Those who read posts other than Friday Fictioneers know the job search process that consumes my every waking (sometimes sleeping) moment. It’s been an odd year since I graduated. Come to think of it, my entire work life has been odd. So, there’s no reason to believe what lies ahead will be much different. Until then, there’s the writing.
Friday Fictioneers is one of the bright spots, in addition to my garden, that keeps me sane. Sort of. My story this week is one of frustration and reality. Thanks to Rochelle and Roger and all of the other writers. You can read their stories here.
Service Without A Smile
They could have just paid their server and left, never to return, but NOOOO! Gerard always caught the wrong end of the customer service stick. How did the kitchen seem to know to make a major screw up when he was in the middle of running payroll or doing the grocery order? If only he’d gone to college, he’d be an up-market gentleman with clients worth millions. Instead his days were spent consoling white collar foodies whose eggs were over cooked, directing tourists to the lady’s room, or shooing divers from the dumpster. Damn his loyalty to the family business!
The future is in front of you. Well, duh! If you think that statement is a no-brainer, here’s another one. Your diploma, whether you got it for free or spent tens of thousands of dollars, will only get you so far. You’ll have to be fearless and inexhaustible to make a splash. Want to be a big fish in a little pond? Good luck. That pond is fully stocked with mediocrity and hypocrisy. Want to be a little fish in a big pond? Good luck. That pond is full of piranha and garbage and toxins.
So, what’s a shiny new graduate to do? Better not expect trigger warnings. It’s a swim at your own risk world out there. If you plan to strap on some Kevlar and dive in, be prepared to sink. Sure, battling it out against seasoned professionals who are simply trying to keep their heads above water won’t be that hard. Some of them already have one foot out the door. It’s the ones who are still paying off their student loans who are your real competition. Of course, there are also some who have their kid’s college to worry about, and they are the fiercest, so it might not be so easy after all. Experienced workers have seen the future. They know they can’t get ahead of it.
What you need is useful information. Well, here it is…
Generations who came before you made enormous progress toward solving the problems of disease and poverty and the “isms” that plague humanity. Some of them died trying. Corruption, greed, and ignorance still contribute to chronic crisis for too many. Slavery still exists, sometimes in plain sight. Substance abuse, child abuse, and spousal abuse permeate all socioeconomic and cultural classifications in all nations. Homelessness and food scarcity, behavioral and mental disorders, and, yes, drug dependency affect an ever increasing number of the world’s population. The world is old. Its inhabitants are aging. No matter how much you spend to delay the inevitable, no anti-aging gimmick will change that fact.
It’s all up to you now to fix this screwed up world. Good luck with that!
As the job search continues, dirt under my nails makes me feel productive. A constant reminder that while I may need to scrub up at a moments notice, life is in the doing. Pulling weeds and planting seeds, a metaphor for life to be sure, keeps me grounded and gives me purpose. These humble tasks are important. Removing obstacles, cultivating relationships, sharing the fruits of our labor – this is work, this is life.
It’s about to happen. The first brood of bluebirds nesting in my garden will fledge any day now. Unlike April the Giraffe, this mama’s accomplishment probably won’t go viral.
Don’t make me come in there!
No matter, it has been my pleasure to hear chirps of delight with each delivery of some tender morsel that managed to escape, one of what is sure to be countless, pesticide applications in our community this year. Homeowners and city officials alike seem to have little regard for the damage being done to beneficial insect populations in the name of vigilance against West Nile.
Just like abstinence only education, constant spraying does not prevent mosquito hook ups from happening whenever the mood strikes. I digress.
Birds, bees, and blooms are putting on quite a show for us. We even had a surprise visit by a bobcat on Easter Sunday. Similar to the war on mosquitos, over-development has all but eliminated the wildlife habitat in North Texas. There I go again.
Still, spring is a magical time filled with bullfrog serenades in the evenings and butterflies beginning to find their way back to the Texas natives seeded on the Wild West side of the garden, which I was surprised to learn almost got me fined by our HOA.
We live in a world of confusing messages about what it means to be a woman. Are we supposed to be diamonds, daisies, or snowflakes? Tinsel on a tree? Chasing rainbows?
Then there’s the question, “Who can turn the world on with her smile?” Women in the workplace, beholden to benevolent counterparts for their willingness to allow us onto an equal playing field, just without equal pay, are not a thing of the past. This remains an unfortunate truth.
Now our daughters and sons are out there on their own. The days of ramen noodles and cold pizza are behind us, and yet, we still feel it, that uncertainty that makes us ask what the hell is going on here? This week I experienced one of those moments when I watched a young professional deliver one of the worst presentations I’ve ever had the misfortune to endure. Five minutes into the talk it hit me, I could do a better job than this guy. I felt sick. Why? Because I inquired about the job a year ago and wasn’t even considered.
Throughout my life, it has been necessary for me to be highly flexible and adaptive to change for the benefit of my family. I’ve done double duty and made the best of bad situations. I’m not ungrateful. I just feel cheated. I am not that girl. I’m that other one.
Every guy she had encountered eventually became someone she wished she’d never met. Long days, proving herself on the job, enduring endless mansplaining and indecent proposals bled into even longer nights. Instead of waiting by the phone, she studied. A choice she knew would pay off one day. A thousand broken promises had left her with only one to keep, one she made to herself. Then he came along and everything changed. The guy who made her life worth living and gave her a reason to work harder. The one she would love forever. The one who called her Mom.
If you’ve made it to the end of this post, congratulations! I realize my mixing fiction with reality is difficult for some readers. I make no apologies. If you want to read something better, check out the Friday Fictioneers. Thanks, Dale, for another inspiring photo. As always, Rochelle Wisoff-Fields brings it to life with her own take on this week’s prompt.
One more thing. Elinor Burkett’s article, “What Makes A Woman?” in the New York Times is brilliant, articulate, and every single thing I think about the difficulties of presenting a united front for gender equality. Thanks for reading.