6 Months of Uncertainty

Now it is official.  I have been unemployed for six months.  I do have some part-time jobs but nothing full-time or enough to cover my bills.  I have been a problem of the state for months now.  Since my six months of unemployment insurance have passed, I now have nothing to fall back on because that is what I am offered by the government.  I can apply through another state that has NO call waiting so I end up getting hung up on 100’s of times just to apply because there is no way for me to apply in person.

Businessman With Thumb Down Over Falling Graph BackgroundStatistical Pitty Party
The I decided to read the statistics.  I looked up the Call Back stats first and discovered I may have a 2% or less chance of a call back now.  Which means I have to apply to 20x more jobs a week to even think about getting a call for an interview.  Fact is, I haven’t have a call for an interview in 3 months.  The last major job I thought I had didn’t even call me back to say, “We went with someone else.”  While there is a part of me that understands you can’t call everyone, an email would have been nice.  Especially since I made it to the 3rd interview.

Identity Crisis

I like many people who have been laid off in this economy are having an identity crisis.  I was so sure when I was in high school and college that I was going to be amazing.  I was even encouraged to join teams that won big awards.  However, now that amounts to nothing more than a class ring in the back of a jewelry drawer.

It isn’t just the folks who had jobs for 5 or 10 years and then were laid off who are feeling this.  I knew in my head I was going to be a great communications person.  I would help companies and they were going to have fun doing it.  But now I feel like everyone thinks I am a hack.  I can’t introduce myself as anything.  I don’t even have anything to follow back on other than student of life or as others say it “Student of the School of Hard Knocks.”

To School or Not to School?

Now everyone is asking me, “Are you going to go back to school?”

And all I can think of is, “For what?”

I have a Bachelor’s degree from one of the best Journalism schools in the country.  I could go back for a Master’s but who is looking for someone with a Master’s of Communication?  I haven’t seen a single job asking for that.  Most of them ask for a MBA not a MC.

Then my mentors encourage me to get an Accreditation.  Yes, communications has a bunch of accreditations, much like technology that are expensive but make you look expensive as well.  I hear more employers at my old jobs and church saying that they can’t afford to hire those people because they expect a certain about of pay for something that “should be easy.”

So it is either pay for some pretty letters at the end of my name that could price me out of the market or I need to go back to square one and figure out what I want to do with my life.  Pardon me while I dance for joy.

“Find your Passion” Right

Now some people would say this is an opportunity to, “go find yourself.”  Well, part of me found her in the short amount of jobs that I have done. That is why I studied what I studied.  I found myself in my degree, otherwise, why would I do it?  But now I got to find myself again?  People keep saying, “I still haven’t found myself,” and those people are my parent’s age.  Really gives me hope for finding a good job.

Looking in New Places

But sometimes I do find passions in unexpected places.  I like working with people to help them get the word out about products I like.  For instance, right now I am working with a great gaming company, Gut Bustin Games, and I love doing sales calls.  Oddly enough I never felt comfortable before doing sales call but now I really like it because I get to tell people about a fun game that is silly.  I get to be a geek at a job that I didn’t expect.  Maybe that will go somewhere more.

Review Your Life

So, maybe go see what you like doing.  It sounds cliche but maybe it is a cliche because it works.  Take the time to look at the things that make you happy.  If you think about what you are going to make for dinner more than your project then maybe it is time to become a cook.  If you like talking to people about the earrings you just made or everyone is asking about the crochet hats you made for the holidays, it could be time to become an artist and open that etsy store.  I had a friend do that and now she is getting asked to crochet specific high end projects.

But also, you could like the thrill of the RFP or the ability to helping a person’s computer get back to working order.  Then, go out and find the career that feeds your soul, in whatever way works for you.

My full dream:   To have a job I love so much I don’t really fell like I am working.

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Girls, Science and Math

THere is a well known shortage of women in science and mathmatics careers in the United States that has hurt the innovation of our country.  Some people are trying to help change these numbers with non profits like camps to teach girls how to do code.  Others are creating products like Goldie Blox to encourage girls to learn how to use more motor and problem solving skills.  I would like to see these continue but I have to get something off my chest first.

School Failed
I found out recently a small bit of information my family thought was insignificant but because I am unemployed hit me a little harder.  I found out that when I was in school in my small town, my test scores for math and science were very high.  To the point that my mother asked why I wasn’t being put in a higher math class.  She was told that while my test scores were good they wanted to see how I faired in class.  So, instead of pushing me in to higher courses of study I remember getting more and more bored with math and science.

What makes me madder is that other students were pushed up to higher levels.  I also noticed it was the girls who had parents that made more money than mine.  I even had a math teacher that got bored one day and started teaching us calculus.  I still remember what he taught even though I never qualified for any calculus class at my high school.  It was one of the more interesting days I had at school.  But I was still kept in low level math classes so I never got interested in it.

