Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Job Situation and Nearly almost 40.

So here's the thing...

My 36th birthday is coming up. I have a Master's Degree in Marketing and a Bachelor's Degree in Theatre. I made a pretty good run of having an acting career, and that was fun. I have no regrets in that area. Now I am dabbling in freelance Marketing here and there doing some editing for a friend and creating a consumer pipeline for another friend. A few things here and there.

The problem is not my ability, the problem is my day job.  If I had sat down and written down the worst possible job for me to have it would be the job that I have. I feel as if I've being punished by a Bond Villian. I work in customer care... taking  incoming phone calls.... and resolving customer complaints... for an Insurance Company!!!! This is wrong on so many levels. For one, I am a supporter of Universal Medicine. That can be discussed later and is not the purpose of this particular blog post. I merely bring it up to illustrate that my own personal dogma disallows me to be compatible with my job at which I spend 40 hours a week. I literally have to tell people stuff that goes against the core of my beliefs. For two, the job consists of having to deal with being yelled at a lot. People are upset when their medical treatments are not covered. Go figure. And since I'm the figure-head of what they believe to be the decision making entity, I'm the one who gets yelled at... cursed at... pleaded with... bargained with... cried at. Mind you, I have no actual power over anything. All I can do is read them their benefits and explain the existing claims. Some studies have shown that when a house plant is regularly yelled at it does not grow as well as one that receives positive verbal communication. What then does this kind of regular negative input do to complex thinking mammals?

In the mean time I am most certainly looking for another job, either by moving up or moving out. Every position that comes open within the company that I even remotely qualify for I have applied for. Plus, I peruse Careerbuilder, LinkedIn,, even Craigslist with a scientific regularity. As said earlier, I have consistently sought out freelance opportunities and continue to do so.

During this whole quest thingy, I have slowly come to the conclusion that among my talents and wishes is the need to write. Before I had this job I regularly attended a super awesome creative writers group, which helped to encourage me to seek feedback and continue to create. I had a pretty good roster of short stories building up... until my computer's hard drive crashed and wiped everything out. (And yes, several people have looked at it. There is no way to get the data back.) That really threw me for a loop, so combined with the new job I just haven't written anything significant since then.

But the thing is... That's what I'm good at!

Creative, scholarly, marketing research, PR pieces, petitions, letters to the editor... etcetera, etcetera... If something needs to be written I can normally do a pretty good job. When I was in highschool I was the student whose paper got read to the class. When I was in college, I soared through the assignments that involved extensive writing. As an adult making my way through the world I have been teased for using big words (my original draft said 'using verbose language'). My response to this has been that I do not have a list of what words other people don't know. And to kindly advise them to learn to read a dictionary.

My point is not to brag about what a great writer I am. My point I guess is that I know what I am supposed to do. I even know how to do it. On top of that I have some pretty good credentials to support my abilities. The problem again is my day job.

Sure I can do my best to work around it. But at the end of the day, after being yelled at by strangers, wrestling with two small children, and trying to job search online once the kids are down, I am physically and emotionally exhausted. I have nothing left... I have applied for jobs with and sought out similar jobs. Problem is they all require exisiting writing samples, and like I said my hard drive crashed, so no current samples.

In the mean time, I just keep going. Maybe eeking out a blog post once every six months... if that. So if anyone needs anything written, researched or edited, and you are willing to pay me, let me know.

Because I would like to quit my day job and get started at my career. 

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Lisa vs. Edward

Remember when Twilight first came out? Everyone was all in a tizzy about the brooding predator-like vampire, Edward Cullen making quick work of the vestal delicate human, Bella Swan. His very existence as a vampire identified him to some as being evil, even though his clan chose to defy their very nature and avoid feeding on humans. The right leaning journalists compared the vampire bite, which would transform Bella from a fresh faced teenager into another predatorial vampire, to teen sex. It was obvious that those who believed this had never actually read the story, because the whole by line of the series related to purity, self control, and fidelity. It was quite the scandal.

Jump ahead to now. There exists a television show in which a race of lizardlike aliens is plotting an invasion upon Earth for the purpose of breeding a hybrid race, one of the main characters enacting this plot are Lisa, the daughter of the Alien Queen who is evolving into her "breeding skin" and gets a series of young men paraded before her for her to seduce, and Tyler, the teenage son of the resistance leader against the aliens. The show is rife with scenes in which Lisa's mother sternly commands her to "entertain" another young man when Tyler's phosphorus levels turn out to be too low for alien/ human compatibility.

