Career, Job market, Lifestyle

The Hunger Jobs

Whoa! Woowee! It is tough out there! I’ve heard it, you’ve heard it, everybody has heard it, but have you felt it? The feeling of dread, annoyance, anticipation, nervousness, rejection, perseverance, and the feeling of doing it all over the next day and the day after that and the month after that and the month after that. It’s exhausting as that run-on sentence was to read. Really. Hunger Jobs

So here I am reveling in the rich experience of trying to get employed in the good ol’ U.S. of A. And it is seriously no joke. There are many interviewees paying upwards of $700 to know exactly how to interview, how to master the trick and behavioral questions. They’re learning how to ask the interviewers questions that flip them on their heads. They’re learning how to stand-out, sell themselves if you will. Today, things aren’t what they used to be. Although I have no idea what they used to be, because I’m only 24.

According to my relatives though, it used to be, if you just showed some initiative and maybe passed a skills test you got the job. Or better yet, if your Uncle Bob was buddies with the supervisor at the factory you’d land that job. Or heck, just thirty years ago a lady my age wouldn’t even be expected or encouraged to jump into the job market, I’d be at home tending to God knows what.

Job Market Photo

Either way the generations crumbles, all of us, X, Y, and Z’s have had a go at complex issues and challenges. And generally most of us have come up on the other end of the hard stuff. So, I’d like to share just a few observations I’ve made in my job search that might be helpful to someone, especially those twentysomethings with a liberal arts degree in 2014.

  1. For every 15 applications you’ll receive 1 call for an interview.
    1. I’ve done my own equation on this, but this number seems to be the average for most young professionals today.
  2. If you don’t have some great questions to throw back at the interviewer during the interview, then you’re not ready.
    1. Do your research on the company, listen to what they tell you, and then ask some great pre-prepared questions!
  3. After 15 real-time in-person interviews you should land at least 1 job offer, mostly likely at a salary $15,000 lower than your expected rate of income. 
    1. This can certainly be a slow process. Patience is necessary! And a smile. 🙂
  4. Basic to Intermediate technical skills are a given, you’ve got to have something better to say and to put on your resume.
    1. Everybody has a website, everybody is glued to 5 forms of social media, everybody works on MS Office Suite, so what else have you got?
  5. Confidence certainly goes a long way, look ’em in the eye, shake their hand gruff, and describe yourself and your work experiences in an exciting and interesting way.
    1. You need to be entertaining. You can see in the interviewer’s eyes if they’re bored. They’ll look glazed over.
  6. When they ask you, “Tell me about yourself,” in the interview. Don’t go crazy, be precise, creative, and confident in who you are. You can even pull-out an object and show them who you are rather than tell them. Get creative!
    1. I honestly can’t think of an object that would describe me. Maybe a laptop, as I’m multi-faceted and equipped with a variety of functions and capabilities to make your day smoother.
  7. In my opinion whether you’re applying, writing a cover letter, submitting a resume, taking a call, or having an interview the key is this: creativity. Interviewers and hiring managers have seen it all, hiring is a bore, a yawn. Please feel free to be slightly weird, to stand out, and to be engaging in your approach. You’ll lose more in the end by being the boring person they simply cannot remember!

What is it about today’s job market? It really is impossible, but then one day you wake-up and you’re hired and it wasn’t impossible after all. Today getting a job is a very precise process, patience is necessary every step of the way, and so is a can-do attitude.

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Uncategorized

TeaTime Darling!

I’ve begun a pasThe Duke And Duchess Of Cambridge Tour Southeast Asia - Day 3sionate love affair with this warm, delightful, slightly creamy, and ever so comforting drink. We’ll call it tea. But there’re so many varieties I’m hard pressed to say just one is my favorite. All black teas are fair game. The ever so dainty and polite Lady Grey and her adoring husband Earl. Both the Irish and English breakfast varieties awaken the spirit, but the Irish is more quippish. The Irish, just like their tea, are typically more ruddy and witty.

Today nearly every citizen of the United Kingdom would find a day without tea difficult. They simply can’t imagine their lives without it! And now that a British family and an adoring British man have “adopted me” I simply cancatherine_smallnot live without my daily or thrice daily dose of tea. Although being Irish American I dive in for Irish Breakfast tea with a spot of sugar and milk more than any other tea.

