Summer Projects

I know that the summer has been upon us for a week or so now and I still have a lot of work to do. Selling the house has been pretty flawless in the logistical process but the physical move has been stressful. I have now taken the time to do a personal inventory of things and it just confirms to me that I have a lot of personal work to do. Of course, not all summer projects should be work related or stressful but perhaps a time to get the things done that I couldn’t when school was in session.

It terms of writing, I am hoping to get more posts done. I have been scaling it back based on life issues and the whole notion of doing less talking and more doing. I think that I have made great strides this year with just getting stuff done however, I need to focus on things that I love. That means I have to do more reading outside the classroom. My list of books have been centered around my class and I should read recreationally.

With that said, I started reading 50 Shades of Grey. I chose this book for two reasons. The first was because I was curious to know what the hype is about. I always want to know what people consider to be a “good read.” The second reason is because while I may have not been posting on this blog but I have been keeping up with my short story writing. Most of my stories are adult themed in nature and sometimes it is best to get a feel for how others write. On the other side, I have been reading a lot of comic books. I have made it my business to catch up on the comics I have missed out on for months.

Speaking of comic books, The Amazing Spider-Man comes out next week and I am mildly excited about it. I know people who have already seen it and I am told that it is not bad at all but the story line leaves something to be desired. I can tell just by watching the trailer that there will be multiple sequels Perhaps they are trying to tell a larger story and I will have to make that judgment. But, I will tell this… The Dark Knight Rises is going to be the one movie I have been waiting all year for. Yes, The Avengers was spectacular and, at the moment, still remains #2 on my all time Comic Book Movie list. However, Chris Nolan has knocked it out of the park with so many movies…is it wrong for me to expect anything less with this last Batman film?  Oh we will see…

I have also decided that I am going to put a number on the amount of jobs I should be applying for. It just a number but it would make me feel better if I reached this number. By the end of the summer I would have liked to apply for 20 available job postings. This does not mean that once I go over this number that I will stop, I just think that this is a nice round number to prove to myself that I am indeed doing my best to get back home. As of today, I have applied to three with one of them landing me a phone interview.

The other project or goal is to figure out how I can save money and still function at the level that I want. I was strategic enough to figure out how to get out of the house, but now I have to figure out how to get out of debt. I have thought of a few ways but they may make things harder rather than easier. This is why it is essential for me to get a job that pays more. Truth be told, consolidation is probably the key. There is no way I can sit here and think that there is going to be some law or bill that will be passed that will magically make my student loans disappear.

Finally, I would really like to get my health back in order. This is not to say I am sick, but it is time to see the doctor. I think all the physicality that took place with the move and the attempt to run again, I may have strained or pulled something. It is getting better as the days pass but I will make sure that I can handle that with knowledge.

Indeed the summer looks promising. I can just hope I continue to be on the roll I have been all year…

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Keeping the Faith

This is the phrase I keep hearing from people, “Keep the Faith.” I am so very fortunate that I do not really view my life in terms of wins and losses because I would be below the .500 mark. The struggle of finding a new job is just that…a struggle. Yet, there are people out there who have faith in me. I appreciate that so very much. I just wish at times, I had the same optimism that they do.

Personally, I think my resume is on point. I’ve had people look at it and critique it, but the opportunities are hard to come by. But I do Keep the Faith by checking for new job postings everyday. I try to adjust my resume and cover letter to meet the needs of whatever job I apply for.

The whole job searching process can just wear on a person’s confidence. I know I have good experiences but breaking into some of the universities and colleges in NYC has proven to be very difficult. The lack of responses is not the hard part. I am quite sure that people get swamped by resumes on any job opening. In the search committees I’ve been in at SU, the process of reading and sorting resumes is brutal. The problem for me is when I do get a response, I can’t seem to get the position or move further in the process.

Last year I was in a final interview and I haven’t been that close since. I took a long hard look at myself and redid everything. This year was also a year of change with the me selling the house and taking a class. My time was severely limited, so I did not restart my job search until about 2 weeks ago. I promptly received a phone interview and today I found out that I will not be moving on to the campus interview phase. I am frustrated.

Keeping the Faith can be a very empowering statement, but the if I am not careful I may find those words to be very hollow. I do pray to God to give me the strength to get through this. I do not pray for a job per se because I am pretty sure that is not how this whole prayer thing works. I have managed to fight through all my major issues except this one. It does make me question myself and my abilities.

