Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Even Lumberjack Hoboes Quote the Dalai Lama Sometimes

I am not the sort of person who goes around quoting the Dalai Lama.

I came of age in the '90s, a deeply ironic era. The neon-colored '80s with their "We Are The World, We Are The Children," their sunshiney pop stars and hair-metal bands ebulliently singing that "You might as well... Jump!" while leaping from amplifiers in arena concerts were anathema to us; we turned up our noses at our parents' Hallmark cards and potpourri and matching furniture sets. Our school's "Just Say 'No' to Drugs" assemblies were pathetically uncool. We listened to bleak grungy music whose lyrics made no sense. We dressed like lumberjack hoboes. Did we think that flannel was beautiful? No, and that is precisely why we wore it.

Lately it's become standard to poke fun at hipsters and their ironic ways, but you know, I get it. I think about more earnest times in history and shudder at the unquestioning herd behavior, the single-dimensionality of living in an era in which you must love something with all of your heart or not at all. I understand loving something halfway, loving it because it's bad, loving it because it's ridiculous.

I am not the sort of person who goes around quoting the Dalai Lama.

And yet, I'm about to. Check it out:

"There are only two days in the year that nothing can be done. One is called yesterday and the other is called tomorrow. Today is the right day to love, believe, do, and mostly -- live." Dalai Lama XIV 

Yes. That just happened. I italicized it and everything.

I'm quoting that because maxims like this were on my mind when I decided to go ahead and call the BOSS Group -- the temp agency, recommended to me by a friend, that places creative types such as writers and designers in temporary and permanent job positions. I'd stated on this blog that I'd give my data time to percolate in whatever system they use to evaluate people, and that I'd give them a call on Monday if I didn't hear back earlier.

And then I got to thinking -- Why on earth not just call them today, during my lunch break? Because phone interviews of any sort give me the unholy heebie jeebies? Because procrastination is my middle name?

So I called the agency from my car out in the parking lot here at the temp gig. (My car, parked in that very spot, was the site of the last phone interview I bombed, a pre-interview screening for an editing gig with Fannie Mae.) A friendly recruiter picked up the phone, and I told her that my friend had suggested making an appointment for an in-person, get-to-know-me-better interview. I name-dropped my friend and scored some points. I talked a little about myself, the way one does during these things.

We made an appointment for Tuesday morning at their headquarters in Bethesda. She sent a confirmation e-mail asking me to print out writing samples and bring a portfolio if I had one (I do!), fill out the temp and tax forms ahead of time, and informing me that their office has recently relaxed its dress code and that it's OK to show up in jeans. (I probably won't show up in jeans. Unless I happen to find some fancy jeans. Or some jeans emblazoned with the words "Team Player" on them or something similarly interview-relevant. ... Yeah, I'm not going to wear jeans.)

I'm hoping that after Tuesday my life -- the career portion, at least -- takes a definitive swing in an upward direction. I believe that it will. Or, I believe that as much as my allergic-to-corny-earnestness '90s soul will grudgingly allow.

Maybe I'll wear flannel to the interview.


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