A Tale of Two-Point-Five Rejections

It was the worst of times, it was the worst of times.

Six months ago I got my personal training certification. It expires after two years and I didn’t want to sit on it and suddenly realize it’s December 2012 and I hadn’t yelled at a single fat person, so I’ve been looking for part time opportunities. The local Y chapter, which has 17 branches, is doing a major overhaul of its personal training program, basically trying to keep up with the explosion of CrossFit, and had a job fair to hire a bunch of new trainers.

I submitted my resume, which impressively lays out the fact that I read a book, took a test and really like to run, and got a call with a time to come to their job fair at the ghettoist branch they have. It was like when the kids go to the city in Adventures In Babysitting, except it was light out and there were no bad guys after me, so mostly I was just being a sheltered wuss.

I met with two friendly ladies, one old man who thought he was Jack LaLanne and one younger man who was the head honcho and looked like freaking Josh Duhamel, so you know…HOT. Since Joshy has played both bad guy and bad boy, I couldn’t help but wonder what kind of bad this man had in him (bad guy = bad, bad boy = good). Josh Duhamel 2.0 had had a quite unfortunate name. Like Drew Barrymore’s teasing nickname in Never Been Kissed, except it was his real last name.

Considering I don’t have any experience, I thought I did well in the interview, but it was one of those interviews that when you leave, you’re not sure if you’d be happier if they offered it to you or kind of relieved if they didn’t. I mean, if they did, I’d get to work with Mr. Not Grossy, but he’d be my boss.

If they didn’t, I’d keep up with the status quo. I had gone in thinking it was potentially a part time gig, but it was full time and had a “competitive salary,” and although we didn’t talk numbers, I’m pretty sure “competitive” in the PT world is not really anything compared to what I’m used to – and still struggling with – currently.

I hit the hiring fest at the end and the group was making decisions the next day, so I went home to wait it out with my men of Match.com to keep me company. And WHO do I see?! Mr. Not Grossy! Not only is he not married – did I mention I had noticed his lack of wedding ring in .8 seconds? – he’s single and looking, and oh yeah, still HOT. He had viewed my profile, which might explain why he was looking at me like he was trying to place me during the interview. But, alas, he had not emailed or even winked at runningmj. How rude (and completely silly).

Rejection count: .5

Now, I’m a great online dater and have no problem winking or emailing, but I decided if I was potentially going to be working with Mr. Not Grossy, I’d do best to leave the winking out of it.

On decision day, I got pushed off to a different branch, went for round two there and again had mixed feelings about it, so when that D-day came and I heard nothing, I was bummed and relieved at the same time. I didn’t have my heart on it, so that was fine, but still!

Rejection count: 1.5

I figured there wasn’t anything else to lose, so I logged on to match, found Mr. Not Grossy again and sent a quick “since I didn’t get the job, do I at least get a date?”

Not as cute typed out as it was in my head, but I was hoping that even though he didn’t like my profile enough on its own to email me, pair that with me in real life and it’s a no-brainer.

It’s been a few days and I have not yet heard back from Mr. Not Grossy. Maybe he’s not a member? Or maybe he is and…

Rejection count: 2.5

What a difference seven months and seven days make.

If you read my last blog, you were treated weekly to stories of my awful, awful job at an awful, awful local resort.  I’m sorry.

It seemed to always be “job searching this” and “crying at work that” and of course, “my managers are all in a neck-and-neck foot race to get to hell first.”

That was then.

I started this blog after my mom and the guy I was dating found the old one a month and a half after starting a new job and haven’t had much to say on the topic since.

One reason may be that I work for a big company, definitely the most “corporate” environment I’ve been in and as much as I like to think I’m anonymousish, I don’t kid myself and realize they (you know, my company’s Big Brother) could find it.

The other reason is that sometimes a blog tends to become a place to vent.  A place to get out all the bad feelings so that the people you know IRL don’t A. get tired of hearing your broken record about how much you hate your job (really? get a new one) or B. think you have some serious mental issues going on. 