Knowing now that I DID qualify for those classes really makes me mad and frustrates me.  I thought the adults in my school were looking out for me but they were just looking out for higher test scores so I could help their stupid little average.  While I suffered in boredom not learning anything new for years and years.  By the time I got to college I didn’t even attempt math because I had been put in low level classes at a low grade school so I thought it would take me all four years to get into a college level math course but now I know I would have placed relatively high.  I feel like I gave up on dreams because everyone told me I was stupid.

It caused me to even have issues calculating chemicals in science classes.  I had a teacher that got along with the jocks better so he didn’t have time to explain how to add them together in a way I understood.  So, I even gave up on being a chemist because I couldn’t add basic molecules together correctly.

Did it Really change your life? REALLY?

So, what didn’t I become because I couldn’t take the math?

  • Geneticist
  • Psychologist
  • ER Doctor
  • Coroner
  • Engineer
  • Crime Scene Investigator

Yeah, I know I was a weird child but these are things I really thought about becoming but because of the requirements in math I didn’t think I could do it.

Decide for Yourself

When I finally realized that I wasn’t going to be a chemist I decided to take the biology track from our other science teacher.  So, I learned how to dissect animals, anatomy, genetics and even wrote some lab reports with fruit flies.  I loved every minute of it.  Including working with animals that we were dissecting for weeks right before lunch.  This is where the coroner idea came in because the smell didn’t get to me and I could still eat lunch unlike the rest of the class.  I took every classes in available including honors courses which I had to fight for on occasions.

Fight for Your Girls

My mother did try to get me into higher classes but when they asked her to wait a year she just gave up on it.  The school knew best but sometimes they don’t.  Now, I wish she had fought harder but I know she had personal issues with the school so I don’t push it.

I encourage parents to ask their teachers, principals and even take it higher if you need to.  If you see your childern with good test score or look bored teach them yourself.  Get the math problems a year early, higher level books, watch Bill Nye for goodness sake.  These things help me stay interested even when school failed me.  Because math isn’t the only thing that didn’t work.  I learned that science can still be interesting.  Because if it can’t be a focus then it can be a wonderful hobby until the right teacher comes along.

Encourage the Girls

Don’t stop girls from playing with “boy’s toys”.  Show them new ways to solve problems.  Suggest new ideas.  Buy a Goldie Blox please!  Watch Bill Nye the Science Guy, and Mythbusters.  The shows you think are crazy but could be fun.  Show them Science Fiction and kids science magazines.  Keep your girls intrigued by the world around them and never hold them back because you fear they won’t succeed.  You need to give them a chance to fly even if they fall out of the nest to start.

It’s Ok to be a Fan

Recently I saw the following video about Whoopi Goldberg‘s reaction to an Autistic fan who thanked her for her work on Star Trek Next Generation as Guinan.  This role encouraged him to join a Star Trek fan club where he learned how to socialize with people and is now at a good job and happily married.  Just watch her reaction.

As you can see it is ok to be a fan.  Why? Because artists don’t always get to hear that their work was good, inspiring or meaningful.  Usually they hear it from friends and family which as well know can not mean as much.  So, when an artist or celebrity of any sort hears that you love their work, and how it has affected your life it is, well, everything you could have ever wished for.

My friend, Princess Bob, who recently met a member of Dead Gentlemen Productions, a production company that has a host of great films she loves.  She had me watch all the Gamers movies and the Demon Hunter movies.  I even got into playing the test game of the Demon Hunters RPG.  Princess Bob was afraid she was becoming a total fan girl and freaking out about the fact he would be at the convention.  But I told her she was fine.  She met him in the hall and they spoke like friends for several minutes before singing the theme song to Mystery Science Theatre 3000 together.  He was great and appreciative to really appreciate the support.

I only have a few recommendations for not being a creepy fan girl.

  • Try to to cry if you can help it
  • Attempt to talk in a normal cadence
  • Talk about your favorite work of their’s
  • Remember they are just another person but have done something you think is great
  • Ask before taking pictures
  • Thank them for their work and their time.

But these are my rules.  Do whatever you want because you are the fan and know the celebrity relatively well.  So, forget about acting cool around your favorite author, artists, director or random celebrity.  Be a fan and express yourself honestly.

Impossible vs. Possible

There is an interesting dichotomy in the geek world between the possible and the impossible. Many of us think that science can prove anything and if it can’t then it isn’t real. However, we read science fiction and fantasy novels that suggest things beyond our current understanding and accept them. We even try to make them happen. For instance, many people say that cellphones wouldn’t exist if Star Trek hadn’t had communicators on the show. People wanted that technology to exist and at the time the show was written cellphones were just a fictional idea. Every type of communication device needed to have a cord or work on a wire. Now we have computers that think and learn for themselves like Data and cellphones that can talk to people hundreds of miles away without being hooked up to a landlines.

