This morning I woke up at 6:30 despite having gone to bed after midnight. The other day I told the guy that I liked that I was going to take a social media break. What I discovered was that it's too easy to send him messages. His job keeps him busy. I have to let him be and see where the relationship is at instead of trying to force things. I haven't heard from Jill and Jane's dad which probably means he has no intention of moving back to the house and letting me stay at the condo. I wouldn't mind if he would do some of the things that need to be done around the house, but he won't so I have to decide what I'm going to do. Sometimes I get discouraged, but I'm getting better at remembering that I have alternatives to choose from.

The girls and I have been staying up very late. I don't like that at all. We graduated to the 1000 piece puzzle. It's taking up my dining room table, I wouldn't mind except we have it in our heads that the pieces are too small and we're never going to finish it when the truth of the matter is that if we spent even a couple of minutes working on it every day, it would get done eventually. I think the puzzle is a very good metaphor for my life. If I grit my teeth and finish filling out my job application, call the IRS, cook the beans, work on the laundry and windows, I'll feel a lot better about everything. I hate these feelings of dread, I want to be a person who happens to life and others rather than life and others happening to me. 

Ah, job searching.

Such a WONDERFUL endeavor.

For the sake of giggles, I entertained one recruiter today. Usually I ask up front who their end client is, the reason being that many of these people are fishing in the same pool for the same employer, and once one person submits you to that employer, it's GAUCHE beyond belief to have someone else submit you.

In I.T. we like to "fast fail". That means if you're going to fail, do it as quickly as you can - that way you've invested the least viable amount of time and money on the endeavor. So it's generally why the very first question I ask is "who is the end client".

This does not sit right with recruiters. The primary reason being that they make their money by talking to people on the phone. Even if they're not closing deals they need to get their entire sales pitch in, which involves asking all kinds of personal questions and so forth. The secondary reason is that many people find out the end client, and then apply directly cutting out the middleman.

So basically the guy calls me up and asks me if I have a moment to discuss the position they advertised (vague job description, no end client mentioned). I say yes, and who's the end client, please. Oh, ho ho ho, sorry, we like to get to know people before we discuss the client.

So I spend half an hour going over my work history, past compensation, what I'd be looking for in a new role, what are my top three competencies, blah blah blah blah blah.

Then he says "okay, thank you for hanging with me. The end client is (employer who's constantly hiring and who I get calls about three times a day)."

"Already been submitted."

"Oh, really? Gosh. Cause you would have been perfect. Was this you submitting, or a recruiter?"

"A recruiter."

(long pause)

"Well I have this other contract position in a technology set you have NO experience in. Would you be able to do that and have experience?"

"Nope. You asked me for half an hour about what my experience and skills were, so the answer should be obvious."

"Hm."

"For the record, this is why I asked you as the VERY FIRST QUESTION who the end client is. I could have saved YOU and ME half an hour."

"Well, no, hold on - I'll hit the boards and see if there's something else that you're viable for and now you're in our database and blah blah blah."

"No, that's completely incorrect. I'll never hear from you again. You will immediately skip to find another person to fill this "hot req" from a company whose HR department clearly has a revolving door on it. You will put my info into the round file and I'll be completely forgotten. That is, until you post another vague job description I apply for, and we go through these shenanigans again."

"I wouldn't say that"

"I would. I've been doing this longer than you've been doing your side of things. In fact, if you do contact me again for a job I've not been submitted to and it's valid and viable to the skill set I have and you basically go ahead and ask my permission to fill it because we've DONE THIS ALREADY AND DON'T NEED TO HAVE THIS CONVERSATION AGAIN - I'll give you $10 and a steak dinner. Please note I've made this offer before and not once have I ever bought anyone a steak dinner. Good luck with your search."

"Do you have any friends who would be good for this job?" (I want to place them, and kick you out of the running!) "I moved here from the West Coast. Worked remote ever since, so no, I do not know any local people you can hire."

"May I ask who you're interviewing with?" (Trying to figure out if he can call THEM and submit his people for a job I'm going for.)

"Oh, ho ho ho. I like to be hired for a position before giving out such information. (repeated his initial spiel verbatim). No, you may not. Thank you for your time, and have a great week."

*click*

Sometimes my dreams take a left turn at certain town in New Mexico:

Yosemite Sam and Bugs Bunny, or their avatars, live in a vast post-apocalyptic building complex. They're part of a team that puts on stilts and somehow runs through the halls to apartments targeted by the government. The team members break in and remove contraband, including unlicensed babies. it's pretty heartbreaking. So after one job, the Cowboy and the Rabbit about how they don't think they can do it any longer. It's a private conversation, between one-time adversaries who now have more in common than they do with anyone else.

The team heads to an apartment inhabited by a lesbian couple and, apparently, their unlicensed babies. Despite the size of the group, all running on spindly stilts, Sam and Bugs arrive first. Only one mother is home, and she retreats in tears. Sam and Bugs discover the babies, hidden inside hollow bowling balls.

Except they're fake, elaborate dolls.

Sam and Bugs sit back with beers on the couch and wonder why, when the group was so large, only two of them ever arrived. And then there's no sign of children, unlicensed or otherwise. They found only fake babies, and even the crying mother has vanished. So, what is up, doc?

"We done been set set up, ain't we, varmint?"

They swig their beers.

"Eh, doc... I wonder how we've lasted so long."

"Way I figger it, if one of us dies, the other won't be long fer this world."

Bugs laughs his buggy laugh. "If I pick up the papers someday and see that either you or Fudd has passed on..."

"That's the day ya better say yer prayers, rabbit."

They finish the beer and beat a hasty retreat, separating in the halls. Bugs dives into some sort of hole. Sam skedaddles up a stairwell. We follow Sam as he makes his way through a labyrinth of tunnels and out into the large central court, a cross between an architectural graveyard and a Lower East Side street scene, circa 1901. A roof stretches across where sky should be.

Sam works his way through the crowd. He becomes aware of someone following him, a sinister heavy hired by the government. Making Bugs-like, he lets himself be trapped against a wall, but in some maneuver involving the sort of physics encountered only in cartoons, as though he has harnessed some lingering vestige of his pre-apocalyptic state, he moves rapidly out of the way, opens a grate, and his adversary slides into the hole. Sam hastily screws the grate back on.

A woman I have not seen in decades, a woman I once knew, someone whose initials, as it happens, are WB, looks on from somewhere outside this grotesque world and nods her approval.

I wake up to the sound of music. Since it's not my alarm, I wonder if my wife has set hers and wake her up. No, though she was planning to get up early. The music comes through an open window, presumably from a passing car.

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