March 31, 2010

I just don't know

The meeting this morning was with a very different style of person. Less about personality, more about concepts. Am I curious, adventurous, strateg1c AND skilled? I've done lots of text-based solutions (book responses), can I create microsites on the fly? Am I aware of Maslow's Hiearchy of Needs?

The whole vibe was much more cerebral. It left me feeling a bit flat. I'd still love to work there, but I don't have the feeling I nailed it. I think that's more due to his personality. I hung out afterwards chatting with two friends who are contracting there. Which meant I saw my competition go into his office. I just saw her back, but she's a trendy looking Asian woman with a BIG portfol1o. Younger than me. Probably the 'fresh' energy they need. Sigh. No one talked about next steps, but I'm thinking that meeting with the general manag3r of the company means they will decide soon?

It also means I need to design a Flash banner tonight to include in my email thank you to him. They are worried about my capabilities on-line (so am I!!!), so I have to show I can dive in.

This current job is sucking the creativity out of me.

March 28, 2010

Round 3

I've been in Seattle this weekend visiting my brother, sister and her family. We even scooted down to Portland yesterday and came back today to visit OTRmama. (By the way, I really liked Portland. I could easily see us living there for the next phase of life. It's quirky and filled with characters with a capital C. Also lots of breweries, coffee shops, and bike paths. Que sera, sera.)

Before leaving town, I'd sent an email to the CD at New Job to say I'd be out of town and feel free to call my cell phone.

On Friday, my brother and I joined my sister and took Blonde niece to her ballet class. We got to watch all these adorable 4-year olds going through their paces. In the middle of the recital, my phone buzzed in my pocket. A 415 (San Francisco) number. I dashed out to answer it. It was CD. My heart started racing. It was the rejection!

"Hey, OTRgirl. Sorry to interrupt while you're away. Is this an ok time?" Yes. yes. Talk, woman!

"We're hoping you can come in some time next week and talk to our new General Manager about the design position." I started breathing again. Round 3, though? Make up your mind, already!!! Oh well. For variety sake, I went for a morning appointment. I'm hoping I can scoot into work a little late and just play it off like a slow morning or something.

OTRsis wondered about how drawn out this process is: does it reflect a dysfunctional company? I wonder that, too. What I think is going on is that they've had a time of transition. The new CD was hired a week before my first interview. She's finding her sea legs and figuring out what kind of team she wants to build. The General Manager used to work at my old company, so he might be nervous about me. He's never worked with me directly. He's also just been promoted to his new position. I suspect the other person is more web-savvy, but less event-aware. So, they have to pick which direction they need as a company.

I really, really hope they can decide quickly after Wednesday...

And I hope I can get back soon to see my niece and nephew. They are so much fun.

This morning we did home church with OTRmama. We went to the Catholic church on her street and picked up palm branches. Then we went into her back yard to wave them as we sang songs. Blonde Niece asked for This is the Day the Lord has made. Minor Prophet pouted and said he didn't want that one. We sang Blonde Niece's song, then asked him what he wanted. He asked for the alphabet song. So we did that one. Then we told the story of Jesus riding a donkey's foal into the city. Blonde Niece acted out the Jesus part as we waved palms and shouted Hosanna (the neighbors walking by in the alley looked VERY puzzled). Then Blonde Niece turned to her brother and said, "I'll do 'This is the Day', you do the alphabet song'." And they sang a medley together.

March 24, 2010

Truth in advertising

[no news on job front. sigh.]

While biking into work this morning, I thought about pedicures and truth. As I've mentioned, I have nasty toenails. During the warm months (from April through November), I wear fake toenails. It helps to be able to wear flashy heels and sandals and not get sidelong glances from polite adults. Kids just bend down and say, "You have really gross toes!!" Who has time to bother with all that? (yet has time to give herself a pedicure. ha!)

Which made me think about what it would be like if I had a kid someday who was anything like me. That kid would go around all day with me proclaiming that my toenails were fake.