But how to we imagine farther and not accept the impossible now? Many of the people I meet talk about liking ghost stories but then others dismiss that ghost aren’t real. How can you accept fantasy and assert that you can’t believe it unless you see it?

There are even major technology companies who are acknowledging that our world advances because of the imagination of others. Intel holds a science fiction writing contest that encourages people to think of what tomorrow will look like. It even askes people to address future issues writers wish to avoid. The contest is called The Tomorrow Project. The website says, “Science fiction gives all of us all a language so that we can have a conversation about the future and these conversations make dramatic changes.” But even they want fact based stories even though some of the point of fiction is to create the new rules.

Personally, I accept the idea that people have gut feelings about situations and issues in there life and trust them because they just do. They can’t explain it other than something bad would happen if I were there. However if that same person doesn’t go then nothing out of the ordinary happens. So, why can’t science explain this gut feeling? Because it isn’t advanced enough to understand the reasons behind bodily reactions to some natural situations. Now I know some of you will argue stress studies and psychology but I am talking about honest premonitions and psychic activity. We are still trying to figure out why some people can tell you there is a circle on a card and others can’t. Why someone would know that their child had a bad dream and others have no connection. Just like with the cellphone our science isn’t there yet.

Brian David Johnson is a Futurist at Intel. He gets to help them figure out what the future might actually look like. Not just white outfits and clean houses but rooms with clothes thrown around made with new fibers and recording devices in pens for students or TVs that access the internet without issue. I have had the honor of hearing this King among geeks speak at a conference. He was amazing in explaining futurecasting and how fiction brings the future into view. He gets to research society and piece together possibilities about the future that others may not have imagined. But even that couldn’t have been imagined before people discovered this research process.

So in my opinion you should never dismiss anything as impossible. At very least put it in the category of not defined or unexplained. Allow there to be some wonder in your world. Allow your children to be curious enough to discover these things.

You can be both

Over arching question of my adult life. Why can’t I be both? It is said I am like my grandfather who would look at options on a dinner table and say, “I’ll have a little of each.” People laugh at that story but it is true. We say you can’t have it all but in my life I have always wondered why? Why do I have to choose just one? I grew up being told, you can be anything you want in life. No one said you had to be just one thing but it was the ape in the room.

I can do Both jobs

In college I graduated with a degree in Advertising.  I took both creative and management classes because in advertising agencies you have people who design and others who arrange things with the clients.  So, I was educated in both.  However, when I was graduating from school I was told by many different professors to choose to either be a creative or management.  I disagreed.  Having also doubled majored so I knew the value in knowing both sides of the business.  Now I have worked in many different positions in both agencies and in the private businesses with my knowledge of both creative and management serving me equally well.

This experience has allowed me to have variety of jobs.  Not just doing one thing for many companies but I have worked in marketing, public relations, online media, and event planning.  Employers look at my resume now and are nervous that I have done too many things.  Something I never thought would happen.  But doesn’t that make me well-rounded?  I can do just about any communications job under the sun because of the crazy number of jobs and experiences I have had.  I truly have been lucky enough to do a little bit of each.  I have created forms so that a creative process is easier to track and I have written all the wording for entire websites.

Smart and Fat

When I was growing up in a small town I was the fat kid in my class.  I am sure you have heard the story if you read my first post.  But being the fat and unpopular girl in my class of 33 people was an issue.  There were only maybe 5 fat girls in my high school.  We were marginalized.  Some of us had learning disabilities and others just didn’t do sports like me.  So, it was assumed that because I was fat I was also stupid.  You have heard the sound of people’s voices when they make fun of you.  They make you sound dumb.

I fiercely refused to be that person.

I grew up in a family that watched History Channel, Discovery Channel and PBS every night.  We visited museums on vacations and my brother and I NEVER complained.  My mother tried to get me into a high math class because of my test scores but even the adults refused to move me up because I wasn’t the type.

I refuse to take it.

I took advance courses as quickly as I could.  I had an online Spanish class and took advanced English.  I read classics by choice like Siddhartha, Jane Austen, and Charles Dickens.  I could explain Shakespeare to my fellow classmates and even outwitted a history teacher talking about the New York City draft riots portrayed in a history of the Gangs of New York documentary I had seen the day before.  I graduated with honors being ranked 3rd in my class.  I was the only person in that class to get early admissions into a major university.

I wanted to prove that you can be a plus size woman and smart.