When people think of tea most immediately turn their thoughts to England and/or Japan. The lovely Portuguese princess, Catherine of Braganza, who was the queen of Charles the II, brought the idea of tea to England. The royal court was drinking up well before anybody else in England. Tea drinking was a luxury and a sport for both men and women. Men would drink tea in coffee-houses, while women would drink tea in their homes with delicate tea pots, cups, and saucers made of porcelain.

Today everybody partakes in tea. Whether it is an elaborate high-tea affair with biscuits galore and finger sandwiches or with a mug sitting with your favorite book it is comforting. Both Princess Kate and I find afternoon tea to be a fun, sociable, and relaxing affair.

There is a fine art to teatime. It all begins with the water. The water must be fresh and purified to start. Going through the motions of waiting for your tea water to boil is a time of reflection and meditation for most. I find myself in self-reflection every time I’m waiting for my water to boil. All the while setting up my cup, milk, sugar, and tea. And then there’s the art of pouring the water into your cup at least 3 inches from the rim for perfect aeration. Scientists and tea enthusiasts alike recommend you wait a minimum of 3 minutes while allowing your tea to steep. This is typically another great time for a little meditation. Steeping your tea, lifting the tag up and down, waiting for your perfect cup is quite relaxing and does teach one a little about patience.

As only a Hand holding a teacupfew months ago I was a tea novice I can say I’ve finally developed my tea personality. It includes 4 minutes of steeping, 2 sugar cubes, and 2 tablespoons of milk. It must have the right color and the right sweetness. Not too bitter and not too sweet. My charming British boyfriend on the other hand waves his hand and says, “pish-posh,” to the idea of adding sugar to a cup of tea. Most everybody though enjoys a spot of milk in his or her cup. I think it’s because milk cools down the boiling hot tea to the absolute perfect sipping temperature, plus it adds a creamy pleasant sensation!

Tea! What’s not to love? If you can’t find time to self-reflect, relax, meditate, or stay hydrated I’d recommend adopting a delicious cup of tea into your everyday. Cheerio!

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Creative Writing

Knitted Past: A Short Story

Fiona looked sharply to the corner where she heard a slight clash. Her steel grey eyes narrowed down to the floor behind her blue velvet recliner. “Ah ha!” she exclaimed. Making eye contact with her overweight rusty orange and grey tabby cat.  “Are you the perpetrator, Morris?” Morris lay out on his side, stretching his long limbs in all directions, only responding by licking his right front paw. Fiona picked the wicker basket off the floor and collected the yarn balls strewn about, but not without a fight from Morris who lazily clasped his paws around each dangling yarn string. “Morris,” she moaned, “I’m going to throw you in the clink if you don’t lay off.”  And with that Morris was off!

She had been knitting for years, mostly just throws and mittens for the women at her book club and their grandkids, as Fiona had no relatives to speak of. After a lifetime of being on her own she never put too much thought into it. She made family out of her community and her fat cat Morris all too easily. Her friends and community accepted her graciously and warmly. All thought of her with kind affection, but Fiona had a secret, like most of us, that she tucked deep away into her outer memory. 

Under her blue recliner, there lies a memory book. After all these years it has collected a thick layer of dust. But it is there and it is present. Inside of it Fiona had put a small lock of hair, a baby bootie she had hand knitted, and other little mementos of a time once fleeting. A time that Fiona no longer cared to think of in her old age, for fraught of a broken heart.

 Every morning Fiona wakes up quite early, as Morris will paw at the curlers in her hair for some food and attention. She always gives in to his purrs. After she gets Morris settled, she primps for a day out, never leaving the house without proper pantyhose and perfectly parted hair. She picks up a baguette and double espresso au lait at the bakery and café most mornings and then heads to the park. And today she did just that. She sat at a bench that is just east of the pond with a perfect view of the morning sun. There she sipped her café and contemplated the complexities of life. Deep in thought she hadn’t realized someone had slipped right beside her on the bench. When she came to, she found a middle-aged man with steel grey eyes gazing at her with intensity. She said nothing. The man reached for her hand, grabbing it with a firm grip. She looked at him incredulously. “Can I help you?” she asked. The man held on to her hand, peering into her eyes, that were his eyes, “Momma?” he said.  

