Saturday, May 29, 2010


Last night was a fabulous bit of nostalgia. As I made my way from Pittsburgh to Baltimore, I blew a tire. Cue montage of me sitting on the side of the road in the dark, riding in a tow truck with racist tow truck people, them sipping beer while changing my tire, and me crawling home going 55 mph with my flashers on. Through it all, I kept thinking of the last time I had a flat tire. I was roadrunning. Remember roadrunning? I know I do.

Now that I'm heading into my first real summer after college, I'm feeling a little... what's the word? Restless. Anxious. Wanderlusty. Sick of being in an office. Trapped. Tied down. Etc. I have never had a job before that had no foreseeable end. How do people do this? You're just supposed to stay at the same job for an extended amount of time? I'm just supposed to sit at a desk every day? And contribute meaningfully to the company? And not spend the next three months going to bars and whining that I'm bored?

Being a grown up sucks.

Ideal job right now? Independent college counselor. I would have an excuse to travel all over the place and look at schools and travel and be on college campuses and travel. But just in case, save the desk job for me. I'm sure I'll want it back in a few months.

Monday, May 17, 2010

100 Career Choices for Allison

Okay, by "career choices" I really mean "something I considered for a nanosecond at least once in my life." And somewhere around number 63, I started getting desperate. Fair warning.
  1. Researcher
  2. Admissions Counselor
  3. Career Counselor
  4. English Teacher
  5. Travel Writer
  6. School Psychologist
  7. Marriage and Family Therapist
  8. Children's Novelist
  9. Actress
  10. Bookstore Owner (actually, I just want to be Audrey Hepburn's character in Funny Face)
  11. Archaeologist
  12. Children's Broadcasting Something
  13. PR
  14. Grant Writer
  15. School Librarian
  16. Guidance Counselor
  17. Children's Party Planner (I have references!)
  18. Movie Critic (just for the free movies)
  19. Ice Cream Taster
  20. Sitcom Writer
  21. Mom
  22. Non-profit Administration
  23. Astronomer
  24. Dramaturg
  25. Book Critic
  26. Blogger
  27. Dessert Critic (I originally wrote desert critic, but then I realized I hate sand)
  28. Florist
  29. Closet Organizer
  30. Student
  31. Dolphin Trainer
  32. SNL Cast Member
  33. FLW Scholar
  34. Gallery Owner
  35. Editor
  36. Campaign Advisor (social psych in action!)
  37. Professor
  38. Peace Corps
  39. Social Worker
  40. Translator (just need to learn a language first)
  41. Children's Theater Owner
  42. Camp Counselor
  43. The Person at the Zoo Who Shows Off Chinchillas and Arctic Foxes to Large Groups
  44. Docent
  45. Independent Counselor
  46. Student Affairs
  47. YWCA
  48. Elementary School Teacher
  49. Game Show Contestant
  50. Late-Night TV Psychic
  51. Drama Teacher
  52. Jewel Thief (because I'm so graceful and nimble...)
  53. Detective (perhaps in combination with #50)
  54. Carny
  55. Foreign Dignitary
  56. Petting Zoo Owner
  57. Pumpkin Patch Owner
  58. Art Dealer
  59. Coffee Shop Owner
  60. Mediator
  61. Snowball Stand Owner (If you don't know what a snowball is... I'm so sorry for you.)
  62. Script Supervisor
  63. Spy (specifically Harriet the)
  64. Pilot
  65. House Sitter to the Stars
  66. Tour Guide (somewhere awesome)
  67. Stage Manager
  68. Ghost Buster
  69. Symbologist
  70. Pediatrician
  71. Pen Pal
  72. Anthropologist
  73. Life Coach
  74. Stand-In
  75. Photographer
  76. Butterfly Hunter
  77. Peyton Manning's Trophy Wife
  78. Antiques Dealer
  79. Stamp Collector
  80. Person Who Does Dubbing for Foreign Films
  81. Disney Theme Park Character
  82. Archivist
  83. Neil Patrick Harris' Trophy Anything
  84. Hot Air Balloon Operator
  85. Language Teacher (still need to learn a language)
  86. Rare Book Collector
  87. Person Who Writes Those College Guides That Sixteen-Year-Olds and Their Parents Think Are Bibles
  88. IKEA Spokesperson
  89. Crossword Puzzle Creator
  90. Newscaster
  91. Diner Owner
  92. PSA Writer
  93. Loch Ness Monster Investigator
  94. Film Historian
  95. Person Who Drives Cars Across the Country
  96. Shoe Designer
  97. Corporate Trainer
  98. Trivia Host
  99. Advice Columnist
  100. Troubadour
Assessment to follow.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The List

A conversation with the roommate after she takes a bath:

K-- Hey, remember when you almost didn't graduate because you just stopped caring about your thesis? [Don't worry, mom... she's very prone to exaggeration]
A-- Yeah...
K-- Why was that? Didn't you really like your thesis?
A-- Yeah, I did. Then I got really busy and it was like, "Screw you, project I've been working on for a year." Why?
K-- I was just thinking about your life and what you should do with it.
A-- So... you were thinking about me when you were taking a bath?
K-- I just don't see how you could do anything other than career counseling. I mean, really.

