L’essentiel est invisible pour les yeux

Standard

Dear netizens,

I wanted to start with wishing people a HAPPY NEW YEAR! I hope this year is filled with joy, fortunes, love and fulfillment. I have not written in a while because life was pretty hectic. No, I am as of yet not employed and even though, it hurts me to write that I just wanted to address this right off the bat.

Today, I will write mostly about a big problem which I faced in 2013– and perhaps, this might help someone out there. Perhaps, it wouldn’t be a problem for someone else. Earlier in the year, I wrote about undergraduates asking recent graduates really annoying question– please refer to this post.  In sum, I was ranting about an phenomenon where you would say hi to an acquaintance and the first thing that friend would ask is if I had found a job. The problematic nature of “Have you found a job yet?” is kind of hinted at here:

Don’t ask, “Have you found a job yet?” right before or right after “How are you?” In fact, don’t ask it at all. Instead ask, “What have you been up to?” or “How are you?” Finding a job is very stressful and sometimes people are getting traction in their job searches but it is not manifesting as job offers. Or the simple fact that people are not defined by their jobs. Whether or not this person is currently employed, they still have a lot to contribute to your life and others’ communities. If you are looking to catch up, it may be better to ask open-ended questions and let them volunteer the information.[…] Remember, people will always remember how you make them feel.

After further reflection I realized that the reason why my so-called acquaintances’ persistence at asking me “Have you found a job yet?” right after exchanging hellos bothered me, was because it reduced me to my economic status. Instead, of being Cathryn who loves books, knitting and travelling, I became “Are you employed Cathryn?” There was a feeling that these people sought to categorize me. Additionally, I knew that if I faced any anxiety or problems, these acquaintances would never really be there to help me. If and when I was employed, it would be awkward and even strange for them to spend hours asking me about my job.

My sibling told me that my problem reminded her of a passage in Le Petit Prince by Alexandre Saint-Exupery (Chapter IV):

Les grandes personnes aiment les chiffres. Quand vous leur parlez d’un nouvel ami, elles ne vous questionnent jamais sur l’essentiel. Elles ne vous disent jamais: “Quel est le son de sa voix ? Quels sont les jeux qu’il préfère ? Est-ce qu’il collectionne les papillons ?” Elles vous demandent: “Quel âge a-t-il ? Combien a-t-il de frères ? Combien pèse-t-il ? Combien gagne son père ?” Alors seulement elles croient le connaître. Si vous dites aux grandes personnes: “J’ai vu une belle maison en briques roses, avec des géraniums aux fenêtres et des colombes sur le toit…” elles ne parviennent pas à s’imaginer cette maison. Il faut leur dire: “J’ai vu une maison de cent mille francs.” Alors elles s’écrient: “Comme c’est joli !”

Translation: 

When you tell them that you have made a new friend, they never ask you any questions about essential matters. They never say to you, “What does his voice sound like? What games does he love best? Does he collect butterflies?” Instead, they demand: “How old is he? How many brothers has he? How much does he weigh? How much money does his father make?” Only from these figures do they think they have learned anything about him. If you were to say to the grown-ups: “I saw a beautiful house made of rosy brick, with geraniums in the windows and doves on the roof,” they would not be able to get any idea of that house at all. You would have to say to them: “I saw a house that cost $20,000.” Then they would exclaim: “Oh, what a pretty house that is!”

Our society has spent so much time defining us according to arbitrary categories : employed vs unemployed, skilled labour vs unskilled labour, racial and ethnic group, economic class and so on so forth. In the excerpt above, the narrator comments on how grown-ups (which I will intepret as society) loves numbers and to attach numbers to someone. Similarly these acquaintances looked no further beyond my economic status for topics of small talk without paying mind to the impact this could have. Until recently, many people defined themselves according to their jobs– which can become a problem.

All of this is just to say remember to value the people in your lives for whom they are and not for the numbers attached to their circumstances. Lady (Un)employed recently published a touching testimony  from an anonymous contributor. I would really recommend that you read it as it addresses the devastating effect that unemployment can have.

