5/30/2006 06:49:00 PM   [ link ]

gah, what is WRONG with me?

With something as simple as a cover letter, or a thank you note after an interview, or yes, even a stupid resume summary statement I honestly have the most severe mental blocks even possible. I agonize. Is it professional enough? Does it seem sincere? (I worry way too much about this one.) Does it sound too much like a form letter that I just plugged the appropriate name into, EVEN THOUGH I JUST NOW WROTE IT FROM SCRATCH? (Usually, I am convinced that it does.) Does it have any typos? (Knowing me, this is unlikely. Yet I still feel the compulsion to read and reread any job-related correspondences approximately 6,325,487 times before it seems "safe" to send it off.)

I have no reason to think that a minute change in the wording of a thank you letter will be the difference between getting a job or missing out.


And I have no reason to actually doubt that I will get at least one job offer from the aforementioned three interviews... but I catch myself worrying about that too.

So, um, until I get one actual real job offer so that I can maybe breathe just a little bit, until then everyone in Internetland is gonna have to deal with all my job hunting related ANGST and AGONY.

And until then, I'll keep closing my eyes each time I hit "send" on an email, peeking out cautiously only once it has been whisked safely away from my hands.

5/25/2006 03:21:00 PM   [ link ]

Apparently my resume summary statement did not actually suck too badly, because now I have three interviews in one week.

5/17/2006 03:51:00 PM   [ link ]

summary statements on a resume = WORST.

How about:
Hardworking, motivated team player and self-starter with strong communication skills and ability to multitask seeks, um, a job of some sort!

Or wait, I know:
Graduate level computer scientist with extreme dislike of cliched resume buzzwords seeks full time position in software development.

How are you supposed to write these things without sounding utterly fake?

5/15/2006 11:00:00 PM   [ link ]

the Plan.

So what I didn't say before, back when I was floundering and had no Plan was that I wasn't only thinking about quitting grad school. I was actually thinking quite seriously about quitting CS altogether.

It seemed rather dangerous to actually say so out loud.

There was a single moment that led me to question everything: I discovered that the good pianos aren't actually all locked away like they used to be. And as I was sitting there practicing one day, the thought popped into my head that if the practice room were my office, instead of a room with a computer and a chalkboard and a lot of code that I need to write but don't want to write, then I might be a lot happier. And this thought was very compelling to me. I went home and laid my head on Mike's lap and cried that I didn't know what I was doing with my life; that I would play piano all day long if I could; that I had made a horrible mistake in going to grad school. Maybe I should be a piano teacher. I could imagine being a piano teacher, I could see it in my head like it was happening.

Obviously this was irrational thinking. I was overreacting. But still, everything was different after I had had those thoughts, and for weeks I floundered and wailed to everyone I knew. I needed to change something, but everything was laid out in front of me like a maze, and all the paths looked the same.

Should I stay in the doctoral program? Maybe I would be happier if I just stuck with it for a while and got through the current project and chose something more interesting? (Or maybe it would still be just as bad.)

Maybe I should just quit altogether and go to music school? (Or maybe if I was actually expected to play the piano all the time I would get burned out on that just as much.)

Maybe I should get a job in the real world and play piano on the side? Maybe I should get a job just for the summer and see how I like it? Maybe that would give me a sense of perspective and I'd want to return to the doctoral program. (Or maybe I'd still have no idea.)

Ooh, I know, maybe I should get an entirely unrelated job -- like be a waitress for the summer and see if that cures my burnout?

Maybe I should listen to this email I just got from Amy Sia and go to Boston... for a while? Forever? (But Mike would hate Boston! (But then again, that's nothing to base a decision off of, if I think I might like the job...))

Maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe. "Maybe" doesn't even look like a real word anymore, if you type it too many times in a row.

I was flailing around, and all my choices seemed the same, and there were too many what-ifs. I talked to my advisor and I started researching music schools. I brushed up my resume and looked up my former piano teacher (she just wrote a book). And I kept playing piano all the time.

