Crossroads

Last year I talked about making changes and you never know if you don’t try. I talked about dwindling opportunities and such. This year I also talked about leaving your comfort zone.

img_0004

I’ve spent too much time sitting on my hands waiting for something. While waiting for something this year I got sent to a different department until my old department could get back to where it needs to be saleswise. I got the indication that this move was a very rough move and I’m not where it was expected for me to be! 

I’ve had more than a few days in this current reality where I was just sluggish and it shows to those who are paying attention. I try to remember that I have a job to do, but I recognize that my mind isn’t a good place. However, it isn’t as much about the situation at work as its life itself.

I worked hard and damn near got kicked out of school twice to pursue a prestigious college degree and have very little to show for it. It’s time that I do and it’s one reason why I started talking about YouTube earlier this year. The way I see it this is one way to actually use that fancy education.

mcg

Either way, I recognize this is a tough spot to be in during a pandemic. There is some recovery but I have to realize the job market won’t just shift back to normal once we’re out of this thing. I’ll bet the job market will have changed permanently and that you better be able to market yourself very well in order to pursue more lucrative opportunities.

I’ve even thought about going the entrepreneurial route, and the next question is in what. So I think from this point forward I have some decisions to make. The hardest thing about this is to execute whatever plans you can make. My philosophy this year had also become just get started because life’s too short.

I’m beginning to realize this more and more these days. Life’s too short and perhaps I can no longer wait. If there’s something I want to do or need to do just get started and jump on it when the time comes. I just wish I had that mentality when I was 19

Dream

accomplishment ceremony education graduation

I’ve been talking about promotions, making six-figures, and jobs I’m interested in perhaps yours truly has lost sight of what’s his dream. Since graduating from Mission College years ago, I’m still trying to figure out my dream. The opportunities to realize my dream will begin to dwindle.

I remember the year before I graduatedp my uncle stopped me near the end of yet another family reunion and he asked me point blank “What is taking you so long?” Of course this is the moment where he’s giving me some tough love although he made a few mistakes in doing so going after rather irrelevant observations. He was ready to dismiss what I’m currently trying to do at that point because in his words “you’re losing”.

It was taking me a minute to finish college and I will admit my share of mistakes during that time and even lost focus a few times but I was regaining focus to move on. His toughness, when I think about it now didn’t really add anything. After his pledge to “stay on my @$$” I never really heard from him again  – even after getting my direct cell phone number – aside from an e-mail of congrats stating “You’re going to need us pretty soon”. Suggesting I need the family’s charity which I never asked for to be honest.

Aside from that the reason I chose my major at Mission was because I had a dream career in mind. The problem is that well I had no real idea how to achieve it. I never really approached my professors about potential opportunities which was a huge mistake now. I never really approached the career counselors at least for liberal arts majors. I tried to do just about everything on my own, and had a hard time because where does one start when they do it on their own. For me, it was truly a daunting task however the reason I was at Mission College was for the prestige nothing should be daunting for a future “Mission Man”.

Regardless what’s my dream right now? Well when I finally graduated I was depressed by one thing, I had very little work history meaning not much experience with flipping burgers or frying chicken (and I had no desire to). Yeah I got a few shifts in at different periods working at college bookstores or even took part in a research project as part of my major at Mission. Otherwise all I knew to do was just stuff you expect college students do to studying for tests, do research papers, etc.

Once it was time to get out there and find a job all I had was a very prestigious and expensive piece of paper a liberal arts degree. And that piece of paper I had to learn carried no guarantees of gainful employment. I had to prove myself before getting the job and had nothing to present. I was woefully unprepared…

I may have expressed frustration over my time at The Show it was OK that worked there for close to five years. It’s also OK that I have my current job at Fresh Foods, perhaps both are “beneath me” at the same time I’ve finally learned something valuable. One lead to the other and hopefully will allow me to eventually find my dream job. All I can to is continue learning as I go, but I need not wing it as I had college.