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Travel

English Quirks: From the American Perspective

I should’ve known this country would be trouble when our Virgin flight was equipped with a free open bar.  I’ve been ravaging England one pint at a time ever since.  Well, sort of.  The river Thames isn’t pronounced how you’d think, it’s more like the river Tems.  Deodorant stick!?  Not in England, spray your pits, there’s no other way.  People aren’t really smoking fags, only cigarettes.  Bloody hell!  Sure, why not?

Piers'London

I’ve been in England for exactly 2 weeks and 2 days alternating equally between the English country side and London, the big city. I’ve come to enjoy both equally, although according to my Mr. I’m a country girl and quite obviously refute the city.  Between mind-blowing ancient cathedrals, endless rustic pubs, flying in the tube, cycling the English countryside, nearly dying on the famed London double decker bus, and seeing an endless array of enlightening, magical, and inspiring sights I’d say England is a fabulous destination for a summer holiday. So much so that we’ve extended our 4-week trip here to 6-weeks! We literally have so much we’d like to see and do that we needed more time. No to mention our 4 day detour we are taking to France in mid-August.Piers'London2

London must be mentioned by itself. London deserves its own blog and sure enough there are many blogs specifically for this magical place we call London. The city must be one of the chicest cities in the world, everyone in Central London, and I mean every single person is smartly and/or fashionably dressed. I literally have the desire to sit at one of the very many outdoor cafe terraces just to watch the stylish people walk by on the street. And oh yes, I am taking notes. Fashion and on-pointe trends do not go unnoticed in my world. I must say this is a city where the men give the women a run for their money, winning daily awards for best filled closet and smartest dressed person.

Of course as Anglo as England may be I have come across several quirks that have either stopped me in my tracks or had me saying, “huh!?”  Luckily for me all the English ladies and lads I’ve come across have been nothing but graceful and welcoming to all my cultural hang-ups.  Coming over here I had a stereotyped image in my mind of London and the whole of England, and in many ways the stereotypes hold true.  “Would you like some tea and crumpets,”  was a quote I often found myself reiterating to showcase my British accent.  Although that saying may seem silly I’ve certainly had my fair share of both tea and crumpets while being over here, and get this, even hot crossed bunsTeaTime!

I knew we played hot crossed bun on our recorders in grade school, but I never really gave much thought to the bun itself, well they do indeed exist and they are good!.

Moving on to kitchens, ovens, and functionality.  Going into a typical English kitchen you will instantly be aware that you are in a foreign country.  The fridge is slimmer and smaller.  The ovens, if one exists at all, are bizarre and also act as a toaster.  If you cannot figure out the oven your best bet is to text a picture of its knobs to your beloved and ask for a tutorial.  And yes, I did do this.  Kitchens here seem to not have microwaves!  Not that nuking your food is beneficial in any way, but what they use to nuke their food are more like mini toaster ovens.  I’m unsure of what they’re really called, but from what I can understand they are expensive like $500 for a “somewhat-kind-of-microwave.”  CyclingEngland

Every kitchen is filled with delicious breads and baguettes and it is not uncommon to see a person devour an entire baguette to their self.  Not that I have done that, ahem hem.  The bread is different here.  They call it “savoury”  which is the opposite of sweet.  American breads are actually very sweet, I did not realize how much sugar or sucrose is in our loafed bread.  And speaking of loafed bread, you will not easily find that here.  Most breads are like a crusty roll or baguette!  They are delicious.  And on Sundays a proper Brit has Sunday Roast at the pub, which is like the mecca dish of savoury.  Did you know that there are two types of food, savoury and sweet?  I did not.  At least not until I became an unofficiated English woman.  Savoury food is like hearty, robust, warm, filling food, like something you’d have for dinner.  There is typically zero sweetness.  For example even if we are having a warm, dinner-type meal there’d be some sweet aspect of it like candied sweet potatoes, sweet-ish breads, or overly sweetened ketchup.  Here that is not the case.  It does seem a bit healthier, but I’ve found myself thinking some of the foods here taste a bit dull, the ketchup difference certainly throws me.

