Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Hoarding stuff............One of life's --- mysteries?? or compulsions??

Hey.. I am back again.......after a long sabbatical. But its been a little hectic around these parts. I moved from one place to another after three years and let me tell u it has not been easy.

I whooped with joy when I found that I had received a scholarship at another university for a second degree. Completely excited with the aspect of moving to a new place, I began making plans. I would get a nice apartment, furnish it well, make sure it was stacked with all forms of entertainment that I could afford on a students salary and so on and so forth.

I also realized this was the time to make a clean start. Ring out the old and ring in the new was my motto, my unending refrain. Thinking in this way helped me underestimate my packing to a large extent. I was totally ecstatic at the idea of beginning a new life.

The relocation process began with locating a cheap one way ticket. Of course in this day and age, this was a breeze. One of the numerous websites that sell tickets on deals provided me with an economical solution. I made the commitment and bought the ticket.

The major task out of the way, I continued in my state of ignorant bliss till two days before my departure. My friends did caution me....do u really think u can pack in two days, they said. Of course, was the confident reply. All I have to do is decide what I want to take and toss the rest. Little did I know that I was going to have to eat my words.

The Saturday before the Monday of departure arrived. I started late at night. After all, I had the whole night and whole of Sunday to pack. I opened my suitcases, fully expecting them to be empty. After all, the stuff I had been using was hanging in my closet. Imagine my surprise when I found both of them to be full. That's ok was my next thought. I will just have to sift through them and throw them since they are not clothes that I wear regularly anyway.

So I sat down. I pulled out a blue dress. Hey, this was the dress my mom sent for my birthday. I am definitely going to keep this one. Next........this is something I have been looking for, for 6 months. So this is where it was. I have to take this with me. I discarded a few items. Hey..........these were the pair of pants that I bought when I went to Cincinnati .......... I cannot fit into it but have to take it. I just might lose enough weight to wear it once more. A few more items down the line..............this was a skirt that my cousin presented to me.......can't give this away.........and so the saga continued.

Four hours later, I was still sifting through the same suitcase and still had a pile of things that I had to take with me. That was when I realized the extent of my folly. I actually thought I was going to throw away things that I had collected over the last three years. I had not considered my attachment to these things (which in some cases, was totally bizarre). So there I was, in the midst of a pile of clothes and suitcases, thinking how in the world I was going to pack in the next 30 hours or so.

I fell asleep thinking about all this and believe me it was not restful. Next morning came far too early for me. I felt like I had barely closed my eyes when I felt my room mate waking me up. Hey........u aren't packed yet. What happened to the toss what u do not use policy, she asked.

That's when I knew I was beaten. I succumbed to my baser instincts.................HELP I pleaded. My room mate rallied to my support. Of course, that was only after snickering to her heart's content first. She tried hard not to say I told u so. And she actually did not come right out and say it. But I knew it was going on through her mind when ever she saw me and the mess around me.

We then got organized. We knew what we needed. Boxes..........lots of boxes...............lots of BIG boxes. U get the idea. We then scavenged boxes from the university, and began filling them. In went every thing. Some neatly kept some thrown..............the bottom line... I did not feel like throwing as much as I thought I would.

But of course it was impossible to take everything. So with a heavy heart............. I filled plastic bags with stuff that I had not used for a while and things I did not fit into (boo hoo, in went the Cincinnati pants).

At the end of it all, it was Sunday night, 1.00 am, me and my room mate looked around satisfied with the results. We were standing amidst three big boxes, two medium boxes (one full of shoes, only and the other full of books), three check-in size suitcases, two carry-on size suitcases and one roller duffel. These were excluding my backpack. These were also excluding six large trash bags filled with clothes and things I had not used, which were given away to the thrift store.

I could not believe I had actually planned to take only two check-in suitcases and one carry-one suitcase. I was steeped in disbelief. Three years in a place and I had so much stuff that I could fill a house with it. It would cost me a minimum of a hundred dollars to ship them to my new place. Not that I minded. After all I had achieved my objective. I was packed and ready to go in less than 30 hours.

Of course, the hard part of all this was left to my room mate. Lug all this to the fedex store and send them to me. She was an angel through all this. Not a word of complaint. She did have her fun I am sure when she saw me sitting in an ocean of clothes.

Through out all this, one question pops in my mind, incessantly.................how did I end up hoarding so much stuff............. I know the answer...... I just do not like it........... I can give u a few hints and I am sure all of u will recognize them.......... sales.....and more sales...... But this does not mean I will stop buying..... OH MY GOD! That is an impossibility. It simply cannot happen.

However, just remember to pack far in advance when u r moving. Houses have a way of camouflaging things that will be apparent only when it is too late...............so until next time............ciao.

