Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Got a haircut, still don't got a real job

These days of unemployment are spent how they should be: on patios and dancing at bars, drinking homemade sangria with friends on the balcony, taking long walks through parks and city streets, buying bikes in Kensington, sleeping in way too late, eating out once a day, spending money I don't have and reading through entire novels in one sitting.

The only punctuation is the job interviews. Today, I went in for a second interview at another non-profit organization and spotted the notes from our previous meeting on the table. "Outgoing" was written in bold letters next to my name.

When I went with London to help Alex pick up furniture, early in the day he insisted that I take a picture of this sign (as he often does on our travels--forget pictures of the scenery or of us together--he's all about the signage) in our rented U-Haul. He thought it was hilarious. How could anyone be so stupid as to drive into any of those things?

Oops. (Alex says he functioned fine before he met me. That may be true, but it's times like this that I think he really needs me.)

I wore pink to the McClung's launch party. What can I say? I'm a bad feminist.

Oh, and we also had a dance party that was difficult to rival. Bad, bad feminists.

And the night the TTC strike started, I went to Circa for the first time. It was okay.

Natty and I have been revelling in post-school stress in the same fashion. The only difference is she gets paid.

These days, I'm started to get bored. The weather got chilly again, dancing Jesus is gone and I finished reading Into the Wild. These days, I'm wishing that I was in Iceland. Or employed. I'll take either one.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Should I stay or should I go?

Six years ago, when I graduated from high school, I had to make a difficult decision: Should I leave my friends behind and move to Edmonton and get on with my life? Or should I stay securely in Cold Lake and save money by living with my parents?

It was a decision that was one month in the making. I weighed the pros and cons daily, giving myself a deadline to make up my mind. Every day I changed my mind, leaning one way or the other. On the day of the deadline, July 31st, I realized that the only reason I didn't want to leave Cold Lake was because I was scared.

And that's no way to live life.

So I decided then and there, that fear would never prevent me from doing something. In fact, I decided that if I was ever scared to do something, I should do it. I moved to Edmonton, and that decision-making model has held fast. It allowed me to move across the country, and it allowed me to travel across the world. It allowed me to get out of the only place I'd ever known. And most importantly, it allowed me to learn how to be happy alone.

Last Thursday was my last day of school. It was presentation day, but I snuck out of class early to head to a job interview. It went well and within four hours, I received an email inviting me to attend another job interview.

The executive director attended my second interview on Tuesday. He told me that unfortunately, although I was definitely qualified, they were looking for a bilingual applicant. (And sadly, bislama is kind of a useless language.) But, there was another opportunity available.

"How are your presentation skills?" Excellent, I told them. I just gave a presentation an hour earlier and last summer I would make up to four presentations in a day. "Can you give us a presentation now?" Uh, sure. So I gave them one. "Okay, now give that same presentation as though you're now talking to a group of 4-year-olds." I was sweating profusely, but I did it. And I did it reasonably well.

So they offered me the other job. The benefits were unlimited. I'd be travelling throughout North America, giving leadership training and presentations to youth. I'd be working for an organization that has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, and whose founder was just inducted into the Order of Canada. I'd be working with a group of young, socially-minded individuals who seemed energetic and friendly. In short, it was a once in a lifetime opportunity. And here's the thing about once in a lifetime opportunities: they only happen once. "People are lined up out the door for this job," the executive director told me.

But, he admitted, there were a lot of drawbacks. The pay was dismal (well under the poverty line, since it is a non-profit organization). The hours were long. Lots of driving, red-eye flights and long days. I'd be living out of hotel rooms for 10 months a year. How often would I return to Toronto? "Once. Maybe twice in 10 months," they told me. I'd have to give up my apartment. I wouldn't be able to pay off any debt. My stomach twisted in a knot. What am I doing with my life?

They asked me to give them an answer soon. "We have a lot of applicants," they told me. I'll get back to you in a couple of days, I promised.

It was nearly a dream job. Working with youth, travelling constantly, working for a cause I believe in. So why did I feel so much weight on my shoulders? So much apprehension in my chest? Was it fear? Was I scared? And if so, I knew what I needed to do. All the things I've been scared of are the best things I've done in my lifetime.

But I kept crying. I chewed off all my fingernails. I drank way too much at the RRJ launch party. I couldn't shake this feeling that it wasn't quite right.

I've been working 12-hour days for eight months. I worked a part-time job, put out two magazines and sacrificed a lot of things I enjoy in life. I've given my everything, and now I feel like I've been left with nothing. The truth is, I'm not enjoying my life. I haven't had the time.

But how could I possibly walk away from the kind of offer that I'll likely never receive again?

