Tuesday, June 16, 2015

10 ways to Nail a Job Interview

Ah, an office: both an amusing and torturous corporate playground where humans are reduced to robots programmed to exclaim "Happy FridaaAAAY!" in a douchey crescendo at 9am on the dot at the end of every week.  It's a place characterized by heinous carpeting, defunct water coolers, expired Lean Cuisines, awkward bathroom run-ins with a superior (excuse me bosslady - you're supposed to be a robot who gives me my paycheck, I do not need to know that you have a digestive system), cliched e-mail dialogue (if I had a nickel for every time I used the term "following up" in the subject line of an e-mail then I would be making money in a very strange way), and of course the dreaded Monday morning spent nursing a hangover in your cube whilst feigning interest in your coworker's prolonged story about his nephew's weekend soccer game in Marin.  It's all so contrived, so sterile, so... hilarious. 

When I first moved to San Francisco I lost took on a slew of temp roles.  I temped at salons, venture capital firms, hedge funds, investment banks, real estate companies- you name it.  I felt like a foster kid in the corporate world.  I thought of myself as the Temp Fairy but instead of fairy dust I sprinkled my awkwardness and lack of Excel skills all throughout the financial district.  After a few years months of answering to anything from "Andrea," to "Alexander," to "Allysia" to "Alfred"  I was able to land a full-time receptionist position but got canned on account of my failure to recognize Costco as a bulk store.  A few failed Executive Assistant positions later, I finally realized that being an Admin was not my will forte.  I'm more of a terrifically scattered creative type - and to be a good admin one must be extremely organized and a bit type A.  I am Type Q.  

But I digress: I've interviewed a shitload of times - and now, as a recruiter I'm responsible for prepping candidates for interviews so I'm pretty well-versed on how to be painfully fake wow a prospective employer.  I hope I'm not jinxing myself by putting this out there - but I have an interview with the Onion this week.  Writing for the Onion is my absolute dream job - mostly everything I write on Toe Pick is Onion inspired so this opportunity is like my wet dream.  So it is in the spirit of the Onion and this momentous occasion that I've decided to feature 10 ways to nail an interview

1. Punctuality is important 
Be sure to show up at least 13 days before your interview time and set up shop in the elevator.  Bring a sleeping bag, humidifier, your gameboy and sustainable food such as dried fruit or beef jerky.
2. Dress appropriately 
It's better to be overdressed than under dressed so always make sure you wear collared slacks.  

3. First impression is key
Make sure to make direct bedroom eyes at the interviewer upon meeting.   Shake his/her right hand with your left hand.  Awkwardness will ensue.  Let out a frustrating grunt as you beg him/her to try again. Then, shake his/her hand again and make sure you rub his/her innermost palm with your pointer finger.  The clammier the hand the better. 
I've provided a diaphragm for your reference:

4.  Set yourself apart from other candidates  
Sit on the floor.  Tell the interviewer you prefer the floor to a chair because it's "closer to the earth this way."

5. Establish trust
At the end of the interview, look around in a paranoid manner, lean in toward interviewer and whisper "Remember, we never had this conversation."

6.  Ask questions
 Inquire about health benefits.  If the interviewer is a woman ask her which gynecologist she uses/recommends at Kaiser.  

7.  Appear to be detail oriented 
Ask her if she knows which gynecologist at Kaiser provides the most durable stirrups.  

8.  Be engaging
If the interviewer asks you a question about your work history, ask him or her to repeat the question "but with a little more UMPH this time."

9. Be confident
Act as if you already have the job.  Tell the interviewer you're going to set your outlook password to "New England clam chowder" when you start.
10.  Leave with a bang
End the interview with a standing slow clap

And, that's all I got.  I am off to run laps around the financial district like a gerbil in an effort to soothe my nerves.  I'd ask you to wish me luck, but I'm well aware that luck has nothing to do with this.


Monday, June 15, 2015

Adulthood: it's what's for Dinner

"I bet your mom got mad at you a lot for playing with your food, didn't she?"

Disenchanted, I looked up from my taco salad and answered plainly, "Yes.  She did."

My friends had come over for a girls dinner - one that was preceded by wine, fancy cheese + crackers on a platter and lots of bitching chatter about dating, jobs, facials, end tables and finances.

