Chief Reality Officer

September 17, 2009

So, I was Googling myself this morning – another thing to do while job-hunting, so you can see what prospective employers are learning about you – and something to do that feels like you’re working but isn’t really. You know, for those sluggish moments.

Well, Self-Googling (if not a term, it should be) always has struck me as a kind of surreal exercise – like peering into all of the alternate universes that could have been your life.

For instance, there’s the Amy Marshall Dance Company. I actually did spend most of my childhood dancing – so it’s always funny to think that that maybe could have really been me.

I try not to let the success of all the other Amy Marshalls out there get me down.

Today I saw a new Amy Marshall, and this just delights and flabbergasts me: her job title? Chief Reality Officer.


Taking a look at her bio, she’s a hot-shot marketing exec, but I’m wondering if I can steal and reinvent the position.

As Chief Reality Officer, I could really shake things up, on all sorts of levels!

  • I could tell politicians to Get Real about healthcare.
  • I could sanction magazines for publishing very un-real versions of real stars on their covers.
  • I could encourage policy makers to embrace the reality of climate change.
  • I could ticket superficial snots for their facades and lack of true decency.
  • And I could embark on a global campaign to get everyone dipping more into real reality with their relationships and communities instead of being so latched to virtual reality of the computer and television screens.

As Chief Reality Officer, I could really – really! – make a difference!

And that’s an alternate universe I’d love to see coming up on Google someday…

Anyone hiring?


The Kangaroo, the Job

September 15, 2009

Advantage #345 of being out of work: You can take time off from biting your nails in front of your empty email inbox to go stuffed-kangaroo hunting.

(Yes, I’m trying to look on the bright side of things, especially after a new acquaintance told me yesterday that The Secret really did work for her, and while I felt like saying that as far as I’m concerned The Secret is Money, Wealth, Power, and Connections – none of which I have – and to tell The Secret to go screw itself – I am not being my flippant, negative self but yes, trying to be positive. So. Not so secret but definitely better than being a bitter whine-o.)

Back to the story. I have no idea why I thought it was a good idea to let my almost four-year-old daughter take both mama and baby kangaroos with us on our trek to the downtown library, and then why I let the baby ride in my pocket, which it promptly fell out of on the way.

After many tears, I promised we would find the joey, and, on our way home, we did. My daughter scooped it up and fell asleep in her stroller, while I mulled over my joblessness.

Well, when we got home, the joey was gone again, and again, many tears and promises of finding it again.

But seriously, what was I thinking? The kangaroo is the same color of all the leaves that have just started falling from the trees along Locust Avenue, and just as small. I didn’t notice the darn thing falling out of her lap – obviously having the keen eyesight of an owl is not one of my strong points (though I have many – stay positive, Amy!) – how the heck was I going to find it AGAIN?

Today I ran and reran yesterday’s route, scouring the ivy and wincing at the drains, my heart aching for the poor kangaroo. The whole time I was searching, I kept trying to have hope; we found it once – certainly a miracle could happen again – right? Or is that kind of serendipity non-repeating?

I jogged along, feeling all the worry, anxiety, and fear focused on the stuffed animal that’s been plaguing me about not finding a job. I couldn’t find the kangaroo. I can’t find a job. My luck feels like it’s run out. Secret or no secret, having hope and enough energy to keep on looking feels not only hard but foolish. And it feels like if I were only better, if I’d been more prudent, if I’d done this or that, I wouldn’t be in this situation, letting everyone down…

I don’t know how I’m going to tell Jo about the kangaroo. We have plenty of little animals the mother kangaroo can adopt. I can invent a story about the Teeny Tiny Fairy finding the joey and taking her to a safe tree. I could go out and purchase a similar-enough looking toy to replace it. I could hope she forgets.

The thing is, I was so glad the first time we stumbled upon the lost kangaroo, because it felt like a lesson in trusting the universe, in finding what is lost, in hope. But not finding it a second time seems an equal lesson in the complete opposite direction – you can’t always get what you want. The universe is not always benevolent. Sometimes we lose things we love, despite all our best intentions and hard work. Despite all our hope and good energy.