And then... I'm not really sure what happened. I think I understand better now why some people believe that their path in life is chosen by God. Because all I did was whine and flail for several weeks, and then suddenly one of those paths in the maze seemed just a little bit shinier. I don't feel like I answered any of the what-ifs, but one of the paths started to sparkle just a little bit, anyway.

I can't be a piano teacher without more education. I don't want to close the door on teaching piano. Therefore, I will go to music school. Put that way, it seems simple.

I will visit Marilyn and watch her teach.
I will ask her to help me research music schools.
I will get a CS job for now.
I will practice piano and study theory and music history.
I will apply to music school for Fall '07.
I will spend 2 years focusing on music.
But I will keep up my CS skills while I am there.
When I am done, I will have music teaching experience and CS job experience.
I will find the right balance between the two.

I am confident that I can find it.

5/12/2006 03:22:00 PM   [ link ]

I think I have a plan.

Well, sort of a plan. A plan that includes everything except the upcoming year. Which is slightly inconvenient, because that means I need to start job-hunting rightnow.

The lady at career services seriously looked at me like I was crazy, too, because everyone who's graduating started their job hunts ages ago, and everyone is supposed to have everything sorted out now. But I'm not graduating, I'm quitting. And that's entirely different.

Um, if anyone out there knows of cool places I could work, preferably in St. Louis but possibly elsewhere... let me know, I guess?

We'll see how this goes. I'm a little nervous.

5/10/2006 10:24:00 PM   [ link ]

Yeah, um, this whole "life crisis" thing is not turning out to be nearly as dramatic and romantic as it should have been.

Mostly I'm just sick of thinking about it, and sick of hearing myself whine to people about it.

5/10/2006 10:30:00 AM   [ link ]

It is important to note that in the previous entry, I had originally put extra emphasis in the sentence "that's when you're gonna off me, I know it." At that point I was supposed to sound sort of agitated, and it just looked like it needed more CAPITAL LETTERS, you know? Like, "that's when you're gonna OFF me, I know it."

But as soon as I typed that, I was struck by the image of that little Sicilian man spraying me in the face with a can of OFF. And it just wasn't the image I was going for, you know?

5/09/2006 04:52:00 PM   [ link ]

the mob knocked on my door.

At 8:30 this morning, I had just finished my coffee when I heard loud banging -- first downstairs and then on my own door.

"PLUMBER! Anybody home? PLUMBER!!"

I poked my bedhead out skeptically. "I didn't call for a plumber..." I squinted at him. This guy didn't seem like a plumber -- for starters, he was wearing a suit.

It was tan and expensive-looking. I've heard plumbers make pretty good money, but still. I didn't think they came to work in suits. His hair was slicked back. He talked like a Sicilian.

He smiled and explained to me that the back entrance was locked; he couldn't get down to the basement. They needed to install a new water heater, and could he just cut through my apartment to get to the back stairwell? His smile made deep creases around his eyes, although the rest of his face was smooth.

And with that smile, and that suit, and you're claiming to be A PLUMBER, OF ALL THINGS, I'm supposed to just let you waltz right through my apartment? Jeez, I don't think so, buddy. I let you in this apartment, that's when you're gonna off me, I know it. Don't try to fool me.

I told him to go around to the basement door from the outside, and I'd open it for him. I locked my front door as soon as he turned around.

The hot water doesn't do that thing anymore, where the pressure disappears and returns at random intervals. So I guess he was a real plumber. That still doesn't mean he wouldn't have offed me, though.

5/07/2006 12:01:00 PM   [ link ]


Guy: Yeah, it's REALLY sick.
Girl: But..... that's cannibalism!
Guy: Eh, pretty much.

And now I'm stuck wondering what in the world could possibly be "pretty much" cannibalism....


5/05/2006 10:37:00 AM   [ link ]

I guess that wasn't the best way to leave things, but honestly I just didn't have anything to say for a while. I'm still not sure that I do.

A brief summary of things that are Different and Not Different since the last time I posted:

And so. I'll see what happens if I try to write a little, every once in a while.