I was torn last night, but this morning it was a little more clear. It had to be--I had to give them a final decision today. And then I realized what the problem was: I'm not scared. I realized today that I'm just tired. I want to take time to enjoy my friends, my adopted family.

So I told them no. And you know something? Being able to say no to my dream job took guts. It turns out that I'm not scared after all. Sometimes, I really am fearless.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

McClung's Spring Launch

It's your last chance to show your love:

Okay, that's a lie. It wasn't your last chance. But this is a special party--we're putting the feminine back in feminism with party dresses and cupcakes.

And c'mon, what better way is there to celebrate finishing university than to pretend I'm 16 again?

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Countdown to Degree

Since I'm nearing the end of my academic career (and the 12-hour days--or in yesterday's case, the 18-hour days--that come with it), I thought it was time to bring my camera into the lab:

This is the boardroom, also know as "the fishbowl." All the masthead meetings take place here. It's also the place where passerbys tap on the glass, hoping that we will react.

The RRJ is back from the printers and ready for action. Well, almost. Today, we had to hand-stuff subscription cards into 1,200 magazines. "This is like slave labour," someone said. "No, we pay to do this," someone else responded. "It's actually a whole new level of slave labour."

Our loyal editor Carla, giving the worst celebratory speech I've ever heard. While popping the cork off the sparkling juice (not champagne--the booze comes later) she started giving further instructions. So the speech went something like this: "Okay guys, after we're done with this, I need someone to take the magazines down to Magazines Canada and then. . ." I interrupted her. "Aren't you supposed to give a speech?" So she started again: ". . .and then Magazines Canada will send our magazines out into the world to be read by all!"

So basically, worst celebratory speech ever, best enthusiastic instruction giving ever.

The Spring 2008 masthead. Click for a high-res version so you can see the awesome expression on Carla's face.

And that's how it's done folks: by an all-female masthead.

In the lab, this is my computer. We don't actually have assigned computers, but a select group of lab rats staked out our places early in the year. You can tell I chose this computer in September by the signage--this is left over from when I thought I had pink eye.

When I look to my right, I see Rebecca.

To my left is Canice.

And in front of me is my pirate in a bottle. (I grew him.)

I might miss this place someday.

Tonight, Brie, Natty and I went to Mass Exodus to see Sasha and Courtney's final collections. It was a mini-China reunion: Katrina sat with us and Karen was there.

Two days left.

Are we nostalgic yet?

I wore my contacts to school today, because I figured wouldn't staring at a computer screen for too long. Then called Alex at 4:00. "Buy a bottle of wine," I instructed him, "because tonight, I'm relaxing. I'm celebrating handing in my portfolio."

At 8:00 p.m. he called me. "When do you think you'll be here?" I was still at school. "Maybe by 10."

It's after midnight. I'm still in the magazine lab. Only three days left.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

special treat

Yay! Spring! I really like spring. (I'm really good at it. Like, if there was an award for being good at spring, I'm pretty sure I'd win, or at least get an honourable mention.) As soon as the temperature soars above zero, I subject my feet to endless blisters in order to wear brand-new open-toed shoes that have been waiting in my closet for over a month. It's plus 10 out? Or even plus 5? Time for bare legs. Skipping? A completely reasonable action on a day like today. Still don't have a job? Doesn't matter, because it's spring!

And this is the icing on the spring cake: Natty and I are the proud owners of a much-coveted Queen Street West apartment balcony. Only problem? We don't have any furniture. (Natty is tiny, but I don't even think she can use a paint can as a stool.) Anyone have any crappy chairs or tables kicking around that they want to donate to the cause? If so, we'll happily repay you in mojitos and sangria when the weather's right.

The countdown to the degree is on! Only 7 days left and about 2 months worth of assignments. Wish me luck!

In other entirely unrelated news, all my non-school related thoughts are devoted to monocles. It's the next big thing, I swear! I want a monocle necklace from Leviticus Jewelery like nobody's business.

Alex asked me to list all the things I want right now and this is what the list looked like, in order of appearance:

1. Tropical Vacation (although I'll settle for a trip to Finland & Iceland, or Croatia)

2. Monocle Necklace

3. Bicycle, since mine was stolen and Alex finally moved out and now lives 8 km away

4. New Chuck Taylor's (mine have holes in them, and my only other sneakers were given to me during a marketing campaign and are too big)

5. New purse (nothing fancy, but I want one that slings across my body rather than just over my shoulder. All this newfangled mega huge bags don't appeal to me. I want a mom purse.)

I've clearly got my priorities in order.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008


In celebration of mother nature finally allowing Toronto's temperatures to rise about the zero mark, I'd decided to write a list of everything I love and hate about spring:

Things I Hate:

-The Wind

Things I Love:

-Everything Else