chickens and bananas

Don’t count your chickens before they’ve hatched. Also known as: Don’t write your resignation letter for a company you really want to leave before you absolutely, positively know you’re going to have another job at the end of that two week’s notice.

Thankfully, they called me before I actually turned it in.

So I haven’t quit BR yet. My new job — which I am still hired for, I swear — just takes a little while to start. I have to be trained first, but I can only be trained about 5hrs/wk, meaning it will take about three months to get trained (less if I have anything to say about it!). So for now, I have to keep working at BR. I’ll probably make it through the busy holiday season, and then be able to slip out quietly in the absolutely dead lull that hits retail stores immediately after all the gift cards have been spent.

It is doubly challenging to want to go to work right now. I got so excited about quitting — so unbelievably excited, planning on all my free time and schedule freedom — that it’s hard to go back knowing I have a few months left, rather than just a couple weeks. Every time they give me BRC and Sales goals, I sigh on the inside.

I was so close to being free. But at least there’s an end in sight!

Other Updates (for those who are curious about how I’ve been)

In other news, I have attended a wealth of social things lately — outside of dancing, even — and it’s been a blast. I had dinner with two friends which was lovely, and I ate a meal I’d never had before — with squash and zucchini and some little potato dumpling thing, all which I’d also never had but all of which was delicious (thank you again, blog-stalker-you-know-who-you-are; I love you!). It was delicious, and it looked so easy to cook! I can’t wait to have a real apartment with a kitchen and everything.

Speaking of which — I am looking for a place to stay using ProMove, a free apartment search agency which is fantastic. They take your price range and the area where you can live, and they present to you a list of apartments which fill your needs. After you review the apartments they’ve given you and decided which ones you might like, they call the apartments for you and get the best move-in deals. Now, if only I could find a similar service while hunting for graduate schools…

And speaking of Grad Schools, I take the GRE on the 20th. I’ve been studying, and while I did quite well on the written practice tests, I am not doing as well on the computer practice tests. Luckily, I have 11 more tests on verbal and math each to get comfortable with everything.

Finally, I attended the Grinchmas / Yankee Christmas Present Swap / Yay Shoe’s Graduated! party a couple days ago, and had the absolute best time I’ve ever had at a party in my life. I think there were a couple of contributing factors to this: 1) the people were all nerdy and vaguely socially awkward, which means we all got along fantastically; 2) getting drunk to How the Grinch Stole Christmas is great fun — both if you’re participating and if you’re watching (like me); 3) I brought my camera, so any time I wasn’t talking to someone and being social, I was able to hide a little behind the lens and still participate (rather than be unsociable in a corner, which is my usual MO).

I also happened to meet a really nice person who had also brought his camera with him. I figure that until I can dedicate some time to regular classes with my camera, the best I can do is pick up tips from the people I meet. This happened to be a fantastic endeavor in knowledge acquisition, which made me really excited. And when I retrieve my camera from Shoe’s apartment, where I left it somewhere between the bedroom where my coat was stored and the door, I will post some of those photos.

So all in all, it’s been an incredibly social, productive, and good week. Other than still being entrapped in a less-than-fulfilling retail job for the remainder of the holiday season, of course.



peace out, with style

Today, I am writing my letter of resignation for BR.

I am very excited.

I will be putting in my two weeks notice, like a good, respectable employee (instead of quitting with a big, flying bird at all the ass-hats I work with, which was my first instinct). This puts my end date at Dec. 19th, which means I will have worked with the company for a year and four days. I am ready to move on.

Don’t let me fool you — I have enjoyed working for BR (for the most part). I have learned an incredible amount about fashion, about clothing, about retail in general, and about customer service. I have honed my mad multi-tasking skillz, and I have worked hard at learning to sell to my customers, rather than merely helping people who were already intending to buy. I am one of the top sales employees of the past year, for both sales and cards — in fact, I am only behind the employee who is employed full time, in either respect. I love working with the customers, and I love the basis of what I do: styling my customers, and promoting the brand for which I work.

On the other hand, I am challenged by two main things: first, the hours, which change week to week and frequently inhibit any plans I would like to make; second, the work ethic of many of my fellow employees, which is poor at best. Those people frustrate me to no end.