My poor mother.

When I was little, the truth was VERY important to me. If someone thanked me or complimented me, but my brother or sister had done the good thing, I had to give credit where credit was due. Which meant that every time I was out with my Mom and someone complimented her on her thick, long, reddish hair, I'd pipe up, "It's dyed." I liked that they thought she was pretty, I did, too. I just didn't want her getting credit for something that wasn't true.

March 22, 2010

Life Lesson: Waiting

We had J and O over for dinner last night. Jrex made flank steak served over broccoli, peppers and carmelized brussel sprouts with a bed of quinoa. De-li-cious.

During the course of dinner we got onto the topic of life lessons that the Lord keeps bringing up until we've learned enough to move on. Conflict resolution. Learning to choose to not be distracted. Figuring out how to deal with someone in power over you. For me, the lesson I keep getting smacked with is waiting. And waiting. Being placed in a position where my drive, my creative work-arounds, my need to know the agenda, all are thwarted and all I can do is wait and pray.

That's what's going on with the job, too.

On Friday, I tried to push and sent this email:

> Hey, CD,
> How are you? You'd mentioned letting me/us know by the end of the
> week. Is that still the plan?
> Do you have any lingering questions for me? I imagine it's a hard
> decision and don't want to add to any pressure you might be feeling, just
> wanted to say hello and let you know I'm still interested.
> All the best,
> OTRgirl
After I sent it, I reread it later in the day. And I winced. I have a total mixed message in there. "No pressure, but tell me what's going on!!" It comes off as passive aggressive and I hate to be that way.

Sunday, I got this response:
Hey there,

Sorry... No decision yet as the week took the best of me! :) we
should finalize this week! Sorry for the delay and hope that you're
enjoying the weekend!!!



Sent from my iPhone
From talking to a friend who's contracting there, it sounds like the stress and work amount would be the same as what I have where I am now. The commute would be longer. The differences would be much more client variety, creative/innovative solutions, and a learning environment. For how bored and stuck I feel right now, that seems worth it to me. Also, knowing we'd either be moving altogether, or moving up to the city (if Jrex got a job at UC San Francisco), I'm willing to do the commute for a year. (I've got my eye on a Kindle 2...)

...which puts me back where I hate to be. Waiting and praying. I'm praying that she just KNOW which of us would fit best. That the Lord direct her and give her wisdom and energy. At this point, I just want a decision either way so I'm not in limbo.

March 17, 2010

Need to be a boyscout

I know I should be professional all the time, but I'm just not. I dress up or down depending if I have any client meetings scheduled. My goal on any given day is to find the right combo of comfort and 'designer trendy' so that I don't want to tear things off at the end of the day, but I'm presentable.

Yesterday I had no meetings scheduled. Outfit: jacket & tank top with skinny black jeans and boots. At four PM my phone rings. I get pulled into an in-house 'rehearsal' that lasts for three hours and includes the three biggest players in my company.

Today, you'd think I'd have learned, but no. I put on a hat and some dangly earrings (the ones my Dad made me from hardware store pieces), a tunic top, skinny jeans and black boots. So, of course there was a surprise client meeting with our partner who'd flown up from LA. At least I hadn't gone full comfort with a fleece or something.

It's getting very tricky to think how I could juggle the timing to not really mess up my current job if I take the new one. Two major deliverables next Friday. And then my current CD is on PTO that next Monday. I haven't heard anything, but I know they are slammed at the new job, too.

Maybe I should just wear my heels tomorrow and assume I'll have four meetings. That way I won't have any.

March 15, 2010

No news yet

I did get this response from DWP to my email thank you:

[OTRgirl], it was great to see you and I really am so happy we had a chance to chat.
Okay your word FANTASTIC!
I would not want to be [CD] right now...
I am not sure what tomorrow holds but I do know that either way you would be a great addition to our family and that may be today and/or it may be in the future...either way you are awesome!
I was impressed with you and your energy, thank you for giving us your all.