Even if it takes a conscious effort, writing about the good stuff is important too.

So, in that spirit, I’ve been having some serious I really like my job moments lately. 

Last week while on the phone with someone at corporate (a beautiful building in a tempting tropical location), he mentioned I was always so bubbly and happy and the response that cam tumbling out of my mouth before I even thought about it was, “what’s to be upset about?  I work in a beautiful office with cool people and we have more fun than you.  Oh, and we wear shorts every day.” 

(This is only partially true as I am the only woman in the office and my shorts are much different from my colleagues’ shorts and entirely inappropriate for the office, but yeah, it’s well known that the AZ office is pretty casual.)

I was surprised to hear myself say that.  I guess because lately I’ve felt bummed about other areas of my life, I didn’t recognize that I AM really happy at work, and thank goodness for that; it has probably helped balance out the rest.

Then there was today, my seven-month-and-one-week-iversary. Shutupitstotallyathing.

Today, I made a silly, inconsequential mistake that had time to be fixed before it wasn’t just a silly little mistake and my boss told me to “try and show up for work” and we both laughed.  Later, I razzed him back and we both laughed again.

I work with people I have things in common with, people I don’t want to avoid at all costs, people who appreciate my contribution and support me.

I have an easy schedule that allows me to work out in the morning and enjoy the afternoons.  I leave on Fridays without a pit in my stomach that grows and grows until Monday morning.  I just enjoy my weekend and come back refreshed with a smile on my face ready to start again.

Perhaps this Pollyanna attitude has something to do with the fact that today (Wednesday) is my Thursday and I have a glorious three-day weekend on the horizon?!

The Last Three Years

My first post-college big girl job was great.  Glamourous, fun, paid well.  It was a sexy job to talk about, but three years ago today I walked away from it.

Why?  If people ask, I usually give a delightfully vague, “my boss was a jerk.”  Or, in a more professional setting (like when I was asked during interviews), it was, “it wasn’t a good corporate culture fit.”  Sometimes I even blamed the fact that it was a small, struggling company that was always handing out salary cuts, which was true, but not the real reason.

I left because for a year and a half of the two and a half years I was there, my boss – “the jerk” – was sexually harassing me.  Well, it felt like sexual harassment AND it felt like an affair.  There were so many layers to it and none of them was black or white.  I wasn’t innocent, but it was inappropriate.  I was young (just a babe at 22), completely green in the business world and he was my boss and the president of the company, in fact.

It started with him taking me to lunch then playful emails then flirting, sexual flirting and the looks then the touching.  It stopped there, we never had sex, but the looking and touching was enough to make me feel awful, but powerless with nowhere to go.

I learned a lot from that job.  I learned that using looks and my sexuality is the way to get ahead.  I believed for a long time that I got the job because he had a crush on me when I was an intern and that all subsequent jobs will be given to me for similar reasons.  I still don’t completely UNbelieve that. I learned that a tight ass keeps the boss happy and you want to keep the boss happy.  I learned that flirting is the most important work skill to have.

Finally, after a year and a half of being upset with myself about it, of sitting in my car for 10 minutes before going into the office and facing eight hours with this man who I was allowing to trample my spirit daily, I learned something better.

I learned that I’m stronger than I thought.  That if I want something to change, I can change it.  That I can choose the type of person I am. As cheesy as it is, I drew a lot of strength from Rascal Flatts’ Stand and Carrie Underwood’s Wasted.

I thought every day would be the day I quit and finally they announced salary cuts (again).  I saw that open door and ran through it.  It gave me a good cover story with them, friends and family and future employers (although, it still didn’t make very much sense that I turned down a job and some kind of salary for absolutely nothing).  I knew the real reason and my boss did too. 