The elephant in the room is the Master’s Degree or lack there of. I have the amount of time in the workplace, just not the paper…yet. I am not entirely sure when I will get it if I stay in Syracuse. Maybe 2015? I will be 41. I was hoping to catch on somewhere else and finish what I started here. But, it seems even the most simplest positions are now requiring a Master’s Degree. I would like to beat the odds, but at this point they do not seem to be entirely in my favor.

I will hang in there. I have already sent out another resume last night. I just don’t know how much faith I can keep.

A Simple Cooking Lesson

I absolutely love to make French Omelettes. This is something that I have learned to do years ago when I took a cooking class during my Sophomore year. While there are many things that I can cook, nothing really satisfies me more than to make a French Omelette because it symbolizes something to me. It was a lesson that I had to learn years ago on the consequences of being over confident and the how to deal with failure because of that.

When I took this class, I was quite confident that I would pass this course with what I considered to be an easy A. The class itself was not hard. You had to listen to tapes on cooking about safety and cooking temperatures among other mandatory lessons. The “lab” portion was cooking in the the kitchen with rest of the class. It was good to take this class with a friend because then you had a lab partner. When I looked over the syllabus I had a feel of how the semester would go. There were things that seemed to be very simple to me. We cooked meats, baked cakes, and even made ice cream from scratch. All those were easy…until we got to omelettes.
I have always taken some pride that I know how to cook something as simple as eggs. So when it came time to make the French Omelette, I knew I was golden. Eggs are probably one of the easiest things to make. It doesn’t take much time to cook and you can do so many things with it. I felt I had this in the bag. The only thing to me that I had to be concerned with was burning the eggs. So, I made sure that my stove was not on high. The thing is that we were cooking with electric stoves and not fire so cooking can be a bit of a challenge.  The problem was that I had the burner on too low and mistimed myself which resulted in problems with me folding it. 
We are not talking about a complicated omelet. This was just one fold. There are other types of omelets that are folded twice or even tree times depending on the preference of the chef. So with the my miscalculation, I could not complete the fold. It broke apart and I was not happy. I failed the lab that day, in fact I ended getting a B- in the class as whole. This was definitely a case of being so overconfident about something and it comes back to bite me in the ass.
Since that time, it has always bothered me that I failed that egg lab. Every chance I get to make a French Omelette, I nail it. I have made it with one fold and two folds. I get better at this dish every time I make it. It is a reminder to myself that I can move on and learn from something that I failed at. I also have to continue to remind myself to stay humble. Over confidence is something I cannot fall victim too. 
The problem that I have with this is that the line between over confidence and lack of confidence is so blurred. I know that I can do anything I put my mind to. I have done it time and time again in my professional life and in my personal life. It is one thing to know how good you are but it is often hard articulate it without sounding pompous. Confidence can be as delicate as the eggs I am cooking with. Sure, I may know what I am doing, but one little mistake and it can break apart.
Looking at my interviews I have had over this past year, I am beginning to wonder at what point did I become over confident or not confident enough. In either case, I am going to keep trying until I get this right.

Questioning Myself

There is one thing in my life that is for sure, I am not perfect. There is nothing that I can do that will ever be perfect, but I think that I can come close if I really tried. I feel that I am that type of person that takes pride in the things that I do. I love to write and I stand by every letter on this blog. My poems have only gotten better the more I write them. The stories that I write is something that I take great pride and I will always fight myself to make them better. More importantly, I take pride in my job and the work that I do.

Again, I realize that I am not perfect. I make mistakes on the job just like everyone does. Sometimes I get caught up on a project so much that I fail to come up for air thus something slips by me. I try to improve then I move forward. One thing that I make sure of is that I am good at what I do. I have become a problem solver of sorts and during my 10 year run at my current position, I have been through things that I cannot even write about. I have seen things that to this day I still shake my head at and I have had some of the beast times of my life. I love this place and the students.
With that being said, I rarely question myself or my abilities. My resume speaks for itself. The recommendations on Linkedin are there for all to see. The problem I having is getting a new position. I begin to wonder what it is I am doing wrong. Are my skills and abilities not being brought to the forefront for employers during the application process or the interview? I am a very personable individual, I can carry a conversation and if you and I are speaking about something we can both relate to then that’s even better. But, I end up looking at emails telling me that although my skills are ideal, I’m personally not the ideal candidate for said position.