I'm starting to feel really slimy at my current job! Today I got pulled into a highly confidential meeting for a response to a request for proposal (RFP). The Powers That Be love what I made for the last pitch (which we won) and want me to design the next one. Obviously, I may still be here next week, so I have to keep working while I'm still here. I don't want anyone to think of me as a traitor. Ugh.

Que sera, sera...

This weekend Jrex and I spent time brainstorming what we'd like to have in the next City, Neighborhood, House, Job and Church. For each category we made "Need, Want, Wish" columns and just started throwing out ideas. He's thinking about where to send Cover Letters, starting to write out rough drafts and doing research on various institutions. The hard part is that there is no centralized system for all this. It's purely him doing cold contacts and then having to follow up and network.

The whole process could still take over a year, or it could go very quickly. We have NO idea. Which helps me to hold my new job prospect in an open hand. If I don't get it, it's likely for the best.

Plus there's the whole trying to get pregnant thing.

It helps to know there's Someone smarter than me who does know the future and who is guiding us. This is a lot to deal with all at once.

March 12, 2010

In case you were wondering

Dinner with the Bro and The Woman was great. We had to wait a while for her to make her way over to us after she got off work, but that gave me time for an ice cream appetizer. As I licked away at my junior cone (I TOTALLY forgot I'd given up sweets until I typed that sentence...oops), Bro was disgusted. "I can't believe you're spoiling your appetite like that. It's just not right."

Which gave me a great opportunity to look at my rapscallion brother and say, "Oh, Bro, you're so straightlaced. So conservative! What are we going to do with you?"

Then, as The Woman more and more delayed (no cabs downtown last night--she had to wait for a train and then take a cab from there), Bro got more and more irritable. I laughed at him and smugly said, "Should've had an ice cream appetizer."

Then, after I dropped them off, after getting on the freeway, I got stuck when there was an accident that shut down all four lanes of the highway. I sat there for over 45 minutes. Which gave me time to make some notes for my thank you email.


I forget if I mentioned that I worked with DWP when I first started at Current Company. When I showed up at New Company, she gave me a huge hug, which surprised me. I sat in her office with her and the Creative Director (CD). She grinned at me, "So, you're lookin' around, huh?" I laughed, "No, Dancer Girl called me. I wasn't looking, but the more I see of New Company, the more interested I become." I started to get out my portfolio and she waved it away, "I know you're work and it's fantastic. I have no concerns about that."

DWP's biggest fear was that I was too tainted by Current Company (CC). She definitely doesn't want to bring CC's atmosphere into New Company. Over the course of our hour-long conversation, I must have said some of the right things. Near the end of the chat she looked at CD, "My fears are laid to rest. I'd be happy to have her. It's up to you to decide who you want to work with." Looking back at me she added, "We have one other candidate. She's someone who's never worked in this industry, but she's a wonderful designer." She looked to CD, "You've got a tough decision to make."

CD walked me out and said that she'd make her decision by the end of next week. We had that awkward moment where it felt cold and strange to shake hands. Being the impulsive sort, I went ahead and gave her a hug. "Oh, a hug," she responded as she hugged me. It was a little strange, but oh well.

They'd had some concern about my web capability, so when I woke up at 5 AM this morning thinking about the interview and other things, I went ahead and got up. I figured out how to create an email template and sent my thank you in that format. Created header and footer art, linked it all up and sent it along.

I'm a little nervous that I've opted for too much informality in the tone of my thank you and in the hug. They kept talking about being a company that doesn't play games, that wants the people who work there to experience unconditional love, that wants to be healthy and interactive. I figured the way to respond to all that was in a very human, friendly way. We'll see if it worked.

Which will be picked? Experience (and possible exhaustion/cynicism) or Freshness (and a BIG learning curve). Tune in next week when we bring you:

Days of My Lives.

