Saturday, October 17, 2009

jobless in seattle

the process of finding a job in seattle is sort of like choosing between one crappy movie and a separate movie you know is going to suck. either choice blows, but hey. you need a job.

let's get right into it.

i am done with people asking the ridiculous question, 'Well, what are you looking for?'. First off, these are obviously people who currently hold employment, and aren't freaking out about the possibility of being homeless. they are not paying for the bus out of couch change, gum wrappers, and lint. they are not in frantic search mode. they are in advice mode, saying things like oh yeah, i heard its hard to find a job now a days, did you check out Monster??. they sit and calmly enjoy their coffee. such a treat for them, the coffee break. for me, coffee is starting to taste less like coffee and more like unemployment. i should write a book entitled The Coffee Break of My Life. 2009 - ?????. anyway. instead of listening to their sage advice, my mind is instead having a manic episode with the fact i just used my last dollar bill to pay the $3.00 for my cappuccino. damnit. now i have to make change for the bus...and spend more MONEYYYYYYYYY. these are my friends who love me. the people that say 'You know Elizabeth, you are SO blahblahblah - you would be an excellent LAWYER!!!'. Thanks, i know. i would be an excellent lot of things. i'll get right on that. can you loan me a dollar?

please know i had no disillusions about coming home and magically finding something that pays well, has benefits, and provides me some sort of personal fulfillment. i was lucky if i was going to get one out of the three. i was lucky if i was going to get anything, period.

after one month of revamping my resume, searching online, and walking door to door - i had given out my resume to around 35 jobs...and hadn't heard back from any. one. of. them. i applied for a plethora of admin jobs, education jobs, serving jobs, non-profit positions, DOG WALKING positions, personal assistant positions, coordinators, and house cleaners. i literally hit up everything except egg donation - which i considered. (however, while researching, realized i wouldn't have been approved since im not enough of a pure bred human being. for someone to pay me 20 grand to give them my eggs, i am not jewish enough, not asian enough, not hispanic enough, not white enough. i don't read enough literature or ski or play chess enough. not to mention my sense of humor is too inappropriate and i am too old. im just too much. done.)

towards the end of my crusade, i became so desperate, i even began responding to the gigs section postings of Craigslist. 'cause if i can't land a job, maybe i can get a gig. i am proud to say, the gig section is one of my favorite sections. if you are ever bored and looking for a good time - go to gigs. or free...i love free. if you are ever troubled and want to feel better about your life, go to free. its free fun. there is no where else you can witness someone trading pink flamingo lawn decorations (complete with bullet holes), a half drunken bottle of jack, and a wheel barrow - for a pure bred pit bull. in love.

through my gig search, i encountered some particular diamonds in the rough, seeming completely appropriate for my state of mind at the time. i replied to a Hair Models Wanted some woman named Snow dressed in all black, a lot of leather, and four too many lip rings could cut and style my hair for a hair show. they would even pay me $400. unfortunately the position was filled (damnit!). im not bitter, snow will have to give me my androgynous sexy back another day. later on, things really started looking up when i found a post reading: Leopard Model Wanted. This was a special find where some lucky human got to pose for a save the endangered species calendar - head to toe in body paint- as a leopard. i was upset they had already cast the hippopotamus. i would have been incredible as a hippo.

the more i searched, it became clear i don't need or want my dream job (whatever that may be). as horrible as it might sound, at this point in my life, i don't want a world of unnecessary responsibility. i don't want to feel the weight of the world on my bony shoulders. i don't want to stress out so the rest of my hair gives up the fight. the fact is, i am tired of all of it. tired of being tired. im almost 28 and exhausted...which isn't normal (i think). i deserve a break from the intensity of: go to school, get married, clean this, organize that, get benefits, this agency deadline must be met or my boss will be fined 25K and thrown in jail, please format this and answer all the phones annnnd deal with the tea vendor coming at 12:45, here - go to india and figure out a way for the slum/village children to have a better education. ps, some the teachers don't like teaching, we need backing from government officials who are only driven by self interest, oh, and convince illiterate parents why it is beneficial to send their children to school. also, you may want to be aware that student scholarships given out to families are sometimes used to fund the father's alcoholism. not to mention, everyone could use a good bath, medical attention, and new shoes.

i should re-word my resume so under Skills Summary reads: i need a nap.

this is not me saying i haven't loved my jobs and the light of experience i have gained from all of them. i have. i know how fortunate i am to have worked with such wonderful people thrown into such thrilling circumstances. this is me saying that for this brief chapter of my life, i have lost my need to actively save the world. i don't have the desire to battle it out mentally anymore for things that are beyond my control. just for a little bit. i need a break. i need to save elizabeth instead of everyone else. i need to make some money, go back to school, write some, and enjoy. fun. just be superficially in it to win it.

i was discussing the job search with my sisterfriend emily. she of course asked me where i had applied. by that point i was so overwrought with the feeling of unemployment - nervous about selling my soul to the devil, if i did in fact find one - i informed her of my new vocational interests: coffee shop girl, anything involving accessories at Forever 21, dog walker, haiku ghost writer, body exfoliate tester. she thought i was joking. i was proud being so honest sans embarrassment.

i was just about to answer the add Dancers Wanted - No Experience Necessary - GREAT Tip$$$$!!!! when i was informed by a friend Anthropologie was hiring.

