Thursday, May 28, 2009 1 comments

Will Date for Food

A few months ago a story broke from my home state of Washington about a man who took his nine year old with him to a mini mart where he proceeded to rob it at gunpoint - claiming he had lost his job and needed financial help to raise the daughter, Meadow.

I've been thinking about that story quite a bit recently, and wondering how many of the unemployed people in this economy find themselves desperately considering less-than-legal-or-ethical means of making the almighty dollar. 

The question is no longer "How Low Can You Go?" but rather, "How Low WILL You Go?"

I wonder when I myself will consider sex, drugs and rock 'n roll as legitimate forms of income. Don't misunderstand me - it's not as if I'm getting offers to star in porn or swallow bags of heroin and run across the border on a daily basis. And even if I did find myself in possession of one or two extra bottles of Vicodin or Percoset - I don't have the foggiest idea of how to move it - What do you do? Sell that stuff on Craigslist? Good Grief.

Clearly, hard core criminality is not for me. So what else is there? Stripping? I'm sure The Dream Palace is always hiring, and even if I don't make much money, writing about the shady world of strip clubs worked like a charm for Diablo Cody with Candy Girl - and look where the writer of Juno is now! Somehow though, I don't think the book buying public needs TWO memoirs of a middle class stripper.

As freshmen at Arizona State University, my college roommate and I used to play a game called "Who can see the most movies for free?" Although the game was mostly a joke, it's true that shortly after orientation we had been introduced to the value (financial or otherwise) of casual dating - and an addiction was born.  With both of us having been firmly attached to specific sweethearts throughout high school, college offered us the opportunity to get to know some wonderful and some not-so-wonderful men, and revel in the movies, dinners, drinks and weekend trips that every savvy girl experiences on the dating scene.  Ah the good ole days when I was just expected to show up, look cute, make good conversation and say thank you.  

Wait just a minute! I'm still perfectly capable of those things! In fact, now that I've perfected fashionably late - casual dating should be even better!  So long feminist ideals and Hello Sugar Daddies! Anyone up for the job? I promise to be charming and fabulous so long as you give me enough time for me to volunteer, and have no problem investing in the multiple business start ups I am currently working on.

While I wait for Mr. Eligible Wealthy Bachelor to come along, I must do something, for a girl cannot live on blogging alone.  What will it be - Burger King? Nah, too greasy. Landscaping? No way - too sweaty and upper body strength is not exactly my calling card. Professional poker playing takes up too many nights, and gas station attendant puts me too close for comfort with potential gun-wielding Fathers Of The Year. Alright, so slinging coffee at Starbucks it is.  Who knows? Maybe I'll meet my future employer in the drive thru? One can only hope.
Tuesday, May 19, 2009 1 comments

If you want to get Bit in the Arse, go into Business with your Friends

Last week, President Obama graced Arizona with his presence at ASU's commencement ceremony.  With around 60,000 of my closest friends, I made the trek from the 'burbs  by way of the new light rail and a whole lot of walking in the blistering hot sun. Like the others, I was excited to hear what the President would have to say to my beloved Alma Mater who stiffed him an honorary degree and whose class of 2009 is facing the toughest job market in memory. His speech writers didn't disappoint. He was funny and poignant, irreverent and inspiring.  He challenged the graduates to seek after different riches than those that contributed to the collapse of Wall Street. He urged them to take different risks - ones that would ultimately make the world better - and he acknowledged that they might fail, and fail again; but to take heart because their body of work is yet to be finished...

...And thank God for that! On Saturday, I was fired for the second time in a month. I wish I was kidding.  I really do.  Here's the story: In light of my joblessness, mortgage, and the fact that I allow my nearest and dearest to hang out pool side whenever they feel like it, a friend who owns his own business offered me the opportunity to do a little online SEO work for some extra cash. Gladly, I accepted and managed to impress in a relatively short amount of time.  A few weeks into our arrangement, I made an unrelated joke about this person that after making it's way through the gossip tree that our friends operate not unlike the childhood game of Telephone - I was informed that my "services would no longer be needed."  All I could think was, ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! 

Awesome. The Universe - 2, Me - 0. 

I would love to expound on how completely silly and petty and pathetic this situation is and how my joke was not in QUITE the bad taste it was made out to be, but I'm still experiencing enough shock and disbelief that I don't even have the energy for it. "With friends like these, who needs..." you know the rest. 

