Friday, July 30, 2010

I wanna be a... something...

Continuing my hunt for gainful employment, I visit the job sites once, possibly, twice daily. Okay, more than that, but not too much more. Four times a day max. I swear!

Alright, alright! Fine!

I visit the job sites every hour on the hour.

Hello my name is Mandy and I’m obsessed. Help me!

I don’t want to be obsessed! I want something more interesting to talk about then what jobs I’ve applied to or am waiting to hear back from!

I’m stalking potential employers and I just can’t stop!

If the competition wasn’t so fierce, with employers receiving hundreds of applications for every available position, I wouldn’t feel so desperate. Right now I’ll take ANYTHING. If it pays well enough, and isn’t illegal, I’ll take it. Who am I kidding I’ll even take something that is MOSTLY legal! I’m kidding! I think.

Never in a million years did I think I would be this person. I had so many plans, goals, dreams. I felt like I knew exactly what I wanted to do with my life, and had the perfect path to get me there. When I graduated from high school my family told me to go out and shake the world, and I couldn’t wait to do just that. Four years and two schools later, I was ready. I had my diploma in events management and couldn’t wait to get at it.

This is me at my “graduation ceremony”. Confused? Well, what can I say? I like to be different.

This was actually more like a graduation ambush. I completed my program at Algonquin College and immediately flew to Europe to join my fiancé who was serving in the US Military. I knew I would receive my diploma in the mail and I was okay with that. I had bigger and better things to worry about then attending a traditional graduation ceremony. Apparently, however, my family was not okay with this. My Dad felt that anyone who earned a diploma of any kind deserved to have it presented to them.

It happened one afternoon at my parents’ house in Germany. I was sitting on the couch indulging in my first love, a good book, when my family rushed into the room hooping and hollering. My sisters threw a garbage bag of balloons at me, my Step-mother placed a graduation cap precariously on my head and my Dad presented me with my framed diploma in Events Management, while my brother took fun, but not entirely flattering pictures.

I gotta tell you all, I’ve been to lots of graduations, having the number of siblings I do, and my graduation ambush was way more fun.

Unfortunately however, the smiling youngster in this picture never got to her planned destination. As they say, life got in the way. Marriage, three moves, childbirth and I find myself wondering what it is I want now. Yes, I’m on the hunt for a job, but more importantly I’m on the hunt for a career. I’m looking for a life’s purpose that I can look back on and feel accomplished, fulfilled and proud. I just wish I knew what that was!

Event Planner? I crave a career, but my family time is very important too. Every weekend working an event, is just not an option. Last I heard there weren’t many parties happening in the afternoon on a Wednesday. I love the details of an event. The themes and the staging, the organization and the planning, but to be truly successful as an event professional you need to be a salesperson. I have zero sales skills.

“Excuse me ma’am, would you like to buy the new Chop-O-Matic? It slices, it dices, it blends, it grinds, it cleans your house, walks your dog, pays your bills, and… it comes in PINK!

No? Oh okay, sorry to bother you.”

Yup, that my “it’s okay to take no for an answer” pitch. I know, pretty impressive right? I’ll be a millionaire in no time!

So, now what?

Butcher? Baker? Candlestick Maker?

Or, maybe… just maybe… with a lot of hard work… a few classes… and I don’t know, a successful blog….

Maybe I’ll be a….


What do you think?

Committing to a new mission, and chasing a new dream,

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Jessica made me do it!

This is a picture of me and my good friend Jessica Kane. We met when our little ones were just a few months old, and became instant friends. This picture was taken at the end of a fun filled, over-the-top night we spent celebrating her 30th birthday. We enjoyed good drinks, good food, luxury accommodations and LOTS of laughs! It was the best possible way, one of my best friends, could celebrate her “Dirty 30”.

Jessica took this picture the next morning at about 8:00 am. Why we were up at 8:00 am after a night of excess and debauchery, which ended only about 4 hours earlier? I have only one explanation. We are moms. A mom’s internal clock is programmed to go off every morning at the same ungodly hour, anticipating that someone, nearby will need a diaper change and sippy cup of milk. Needless to say, there were no such persons on this morning, but sorry ma'am, them’s the rules, we just abide by them.