The whole job searching process seems like a social experiment in puzzle pieces. Everyone is looking for a perfect fit to any group dynamic in order to make their company or workplace better. The problem is that you are not the piece that they believe will fit, no one tells you why. I would like to think that it is common courtesy that if I were to go as far as two interviews that I should at least be given the opportunity to have that explanation as to what I could have done better. Otherwise, I could end up really questioning myself.

It becomes a point of asking myself if I spoke too much. Perhaps I made a comment that was not favorable. I know it wasn’t my style of dress, I have 2 new suits that I rocked very well. I did ask enough question because I came with written questions. Was I not witty enough? Was I too witty? Then I start thinking the outlandish, even though it is still very possible. What if I was too Black? What if I was too Latino? People always think that being a diversity candidate is an advantage but in actuality, as long as an employer can prove that they interviewed a person of color, it may not matter in the end.

However, it turns out that the exact opposite has been happening to me. While all those questions have entered my mind, I do not question myself because when it comes down to it, we all know if we have done good on a test or an interview. Sure, some times we may get too cocky and think we did well and actually flopped. But in my last interviews, I was not cocky nor was I overconfident. I researched and put in the work days and weeks prior the interviews so I can understand what I may be getting myself into. This way, there is no real way I can blame myself for not getting any position. Perhaps there are certain things I need to tweek, but practice makes perfect.

I have often equated job searching to dating because in my both cases we are trying to establish a personal relationship with a person or a company. Work is a very personal thing and we spend so much time at work that it is important to love what you do. It is even more important to make that right connection and being that I have been on both sides of the interview table, I can understand the need to make a perfect fit.

So then it just comes down to faith. How much faith do I have in myself to continue down this path with the failure and the standard emails telling me I am not a good enough? I can come up with millions of quotes about failure and success. I can read books about fate and how things are meant to be, but in reality it all comes down to me and my power to endure. 

Social (Media) Skills

I had this amazing thought last week. I have been working hard on applying for jobs and getting interviews that I have been trying to add skill that I have to my resume.  What hit me like a ton of bricks last week was the fact that I should add Social Media to my list of skills. While this may be a relative no brainer for some, this is a new thought to me because I have been doing this like it is second nature.

I figured out that I manage 3 twitter accounts, 4 Facebook pages, 3 Blogs, and a Google+ account. I also started doing stuff with Instagram and there are talks about a possible 4th blog. I am not sure I would count Linkedin too, but some would. I laugh when people in my family look at me like I am crazy because I “put my sh*t out there,” but let’s be real about all of this: people are making money doing these things that some consider to be just fun.

If I may indulge a little bit. This how the social media life started for me back in 1998, when I was doing a crappy blog about my life in New York City. Then at some point I got a Yahoo Profile that I still have and only use for Fantasy Sports. During that time, I mostly played word games and met people through chat. From there life moved on to Migente, where it seemed liked all Latinos were going instead of Black Planet (which I never felt the need to join). These sites seemed cool and I got tired of them quickly because people are dumb.

Then Myspace came along and that changed the game. By this time, I wasn’t doing much of anything social media wise. I think moved my blog a couple of times from Blogger to Xanga and then to Myspace. At first, I liked it. It was a cool way to feature your life and have a blog with it. At one point before the move to Xanga, I purchased the domain name of AnthonyOtero.com in which I had randomness of my life and then the blog highlighted. It was ok, but Myspace was much better. Then Facebook came along and that changed the game…again.

I began to like Facebook more than Myspace even though people were trying to face that it was for kids (like Myspace was really meant for adults). But, what hooked me was when I started connecting to people I have not seen or heard from in years….including family members. Deleting myspace was easy after that. Clearly, I became more serious about blogging and even wrote about Social Media a few times.

Then Twitter came out and Social Media became a way to market yourself as a product. This has become a great way to get a message out that and to network with people. I know that I have been able to get my blog more traffic due to twitter alone. Once you know how to get an audience or at least get the right people to follow you then sites like Twitter become more engaging.

Of course, companies and places of business take notice. Which is why I have always made sure that my job has always been up on its social media game. We have a Twitter account and 2 Facebook pages (which is apart my original count). The internet is a free enterprise, if harnessed correctly, you can do you about anything you want. Imagine if you are a company and you want to get people to buy a product or at least try a product then you will need people who know how to navigate all the traffic. I think about the Old Spice Guy. He has an hilarious twitter account where he posts links from youtube to show his commericals. That is pure genius.

That is my point. People get paid for that. I think it is time for me to cash in on obvious experience. I will have to update my online resume. 🙂

An Issue of Contentment.

