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Part Three: Spring 2011



This article was written by guest writer, Miss. Stefie.

It’s not what you know, it’s who you know. But not only who you personally know—also who your parents know, who your friends know, who your previous employers or coworkers know, and so on.

After six long months, I was once again living in the same area as my parents and most of my friends. It was awesome. After a few days to get settled in, I began calling my previous jobs to see if they had any openings. In the meantime, I did some work for my father. A week after my return to the area, I picked up my old part-time modeling job at the community college and another gig at the arts center a couple of towns over. A week after that, I was re-hired as a part-time sales associate at “Bargaintopia”. Two weeks later, I was working two days a week at the Utica Zoo, as though I had never left. All the while, I was holding out for my dream job. The four aforementioned jobs were nice to have, but what I really wanted to do was work in a library. Perhaps a short explanation is in order:

My father loves to talk about my future. Every few months he delivers what I have dubbed the “YOUR FUTURE” speech. In the most recent “YOUR FUTURE” speeches, he had decided that I should go to grad school (didn’t happen), get a good job in Glens Falls (didn’t happen), consider moving back home after John left his school program (happened, but several months after the fact), maybe you can see a pattern forming here. In any case, it was about time he had a suggestion that was both sensible and feasible. It was on his advice I took a series of online career tests.

For the most part, online career tests are a waste of time and a big scam to get you to pay for your results after having spent an hour to take the test. But if you take enough of them and read enough personality mumbo-jumbo, sometimes they are not completely and utterly useless. It was in this fashion that I decided I wanted to try librarianship.

While scouring the online job boards for public service work, I finally found the perfect position: Library Assistant – Youth Services. I read through the job description. I was still interested. Read through the qualifications, and in an incredible stroke of good fortune, I was qualified. I must apply for this job! Scroll all the way down to the bottom, “If interested, please fill out this application and e-mail along with your resume to…” Do I know that name? That name is familiar! How do I know that person?

I often get the impression that my parents are somehow acquainted with everyone in the county. Time to call my dad. “Of course you know her! That’s Bob’s wife. You know her from church and from the blues trio. Didn’t you know she’s the director of the library?” I am beside myself with excitement. After attempting to download the application and receiving only a blank document, I call the library and ask for the director. She answers, recognizes my name, is happy to hear from me, seems excited to have me apply for the job, makes sure I know it’s competitive, asks if I’m qualified, no she didn’t know I was moving back to the area, it’s so good to hear from me…

A month after moving, I get a phone call from the library. I have an interview. I see the library director a few times before then, she is very friendly and says nothing about my potential future job. I go in for the interview, meet with her and the children’s librarian, answer all their questions, and eave feeling hopeful. They said they’re interviewing for the rest of this week and the next week, and they’ll make their decision about a week after that. Whenever I see the director in church, I want so badly to ask how far they are from a decision. She gives no indication of my standing. The three weeks pass. I get a phone call. It’s her. She wants to offer me the job if I’m still interested. Of course I’m still interested! I go in at the end of the week to fill out paperwork. I am elated.

Back up for a moment. Look at that second paragraph. This job at the library will be 15 hours per week. I can’t abandon the job at the zoo, they need me those two days per week, at least until they hire someone new. That’s 18 hours per week. Bargaintopia was very good to hire me back, I can’t just leave after a month and a half of working for them again, I’ll stay on for a while longer, at least until inventory is over, the hours are mostly different anyway. 15 hours per week. I can’t leave the community college in the lurch, they don’t have many other dependable models. 12 hours per week. And I can’t just up and quit on my dad, he’s my dad! 5 hours per week. If you’ve been keeping up, that amounts to about 65 hours per week. Okay, I can do this.

And I do. I keep it together with the help of my day planner. I’m hardly ever home, I sometimes have to skip meals to make it everywhere on time, but I’m doing it. It’s about a month before I start losing my mind.


Recounting Yestermorrow

By Christine Bahrens

In my senior year of high school, Kyle, his then-girlfriend Laura, Z, and I all went to see Tristan and Isolde. Following the movie, Z and I started a popcorn fight in the lobby of the movie theater, one that carried out into the snow-draped parking lot. Our greasy, buttered popcorn would join the rest of the theater litter in snow mounds by the end of the night. It was dark, just about nine, with the pale snowfall catching in the amber lights of the parking lot.