Anyway, Jessica is an entrepreneurial, design and networking goddess. She is the owner of “Kane Kreative”, an umbrella company for her MANY entrepreneurial endeavors, and she also writes a fun fashion blog entitled “Fatshion Chic”. I love her, and for anyone out there, shaking their head thinking, “Great! Another blog, by another SAHM, who feels compelled to share her mundane and not even remotely original experiences and point of view with the world,” I just want to make one thing clear,


She MADE me start this blog. Yes, I’d be toying with the idea of starting a blog for a long time, but I’d decided against it. It seemed like everyone and their grandma had a blog. I just couldn’t think of any reason why anyone would feel inclined to read my rants and ramblings when there were the rants and ramblings of so many others to already choose from. Did you know there are over one hundred million blogs floating around out there in the blogosphere? I looked it up, and that is not even an exact number. Apparently, the number has become so immense that the powers that be just stopped counting. One hundred million ongoing diatribes, dedicated to every topic under the sun. Crafting, travel, pets, challenges, causes, there is even a blog called “Pointless Blather”. Their tagline, “Because the internet doesn’t yet contain enough pointless blather”, and they’re not being sarcastic. Their blog is indeed completely pointless.

So why add my own blather to further populate an already overpopulated medium? I say again,


She was so insistent. Hounding me whenever we were together. Constantly enquiring as to when I was going to start a blog, if I had started my blog yet, have I published my blog yet, have I decided on a name, content, banner, colour scheme… DUDE WHERE’S THE BLOG!!

And so it was reluctantly that I finally gave in, visited Blogger and registered. Okay, maybe by the time I registered I wasn’t so reluctant. In fact I was becoming really excited about the idea. Actually, I’m not sure why I ever resisted. When I look back at my school days, I LOVED writing stories. I even got published in my high school yearly “Scribbles and Scrolls” literary publication. Also, I once took a career aptitude test, and one of the careers it determined I’d have an aptitude for was as a writer, and we all know tests are NEVER wrong, right?

The reality is I am a storyteller, who comes from a long line of storytellers. My Dad is a great story teller, and his father, my Poppy, was even better. Actually, my father’s whole side of the family LOVES to tell a good story. Presumably they love to hear one too, if everyone would stop talking long enough to listen. What can I say the MacNeils are CHATTY, and that’s putting it mildly.

So, now I have a blog. What I truly believe to be one of the best tools to use for exercising your storytelling muscle. I’m hoping to get mine fit enough for some big projects I have planned for the future.

And I guess the next time Jessica tells me I should do something I should just do it. Although, I’m not sure “Jessica made me do it” will work as an excuse in all situations, so it might be best if I continue to remain cautious. You never know what kinds of high jinks Jessica and I may get up to.

Hoping I won’t ever find myself having to utter, "Jessica made me do it" to an official authority figure,


Thursday, July 22, 2010

Yuck it up!

Well, the suckfest continues as I am still on the hunt for full time employment. I guess I must have really pissed off the Job Gods with my last rant, because I haven’t been contacted to come in for an interview since. The response I got from those of you, who read my little diatribe, was just further confirmation that I’m not the only one who is seriously frustrated. So, to help lift the spirits of every hardworking, desperate, tired of being rejected, JUST HIRE ME PLEASE, job hunter out there, here is a true story that will bring a smile to your face, and hopefully fill you with confidence before your next interview.

About a month ago I was in the middle of a serious mope. It had been a week since I had been last rejected and I was taking it as confirmation of my worst fears. I had zero job skills, was completely devoid of personality and was destined to spend the rest of my days as a Wal-Mart Greeter. Sinking me further into my downward spiral, I was coming down with a cold. My throat was scratchy, and the telltale feelings of pressure building in my sinuses had begun.

I was lying on the couch feeling seriously sorry for myself when the phone rang. It was a firm I had applied to a few days earlier wanting to know if I had time for a quick over-the-phone interview.


Just give me a minute to discretely clear my throat so I don’t sound like a 50 year old smoker, and wipe the fountain of mucus that had recently taken the place of where my nose used to be located.

Dragging my butt off the couch, I turned on the personality, assured her I was not busy at all and proceeded to answer her questions. At the end she asked me if I was available to come in the next day at 4:00 pm for an interview.

Rule #1 in the Job Hunting Handbook: ALWAYS SAY YES!

“Mrs. Allen, would you be available for a skills test tomorrow at noon?”

“Yes, of course!”

“Mrs. Allen, would you mind running through our company maze, so we can judge your problem solving abilities?”

“Oh, how fun! I’d love to!”

“Mrs. Allen, could we please have a sample of your DNA so we can clone you, and get two employees for the price of one?”

“Wow, what a great idea! Here, let me help you with that cotton swab.”

After assuring the woman on the phone that 4:00 pm would not be a problem, and arranging for last minute childcare, I was feeling pretty good. Well, for about a nanosecond. Then the adrenalin high wore off and I started feeling sick again. Actually, I started feeling REALLY sick. My cold symptoms were rapidly mutating into flu like symptoms. I was feeling nauseous, and my head was pounding. My husband sent me to bed.