Since starting my working life one goal that I had was to for lack of a better term “run something”. I wanted to be a manager at The Show, however, it never happened for me and I suspect I made a few key mistakes with them there. Perhaps nothing I did would allow it to happen for me during that period. I’m glad that based upon how I would’ve gotten compensated and the mgmt team up there that it never happened. I still have a what if in my mind about being a theater manager, but for me to do that it was time to seek out other opportunities. I just wasn’t going to adequately grow there.

Perhaps I can truly grow at a grocery store. Move up in the ranks (I did interview to become an associate buyer earlier this year) and perhaps even go corporate since I do have a college degree :P. However who says I got to make my career in either movie theaters/entertainment or grocery/retail?

Perhaps eventually my long term dream job is to work for myself. Scariest part with this is, how does yours truly finally achieve that dream? What ways can I truly make an impact in the world as a Mission alum is expected to make one? All I have to do is make a move no matter where I am now.

 

Spring

We’ve gotten out of winter here in Chicago. While the weather hadn’t warmed up yet, we get more daylight which is always good. The warm-up will come but I can’t believe this is already April.

What this also means is that now is the time to plan for the coming spring. What should I get into when the weather warms up? I don’t know where to start with summer time activities. Perhaps it’s time to change the same ole, same ole.

This is also important with the job which in my mind could start with increasing responsibilities. Time will tell on that, I just hope that I can find the right role for myself. Life is too short for only settling for merely the bare minimum.

Also I do have a family reunion this year. Of course this means I could be going back to Georgia where the real life version of Mission College is located. Been years since I did one of those and unlike the last two times that I’ve went to a reunion since starting this blog, perhaps I should write about it. Drama and all though mostly my own drama (and there’s a rather self-imposed reason why I hadn’t went to many family reunions during this decade).

What adventures could I find myself in this coming summer?

One thing off bucket list

mcg

I have finally joined the National Alumni Association of “Mission College”. At the very least I get some job opportunities, attend college football and basketball games for free, vote in alumni elections, business to business referrals, etc. I hope that this will include some social opportunities for me and become far more active in my community than I have been so far.

What I mainly expect is to connect with the women of “Hillman College” but I need to establish myself first. And of course not be so thirsty to be with one, main thing is to make friends with them and see what develops from there. Hopefully I won’t run into a real snooty one who doesn’t appreciate where I am now. So I can knock one thing off my bucket list.

Bucket lists

notebook

As part of my long term goals and perhaps this years’ resolutions I need to consider my bucket list. I’ve always talked about joining the National Alumni Association of “Mission College”. That needs to go on the bucket list and I need to make it happen and with it are some nice benefits, but the main reason is it’s an easy social outlet.

Of course that’s not the only one, however, I could consider bucket lists a series of long term goals. For example this month I’ve been talking about moving up on the job. As I’ve always said I’ll just never know if I don’t try.

That goes for women too, but unfortunately that’s just another long term project I have to force myself to undertake. And actually dating need not be seen as a project, however, my goal this year is to force myself to relate to those women with whom I’d be interested. It’s also a case of I’ll never know if I don’t try.

Since I typed this in a huff just before bedtime, I’ve been thinking about this post lately and it’s about the women I work with at “Fresh Foods”. It will contain some long term issues I’ve often had in relating to the opposite sex in a very romantic manner. Perhaps if you have the interest you can talk me through it.

Another thing on the bucket list for the short term, however, something that will be completed very soon!

Baselines

I have never seemed to have paid much attention to baselines. It’s unfortunate that people are measured by these standards.

For example you have to lose your virginity before you turn 21. You should get out here and date before you turn 40. You should graduate from college in four years. If you’re in your 30s and you don’t have children (for men & women) then the clock is ticking.

It’s on jobs also the older you get finding a good job gets more difficult. I had an aunt who worked intermittently in her youth, she had little issue quitting a job in a huff on the other hand I’ve never known her to hold a job. She got older and started looking and the opportunities for her got harder and harder to find. She often dotes on the accomplishments of her family more so than her own.