Cookies, those are biscuits.  Fries, those are chips.  Chips, those are crisps.  Yes, they are driving on the wrong side of the road!  And no you will not get used to that right away.  The cars are slimmer and smaller.  It does seem as if nearly everybody is driving a hatchback or station wagon here.  And the toilet seat will be smaller, so good riddance if you have a large ass!  And if you’re looking for a normal toilet lever to flush, look again, towards the ceiling for a small string hanging down that you can pull.  Need a light on?  Look for a string hanging from the ceiling, not for a light switch.  It’s funny how the little differences and oddities can add up.  Add enough of them up and you’re in a foreign country.

Mostly I can understand what people are talking about and keep up with conversations, in fact I’ve picked up the lingo here quite efficiently.  It is not 20 pounds it’s 20 quid.  If someone speaks to you and says, “alright?” you’re simply supposed to say, “alright,” right back.  The whole country is “alright” apparently, which is actually hilarious!  Nobody is bad, sad, great, wonderful, or okay.  Everybody is alright.  If someone says alright to you do not feel the need to elaborate your day’s issues.  It seems as if the country as a whole is lacking extreme self-expression of any sort.  If they are it is understated.  I am starting to miss loud-mouths and extremists to some extent.  It is funny being surrounded by a bunch of level-headed Brits everyday.  It’s clear Americans are brash, loud, extreme, unorthodox, and confused compared to the English.  Either way it’s all alright, that’s what I’ve gained being here so far.  If you do feel like being a little loud and rowdy in England then you better have a fair excuse; going to the pub and getting smashed is usually a suitable alibi.

And with that, I’m off to fetch a pint.  Until next time.

Contact writer at http://www.alyssasw.com

TypicalPub

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Uncategorized

Cafe Culture: Not Just About the Coffee

I’ll follow up on this post soon, cafe culture is really an interesting facet of life.

Blog of the Courtier

This cool but sunny morning as I sat outside at my current favorite cafe, watching people and traffic go by, I did what I always do whenever I find myself having coffee.  I shamelessly listen to snippets of other people’s conversations, like catching bits of dialogue from a film I’m not familiar with.  I take note of what people are wearing, or notice activities like deliveries and landscaping, things you can often walk right past without noticing.  And more often than not, I tend to find myself reminiscing about other cafes I have known and loved over the years.

In any cafe the coffee is important, but it’s not the only reason to go to one for a bit of caffeination. Of course when you know the brew is good, it tends to make you a regular customer whenever you find yourself in the neighborhood, even if it’s a little…

View original post 537 more words

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Lifestyle, Spirit

Are We Wishing Our Lives Away?

When channeling through life living the human experience do most of us take life day-by-day or are we living in the future?  This is the question I took to the streets of Las Vegas and I did manage to get a wide variety of answers.  But it seems the overwhelming majority of us prefer to live life in the present, taking each day as it comes with an inclination towards the future.  And in doing so most of us are pretty pleased.

I used to be the girl who was perpetually sad, upset, depressed you name a negative emotion and I was feeling it.  And I was also wishing time would go by quicker; I was wishing my life away.  My outlook on life was very much future basImageed, especially in college.  In my very first year of college I couldn’t contain my lack of enthusiasm for school and the lengthy 4-year process it took to graduate.  I was itching to get the heck out of there!  And unfortunately that never really changed during my entire college career.  I was always looking towards the future just dying due to the fact that I was ‘stuck’ at university.  It felt like an eternal punishment.

The same story goes for my middle and high school career as well.  I painfully suffered in the present moments because I so eagerly wanted the future to arrive.  Which now that I think about it was the stupidest possible way to be.  Although I won’t be too hard on myself as I was so young.  It is difficult to process life when the only life experiences you have are school, school, and more school.  Clearly I had a reason to be in a fat future hurry.

 

The way we perceive time says a lot about who we are and can even be an indicator to how happy we might be.  Now days I live only in the present unless I’m planning a vacation.  I find time to be flying by immensely fast.  But I’ve also begun coming across a fair amount of peace, serenity, and joy.  Life is good.  And I’m not struggling.  I have no standards other than to take the day minute by minute with the essential rule of staying positive in tact.  And in doing that I’ve found that being present is preferred.  I am not the only day-by-day master among us.  Below I will share what a few have shared with me.  Take what they have said as wisdom, entertainment, or in anyway that suits you.

