Inspired by Laundry


I’ve been on the job hunt frontier of late.

Hundreds of want ads, dozens of applications & resumees, a few suit & tie interviews, two offers declined, and one accepted. Four days into the accepted position, I landed an interview for a much better position: more inline with my skill sets, $5 more an hour, benefits, bonuses, some thrilling challenges. A second interview followed. And then a job offer.

So I resigned from Position 1 and migrated to Position 2.

It was a wise move.

But a scary one.

Having been self-employed & out of the corporate world for 3 1/2 years, it has been interesting to climb back into that environment. And, with the pair of recent experiences, I can’t help but compare & contrast them. Basically, they are two completely different animals. One trait that makes them seem like separate species living on distant planets from one another is the initial Training program.

Position 1: Super-structured. Classroom setting. Dedicated company Trainer. Detailed. Pre-planned & laid out syllabus-style. Learning Objectives, Skill Activities, Software Navigation, Knowledge Assessments. Graded tests. A 9-week program with the end goal of preparing me for the nuances of Position 1. Continued on-the-spot support and guidance once on the job.

Then there’s Position 2’s training…

Position 2: Stream-of-consciousness, learn as you go method. One-on-one Mentor (of sorts) passing the torch. Hands-on, dive in, sink or swim, give it a try education. Mentor is mainly performing a massive, mental infodump of years of specific knowledge stored inside his head. Take notes along the way and try to keep up. Actual, complicated tasks being done in real-time as a means of learning. A compressed training program of undetermined length (estimated at 4-6 weeks), after which Mentor’s mantle will be firmly cast upon my shoulders and I will take full, 100% unaided responsibility for Position 2.

The Position 1 training was very systematic and thorough, yet felt quite like I was part of a Cold War propaganda & brainwashing program. On the other hand, the Position 2 training is very haphazard & freeform, yet a better fit for me. Since the end goal isn’t to follow a prescribed program–but to absorb and understand the information–I get to tailor the direction, speed, and depth of the knowledge transmission.

And this will ultimately ensure I know what the hell I’m doing once Mentor shoves me out of the nest and then flies away for good.

Today, my friend Kate posted detail of her weekly laundry rituals.
http://kateannejack.wordpress.com/2013/02/16/what-a-way-to-start-the-weekend/
Until this exact moment, as I’m typing this, I had no idea Kate’s post would influence mine. But, now, I find myself wanting to draw a laundry analogy. [Weird. But thanks for the subliminal push, Kate???]

While self-employed, I wore whatever the heck I wanted. My clothes depended on the tasks for the day.
– Workshop: Junky, paint & stain spattered jeans, a holey flannel, and coffee
– Marketing, Ebay & other computer work: Pajamas and coffee
– Antique show or booth setup: Fancy clothes, highly polished shoes, a genuine smile, and coffee

Now, I dress like a good, conscientious Office Manager should. That means business casual. Ironing. And, of course, coffee.

But, here’s the thing about laundry. Eventually, I will need to have all the tasks of Position 2 ironed, perfectly draped over wooden hangers, and organized by color for easy selection when the time comes. But, for now, I’m in the crumpled up, heaped in strangled piles, starting to sort phase. I’m fishing out the whites from the jumbled midst of the darks. Next, I’ll divide up the fancy clothes from the work clothes and stage them in their respective loads. They’ll go into the washer as a wadded mess, and come out clean. Then folded & put away, or ironed to a crisp, professional state.

In Position 2, a load of whites is in the spin cycle while I’m still sorting the dark dirties. But guess what? There’s no brainwashing going on. No tests are being graded. Instead, my progress is being assessed by my actual ability to complete the required tasks with critical thinking and a true understanding of their interconnectedness.

And I’m nowhere near overwhelmed by the amount of laundry & ironing left to do. I know it will get done. And I’ll look all schnazzy & prepared when fully thrust into my new role.

And did I mention that FREE company-provided coffee flows all day? Yeah, it does. So, obviously, my outfit is complete. I suspect that the haphazard nature of the training is all a ruse. Any company that would provide free coffee for its employees obviously has a firm grasp on what it takes to ensure those employees are well-prepared for their day. Position 1 had a coffee vending machine. Like $1.25 a cup or something. Right…

Regardless of the training or pay rate or any other factor, the IMPORTANCE OF COFFEE POLICY proves I made the right decision.

