Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Beep Beep, Beep Beep, Yeah

The big news in my life right now is that I bought a car. She’s a 2017 Toyota Prius C, electric orange.
Her name is Geri.
(Short for Tangerine, but also a nod to the great Geri Halliwell, a.k.a. Ginger Spice.)
I wasn’t excited about this development at first. As you may remember, the VW Beetle I’d been driving in Vegas died very early in my road trip back to Chicago last year. That car was never technically mine to begin with—it was my mom’s, and because she just-so-happened to purchase a new car at the same I left for grad school, she was kind enough to give me her old one. The VW Passat we leased in St. George, Utah after the Beetle perished was also theirs, and it now resides in Florida, at their snowbird residence.
So I knew I was going to have to bite the bullet and buy my own car—at some point. However, I didn’t think it would happen quite so soon. I was under the impression that sharing a car with my mom was going well, since my dad could easily drive her to work.
My impression was incorrect.
Last Wednesday night, my parents—impatient and tired of sharing—kidnapped me and took me to the Kenosha CarMax. After various negotiations and test drives and credit applications and all that nonsense, we returned on Thursday night so I could sign on the dotted line.
Lines, actually. You have to sign a lot of stuff to buy a car!
Now Geri is mine—and I’m extremely happy with her, for the record. I consider her my new pet. She’s nice and small and easy to park. She’s a hybrid, so I’m not totally murdering the environment—and I save a lot of gas money in the process. In fact, she tells me how much money I spent on each drive after I turn the ignition. And there’s this screen on the dashboard that shows when the fuel engine is powering the car, and when the battery engine is powering the car, and when the wheels and brakes are powering the battery—it’s super interesting and also super distracting.
I get to make car payments for the next six years of my life, but, you know. C’est la vie. At least I’m mobile.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Business School Ruins People

My new job has been going well. I like all my coworkers--though there are so many of them that it's difficult to remember everyone's name. I keep trying to glance at their badges, but oftentimes they're flipped around. Meg decorated my cubicle so that it's #officeunicorn chic, and I brought in my glitter lava lamp to match the aesthetic. Feeling very much like Peggy Olson at the end of Mad Men:


Minus the cigarette, of course.

As of right now, I have only two problems with the job. One is the commute. It's actually not that bad, since I'm still at my parents' place in the suburbs. But until recently I've been rolling out of bed between 8 and 9. Now I have to get up between 6 and 6:30, and it's making me outrageously exhausted. I'm pretty much useless during the evenings. But I'm sure I'll get used to the lack of sleep.

My other problem isn't really a problem--it's more like a mild annoyance. But as someone who loves language, I can't help but find it troubling.

Business school ruins people. Or rather, it ruins their ability to communicate clearly.

I've sat in on several meetings this week in order to acclimate myself to the inner workings of the company, and so many times I've heard people reject simple statements in favor of business school terminology that garbles their meaning.

The most egregious phrase I've come across is "communication deliverables." Why don't you just say "communications"? Because at least two people are required for communications to occur, the word itself implies delivery. Why waste your breath on the unnecessary extra word?

There are others. The ubiquity of "utilize" instead of the simpler "use." Everything is a "proposition" instead of a philosophy or an idea, all solutions or responses must be "facilitated." Acronyms abound. Meg warned me that I might hear about "learnings," as in: "What learnings did you take away from this seminar?"


I should mention that this isn't an issue on my own team--thank goodness. But I suspect that's because most of us studied English or Journalism or some other subject where obfuscation is the enemy. Strangely, I get the impression that the people who do use business school terminology think that their jargon is making things clearer. I want to assure them that it most certainly is not.

Except I won't assure them of that aloud, because it's my first week and I don't want to get fired.

If you're not sure what I'm talking about when I mention business school terminology, please refer to The New Yorker's delightful parody "A Deep Dive to Remember: A Love Story Between Business Managers, Written By A Business Manager."

This is my life now.


In totally unrelated news, Black Lives Matter is having a fundraiser. If you've been condemning white supremacy all week on social media but haven't taken any concrete steps to destroy it, I encourage you to put your money where your mouth is.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017


I am the worst at blogging right now. In my defense, my life has felt kind of like this lately:


Exciting! But hard work.

Here are some cool things that have happened:

  • My story "Fame is the Opposite of Love" was the runner-up in Round 1 of Midwestern Gothic's Summer 2017 Flash Fiction Series. You should read it because you love me, and also because it's fewer than 500 words. 
  • I started a new job at Allstate. My official title is "Corporate Relations Senior Consultant," but really what I do is work on the company's internal social media site. My observations about corporate life can be found on Twitter via the hashtag #officeunicorn, because that is what I am--as opposed to my esteemed colleague and best friend Meg, who is #officegoth. It should be noted that any views expressed on my social media channels are solely my own, and have nothing to do with Allstate. It's only my first week, you guys. You can't expect me to be the voice of the company just yet.
I'm going to make an effort to blog every Friday, I think. That way there won't be such long gaps. Plus, that kind of journaling will be good for my mental health. So much is changing right now! It will help to write my feelings down. And lucky you! You get to read them.