Snapshot of the unemployed and still looking

Let me begin this treatise by introducing myself. Or should I ?I am probably the same as a million other people who are in the same position as me at this very moment. So what makes me different from all the other people in this universe who working towards the same goal for probably far longer than I have. What is it they are doing u say ?looking for a JOB, of course. Well, looking for a job is probably the understatement of the year. Hunting desperately in the hope that someone is enamored enough of our resume and cover letter to call and speak with us face to face?is a more apt phrase.I have spoken to so many people out there who have been in the same boat for the past months and each has a different idea as to how to land a job. Refine your cover letter specifically for each job position says one ?but do we see any difference in the response that we get from the companies? Nope, zilch.

Then we go on to the next level. Tailor your resume to mention all keywords stated in the job requirements. Try to rephrase the work that you have done to fit the job description. We do this diligently and enthusiastically hoping that this is the magic password we have been waiting for to get that much-coveted first job? We send out the resume?and the cover letters (filled with buzz words, since this is a continuation of the previous step) and wait anxiously beside the telephone for that one ring that is the answer to all our prayers. And the wait continues.........

There goes that trick down the tubes. Then starts the self-psycho analysis phase. Am I good enough? U ask yourself. To look for a job? To work in an office? To earn money? Am I important enough in this world that some one would want me to do something for them? Am I worthy enough of a piddling chance in this whole wide world that would help me stand on my two feet and grow into someone useful? Maybe not? The worst one...am I worthy enough to be alive in this world and wish to become someone of importance that people would like to look up to?

And this is where the alley goes downhill. Self doubt sets in. The job hunt goes from an almost furious pace to a tottering and dawdling pace where we are just going through the motions of looking for a suitable position and attaching a pre-standardized resume and one of the aforementioned cover letters to the application, all the while thinking that it does not matter what I send since they are going to trash it anyway or find a way to disqualify it? So why should I bother to spend any time on it. I could spend my time doing more useful things. What is more useful that looking for a job, u say? Well at that point in time cleaning the restroom would be considered more important, believe me.

So why do this at all? Well we have something called a guilt conscience that simply refuses to be silenced. It insists on taking us to task about the entire process of job hunting and how we are not doing enough to land us a job. So we do this in the fond hope that the guilt can be assuaged with these actions and we could have some peace at least some of the time. This continues for a while and as most professionals would say, if our chances of getting a job were few, now they are miniscule.

Then comes the silver lining around a humungous, mile-long cloud. There is another way to attract the attention of the recruiters towards our resume?and cover letters. Enthusiasm begins to course through our veins once again ?warm and pulsing. Adrenalin rushes through our body. Hope arises in the form of the same old thought ?the golden gateway??

We, being humans, love hoping in something. Then what was all that crap about pschyo-analysis, u say? Well that was a passing phase, a really long passing phase. Now the contender is back in the race. Hunting with an almost feral attitude. What is it that caused this sudden change in demeanor? Simple. The newly discovered technique says, when a job requirement asks for something, just put it in the resume. Whether you know it or not is extraneous. If and when you get a call for an interview, make sure you schedule it with enough lee way to enable your self to learn what it is you do now know, that you have added in your resume under technical proficiencies? Remember there should be enough time for you to gain at least a working knowledge of these so-called proficiencies. This would be about 4 days. Four days of looking through websites, books, problems, and of course software (and beware, do not sleep during this period, you will lose this time that you could use to study) and then get ready to face the lions.

Day of the interview. Amazingly enough you are able to dazzle them enough for them to give you a job. WOW. Then is this it? Is this the magic pathway that was hidden to us for so long now? It must be? When all else has failed, this worked? You are euphoric. A little thing like lying on your resume?cannot bother you. And technically you were able to deliver the goods, so to speak. So for the rest of us who are struggling to catch up. Should we or should we not do this? Is it right? Or are we past caring?

But I am digressing. The point of writing this was not to give you a lesson on morality. Nor is it berating all those great people who have helped me through so much and given very useful advice without whom, I would not be here (I am not being sarcastic). Hey, in my opinion, whatever works. As they say, all is fair in love and war and it is a war. Survival of the fittest describes this situation to a T. Yes you may get a little irritated that when you did your degree in engineering, you would have to pick up the skills of a salesman, an accountant, a financial analyst and some where push in your engineering degree to convince the recruiters that you have the technical finesse to carry out your responsibilities.

But in the end, it is worth it. And for all those who have gone through what ever I have described and have landed a job, hats off to you. And for those who are still going through it, like me, do not lose hope. Things will work out.

When ?...................I have no idea
When you need it the most ?............may be
When you are ready to though in your towel completely and say “lord, I have had enough of this??........................................................................definitely

So hang in there ?............................Cheers