February 11, 2012

UFF DA

We had a NASTY blizzard last night. Not much snow--maybe a half an inch or so--but the wind!!! UFF DA!!!!!

This morning a departing bank of clouds took center stage above the lake...




It's funny that I still label these occasional morning pictures "daily sunrise." They seem to get more occasional as the days go by. This has been true lately for a couple of reasons. First, as we've had an unusually mild winter this year, the lake hasn't been quite as bizarrely picturesque as it was last year. Without massive ice flows and stretches of sub-zero temperatures that unpredictably change the lake's surface from a frozen tundra to a gigantic mirror within the space of a day or two, I've been a little less inclined to lose sleep in order to make the sunrise.

Second, I've been insanely busy these days finding ways to both hold on to the few pennies I still possess (though I already live so frugally it's difficult to find anything else to cut), and seek out ways to earn more of them. I've been in panic mode because unless I find a regular source of income--even a small one--I'm going to go broke before the end of the school year. In addition to taking part in as many research studies as I possibly can ($6 here and $6 there helps a little) I've submitted countless applications for every entry-level no-brainer job I can think of, still without any luck. The main problem as far as I can tell is that everyone is looking for someone who is outgoing, gregarious, sociable, and "fun", and as I complete the personality-assessment portions of job applications I can't claim to possess those traits and still honestly answer the question that inevitably comes up later on the page, "Do you sometimes lie to make yourself look better?"

About a week ago I heard about a new book just out that looks like it addresses my predicament head on. Quiet by Susan Cain explores the difficulties that natural introverts, like myself, encounter both when applying for jobs and then later as they try to survive within today's typical work environments. Here's an excerpt from an NPR interview about the book that spoke so well to my past and current experiences that it gave me goosebumps:

"We moved from what cultural historians call a culture of character to a culture of personality. During the culture of character, what was important was the good deeds that you performed when nobody was looking...But at the turn of the century, when we moved into this culture of personality, suddenly what was admired was to be magnetic and charismatic."

Here's a link to an excerpt from the book if you are further interested.

Though I haven't read more than the excerpt above, I gather that her argument is not that extroversion is bad and introversion is good, but rather that our current culture is unhealthily imbalanced to favor those who work well in open sociable environments, while those who operate more effectively in calmer spaces and perform well as individuals are shut out or struggle as they are forced to conform to an ideal that grates on their nature. I'm interested in reading more. Hopefully the book will come to my local library soon!

Anyway, though I've been thus far discouraged in my search, I've made it a point to do at least one thing per day that will either get me some cash in the short term or further my prospects for making money in the future. I finally put my name into the NU "gig referral service," I apply for every local part-time job I might qualify for as soon as I hear about it, I have an appointment with the NU career office on Monday to have my resum├ęs evaluated and go through a list of questions I've typed up about how I can set myself up for a measure of success in the days, months, and years to come, I contacted a faculty member from the NU art department who gave me a list of places I can go to see about exhibiting and/or selling some of my art, I'm becoming a research-subject-pro and have signed up to be a "healthy control" for a number of upcoming medical studies--though when or if they'll call me is iffy (and no mom, these do not involve me taking any medication...I would never put my body through that kind of madness), I'VE GOT A JOB TOMORROW making $12 per hour for 7 hours helping out with an audition that's taking place on campus, there's one really great (but temporary) job I hope to apply for that's been getting ALL my extra energy at the moment (more on that later if my application comes together well), and I obsessively check Musical Chairs for any new audition listings from around the globe that are advertised there.

Fortunately I DO have an Easter gig (yay!), I DO have one final loan disbursement that I'll get at the beginning of next quarter (whew!), and I DO have a summer job lined up (I'll be a music librarian at the good ol' IMC again!), so all is not lost...there are a few short-term helps on the way.

So anyway, I hope you can forgive my having disappeared from the radar lately. I'm doing my best.

3 comments:

  1. Have you considered selling prints of your artwork on places such at Etsy.com? There are a lot of people that sell art prints there that do really great.

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  2. There are some big drum stores in Chicago. Why don't you check with them about doing some custom snare drum engraving?

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  3. The universe is awaiting your wares! You have so much to offer, I have all confidence that you will succeed in your quests.

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