We were chilly, anxious – it was a Friday night – and hungry. Across the parking lot were three restaurants, but Uno’s Chicago Grill was the closest. Z and I skipped ahead of Laura and Kyle – we always joked that they were Mom and Dad, and we were the kids. This particular night Z and I were absolutely hyper, and even ‘Mom and Dad’ were giggling.

We were seated in a booth across from the bar, and we were so caught up in our conversation that we barely noticed the white square napkin nestled precariously between our glasses of root beer. There four letters were scrawled in plain black ink, and they form one word that Z and I continue to joke about to this day.


Or, More specifically, The Todd Cult, which was a running joke we had after that night at Uno’s when we passed the napkin around the table and each of us wrote a silly little note to Todd, like “We love Todd, he is our God.” I had only been to Uno’s once before then, so needless to say I left that night with a positive opinion of the restaurant planted firmly in my memories. For the rest of the year the four of us would snack at Uno’s. We created “The Todd Cult” under the “Order of the Napkin” because it was something that only the four of us participated in.

After I graduated from high school, I didn’t spend a lot of time at the restaurant. Mostly because I didn’t HAVE free time. But I always kept the fond memories of the restaurant and my friends in the front of my mind. I would even retell the story of The Todd Cult to anyone who would listen (and even some who I knew did not want to). I would even apply to Uno’s whenever I was job hunting – only dropping to second in my job picks to Barnes and Nobles, because I had always wanted to work in a bookstore.

It wouldn’t be until my senior year in college when Uno’s would once again play a role in my life. A friend of mine, KB, introduced me to the wonders of trivia nights at Uno’s (something that had always been a weekly ritual for her and her friends, and one that I quickly became a part of).

When I moved back home, I had to give up my weekly visits to Uno’s for a few reasons. The first being there are no trivia nights at our local Uno’s. The second being that my family is not big on eating in restaurants. Well, they’re not too big on going anywhere, any day.

But when I decided that I was going to give up my search for a full-time job, and instead get a few part-timers in order to save up enough money for moving to Seattle, Uno’s was my first choice.

And, long story short, this little ‘love affair’ between us is finally moving to the next level. As of today I am officially an Uno’s waitress!

I recounted my previous adventures at Uno’s because I know people are thinking – so what, you’re a waitress? That’s not much of an accomplishment. But to me it is. It is something that will pay the bills, and it’s a second home.

Introducing Mr. Lawver

By Bryan Lawver

I may have learned a lot of things in my undergraduate career, but there is only one thing that I learned after graduation: the world does not revolve around me.

I was always considered smart by my teachers, always earning what I wanted with a minimum amount of struggle, so I assumed that my good luck would continue into “the real world” after graduation.  Oh, what a fool I was.

I graduated with a B.A. in photojournalism in May of 2010, and though I knew that I was going into a notoriously difficult field, I expected an entry-level job by the end of the year, and then I would consider graduate school after a couple of years. The plan, as any post-grad can imagine, went awry quickly.

As soon as I graduated, I went to Iceland with a friend from school. We needed something to signify our accomplishment, and we could really, really use a vacation. In the weeks leading up to our trip, the Eyjafjallajökull volcano began to stir. The tremendous eruption stranded hundreds of travelers, us included. I being a writer and my friend a photographer, we considered this a turn of good luck – our first post-graduation assignment. I’ll save the details or another day, but things did not go as planned, and we were unable to sell anything that we shot or wrote on the trip. This, while being a relatively minor setback considering that the opportunity just fell into our laps, was my first sign that maybe things would not go as smoothly as I had hoped.

After returning home disappointed, I assumed that without school to worry about I could devote all of my time to finding a job. I was almost right; I devoted all of my time to trying to find a job. Over a hundred resumes later, I was still working in a coffee shop, scouring the Internet for jobs daily. I got a few offers. I did some freelance work, sometimes finishing the work and not getting paid. I was also offered a real, full-time job. I would transcribe news broadcasts for closed captioning television. The job was 40+ hours per week, the commute was an hour each way, and the pay was less than what I made at the coffee shop.

