Archives for category: jobs

I don’t think it’s possible to be female in the workforce without having a couple of #MeToo stories, especially not if you’ve been a working gal since 1986.

My first encounter with sexual harassment occurred at my very first job. I was a graphic designer for Tiger Beat magazine. It was the 80’s – I was in my 20s and had a good body. Yes, I’ll admit, I wore the obligatory mini skirts and large hoop earrings.

I was in the elevator heading back up to my offices after lunch. There were two salesmen in the elevator with me…one who worked for my company and one who was a stranger to me. The stranger motioned towards me with a nod of his head and said, “I wouldn’t mind a piece of that.”

As if that weren’t bad enough, my company’s salesman said in return, “Believe me, you don’t want any.” Then the door opened and they walked out.

I was furious. While my fear of confrontation kept me from screaming in the face of that scuzzy salesman, I was angry enough to report him to the higher ups. So, I went to my publisher, an older gentleman, and told my story. With a patronizing tone he told me that comments of that sort were to be expected, especially when you wear short skirts and tight outfits.

After hoisting my jaw off the floor, I told him if that was  “company policy,” then I demanded that the men in my department wear pants wth at least 3 pleats. Who knows..I may not be able to control myself around all those good looking men in tight jeans…I may be forced to grope someone.

He laughed it off and dismissed me, but I was pissed. I also gave that salesman dirty looks for the remainder of my tenure at Tiger Beat Magazine.

The second time I felt the workplace ogles was when I had finally landed a job back in my field of graphic design. I had been working as a waitress for a while when I finally got wind of a job at a design agency in Soho. I met with the boss for an interview on a weekday night at a bar in the city.

It didn’t take long for me to realize this guy was a sleaze. He told me during the interview that perhaps he should consider dating me rather than hiring me. I pretty much ignored the red flags for the opportunity to work in my field again.

I worked for this pig for less than a year. The final straw was, as I sat with my legs crossed at my desk, he walked by, ran a finger up my leg and said, “Sweetheart, it’s time for a shave.” I quit that job to work as a cashier in a liquor store in Jersey. From swanky Soho to wearing a blue Bottle King vest in a strip mall off Route 46.

But I never regretted leaving. He begged me to stay. In the end he offered me full health coverage, parking and tolls thrown in. No thanks. I’d rather bag pints of vodka for functioning alcoholics.

It really sucks that so many women have to endure these Me Too moments…times when you just have to suck it up and take it for the sake of a paycheck, or health coverage, or God forbid, advancement.sexual-harassment-at-work

 

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Have you ever heard of the word “snork?” If not, read the urban dictionary definition above.

Yes, it’s that gross sound someone makes when their nasal passages are filled with snot, but rather than grab a tissue and discretely and privately blow their nose, they choose option B…which is to suck said snot up their nose and swallow it. AKA the snork.

It’s a disgusting sound – loud, wet and rattling – a sound that cuts through the air and makes those who are forced to hear it shudder. Or gag.

That being said, let me share a little something with you. I have a co-worker who snorks continually, all day, every day. She’s not sick. She does not complain of constant sinus problems. She just snorks. She’ll be standing over my desk, discussing an ad design with me, and before long I am forced to hear 4 ounces of phlegm travel up her nose and into her throat.

It’s worse after she sneezes. She has one of those stunted sneezes…not a hearty “achoo!” at all. It sounds as if she is swallowing the sneeze, and to make it worse, she’ll “sneeze” about 7 times in a row. And then…then comes the snorking. Over and over again, every 15 seconds or so. *SNORK!*  *SNORK!*

I am certain she has swallowed at least 43 gallons of snot since she began working here.

How does someone develop such a disgusting habit? I mean, she’s a grown woman with children. I don’t know how she has gone this far in life without someone taking her aside and asking her if she’s ever heard of a tissue. Or that foreign practice of nose-blowing.

She did this continual and constant snorking once during a staff meeting, where the entire office was present. It was so gross to hear, and I’m still baffled that not one person called her on it. We have some folks here who can take being snarky to an Olympic level…but not a peep from anyone.

Maybe it’s just me.