I spent the summer unemployed, building a relationship with a new interest, reading Twilight (for shame), running, hanging out by the pool, writing, painting my nails (honestly, that’s when I picked up my nail polish habit and I don’t think my tips have been uncolored for more than a day since). 

I spent the last three years becoming the kind of person who I want to be.  The kind of person who works hard, stands up for herself and what is right. 

I sometimes wonder what it would be like if I stayed, well, if the situation was different and I had stayed.  High-powered marketing exec at just 26 years old?  Maybe, but I’m happy for all the lessons I’ve learned in the last three years and although I wouldn’t have picked this to be part of the story of how I got here, I’m happy with my life as it is now.

Free Money. That IS Actually Free. And Three No-Brainers.

I got a very exciting email this week, saying that my company is bringing back their 401(k) match.  I’m not sure how long they’ve been without it because I’ve only been with the company for six months, which is sometimes the approximate probationary period before these kind of benefits kick in anyway.

No-Brainer #1:  Although I had instant flashes of all the trouble I’ve been having with transferring my old 401(k)s lately, now I know the rollover process (at 26, I’m pretty sure a rollover will be necessary at some point) and I immediately signed up.

I didn’t calculate percentages and what that would mean for my paycheck and figure out a new budget and then sign up.  I just signed up.  For the max that they will match (50% of my 6%).  I’m going to make the little cut work for my monthly budget for the sake of free money.

Because, this time, it legitimately is free money.  You could invest $100 on your own OR you could throw in $100, have your company add $50 and earn (theoretically, over the long run) greater returns.  Like I said, a no-brainer.

No-Brainer #2:  Picking funds.  This used to be a source of stress for me, but I’m a devout follower of Suze Orman, so I pulled her Young, Fabulous & Broke off my bookshelf (a loaner from my college friend that I never gave back! Sorry, Matt!), opened to her 401(k) section and diversified my allocations based on her recommendations.

No-Brainer #3:  When I signed up, I was given the option to automatically increase my contribution annually.  But my company only matches up to 6%, so next year if I put in 7%, I still only get 3% from them.  Yes, it’s smart to automatically increase under the assumption that my salary will also increase with time, but when there’s no more free money on the table, I will take my increase and max out my shiny new Roth IRA, thank you very much.

I hope other companies have added or will be adding their matching programs back because socking away money for retirement really is a no-brainer and even as twentysomethings, it’s something that’s better done today than put off for tomorrow.

Who needs a tiara? Give me a Roth IRA.

Finding this clip was supposed to make me feel better, but I remembered it differently.  I thought she straight out googled “finance,” but she didn’t, so it didn’t.

I work in finance and sometimes I wonder how the hell that happened. Scratch that.  I work in the finance industry and I was hired because knowledge of the industry was not a key requirement.  My bosses actually find it slightly humorous, and I like to think charming, that the TV by my desk – meant to keep guests in the office informed about the markets – is more often tuned to The Today Show and Oprah.

It’s mostly frustrating to me personally tonight because of the “rollover 401(k) to Roth IRA” cloud that has been looming over my head for years!  I’ve got step one crossed off my list, but don’t know where to go from here. 

21-year-old Emjaye never really expected to be here, but 26-year-old Emjaye is glad she is. 

At 21, I talked vaguely with my dad about finance as I started my first real job, opened those damn 401(k)s and began supporting myself.  At 21, there was a big hullabaloo about transferring investment accounts into my name, but I haven’t done much with them (besides, fortunately, watch them grow). 

At 21, I thought by 26 I’d have found someone to know about finances in the way I’ve always relied on my dad to know about finances.  When I say finances, though, I mean the bigger stuff.  Day-to-day, I feel confident about budgeting and spending and saving. 

Luckily, I never got myself into huge debt expecting some prince to come along and get me out of it.  I just expected some prince to come along and help me plan a comfortable life and retirement (like my prince of a dad has with my mom).