In all seriousness, I recognize that there are lessons to be learned here as well - don't joke about your boss, don't joke about your boss to the Town Crier, if you do joke about your boss, address the situation with him right away, etc.  But not the least of these lessons is this: Do Not Go Into Business With Your Friends. That is a hard one for me - as some of the most intelligent, creative and talented people I know are my friends.  Money may not actually be the root of all evil, but when one friend has it to lord over another, bad things are bound to happen.  In spite of the fact that I am down another paycheck, thoroughly saddened that I hurt my friend, and - yet again - am sufficiently humbled, I am actually a bit glad that this happened at this exact time (okay, I know that you know I'm lying through my teeth - but I'm trying to see the silver lining here people!) because as I flesh out the new business ideas I have floating through my head, it is very tempting to call upon my friends to be part of them.  

Maybe this is one of the risks President Obama was speaking of when he addressed Sun Devil Stadium last week, or maybe it wasn't. Either way, I plan to tuck this little gem away and remember my ill-fated and short lived career working for a friend, and stay determined to make the hard choices next time.  The businesses and nonprofit organizations I plan to launch as part of my body of work may force me to work harder and longer without the help of my besties, but maybe they will also force me to tap into the wealth of knowledge being held by strangers and neighbors who are looking to find their dreams in the Arizona desert as well.  Only time will tell.
Friday, May 15, 2009 2 comments

Personality Tests May Not Be A Load of Crap After All

A few evenings ago, I had dinner at My Florist Cafe with an old friend and mentor who I know from my days with American Humanics in Kansas City. Over deliciously pretentious salads served by hot male waiters sporting more hair gel than either of us, she proceeded to see through every excuse, flippant comment and joke I put out there about why I haven't yet found another job. Damn her! Why couldn't she leave well-enough alone? And why am I now putting down my copy of Skinny Bitch and dealing with the things she said? Doesn't my heart know that I am not ready to face reality?

Apparently, it does not. My friend and I talked at length about the Myers-Briggs personality test, and the characteristics of ENFP - the disposition we both share, according to the quiz. ENFP-ers are known as being "Inspirers." A related website says this about us: "ENFPs are... enthusiastic people, typically very bright and full of potential. They live in the world of possibilities... very passionate and excited about things. Their enthusiasm lends them the ability to inspire and motivate others... They can talk their way in or out of anything. They love life... and strive to make the most out of it. ENFPs have an unusually broad range of skills and talents. They are good at most things which interest them. Project-oriented, they may go through several different careers during their lifetime." Woo-Hoo! I'm bright! I'm full of potential! I have an unusually broad range of skills! I will go through several different careers in my lifetime! Um. About that last one... 

While most of the above should sufficiently boost my ego so I can make the calls I dread making, and send out the resumes I dread sending, there are a few challenges that we as ENFP's face. The list: "to onlookers, the ENFP may seem directionless and without purpose... They... are on a continuous quest... to achieve inner peace (seriously, how well did I name this blog?!). An ENFP needs to focus on following through with their projects. This can be a problem area for some of these individuals. ENFPs... may fall into the habit of  dropping a project when they become excited about a new possibility, and thus they never achieve the great accomplishments which they are capable of." 

I don't know about the rest of you, but I'd love to say that those "personality tests" are a bunch of hooey, that I cannot be defined by some formula derived from abstract questions. I am unique! I am special! I am the exception to every rule!

Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on which of the above paragraphs you skip), I am 100% ENFP. An example: I recently read about a business plan contest the Downtown Tempe Community is holding in order to fill vacant spaces on Mill Avenue with a year of free rent for the winner. I was so excited about this prospect that I immediately wrote down three or four brilliant ideas and told everyone I know about them. But now that the rules and regs have been posted, and it is time to put these fabulous ideas into a focused concrete plan, I find myself being easily distracted by the email I must check, the Twitter account I must update, and yes, the blog entry I must write. 

So is there hope for me and other ENFPs? Will I be able to power through the sea of ideas and emotions that toss me from one endeavor to the next, often making me late for one thing or the other? My friend seems to think so. The first thing, she so wisely advised me is to take some time for myself. Stop flitting from one activity, friend, boyfriend or project to the next and take one moment or many to sit down and really be productive. 

On our way to dinner, I told my friend about the other young woman I had invited to join us, one who was in need of a little encouragement. Thankfully my friend was able to see right through my attempt to shift the focus off me and my lack of direction, and made sure I was well aware of both my weaknesses and my strengths.  A friend like this, I believe, is the second thing.