Friday, April 30, 2010

The downside

I'm starting to feel the sad side of all this good news.

Yesterday I met three old work friends for a going away happy hour. There was a lot of laughter and a lot of fried food.

After I parted ways from those three wonderful women I walked over to G and L's house. That's them, above, at our wedding. (G is the teeny one in the middle, L is on the far right.) G lived two doors down from me our freshman year of college and we lived together for two years after that (including a semester where G and I shared an actual room and L lived in the same suite with us).

G is getting married in August and I went to her house last night to help her try on her wedding sari and figure out how to get it altered. Later we met L at a restaurant not far away for snacks and cheap wine (I swear, I do not have drinking problem). Among other things, we determined that all three of us should go to the alternation appointment: L is the seamstress and she will know if the woman is any good but she is too passive to say anything, as is G. I'm the bossy one so my job is to interpret their looks and make sure the woman listens to G.

That conversation, and the evening in general, made me realize how much I will miss these two women. Except for the time that I was in Senegal I have spent the last nine years living within walking distance of them, and I hadn't thought about what it will mean to lose that.

I don't really want to think about it now, either.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

In Which I Kick Ass and Take Names

I totally fucking rocked resolution number 8 with this new job.

Okay, when I say "totally fucking rocked" what I actually mean is "got ever so slightly over the target." But I am still really, really proud of myself. Not necessarily because of the money (although it is going to feel really good to make a comfortable wage), but because I made my goal by negotiating an 10% increase in salary, and I did it with class.

Okay, when I say "did it with class" what I actually mean is "freaked out for two days straight."

It was actually really hard, and there were several times when I got really down on myself. See, I was excited to negotiate, and I had a whole plan. I was pretty sure I was going to get an offer because I kicked serious bootay during my phone interview and they called my references an hour after talking to me. I thought I was going to be negotiating with the HR woman, and I figured I would see what they offered and then ask if I could have some time to think and respond.

But then, what actually happened is the director of the program called me to offer the job while I was cleaning my own vomit off of my car's upholstery.* As I wandered around in my parking lot, writing on the back of our road atlas, he offered me something less than I was expecting (although it was still decent). And when I asked "Is that negotiable." He said "Well let's talk about it...right now." And I wasn't prepared. I mean, I knew what I wanted, but I should have taken a deep breath and asked for some time. Instead I stuttered out a few sentences about why I thought I deserved more and stated a counter number that was little over my goal. (D$ pointed out later that it was about a 10% increase, but that, uh...wasn't something I was aware of at the time). Mr. Director came back with a number that was $200 below what I had asked for (because of the way that government jobs work you have to move up in "steps" and he moved me up two steps). He said he would have to check with HR about some things,** but asked if he could get me that number "Would that be okay?" And I said, "Yea, that would be great."

We hung up and I immediately started to doubt myself. Was that too easy? Had I sold myself short? Had they low-balled me? I spent the two days until he got back to me googling salaries for similar jobs and going back and forth between chastising myself and feeling good about things. D$ tried to tell me that I had done well, but I was having a hard time accepting it.

The day that Mr. Director was due to call me back I frantically g-chatted my friend A who works in finance, telling her the numbers we had negotiated and asking if I had for too little. Her response boils down to, "WTF are you mental, you did great!" She reminded me that a 10% increase when unemployment is at 10% is sort of amazing. And that the government doesn't usually even negotiate salaries. And that he had moved me up TWO PAY STEPS.

Later, the Mr. Director called me back and offered me exactly what we had talked about and I joyfully accepted. That night as we walked to meet friends to celebrate*** A called, saying she had made some calculations and figured out that I just made myself $200,000 over the course of my career.

Negotiating the salary was stressful and really emotional, but it was worth it. Both for my increased earnings ability and for the pride and confidence that I feel about having gotten what I wanted simply by being assertive enough to ask for it.

Eff. Yes.