I don't know if you know about Anthropologie, but if you are a lady, and if you love the colors of your imagination on steroids - transcribed into physical manifestations of modern prints, fabrics, and necklines - you would heart you some Anthro. as a starving student in college i would visit just to sit on their couches, breathe in the air of cute bags and adorable kitchen accessories, try on clothes, and look at their bedspreads. it was a calm environment where i felt all the superficial facets of my personality come together. the creative - the silly - the professional - the fun - the mature. everything was organized, and fresh, and lovely. if you are hearing this and thinking What? A store can actually do that???. um yes. for me it did.

still no job in site. i looked to the heavens, and with help from the powers at be (and we will call them powers) - i managed to score an interview on a sunday. still ringing in at a whopping 116 lbs, i bought a pair of tight jeans for $18 from a second hand store, straightened my patchy hair, applied some lip gloss, gave myself a good pep talk/smack in the face, and went downtown for one of the most intense experiences of my life.....the dreaded retail group interview.

after 1.5 hours of conversation, discussion, and a style challenge (that's right. i said a style challenge) i not only learned about the behind the scenes of anthro - i learned the back stories of my fellow candidates... and we all know that elizabeth loves a good back story.

grace is blonde, short, cute, incredibly-excited to learn she is the third person to arrive, the first to introduce herself. firm handshake. wears cotton. likes yellow. grace just got back from studying abroad in granada, spain where she spent the majority of her time at an american bagel shop. she of course "LOVES speaking spanish", and after she graduates from college, she hopes to be a teacher. grace has so much energy emanating from her pores, her pheromones could have re-carbonated the left over flat coke i drank for breakfast that morning. the main attribute she possesses which would benefit the anthro team: her 'creativity'.

Mercedes. mercedes wears a leather jacket and motorcycle boots. her front tooth is chipped, and she wears a huge gold rose on a choker. her real job is performing at local night clubs as a singer/songwriter, and "on the side" works as a stylist for a local band (Death Slayer Something-er-rather). I missed the name, since i was already obsessed compiling the story behind the 1/2 missing front tooth. fascinating. the main attribute she possesses being of benefit to the anthro team: her 'blunt honesty'.

Lalalksdfj. i am embarrassed to say i don't remember Lalalksdjf's name, mainly because she sat on the opposite end of the circle (yes we were in a circle) and spoke so quietly, i honestly don't think a single person heard a word she said the whole time. we all collectively nodded our heads, too idiotic to say anything. i mention Lalalksdfj for the pure fact that she is from india:) her interests are biology and she loves to read. she wears glasses and lives at home with her parents. she wears socks with little kitties, and says she takes direction very well. an attribute she possesses being of benefit to the anthro team: her 'work ethic'.

oh india. you follow me still.

my favorite part would have to be the style challenge (i know, incredible). one of the managers gave us her style preferences and then we were given 3 minutes to run around the store- and compile an outfit for her night on the town. it was right out of BRAVO tv hell. a mad dash to the finish, complete with shoes, bags, jewelry, all of it. each one then got to stand and explain their outfit/concept. it was actually pretty clever of them - seeing who could really put a look together - explain and defend their concept - or just bullshit their way through all of it. hey, if there is one thing i learned in the south - confidence is key - fluff and butter works for me.

this whole scene was such an out of body experience. still readjusting from being back. interviewing for a position at a store that sells knicknacks from india for 40$, which i could have gotten for 50 rupees a month ago. sitting amongst the 90s kids discussing how they are just looking for part-time work, nothing too serious. it took every fiber of my being, controlling myself from introducing myself as, "Hi, I'm Elizabeth, i just got back from lucknow. Yes, Lalalksdfj, that is your country of birth. i have no money. i just got a cell phone yesterday. i gave up 6 months of my life, 20 lbs, and 1/3 of my hair for the good of humanity and i have nothing to show for it besides various stories in which i repeatedly crap my pants. fyi, to all of you with hobby degrees, this will be you in 8 back off so i can have this job. thanks." i am such an embarrassing human being.

but its all going to be ok (as baldy would say). i got the job, and i am working it all out.

i am thankful, and happy to say that im gainfully employed (well maybe not gainfully) - currently working a zillion hours at the downtown Seattle Anthropologie. the environment is colorful and lovely. art displays are creative and inviting. the clothes are fabulous. and i get some of the best stories of my life from the customers and employees. we will survive. no, this this is not my life's new career. but it is definitely something new to learn - something i can enjoy.

i won't have to dance...unless i want to. and that of course, is another story to tell.


  1. You are incredible. You are seriously, SERIOUSLY, an incredible writer. I can't wait to hear all of the stories that come out of this experience. You make me laugh, smirk, tear up, and gasp in just one of your blog posts. I am so hungry for more. (And I LOVE Anthropologie.)


  2. thank you leila -very sweet of you. where are you guys living now??? it is sad we didn't get to see enough of each other before life happened to us. that makes me a little angry.

    give kisses to your family please! and ps - i don't have the emotional capacity to deal with how adorable your daughter is. please keep the videos coming, it helps the non baby havers deal.

    also, if you want me to come over and take her at 3am so you can sleep, i can do that too. i am obviously awake:)


  3. This post made me laugh so hard today. A-because i too applied for a job at anthropologie at one point in life and B- because i got an email about you from Marilyn as i was reading your post :) and C - you're just such a damn good story teller

  4. so hilarious. you were actually the FIRST person i thought of when i got the job. i honestly thought 'tasya is going to DIE!':)

  5. I loved this post!! I had no idea you had a blog! I am very excited to read more. I am cracking up over here! People are staring. You are amazing!


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