Every job coach will tell you that it is of the utmost importance to get a good night sleep before a job interview, so that your mind will be sharp and you look your best. Apparently, my body was unaware of this tidbit of wisdom, because I spent the whole night in and out of the bathroom, or lying in bed with a cold washcloth over my eyes willing the medication to banish the splitting pain that had taken up residence behind my eyeballs.

The next day I felt like death warmed over. The headache was gone, but my throat still felt like sandpaper, my nose was stuffed solid and I was bone tired. I steered my body toward the couch, intent on getting a bit of rest before I had to leave for my interview. Well, as much rest as any mother of a toddler can expect.

At about noon I hauled my mouth breathing, hacking, and mucus filled body off the couch to make myself presentable. Heading into the bathroom to tackle the beast who resides on the top of head (also known as my hair) I glanced in the mirror to find my face was COVERED in a red, raised, hive-like rash! While in horror over my face, I turned my head to find the biggest most disgusting zit of my life growing out of the side of my neck. This zit was big! Think bug bites, chicken pox, boils! It looked like it was alive! I mean seriously! Never in my entire semi-charmed life had I been cursed with a zit of this size.

Okay, so now you are probably thinking, “Why didn’t she just call in and reschedule? They would have understood!”

WHAT ARE YOU CRAZY!!! This was a job interview! An event so difficult to obtain an invitation to in this economy that short of Armageddon, you suck it up and go! River of blood, get a boat. The sun is blotted out, get a flashlight. Plagues of pocks and boils, welcome to my world, slap on the cover up and get in the car!

Alright, so off to my interview I go. Three hours of sleep, breathing through my mouth, sounding like a lifelong smoker, a hideous rash all over my face, and a zit on the side of my neck the size of Jupiter. Yes siree, I’m feeling confident and ready to wow them! Or maybe someone could just shoot me and put me out of my misery!

Oh man, I dug deep! I spent the intervals between questions drinking tea, and discreetly coughing and wiping my nose (while trying not to wipe the makeup off that was covering the pestilence on my face). But in the end, the interviewer loved me. Immediately, I was asked to come back Monday to meet with the President and VP of the company.

Yay, a happy ending, right?! The moral of the story, overcome any obstacle and you will be rewarded, right? Well, not really.

For those who’ve read “It’s a great big suckfest”, you know that they ultimately chose another candidate. All that and I received another rejection for my troubles. Perhaps it was because I was feeling better and my face had totally cleared up before I went in for my second interview. I had lost my bad luck mojo. Maybe, I should have rubbed some bacon on my neck, to make sure the second head growing there stuck around? Lesson learned.

Now do you feel better about your last job interview? Feeling confident and strong and ready to go knock it out of the park for your next one? GREAT! I'm glad that nightmare was good for something.

The butt of an ongoing universal joke,

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Would you prefer maggots?

Lately I’ve been trying really hard to hold onto my positivity. I’m a born optimist. I won the Spirit Award at my high school, and was always the member of my team cheering “We can do it!” Lately, though, I feel that little optimist inside me dying. It’s been a slow death, brought on by a rollercoaster of ups and downs that have left Little Miss Optimist reeling and about to wheeze out her final death rattle. In anticipation of her death, like a vulture, my internal pessimist is circling, ready to pick her bones clean, and take her place. Little-Miss-Pessimist is closing in and boy oh boy is she CRANKY!

You know those people on Facebook whose status says things like, “Love my life”, or “So blessed”. They’re so happy, and feel so lucky and thankful that they need to proclaim their gratitude to the world. Well, Little Miss Pessimist HATES them. Seriously, she wants to punch them in the face and then ask, “How much do you love your life now?”

I recently picked up a bit of on-the-side work for my brother –in-law. It requires going through 4 ½ years of paperwork and making note of certain transactional details. He is paying a VERY nice hourly wage, I can work on it from home (thus eliminating the need for child care) and it’s the extra income we need right now.

Hooray, right?!? A reprieve for Little Miss Optimist! Just the booster shot of happiness she needs!

Nope, Little Miss Pessimist is too strong and the details of the job are delicious fuel for the likes of her. The job has got to be the most mind numbingly boring gig I’ve EVER had. I think my eyes might glaze over permanently before I’m done. I already have less than perfect eyesight, and I’m afraid I’m putting my eyes at further risk. Permanent blindness is sure to occur from this project. I’ve worked 14 hours so far and I’m not even a quarter of the way through. Little Miss Optimist says, “Hooray, you’re going to make some great bank from this job!” Little Miss Pessimist says, “I’d rather eat glass! This sucks!”