*What? That isn't normal?
**This part is actually cool. What he wanted to check on was this other person they hired previously whose salary is lower than what I was asking for. He didn't want to give me more and have that guy be underpaid in comparison so he had to see "what he could do" for that guy. I think it is a good sign that he was concerned with equity and with this employee's well-being. Also that guy had better be nice to me when I get there.
***Cue massive hangover

Sunday, April 25, 2010

MWK Returns to the Rose City

Image from here

On Thursday I accepted a job offer in my home state of Oregon. This means that finally, after nine years of living elsewhere, I will be returning to live full time in my hometown of Portland, OR.*

Now, I know what you are thinking: "There is no way that MWK is hip enough to be from Portland! She has got to be kidding us with this crap."

And it is true: I do not wear overly large glasses and I don't know how to sew, or cook, or longboard, or take nice pictures, and I have never, ever sung in a band. I am also deathly afraid of riding my bike even though my brother is a bicycle mechanic in San Francisco and is completely ashamed of me for this fact. When I do ride a bike, I for damn sure wear a helmet. A really lame one that I got for cheap from school, that is in no way decorated or embellished to be more interesting.

But I do own more fleece jackets than pairs of skinny jeans, and my closet contains ten-year old Birkenstocks. I rarely use an umbrella, I don't think it is weird that in Oregon it is illegal to pump your own gas, and I can tell you the locations of several natural food stores, micro-breweries, and Farmer's Markets. And of course you have already been witness to my insane Portland Trailblazer fandom, although I was hiding the team name from you. (I will fight you if you try to tell me that Clyde Drexler is not as awesome as Michael Jordan.)

So yea, I am an Oregonian. And a Portlander at that. And Portland, oh my Portland, I am coming home to you at last.

Hot Damn I am so excited.

*Oh, yea. D$ is coming, too!

Friday, April 23, 2010

I am sitting on my couch nursing my second terrible hang-over of the week. Big life changes + my basketball team in the playoffs = lots of bad alcohol- consumption decisions. So instead of working on my Master's paper I am wrapped in a blanket fantasizing about Diet Cherry Coke and warehouses full of Gatorade.

If anyone has a soda-delivery business, now would be the time to tell me about it. D$ had to go in to work and if I'm lucky he'll bring some sort of refreshing carbonated beverage home (thank god he just got saddlebags for the motorcycle).

I have lots to talk about but right now I am still squeezing the beer out of my brain-cockles. For now, check out these two things that made my morning slightly-less excruciating (when I could lift my head to look at them, that is).

This pretty much summed up my internet insecurities in a nutshell (right down to the SVU reruns).

Rich always knows how to please me with the ridiculous pop-culture mash-ups. This video of people doing things wrong on infomercials is no exception.

Note: in my preview the font appears to be a different color than normal...but I have no idea why and can NOT handle trying to figure that out right now. Maybe it is the laptop I am working on? I'm not sure if I ever posted from here. Welp, we'll see if it looks normal when I push "Publish Post." It will be a fun and useless surprise, like finding a Canadian dollar.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Pins and Needles

Big things are happening around here, people.

Some of these things are stupid and involve vomit in cars.

Some of these things are huge and exciting and terrifying. And involve job offers in hometowns and salary negotiations (whee!) and the potential of renting large trucks to move one's belongings across state lines.

Big things. Big things that have my gut in a teeny twisty ball and a smile of excitement/terror on my face. Neither D or I have slept for the past two days (I woke up shouting at him in the middle of the night last night and don't remember why and he wasn't even mad. Because he hadn't been asleep.)

I want to share these things with you, have been thinking about what I can say. The whole point of this blog is to help me work through the transitions of this year, I know.

But I can't isolate my feelings just yet because I have about ten thousand going at once and am too jittery to put together a coherent thought.

Suffice it to say that I'm thinking about you and I will tell all soon enough.

Stay tuned for the big reveal!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Convos at our house: G-Chat Edition 2.0

D$ (apropos of nothing):I just built a radio using shit that was laying around.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Paper editing: an epilogue

Some advice:

If you just went through a grueling morning of getting your paper torn apart, it is best not to go home and have your husband edit your cover letter. Because that will make you want to rip his face off.