"I always figured by now I'd be settled down with a couple of fish and a husband, living in a quaint little brick house with real live evergreen shutters on a street where the paperboy chucks the newspaper onto my perfectly manicured lawn in the morning as I step outside, curlers secured, coffee in hand, adorning a long pink silk bathrobe.  Instead I've found myself on stage at a karaoke bar belting out Lisa Loeb's "Stay" to a less-than-impressed audience of 25 year old gel-heads on a Tuesday at 1am only to head home and collapse onto my bed, fully clothed, still donning my heels and dangly earrings (Yes, this happened last week.  Don't judge me, I sung every last word without looking at the prompter.)  It's like, I know we're supposed to be at a certain point in our lives, but I don't feel my age."

"Do you guys want to eat in front of the TV?"  I struggled to switch gears, taking a cue from my friends' expressions and realizing that my pathetic diatribe had gone on for far too long...our girly, pre-dinner congregation had run it's course.

My friends vetoed said TV idea, instead opting to sit at the dining room table like civilised adults.

"Yeah, let's sit at the table and talk," Percy* asserted.  Everyone nodded in agreement and I looked down in an attempt to conceal my furrowed brow and take a mental note to DVR Family Guy and E! True Hollywood Story: Steve-O.

"Cool, should we light candles!?  Lemme go find a lighter."  I was proud of myself for suggesting such an adult-like idea as I rummaged through my purse, sifting through stray gummy bears, pennies and receipts for some fire. 

Dinner conversation was flowing awkwardly nicely, and I had even stowed my phone throughout the first 16 minutes the duration of the meal.  I felt very much like an adult - throwing in my 2 cents wherever I could, nodding and laughing at the appropriate times and behaving like a lady for not even 10 minutes the most part. Just then, the conversation took a turn into YogaVille, SkinCareTown and WomanHood.  They began to discuss things like the benefits of meditation, microdermabrasian, fiber intake and Ekhart Tolle.  I, in turn, began to play with my food.  My futile attempts at creating some semblance of Abraham Lincoln with my Swiss chard fell flat when my friend interrupted me.  (See first line.)  I felt a lot like Joey from Friends at this dinner.  

The other day my friend posed the question: How old would you be if you didn't know how old you are?  I initially guessed I would be a mixture of 12 and 88.  88 because I can get pretty grumpy and oftentimes have difficulty retaining information I don't find to be important.  Also, I often occasionally slop on myself when I eat.  I also picked 12 because I'm still very easily amused by Home Alone 1 and 2 I'm naive about most some things - especially dating and relationships.  Then, upon further consideration, I cut myself some slack and decided I'd be around 25 because in very few ways many ways, I have made the transition into adulthood against my will.  I decided to compile a list of areas in my life where I feel like I've grown into an adult. Why? Because I'm bored as shit at work and I'm guessing you are too if you're reading this so it's kind of like everyone wins. 

I can remember moving to San Francisco almost 6 years ago and not knowing my elbow from my ass being a bit directionally challenged.   There were instances when my non-existent sense of direction almost killed me.  Literally.  It was midnight, a couple years ago - in an effort to get home from a friend's house using pube-lic transportation, I ended up on a bus headed straight for the Tenderloin only to be ejected from said bus once it had reached its last stop in the heart of the Loin (as Dave Chappelle once famously said, "There's nothing tender about this motherfucking loin") There I stood, tears in my eyes, zigzagging my way from one side of the street to the other in my Anne Taylor pantsuit and pearl earrings, dodging mangy meth addicts and hissing hunchbacked crackheads all the while striving to "walk with purpose" as I struggled to remain poised.  This was during the pre-Uber era, and even the cab drivers appeared to be too scared to drive through the Loin at midnight.  This is it, I thought to myself.  After about an hour of hysteria I somehow managed to find a bus headed toward Pac Heights and I am pretty sure I groped the bus driver upon boarding.  These days, I can get places a little more easily and don't foresee anymore aimless Tenderloin adventures in my future. Knock on wood.  That's what he said?

When I was little I was scared of a lot of things like the car wash, horses, not being attached to my my mom's hip, wheelchairs and Dyslexia (uh, yeah - you read that correctly).  I can remember one time in the 3rd grade my mom took me to see a learning specialist because I was having trouble in eleven a couple of subjects.  She thought maybe I was dyslexic.  I initially didn't know what that meant, but for whatever reason the term Dyslexia scared the living shit out of me.  I was both blessed and cursed with an overactive imagination and somehow I conjured up the notion that dyslexia was some monster-made flesh eating virus.  It turned out I wasn't dyslexic, just a few sandwiches short of a picnic a slow learner.  But I still harped on the subject of Dyselxia and for whatever reason couldn't stop asking my mom about it.  So, one night my parents had some people over for a dinner party.  I remember my mom pulled me aside and introduced me to one of her guests.  In a rather feeble attempt at quelling my mounting anxiety surrounding the decidedly non-threatening subject of dyslexia she said, "Alexandra - this is Joel*, he is dyslexic.  Shake his hand."  I remember lunging away from him, bursting into tears and running to my room.  I was terrified. Nowadays I'm no longer a dislexia-phobe.  In fact, I've got 3 friends who are dyslexic. What I'm saying is I've become a lot more open-minded and less scared of people as I've gotten older - I am fairly certain I have San Francisco to thank for this. 