Anthony (the hustler) was one of those people who hit me with his own arbitrary baselines. He allows my personal life or any implications of it (for example no p*$$y and I’ve never directly discussed this with him) becomes the basis of his baseline. Or for one of the supervisors we know as “The Show” he sees her aging because she hates the job and thus as she ages and is getting less attractive to him “it’s over for her”. It’s like if his allegedly ravenous sexual appetite gets the better of him he wouldn’t choose her as a grandmother he’d share pics of as a conquest.

Anyway who cares about baselines? Who decides these baselines? They seem arbitrary and in fact probably created by many on the fly. It’s as if you’re expected to do x,y, & z by such and such point in your lives. For some of that I missed it, and yet doesn’t mean I won’t quite get there.

I can look at it this way until arriving at “The Hole” I never had a full-time job. In reality I never found regular employment until I turned 29 (at college bookstore which was temporary and later ‘The Show”) before that any work experience was temporary. I also didn’t finish college until I turned 29 as I said a while back it took me a while to finish at “Mission College”. While I accomplished some minor baselines of my own in my own time, I’m still not finished.

I just can’t let anyone else determine where I should be at this point. I’ll get to where I need to be in due time. The main thing I need not be is unhappy when I don’t meet anyone else’s baselines. Especially if their baselines benefit not me but only their own sensibilities.

signals

let me start off by saying using a video of a railroad semaphore signal seems a bit counter-intuitive, but i assure you this video is relevant as far as this awkward subject. it’s all about whether or not someone is giving you the go-ahead signal. trains run the same way either you got to wait & let a train pass before proceeding or you got the all clear and the train can continue to move forward.

do you remember nicole? while barely mentioned on this blog or at least her story she featured in one story i wrote regarding my cousin natalie. my cousin took a greater interest in the story at the time than i wanted and simply shut down any attempt at a convo based upon this by offering nothing but silence. natalie who does like chatting kind of got the hint and left it & me alone…

as far as nicole, well it’s a cautionary tale with a variety of tactical errors. and to be fair it was a case of jumping a gun and the signs were in front of me that she was giving me a stop signal. with regards to if i was looking for signals from nicole, i wanted to see a proceed signal and sought to interpret and overthink them to the point where it was favorable. well it never happened and i hung around with her for far longer than i should have…

this was the biggest ouch of my life. i wanted to believe nicole was going to be my girlfriend and my belief proved to be wrong. as it turned out i made a mistake and as a result nicole probably still doesn’t want to speak to me to this day. it’s possible from my obsessive attempts i only served not to cultivate a relationship, but only cultivated avoidance. who knows if she’s ever moved from her negative feelings towards me, i know i still have my negative feelings about her.

a typical post where i talk about the women and describe them physically. this time i won’t, overtime i had to convince myself that although i thought nicole was attractive my view of her has changed and that includes her attractiveness. over the years i have thought her attitude when she wanted nothing to do with me made her very ugly to me. though these days i accept my role in how things simply went due south at the time.

having met her through my first room mate at “mission college” one mistake i had made was assuming her niceness/friendliness was a signal of interest. it was when i decided to express interest and the reasoning that she described it as a misunderstanding which wasn’t what i wanted to hear. these days i try to pay attention when a girl seems interested only to just pull back when i try to reciprocate. my goal is to try to avoid making assumptions in some cases i can be too cautious and a girl with a wandering eye can go with who’ll give her the attention.

another error was situational as i attempted to ascertain whether or not she was going to my campus to play pool i asked her if she was coming over. she was like you know maybe i don’t know we’ll see, then i felt dejected and walked away. someone touched my back & shoulders when i left. i was in a courtyard during a weekly student block party and there was a stairway into a yard with students standing around.

