Well, EGG ON MY FACE!

Exactly 23 hours after writing a feeling-sorry-for-myself and woe-is-me entry about job hunting and financial issues…

I got a library job! 

It’s only part time, but it’s a start.

I’m especially excited because I used to live a few blocks away from this tiny branch when I was in undergrad and next spring it’s moving into a gorgeous old mansion that I lived one block away from for three years.

I’m going to take my time looking for a place in Cincinnati – I need to be realistic about how much I can afford, but I also don’t want to settle on a place I know won’t make me happy (like in a huge apartment complex). I hate moving and want to find a place I can see myself staying in for years that’s within walking distance to work and allows dogs. Apartment searching is fun… right?

xx. ls

Career Women

Sometimes I look back on my life and hate myself for taking t.v. shows, movies, and books too seriously when I was younger. T.V. was probably the biggest culprit leading to my lack of financial reality. Take Friends, for instance. For a while, at least, Monica is a chef and Rachel is a waitress living in a New York City apartment that would probably go for around $4,000 a month. I  should mention I know nothing about NYC real estate except that an old college friend lived in a closet-sized studio for $1,200 a month. I know that times are way different than they were when my parents and grandparents were growing up, but I thought by 25 I’d at least have a career under my belt, much less a place to live by myself without roommates.

In grad school, my friends and I had conversations about a common dream we’d all had since we were kids: having our very own grown-up place. Our dreams differed slightly, varying from apartments in a dream city of choice to a small farm house sitting on about 50 acres that was still in driving distance to a dream city of choice. We’d all yearned for independence, privacy, and a magical bank account that kept our conservative-yet-adventurous lives possible. We may pass on designer duds splurges but that doesn’t mean we’ll forget Berlin is only a plane ride away. Alas, those idealistic dreams were just that: dreams.

I know I’m not alone in my struggle to find a full-time job in the career of my choice. I have friends I graduated college with in 2011 who didn’t go to grad school and are still looking for “career work”. It’s come to the point where a Bachelor’s isn’t enough to get a job – employers are now looking for Master degrees. The library field is basically at a standstill for hiring but that doesn’t stop universities from accepting us and spitting us out to the job market. In all fairness they do tell us to be open to relocation and look for untraditional jobs we can utilize our skills in. I have a problem with this – I am a purist at heart when it comes to wanting to be a public librarian. That is what I went to school for. If you want to tell your students to think outside the box for using our degree, you should  tell them before they become paying students. One close friend I made did end up getting a job before graduation and I think we were all thrilled for her – we all knew how hard she had to work for it, and her success story kept our optimism flowing.

I have been actively searching for a library job since May 2013 and I graduated in August 2013. Every month I submit at least 15 applications, with a couple months even up to 30 applications nationwide. I won’t lie when I say I’ve felt sorry for myself on numerous occasions when I add up eight months of over 160 applications with only two interviews to show for it. I’ve always lived by the philosophy of “work hard, play later”, thinking that my college nights spent in my apartment studying/working on top of working two jobs would pay off with a career. I thought, they’ll see my work history along with my education and know I have a strong work ethic with exceptional time management! It’s that easy! Months later I’m still unemployed in the library field and work at a retail store an hour away from where I live. I can’t say that feeling sorry for myself has helped me at all other than sometimes you just need a good cry to get yourself back together again.

The thing about college is you have to get loans in order to go. I’m months out of graduation and still looking for work –  these $350 invoices mailed to me don’t make me feel any better. I’m to the point of confusion and frustration that I bought a For Dummies book: Personal Finance in Your 20s. Trust me, when it comes to finances I am definitely at a Dummies level of understanding.

So far my favorite bit is when it discusses living within your means. They say how in your 20’s you probably won’t get a high-paying job so you need to live within your means and give an example along the lines of “If you make $40,000 a year and only spend $30,000 you can save a pretty good chunk of change. But if you make $30,000 and spend $35,000 you will always be in debt.” hahahahahahaha – oh, sorry, I was just laughing at the possibility of getting a $40,000 a year job.