After all, the essential is invisible to the eyes of humans.

That’s it from me.

xoxox, S.

Advertisements

Confidence

Standard

I would recommend checking out the article mentioned in the blog post and the website in general. The stories shared are moving and speak to our daily conflicts.

Bits and bobs

Standard

Hello blogosphere,

I feel pretty bad for not having posted anything on this blog for a while. As I mentioned in a previous post, it is not that I do not have ideas for blog posts but rather that writing can be difficult for me. This time, my struggle was perfection. I have tons of amazing blog posts that remain unpublished because I felt that the grammar was bad, the writing was average, that it required more research etc, etc. ENOUGH! I have been reading great content on other people’s blogs and I am dying (not literally) to share some of my thoughts.

In sum, this blog post will be a collection of random anecdotes, thoughts and rants that I have had throughout the week; in other words, do not expect much coherence between each story.  I will also be posting a “Things I’ve been digging”/ Favourites post either today or this weekend.

K, here it goes:

On Consignment Stores:

Over the past week, I went on an insane shopping spree spurred by a dress code that my soon-to-be-employer, agricultural firm B, had sent me.  And by insane, I mean that it depleted my bank account. So I  tried to be reasonable and to sell/consign a few of my ill fitting clothes to second hand stores. According to Wikihow, these were some guidelines to keep in mind:

  • “Vintage” stores usually prefer clothing over 20 years old. This is a great way to profit from your families fashion disasters from the 70’s.
  • “Contemporary/used” clothing stores usually prefer clothing currently in-style or less than a couple of years old.
  • Consignment stores sell your clothes for you for a commission. Like the other stores they may only take in certain seasonal items at certain times. Call ahead. These stores are great for getting rid of formal gowns, bride’s maid dresses, etc.
  • If you have clothes that are nearly new, then many cities in America have a Junior League “Nearly New” store. They are willing to pay a lot of money to get clothes that are basically new.
  • Note: Thrift stores re-sell donated goods.

With all this information, I went off to sell my basically new clothing (most of them were acquired between September 2012 and January 2013) to consignment stores only to meet the most pretentious people I have ever (like emphasize the EVER) met in my life.  They were like “Oh, we only take magical, decadent and colorful clothing. I would probably put those in the free pile” or “We want fall items or vintage” or “If it is not kooky then we don’t want it. ” Meanwhile, their stores had clothes that would make anyone scream with horror and they managed to keep a straight face while looking at my clothes with contempt!?! I wasted a whole two hours of my life and I missed an appointment with a personal trainer because of these trifling Vancouverites. I kid you not I even cried in frustration (cringe)

This incident not only made me realize that there is a lack of a re-use culture in Vancouver but also there is a lot of falseness and pretentiousness amongst people.  So I am stuck with either donating my clothes or selling them on Ebay. In the end, I returned some of my purchased items because well, I could always use the money.

—————————————————————————————————————–

On Sailing

The other day, my friend took me out sailing on Jericho Beach. I wish I had a picture but I am not that forward thinking yet. Sorry. Anyways, it was my first time sailing since high school; though, we were off to a rough start I must admit that there is something magical about being in nature. It even made me consider starting sailing or water sports as a hobby. Then again, there is the whole money-is-a-little-tight-now situation.

—————————————————————————————————————–

On the colour black

The other day, Teju Cole, a famous Nigerian writer who tagged the expression “white saviour industrial complex, ” wrote an article and a series of tweets about ignorance and language. Before you read on (I’m surprised that you are still reading), you should take some time to check out some of the words here.

One of them stood out to me: MOCHA. Term used to describe black women’s skin. No other meaning known.

Which inspired me to write an entire Facebook status:

Things I don’t get:
When did “black” become a bad word? I am not talking about the N* words, but saying “I’m black, she’s black, he’s black, we’re black.” Have you notice how instead of saying “black people,” the media prefer referring to our skin colour either as food– “Her chocolate/mocha/caramel/cafe latte/ plain drip coffee skin” — or as woods (ebony, mahogany) . Even worse, the word, deep: “Oh we don’t carry makeup for deep tones.” Like why? What’s going on?