At 26, I know it’s up to me.  And just like at work, I’ll get there.  Neither is going to be about step one, now step two anymore.  I work better when I know WHY I’m doing step one and HOW it helps me at step two, so I’m engaging myself.

I might have a little talk with Pops this weekend, but those talks usually just remind me that I’m quite capable and knowledgeable if I just give myself a break.  And that I don’t need a prince and his castle and his piles of money.  I just need a man who will treat me like a princess – maybe even one who is a little turned on by my financial savvy!


My last few New Year’s Eves have kind of blown.

2010 – I worked. While attempting to cocktail a tray of champagne-filled flutes, I dumped about half ON A GUEST (in my defense I was the door girl, not a server).  I mumbled an apology but was focused on getting back to the bar to get more because it was like 11:58 and most of the room was empty-handed.   All the champagne got out and I grabbed my own just in time to cheers the new year with my frustrating boss, his mail-order Russian bride and my very recently exed boyfriend.  Then the ex asked me outside and gave me some awkward speech about how it doesn’t have to be awkward and kissed me on the cheek.  Then I went home and cried and ate a burrito.

2009 – I worked earlier in the evening with my roommate/best friend/boss.  We went home and each fell asleep by 10, like the little old ladies that we are.

2008 – This was during the only party girl phase I went through.  I went to an overpriced party at a club with my two roommates and maybe kissed a guy or three.  My horrible roommate documented it and later sent those pictures to the guy who became my boyfriend seven months after the fact (because of a very twisted back story that involves a lovely little love triangle).  And I’m sure I was terribly hungover the next day.

2007 – I was sick, so couldn’t drink but went out with high school friends anyway.  My boyfriend had recently moved away and we were attempting the long distance thing.  I called him at midnight, but he claimed he didn’t get the call and got mad at me and we fought for the next two days. 

I don’t remember the years before that and it’s probably for the best. I always said that, hey the only way to go is up, but I would be totally okay if this NYE didn’t suck.  One of my Day Zero things is have a great NYE kiss.  I have three chances for it, so there’s not a ton of pressure there, but I have definitely been overthinking my plans. 

Plan A – Celebrate NYE and a friend’s 21st birthday in Las Vegas.  I actually got a ticket for this.  Then I thought about it for two seconds.  NYE…Las Vegas…21-year-olds (in her defense she does actually act older, but I imagine the occasion will have her and her 25-year-old girlfriend both acting like true 21-year-olds)…so not my style.  My Facebook invite RSVP slowly retreated from yes to maybe to no.

Plan B – Throw something together locally with other friends who also backed out of the Vegas trip, which is, like, everyone. 

Plan C – Rebel will be working at the party I worked at last year because, yes, he does have the same job as my ex, which is fortunately where the similarities stop (and my ex is no longer there) and has suggested I hang out there so I can at least see him.  This is less of an actual option, more of something I think about when I need a good laugh.  I am so not going back, even to see my adorable, little Rebel.

Plan D – My second invite came from my college roommate hosting a party in her fab apartment in LA.  Cocktails at night to be followed with watching the Rose Bowl Parade go by right outside the next morning.  Low key night with ladies I love and don’t see enough of?  Yes, please.  I switched my ticket to take me to LA for a fun-filled 24 hours.  It’s definitely more my style, except the only confirmed guests are two of the girls and their significant others, making me a fifth wheel.  I informed her I would be hanging off her balcony inviting tall, dark, handsome passersby up and she did not retract my invite so in a few short hours I’m jetting off to LA.

I didn’t really have plans the last few years and they sucked, so maybe since I came up with something ahead of time it won’t suck as much.  But, if it does, it can only go up from there, right?

So, What Are You Doing on This Christmas Eve Eve?

I’m working.  7.88 hours left after the first three days of the week + my holiday on Friday.  I wouldn’t be mad if boss man said we were closing the office early and he would just tack on the extra hours to my time card.