My new job will be doing some bookkeeping for a friend. I will be getting paid more, and I will be mostly working on my own. I will get paid $6 more per hour, which means if I want to maintain the weekly amount I make, I can work approximately 10 hours less per week. That’s 40 hours less per month. In my book, that is an absurd amount of free time.

Additionally, I will be able to decide when I work (as in, not at 11pm at night). I will be able to take more time to spend with my family for Christmas (I haven’t spent even 24 hours in a row at home since this past summer). And I will not have the temptation of fantastic clothing staring me in the face on a daily basis.

I’m sure there’s a downside to all of this…but I haven’t found it yet. I’m just excited.

My only challenge at the moment is quitting in a respectable way, rather than going out with style, like this:

pre-enlightenment for the hopeful pre-graduate student

He who knows others is wise;

He who knows himself is enlightened.

– Lao-tzu

A couple weeks ago, I wrote this post about my thoughts on accepting who I am and being proud of it, even when those traits are often viewed in a negative light by others. My father referred me to the above quote, and I’ve had it in the background since then (literally — in an open tab, which I repeatedly referred to). It’s a quote I repeat over and over to myself when I have a few moments to myself; a quote which, for some reason, has impacted me greatly.

One thing I have always desired is to know myself better — to know what I want, and to be able to achieve that. What frustrates me is that I have a hard time determining those desires. Sure, I know simple things, like food preferences (white) and personal style (awesome and often vintage). What I do not know, however, is what I want to do with my life.

Life is a scary idea: there are the major things, like love, marriage, children, career, friends. There are little things, like travel plans, craft projects, location of residence, and how much dancing I can get in on a regular basis. All of these things are important to me. But the challenging part is determining the importance and direction of many of these choices.

Granted, there are a few things I can wait to worry about, like love and children; some things are dependent on other choices or where I end up, like location of residence and travel plans; other things, I know will happen no matter what I do, like dancing and hopefully craft projects. But there’s this big, looming thing hanging over me on a daily basis which I feel needs a decision, needs knowledge-of-self, needs to happen — and once it happens, maybe everything else will fall into place?

I feel like determining the career path I take will determine much of the rest of my life. It will determine, to some extent, the place I live and the people I meet. It will influence when I can have children, the money with which I will be able to travel and dance, and the general happiness of my day-to-day life, depending on whether I love or hate my job. At this point in time, it is one of the biggest — and most intimidating — decisions I have to make. And while I feel I’ve said that before, I have never stalled or changed my mind so much.

Since I’ve graduated (a year ago in two weeks), I’ve considered many potential career paths: business school, librarian, zoologist, and homeless bum are among the many. But most of them (besides that last) require additional schooling; and therein lies yet another important decision which I balk at making — because honestly, do I know what I want to do well enough to make that decision? Will I regret that decision in two or four years, when it’s too late to change without going back to school all over again?

Attending Emory was not the best decision I’d ever made. I mean, it turned out fantastically — but that was more luck and circumstance (and finding a true love in dance) than careful thought over what I wanted to do with my life. Thankfully, it gives me a good background to do almost anything I else want, regardless of what that turns out to be. I just don’t want to be so careless making the decision for graduate school. I know I want to continue my eduction eventually, but do I want to do it now? Or do I want to wait until I know myself better, so that I might make a more informed, more enlightened decision? After all, it is a decision which will most definitely influence the rest of my life — one which should be handled with care.

These aren’t questions or concerns I can answer today, but they are things I think about every time I look at the other tabs I have open in the background, right beside the quote from Lao-tzu: “Find the Best Colleges to Attend,” “Graduate Admissions 101,” “Google Maps,” so I can look at all the places I’m thinking of and determine how I might like living there for 2 – 5 years, depending on the program I choose.

For right now, all I can do is put one foot ahead of the other: study for the GRE, take the GRE, and go from there. Between both jobs and a meager social life, I don’t have a lot of free time, and I dedicate all that free time to studying. After that, I will dedicate all of my free time to looking up colleges and emailing professors — I’d love to do both simultaneously, but I don’t have the time I would want to dedicate towards looking at programs and research that I’m interested and really putting the thought I know is necessary into applying. It might take a little longer than I would want, but I know (hope?) I’ll get there eventually.

I might not know myself now, but I’m determined to figure it out.

Does that make me pre-enlightened?