What I don't understand is... where's all the fuss? I mean the show features two teenagers in which one is actively seducing the other for the purpose of impregnating herself. Not metaphorically, not symbolically, LITERALLY! Could it be that Lisa is a willowy blond with batting Anime Eyes and a whispery voice, but Edward Cullen is sports a furrowed brow, perma-scowl and can bend a car with his bare hands? Edward is an obvious threat, whereas Lisa is not. Are we really still so hung up on gender that we pigeon hole women into the victim role even when they are clearly the antagonists?

Earlier today the fam and I were out in the car and  we saw a bit of an altercation taking place along side of the rode. A young twenty something couple were having a shouting match. The guy was walking briskly away with his head tucked down and cell phone to his ear. The girl was shouting after him, red faced and pointing. He continued to walk away. She reached down to the gutter next to the sidewalk, picked up a rock and flung it at him. Hubby and I exchanged the notion that if the roles had been reversed everyone within view would have called 911.

For whatever reason, women are still seen as victims regardless of the circumstances. I'm not promoting the notion that women CAN"T be on the receiving end of unfortunate treatment. But the idea that women can't be the aggressors and aren't capable of wrong doing plays into a very dangerous stereotype. Truth is people of any gender are capable of both good and bad. Vampires can choose not to feed on humans, and an Alien Princesses can fall in love with a human.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Church Hopping.

I've been debating on opening this can of worms. There has been rife debate within my birth family regarding churches, denominations, history, communion and what not. To put it mildly, nearly everyone has come to a different place one way or another. I am not here to speak on them, rather about myself in this regard. I have not officially been part of a church family pretty much since college, so over ten years now. My mother calls it "believing without belonging". (Hi Mom!).

Since my children have been born, DH and I have been actively seeking to find a church home, for their sakes. We both agree that we want them to grow up educated and exposed to a Christian influence. Thus have I begun my career as an official church hopper. I started out attending a few Sundays at the First Presb. downtown. Then I attended with the invite of a friend First Alliance for a bit. Then I dipped my toe into the Unitarian Universalist church down the street. And I also couldn't pass up the charming Quaker church down the way either. I have also made stops at Quest and Southland. and  Needless to say, I'm a bit all over the board. Each one has something very true and real about it, but at the same time each and every one has something that makes me go "AUUUUGH!!!". I am beginning to wonder if there exists a church in which I can be comfortable and not just put up with it for the sake of the kids.

Let me take a moment to clarify. I firmly believe that there is nothing wrong with my faith. I believe in the divinity of Christ, the crucifixion, resurrection and eventual return of Jesus.

There. Now that that is cleared up, I'd like to point out a few things that have bothered me. Everywhere I have gone I have directly or indirectly heard someone say something derogatory about another denomination. I shall avoid specifics, but some have even spoken these comments directly to me, not knowing anything about my history or inclination. This alone puts me on the defensive. How can a person feel welcomed as a visitor when negative things are being said about "those other guys"? Isn't that the whole point of church, to reflect the teachings of Christ through our words and actions to everyone? It seems like there is a very muddy perception of who is part of the Church and who isn't. A persons spiritual journey is a private personal thing which should only be shared at the discretion of that person, and should not be judged by another because of preconceived notions.

I guess it's confusing to me for a person to say "This is what's right, your way is wrong," It would seem that for something so integral as a persons spiritual journey perhaps one should say "This is what's right for me. I'd be happy to talk about it with you if you are interested," Otherwise, hush. And outside of my own baggage, the idea that it is acceptable to openly mock those of another denomenation during a church gathering is truly bizzarre.

And the weird thing is it keeps happening. Everywhere I have gone this has happened. I am a little aghast when it occurs and I'm not quite sure how to respond when it does.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Open letter to the rude lady at the Co-op.