now i figure it was someone else who probably did the touching. probably steadying herself or perhaps himself coming down that hill and i was the only stable object nearby. problem is i wanted it to be nicole and made the mistake of asking her which began to cause other problems as it was an excuse to express interest. she couldn’t say whether she did or she didn’t and i never looked back when it happened so it’s possible she didn’t thus it wasn’t a proceed signal. unfortunately i didn’t want to believe that and held onto it for a long time until fairly recently.

another error was waiting for a signal of any sort and making assumptions based upon it. like one time i was singing to myself leaving “hillman” and nicole was horrified when she saw me. except i took that as a signal of interest because she had a horrified look on her face on that occasion. well now that it’s been interpreted by me as a proceed signal although almost a week before she gave me the signal i should’ve heeded – she wasn’t interested. regardless interpreting these signals as “interest” it caused me to further awkwardly make my presence known.

eventually it was all for naught and someone i didn’t know finally came around and told me to leave her alone. too bad this was before the iPhone and quality mobile photography. it got really scary and reality was it was entirely my fault because i failed to pay attention and heed her signals. i wanted proceed signals, but she actually sent stop signals.

for all that happened then i feel bad because if she knows my room mate whom we’re still somewhat in touch although only friends on fb at this point. he’s never said anything and when sh*t hit the fan i learned my lesson. he’s never mentioned anything about that whole episode with me even though i know there had been opportunity to do so.

nicole as a student at “hillman college” was a freshmen when i first met her as a transfer student. i was gone for a year and a half returned to establish relations which incidentally i had done so seeing her at “misson’s” recreational hall playing pool. when i greeted her and after we closed our convo, she greeted me with a flirtatious look but only after she indicated that there was someone who didn’t like her hanging out with men. i can safely consider this a mixed signal, though certainly for me i saw it as proceed when it should’ve been a stop because she wouldn’t give a clear answer as to whether or not she’s spoken for.

with this said since she was a year or so older at this point and certainly had a direction for her life being a junior when i returned to “mission” perhaps it was a bad time to approach her for dating. who’s to say she already had other things that stressed her out it could be her studies, other men, family life, etc. meanwhile i was just returning and although i was older probably did lack a direction. it’s possible whenever she saw me i lacked a direction and she could probably tell “there was no there, there”. i literally came in with not a whole lot to show for myself at least not at that point in time and that could include the idea of “no potential”.

so a few conclusions. i could relate this to what happened with candice years later. i missed candice’s signals because i chose not to pay them much attention. and she’d directly let me know it was a problem for her when i continued to blow off her signals. basically candice was looking for something with me and i for whatever reason chose to not heed her “go-ahead” signals. i’m a long way from saying this was a matter of caution – to avoid misinterpreting her signals – or just a matter of avoidance from a rambunctious young woman.

with nicole i was looking for her proceed signals and she got pissed because i wasn’t heeding them. the signals essentially was a no-go and i was again oblivious. even had some dear friends at college told me i should leave her alone and even that advice wasn’t enough for me to end my own semblance of a chase. and once again i wanted the signals i wanted which basically was, “come here big boy”. the actual signal was, “get lost big boy”.

candice – i can’t say what my problem was with her. perhaps it didn’t take long for me to realize there was nothing there from me with her. what i say later seems more like an excuse now, regardless at the time she insisted on my attention it seemed a little too much too soon at the time. i don’t know whether or not i can call this a missed opportunity or a dodged bullet.

nicole – only she knows why she wasn’t interested in me. perhaps i wasn’t showing that “mission-man mystique” which is believable. perhaps my awkward attempts to give her attention at one point was a little too much too soon also. could certainly be a botched opportunity or more accurately a non-starting opportunity. sometimes i wonder if this also had been a dodged bullet.