Nah…it can’t be. It’s too gross a sound. I guess everyone is too chicken-shit to call her out on it. I just hope I don’t snap one day, stand up and scream…”WILL YOU PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD JUST BLOW YOUR NOSE!”

I really don’t want that to happen. I’ve already snapped at her for being a control-freak-know-it-all. I can’t handle being the snork police as well.

Oh God…she just sneezed….

20170606_163147I am not ashamed to admit it…I love my job.

Sure it can get frustrating constantly dealing with deadlines, and clients who get their ad materials in an hour before press time. Sure it sucks when your sales rep gives you the bare minimum of information when designing an ad that you spend an hour on, only to have the client say “it’s not what they were looking for.

But when it comes down to the proverbial brass tacks, I love my job.

Take today…I am working from home. I already work from home every Wednesday, which is our slowest production day, but this Friday our sales team met their goal, and they have the day off. My publisher, the fair and reasonable gal that she is, told us we could work from home as well. So I sit here in my jammies, mug of tea by my side, writing this rather than driving into town to the office.

This happens frequently. On days where she can our newspaper and magazines are in good shape, she’ll send us home early. This is because she knows that when we are swamped with ad builds, we work weekends and after hours to get proofs out. She acknowledges that, and gives us time off when we are slow.

This is something my other bosses never quite got. Hell, at my last job if I needed to leave early because family was coming in or I had a doctor’s appointment you had to SHOW you made up the time. The fact that I came in 1/2 hour early every day, or sometimes never took a lunch break escaped their notice. They were slave masters when it came to hours.

I also love my job because I respect the product we put out. My newspaper is the heart of Charlottesville…the alternative to your basic newspaper, we cover topics that others won’t touch. This was the cover of our last issue of 2016…12_28_2016 CVILLEWEEKpg01It took BALLS to put this out there for all of Charlottesville to see….to boldly show that we do not agree with what is going on in Washington and around the country. We got a lot of flack for this cover. There are still a few advertisers that refuse to do business with us. But that is why I LOVE our product. They are not afraid to tell it like it is.

Screen Shot 2017-04-23 at 7.42.22 AMThis is another one of my favorite covers from a previous year. Colorful and fun, promoting equality and diversity…and with a drag queen front and center.

My paper sponsors a lot of awesome events in town as well. Not only the Pride Festival, which this cover was promoting, but the Tom Tom Founders Festival, our local baseball team, the Tom Sox, along with a plethora of other community events. They are very invested in our town, and I really dig that.

My company also shows a ton of appreciation for it’s employees. We are fed often…There are always snacks on the table – actually, I’m not sure if this is really a good thing…

My boss is taking my coworkers and I to lunch next week – this after she bought a whole bunch of us lunch just a few weeks back. We frequently have work time-outs where we play games, drink wine and snack for an hour or so at the end of the day. They plan outings for us as well. In a few weeks we will all meet at a TomSox baseball game for a barbecue and drinks.

Yes, there are perks a plenty! Gift cards, free concert tickets and tickets to lots of community events are handed out frequently. During the spring my family got to attend an outdoor barbecue that costs $75 per ticket. I got my daughters free tickets to a Parachute concert a few months back.

Ooops! It’s 9 am! time to log in from home and begin my day. You know what they say…when you love your job you don’t work a day in your life.

 

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This morning I fired a pesky freelance client, and it feels so good to be rid of him.

For the past year I’ve been designing a brand new magazine that deals mainly new age ideology – lots of fung shui and astrology and shamanism…stuff I know zilch about. However, that didn’t stop me from creating a pretty page.

At first.

My client was a guy who decided to start a magazine with no techno experience, no publishing experience, and no design experience. I was not aware of this when I started with him, but as the weeks dragged on, I wondered what I had gotten myself into.

He knew nothing. Didn’t know how to use dropbox. Didn’t know how to use Facebook. Didn’t know how to scan something on his printer so he could send me a pdf. The man didn’t even know how to search for images on Google.

And all this would be fine, except he’s a control freak. I would send him a finished layout, and he would say “Wow! Beautiful!” and then the fussies would start. Lower the point size of the caption. Increase the size of the caption rule. Make this photo bigger and that one smaller.

