Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Still Waiting for that Bus...

No luck on the job front, so the hunt continues... This weekend will be spent researching and applying for jobs, as well as studying for my licensing exam. 

Not much else to report, so I'll leave you all with a question:

At what point in a relationship with a new person should one share one's blog? Assume that as the relationship develops, it is a close and trusting one. Follow-up question: Is the answer different if it a romantic relationship vs. a platonic one? 

Sunday, July 27, 2008

The "Big Dig" Nears Completion

Though I could pretend that the reason I haven't been updating this blog is because I've been so focused on my "Big Dig" project, the real reason is that I've been traveling and working so much that I'm rarely in front of my computer enough to check email, much less write about my adventures.

A few quick updates:

1. No word on the job yet, but they have told me they're hoping to make a decision early this coming week. I have also applied to a few other jobs, so I'm not just waiting around for this one (but still, keep your fingers crossed).

2. After 3 looooong weeks, C is back in my life. I had no idea how much our Thursdays together meant to me until he was gone on vacation. I have been with this kiddo every week for nearly a year now, and we were both absolutely giddy to see each other on Thursday after so much time apart. I didn't stop smiling all day. 

3. The "Big Dig" is nearing completion, after multiple phases of progress:

Phase I (June 2008): Fibby sorts through all of her clothing and shoes, putting some aside to donate and saving others.

Phase II (7/11-7/12): Bed and air conditioner are moved with the help of LTB members. All other furniture moved by Fibby.

Phase III (7/17-7/21): Fibby goes on vacation to Maine. Just before going on vacation, she realizes that her new roommate (the one who is moving into Fibby's old room) is arriving on the 22nd).

Phase IV (7/21): Fibby arrives back in Boston at 1pm and throws all items from the floor of her old room to the floor of her new room. Fibby and Roommate (not the new one) spend the next 7 hours steam cleaning carpets in 3 rooms and 2 staircases. One of these rooms is Fibby's study, which means that the explosion of books, papers, and junk that has been accumulating for the past 6-12 months must be picked up off the floor. All of the above-mentioned items are re-located to the dining room floor until the rug in the study dries.

Phase V (7/26): Fibby follows her self-imposed rule and sorts through every box and bag and envelope on her floor, rather than just shoving it all under the bed. This takes all day. And night. Much trash and recycling is accumulated. Dusting takes place.

Phase VI (7/27): Fibby moves the "Big Dig" to the study, where another day is spent sorting, storing, and throwing away. Clutter is transformed into order with the help of storage bins and tupperware containers. Much trash and recycling is accumulated. Serious dusting takes place. Sneezing takes place.

No photos yet, because I am waiting until I put things on the walls, but let me tell you that this is the best gift to myself I think I've ever had. 

     Total number of trash bags full of donated clothes & shoes: 3

     Total number of trash bags filled: 4.5

     Total number of trash cans filled: 2

     Total number of boxes filled with paper to be recycled: 3

This post is dedicated to two of my former SF roommates, whose ability to sort and purge inspired me throughout this adventure.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Weekend Adventures

This past weekend was the first weekend that I did not travel in well over a month (perhaps two?), and I made the most of it.

Friday night found me at the Lizard Lounge watching the Laura Thomas Band and The Grift. I managed to rally a good number of friends to go including some college friends, a grad school friend, and a former camper (actually "counselor trainee" but "camper" is a more universally understood term). Fun reunions and conversations were had all around. Also included in the Friday night festivities was the most awesome wingman job ever. Plus - because I hosted the LTB at my house on Friday evening, I got in free. Awesome.

Saturday morning found the LTB members and GT playing on the futuristic playground in my neighborhood. Entirely stress-free and entirely fun.

Saturday night I attended the Sox game with my aunt. Not only was it a great game, but we had phenomenal seats.

Not the view from our seats:

The view from our seats:

We also invented "kettlejacks" which involved kettle corn and peanuts (for eating purposes, we did remove the shells, but it made for a funnier photo with the shells on).

The game was short, and I was home by 10:30pm, which seemed to me to be a reasonable time to move lots of heavy furniture. The big, strong men of the LTB had assisted me in moving my bed and my A/C unit, but there was a dresser and many shelves to be moved as well. It wasn't until all the furniture had been moved that I remembered that my landlady's bedroom is directly below my old bedroom. Apparently she is a deep sleeper, because I didn't hear any complaints the next day.

