This week I passed the fifth month mark in New York City. Whew. I have been off work all week. After the street fair on Monday, I received word to come in on Tuesday. On Tuesday morning I checked my email before relinquishing my bed. Got up, dressed, ready to go and checked one more time, and sure enough, the project was cancelled. Later in the day it was cancelled for good. Ah well. Time off unemployed without prospects is not the same as time off work. Still, I spent the time catching up on things. The blog. Shopping. And, as always, jobs. Each time the contract job has come to an end I sent out check-ins to all the staffing agencies. That is, all the ones who tend to respond. There are several I’ve registered with who have truly ghosted me. I honestly don’t know what that’s about, but it is a thing.
The sturdy ones all answered, as they always do: “Will do!” “I’m on it!!”, etc. But nothing ever seems to materialize. I find it odd that when I first came in June I was sent on some things and now nothing. At least nothing from them.
Last week I had done a little intrepid sleuthing on LinkedIn, reaching out to other people who listed themselves as word processing operators, hoping to get some connections. One guy answered me, but he seemed to be in as dire straits as me. I found some of those 3 day a week jobs listed that I want so badly (75K3dEARR!!), and I tried to apply on the agency’s website but there was a glitch. So, I found the head of human resources on LinkedIn and wrote her. And she asked me to send in a resume. On Tuesday or Wednesday I reached out to her and asked for follow-up. She told me her colleague would be getting in touch soon, and sure enough he called me later in the day. He sent me the tests (same I’ve taken before) to take, but this time there was a difference. They came with a tutorial. I was a little too vain for that, so I just jumped in and took the Word test, scoring a 93% (again). Which means I missed 2 out of 25 questions. The thing is, I knew the answer to everything.
Then I took the Microsoft PowerPoint test and I scored 88%, even though I know I answered everything correctly. He wrote me and asked me to take everything over, but to do the tutorial first, and I finally caught on. In these tests, when you click on your answer, a dialogue box comes up with “Repeat Question” or “Continue to next question” to select. That way, you get many chances to answer. However, it pops up so quickly, it is difficult to see if you got the question right or wrong. It pops regardless.
So, I took the tutorials. Turns out, you have to answer the questions their way. I know a lot of keyboard shortcuts, or mouse shortcuts, (speed being essential in word processing), but the tests want you to click on the toolbar, find the right entry, click on that. Plod. Plod. I took the Excel over again (my weakest of the three products) and scored higher. Then I took the PowerPoint over, and even though I knew the answers, this time a glitch wouldn’t even let me perform the function of drawing a shape. I explained this to him, and he said not to worry.
Thursday morning, I got dressed up in full regalia and went to the office, planning about an hour of time. I had plans to go to a WMU event at The Drama Bookstore that evening, and it was right around the corner, but I also planned to go home and change. I ended up being at the staffing agency from 11:00am to 4:30pm. A good thing, though. Because the young man I met with, Niaz, was helping me get perfect scores on the tests to make me more eligible. It was also one of the first agencies I’ve been to that actually admits to getting lots of legal jobs like I want. I told him I was interested in proofreading as well (in the contract review I cringe at all the typos), and he tested me for that. In all, I got a 100% on Word, then the testing software froze. I spent three hours doing the proofreading tests and I will find out how I did on Monday. I ended up feeling more encouraged than I have for months. I hope not in vain.
When I left at 4:30 it had started snowing. Niaz took me to a window so I could see the accumulation, and I was surprised. I’d heard light snow possible, and other than my drapey raincoat, I wasn’t prepared. I left the building squelching through three inches of wet snow in nylons and heels. I made my way to the Drama Bookstore where I immediately saw Joan and Steve getting ready for their reading. I had hoped to see Tucker. A young man standing with them greeted me warmly. It was Dan, who had been a member of my group for one semester when he first started at Western. He is now living in NYC and they’d asked him to direct one of the readings. “You could have asked me.” I said. Awkward pause. Okaaaay.
I will admit to a certain social awkwardness in group situations. I must force myself to go out in society most times. At least with people my age. But I get along splendidly with younger people. I am not sure what that says about me. I stayed through the readings and afterwards was very pleased to meet several faces from the past 10 years at WMU. We exchanged emails and agreed to meet on Facebook. We talked about the struggle. They all seemed genuinely interested in seeing me, which made up for the awkwardness with my own peers.
I left the store around 6:15. The store employees were talking about the line of people across the street and I asked what it was. People waiting to get into Port Authority to get a bus to New Jersey. We were on 40th street between 7th and 8th Avenue. That line was several blocks long. I heard later that people didn’t get home until the wee morning hours.
As for me, the train ride took over an hour and a half. It would normally have been 30 minutes from Midtown. The announcer blamed ice on the rails, signal lights, etc. Apparently, they were not prepared for the snow. By the time I got off on my platform the snow topped my shoes, and I had to pick my way home.
On Thursday I did the tests that had frozen, and I did them through Google Chrome, instead of Internet Explorer with more success. I was able to draw the shape. Now I am waiting to hear from the agency. Other things I am waiting on: a copy editor job I was submitted for last week; a technical writer position job I was submitted for on Tuesday. The George Soros job that I tested for. Waiting.
