16 December 2007

Tacky Tinsel Trees

It’s a snowbound Sunday here in Buffalo. Luckily for me, this is the first day in what seems like a very long time where I don’t have to be anywhere or do anything aside from reading and writing, those things that I actually like to do so much. It’s a nice way to end a very busy week, working on an essay and contemplating a variety of changes that have taken place.

I kicked off the week with a mock interview on Monday morning. I honestly think I was more terrified of the mock interview than any real interviews which may be coming up in the next few weeks. If I’m interviewing with a room of strangers and it bombs, I can always pass the blame on them, just tell people that they were a bunch of weirdos that I wouldn’t want to work with anyway. Or shoot, I could always just lie and say that I performed brilliantly and they’d be a bunch of fools if they didn’t hire me on the spot. With a room of people you know and respect, well, if you look like an a$$, you can’t really hide it so much. Thankfully, it went well. There were some holes in my preparations but holes that I expected and that’s the point of these exercises really, to identify those holes and let them help you fix them before you face a real job committee. Overall, they were pleased and I was pleased and that little nightmare was behind me.

Personally, I’m just hoping that my mock interview success was in no way connected to my secret weapon… packing tape.

I am not a business-suit wearer. I don’t have to wear a suit on a regular basis. I’d actually look quite odd doing my classes in a suit as it’s simply not de rigueur for most academics to get that gussied up on a daily basis. However, for interviews, we pull out the ultra-conservative suits. Or we go buy them, in a mall full of Canadian bargain hunters that drive you nuts every time they shout “eh” across the dressing room. Anyway, don’t get me started on shopping with our neighbors to the north. I found a few suits at a good price with a decent fit… aside from the few inches that they needed to be lopped off the legs. Yes, I should have found a seamstress prior to wearing them out of the house or even just sucked it up and shortened them myself. But in panic mode you make priorities. I could galavant around town finding someone with scissors or I could prepare for the actual interview. I took my chances, stuck my nose in another book and the night before my interview I whipped out my handy dandy roll of packing tape to hem my pants. The morning of the interview I was then left with only two concerns: (1) hoping the tape didn’t crinkle as I walked, and (2) praying that the tape wouldn’t get wet and come loose as I was cleaning the snow off my car.

All in all, the packing tape solution was quite Macgyver, held up through the interview and even impressed my colleagues in engineering. It worries me somewhat that my fashion choices impress my engineering cohorts but so long as I stay out of pocket protector land, I think I’m safe.

And speaking of engineering, the second big event of the week was leaving my job there. I’ve worked for three years as a writer for the engineering school and have grown close to the people in the Dean’s office. However, the time has come when I need to be able to focus solely on my research if I’m to finish my degree. I don’t really do so well with being the center of attention so thankfully, they let me say my good-byes quietly. I will still be around to check in on the office but it will be quite different than my schedule of being there a few days a week. I will miss everyone and will even miss the work that I did there, but I know it’s a necessary step for completing my degree and moving into my chosen profession.

It hasn’t entirely hit me that my life is changing, partially since so much is changing and everything is up in the air. I could be graduating and moving across the country in six months, or I may still be here doing pretty much the same thing while trying again to find a position. If I do get something, at this point there are still options all across the country so I don’t even know what direction I’d be taking the moving truck out of Buffalo. I could be going to a small school or a really large place, a huge city or a tiny town in the middle of nowhere. The only thing that’s certain is the need to write and research for the next five months so I can easily assuage my anxieties and dampen my distracting daydreams with the pressures of work. Nothing like having 600 pages to read in a day to whip yourself into line.

Amidst all the events of the week I also managed to put up my Christmas trees. No live pine for this gal. It’s tacky tinsel in silver and gold with enough glittery garland to overwhelm a Vegas showgirl. Yep, I’m classy like that. Packing tape and tacky trees, all the best for me.

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