On Daily Storage


“I could not be a guy,” Brianna told me one day when going to Delta to do homework. Insert an imaginary snarky/sarcastic response by me here if you will. However, before such an interjection could be formulated in my brain, she continued: “I have to carry so much [expletive deleted] with me.”

I Tumbled her quote and my response My actual response was far too nerdy to mention here, though in short it was, “sport coats, my dear.”
Truly, this was used as one of my arguments for wearing suits and sport coats as often as is feasible; they afford me extra space: at least three more pockets than simply pants alone.

Consider, if you will for a moment, the contents of my pockets on any given day:

  • wallet
  • iPhone
  • Zippo
  • keys
  • chapstick
  • flash drive

For the sake of tedium, I’ll give you the breakdown: my iPhone, wallet, one or two flash drives, and sometimes checkbook will go in the suit or sport coat pockets. I keep my keys, chapstick and money clip, then, in my front pants pockets. This will leave me with my back pants pockets empty (I cannot stand to sit on anything, especially a wallet, though I will occasionally make an exception for receipts and other such small scraps of paper that can be forgotten) and often an underinhabited jacket pocket or two. (if this doesn’t make me look anal-retentive, I don’t know what will; maybe that I only like to have one item in each pocket?)

This setup works well for almost all daily situations. This past weekend (and similar occasions), however yielded the exception to that rule.

Let me paint you another picture:

(haha, sorry. couldn't resist)

My father and I attended (and often attend as a sort of tradition of ours) an annual Men’s Conference through, for lack of a better description, a church community group. At such an event as this, I carry my Bible for reference, my water bottle for hydration and my note book for (uhh..) note taking.

The problem inherent in this situation is the natural human inclination to introduce yourself to strangers. This may not be an inclination I hold as a rule, but it is bound to happen at such an event. Anyway, though it would normally be a simple undertaking, my full hands become an issue. The situation could be claimed awkward as I stare blankly at the person’s outstretched hand a second before my brain clicks and I begin the ridiculous shift of all my belongings to one hand, often now precariously balanced (this same situation occurs in wedding buffet lines when one has a drink and salad bowl in hand and attempts to pick up silverware and the main course – doom is inevitable).

If the other person is not impatient and thinking of me as an idiot by this point, I know not why, for I certainly feel like I’ve ruined the entire introduction experience in thirteen awkward seconds of fumbling.

Situations such as this make me long for the days of yore when, in school, I could be excused wearing a book bag everywhere. This brilliant device handled such situations with ease and grace. Mine in particular had–aside from its spacious pockets to hold more than any Boy Scout would ever dream of–not one, but TWO mesh pockets: one for my water bottle and the other for a coffee! Despite its strength, in the post-collegiate world, a book bag has no place as an acceptable accessory for a suit. It just looks ridiculous. Do a quick Google search for images of a suit with a book bag. No hits? Exactly.

Sure you can carry a briefcase for professionalism, but that doesn’t solve the coffee/water problem at all. And please do not even MENTION those danged rolly backpack/suitcase things. Those have no place
ANYWHERE. EVER. There; it’s been said.

So where does that leave us? Admitting a truth of which we were fully aware but afraid to admit: girls got it right. When it comes to efficiency, the purse wins. There is no male equivalent. The wide variety of sizes, styles and prices ensure that every situation is covered. Furthermore, they have the option to leave BOTH hands free when carried over the shoulder.

Ever tried to smuggle a soda into the movies with cargo pants or a sport coat?

No can do. (Besides, cargo pants are long since being cool; and even when they were cool, the biggest faux pas was keeping ANYTHING in those pockets. Who can’t help but to vilipend such a useless article of clothing…)

With a purse?

No problemo!

So, cheers to the inventor of the purse. I must say, I envy women a bit for these. I guess until a suitable (hahaha, pun!) equivalent appears in men’s style, I’m stuck either not carrying everything I need at any given time or doing the awkward juggling thing when the situation arises.

Then again, I suppose I could just find a girlfriend…


Read about this and more on many, many other topics on the blogs of my competitors!