I’m going on date #4 with Mr. “Nickname is in the Works”.  Date #3 sucked and he will not be getting a nickname, but shh, don’t tell him that, I don’t want to ruin the surprise.  So how does this fit in with the whole, if he’s not the one, move on and don’t waste more than one date on a bad prospect?  Uh, obviously it’s not 2011 yet.  

We get along, but for me, it’s not in a romantic way, he has way too many little red flags.  We both admitted date #3 sucked, but he’s so enchanted with date #2 that he’s convinced he can recreate it.  He’s going after date #4 like he’s got something to prove and I will let him try, but I’m assuming it will mostly just be a lot of awkwardness and end with me telling him, again, that maybe we can be friends.

But, no worries, fun will be had because I’m stacking my night.  No, not with another date, but with a friends Christmas tradition!  Post-college, my high school friends and I started to get together once everyone comes home for the holidays.  My favorite part is that it’s about the people and everyone is always down for whatever and always has a great time.  I threw this year’s together and we are heading to a total dive! 

Then I’m heading home and climbing in my glorious bed and turning off my alarm clock.  I’ve got a lot to do tomorrow and I’m used to waking up super early so it won’t really matter, but isn’t it funny how NOT waking up to an alarm clock, no matter what time you actually wake up, still feels like sleeping in?


Reverb 10, Day 7 Community. Where have you discovered community, online or otherwise, in 2010? What community would you like to join, create or more deeply connect with in 2011?

In 2010, I definitely found myself in the blogging community.  I think it was in 2010 that I discovered the awesomeness that is Google Reader and began to actively jump into strangers’ lives on a daily basis (and stopped thinking of them as strangers).  I lost a little of that when I switched blogs and I actually felt that loss.  It’s why I was upset with my mother in a way that I hadn’t been since I was a surly teenager.  The blogosphere is a funny space because you put everything out there but then think you can stay anonymous.  I’m trying to balance that now and am happy with the growing sense of community I feel around my new blog.  I’d like to nurture that in the new year and even meet some of these bloggers with whom I sometimes feel so kindred.

In 2010, I left my job at a resort, which had hundreds of employees but never felt like a community.  Everyone there was out for blood and only looking out for number one.  I joined a small office as the sixth employee and feel much more connected with the people I work with now.

In 2011, I’d like to find a sense of community in my city.  I proclaim, probably a little too loudly, that I don’t fit in here.  I always wanted to live in Scottsdale, but now that I’m here, it feels like L.A. East and I left L.A. because it’s not my style.  That’s very narrow-minded of me and I know that.  Stereotypes are typically there for a reason, but they are not absolutes. I think with a little effort, I will find a niche in Scottsdale in which I feel comfortable, whether it’s with other bloggers/writers, through a running group, by volunteering or something else.

Ch-ch-ch-changes and Capable

Reverb 10, Day 1 One Word.
Encapsulate the year 2010 in one word. Explain why you’re choosing that word. Now, imagine it’s one year from today, what would you like the word to be that captures 2011 for you?

2010 was a year of changes.  To get the full story, we have to go back to 2009. 

In 2009, I made the decision to move from my college town in California, where I had been living for 7 years, back to Arizona.  I imagined, upon moving, I would live in Scottsdale, work in marketing, reconnect with my high school friends, spend time with my family and start dating, eventually finding a handsome, successful boyfriend.  There was a dog, there was awesome hair and a super hot Pilates body, even though I don’t practice Pilates.

You would think THAT would be the year of change, but 2009 all but laughed in my face.  2010 was a lot of the same.  I was still stuck in the “temporary”  job I got when I moved, at which I felt underappreciated and suffocated.  I went through a back and forth relationship with a man who didn’t deserve me for a lot of the year.  My big, ugly apartment was cold and then hot, and always lonely and sad.

My changes started in May with a break up hair cut (hello, awesome hair).  Then in August, the other changes began to materialize.  I got a new job.  In marketing.  In Scottsdale.  I moved to Scottsdale.  It’s not everything I imagined it would be and more, but the change started to shake my life up in a good way.