 

no-go

going back to my stream of thoughts that began late last month allow me to give a timeline. during the month of july, there was a family reunion in georgia which came on the heels of my attempt to go away to school at "mission college". the liberal arts school that "mission" represents is in georgia.

that experience was cool but academically and financially it didn't do me a whole lot of good. had more freedom but little experience in dealing with it. even met a young lady – nicole – whom i wanted to meet again even if there was uncertainty if she actually did like me like that. though that story came to a very hostile end much later.

before going back home in a state of uncertainty about whether or not i'd be able to return i went to a family reunion meeting picked up by an aunt from campus. then was sent back to campus via cousin natalie and her husband who attempted to talk my head off the whole way back. then on to the reunion where i still had uncertainty about my eventual return.

not long after the reunion my mother went on a cruise so i was at home for a whole week as she sailed around the Caribbean with her sisters. even still have a t-shirt from that period of time. then eventually my mother came back and not long after that one quick question, "are you going to register for classes at the community college?" well my answer was negative basically and she mumbled under her breath that i needed to finish those last few credit. before saying very clearly "it's your life".

little did i know, this was a warning sign. she was setting her expectation without just coming out and saying that this is what she wanted. she already hinted at it before i left for "mission" i was a few credit shy of an associate's degree and had little interest essentially in attaining it. perhaps this was me being 21-22 years old and trying to have it my way.

then because i hadn't yet found a job right away she started sitting me down convinced that i needed help strategizing. she starts putting on the pressure, though sadly finding a job takes time. bottom line this would ultimately help me return to "mission" although it was decided at this point it wasn't going to happen that particular year.

one thing that came up during those "strategizing" sessions was i needed to have this sense of completion and finish the associate's degree. my inclination was to reject that to my mother's disappointment. and i came up with excuses to not go back and clearly this is something that was just on her mind no matter what i said. it really bothered her that i could get a degree just like that and i wouldn't do it! unfortunately trying to convince me didn't work.

when it came closer to registration it was less of a discussion than simply a command – "go and get registered". ultimately i did, however, it was only for just enough classes where i'd still be short of the degree. when it was time to pay for the classes i went to the college that afternoon just to wander because i hope that at the end of the deadline it would be too late to pay. so i came home and not long after arriving my mother shows up from work unannounced. she wants the phone number and when they close which i complied quickly, however, she expected more from me and in a huff told me that "i wasn't even trying". she went back to work to get those two classes paid for.

during my time at community college, she was never in a huge rush to pay for me classes. she was giving me everything and i offered very little in return, taking it for granted. however, i showed little enthusiasm and she wanted this more than anything.

sometimes i wonder if her family put a "bug" in her ear. two of her sisters called the house and outright asked me if i was getting my associate's, and for the most part i only offered a bullsh*t answer. put without proving it my first thought was she was telling them that i would return to finish my associate's and they decided to make it part of the conversation.

as my mother just made it clear i needed to finish the associate's degree she advertised this as a way to really help me find a job. she also used her future demise as an argument. and of course as my reticence to really have this as part of any job application – perhaps in light of my naive belief that an undergrad degree would solve everything it didn't – she merely suggested just leaving it off my resume which was a direct contradiction to this would help me find a job.

all the same at least i never had to answer for my response to this attempt at parental coercion. i was very tempted to tear up this degree in her face to show how i'm not proud of it at all. she probably wouldn't have been entirely moved by it as she got what she paid for. it was what she wanted and for my young mind that wasn't enough for me. thankfully this never happened.

to continue my stream of thoughts what happened when i returned to my community college in spite of myself. what was the difference between spending one term at "mission college" vs. starting my undergrad career and a community college.

june 2009

hat & tasselpng

as a counterpoint to how i started the month of may, i will start june with a triumph. may 2009 i finally graduated from “mission college”. not a very high performing GPA but in spite of myself i made it. the next task paying off my student loans.

it almost felt like a repeat of summer 2002 as it took time to finally find a job – although a temp job around the holidays of that year. now i had more time on my hands than i did while at school. though i was going to experience the pressure again that my mother wanted to place on me. she wanted me to get out there and go to work, however, finding a job takes time. no matter how often i pound the pavement.