You've seen American Beauty, right?  If not - you should.  Kevin Spacey does a remarkable job of portraying Lester, a terrifically fucked up middle aged man frazzled by the mediocrity of his predictable life. He strives to liven it up in all the wrong ways, only to sink deeper into despair.  Now that I've had the same job for a couple years, I can more clearly understand his dissatisfaction with adulthood, namely his job.  This almost robotic, ritualistic business of waking up, putting on a blazer with slacks to match, fetching Starbucks, greeting coworkers with a hearty "HAPPY FRIIIIDAY!", using phrases like "following up," "moving forward," "checking in" and talking extensively about the weather, what coworkers will ingest for lunch and feigning enthusiasm on a Monday morning is taking up a huge chunk of my youth life.  Sometimes it makes me sad.  Because office life feels unnatural to me - fake, even. Regardless, having held down the same job for a couple years makes me feel like an adult, albeit an unfulfilled one. 

Involuntary financial independence has made me feel like an adult.  I'll never forget when my mom officially cut me off a couple years ago.  "It's time to strap on some balls, make some money and get a life!"  she quibbled.  She then proceeded to lecture me on the importance of buying food it bulk because it's more sustainable.  "You know what you should do?  Buy a ton of beans and rice - that'll last you awhile!" she'd say. "And oatmeal too!  Oatmeal is GREAT!"  For the first 4 months following the cut-off I ate oatmeal for practically every fucking meal.  I felt like Goldilocks, only not quite because I couldn't really afford the upkeep of my golden highlights at my pricey, former go-to salon.  Looking back, I appreciate being jerked into reality in my 20's - I recognize the value of money I earn myself and appreciate nice things more than I did when I was on my parents payroll.  

One day, at the end of my third junior year at ole miss, my roommate's mom (AKA my surrogate Southern mom) had come to our  brothel house in Oxford to visit.  I'd gotten to know her quite well through countless weekend visits to her home in Birmingham throughout my tenure at Ole Miss with my roommate.  My roommates and I sat in our living room with her and chugged sipped wine.  Out of the blue, she handed me a little jewelry box. she went to Jared's! I excitedly opened said box and there lay a pair of square earrings.  I looked up at her confusedly as she beamed at me, decked out in her prim and proper cream suit, perfectly coiffed hair, impossibly bright pink lipstick and in her soothing southern drawl exclaimed "These are for yewww.  Because you're anything but square!"  The room erupted in laughter.  I smiled politely and thanked her.  I wondered what shape I actually was.  A rhombus?  A trapezoid?  I even got really a little self-conscious.

Now, 10 years later, I can feel that self-consciousness gradually begin to dissipate, little by little.  I'm getting used to the idea of being a trapezoid.  Perhaps this has been what has made me feel more like an adult than anything else.  After all, self-awareness and acceptance are important, or so my dinner companions stressed the other night. (See, I was listening.)


Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Move it Or Lose it, People; Featuring the #1 Chafe in All the Land

Happy dry hump day my friends!  I'll make this one short and sweet as I actually have to gchat a lot work today.

 It's finally raining in San Francisco.  Which means the city is erupting with small talk.  It's only 8am and I have already talked about the weather with my uber driver, the cashier at Walgreens, the janitor in my building and our receptionist. This rain can only mean one thing: slow walkers are going to be moving even more slowly today.

I spend probably 60% of my life dicking around on facebook downtown, and I'd say 20% of that time is spent trailing slow walkers. Patience is a virtue.  I totally don't get that.  But people who don't seem to grasp the concept of lifting and setting each foot down in a reasonably brisk, fluid succession truly confound me.  There are also those who choose to come to an abrupt standstill in the middle of the sidewalk as if they're on one of those moving walkways at the airport.  There have been a multitude of offenders as of late and I've taken the time to capture them in all of their dawdling glory.  I guess this is what I get for living in the most touristy city in the US.  Thanks for making me late for my brow wax, dickheads! :)

This guy gets a free pass because he's wearing a shirt with a sperm on it so I can't imagine he has to be anywhere in a hurry because who associates with a guy wearing a sperm shirt?