I’ve definitely learned that you need to take life one day at a time. I’m fairly certain I’ll have a job offer soon, even if it’s just part time. Life is about readjusting depending on your changing circumstances. Maybe it wouldn’t kill me to live with roommates again, and I could save those hundreds of dollars a month on a real trip to Berlin every few years. Luckily I’m not completely detached from reality and do have a strong work ethic – I believe you should work for everything you want in life so you’ll truly appreciate it.

In my retail history, I’ve been surrounded by coworkers who are approaching/older than 30 sharing an apartment with roommates. Women who are trying to become lawyers, teachers, dentists, journalists, and even opera singers. There are success stories, and stories like mine that are still in progress. We know our plot, but we’re still working on getting through the conflict to get to the climax.

Now pardon me while I go buy some lottery tickets.

More Books

I fell in love. With an antique center. It’s a huge space that holds dozens of separate antique vendors in it – but apart from that it also has a book section. Rows and rows and rows of books – it’s marvelous. Hardback books! So many hardback books! Do you know how hard it is to find hardback books nowadays for anything that isn’t a new release? But that’s not all – they’re cheap. I got the following for $20:

:: The next time I visit I will take photos – when my mother and I discovered the place on New Year’s Eve (fate? destiny?) I was suffering from a horrible headache that I was barely able to pick out these books through, not even thinking to photograph the glorious place. ::

photo-14

“Lit Gifts”

If you’re a nerd book enthusiast such as myself, chances are you’ve received your fair share of book/library-inspired gifts. I love them. And this year I got two gifts that are totally share-worthy.

Gift #1 is a Harry Potter necklace from my best good friend Nissa that  has the “9 3/4” sign from the platform to Hogwarts. I’ve always thought if I ever got a tattoo that I would get 9 3/4 on me somewhere. Most fans go for the Deathly Hallows symbol or “Mischief Managed” (can you tell I’ve researched this?) but I like the idea that the platform was Harry’s first real step into the world where he was always meant to be.  Also, reading Harry Potter was the first time I felt like reading was extraordinary. I was in the 4th grade and already knew I liked reading and writing, but I was always sitting in Mrs. Genslinger’s room staring at a huge poster of The Sorcercer’s Stone in the upper right hand corner of the room, with Harry on a broomstick about to grab a snitch. I was enthralled with this poster, transfixed by it – I had to know more. But every week we went to the school library it was always taken out by another student… until my luck changed. Mrs. Helmers, the school librarian, started reading it to us one fateful Friday and after one chapter I went home from school and demanded (probably timidly asked) that my parents buy it for me so I could read the rest. And they did. And the rest is history.

Gift #2 is an awesome “Bibliofile” book that came from my friend Kate in Pittsburgh. I moved away almost 6 months ago but it’s friends like Kate that make me really miss the city. This book is self-described as “a reading journal for book lovers” and is full of pages to enter books you’ve read, their authors, your rating, notes, and what other subjects it has inspired you to study. Not only that, but there are a quite a lot of biographical pages for the reader to fill out concerning their favorite authors, places they like to read, the best and worst films based on books, etc. The end even has lists of Pulitzer Prize winners according to year, among other awards.

I have great friends.

photo-11

photo-12

photo-13

BadReads.

Have you ever felt so disappointed by a book that you couldn’t get over it for days?… or is that just me? This happened to me twice in 2013. At the same time.

In the summer of 2013 I was performing an internship doing eBook cataloging and while I waited for batches to load I had a lot of time to read. My first date with disaster was in the first week of July with Frances Mayes’ Bella Tuscany. The month prior I had read Under the Tuscan Sun, admittedly because I love the movie and thought I should give the book a whirl. I was wrong to do so. As it happens in Hollywood, the movie and the book are about as opposite as they can get – the only similarities being a woman named Frances Mayes buys a house in Italy and some Polish men help remodel it. I disliked the book so much I had to keep going on with the next book Bella Tuscany. It was like Twilight: something so bad you just couldn’t stop staring at the “car crash” as you drove by in slow motion.

One of the things I loved about the movie was that Frances is portrayed as a strong woman learning to pick up her life again after a terrible divorce. Alone, she takes risks and dives into the unknown while she navigates through a new world on a new continent, and lives each day appreciating the beauty in it.