And many of his changes would really effect the layout to where it looked sophomoric and unprofessional. Arguing with him got you no where…he wanted it how he wanted it. Which is fine.

By the 3rd issue I changed my title in the masthead from “Creative Director” to “Editorial Designer.”

By this last issue he was practically giving me design instructions with each story – bad instructions. And that’s when I said to myself, “I don’t want to do this anymore.”

When I started with him, I was only working part time and was hoping this magazine could turn into something down the road. But now I have a full time job that I really love, and his magazine was just a chore I had to do at the end of the day and on weekends.

And I feel bad because he has nobody else to design for him. I also found out as months went by, that lots of other people; artists, writers, and social media people, had started and quit with him after a short time. I mean he pays on time, so it’s not that.

I think it’s a personality thing. He’s just really annoying and a control freak. But he’s nice at the same time. Does that make any sense???

In any case as Elmer Fudd said, “good widdance to bad wubbish.”

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Yesterday was my birthday, and let me tell you…birthdays sure have changed in the past 52 years.

My earliest birthday recognition was getting a Sesame Street 45 rpm of Bert and Ernie singing “Rubber Duckie.” It came with a book too. Another memory is waking up on my birthday to find a Baby Tenderlove doll in my arms.

Ah, those were the days.

Birthdays were a sacred thing when you were younger because it was your day.

Yet as an adult, I’ve never been the type of person to “remind” people that my birthday is coming up. There were quite a few years at work that nobody even knew, and I just sort of waltzed through the day without one “Happy Birthday.”

Technology has kind of changed all that. Now, when you wake up on your birthday, your Facebook feed is filled with well-wishes, and in my case, photos of me that my sisters have posted…some of which I wish they hadn’t. My email is filled with free offers….everything from a free sub at Jersey Mike’s to a free eye shadow at Ulta. Even the teller at the bank wished me

Not too shabby.

My best gift for my birthday this year is my job. I am so incredibly thankful for the job I have now, especially after yesterday. We had a staff meeting, and managers were urged to give shout outs to employees who have done praise-worthy things. Being relatively new, I wasn’t expecting anything.

Yet lo and behold, I got not one but TWO shout outs! One for for a media kit I designed that turned out really well. But the one that really touched me was from the Art Director of our publications. I really respect him, he’s amazingly talented and he’s been here a long, long time.

He said that he’s very happy that I was the one who was hired for the job – that he was impressed at how seamless the transition was from the old designer to me. I blew him a kiss, but I really almost started to cry.

Because you know how when you’re at a new job, you never really know how you’re doing? Are they impressed with your work or just luke warm about your performance?

Now I know. They’re super happy and that’s the best birthday present I’ve had in a long while.

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I’ve been at my new job for a month now, and I have to say, I am really loving it.

After 2+ years of having to get permission from multiple people to take a day off, or leave early, and being chained to my desk from 9:30 to 5:30 (because God forbid the phone rings and isn’t answered IMMEDIATELY), it’s nice to be able to leave my phone-less desk and walk to get a cup of tea, or to just take a breather.

But it’s so much more than that. Because my newspaper is deeply steeped in our community, we have a presence at a lot of community functions. And with that presence comes free tickets. Free VIP tickets. Easy parking, lots of perks, and access to stuff the creme-de-la-creme of Charlottesville is used to, but I certainly am not.

For instance, next weekend I will attend the Heritage Harvest Festival at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello. The next weekend is Tomtoberfest, a fall block party featuring a variety of danceable musicians and bands, a dozen of the best local food trucks and an Arts & Crafts fair. And all this is free and VIP. Yippee!

In October, my office will attend an Avett Brothers concert at an outdoor venue here in town. They have reserved this space called the Party Porch, and it’s a fun time to drink and socialize with my fellow co-workers. While I don’t really know the band very well, I’m willing to give them a listen to, especially if the wine is free.

I also found out, I get to claim expenses…now there’s something new. I get money towards my cell phone, towards parking, and if I joined a gym, they kick in money for that as well. When I go to take photos for the newspaper, I get mileage.