when you think about it, at that point in time i had no anthony figure to guide me on a path towards finding a good job. he often imagined me going the posh law school route or perhaps banking. law school fine and go into law banking took more than what i thought i had during the course of summer 2009.

regardless, i received countless e-mail congrats from my mother’s coworkers and family. though i never responded to any of them. while i basked in my triumph, honestly i never wanted to be bothered with the communiques. many of those same people (i.e. family) were wondering how long was it going to take for me to finish.

one of those emails came from cousin natalie who called the house looking for mom. of course when that happened she had been at work and the next subject involved congratulating me. i was like “ok” not even trying to say thank you and then she turned around and asked “did you get my e-mail?”

wanting to cut this attempt at reaching out off quick i simply said that i got a lot of emails. that killed this right there and she didn’t know what else to do or say other than “ok, bye”. even worse she and her husband visited the house the next month after graduation to visit my mother i didn’t bother coming upstairs. my mother suggested i was scared of my family had an opinion and went with it.mcg

either way reality was beginning to set in. no more admiration of the women at “hillman college”. yeah there was always fb, but i won’t be able to check out the new batch. it’ll also be harder to connect with them if i no longer go to school down there. besides it took me a while to learn women like connections if you’re in no way connected to them even second had you have no chance at all.

in the meanwhile by the end of the year i would be employed. my mother had her opinion that i would’ve been better off finding a job through the alumni network whom i had little interest in joining. besides alumni organizations costs money and i had little. sadly i had to depend on my own experience at the time.

i didn’t start getting interviews until that fall – especially an early one with “fresh foods”. that was a bad one that i’ll admit today but thankfully it wasn’t the only one.

also found out about a theater about to open near downtown chicago that became “the show”. sent an e-mail to corporate and eventually got info on a job fair they held. also relied on the old temp college bookstore standby job at a community college on the west side. that kept me employed until “the show” was ready to open.

other than that i had some optimism regarding my college degree. hopefully this could open some doors as far as jobs. well i never realized i’d have some far more trying times…

may 2007

so i go way back for this one 10 years ago. so the actions set in motion from this period would likely set the tone for the next 7 years at least. i will begin to explain.

i was at “mission college” still plodding and largely floundering. i was actually a senior and it turns out i won’t be graduating that spring. i had my ass handed to me in several of my courses during the course of that year. mostly Fs with a splash of D’s and D+’s. and by the end of this summer i would be kicked out of school again and had to fight my way back.

yeah remember that brief blurb i wrote about a girl named nicole (yeah the post involving my cousin) well during that period i had also been kicked out of mission and appealed for re-instatement. i chase after some woman and got nothing for my troubles and almost lost my opportunity to get a degree from this prestigious college.

all the same i made quite a few key mistakes and paid for it with bad grades. i was lucky to come back out alive the next semester when i fought my way back in with an appeal armed with a spreadsheet determining which grades should count. if only i was that much of a genius so that this didn’t happen in the first place.

now why this sets the time tone for the next seven years – from 2007 to 2014 – because this would be the one time i just said fuck it. i was finally alright with letting this go. no more designs on getting a prestigious degree from “mission college” and i could jump start my life during what was left of my 20s. just come home and start job hunting and get my life in order.

while this life wasn’t exciting it was unconventional. this also would mean no more looking at those “hillman college” women as a college student. no more student loan debt, studying, expensive books or even courses made difficult.

i can only imagine what i would’ve done if i never got reinstated. i know i’d be looking for another job and i’d have to explain what happened with my school. why i never finished my degree and better yet where have i been since i really hadn’t held down employment. i’d have been a very risky hire surely.

then i wonder if i’d have found myself at “the show” and perhaps i’d be in a better situation in my early 30s if i had never finished at “mission”. to be honest i have little idea today. if graduating from “mission” was my goal i reached it to my surprise…