In reality Ms. Mayes and her boyfriend were college professors and had planned the purchase of the house and they spend the summers and some winter breaks fixing it up. While the movie inspired me to want to take risks and just got for it!, the book’s constant complaints about remodeling made me want to shake her to try to make her realize how great she had it.

Now this is what really grinds my gears. Directly after Bella Tuscany I read Happier At Home, a “sequel” to Gretchen Rubin’s bestseller The Happiness Project. I enjoyed The Happiness Project for what it was, and marched on through some of the annoying/unnecessary anecdotes to appreciate the “life tips” Rubin gives about de-cluttering your life and trying to reach “happiness”.

I work at the retail store Anthropologie which has sold The Happiness Project since it was published and as soon as we got in Happier At Home I bought it without even opening it, thinking it was as good as the first. I was wrong.

It’s true that The Happiness Project was marketed as a relatable mom-next-door’s search of happiness while living in Brooklyn. However, if you research into the family you learn that Rubin married into one of the most wealthiest families in New York and enjoys a life relatable to any woman living in a Penthouse with a help staff.

Happier At Home was the first book that made me disappointed enough to actually review it on Amazon and give it one star. Rubin’s writing in this book is so unbearably repetitive I had to skip pages at a time. For example, in a book less than 300 pages she mentions at least three times about working/interning for Sandra Day O’Conner. She talks about how people in her life were giving her advice and ideas on ways to achieve happiness and doesn’t even want to entertain the thought of trying them out for herself. She comes across as ungrateful and uninterested in hearing anything that she hasn’t thought of first.

Her “tips” for happiness are far from what she discusses in her first book, and the second time around they consist of “I decided to kiss my husband more because I heard affection makes your love stronger.” On that note, I couldn’t believe one section she included: Rubin discusses trying to come up with a once-a-month date night with her husband so they always have something to look forward to with each other. She brings it up to her husband multiple times and he shoots her down multiple times by ignoring her. She basically shrugs at the reader and says, “that’s how my husband is.” Why would you include a, frankly, awkward failure like that in your book that’s about bonding with your loved ones?

I’m not even going to go into this, but WAY too many pages of this book were devoted to Rubin’s sense of smell. You’re just going to have to read it yourself to learn about that one.

For what it’s worth, Anthropologie still sells The Happiness Project, and Happier At Home went on sale within three months of us getting it in.

Need to rant about an awful or disappointing book? Let it all out below, friend. Let it all out.

New Year, Same Quotes

Every year I buy a new journal in my attempt to keep a resolution to write at least three times a week. On the first page I list the year and my resolutions, and after that I write quotes from authors (from their works or from interviews) I find inspirational to not only start the new year, but to return to throughout the passing months.

These are most of the quotes that make their way to my pages:

“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language And next year’s words await another voice. And to make an end is to make a beginning.” – T.S. Eliot

“Let all of life be an unfettered howl. Like the crowd greeting the gladiator. Don’t stop to think, don’t interrupt the scream, exhale, release life’s rapture. Everything is blooming. Everything is flying. Everything is screaming, choking on its screams. Laughter. Running. Let-down hair. That is all there is to life.” – Vladimir Nabokov

“Whatever our destiny is or may be, we have made it ourselves, and we do not complain of it.” – Leo Tolstoy

“No, I must keep to my style and go on in my own way; and though I may never succeed again in that, I am convinced that I should totally fail in any other.” – Jane Austen

“We all have different desires and needs, but if we don’t discover what we want from ourselves and what we stand for, we will live passively and unfulfilled.” – Bill Watterson

“It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default.” – J.K. Rowling

“I was set free, because my greatest fear had already been realized, and I was still alive, and I still had a daughter whom I adored, and I had an old typewriter and a big idea. And so rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.” – J.K. Rowling

“It doesn’t matter if one man fights or ten thousand; if the one man sees he has no option but to fight, then he will fight, whether he has others on his side or not.” – Hans Fallada

And this is one of my favorites – this photo was taken in Berlin at the East Side Gallery in September 2010:

eastsidegallery

Do you have any quotes that get you through a year, or just a hard work day? A quote that makes you happy no matter how many times you read it? Share below!