I need your help.

I will be losing my job at the end of this month. Our office got downsized, and my neck was the one that got put on the chopping block. Everyone tells me that I am not getting laid off because of anything I did -- I'm getting let go, basically, because I'd been assigned to beats that were no longer considered important by the new office.

Now I'd expected that the university would be helping me find a new job somewhere on the campus since that's what I was told by the person taking over the office, but it turns out that's not really going to happen. (And it's not the fault of the person who made that promise -- she told the personnel office to help me out, they freaked out and changed their rules so they wouldn't have to give me any assistance.) I've applied for several jobs within the university, but I don't want to hold out too much hope for them -- it's not uncommon for the university bureaucracy to take several months deciding who they want to interview, much less hire, and I don't want to be unemployed for several months.

I've got enough money in savings to hold out for several months, but no matter how long my money lasts, the lease on my apartment is up at the end of December. If I don't have a job by then, I will have to put all my stuff into storage and go live with my brother or grandmother.

My preference would be to get a job at the university or in Lubbock. My grandmother is now almost 95 years old, and she relies on me for a lot of the chores she needs done, including grocery shopping, taking out her trash, lugging heavy objects, changing smoke detector batteries, and keeping an eye on her when she gets sick. My brother also lives here, and we love getting to go out and do things together. My brother's rat terrier is a darling little girl who I'd hate to move away from. I've got a lot of other family living in the area, too. Now all these people could survive without me, but it doesn't change the fact that I'd prefer to get a job here in Lubbock, so they don't have to survive without me.

But while I want to live in Lubbock, I don't want to be so attached to living in Lubbock that I'm willing to go semi-homeless in Lubbock. There aren't a whole lot of jobs being advertised anywhere in this area, and it's quite possible that I wouldn't be able to find anything by the end of the year.

So please help me. Please find me a job I could work at.

What can I do? To be honest, I don't have a whole lot of job skills. I've spent the last decade specializing in being a writer, but there are very few companies that are really looking for writers. I've been told more than once that I'd make a good technical writer, but I've never had any training in how to do that. Having said that, I've got a masters degree, and I think I'm smart enough to learn how to do most jobs, as long as they don't require a lot of specialized knowledge.

What would I prefer not to do? I would not want to be a teacher -- I'm not that fond of most kids, elementary, high school, or college age, and dealing with helicopter parents would make me pop a gasket. I don't want to work in newspapers, radio, or television -- been there, done that, couldn't make my car payments.

I would also prefer not to live too far away from my current location. Family has always been very important to me, and everyone in my family lives in either West Texas or New Mexico. I could handle living just about anywhere in the Midwest and much of the Southwest, but I'd prefer not to live on the coasts. I'm sure the coasts are purty and you love living there, but it ain't for me. I also don't like big cities. Sorry, but I don't.

OH! And money! I would, obviously, like to get paid money. How much? Well, I'm currently making approximately $30,000 a year in Lubbock. That's comfortable for a single guy in West Texas. There are areas where that amount of money would make me look rich, and areas where that would make me look poor. I'd like to make close to what I'm making now. More money would be very nice; a slight decrease would be bearable. I don't want to work for a pittance. I like my current lifestyle, and I'd like to maintain it.

This isn't a contest. No one gets a prize. I don't guarantee that I'll apply for any jobs you may find. I'm just trying to find something that'll work for me.

If you need a copy of my resume, let me know, and I'll send it to you. And thanks for any help y'all can give me.

I love my Uncle Randy and my Daddy and my Mommy in heaven and my Lello and my Grammy's french toast. I don't like Mondays because Daddy says they're Cursive.

Daddy told me if it got loud at night I should go to the special shed in the back because that's where I should go and that I should stop asking questions and just do what he told me to because he's my Daddy and I knows what's I'm talking about and why couldn't you do this one thing just this once for me because it's really not that much to ask and please trust me.

Uncle Randy said Leave the kid alone and nothing's gonna happen anyway and you're such a goddamned relic and are we outta beer already.

Uncle Randy doesn't say Cursive like Daddy. Daddy says he's Not A Polite Man. .

And later the sun came out AT NIGHT! and the windows shook and I went to hide under the bed but I Know What's I'm Talking About and Please Trust Me so I ran out with my Lello and my fuzzy shoes and went in and waited for Daddy to open the door.

Wordmonders' Masque, 1

Previous day

First post and explanation

Next day

Konbini bonbini, banana nana fonfini

Yesterday I got a really staggering amount of homework, I mean numbers of assignments even the U of C would consider mildly unreasonable, and I didn't get much sleep as a result, but I've found that these little updates keep me sane, so here's another!

A few days ago I visited a convenience store to fill my phone card. I'd tried to do so at this same convenience store once before and it'd been a disaster. It was a pitched battle between me and the completely-in-Japanese-with-billions-of-menu-options phone card machine. The machine kneecapped me.

Then, just to make me bite the curb and get a few kicks to the back of the head, the cashier came by being all absurdly helpful. I got nervous and couldn't stammer out a proper sentence. The whole debacle only came to a conclusion after some seriously tortured circumloquations utilizing copious English and mute signing for what most would have considered the simple sentence, "I'd like to put money on this phone card." It was not, shall we say, my best moment.

I was determined to try again, so I came into the store casually a few days later and bought a snack. The same cashier engaged me in conversation and this time I relaxed and just talked. We had a very pleasant, very smooth conversation about my school, my host family, how I was liking Japan so far, and where I was from. All subjects I've been trained to talk about fluently, so I sounded more competent than I actually am this time, rather than less.

After the government mandated, "Nihongo ga JOUzu desu NE!" (no. i'm. not! not yet anyway) she told me to wait there a moment and shuffled off mysteriously. As she came back, she said, "Today's rather hot, isn't it? You need to keep cool. Here, have this. It's a freebie!" And with that, she gave me a three dollar package of ice cream you can drink called "Coolish," which is, ironically enough, unambiguously freezing cold. I thanked her numerous times and walked out feeling totally on top of this whole Japan thing.

That feeling lasted five minutes, tops, but it's the little things that keep me in good humor.

Also, I successfully caused my host family to laugh hysterically at the dinner table with a bilingual joke I remembered from Wikipedia (rather than, say, with some particularly egregious spot of Nihongish). I don't remember how I told it in Japanese, but here it is in English:

A Japanese man is trying to sell his Nissan car to an American and he doesn't speak English very well. The American asks if this specific Nissan will 'get him there' and the Japanese man replies assuredly, "Each Nissan, she go."

(p.s. say it out loud)

(p.p.s. still don't get it? 1 2 3 4 5.)

(p.p.p.s. ichi ni san shi go. one through five in japanese. it's funny. laugh. laugh, you bastard! i'll kill you in your sleep! with my brain!)

(p.p.p.p.s. well, my host family found it funny anyway, so screw you mr. boring mcdullpants.)

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