I KNOW! I KNOW! I seriously need an intervention. Maybe an exorcism could be performed to banish Little Miss Pessimist for good?

While at the park the other day with my little girl, I was chatting with a fellow SAHM, and she told me her indoor cats got outside and ended up bringing fleas into the house, and ever since the battle against the tiny pests started she can’t stop itching. Little Miss Optimist reared up and offered this story as a bright shinny ray of light to shine hope on this poor woman's predicament.

While living in Guam, everyone I knew battled against the same innocuous pest. The common House Fly. Being a tropical island, with temperatures of about 86 degrees daily, with 100% humidity, these little pests THRIVED. My husband would regularly dump bleach and ammonia into our garbage can in order to gas their progeny, and diminish their ever increasing numbers.

They are just flies, right? No big deal. Don’t be so sure.

I heard this horror story of all horror stories from a fellow Military Wife. A couple had bought their dog a giant bone. One of those ones that are HUGE and last forever before the dog can finish chewing it all up. Their dog LOVED his bone. He carried it around the house everywhere with him. Bringing it to his masters to throw, lying contentedly on the living room carpet gnawing on it, and taking it into the bedroom at the end of the day. Little did everyone know there was a stowaway in the dog’s bone. An adult fly had found this bone the perfect warm, safe and cozy place to lay its eggs. As the sweet dog carried his favorite item around the house with him, he was unwittingly spreading the eggs everywhere. They settled into all of the carpets, where they were just as warm and happy as in the bone. Then, as is inevitable with eggs, they hatched.

Every surface where the dog had been was now infested with MAGGOTS!!!

An urban legend? Maybe. Gross? Um, that goes without saying.

After finishing this story my Little Miss Optimist took a nice deep breath and gave Little Miss Pessimist a swift kick in the pants. The story was a reminder that it is important to remember that even if things are bad, they could always be worse.

Because which would you prefer? Fleas or Maggots?

A little ray of sunshine to brighten whatever pile of crap you are currently dealing with,


Thursday, July 1, 2010

It's a great big suckfest!!

So my annoy-o-meter hit 11 today. This is seriously a bad weekend for my neighbors to be randomly setting off explosives. I have to repress my constant urge to run outside, and reenact a classic Looney Toons, episode. You know one of the ones where a character ends up with explosives shooting out of one of their orifices.

Harsh? Yes. Unreasonable? Yup. Am I cranky? HELL YA!!

I just got a rejection call from the SEVENTH Company I’ve interviewed with since March. It is always the same spiel. “We really liked you.” “You interviewed beautifully.” “Your resume and cover letter were fantastic.” “But...” fill in the blank. The reasons are endless, but always seem to come down to the same vaguest of vague response, “You just weren’t the right fit.”

Job hunting has got to be the suckiest of sucky activities EVER!! It’s like a suck sandwich, with a side of suck with extra suck on top. It’s about as much fun as poking myself in the eye with a sharp stick.

I mean, I’m not brain dead. I know there are lots of people looking for work out there. I know that the competition is fierce, and I should just be thankful for every interview I get. I should stop complaining right?

Well, you know what? It’s my blog and I’ll complain if I want to! I need to vent!!!

It is just so frustrating and demoralizing to continually make it to the top few candidates, to not be chosen YET AGAIN!! You can’t help but find yourself asking, WHAT AM I LACKING?!?!? What is it about me that I’m repeatedly “not the right fit?”


The whole process is just EXHAUSTING! From searching, to applying, to interviewing, to waiting to hear back, to the rejection, to starting all over again!

Perhaps, the most trying part of it all for me is the numerous platitudes I receive after my rejection. Inevitably the news of my interview comes up in conversation with someone, or I post something about it on my Facebook status, so then enquiring minds want to know, “How’d it go?”, “Have you heard back yet?”, “Did you get the job?”. This leads to the supportive words of encouragement after word of my rejection, gets out.

“Their loss, there is something better out there for you!”

“The perfect job for you is just around the corner!”

“Don’t give up; I know you’ll find something perfect!”

UGH!!! I know! I’m a bitch! But honestly, at this point when I hear these words of encouragement I just want to tell everyone to SHUT UP!!! I’m tired of hearing it! I know they are being supportive, and I should feel so lucky to have such caring people in my life (and I do), but after SEVEN times, I’m getting tired of hearing it. I JUST WANT A JOB!!!

This amazingly perfect job that is just around the corner, the one I’m supposed to believe Fate wants me to have, the reason I’ve been rejected SEVEN times. IT MUST BE PHENOMENAL!!!!! What is it? A million dollars a month to buy shoes?

Here’s hoping!