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When I asked people, “Do you prefer looking towards the future or is the ‘day-by-day’ more important to you?”  I got the following responses:

–       “Day by day and far future. Anything could change in a matter of minutes so I feel like preparing for the future can be futile sometimes and distract your focus from being mindful in the present.  The present is what you HAVE and you KNOW you have it. However, I also think it’s important to have long term goals that motivate you to be the best you can be in the present.”

–       “I spend most of my time living in the day-by-day.  However, I believe that you need to be aware of both.  Because spending too much time in the future can cause anxiety and unhappiness in the present.  Which makes it easier to ‘wish it away.’  This is bad as we are all living our lives presently.

–       “Future for sure and sometimes it is a problem, it makes it difficult to live in the now.  I can be pulled to the present by physical friendships and the presence of others though.  I have to consciously pull myself out of my thoughts a lot.  When I do it feels great and grounding and day-by-day.”

–       “I’m a day by day kinda gal because sometimes it’s just overwhelming when I look towards the future; it’s a lot of pressure to want to accomplish everything I’d like to have happen in life.   I have anxiety so it’s never fun to set it off.  I guess it’s just easier and less stressful for me to give myself day by day goals that will hopefully achieve get me to my big picture over time.”

–       “Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.”

Malcolm X

–       “I live in the now with the definite goal of being happy now and in my future and I try not to jeopardize my happiness now or      then.”

–       “Ask anyone who’s ever overdosed and they lived day by day…”

–       “Future.”

–       “I want to live in the future!”

So there we have it.  I received such a variety of answers.  Which further proves we are all living a unique human experience amongst ourselves.  Stay tuned for next week’s human experience question and answer series.

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Lifestyle, Spirit

Through Our Eyes: Interview Series

The human experience is so diverse for every person.  Often times when I am driving around town running errands or heading to work I think about what could be going through the minds of people I see walking down the street, waiting for the bus, and even the people idling in their car next to me at the red light.  I think most would agree that the diversity of the human experience is really the spice of life.  It’s what keeps the world turning, what makes travelling so interesting, and it’s also what brings us together and pulls us apart.

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Why are our collective human experiences so very different?  And what the heck does it mean or do to us?  Our experiences are certainly developed in part by the cards we’ve been dealt, but they are also formed and shaped by how we perceive and act upon our cards.  Not to mention our imaginations and aspirations play a large role in our total experience. 

I know for a fact a strong imagination, which I’d define as, ‘strength of mind,’ can be very powerful.  It’s like the old saying goes, “when there is a will, there is a way!”  If you can picture yourself doing it and even more so by looking outside of yourself seeing how others did it, you will probably do it.  Whatever that ‘it’ may be, it takes a little mind work to get anything or anywhere.  That is where the human experience really lies.  It lies in our mind work.  Whatever work we do within ourselves, whether we reference other people’s experiences or not, is ultimately our human experience. 

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Every perception in this multi-billion-person world is different.  We can never truly know how another person is sensing the world.  Even a question as simple as, “Is the blue I see the same blue you see?” is impossible to answer.  Two people may try to compare descriptive words regarding the color blue they’re both looking at, but they would never truly know if it came across as the same or left the same impression.

In result of this pseudo-revelation I have decided to begin a small interview series here on the blog.  I may very well stop people on the street and ask them some prepared questions in an effort to not only entertain and entice you, but to understand further what the human experience is and how we are getting through it.  I’ll leave you with some of the questions; feel free to answer them in the comments below or by emailing me if you’d like to be part of this enlightening project, all interviews will remain anonymous on the blog!  Stay tuned for new blogs featuring interviews of anonymous individuals.  Please email me some answers to the questions below if you’d like to participate at alyssasw@gmail.com, also you don’t have to answer every question.

Image QUESTIONS:

  • Do you prefer looking towards the future or is the ‘day-by-day’ more important to you?
  • Do you feel you’ve dedicated your life to something more so than anything else?  If so what is it and why? (ex: work, family, hobby)
  • Would you say you can sense how others are feeling easily?  Whether yes or no, why is that?
  • Random, but what are your food preferences?
  • How do you feel about people living a life that you might consider less fortunate than yours?  And how about those with lives more fortunate than yours?
  • Do you consider a specific place home? Whether yes or no, why is that?
  • When you’re alone and have time to think what crosses your mind most often would you say?
  • In your opinion, what is greatness?
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