Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Its like the first snow, but bad

Today marked the first time since I quit the telecom business that I took a customer service call. While I did have to take calls as a fromager, they were very few, and I spoke from a position of responsibility and to a certain degree authority. The new job is quite different, as the game is about a different sort of product, with its own rules and a different kind of power play. Lets just say that I've moved on to the finance sector and leave it at that.

So today was hazing day. Well, its not so much that we were forced to jog naked through a public space while holding a marshmallow between our butt cheeks, but it was still a blow to our confidence and self-esteem. Sure, it had to be done, but I cant say that I felt anywhere near ready for this.

 Maybe I'm getting old, maybe part of what we did felt less than useful, maybe I just needed a kick in the butt... I'm not going to waste time with the maybes, its a pointless debate. I knew what I was getting into when I signed up for this, and it'll be up to me to find my way through.

I really have no reason to fear the situation; after all, I've done this before. On the other hand, it may very well be because I've done this before, and the reason I stopped that's still lingering. While I'm fine with telling people about last summer's accident, and screwing up my back, physical scars bear no weight, at the contrary. But the burnout I went through, that would be a black mark that would impede me, and possibly even cause me to lose this job.

Its not that I'm afraid of losing the job. Its a job, nothing more. But I signed up for this because of the challenge I would face. I am there to show myself that I can do this. I am there to show myself that I can do better. I am there to make myself improve, and improve my situation. I am there because it is a strong work sector where I will be able to move in different circles, where I can make serious money and improve my social position.

Sometimes sorcery has more to do with dominating one's inner demons than anything brought out of the pit. When you get right down to it, you carry within yourself more subtle and devious beasts, who know you better than you know yourself and know all your weak spots and how to exploit them. If you cant claim dominion on your inner bastards, then how can you claim lordship on anything else? That's delusion and adolescent fantasy; you are, as others have called them, nothing more than a magic ninja.

I have weaknesses and I have flaws. I also have immeasurable strength and an ego to match. I have risen to life and death challenges and laughed as the reaper in the face.

This is nothing. It is nothing more than a stepping stone to the brighter, and darker future. I still have work to do. I will not succeed is a single night, or even by tomorrow evening. Time is only your enemy if you treat it that way.

Sleep tight and dream the dangerous dream.

You know, the one where you're in charge of your own destiny.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Changement de costume

I used to call it my monkey suit. It was the outfit I'd wear for work. The monkey suit changed over time, depending on how open-minded or stuck up the workplace was. Sometimes I could wear the outfit in my day-to-day life, but in my mind, this was still a facade, something I had imposed upon me that I had to deal with.

The last few jobs I've held did not have massive requirements on the wardrobe. In customer service, as long as its relatively clean and decent, nobody gave much of a fuck what you wear. As a fromager, I did not have tough requirements, and they already provided something of a required uniform, so having to wear black pants was not a big problem for me. When I came back to work after my leave of absence, even that requirement had apparently been thrown out the window. If anything, the sweat and constant dealing in animal fats and dairy products pretty much ensured that I'd go home and change before dealing with the rest of the planet.

And now, a new environment, both to work and to live. This was a very conscious decision on my part, a necessary change of circumstance, a consequence of my vacation. It dawned on me that I'd been underestimating and underusing myself. I was living in a troublesome area, in a dysfunctional apartment because rent was cheap, which allowed me to undershoot my salary expectations and use any extra cash to buy pretties. Which is well and fine, but it gets you nowhere, just a cluttered home.

And sacrifices. The previous place, besides the so-called humans living and breeding in that area had its own cost; after all, as a condition of the rent agreement we weren't allowed to live with cats, dogs, or other furry companions. Being animal lovers made this pretty hard on us, so this had to change; it was a condition in out search for new dwellings. We also had to consider that any new dwelling that would meet our requirements would certainly mean higher rent. So less pretties. No big deal, its taken care of.

The decision was taken even before I returned to work; at that time it made more sense for me to return to a secure job, that might not be fantastic, but provided the necessities. One less problem to deal with, the change took place.

The purge became necessary as well; you cant go through years of collecting all kinds of stuff without going overboard at some point. A big part of my purge decision involved the furniture. You get fed up with making due with what you have; it becomes necessary to get what you want. If anything, a theme, a sense of unity, a sentiment of order in the creative chaos, so that the mind can rest once in a while. That got taken care of too. The process isn't completely over; just because you get rid of things doesn't mean that you have a replacement that you want or can afford readily available.

And the wardrobe. It seems like an exercise in vanity, but if you upgrade your lifestyle, go all the way. I spent years in jeans and t-shirts (two drawers full of the things), and it gets tiring. If your sense of aesthetics are anywhere near developed, you see the need for some variety, some change in your appearance. In a work environment, you'll want to portray the image of someone who has things together, whether its strictly for appearances. Everyday jeans and t-shirts folks don't tend to get noticed and promoted. Or taken seriously.

I also happen to look good when smartly dressed, and can make the subtle but important difference between style and fashion. One is an art, the other a drug. Style requires a deeper statement than just whatever happens to be in season. You can have style wearing random pieces of vintage and new items, if the mind behind the image is creative. Too many people who claim style are noting but hipsters with an attitude, something to sneer and spit on.


I have made a commitment to myself: onward and forward. It has a cost. Being intelligent requires one to recognize the need for that cost, and the reward for the trade. Its not like I wont be wearing any more jeans and t-shirt, its just not going to be a fashion statement. Its just going to be another face I'll show the world.

The French refer to it as a "costume": what is interesting about this statement is that it reflects an American saying: life is a play. What the Americans haven't figured out yet is that not only is there more than one act, but that there's more than one play. You can change according to your role.

Just put on a new costume and act.

Monday, November 8, 2010

The endgame

Sometimes, the plan works; sometimes, there's some sand in the gears and there's a few snags; and sometimes, someone goes and throws an entire MACTools mechanic's tool wall into the machine so that you can only see your creation die in a fiery stillbirth.

But not this time.

Actually, this time its far too smooth. The time line is pretty much as scheduled; I had decided to get a job by Hallow's Eve and, lo and behold, I did get the interview offer before the end of the month. The process had to take place fairly fast, and there wont be much of a warning period for my current employer, but I'm moving on. This is my will and it will not be denied.

And not just my will either. Before my interview, I asked the Ladies to intercede and give me support; I burned incense, offered respect, even offered blood. That last part seemed to have been turned down, as my knife could not penetrate the skin, so I dabbed them and thanked them in advance.

I felt confident, both in my own respect, but also ready to wage some battle of wills; I could feel the energy coursing through, a sort of angry calm burning within, and the struggle went through easily; after all, what was it I could really lose? It went well, as I got called for a second interview, and I forged ahead, picking the earliest time, which others would have found daunting. I had some thought that this was madness, but I wanted to at the very least finish the process I had started.

And it paid off. I got offered the position, which begins next week. I will be evolving within an organism which will provide growth opportunities, something that I have cut myself from before. Just like the many projects that were undertaken and never completed. That is one lesson I've assimilated from my unplanned vacation: stop wasting time, stop keeping yourself down, stop just dreaming and enact your will.

And there's always a payment to be made. Of course there is. The Ladies did get the promised blood, as a few days after the interview my hand got some scratches and some drops of blood flowed. The spell was completed when I took in the blood, as I carry the Ladies within, and channeled the offering through myself.

I am my own temple, I am the channel to the spirits and my will flows through the aethers to the dwellers of the void.

Do not fear, act. There is no greater cause but the accomplishment of your will.