To the owners of Good Foods Co-op and Café,

Today I met a friend for lunch at the Good Foods Co-op Café. She brought her young daughter and I had my 3 year old and 1 year old children with me as well. We enjoyed our lunch, bemoaning about how difficult it was to try to do anything in public with our small children. When we got up to leave things turned hectic. My friend had to run with her daughter to the restroom to avoid a mishap, and I had to wrestle my little boy into the stroller while my daughter had escaped and was running out the side door to the café. My priority at that point was to get the kids into the stroller and out the door to prevent a further scene. As we headed out, my friend and I met back up to say good bye and go our separate ways. A lady approached us and in a very confrontational tone she told us that we had forgotten to bus our table, which was policy. My friend pointed out that we had our hands full and asked if she worked there. The lady stated that she did not but that she was an owner. She had no knowledge of our owner status. At this point a manager approached us asking if there was a problem and attempted to diffuse the situation. She apologized for the woman’s actions. Oddly, the woman quickly disappeared.

It is unfortunate that this incident occurred. Whenever I go in public with my children I am constantly reminded that our mere presence is a hindrance to others. Children are usually loud, sometimes hard to handle and most of the time require a lot of attention. Yes, we did leave the table as it was, and for that I did apologize to the manager. But I was faced with the choice of letting everyone around us be witness to a set of tantrums from both my children, one of whom had just run out the door and towards the parking lot. My choices were this: Do I let my three year old run into traffic while I take the time to clean the table? Do I leave my screaming one year old unattended while I take the garbage to the trash can some ways away? Should my friend have let her potty training daughter wet herself while she tended to cleaning the table? These were the choices we were faced with and we chose to gather up our children and head out the door.

It is a shame that we live in a society where young parents are unable to enjoy a lunch outing without feeling the scrutiny of others. Parenting is hard, harder than most jobs and most of the time thankless to many degrees. This woman who confronted us did so as an owner of the co-op. This makes me sad, not only for the reasons stated above but also because I believe in the co-op and have been a faithful patron for some time. My husband and I strive to teach our children sustainability and a connectedness with the world. Good Foods has been a business which we can respect and patronize often, but any business is comprised of its people and can only be as strong as is given with the quality of its people.

If this woman stands alone in shaming us for our decision to tend to our children’s needs rather than cleaning off a table then the other owners of the co-op need to be aware of her actions. I also feel it is important to point out that having a Master’s degree in Marketing has not only made me a much more conscientious consumer, but has taught me that the most powerful form of advertising is word of mouth. Plus, a negative experience with a business is talked about ten times more often then a positive experience. The owners need to keep each other accountable in regards to how customers are treated at this place of business.

Thank you for taking the time to address this concern. I may or may not return as a customer, but I will certainly be quite vocal regarding this incident.


Rebecca G. Westerman

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Natural beauty.

Excellent essay on the state of things here. I have always wondered about this myself.

I've got them!!

I now have all four books in the Twilight Saga, so once I'm done with my school I can start analyzing the text. Yippee!!

Monday, March 22, 2010

This IS America!

I have made no secret that I am in favor of Universal Healthcare. I have no fear that the country is going to slide into Socialism, or that Obama is going to take away our guns or anything like that. What I do know is that we VOTED these people into office. This is a democracy. We the people... VOTED for our congressmen, and our senators, and our President. He ran his campaign speaking healthcare reform and he was VOTED into office by a huge margin. And the congressmen who VOTED on this bill are the same people that we lowly citizens VOTED into office. And the same congressmen who represent us, we the people... So if the country is indeed headed to Helena, Handbasket then... guess what! We VOTED for us to go there.... We the people, the majority, the democratic majority.

And this member of the majority is quite frankly, thrilled that the bill went through. I can rest a little easier knowing that my daughter will not be denied coverage for her preexisting condition. Now the insurance companies will have to find some other reason to try and deny her coverage. A good deal of the opposition is saying that our taxes are going to go up.

Again with the money.... WHO CARES ABOUT MONEY!!! I guess I can say that since I don't really have any. But ultimately is it right for me to look at my daughter and say "The country you live in does not think your life is worth saving because it would cost too much," To me that is what is being said. Who cares if someone is dying or suffering, as long as our taxes aren't too high. The cheeseburger brigade can gather their torches and pitchforks and rally all they want, because it seems wildly obvious that the majority VOTE has chosen this path for the country. I know my VOTE did. So let's strap up the caravan, do another potty run before we hit the road, polish off our sign reading "Helena, Handbasket or Bust" and let's go. Because at long last, some of us might remain healthy enough to get there.