Monday, March 19, 2007

Where Do You See Yourself in Five Years?

God, I hate that question! And every person with whom I've interviewed this last week has asked me that. It's so cliche! And what really bugs me is that I don't have an answer. Shall I try to be funny? "Not looking for a job!" Shall I try to be ooey-gooey positive? "Doing something meaningful for the planet." Shall I be fantastic? "Cruising around the world on my three-hundred-foot-yacht while beautiful boys give me pedicures." Shall I be honest? "I have no idea... I just take it a day at a time."

So far I've always managed to come up with something useful on the fly, generally along the lines of "working in a challenging but stable environment in which my contributions are appreciated." That seems to push the correct button. Still, I wish they'd ask something original, like "what's your favorite movie?" or "when you were five, what did you want to be when you grew up?" or "if you were an ice-cream, what flavor would you be?"

As you may have surmised by now, I have recently become proactive in my job search. My temp agency is having a dry spell, and so I have all this spare time suddenly on my hands; and what better time to hunt up a job? So I updated my resume on Yahoo HotJobs, I started cruising Craigslist after my email and before my message board, and began doing online applications with every large corporation I could think of... Bank of America, Levi Strauss, Clorox, World Savings, everybody with a building I can see from a distance. I applied for twelve jobs just last week, and am now waiting for those applications to come to fruition (successful or not) before starting another round.

It feels great, being proactive. I hate starting it, but I always feel better once a project is underweigh. And so this week I have three interviews lined up, one under my belt from this morning, one tomorrow at three, and a long one on Thursday. Last week I had an interview with what turned out to be a staffing agency, and the ones I'm meeting on Tuesday and Thursday have already pre-interviewed me over the phone (hence the "where do you see yourself in five years" question being repeated), so the one this morning felt very comfortable, and I'm not nervous about the coming meetings at all.

Well, I did get a little nervous... or, to be more specific, I got very self-conscious about my visible age. I mean, administrative assistants are not supposed to be middle-aged men... middle aged women, maybe, but male assistants are always young, aren't they? So after worrying myself about this no-doubt-idiotic and possibly-untrue idea, I decided to give in to a temptation I've been fighting for quite some time, and I dyed my hair.

It actually looks pretty good, I think; I used a semipermanent dye with no peroxide or ammonia, so there won't be roots or color loss involved... it just darkened my brown and turned the silver to dark gold, and will wash out in about three weeks, at which time I can decide if I want to make a practice of this subterfuge or not. And I think I just might... I mean, it took a good five years off me, covering the gray.

I mean, does that look like Forty to you? With a sufficiency of eye-cream, I think I could pass for thirty-ish. Not that it matters, of course, but it does give me a sense of confidence all the same.

In the meantime (because you can't spend the entire day applying for jobs), I have been working on a couple of projects here... specifically trying to get further into the eighth chapter of Worst Luck. I've finally got the general outline worked out in my head, but I'm having a hard time forcing myself to focus on it. When I do focus, I get a good deal done, but there are always distractions that I allow to take precedence.

One of these distractions is a good distraction, though: I'm collaborating on a graphic novel with my friend Indigo. My part of the project so far has been to design the house in which most of the action will take place, so that we have a visual reference for the backgrounds. So I got this new 3D Home Design program and have been tweak-tweak-tweaking with it for a couple of months, designing houses all over the place and revising the graphic novel's house three different times... starting completely from scratch twice. But I've finished that phase of the project and am pleased as Punch. It's just gorgeous!

So all in all, I'm in a very good place... I'm doing creative things, I'm doing practical things, and I'm enjoying life a lot more than I probably have a right to. And a lot of that is, I think, due to my new meds.

My doctor switched me off of Depakote and put me on Lamictal instead, which will (when I get to the full dose) also take the place of the Prozac. I went through a bit of a white-knuckle period when I had to quit the Depakote for ten days before I started the Lamictal, and I'm running just the weensiest bit manic (the job-hunt and creative projects on the plus side, the impulse control problems on the minus) as I very slowly progress into the full dose of Lamictal, which takes three months: one pill for two weeks, two pills for two weeks, etc. up to five pills, after which I add one more pill every week until I'm at eight pills, at which time I get a new prescription for one full-strength pill; it takes a long time because if you put it into your system too fast, you can break out in a deadly rash characterized by great seeping sores around your eyes and mouth... pretty!

But on the plus side, my demophobia is waning... I've been going to Court functions lately, and enjoying them as I used to. I don't get the sudden urge to be elsewhere when I'm surrounded by people. And that's all to the good.

Well, my darlings, I'm going to switch over to the novel and see if I can get some work done tonight while I'm flying high on Jasmine Green Tea and a creative/manic spasm. Toodles!

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