Sunday, September 23, 2012

Epiphanies, both Profound and Mundane

It's been a month of epiphanies, some more profound than others.  I have always thought that I was ready to go on the job market in a minute's notice.  My dad always trained us to keep our resumes updated and ready to go:  a modern variation of keeping our powder dry, I guess.

So, I didn't need to spend much time updating, although I was a bit surprised to learn that I hadn't updated in months and months.  Still, it didn't take long:  a paper presentation here, a publication there, and the documents were ready.

As I prepared to interview for the new version of my job in the reorganized structure, I faced that eternal question:  what to wear.  Everyone said, "Just wear what you always wear.  Everyone knows you.  That's what they'll expect to see."

But I worried that just wearing what I always wore might send the signal that I assumed the job was mine, and that way disaster can lie.

So, I chose a more conservative outfit among the ones I usually wear.  I have no blazers or jackets that are summer weight, so I added a light sweater.

And then, the real fun began.  What shoes?  Should I spend Labor Day week-end shoe shopping?

I used to have a formal pair of shoes:  black, small heel, closed toe.  But when I wore them to my grandmother's funeral, they literally fell apart.  They were never comfortable anyway, so I threw them away.  I bought them over 15 years ago, so I got my money's worth, even though I wore them infrequently.

I wear sandals year-round down here, but those shoes feel too casual for a job interview.

I hear some of you laughing at all this thought about footwear, but I've been on the other side of the interview table, and I know that it's often these small details that sink a person.  I was on a job search team once with a woman who got mightily offended when women showed up at interviews with bare legs and no stockings.  I've been at more than one session when we spent more time talking about what candidates wore than what they talked about in their interview.

In the end, I didn't buy new shoes.  I did pull out a pair of sandals that I haven't yet put in the every day rotation, a newer, non-scuffed pair.

So, my first epiphany, which may be major or minor, depending on your view:  I need an interview outfit and interview shoes.

This morning, I was thinking about composing this blog post, and I was thinking about a conversation I had with a colleague/friend yesterday.  I talked about our upcoming split of our department into two halves as the death of our department.

He snorted.  He said, "Death?  Don't you think that's a little dramatic?"

Actually, no, I don't.  Our department is about to change in many ways:  split into two halves, with new leadership (eventually) for one half, colleagues leaving, colleagues going to part-time.  I'd like to see it in more positive terms, like a metamorphosis.  Maybe in a year, I'll see the beautiful butterfly that's emerging, but right now, it feels like shipwreck and ruin.

Maybe it's because I have other grim news on the brain, like this past summer being one where we set the record for the least amount of Arctic sea ice.  In this blog post, Dr. Jeff Masters sums it up this way, "Earth's attic is on fire." 

I am currently playing with composing a poem, right now, even as I type and zip through various Internet sites, and read book reviews.  One review contained this line:  "This will end in tears."

Tears, Arctic sea ice slipping away, sea lanes opening, shipwrecked departments, shoes of all sorts:  can I really mold these things into a poem?

Feel free to play along.  It's a rainy, rumbly Sunday morning here:  perfect for poem composition.

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