Yesterday I continued the moving and sorting and dumping and put new bedding on my bed. I also managed to whack my knee against the corner of my bed three times before giving up and padding the corner with with bubble wrap and packing tape. I then drove all around the greater Boston area returning unwanted bedding to the stores. No photos of the new room yet, but I'll get one up soon. Bottom line is it has heat and floor space and it's nicer and more organized than any room I've ever had.

I finished off the weekend with a first date last night that was not the result of an eharmony match. And though it's a little early to tell for sure, he seems like I guy I'd like to continue to get to know - the kind of guy who wouldn't stop for red lights.

No word on the job yet, though they are checking references. Thanks to all who gave advice/input. Still not sure what I'll say if they offer me the job, but I'm trusting that I'll know what to do if/when that situation arises.

Thursday, July 10, 2008


So I have now had two job interviews for the position I blogged about last week. This job is at an organization about whose mission I am extremely passionate. It would allow me to provide support to grieving family members and would also give me the opportunity to create my own projects based on my interests. The benefits are great, and the team I would work for seems wonderful.

A drawback to this position is that all of the support that I would be providing would be over the phone. It is also a position that does not require a masters degree, and therefore as much as it would be challenging on some levels (especially if I could create my own projects), it might not be challenging enough or different enough from past jobs and experiences for me to feel like it is an upward step rather than a sideways step professionally.

I keep going over and over this in my head, and I can't tell if I'm trying to talk myself out of the position or into it. The truth is that I was really excited about this position when I saw it posted online. In fact, was the first position I had seen that got me excited since not getting the fellowship. My excitement decreased a bit after my initial phone screening interview when I was told that the position was all phone support, but I still wanted to interview. Since then, I have found an equal number of positive aspects to the job (great supervisor and coworkers, mission about which I'm passionate, interesting job, starts at the right time, good benefits) and negative (lack of other MSWs means lack of on-site social work support and potentially lack of supervision, all phone support means no face-to-face interactions, perhaps not making the most of my new degree) and am just not sure what to do if I get offered the job.

In speaking with a friend last night, she reminded me that if it doesn't feel right, then it probably isn't right and that I need to trust my gut. But my gut seems to be rather confused about how it's feeling, so what do I do? Do I take this job, knowing it's in a field I'm excited about and doing work with a population I'd like to be working with, even though the work isn't exactly the kind of work I want to be doing? Do I pass it up, and then hope that there's a better fit in the future, knowing that there's a good chance that I might end up working further outside my field of interest due to lack of job opportunities doing what I want to do? Is there even a

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Bargaining Power

I'm not very good at bargaining. In fact, I'd say for the most part I avoid it when possible. I never try to bargain while shopping, and have recently told a friend that he's going to have to buy my next car for me because he's so good at it, and I'm just not. Historically, I have never tried all that hard to negotiate a higher salary. In some situations, it had to do with not feeling confident enough in my skills to feel I was worth more, and in some situations, it had to do with not wanting to hear someone say "no" and feel they were refusing my value as a human being, rather than my work value.  

Today I had my first job interview since the slew of fellowship interviews I had in April/May. I found the job posting online last week and it was the first posting I had seen since starting to look that I actually got excited about. So I updated my resume and cover letter (hadn't written a cover letter since 2002!) and sent it in.

A week later, I found myself squeezing in an interview between two babysitting gigs (thank goodness the woman's schedule was relatively open). As the last time I had applied for a job (a "real" job, anyway) was in 2002, I realized just before walking in that this is the first interview I've had where I've been totally confident in my skills to do the job. It made me much more confident and willing to say things that I would not have said 6 years ago.

For example, after the woman told me more about the job (including the fact that none of the other employees with the same position have masters degrees), she looked at my salary requirements. 

"Oh," she said, "I see you've put down X for a salary requirement. Did Sue tell you that the salary is actually a bit lower than that?"

"Yes," said I, "I am wondering, though, if the salary that you are offering is factoring in my MSW?"

So of course the salary wasn't factoring in my degree, and the woman tried to point out that an MSW was not a requirement for this position. She then tried to argue that I didn't have any experience as an MSW, and I countered that my two years of internships were absolutely MSW experience. 

I didn't make a big stink about the salary or my experience, but I did stand up for myself in a matter-of-fact, I-know-what-I'm-worth kind of way (well, as much as a social worker can do that - of course we're (almost) all worth way more than we'll ever get paid).

I left feeling good about the interview, and confident in my professional skills and abilities in a way I haven't felt in a long time. 

Graduate school tuition: $49K

Confidence in your professional knowledge, skills and practice: Priceless