Business


I have a lovely friend whom we will call Marla, for the sake of this discussion.  Marla is just like us.  She is a smart, capable, attractive young woman with loads of potential and that mixture of confidence and nagging self-doubt particular to modern women in their twenties and thirties.  Marla has nice shoes that she keeps under her desk, a subscription to the Financial Times, and commutes daily and smartly to her city job at a respected bank.  With continued focus and effort, Marla is Going Places.  She also has a nice boyfriend she loves, but with whom she is not certain she sees a long-term future.  No matter; Marla is focused on her job and happy with her relaxed relationship.  She is living in the moment, and the moment is good.

And then.  Marla attends an important client event with a number of her colleagues, including several VPs.  The dinner goes very well, the drinks are flowing, the mood is giddy, and somehow, without prior intention, Marla goes back to a hotel with a Senior VP from her company.

“I didn’t mean to sleep with him,” she says.  “Even when we went back to the room, I thought we would have a drink or two and then I would leave.  We talked a little about his wife, as a matter of fact.  I never felt like he was trying to seduce me, or vice versa.  It was late, and I curled up in bed, and then…  Well.” (more…)

If there is one thing that every young radical who has the misfortune of reaching their late-twenties and discovering that non-profit work fails to pay the electricity bill will discover, it’s that her cooler friends will accuse her of selling out.  And in all likelihood, the accusation will be just, and the “victim” of said insinuation or outright accusation will find herself with only a shaky stiletto on which to stand.

To many people, it doesn’t matter how much I recycle, that I walk to work, or how much money I donate to Planned Parenthood and the Red Cross.  The fact that I listen to NPR only consolidates my place in the affluent white liberal ranks.  I am a meat-eater who feels guilt because I am too lazy to make it to the organic farmer’s market every weekend.  I have a Banksy coffee-table book.  I am friends with my housekeeper.  I yearn to be a roller derby girl but don’t have time and was rejected by Teach for America.  My best friend bought me a Kindle for Christmas.  I am an embarrassing living embodiment of Stuff White People Like.

And yet, last week, when my best friend from high school jokingly emailed me something about my job as a “corporate shill,” I about spluttered my Merlot all over my Netbook.  I am far from moneyed, after all!  My apartment doesn’t even have a dishwasher (and I will tell you, I never thought I would be practically 30 and living without basic mod-cons like central air).  I do have a classic dryer from the 1970s, and a television that, as best I can tell, was the finest model on offer in 1995.  I have a mouse for a roommate and a potentially murderous mold problem in my bathroom.

If I were a proper corporate shill, I would have a condo and a standing appointment for a weekly bikini wax.  I would fucking know how to ski.  I would not have a deep-discount wine habit and holes in the toes of all my socks.  Just because he’s living in one of the Carolinas and getting his PhD in Hippie Pot-Smoking does not mean that I suddenly know how to iron. (more…)

A week ago I had an appointment with the British Home Office in Croydon to upgrade my immigration status from a sponsored Work Permit to Tier 1 Visa as a Highly-Skilled Worker, for which I am newly qualified.  My reasons for this are two-fold:  for one, I am job-hunting, and this grants me the ability to work for any employer in any industry within the UK, rather than relying on new sponsorship within my current profession; secondly, although I still have over two years remaining on my Work Permit, I thought it best to get in there fast to take advantage of the recently relaxed requirements for Tier 1 qualification before the new Tory coalition government clamps down on immigration policy.  It means that I can continue to live and work in the UK without dependence on a company or a partner, which is a pretty sweet deal, even if it does cost £1095 for the privilege.

Like anyone would, I jumped at the opportunity to combine my passion for navigating bureaucratic red tape with the thrilling roller-coaster ride that is the uncertainty of employment and immigration status.  It’s like visiting the DMV, but with your livelihood on the line!  Already a “highly-strung” personage, I’ve found the experience to be nerve-wracking, especially on top of the dozen job interviews I’ve had over the last couple of months.  I feel like I’ve been living in an uneasy state of limbo and have been hopeful that at least settling this aspect of my existence here in London would bring some clarity.

Alas, it was not to be.  Here’s what’s happened so far. (more…)

Note: Not me, I just relate to the face.

Yesterday I was really tired from a tedious Sunday flat-cleaning, still nursing a tinge of hangover from a weekend wedding, and my left eye was studiously applying itself to the development of an infection via clogged oil glands.  The main reason this was different from a typical Monday was that I had a hot job interview scheduled this morning (Tuesday) with the COO of a company in which I’m quite interested.

In preparation, I spent time reviewing their website and sector, but was admittedly feeling mentally fuzzy and physically icky.  Saturday champagne and Sunday bathtub-scrubbing make for dreary Mondays, especially combined with client tantrums and not enough rest.  Obviously, I needed to whip myself into interview-ready shape, like a Cosmo article for your most fab, fearless self, but without the ice cube enemas or whatever it is they prescribe.