This all happened roughly 15 minutes ago, when I was about to do a blog post about... what did she call it? My life and what I can do with it. (Okay, the post-bathtub dialogue was paraphrased.) Keri and I were talking about everything the other day... existential angst, quarter-life crisis, blah blah blah. (I know, what else is new?) She read somewhere that a great exercise in determining what you want to be when you grow up is listing 100 jobs you'd like to have, no matter how unrealistic or insane. I really wanted to try it. And, as a gratuitous blogger, I figured I would post the list on here.

Problems: 1. I got to 40-something jobs and got stuck. Keri says I'm being too picky. I brought the list to work, since there's no better inspiration for long-term career goals than a day where you make 400 phone calls and don't have a meaningful conversation with anyone. Which leads us to... 2. I'm pretty sure the list is somewhere in the vast pile of papers on my desk. Probably. 3. What the hell, universe? Is this some sort of omen that I decide to do an exercise to uncover my ideal career, and then leave it at my current place of employment? What's your game?

So the post will have to wait until I retrieve the list and finish it properly. I don't want to try to recreate it, since the order in which I thought of jobs would be scrambled and misleading. But for the record, ice cream taster would probably rank around number 8 right now.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Of Emotion

No matter how I feel at the beginning of a work day, I normally feel differently by the end of the day. I'm finding that a phone job is way more of a roller coaster than I expected. In no particular order, my week:
  • Bitch from Oklahoma. She answers, I tell her who it is, she hangs up. I call back, she picks up and hangs up. I call back, same. Repeat two more times. I call, she answers, I say "I guess this means you're not interested?" She snaps, "Well, I don't hang up for nothin'!" and hangs up. This was during a really slow morning. I wanted to fight. My biggest regret is that I actually removed her from the database. I should not be rewarding that kind of behavior. (To the Bitch from Oklahoma, this is how it should have gone: "I don't know you got my information, but I'm not interested. Can you take me off your list? I feel slightly inconvenienced, but I understand that you're just trying to do your job. And I understand that throwing a tantrum like a three-year-old is counter-productive, because obviously I'm intelligent enough to realize that you can't actually remove me from the system without me saying so. By the way, you sound like a very nice person. I wish I were nice, but I suffered emotionally from my parent's divorce and my sister's dalliance with prescription medications, so I tend to take it out on other people. I don't have a lot of stable relationships.") ...okay, clearly I'm still really resentful about the Bitch from Oklahoma. I might reactivate her in the system.
  • Application number two! A really great woman (who is roughly 1.5 years older than me, but no matter) who basically called the school because she wanted to enroll. We talked, we apped. She was totally fine with starting classes in a week. One more form left, and she'll be good to go!
  • I may or may not but definitely did ask my supervisor if I could go in today to get my students ready for Monday. But since I haven't graduated from the pod I'm not allowed to get overtime. Instead all of my coworkers are at the office and I'm checking my work email constantly to make sure my students didn't get in touch with me and don't need anything.
  • A student answers the phone, "Yeah... I read some reviews of your school online and I changed my mind." I google said reviews. Yikes. The thing is, the reviews were not bad because our school specifically sucks. The reviews were mostly individuals who had bad experiences with transfer of credit or finding a job (yeah, whatever, I've heard pretty passionate complaints about my alma mater, too... and even more complaints from the world in general about finding a job...). But hearing people call everyone in the company a crook? That was rough. For-profit schools have been controversial since their creation. I know this. I had reservations going into this job because I couldn't resign myself to the idea of schools as a company. So reading this I'm feeling awful and blah blah blah... existential stuff... etc...
  • The next day, a bunch of people from my pod class were discussing the web site as well as a lawsuit our company is involved in right now. Everyone is upset about it. Sometimes it's nice to reinforce that we're all in this job because we like helping people make life-changing decisions. Regardless of what we may think about the decision. The fact is, in any business people can get corrupted. That doesn't mean everyone and everything about it is bad. (Seriously, I could go on and on, but this is definitely not a soapbox for or against the industry.)
  • Applicant number 3. Monday I take my test. Hopefully I pass so I can graduate from the pod.
It's harder to explain in retrospect, but even though I feel like I've hit my stride at work, I've been thinking a lot about what I'll do when I leave this job. This is my first real post-collegiate job, but at what point do I start transitioning into my career? At what point do I know what career I want? The roommate made a suggestion I'm trying out. More on that later.