Not Easy


Let me start out by saying that this post has gone in an entirely different direction that I first anticipated. I had set off to fill it with researched facts and figures about the unemployment rate in Michigan and the rates of college graduates who landed full time jobs right out of graduation. I wanted to use clever anecdotes and vignettes from various people I’ve spoken to about the topic lately.

However, as I actually set about writing it, the facts all stopped mattering to me. Like most of my writing that is not dictated by a real rubric of any kind, I started just ranting and letting my fingers do the thinking so to speak. I had paragraphs upon paragraphs lamenting the difficulties of job hunting and why I should feel sorry for myself.

As you see from the image, this idea was scrapped. Yesterday actually. All these paragraphs were small ideas that I really couldn’t back up with anything other than self-pity and hyperbole. So instead, like any good writer (with some exceptions, of course) I developed a draft. A thesis rather. Any time my writing strays from this, it ceases to have a point and becomes incoherent rambling. Such is the writing I am prone to, sadly.

So, here’s what I have for you: holding a part-time job hampers a job hunt, but not so significantly as a full-time one would.

Hell of a thesis. Seems like I’m stating the obvious, but please bear with me. In my “research” for this topic, I discovered that my original premise was flawed. I was basing this on a quote from a friend stating that (paraphrasing here) it is difficult to look for a job when you are currently working. I did not assess the fact that she was referring to looking for full-time work when you dislike your current full-time position. This would most definitely be true.

Looking for work when you hold a part-time job holds different challenges, for me at least. It doesn’t make it any harder than, say, taking 12+ college credits and having a part-time job though. Lord knows that is doable. My particular challenges stem from elsewhere; the job itself, the frustration stemming from that and a stagnant (nice word Christi) job market and the challenge of mixing things up a bit.

On the first point: the job I currently hold is not challenging but things are frustrating. Anyone who has worked retail knows the stress and frustration involved. For those who don’t, I can assure you, it gets old quickly. Couple that with your days seeming to be perpetual déjà vu and throw on a dash of doing it for five years running and it can easily become a headache. The easiest thing to do, it would seem, is quit. But as one with debt and college loans etc. to pay, not having that relatively stable source of income is terrifyingly unwise.

My second point is closely related to the first in that working said job Ad nauseum gets quite frustrating. The daily dealings with cranky old ladies who never get anything exactly how they want it and coworkers who care less than you do and convey it in their work ethic pushes one such as myself to the point of going postal almost weekly. Trying to escape seems futile as there have been multiple job applications submitted from adults. This is the type of job high schoolers and college students look for as a transition into the work force. The fact that there are grown men and women looking to get in give me a grim outlook on the market outside coffee shops.

And that brings me to the third challenge; that of a new leaf. I may be to blame for the fact that I still live with my parents. I chose to go to school close to home and live there rather than pay to live on campus. So as it happens, I’ve stayed within that comfort zone for twenty-four years. Also, I’ve worked within walking distance of my home since I entered the job market eight years ago. Mixing up what is familiar and jumping into something completely different is a bit off-putting if not downright stressful.

I don’t even do my own laundry for pete’s sake.

So although I tell myself I am seeking outside employment, I bet there is a part of me that isn’t really trying all that hard. Sure I hate my job and would love something that is more consistent (hour-wise) and pays a bit better. But that logic fights the fear of growing up. I have a tendency toward the juvenile, I can’t deny that.

Back to my “research,” since I began working on this entry, I’ve applied for over 20 jobs in under two weeks. That’s more than I had done all last summer. The New Year kind of gave me a kick in the ass and got me to see if maybe I can’t better my life. Sure, when I get done at work and have all that pent up frustration it can be easier to just crack open a beer and catch up on blogs and television shows.

However, if I really want to grow up and make something of myself, I’m going to need to at least put forth an honest effort. To those who already do, I vail you. (it is, after all, hat week)

The job market may not be in the best place right now, but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t try all the more diligently. I think that is a lesson that everyone can take to heart.

The New Work Ethic Redux


Inspired by a recent blog post I read (yes, I occasionally retain and rethink things I’ve read, thank you), I got to thinking how my brief stint with a 40-hour work week epitomized the idea. Let me elaborately digress;

I somehow got a job at SVSU in the Communications Department shortly into the Spring semester of my first year there. I must’ve indicated an interest in art when I applied for Work Study via Career Planning due to my enjoyment of photography in High School.