Now, off to do some real laundry. These damn clothes aren’t going to wash or iron themselves.

INVISIBLE INK: I go into posting mode with a basic concept of what I want to say. But, as the words flow, their destination often changes. They switch back, hurl in another direction, and surprise me with what they have in mind. This post had two other working titles before the current one. “Clunky vs Nimble” and then “Efficient & Cold vs Unwieldy Yet Right”. The concept was going to be more focused on a specific, daunting challenge I have in Position 2. Alas, the words veered from that end. But, look for that rambling in a future post.

Advertisements

Word Clouds


Oh yeah…

I had forgotten all about the cool Wordle tool until a visitor recently commented on this old post with Capritare’s word cloud: https://johnlucashargis.wordpress.com/2012/01/16/novel-word-cloud/

That made me think, I never created one for Freeborn.

So I did.

WordCloud-Freeborn

And, I also got all curious about what the rough draft of Phreak Show would look like.

I scratched that itch, too.

WordCloud-PhreakShow

So there you have it; two of my novels in their visual nutshells.

What do yours look like?

Poem: Not the Groundhog’s Day


 

It’s not the groundhog’s day

I didn’t know they could get that large.
Is it bloated?

With its salt & pepper pelt
Big enough to make a small jacket
Or at least a large vest

Entrails still steaming
In the February air
Fogging the glassy ice

A flattened shadow
Lies beneath him
Pinned to the permafrost
For at least 6 more weeks

The Sacred Hidden Among the Trees


PineGrove

I remember being worshiped in the sacred groves of Babylon, between the twin sycamores of Egypt, by the figs of Ancient Rome, among the yews and elms in the Celtic lands. My followers understood what many have now forgotten: soaring branches, trembling leaves, and twisted roots make the purest chapels. Tranquility thrives in the midst of growing things. Walls may offer a temporary refuge, but stone cannot breathe. Mortar soaks up the songs and keeps them for itself. Stained glass imprisons the essence of prayers in its too-bright colors.

But trees—trees pass the hopes and heartaches and dreams to one another. And, eventually, those heart-cries make it to me. I breathe them in. I share my bounty. I impart wisdom. Above all, I answer.

There is a spritely girl in the western lands who still hears me. Amelia is her name. In the midst of the evergreens behind her home, we speak. Though a young soul, her beauty runs deep. Deeper than any I have come across in hundreds and thousands of days. She searches for me, giggles with me, tells me her secrets.

Yesterday, Amelia brought others to her grove. They scratched their feet through the pine straw to make way for the earth to show through in patches. Amelia and her friends formed the straw into long lines to create separate rooms in what they called a house. But the children could see over the walls. They could talk, and breathe, and play, and dream. I sent them a soft breeze. I tickled them with sunlight trickling through the trees.

My hope has been dying. I feared, for yes, I fear, that I might pass into the land of things which are no longer loved. Amelia has saved me. After all these suns and moons of waiting and fading, she has remembered me well, when few others would.

This morning, I planted honeysuckle all around her grove. The sprouts sprang up and I carefully wove the climbing vines around the trunk of each of Amelia’s pines. I know she will notice. She will ask me about them. And I will tell her the vines are a gift. She will smile. I will show her how to pluck the blossoms, ease the stamen through the bloom to catch the tiny, sparkling drop of nectar, and to place the drop on her tongue.

She will savor the sweetness. She will taste them all, every last blossom. And I will grow her more.

Amelia has given me much honor. Her willingness to know, to remember the olden things, to seek the sacred hidden among the trees, will be rewarded. Today, once she has tasted the nectar, I will bless her with the full measure of my glory.

And I know my new priestess will pass it on.

Response to the “One Hundred” prompt at http://darcicole.blogspot.com/2013/02/the-entries-100.html

Check her out.

[I took the photo prompt and imagined it translated to the area of NC I lived in as a child. Hope you enjoyed it.]