You CAN be both

I guess what I am trying to say is don’t listen to what people say.  You can like Dr. Who and Torchwood.  You can create games and like football.  You can be a brony and be in the Marines.  I know that you can have both.  The thing you should know though is that having both also means that you may have to work twice as hard.  That is because people won’t understand your choices.  They will try to tell you how to be normal but all you have to be is yourself.

I’m Not a Video Gamer

So, yeah, I am not a geek who plays video games.  I played a little bit of Mario Brothers with my brother, and my boyfriend but still get upset.  I am nowhere near as good as the people I sit next to.  So, how am I suppose to keep up?  I am also not the type to play by myself after a frustrating day.  Doesn’t exactly help when I can’t figure out how to jump, use the awesome thing I just got or kill a goomba.

Part of me feels like less of a geek because of this.  The old definition is, plays video games, reads all scifi and fantasy, plays RPGs, etc.  But I can’t always deal with playing video games.  The only one I can play constantly is Super Smash Brothers.  That is because no one is trying to do anything together.  I can’t deal when someone kicks me off the screen but I can deal with it if I am fighting against you.

I guess that is why Heros of Might and Magic worked so well.  I needed someone to compete against.  I could conquer things and see where I had been and what I had won.  So, I could say I got something.  Same thing happens with Smash Bros. because you can see the loot you got or how many kills you got.  I need a little success in my life I guess.

Maybe I need someone to teach me how to play.  My brother may have tired but that was over 20 years ago now.  My friends and boyfriend kinda expect me to know how to play and when I ask how to play it is during combat.  Plus can anyone tell me where in the game there is a how to section so I can learn how to use the fricking controller?  I get tired of all the guess work and comparing it to a previous game in the system doesn’t help me one bit.

I don’t know if others have experienced this but when I play with a group of girls on Super Mario Bros or another corporative video game I seem to have a better time.  It seems that my girlfriends are more patient even if there is a time limit because we know that no one wins if just one of us makes it through most of the level.  But I find for boys that they just want to win and it doesn’t matter who gets to the end because everyone is happy about it in the end.

It could be due to my introverted nature but I always seemed to feel better about games like pinball rather than the video game consoles at the arcades.  I even had issues at an arcade party a friend had getting upset and needing to stop playing because I could feel the throwing the controller gamer rage.  But the only person who stopped me was my friend J-chan.  She slowed me down somehow.  I was a little peeved at the time but kept playing.  After a while I got the rules of the game and started to win.  I asked her if she was letting me and she wasn’t.

For me I really need a set of rules to start, a glossary or forum to look things up in and a friend who will help me calm down rather than throw my controller at the screen or leave in a huff.

Born Again Geek

I like to say I am a Born Again Geek because I don’t feel like I came back to geekdom until after I met my boyfriend and current friends group ,after I graduated from college. Yeah, I was in the SCA but that wasn’t Gamer, right? Vox is a gamer. I wasn’t excited to start because I knew the stereotypes of, “He will game and forget you are there.” I didn’t want that but tried anyways. After a while he got me to play Heros of Might and Magic. Yeah, I smashed and grabbed and looked for reasons for us to play together. I always lost and still have trouble being a sore loser with him. But it started something.

Munchkin

I ended up playing Munchkin the weekend we met (yep at an SCA event). I had played it before but as we dated I became obsessed with having all the cards and all the silliness it entailed. It played into my comedy geekdom so well. I bought the t-shirt, every expansion, and even joined tournaments (oh my!).

Anime

Then he had me watch some anime. We started watching Fullmetal Alchemist as one of the first, along with Outlaw Star. FMA I had seen once or twice but never really all the way through. Yeah, I am now in the middle of Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood because Netflix won’t add the last few episodes :_( That caused me to start watching other anime like Fruits Basket, Gundam Wing, Trigun, Hellsing, Trinity Blood, xxxHolic and more. I got a little obessed with CLAMP animes because we also started watching Tsubasa Chronicles and still havne’t finished probably because I don’t want it to end.

What make a Born Again Geek?

But these things are what I felt a geek was. They play video games and dress up like anime characters. However, as I have grown in my own geekdom and looked at the Conventions and Internets of geeks I see there is more the costumes and dice. We are just people who want to share our excitement.

Much like a Born Again Christian (or at least the ones I have met) there is an excitement to share EVERYTING you know about a subject. But the subject can be like a religion to you or it can be something that you feel doesn’t get enough credit. Before I met my current friends group and boyfriend I hid my excitement for fear that people would judge me as creepy or unworthy to hang out with. Now I realize that those people wouldn’t want to hang out with me anyways. Most people love to hear about the random facts in your head about Firefly or the Muppets. But you get to learn about their love of Battle Star and Demon Hunters.

So, now I share my excitement with you. However, I am still coming to terms with my geekdom and acknowledging that I was always this way but I have to redefine with GEEK means. From the weird kid with great grades and taped glasses to Felicia Day.