Friday, I received THREE urgent phone calls from three different Indian associates asking me to apply for technical writing positions. I did. One was in Bohemia NY, which I really can’t get to from here, but when I told the man that he offered $42/hr. relocation pay (for a 3-month job?) so I said sure. What the hell, these never pan out anyway. I also applied for a job at the CUNY writing center. They’re not asking for a PhD, barely even a grad degree, but years working with students, and the pay is listed in the 60-75K range. It’s my fifth application for a job at CUNY, so we’ll see.
Also, on Friday I received an invitation to a new contract review job with Tower. The other company, though, the one that likes me in Brooklyn. Thankfully, the job will be in lower Manhattan for 3-4 weeks, so the better commute. I start Monday. Then I’m flying home on Wednesday to spend the Thanksgiving Holiday with ¾ of my family. Leaving the following Wednesday and available for meet-ups.
My last day in Brooklyn, walking to the train, I saw the oddest thing. It’s a terrarium sort of thing that I hadn’t noticed in all my times walking by the site on 36th street. I’ve mentioned the highway overhead. They have set this terrarium with a funnel from the overhead highway, I assume to experiment with the massive amounts of carbon monoxide produced. It is a beautiful and eerie sight in all the concrete. Turning poison into beauty.
Saturday, I spent creating a new public blog space on Wordpress for those who aren’t on FB. I did this once before on Weebly, but the site was wonky, and lost a lot of my posts, or wouldn’t let me add pics. WordPress is easier. So, if you or someone you know wants to read it there, the address is: NYCChapter3.com
Grocery shopping yesterday I had the urge to make chicken soup. Tis the season. It’s on the stove now and smells wonderful. Full of garlic and ginger. I am trying so hard to not spend money, especially with no paycheck next week, but whenever I go to the store, I manage to spend $82.00. Weird. It’s always $82.00. I have been stocking up on things so that I don’t have to buy food at work, but I still do. I buy coffee. Or tea. Or something sweet to combat the boring. I have realized that most of the time when I’m craving something it is because I’m bored. Vincent has been profiting from my hoarding strategies in Kalamazoo. He says he has been eating massive amounts of canned soup, beans, etc.
I went to the new job Monday and it was like old home week. There are about ten of us from the last contract review job in Brooklyn, including Efrain, so we all hugged and greeted each other. It is so funny how comfortable it feels, compared to the awkwardness of six weeks ago, when no one spoke to each other. Now there’s a lot of chatter, but it’s not as annoying. It’s more comfortable, and helpful – giving advice, answering questions. Comradery.
Tuesday morning on the train. The one train was very crowded, even above 125th. I got on at 238th and rode up to 242nd. Nicely ensconced in my book (The Bone Clocks) I didn’t notice for a while. Then, out of the corner of my eye, I watched a slim young black woman get on and make a gesture to the man sitting in the two-seat right next to the door. It was the only open seat and he was sitting in one, with a rolling bag on the floor blocking the other. He was a black man in his 30s. He moved the bag, but with a grimace and a gesture that clearly said, “if you must!” It caught my eye. She got it too, and shook her head, stepped back and said “No, I’m good.” He insisted, as if he’d gone to all the trouble of moving his bag for her, and now she was too good to sit next to him. She then receded a few steps to the end of the train, but he started ranting about “Black bitches, think their too good for anything, arrogant, etc.” loudly, for about five minutes as the train continued to fill to capacity. Clearly crazy. In the scary malignant way. So much violence in his heart for women. I kept one eye on him until I got off on 96th street and he never did give up that empty seat. He didn’t even have his bag on the seat, it was just placed in front. The whole rest of the trip I was musing on what makes people like that? Why would anyone think that behavior is okay?
At work I reached out to Niaz for an update. On Monday I got an “I’m out of the office, but we’ll touch base tomorrow.” Well. It was tomorrow. I limited myself to two emails. No answer. I really want to know how I did on the proofreading. Then I noticed a voicemail (my phone is on mute in the office). I checked and it was a woman responding to an application I’d sent for document processing. So. Okay. I researched all of my applications and I found it, so legit. I called back and left a message. Then I called back throughout the day about five times. No go. Maybe today? Or will it be another “Almost” from Malfy, the Almost Elf. (Yes. I named him. I know it’s dangerous to make him manifest by giving him a name, but his presence is getting to me.)
Today, I’m packed and ready to make my way back to Kalamazoo. (I just typed “home to Kalamazoo” but I keep trying to change that word, because I don’t want to make my home there, I want it here. Still, my heart is there with Vincent and Gali, so, home is where the heart is). I am looking forward to it, although it means another week of unemployment. And my project manager seemed surprised I would be gone a whole week though I did inform them through the agency.
So, off to Thanksgiving and Kalamazoo. Still chanting my mantra 75K3dEARR! I want my home to be here, and to achieve that I need to make it financially possible for Vincent and Gali to move here to be with me. That’s the goal. Fingers crossed. Still. Always. 1″ Name=”C