The secret of happiness isn’t getting what you want. It’s following your bliss and learning to love what you have, let go of what you have not. I can’t control the job situation, but I can accept that it is what it is, and enjoy the ability to kangaroo-hunt in the meantime.

It’s not as easy an answer as I’d like to know for myself or teach my daughter. But probably, as the kangaroo’s disappearance proves, it is a more accurate description of the nature of things.

Goodbye, little joey. I hope you have found a happy home.

And hey, future job, I’m going to find you, someday…

No Insurance, No Job, Just One of the Masses

September 2, 2009

So yesterday I lost my health insurance. The COBRA from my last job ran out. And I don’t have a new job to replace it.

The ironic thing is, the prospects for health insurance don’t look much better than just coughing it up at Prompt Care. I know at least two people with job-provided health insurance that has such high deductibles, it’s almost not worth it.

And another friend of mine was researching purchasing health insurance on his own, only to find – he’s one of those people who combs through all the tiny print – that every single one he investigated has a clause saying they won’t pay if you get sick.

Which, I thought, was the whole freaking point.

So, no health insurance, what do you do? Some ideas:

  • Take vitamins.
  • Wash your hands.
  • Cross the street carefully.
  • Ignore lumps and pains.
  • Turn into a Christian Scientist.

When I was a kid, my parents were impoverished missionaries by choice, but we lived in California in the 70s, and there were free clinics everywhere.

One of my exes took a lot of Niacin and Goldenseal to deal with tooth infections when he didn’t have dental insurance.

In my head, the line from that song: You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone

I think I would like all politicians to experience this. And to know that not having health insurance – or a job – is not a function of choice or delinquency. It can happen to the most industrious and well-intentioned of persons… just like poverty, homelessness, cancer…

So, if you’re germy, stay away!

I’m off to do some tai chi, visualizing a robust immune system…

The Image of a Working Mother

July 3, 2009

This might be too self-gratifying for you, but as I face the imminent end of nursing my youngest child, I have to give props to myself and anyone else who has found themselves doing the Ultimate MultiTask:

– Working on her computer with right hand

– While in heels and skirt, eyeing her dress shirt, waiting next to the hot iron

– Taking a business call on her cell phone with her neck

– Nursing her insistent baby with her left hand

This was me the other morning, and somehow, what I’m describing was not a picture of chaos.

I’m edging myself back into the workforce after taking not quite a year off to be with my two young kids – daunting, in some respects, except that truly, nothing can be as hard as keeping your cool in instances like the above.

Too bad it’s not kosher fodder for a resume…

For the First Time…

April 8, 2008

1. I started walking the dog, pushing toddler in the stroller, and nursed baby in sling all at the same time. I laughed at myself as I walked past a car and saw my reflection. I was flashing a side boob. But the dog was driving me crazy. The toddler needed to go go go. So I went went went. Ha!

2. I made shepherd’s pie, which required making mashed potatoes Not From a Box. I’ve never done that before.

3. I’m going to try and make it work Working for Myself/the family. This is a big step. For the first time in my life, though, I feel like I’m making choices based on things I want to do, not on the easy things I know I CAN do without too much trouble. That’s a big change. I realized recently that many of my past decisions have been about avoiding failure, and I’ve lied to myself and others about my motivations, making them seem much more lofty than “I was scared of the competition of theater, so that’s why I didn’t pursue an acting career” – or “I was scared of being separated from my partner, too much so to go get a teaching job after grad school” – things like that.

I’m still pretty scared, but this time I’m being honest about it – and I’m going to try to move ahead with what I want to do anyway.

Help Your Career – Post to this Blog

August 22, 2007

Okay, maybe not this one, but according to an article I just read, branding yourself online is the way to go with finding a job, which includes the following:

  • Review books at and that are relevant to your area of expertise.
  • Submit articles to article banks and web portals that relate to your functional area/passion.
  • Claim your profile or start one at, and They are free.
  • Post comments to blogs that are relevant to how you want to me know.
  • Of course, for most people, having a blog is the ideal way.

I don’t know about you, but this sounds like a lot of BORING work – sometimes I just want to read something without having to comment or review it, you know? Just the reading part takes a lot of time.

Still, notice what I’m doing right now…