Yesterday morning I was walking behind this sweet couple ^^ and I think I saw a Special Olympic snail pass them.  I started to get mad, then I took a few deep breaths as I bumped into them and thought to myself "what's the rush?  Where do you have to be in such a hurry!?"  Then I got back to my office, sat down, shoved 5 pieces of Juicy Fruit in my mouth and proceeded to blow the biggest bubble in the history of bubble blowing.  And suddenly everything made no sense. 

Have a great day everyone, even those of you who like to amble.  I leave you with this:


Tuesday, June 2, 2015

20 Reasons Why Being In a Relationship is Cool

One person Tons of people have asked me how my 30 day hiatus from Instagram and boozing is going.  I have not partied since I made my resolution and I must say I feel bored and isolated great and considerably less interesting anxious.  I can practically hear my indebted liver shouting proclamations of gratitude and that makes no sense whatsoever because organs can't feel grateful, be appreciative or say thank you much less shout it.  As far as Instagram goes, I've abstained from posting pictures but haven't stopped scrolling through my feed every 10 seconds occasionally and Jesus H. Christ why isn't Instagram called Crackstagram? But enough about me  and my remarkable lack of self control.

Tolstoy, Manute Bol, your mom or my creepy uncle Reginald once maintained that it's important to write what you know.  In my last post I broke down 6 reasons why being single can actually be mildly depressing quite awesome.  When I wrote this piece (don't you love when bloggers call posts "pieces"?) I felt wildly pathetic like the words poured out of me because I'm practically an expert pretty well-versed on the subject of being cold, alone and starved for affection single. 

Part of me felt bad for favoring Singletown over Relationshitville - it's obviously wrong to discriminate, especially ever since the whole Civil Rights movement went down or whatever. So I figured I was bored enough at work it was only fair to explore the benefits of being trapped and tied down  in a relationshit.  But when I sat down to write this I felt like a small child learning how to chew solid food.  

So I decided to do some fieldwork and ask my friends who are are  never available to hang out anymore basking in the wonderland of being boring monogamy what they like best about being someone's needy better half.  I even asked single friends for their input too, just because I became even more bored at work for good measure.

The various responses I got affirmed the fact that my friends are gross the breast.  

The Best Things About Being in a Relaysh
1. You have someone else to blame when your shower gets clogged with hair. 
2. Dosing yourself with xanax and red wine to avoid a dance with Mr. Scary on a Sunday night feels a lot less pathetic when you have someone to do it with. 
3. You don't have to make sure you have a full wax before you go out every weekend. 
4. You have someone you can blame those toenail clippings by the pool and cabana on. (Solid humblebrag, my friend)
6. I don't have to shave my legs that much anymore.
7. I like being able able to pick my nose more often.

9.  Girl farts
10. SEX
11.  Anal sex (Seriously, 4 guys responded with this.)

..and last but not least my favorite of them all:
and yes i am aware I have 69 texts in my inbox.
Now please allow me to throw in my 2 cents on this subject and I don't know why I'm politely asking permission to do this, it's my blog.

-It's easy to flake on things when you have another human to blame.   Don't feel like going to your Aunt Edna's bris?  Simply say your boyfriend is suffering from a mean bout of erectile dysfunction and the poor baby needs his rest.

-Sharing a bed would make inflicting serious bodily injuries on someone much more probable given your severe case of Restless Leg Syndrome.  Which is a fucking hilarious scenario.

-Evading taxes takes less of a toll on your guilt ridden conscience when you have someone to do it with.

-It's helpful to have a constant advice giver around in the event you need help crafting a witty text response to that guy you met on tinder.  

-There's always an extra set of hands around to help you detangle your mangy weave after an aggressive night of sex headbanging with that guy you met on tinder.

-Boyfriend/scapegoat...potato/potato: Didn't get those QED reports done on time?  Don't stress - it's not your fault your boyfriend ate your homework. Sorry, Rose.  (sidenote: if you don't get this reference I am not sure we can be friends.) 

-Face it, you looked like a fucking idiot always riding that tandem bike with a blow-up doll.

-You can walk down the street alongside an actual human being instead of a fucking pigeon (I named Janet) like I did on Saturday morning.

Oh.  Hi Janet. 
And, that's all I got.  Ugh, for some reason writing this post has made me want to take a shower immediately.   

Have a great week, folks! 


PS. Cheers, Caitlyn.