As I go through this process of sorting out the messes in my life, I want people to understand a few things about me. I think that in someway I may come across as depressed or saddened or that I feel helpless. That is  not the case. I am just frustrated with obstacles in front of me. I consider my life to be this complex puzzle in which I cannot find the boarders to put the pieces all together.

I know I do not have a bad life. I have a job and a roof over my head. That is more than a lot of people can say these days. So my issues pale in comparison to someone else who may be dealing with a disease or have child that is suffering in any kind of way. I get that I have many things to be thankful for.

On that same token, I know that my actions have gotten me where I am. For better or worse, I am right where I am because of decisions that I have made. Everything happens for a reason and when I am meant to leave, then I will leave. I cannot force it as much as I want to. However, I can do everything in my power to give me a chance to do better things.

The issue for me is contentment. I was speaking to a friend and she made a remark about how her goal in life at this moment is to be content with herself and then suggested that it should be that way with me. This is an amazing point. I need to get to the point where I can be at the very least…content with my life and where it is. This is easier said that done when you set goals for yourself and those goals are not being met. However, I do know that many successful people have failed an enormous amount of times before they achieved greatness.

Failure is a part of life and I am not afraid of it…I am just frustrated about it because in the end, I hate to lose. I have decided that I am going to save every rejection letter I get from employers as fodder for my motivation. I am better than what I put on paper and I am certainly as good as anyone out in the field and I intent on proving that. It will be my journey to simply get better.

I am leaning toward finding roommates again. The simple truth is the the fiscal year for the schools up here starts in July. So do most of the leases. I can catch the rush of people looking for a room to live in between July and August. I realize that I cannot give up. My problems are something I can deal with I just need to not take them on all at once.

I am very fortunate that I am where I am. I just need to prove to myself that I can get  where I need to go.

Struggles

It is June and I no idea what I am doing. I thought by now, I would have everything figured out. My goal is to be in NYC by the end of the year and I am no where near that goal. I have sitting here trying to figure out what I am doing wrong.

I have applied for a numerous amount of jobs at several schools. If I am lucky I will get a letter back, otherwise I will hear absolutely nothing. While I know the job market is bad, I figured I would be in the running for a lot more positions. Clearly, this is not happening. So, I need to go back to the drawing board here. Maybe, my resume does not stand out. Maybe I need to change the wording. I don’t want to apply for just anything because I can get bored easily if I am not challenged by the level of work.

There is also the fact that when looking for a job, it is not what you know but who you know. I will tell you that I am lacking in this department. I do not know many people in my field who reside in New York City. So that is a big problem because I will have to rely on other people’s contacts and knowledge and clearly that is not working either. I am really pimping myself out on Linkedin so who knows how far that will get me.

Which has led me to my ultimate decision which leads me to go back to school full time. I think the fact that I lack that Master Degree is what is hurting me. I can have a shit load of experience in my field, but clearly it means little with out this paper. So, I am making plans to shoot for January admissions in NYC. I am planning to meet with some people to get my shit together in order to do this. Of course, I could take classes up here, but I am really done with  Syracuse and I need a scenery change.

Then there is this house. I was so very positive that I could keep this, but now that is not going to happen. Even now, I flip back and forth between selling and finding a roommate. Since, I need the money now, I tend to go with the roommate option but, I have no one. Why is that? Well my friend decided that he can now live with his wife again and now I am back being alone. So now I am stuck with this house alone.

So, I will put the house on the market. The problem is…I have no idea what I am doing. I do not want to use a Realtor because I do not have the money for that. However, I may not have a choice because it costs money to actually put it on the market from what I see. I realize that my life will be a whole lot better if I just got rid of it. There are tons of things that need to be fixed and things that have been fixed. This will be my struggle for the summer.

Then there is women. I say very little about this subject as it pertains to me because what is there to say? All I can say is that I observe. I watch what women do and I either smh (shake my head) or I just straight up laugh.  I feel like everyday I refine my list of things that I want or expect in a woman. I know men are assholes and I will preach that all day but, most women make no sense to me. This does effect me because despite all the goodness around me, I am really starting to feel that I will be alone for very long time.

Swirling Around

I have so many things in my head swirling around. I cannot seem to focus on one topic or another. I sat looking at my monitor last night wondering if a topic was going to come to mind. Sure I can talk about a few things here and there but that is what they are: a few things. I haven’t had anything to really sustain a long post. Then I came up with a theory of what I might be going through. Perhaps I have writer’s block.