March 11, 2010

On my way

I didn't feel right just taking off early, so I'm taking a half day of PTO today. Which means I am slumming right now at work and then I'll run home and spiff up before heading north.

I've buffed my portfolio. It's easy to do since it's a Keynote presentation on my laptop; I have a remote controller, so I just click through while talking. The appointment is with three women in an office, so no need for projection. I added two items we'd talked about before, took away the stuff that seemed to create lulls and feel good about it.

After the interview, I'm going to pick up my brother and then we'll pick up his girlfriend when she's done with work. No idea where we'll eat, but knowing my food snob bro, it'll be good. While we were discussing options, he mentioned The Front Porch. I asked, "Is that the one that shows movies in the patio? I've been there." It wasn't, but he was impressed that I'd been to Foreign Cinema. (Smart Girl and I did a night in the city last year. It was SO expensive for me. Blew through a third of my spending money for the month--taxis, drinks before dinner, etc. We haven't tried anything like that since. Our standards for what thriftiness looks like are too different.)

Now I just have to survive the next two hours before I can head out the door!

March 9, 2010

Blame it on my brother

The interview is confirmed for Thursday. It's just a half an hour. If I take PTO, it has to be for half a day, so I'll leave here at 1 pm or so. What do I do for three hours?

Afterwards, I actually am going to meet my brother for dinner. I just told my boss that my brother gave me no notice and is only available Thursday afternoon (lies told thus far in this process: 5) OTRbro lived in SF for a few months, so he can be my guide to the city, which will be fun! I'm looking forward to that part of the evening. Maybe I'll see if Jrex can take the train up so he can join us. Hmm...

Anyway, I need advice. It looks like the two original people will be in this interview with the addition of one new person. I was planning on tightening up my presentation (DWP is an impatient, pull no punches woman). Otherwise, it's the same as what the first two saw before. Is that ok? Do I need to have anything new? I'm guessing this round is more to test the personality fit?

I just want this OVER with either way. (well, that's kind of a lie. I want it over in my favor). I am praying for clarity -- that we would just know if this is the right fit for all of us. In the meantime, I've been trying to avoid becoming the point person for an upcoming project so that if I do leave, I'm not going to leave this company out to dry. My current boss is getting confused. This morning the Lord convicted me that I need to continue to serve him until the end and not doing what he asks is just adding to his stress. Sigh. I don't like limbo.

I'm hoping they decide quickly one way or the other after Thursday.

March 8, 2010


The CD at New Company emailed to see if I'm free Thursday afternoon. She's trying to confirm with Devil Wears Prada that it will work for her to talk with me then. I'm excited and nervous.

I've set the stage in a couple ways. One, this past weekend I hit Nordstrom's Rack and found a cute pair of knee-high distressed gray leather boots and a gray dress that is perfect with them (great for an interview outfit--if you're a graphic designer in San Francisco). I also bought a crazy pair of Poetic License heels with leopard print. Retail value for all three: $600. Paid? 1/6th of that.

(My shoes aren't exactly like this photo, but it shows that Poetic License does animal prints in a way that looks stylish, not trashy.)

Anyway. I wore the heels today and gushed about my shopping trip. Which makes it easy to come in on Thursday flaunting my cute outfit. And then...

My cover story might actually turn out to be true! My brother is coming down to the area to visit a friend in the city. I can just say that, typical of my brother, he just told me he'd be around, so I'm going to take off early and go meet him in the city.

I love it when a plan comes together...

March 5, 2010

New connections

Last Saturday, I drove up to the mountains to join my new church for their women's retreat.

One of my goals for the day was to connect with the new pastor's wife. She's a Korean-American married to a Caucasian man. I was tired of people asking if I'd met her. Turns out, she was the main speaker at the retreat, so it was hard to grab her in any natural way. I shrugged and wandered around meeting other people instead. At lunch, I connected with a woman over our shared love of going to the early service in order to get to the Mountain View farmer's market before it closes.