The one thing for it, I sensibly decided, was a solid night’s sleep, especially given that the interview was at 7:30 am and I needed to get up extra early to anchor-bob my hair and pretend to be someone who is professionally pert at the ass-crack of dawn.  I was home from work Monday by 7:00 pm, ate a high-protein dinner, painted my nails, and ironed made my boyfriend iron my blouse in readiness.  By 9:30 pm, I was tucked into bed with a “demanding” Sudoku puzzle and an Introduction to Venture Capitalism.  Normally, that would be sufficient to dull my senses towards comatose, but I wasn’t taking any chances.  A refreshing sleep was crucial, so I took a quarter of Clonazepam to aid my efforts.  Ahem. (more…)

So, I’ve been in this long-term relationship – five-and-a-half years, to be exact – and things haven’t been going well recently.  To be honest, it’s been a rocky relationship from the start, and I can only ascribe its duration to my own complacency, oft-misplaced loyalty, and perhaps a mutual recognition of tenacity.  There have been good times, no doubt, but also a fair share of bad times, and throughout it all, a nagging sense of boredom and of things left undone and unsaid.

When Johnson and I got together, I was 22 years old and coming out of a nasty patch; I latched on to him with enthusiasm.  He was a foreigner in my hometown, we were both looking for some security, and the mutual benefits were immediate and obvious.  It didn’t take long for me to invest my heart and time, shrugging off the occasional errant suitor in the face of Johnson’s promises of longevity and fulfillment.  If I was good and devoted to him, he would be good to me, and together, we would go places.

It didn’t take long before I could see we were going to have problems.  He had a roving eye, as is his wont, and I was going to have to fight to remain in his affections.  Over the years, other pretty girls came and went, but I continued to declare my commitment and one by one, they dropped by the wayside.  I wanted to prove I was dutiful and in it for the long-haul, but sometimes the frustrations of all this struggle to stay visible and important overwhelmed me.  I didn’t understand why we couldn’t just sail on an even-keel; maybe we weren’t so well-matched after all, and I should be seeking attention elsewhere. (more…)

I posted a week back about a certain resume that made its way to my inbox some time ago that remains a valued source of delight.  Favored commenter London_Calling was thus inspired to share this little tidbit from another jobseeker out there in the world, who introduced herself thusly:

What my resume does not reveal is my professional demeanor and appearance.  In a business environment, these qualities are of the utmost importance in dealing with clients as well as co-workers.   In me, you’ll discover a reliable, detail-oriented, and extremely hard-working associate; one who will serve as a model to encourage other staff members to demonstrate the same high standard of professionalism.

Alright, it’s a  tad arrogant, but I like her forthrightness.  She expects a high standard of professionalism from herself and those she works with, and believes in the importance of presentation – got it.  This is no bad thing and, personally speaking, if the rest of her CV fit the needs of the job for which I was hiring, I’d be intrigued.

I expect the potential employer who received this resume felt the same way.  Unfortunately, when her name was Google searched, one of the first things to pop up was this image from her Facebook profile: (more…)

Once you get out of school, it becomes harder for the bullies among us to persecute people online, which is obviously a real shame.  Sure, for the junior high set there’s been MySpace and the high schoolers have the Facebook, and college and grad students have the benefits of JuicyCampus or other social boards to slander and libel their peers (click on any of those links for a good time!), but what of us grown-ups, out in the real world?

I mean, LinkedIn and Viadeo have been great professional networking tools, but I’ve often found them lacking – where’s the free-for-all forum where I can launch personal attacks and deride my colleagues for their laziness, brown-nosing, or just being giant whores, with the comfort of anonymity?

Well, the internet isn’t about to fail us, hence the advent of the professional and anonymous peer review board, Unvarnished.  Unvarnished allows users to dish about their co-workers’ job performances from the safety of their home computers and is fresh out of beta testing.  The concept is similar to Amazon user reviews and, if it isn’t already obvious to you, can be abused just as handily.  From Time Online:

It’s a concept that has caused some controversy, particularly since Unvarnished allows employees to be reviewed anonymously and with no way of removing a negative review. But the co-founders, veterans of sites like LinkedIn and eBay, think there’s a market for honest, unfiltered feedback about how individuals perform in their jobs and say their site will ultimately be more useful than the carefully selected job references or curated blurbs on someone’s LinkedIn profile. “We’re trying to take how professional reputation works in the offline world and port that online,” says co-founder Peter Kazanjy.

Yeah, you bet your ass there will be a market for it.  A sweaty, grimy, desperate black market.  Because why launch a whisper campaign within your organization when it might be traced back to you, when you can simply put it online and remove the risk of accountability, not to mention ensuring that your grievances will be available, forever, to potential employers and contacts worldwide?  It’s the future, y’all. (more…)

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