Well, one nice spring day, doing some yard work, I received a cell call from Craig at University Communications asking me to come in with my portfolio. I had none, but brought in some of my photography. I guess I must’ve impressed them in the interview, for I got the job.

From there, I taught myself how to use the Mac OS, Illustrator CS1, Photoshop and  Quark then eventually InDesign. I worked there for about 4 years all together. However, as it was a work study program, my hours were limited to a) time between classes; b) time between my other job; c) the school/government imposed 20 hour workweek; d) the office budget and the ratio of number of hours to number of working students.

Still, I made a decent amount of money between the two jobs and I learned a great deal working in the office environment. I gained a great deal of practical experience I didn’t obtain in the classroom and had the opportunity to apply what I learned to a real-life job.

Granted, as students, we got the small jobs that the real designers thought we were capable of and were thus generally fairly simple. However, as we worked longer, we gained more experience and were given larger and more difficult projects.

This, for me, culminated in my boss getting pregnant.

When I began, there were three other student designers in the office (to compliment the 2 full time designers). Two of them I still keep in contact with. However, this was their last semester, so as I was the newbie, I got taught the ropes by them as well as being groomed to be the senior-most student designer.

Throughout my years there, quite a few student-regime changes took place. One thing stayed consistent, however (and this begins to tie in with the Elgan article): there was always a limited amount of work for the students. That meant, even with as few hours as we had, there were many times that we had no work. We had to use the hours, though, for if there was a surplus in the student hours budget, the department wouldn’t have as large of a budget the following semester, meaning less money to pay the student employees. Hence, a lot of homework, MySpace-ing, and FaceBook-ing went on amongst the bored students.

As I was senior-most student designer after my first semester (!!), I continued to be so. When my immediate supervisor got pregnant, I was the most obvious choice for a temporary replacement.

Imagine my excitement: I was a Junior in college, getting a full-time summer job with an office, more responsibility, a hefty pay increase (albeit temporary, as well) and more potential for creativity! Granted, I was a bit nervous, too, but once I got into it, it was amazingly similar to the student position.

Aside from one aspect: I did have more work to do. And that meant less time for Social Networking. Somehow, though, I still found the time. In fact, there were days I had nothing to do but read Gizmodo and StyleFORVM and create papercraft iPhones.

This was a fact that did not go unnoticed by superiors. Though I conveniently had my computer place so that the monitor was facing away from the door, I was several times caught “goofing off” as it was. I first blogged about this on my LiveJournal [I assume since I can’t find the post on my Xanga (on a side note, I am surprised that is still up! I haven’t posted since aught six, and it hasn’t been taken down yet. Interesting to see all my thoughts from back then. Like a journal or something. 22-yr-old Nick. You’re welcome)]. Let me paraphrase since I cannot find the original:

Apparently, it is now a crime to be efficient. I just got a lecture from my boss about how I am working too fast. WTF? I thought I was being efficient! Just because there is not enough work for me to do doesn’t mean I should be punished! Isn’t is YOUR job to find work for me to do?! I’m just a temp!

Suffice to say, I was pissed off. It seemed an incredible injustice. My work was not deplorable, but my bosses actions seemed so. What I failed to see was this: I probably had the same workload my boss did. I was just able to work more efficiently. This had nothing to do with my personality. Rather, as I was technically just a student, I had protection.

My office phone was forwarded to my boss. Meetings with off- and on-campus clients were handled by my superiors and digested then handed down to me. Proofs and dealings with other such items were either mediated by a superior or done without my presence. I had a filter. Thus, I was able to get things done with no interruptions.

Sure, the internet was an ever present distraction. But when you are only reading one blog and all your friends are in class, there isn’t enough activity to keep one from finishing their projects in a timely manner.

I suggest that one can simply unplug their phone for an hour or two a day. Or, do like Jill (maternity boss) did and close the door when deadlines loom. Eliminate distractions (visitors) before they have the chance to become a nuisance and the efficiency of your day can increase ten-fold.

Then again, it is entirely possible that I was doing something truly wrong, but I’d like to think my boss was peeved that I had no distractions.