame even though I did nothing. This will be the take away from my grill dropping experience: Be more gentle to thyself.

Pounding this Fortress-like Pavement

I catapulted myself head long into official job search mode this weekend. Ideally, I want to obtain another part time job until the obligatory six month window elapses before I can apply for a full time job at the public library. I enjoy working there, but my current level of compensation doesn’t adequately help the ends to meet.

After shedding silent tears and engaging in the customary self-recriminations about the current state of my vocational life, I headed on over to that website that specializes in foundation, association, and other public service jobs. I applied for a couple of association management positions. I know that area well: membership driven, annual meetings, committee meetings, board run… I lived and breathed it for seven years. The question is, “Will my resume receive any nibbles?”

Sidebar: Applying for jobs online is an exercise in futility. The applicant is asked to supply a mountain of information and documents which, in all likelihood, won’t be viewed only stored on some server for who knows how long. Nine times out of ten the hiring manager only posts the position to follow company protocol. They have an idea who they want to interview–either the friend of a friend or some promotion or lateral transfer within. But holding out hope, I jumped into the pool.

In keeping with my initial focus–getting a full time job at the public library–I ventured out today to apply for a part time job at a local grocery store. The idea here is to keep my part time library job, add another part time job, and apply later for a full time library job after the obligatory 6 month window coming up in late December. This local grocery store required that I come in the store to complete an application at their Job Application Center.  I applied for baker trainee, cake decorator trainee, floral, produce, and stocking. I don’t care to do cashiering. Perhaps, if I get one of the other jobs, I can learn a skill. My husband laughed at this notion since I have three degrees under my belt.  He has an eternity’s worth of faith in my abilities to do anything whereas, I have significantly less than that based on where I sit now. But I am thankful for the balance he brings to my self-esteem/confidence.

We shall see what transpires…

Poem: Course Correction 3975

Course Correction 3975

by Myesha D. Jenkins ©

 

How do you know

when the course is

not correct?

 

Buckets of tears

Absence of means

No ding ding dings?

 

Regardless of the signs

or lack thereof

You know

you know

When it sits in your gut

When it plops you in a rut.

 

You pay the bills.

You kiss the cheek.

You turn the page.

You walk the dog.

You pray.

You laugh.

You do not cease.

Take Several Seats

IMG_0054.JPG

“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.” Matthew 5:5

I was chatting with a friend about her decision to quit a temporary job at a call center. Her spirit couldn’t take the monitoring and other policies that would, in effect, force her to be an automaton. As is our custom, we began dishing about life and the lessons we have learned about honoring our truth and being patient with ourselves.

I was able to make a connection between the topic of my morning devotional and my own challenges. Sometimes I whip myself up into a frenzy about things. I begin to will things in my life instead of being still. As Mary Lou Redding writes, “Wisdom distinguishes between times to take action and times to restrain ourselves in using the powers at our disposal.” Herein lies the challenge for me: when to act or will things and when to restrain from doing so. I like to make things happen. I am am worker. The best advice I can give myself is:

“Take several seats, Myesha.”

Yes, I need to take several seats at times and sometimes in the corner. My friend and I laughed about this meme. “Show me where the ‘Several Seats’ section is please!”

When I tell myself to take several seats, I am encouraging myself to be meek, to give my power over to God who will give me my inheritance, to subdue my frenzied power under her submission.

Blessed are those who take several seats…

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