I am not sure how possible that is considering that I can seem to write poetry whenever I want. But now, I feel that everything I can write can be in poetic form. Which seems cool at first, but I do not want to always write poetry. So, I am not sure how I am going to figure all this out. However, I am thinking that my trip to Santo Domingo may clear my head some.

Maybe I am stressing things too much. I wont lie and say that everything is rainbows and flowers because it is not. I realize that I am growing a bit tired of my current situation. What sucks about most of it is that I am trying to be a little bit private in what I am going through because it is a personal. Although that is kind of funny when you think about it, I have made this blog a very personal thing and now I feel I need to draw back a bit.

Interestingly enough, this has nothing to so with being sad or depressed. This has everything to do with my determination to move on. When I talked about that dream of me losing my passport, it made me realize that I have some anger here. Opportunities are not panning out like I want them to and people in general have just been shady as well. Truth be told, I feel like I have been getting my ass kicked by life for quite awhile now and I am tired of it. I am tired of waiting for my time and I feel I need to take it. The problems is…what do I have to grab on to?

The only thing I feel is going well for me is my writing and I plan on sticking with that. My anger with life becomes a stronger determination to get what I want and I will tell you all  that I absolutely hate to lose. Of course, this is not a game and I am technically not competing with anyone, but I reminded of how many times Michael Jordan has failed before he succeeded.

Mi Tia told me that I amaze her with my resolve. She asked me how things were going the other day and I told her about how things are not working out well at the moment. I then tell her that this one opportunity was not meant to be and she just told me that if keep this positive attitude that something will come up.

I am also disappointed in my network. I think what makes things hard is that I don’t want to ask for favors from people because I know that I will do my best to help people, but I am not sure if that goes the other way around. Now, with that said, I have gotten help from a few people and they know who they are. But, what amazes me is the simple fact that I have more people on twitter helping me than people I have known for a while. Still, this may be misplaced anger based on my own failures so I try not to stress that too much.

Despite all this, I am doubling my efforts. I have made Linkedin a priority to help me network further. I will make my goals, it is just an uphill battle.

The Final Word on Fate?


I have a friend that will always say to me “Jesus take the wheel”. This is a general expression that she says to express that we are no longer in the driver seat in certain situations. Control becomes absolutely pointless in the face of adversity and stress (i.e. drama). We are not in control of many of things that happen in our lives. We are not in control of our future. We are not in control of thoughts of other people and (I will just throw this in for good measure) we are not in control of the system of oppression that society has on us.

This where fate comes in. I will easily preach that everything happens for a reason and everyone has a role to play in our lives. The issue becomes we do not know the grand scheme of things. So for what we do not know is left up to chance or in better terms, it is left to fate.

How did I come with this? Yes, I know that several times this year, I have stated that I do not believe in fate. That everything is about choice and our choices lead to the doors of opportunity to be open so that we can make decisions on our lives. But, more and more, in the back of my head i was hearing this question of, “what about the things we cannot control”.

Let me be honest here. I was a big believer in fate a long time ago. But due to how messed up things have become over the past several years, I began to think differently. To be even more honest, the idea of fate scares me. I feel that I have lost control of my life a long time ago and not being the one in the driver’s seat is not a comfortable feeling.

It wasn’t until I really started doing my job search that I realized that I need “Jesus to take the wheel”. While I control the things I do and where I apply, I am not in control of the outcome. I thought about this fact last night and I realized that I am going to end up exactly where I need to be in time. It hit me like a brick wall…fate. I am certainly not saying that I will land the perfect job because it was “demanded by the gods” but I will say that perhaps I have to realize I have a destiny.

The problem I truly I have with fate is when it comes to love. Relationships are hard enough as it is. I believe that while we really do not choose who we fall in love with, we do choose what to do with our feelings and that is when things get messy. What I constantly have to remind myself is that anything is possible in life. Perhaps I have to view love and relationships like a job application process. I will put in my resume in for various opportunities and wait for a reply. If I get no response then I need to move on, all in hopes that the right opportunity comes my way.

I think the above metaphor works to an extent because with jobs there is no emotion spent on one application and this because job searching is all based on chance. Sure, you can have a good resume and say all the right things in a cover letter, but one has to stand out. Much of this is not in our control thus the say, if it was meant to be…it will be.

So, is this my final word on fate? I am not sure. I would like to think it is. I may still talk about in general terms. However, I am a Gemini and I fluctuate my thoughts and opinions based on my experiences. Right now, I am just letting go of the wheel and letting fate take control.