Saturday, April 30, 2011

Nerves/Nose -- Who Cares?

My kid is infuriating a lot of the time, but she makes up for it in cuteness and smarts. This morning she wanted something that I wouldn't give her (I can't even remember what it is right now, as she is always demanding something). I told her that she needed to wait and this immediately set off a set of hysterics and fake wailing that generally sets my teeth on edge. She will hurl herself on to the ground and wail if I say as much as, "No. Just wait a minute. I'll give you your toothbrush when I'm done wiping my ass." She wants what she wants NOW. I scooped her up into my arms, and she immediately shut up.

"Kid, you are getting on my last nerve," I said.

She then took her pudgy little finger and pressed my nose.

"Nerve, not nose."

She pressed it again, and I started to laugh.

"Neeerrrrve."

She pushed her head up to mind and rubbed her nose against mine.

"Mama. Nooose."

It is very, very hard to stay irritated.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Bored, Not Boring?

So more on the work stuff. Or enough that I feel comfortable sharing. My annual review this year was shitty. Or that's not true -- the review was fine, but the related compensation was not. I got zero, nada, zip -- a 0% raise. And that's something I could probably swallow if the company was doing shitty or there was something in my performance review that indicated I was worthy of NOTHING, but neither of those things were there.

Words used to describe me (directly from my review AND my clients):
* Highly competent
* Efficient
* Pleasure to work with
* Backbone of the team
* Workhorse
* Master tactician and project manager
* Results driven
* Goes above and beyond to support what needs to be done
* Independent, needs minimal supervision
* Honest
* Loyal
* Committed.

Um, so what's the fucking problem? That all sounds pretty good, right? Someone you would want to work for you?

Well, I'm boring. I'm not passionate. I don't think 'outside the box.' [Feel free to fucking gag right there]. I have not convinced people that I really want to be at work. I'm not thinking as strategically as I can.

To be fair, I disagree with NONE of that, but my problem is that I cannot fake passion. I cannot fake that tech keeps me up at night because it doesn't. It's my job. I go in and I do it well. I go above and beyond, and I get shit done. That's always been enough, but now it isn't. The message I'm getting is that I should go in, bust ass, do the best I can, but if I can't muster enough PASSION for it, then there's really no reward.

So yeah, I am having a bit of an identity crisis. I'm trying to wrap my head around the fact that I am BORING. YG says that I shouldn't think this way -- that I am "bored" and not boring, that any company would be lucky to have me and once I can match the passion with all the bullets listed above -- well then, there's no stopping me. I really WANT to believe him. I want that to be true, but I'm having trouble accepting it. I feel like this is another example of me striving to do the right thing (whatever that thing is) and then getting slapped in the face because really, nobody cares that you're honest and loyal and committed. They want something else.

This is my pattern, of course. I've always wanted to be the good worker bee and the good student and reliable person to have around. I checklisted my life and did all the items on the list: decent college, job, grad school, house, marriage, etc and then ended up miserable. Five years ago, I made the conscious choice to do something for myself by moving here -- something that wasn't on the list -- and it was fantastic. But I somehow got stuck in the same pattern with work, and I can't get out. I justified it by saying that at least I was getting rewarded for being my good old reliable self. But now I'm not getting rewarded. The message I took is that I am worth nothing, and fuck, man, that does NOT sit well.

I mentioned that YG and I have a plan -- that we're saving money so that I will hopefully have some time to figure out what I want to do next, what companies I would like to work for, what career path I might like to take, etc. And I do take comfort in the fact that we have a plan, but I can't let go of that nothing feeling. Some days are better than others. Other days are bad. And when I think about my other career -- my writing career -- I totally freak because how many writers do you know that have been described as 'lacking passion' and 'boring' and 'reliable'? Yeah, that's what I thought.

I just want to be useful.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Recently Read: Farewell Jessica Darling

In between my last couple of books, I managed to finish the Jessica Darling books with Fourth Comings and Perfect Fifths. I am alternatively thrilled to know what happened and very sad to see them go. While I was trying to find links to the books, I thumbed through some of the reviews and I'm dumbfounded that the vast majority of people didn't like either of them, and thought the first three were better. I found the last two the easiest to relate to, but perhaps that is because I am so old and high school and 'coming of age' are in the VERY distant past.

In the fourth book, Jessica has just graduated from college and is mulling a marriage proposal from Marcus. The book spans the week while she's thinking it over and is written in journal form. What else? She lives in a shitty apartment in Brooklyn. She doesn't know what to do with her degree. She's trying to understand her parents and is realizing that their relationship is less than ideal. She's desperately trying to hold on to her friendship with her best friend, even though work, among other things, is driving them in different directions. She's in love, but Marcus' quirky characteristics that were once endearing are now a little embarrassing to her. What's NOT to relate to in here? Really. A lot of reviewers found the ending unsettling, but I thought it was appropriate. To accept a marriage proposal at 22 would be pandering to the reader who wants a happy ending. The realistic ending make me sad, but only because I knew that a fifth book was next.

In the fourth book, Jessica is a few years old (still way younger than me) and literally runs into Marcus in the airport after not seeing him for years. The book spans the day that they reconnect. Okay, some of the haiku crap irritated me, but I LOVED that this book was almost entirely dialogue. A lot of other reviewers dinged it for that, saying that it was trying too hard to be witty, but that's them -- their relationship -- trying to outdo each other. I liked the way the backstories were encapsulated and the feeling of character growth. I abandoned all my "don't pander to the reader" bullshit that I wanted in the paragraph above. I wanted the big wedding scene and all the other characters' reactions, but in a way it was fitting to bring it back to the two heros.

It's hard to explain why I liked these books so much. They read more like YA fiction than books for adults, but I liked watching the character develop over the span of almost a decade. And of course, I related. Dry, wishes-she-was-wittier girl from suburban New Jersey wants to be a writer, wants to get the guy, wants to not be a huge dork, and makes enormous mistakes along the way. I'd love to see what happens to Jessica as she gets older. How did Megan McCafferty envision her? I want her to be happy and I want her to have figured some things out, if only for my own instructional purposes.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Jesus has Risen! So has my Blog!

Happy Easter all. We had our Easter egg hunt and baskets this morning, followed by church and a few hours in the pool. Now its early dinner and hopefully sunset on the Gulf.

I know that posting has been light these past few days, but still I did it. Bloggin for Jesus over 40 days and 40 nights. I have not had a laptop and only sketchy wireless access since we've been here, so hopefully the judgers of random Lenten promises will cut me slack. It's been interesting in that sometimes I had nothing to say and other times, things just came to me. A useful writing exercise. Now on to my next project. Any suggestions?