So I took a step back. I must be doing something wrong, I thought. I made lists of all the jobs I was offered. I crossed off jobs with no pay, or that required more experience than I possessed. Maybe one out of every ten jobs was left. And what were they offering? The chance to write product descriptions on eBay; to send out spam e-mails; to churn out content for scammy-looking blogs offering get-rich-quick schemes and vitamin pills for dogs.

This was not what I went to school for. I didn’t work for four years just to write about things that I neither cared about nor believed in. I didn’t spend all that time, only to get a job with a salary that I couldn’t live on, for work that I couldn’t live with.

So, then, what did I go to school for?

I wanted to expand our understanding of the world; I wanted to write something that would make a difference in someone’s life, to stand up for things I believed in and to – as the old saying goes – give a voice to the voiceless.

The standard says that you have to earn the right to do what you want to do for a living. You have to fight your way up the ladder to get to the moment where you are the one calling the shots. But that standard is badly in need of revision. Why keep trying to climb the ladder when even the undesirable bottom rung is out of reach?

If I wanted to succeed, instead of clawing my way to the top, I would have to find a side door.

I decided to skip ahead a few years on my plan to attend grad school. Cue the long and grueling application process, several sleep-killing months of waiting for admissions decisions, and finally getting into the school of my choice.

It is now about 16 months since I finished my undergraduate studies, and my first graduate classes start in 3 weeks. Check back often and I will do what I can to enlighten you in the process of going back to school, getting into the school of your choice, and surviving once you get there.

Odyssey of a Grad Student and the Playlist that Paved the Way (via Promega Connections)

This is something that I think grad student or simple post-grad can enjoy. Give it a try!

Odyssey of a Grad Student and the Playlist that Paved the Way Grad school is no walk in the park. Whether the topic is English or Astrophysics, most grad students would agree that the journey to the coveted PhD can simply be described as “hard”- academically, financially, mentally. It is very important to have an outlet for the associated stress such as a hobby or exercise. My outlet was music. Music is very important in my life. It is so important that most people close to me have their own soundtrack that … Read More

via Promega Connections

Of Carpets and The Teenager PHOTOS

The Obvious Downside

By sendmeonmyway101

I had hoped to get a few more postings about the positives of being a Stay at Home Daughter – Constantly clean house, free time, energy, and there are more, sure – but I have once again come face to face with the obvious downside.

I don’t get paid. Well, aside from the allowance my parents give me (which I earn from keeping up on the housework). This hasn’t been too much of a problem lately, because I had money left over from graduation and tax returns. But I realized my car is up for inspection, and it is NOT going to pass. Why? Funny story.

When I was at school there was a big winter storm, and the stress of snow on my car windshield one night left a very vibrant scar. Long, and in the absolutely wrong place, my car will not pass inspection until it’s repaired; repairs that will cost who knows how much (I’ll get an estimate tomorrow); repairs that this chick-y cannot afford, which shamefully means borrowing more money from the ‘rents.

Suddenly, being a Stay at Home Daughter blows. But before PGP (Post-Graduation Panic) could kick in, I met up with an old high school friend today, and she’s given me hope. OK, so she hasn’t led me in the right direction for a job, but her tale of carrying on five jobs at once with no days off for over two months has motivated me.

It’s not that I haven’t been trying to find a job. Since graduation in May (and even before), I’ve probably sent out resumes, cover letters and applications to fifty places (honestly, I stopped keeping track after twenty-five). I’ve only had two job interviews, and both have been at least three hours from home, and unsuccessful. Following my last interview, I was so certain that the call-back would be positive, that I didn’t bother applying anywhere else. I did get a call, but it was nowhere near positive and I was back to Square One. This was last Friday, and I would have started looking again, but a visit from a friend this past week has taken up most of my time and energy, and when I did think about job hunting, my mind said – he’ll be gone in a week. Then it will be OK.

I returned from my coffee break today determined. I essentially have four months to find a job, before my student loans kick in. Worst comes to worst, I can do some tutoring at the local colleges, as well as continue mooching off my parents while keeping up on housework. But let’s be realistic – it wouldn’t hurt to have a steady pay check. My current internships are nice, but they don’t pay the bills – or car repairs.

So, now I’m off to once again search for a job! Hopefully with some success this time.

On the plus side, USA Today promises a better year in job hunting for college grads, so I guess I have that to look forward to when I go to sleep at night.

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