That is all.


I am writing a paper for an advocacy group in Washington, D.C. as a part of my job as a research assistant for them. It is a research and opinion piece on a fairly hot current issue, and they are going to eventually publish it as their document.

This is very exciting, yes.

But turning in a draft that you slaved over and then having an hour-long phone conversation about all of the changes that need to be made is NOT exciting. Unless you think excessive armpit sweat, butterflies, and nausea are exciting.

It is so, so hard not to take this stuff personally. Especially when you have NEVER met the person making the changes and you are pretty sure the tone of her voice is expressing thinly veiled disappointment and/or the opinion that you are a terrible writer who may or may not be dumb as a box of rocks.

I shouldn't be surprised, really. I haven't had to undergo this level of scrutiny before. I've always been good at research and writing, so of course it is a blow to my pride and sense of self to be told, "Redo this, this, and this."

Deep breath. Editing is a part of writing. This is not about me. Learning to take criticism about what you hold dear is a good learning experience. Handling criticism professionally is going to take you far in this world. This is not about me.

Ugh. Excuse me while I finish trying not to cry, being angry at myself for wanting to cry, and then preparing for a big meeting for my other research job this afternoon. Hopefully my bangin' professional outfit will keep me together through this one.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

I would like to make this very clear

To my friends who do not read this blog (because you don't know about it),

I would like to make something clear to you. I am a very busy person right now. Weekends are the busiest. On any given weekend I have to do homework, clean my apartment, go grocery shopping, handle piles of laundry, and apply for several jobs. Despite this, I will gladly carve out time to see you.

However, can we be straight about some things?

1) Please respect my time. If we make an agreement to meet at 1, don't text me at 11:30 and say "Actually I wanted to go to a class at the YWCA at 12:30 so I won't be ready until 2:15." Particularly don't do this when we were planning on doing something at 3:00 that we will no longer be able to do because of your gym class.

If we make plans to hang out on a Saturday night, do not say you will call me around dinner time with more details and then not call until 10:30 p.m. I am waiting around for you instead of doing homework or something productive, and it makes me mad. This brings me to...

2) I do not go to fancy clubs downtown. I do not pay an $8 cover just so I can drink $10 drinks and try to avoid grinding with a man in an Ed Hardy t-shirt. This is not because I am married and have suddenly become boring. I never did that. So when you call me and say "let's hang out" and then make it clear that you already have plans to go downtown to clubs and expect me to come along, I am sorta bummed out. When and if I come along (like tonight, whenever the hell you get ready go GO), it is because I feel bad that I never go out with you, even though the reason I never go out with you is because I hate where you go out and I honestly can't afford it.

I do not like telling you that I am poor and need to go to bed early so I can get up and be productive. I do not like being a stick in the mud. So I will go out with you to fancy clubs if that is what you want. But for the love of God be on time. And come to a fucking dive bar every once in a while.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Prettiness Interlude

While I'm waiting to get photos of Team Ladyparts' domination in the bowling lanes, I thought I'd share a little loveliness that I've been jonesing after. My sister's birthday is next week and I of course turned to Etsy for some help. The earrings on top are her present, Pacific Coast Sparrow earrings from LuxeDeluxe. They are actually from both D$ and I and he helped pick them. I showed him an array of earring choices and he said "Those are really cool. Yea - Those are really really cool! Get those!" This cute-ass button necklace was my second choice since my sister loves to sew and has her own Etsy shop making awesome aprons.

The second photo is something I found today - when I typed Etsy into my browser and hit enter it took me straight to EtsyWeddings, making me realize that I'd been neglected that fabulous site. Thank goodness for computers that remember where you've been.

These necklaces were featured on that site and JesusMaryandJosephIwantthemsobad. Unfortunately I don't have 40 extra dollars or a friend with a birthday coming up.

More things to lust after. You're welcome.