I know you don’t believe me. Check this out: Makeup Ideas for Deep Tones or Try Pintrest. And there is also that time, that someone was so afraid that the word black is politically incorrect that they called Nelson Mandela an African American.  Houston, we have a problem.

——————————————————————————————————————————–

An update on Job-hunting

Ok, if you have managed to stick around until this point, you deserve a pat on the back. Because there were only words on a white screen (I know, how aesthetically draining, right?!?). I am just going to give a quick update on my job hunting.  I have conducted three informational interviews which ranged from motivating, eye-opening and inspiring to slightly frustrating.  Since I have a contract starting up soon, I have been slacking off a little on contacting people for informational interviews. It is just so damn difficult and apparently, it seems to people that I have no clue what I want to do. Which sucks. Oh and it reminds me I have a bunch of resumes/cover letters to send. Which also sucks.  I start work next week at what the interviewers described as a data entry position.

On that note, I will wish you a pleasant Friday.

xox, S.

I’m going to be unemployed again

Standard

Dang, I have neglected this blog for a while. I know I should update more frequently; however, I have been feeling a little down and I did not really know if I wanted to write about it. You see, invisible reader, after a short contract position, I am finding myself facing unemployment again. And it. freaks. me. out! I can’t emphasize enough how stressed I am. It took five months for me to find this contract position and I am scared that it will take me longer to find a permanent position.

 I know I learnt a lot from being unemployed but I kind of want class to be over. I loved my experience working a 9-to-5. I crave it– which is why it is scary that I am facing protracted unemployment. All I can do at the end of the day is to do my best, push myself outside my comfort zone, “network”, apply online, and make a blitzkrieg on this unemployment thing. But I am also eternally confused. I feel that there is either not enough information and guidance given on how to find a job or that all the information is conflicting. It makes the whole process confusing and painful.

I will stop here for today. I am sorry this has not been the most uplifting blogpost.

On being 22

Standard

Last week, I was twenty-two. It only means that yet another year has passed since I was born on this beautiful planet Earth. However, I wanted to take the time to reflect my year as a twenty-two year old and what I have learnt since then.

When I was on the cusp of turning 22, I was in a strange place of my life. On the one hand, I could graduate from university after only attending classes for three years as opposed to the usual four years. I could also take a Masters in Management from my alma mater. Or I could just do a minor. 

It took me all the rest of summer– which is one month by the way– to decide on which path to take. Of course, invisible reader, you might be thinking “DO THE MASTERS.” But I felt that the format was too jam-packed of different classes in really short amounts of time. In other words, I thought– and still think– that if I were to invest in a masters it had to be a program that I believed in. So, at the last minute, I decided against doing the masters and just went on to do a minor in Economics.

Which turned out to be agonizing!

That econ minor turned out to be a fail!

 

Don’t get me wrong; there is no agony worse than unemployment. Yet, after starting my economics classes I realized that I wasn’t engaged; I was tired of talking about the reasons that I continued studying; I detested exams as a method of grading and so much more. My grades– my really good grades– started slipping and I started having a lot of anxiety and stress which led to many tears. 

The way out turned out to be graduating on the date that was initially available to me and making these classes count as surplus credit. And paf! I graduated. (I never got to go to the convocation though).

Eventually, I had to make the decision on whether to keep taking superfluous classes or start looking towards my next steps–which for me was a job. I chose the latter. January 2013, my job hunt began.

What did I learn during this time?

  • Don’t push back graduation because you are scared of the real world. The truth is there is a lot of learn outside university and life will surely have a way to work things out. I learnt so much since graduating; alas, that is material for another blogpost.
  • There isn’t really a difference between Economics, Political Science or any other social science. If you ever find yourself in a similar situation as me, don’t think that these things actually differ in the real word. I wanted to learn economics to demonstrate I understood math. I should have just taken classes in a local college.

Ok, that was a long, but therapeutic post for me. That’s it from me, xox. S