Fashion for the job

Am I an airhead? Possibly. I say that because a lot of people were murdered or almost murdered in the US last week, based on religion, race, or politics; and I haven’t really been that affected emotionally. I think I just have accepted that this is normal. Can’t bruise me anymore unless it hits closer to home.

So let me instead tell you what I wore to a job interview last Friday. Yes, indeed, poor obscure me had a job interview. It was a rainy, rainy day, and there were puddles everywhere and cars raising the surfs on the streets, so I wore:

1. Light brown boots (short ones; the brim came to just above my ankle); not rubber ones, but leather (I  hope fake leather) ones. So more or less, neat and tidy small boots with thick red laces. My dad bought that for me, I’m sure it was on a big sale.

2. Green leggings. Dark green. They were $25 and I’ve had them for about 3 years. They were only that expensive because I was trying to be good and bought them from a locally-owned store.

3. A simple cotton black-and-white plaid dress. It comes to just below mid-thigh. It’s a very light material. It has a very nice, trim design. It doesn’t billow out or anything. And it has about 3 buttons or so coming down the neck to my ribs, and a nice collar, and it’s sleeveless and has these nice ruffles on the hem. It was $3! And it’s very simple but it honestly looks really nice. Maybe it’s the plaid, or the black color.

4. Over that, I wore a tan colored jacket – a professional-looking jacket. Not a “suit” jacket, though, because it’s longer. It has buttons down the front, is a nice material, and comes just above where the plaid dress hem stops. No pockets. Nice collar. Etc etc. I didn’t button it so the plaid dress showed through the part. I’m pretty sure I got this jacket in high school, I think it was $11. This might have been the fifth time I wore it. Surely, I haven’t worn it more than 10 times.

And that’s it, not counting the coat and the umbrella. Ah, I was also wearing a necklace from my uncle that I got in middle school, and a bracelet from my aunt I got last year.


Failure #1. I have a PhD in science, tons of skills both technical and creative, and tons of experience, but I was rejected from a 3-month internship. Yes, that stung. They contacted me for an interview, and because of the time difference, I was dragged out of bed before dawn to prepare for it. I wish they had just not contacted me at all, then I could have gone along blithely assuming they’d just never bothered to inspect my application at all.

Failure #2. I thought I could come home to rural NC for a while and make animations with local kids, like this. If I may say so myself, this is a super-cool project where the kids do art, computer stuff, learn some science, and read all at once. And I do it for free. What kind of a teacher wouldn’t want that? Turns out all of them (nearly) where I live.

People says: “just go out and create your own opportunities!” Give me a break. I taught myself how to animate, and I came up with this project, and it is totally aligned with all the ‘STEAM’ and ‘STEM’ rhetoric going around. And then I go chase after teachers. And hardly anyone responds. So don’t come telling me about “creating opportunities”. I have found that you have to work extremely hard just to make 1 inch of progress—extremely hard as in you end up with a headache and are so tired you fall asleep without brushing your teeth and don’t have time to go the grocery store—just for moving forward one inch! At some point you realize it’s not worth it.

I am surprised at the lack of response. I had originally intended to make “Mr. Turtle” videos with kids in another place. Well, that place blew me off, so I couldn’t end up going. But before it blew me off, I emailed 50 libraries to potentially work with, and 13 responded. That’s not a great percentage, but at least it showed persistence would pay off.

Plus, as far as North Carolina is concerned, I have already done this project here twice. Once with a teacher whose husband worked in my university department; and once at the local library. So I thought surely if I emailed teachers in the town where I grew up and graduated high school from, at least some would bite. I think I’ve probably emailed 30 people and only 3 emailed back. One said ‘no thanks’. Okay. The second is a “maybe”, the third said she had to check with administrators and probably has since forgotten. The one “maybe” made me deliriously happy (for a day, until I realized it wasn’t heralding a change in fortunes). Some of the teachers I emailed are ones that taught my younger brothers. I mentioned that in my emails. You’d think they would answer me. You would be mistaken.

Now, today, with the Supreme Court hearing, it appears that the entire nation has decided to join me in failure, so I guess I can’t feel too exclusive and special.