I get to work from home on Wednesdays. My company pays for a LogMeIn subscription, so I can access my work desktop from home and get my work done while sitting in my pajamas. It’s so awesome and it really breaks up the work week, making it seem a lot shorter.

And take this past Friday…almost the whole office left early. It was the Friday before Labor day weekend, and the ad work was all done, so…we just left, two hours early. And nobody cared.

At my last job there had to be a meeting of the chiefs just to see if we could leave early during a snow storm, or the day before Thanksgiving.

It’s all so wonderful. Each day that goes by, I discover something wonderful about my new job, and I’m pinching myself to make sure I’m not dreaming.

It makes me think back to the spring. I remember being in the shower and coming to the realization that I was never going to find another job. I hated the job I was at, but after several failed interviews at other companies I realized I was stuck where I was, and it was going to be fine. There were way worse places I could be working.

And now look at me. Everything has changed, and all because I happened to look on Craigslist on the right day. I’m certain it was divine intervention…or my dad from beyond the grave giving me a nudge.

When hubby and I were talking about all these fabulous new development and how happy and satisfied I am now, he said to me, “you’re not just on a roll. You’re on a buttered roll.”

He’s so right.

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I know, I know…I’ve been remiss in keeping up with my blog. Shame on me. But in my defense, things have been really crazy this month.

I started my new job as the editorial designer for the Fluvanna Review. It’s a little paper that serves the rural county I live in. It’s no New York Times, but it keeps the locals informed. What I love about it is a) It’s creative, b) the hours are flexible, and c) it’s a 4 minute drive from my house.

My other job, designing for a high-end real estate office, has been a real emotional roller coaster. Before I left for vacation, my understanding was I’d work from home Monday & Tuesday, and be in the office the rest of the week.

But when I got into the office the Wednesday after vacation, my boss handed me a pile of ads to be worked on, and said “oh, I almost forgot. We really need someone here 5 days a week, so we are trying out someone new on Monday and Tuesday.” The gist was, if she worked out, I’d be out for good.

Part of me was shocked.  I mean, they didn’t even try to see if my new schedule would work. The other side of me understood where she was coming from.

The entire office, my boss being the main offender, is very used to me being their little graphics monkey…I am here to perform for them at will. They don’t like the idea of having to wait, or having to think ahead. With me at my desk 5 days a week, they can give me last-minute stuff, and I get it done. But that doesn’t wash if I’m only in the office 3 days a week- this requires them to schedule my time, and they don’t like that at all.

But it turns out they don’t really like this new girl. She’s 100% capable of doing the job – hell she’s even a real tech wiz, which I am not. But her interpersonal skills suck. She’s a bit of a know-it-all, and she has already clashed heads with the boss in the course of two weeks.

My only problem with her is that I’m not even gone yet, and she’s moved a ton of my files around. Now when I open an ad or a postcard, nothing links. If they wind up canning her (and that’s the word that’s going around) I’ll be stuck trying to undo all her crazy reorganizing.

So with all this PLUS my three other freelance jobs (yes, at present I have FIVE jobs), it’s no wonder I haven’t had the time to write about my silly little life. I hope that once the dust settles, I’ll have more time to devote to being Typical Tracy.

In response to the one word prompt, Newspaper

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I always say that my first job out of college was my 3+ year stint at Tiger Beat Magazine, but it really wasn’t. My real first job lasted only a few weeks, and it was at a local newspaper called The Bergen News.

I remember being interviewed by the editor; a smug, older man eating a bagel while peering at me over the rims of his glasses. I had to take a typing test, followed by an intelligence test. All this to make minimum wage.

The only bonus was the job was within walking distance to my house.

I spent my days working along side a designer who looked like a balding Art Garfunkle. His breath literally smelled like shit, and he spent most of his time trying to pick me up despite the fact that I told him I was already dating someone.

My days consisted of pasting down and mitering borders around ads, and searching through the giant clip art books for smiling woman reclining in leisure suits or balloons for a grand opening. For this I spent four years at college?

Luckily the job at Tiger Beat came through and I was able to miter ad borders in a much cooler environment.