On my way into dinner, I prayed that the Lord would guide my conversations. As I stood in line to get food, I wasn't even aware of who was around me. All of a sudden, the woman in front of me, turned and saw my nametag. Since it included my last name, she exclaimed, "Oh! Are you married to a Korean?" It was the pastor's wife. We started chatting in line and then headed for seats. I asked if I could join her and she was excited to have me. I think the other people at the table were a bit shocked as we compared where my in-laws and her family were during the war. I'm guessing that stories of invasion, child soldiers, threatened execution and 11-year olds wandering alone for 6-months are not the normal fare at a retreat.

She's an amazing woman. After college she and her husband-to-be worked for Int3rvars1ty, a Christian organization on college campuses. For making the choice to have to do fund-raising as well as not going on to graduate school, her parents disowned her. For a year she had no contact with them. She co-authored a book for Asian Americans about obeying God without dishonoring parents. Somewhere in there, she married a white guy. They struggled for years with infertility. When they finally were selected as adoptive parents, they got a little boy when he was 4-days old. Two weeks later, he's diagnosed with failure to thrive. From being a national-level speaker, she became a home-bound mother. I asked her if that had made her angry toward God. She said it hadn't, that God had given her some level of mother love that made her prefer being with her son to any other option. "I think it's easier when it's a child that's the tether. If it's the spouse, that's much harder." They now have an adopted girl and a biological child for a lively bunch.

Most of the women stayed for another day, I drove home that night. When I went to church the next morning, I happened to sit a couple rows behind the pastor. During the service I had a thought. When people were mingling after church, I went up to him with one of my personal business cards; on the back, I'd written three menu options.

"Pastor, I'm OTRgirl. I bonded with your wife last night at the retreat."

His face lit up, "She called and told me about you! I'm happy to meet you."

I gave him the card and said, "I would love to have dinner with your family, but I'm guessing it's hard for all of you to get out, so here's my proposal. We'll bring the dinner to you. I can make some Korean food, or my husband can make some non-Korean food. Just let us know what works for you."

She emailed me two days later and we're scheduled to bring dinner in early April. Now I just have to pull out my Mom K recipes and make some kalbi (beef ribs), buy some sides (good Korean market 30 minutes from our house), and defrost Mom K's mahndu (dumplings). Shouldn't be too bad. I don't think I'll get ambitious and try to make much more than that. Maybe I'll do a whole fish? Any kid-friendly Korean dishes I should consider?

I feel like my Mom. She was bold enough, crazy enough and hospitable enough that if we had a Chinese guest coming, she'd make chinese food. For an Indian friend? She made curry. I've never tried to cook for a Korean woman! I'm intimidated.

March 2, 2010

The unofficial word

Just sent a text to my friend who is contracting with the agency:

"Don't want to IM. I sent a thank you to CD and VP. Got a response from CD. Haven't heard anything since. Do you know status of process? If not, no problem. Just curious."

She wrote back:

"There's a whole set of interviews lined up next week. U made round two. Ur next Meet will b with (Devil Wears Prada). But she's not in town yet."

The more time passes, the more I realize how badly I want out of this job and into a more healthy working environment. It sounds like everyone at New Agency loves their job. They said they feel like "kids in a candy store". Feeling like that would be an amazing change.

March 1, 2010

Silence is golden

I'm not writing about the job interview from last Tuesday, cause I'm really hoping they call me back for the next stage. I get superstitious that the more I discuss something, the less likely it is to happen. The short version for now is that the interview seemed to go well. Next steps were to call back the top 2-3 candidates, have them meet some other people in the agency and do a faux project to give them an idea of working style/compatibility. They had other interviews scheduled through Thursday, then most people work from home on Monday and Friday. I won't start to get bummed until tomorrow comes and goes with no word.

I would love to at least make the callback.