Before starting my new job, I visited my California friends and realized it’s not about location, it’s about relationships and I’m glad to still have a strong one with them despite the distance.  I have struggled with the relationships with my friends in Arizona, but lately, we are reconnecting as the new people we’ve become.  I’ve become closer to some and have been able to admit that there are some that I just don’t need in my life.  My relationship with my family has its highs and lows, but adjusting to the change of being an adult child living close by has been fun.  I come from good people.

Not everything has come together as planned.  My handsome, successful boyfriend still eludes me, but the love lessons I’ve learned this year have changed my attitudes and behaviors in wonderful ways. 

It’s been a year of growing pains, because changes aren’t always easy, but for the most part, I’m genuinely happy in a way that I haven’t been in a long time and that’s the best change I could have asked for.

I’ve been que sera, sera about life, but that attitude leaves what ifs and oh wells.  Welcoming change and accepting happiness in my life needed to come first.  Now that I’m there and I’ve had some successes, I see that I’m an active participant in my life and truly capable. 

Thinking and talking about my goals is great, but working toward and achieving them is so much better.  In 2011, I’m going after everything with wild abandon.  Because I can.  I don’t want 2011 to be comfortable and complacent, I want it to be challenging, because even when it’s challenging, maybe more so when it’s challenging, I’m capable.

At the end of 2011, I want to say that it was a year in which I was capable of creating my own change. 

Day 19

I’ve posted every day since the 5th and am suddenly feeling a lot of pressure to keep this thing going. 

A lot has changed since the 5th.  Even as I wrote that post, I knew something wasn’t right with TGISWOTSDAKHEFAWBOAKHFTD.  Maybe I thought if I wrote a lighthearted post about my non-boyfriend things would turn out okay. 

That asshole, who’s not really an asshole at all, broke my heart on the 5th.  Luckily I had not given him too much of it.  I hadn’t been seeing him for that long and feel a little silly that I was so affected by it, but I was really disappointed, mostly about the loss of what I thought we could have been, but the truth is, it was just not meant to be and when I feel a little sad I remind myself of that. 

The other day I was looking at my calendar and felt relieved that it’s almost December.  In December, I can throw out November.  I don’t have to be reminded of a party we went to together, the date we had the night he told me it wasn’t going to work out and the date we had a week later that we tried to pretend wasn’t a date that mostly just went up in flames.  I can get away from the Saturdays after those dates, which I spent in fogs.

Truthfully though, I hate to be one of those who’s perpetually wishing for time to go faster.  Yes, everyone loves weekends, but the majority of life is spent in weeks, so there have to be ways to enjoy the in-between too.

So, what else have I done since the 5th?

I found a spin class I enjoy going to on a regular basis.  I ran a 10K (mostly).  I gave my body over to a personal trainer who has me walking around like an arthritic 78-year-old but showing me that my body is capable of amazing things.  I learned to foam roll my poor, poor muscles.

I went to San Diego on my first business trip with my new company.  I gave my first presentation and did a really good job.  

I rejoined the wonderful world of online dating.  I flirted and got an extra month and a half on my free gym membership.  I explored a music museum and had wine and easy, uninterrupted conversation with Rebel, the friend/flower guy.

I went to my first opera.    I visited with my mom on her birthday and forgave her for finding my last blog (not literally because I never told her that was why I took it down, but I hadn’t been being fair to her because of it and now I’m over it).  I got upset with my sister and got over that too.  I caught up with an old friend at a casino at 5pm on a Saturday like (arthritic) 78-year-olds bussed in from the retirement communities.  I made holiday plans with college friends.

I’m going to enjoy the rest of November.  I’m going to slow down.  It’s not about rushing to the next phase.  I’m going to let myself feel the hurt if it comes up AND remember to enjoy the good things that make up the in-between time.