The funny thing was, a guy Chris came to work with us a few months later. He had taken over my job when I left the Bergen News. He did not have to take a typing test. Nor did he have to take an intelligence test in order to get the job. He was a man, and was given the position without having to prove anything other than he had a cock and balls.

He also agreed with me on another thing. Art Garfunkle’s breath really did smell like shit.

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While technically it’s not spring yet, our local real estate market begs to differ. Spring is the hot time to put new listings on the market, re-introduce old ones to potentially new buyers, and sell, sell, sell.

What this means for me?
Work, work, work.

I just went through 5 days of non-stop crazy work. Every agent needed flyers, every agent needed a mailchimp to go out, I had no less than 4 ads due…my legal pad was three pages long with to-do’s from more than a dozen agents.

There were times I wanted to cry. On Friday I had to put in two extra hours, which went unnoticed and unrecognized, unlike the time I was an hour late due to snow where EVERYONE noticed.

I was churning stuff out like a machine…and I have to admit I had my fair share of mistakes. Turns out, I’m not that great under pressure. I can get the work done, but it needs to be thoroughly checked by a sane person.

On a nice note, one of my agents left me a pot of tulips on my desk with a thank you balloon. At least someone noticed I was losing my mind.

Today was far less hectic. It’s Tuesday and that means Broker’s Open Houses…half the agents in my office were either holding an open house or visiting one. It was blissfully quiet…at one point I was here all alone.

But today, at roughly 2 pm – I crossed the last thing off my legal pad. I had caught up with everything.

Ahhhh – until the next rush of must have’s comes in.

 

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This post is in response to If I Could Turn Back Time, where the question was asked, “If you could return to the past to relive a part of your life, either to experience the wonderful bits again, or to do something over, which part of you life would you return to? Why?”

After I graduated from college I landed what would be the best job I ever had.

Dressed in a white sailor shirt and a pair of navy clam diggers (that I bought at a Benneton store in Vienna, Austria) I headed out to my interview at Edrei Incorporated, publisher of Tiger Beat and Right On! magazines to name a few.

My mother was horrified at my outfit because it wasn’t professional enough. But something inside told me the corporate get up wasn’t going to land me this job. With no practical experience, and just out of college, I knew I had to appear funky rather than frumpy. To my relief, the Art Director met me in a pair of jeans and one of those hipster woven pullovers.

I got the job.

I worked there for three years, starting as a low-ranking designer that got all the shit jobs, and finishing as the Art Director for both Tiger Beat and Right On! But that job was so much more than the work.

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Typical me is in the stripped bikini top…front and center.

I made friends. Really good friends at the time. I had my first car, a Karmann Ghia convertible. Weekends were filled with parties and trips to the city with co-workers. There were perks too. Sometimes they would have us model merchandise for give-aways.

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I am the blonde bombshell on the right. What the hell happened to me?

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Big 80’s hair and hooped earrings. That’s me in the orange sweater with that ridiculous boombox.

 

Other times we got tickets to premiers in New York. I remember seeing “The Abyss” at Radio City Music Hall where I got run over by Eddie Murphy’s body guards. I got a freebie to Rambo III, which wasn’t exciting at all, and a bunch of us went to the 30th anniversary screening of “Gone with the Wind,” also at Radio City, where Butterfly McQueen spoke before the movie.

Sometimes we had famous people in the building. Kool Moe Dee, and Big Daddy Kane visited us once, and Tempest Bledsoe from the Cosby Show came for a photo shoot. That was pretty much it during my years there.

While the money wasn’t great, I was living at home and had few expenses. I gained tons of experience, but it wasn’t all art related. I learned that I could belong to a group…that I could be liked…dare I say “popular?” It was something totally new to me, and to be honest, something I never felt at any job again.

Eventually the magazines were bought by Sterling Publications, and I was offered to stay on as the Art Director to both magazines. I turned them down. I was afraid to go work in the City…see this job was a quick 10 minute drive from my home in New Jersey. Going to work in New York meant busses and extra taxes and long commutes. So I said no.

I’ve always regretted it. So I’d go back to that time…I’d be thin and have fun and drive my Karmann Ghia with the top down.