The Trouble With Vacations…

… is not just that they end, but that they take place. They are a false escape, a phony freedom. Because you come back into an office with piled-up work that you’ve essentially put off for the time while you’ve been away. This is not an attempt at profound observation, just a recognition of the way things are — magnified moreso in light of the fact that this is the first vacation I’ve taken in two years where I’ve had a job to return to once I got back.

Thus, attempting to disseminate stuff heaped pyramid-like onto one’s desk is made all the more difficult when one’s mind is still wandering around a 1,000-year-old Toltec landmark of similar if much more well-engineered design, such as this one found in the town of Tula (click to biggify):

And in my case it’s not just pressing tasks, but the without-warning surprise addition of extra work thanks to the transfer of one of our editorial team to another department.

Lastly, in the Welcome Home category of Sometimes It’s The Littlest Things That Can Do The Most Damage, my first bike ride home from work (after a 10-day recess; my longest of the year!) was brought to a halt on Jefferson Boulevard just east of La Brea Avenue thanks to a flat caused not by your typical nail or shard of glass, but by this little fella that I tweezed out of the tire tread lest it puncture the replacement tube I installed:

Back to life, back to reality.

The Power Of A Blog

Holy Moly! My company’s “Driving Traffic 2007” contest concluded and I finished in third place for the month of December ($100), second place for the fourth quarter ($150), and second place for the year to date ($500).

I’d like to claim it’s because of the strength of my online knowledge sauce but the simple truth is the little blog I produced for my first trade show back in October is what gave my magazine’s site the boost in visitors and page views and subsequently my bank account to the tune of 750 surprise dollars! WOOOOOOT!

It’s Like Found Money

Alternate commuting pays — literally! I didn’t even know I was entered into the complex’s rideshare drawing, but I found out today in the form of a $25 check delivered to my desk!



All In A Week’s Work & Play

Forty hours’ work + one historic adobe discovered + one friendship rekindled + 168.1 miles commuted by bicycle = one helluva good week. And it’s Friday!

March 12
Silver Lake To El Segundo Work Commute And Back
32.2 miles

March 13
Silver Lake To El Segundo Work Commute And Back
32.2 miles

March 14
Silver Lake To El Segundo Work Commute And Back
32.2 miles

March 15
Silver Lake To El Segundo Work Commute
15.6 miles

March 15
El Segundo To Mar Vista To Home
23.7 miles

March 16
Silver Lake To El Segundo Work Commute And Back
32.2 miles (YTD 500.3 miles)

She’s Real Fine My 439

Heading to the first-floor vending machines helpless to resist the need for a Cheetos fix during lunch I took a turn for the curious into a room nearby and was surprised to find a bank of MTA bus and train timetable porn in a wall-mounted display case.

Looking them over in all their numerically ordered glory, sure enough I soon found a pamphlet for the No. 439 bus otherwise unknown to me that departs weekday mornings about every 40 minutes from Union Station and arrives at the Aviation Boulevard station where I normally would exit the Green Line about 90 minutes later — pretty much the same amount of time that’s involved with my bus-to-train-to-train adventures, but with only a third the hassle. The difference is I could bike it down to Union Station, load the bike up on the bus bike rack, grab a seat for a 7:30 a.m. departure and not have to get up until 8:50 a.m. wherein the bike and I would exit the Aviation Station for the half-mile roll to work. And instead of a $3 all-day pass I could make that roundtrip for just two $1.10 tokens. And get several miles of biking in. Dang. Sweet!

Yes, I am a mass-transpo geek.

I’m still committed to cycling the entire there-and-back tomorrow, but I just love having alternatives.

If You Love Something Let It Go

I applied for a job yesterday, one I’d reeaaaaaaalllllly like to have. So I did the application process up right. Really gave it my all:

  • Started a cover letter from scratch and tailored it
  • Dusted off some old tearsheets, scanned ’em in and made them into nice professional PDFs
  • Polished my resume

Proofed everything three times and then another three times. Fixed the spelling of my last name that I found on the sixth pass (whew!), then read everything over one more time before I hit the contact person twice. First I sent an email with everything attached — even included a link to a relevant online project that’s been hanging around the internest for about 18 months. At the close of the brief attachment-laden introductory email I concluded by advising that hardcopies would be following by regular mail. Because a back-up plan can’t hurt since — however rarely — attachments don’t open.

Then I printed everything out with the resume going on that special thick special resume paper I’ve had longer than my dog Shadow. I whipped out a mailing label and fixed it along with more than enough stamps to the nvelope I’d put everything in nice and neat and got it to the mailbox in time for the last pick-up of the day between going to ge my baby and taking us to get our flu shots.

In my inbox when we got home was a reply from the contact. Were my dreams to be done so quickly? Had the position already been filled? Was I so uniquely not qualified that it warranted a rejection so fast? No. Instead it read “Thank you Will. “I look forward to reviewing your documents.”

As cautious as I am about things of this matter, I can’t help but admit and appreciate that as a good preliminary indicator. Hell just hearing something from the other end is a plus. Even if it’s “thanks but no thanks.” In the past few weeks my decidedly unfocused resume blasting and praying has yielded not much more than a few nibbles and a whole bunch of cricket chirping. I send my stuff out and I hear nothing back. It’s become the understandable and expected standard operating procedure.

And maybe I will end up driving a bus.

Or maybe I’ll get this job. See of all the gigs that I’ve attempted to obtain, I see me and the organization offering it as a wonderful fit. Making me want it all the more.

But then again I wanted that one in El Segundo and got pushed aside. I wanted the one in Long Beach but they said maybe some other time. Why should I get my hopes up again about this one?

And the answer is I shouldn’t — not simply because I might not get it but because it will physically and emotionally hurt if my inflated expectations and lofted hopes are shot down. Taking a break this afternoon from one of my little backyard projects I came in and got a drink and couldn’t help but wonder if the contact had already read my stuff. I wondered if that person had put me on the keeper pile or already thrown me away. And I got honestly depressed at the thought of the latter… that I might not be good enough or don’t have what they were looking for… or didn’t have what they felt it would take.

But I am and I do and I did my best to communicate that.

And that’s when the little voice told me I had to let it go. “Don’t hurt yourself, man” it said.

But I would so rock this gig. It’s not even about the money. Instead it’s for a company I respect and a job that would allow me to do something I think is important and fulfilling!

“And that’s all good,” the voice soothed, “but you’re at a tender place now man. Every rejection — every silence returned, every email not answered or call ignored — your head’s not in the proper place and your taking each one way too hard and personal.”

Well, it sucks!

“Of course it does. Looking for a job blows.”

Especially if you’ve been doing it for a year and your broke — which is why when something like this comes along it’s like a reward for all the anxiety.

“But you still gotta let it go. Trust that you’ve done the best you can and that they will recognize it and get a move on to the next application.”

But —.

“But nothing. You’ll hear from them if it’s right. But in the meantime, do you think pining around waiting for the inbox to ping or the phone to ring will do anything good for you?”

Well… no.

Right. It’s out of your hands now, so are you gonna get a move on and be pleasantly surprised when they do tap you or dig a bunker and get depressed if they don’t.

Oh all right…