Monday, February 28, 2011

On Jobs I Didn't Take and Jobs I Couldn't Get and Didn't Really Want Anyway

So we've been in this God-forsaken town for almost two months, and I still don't have a job. It's starting to get me down, just a little tiny bit. People say, "It'll happen eventually. Just give it time." People say, "You're too good for them." And I try to put on a happy face, to say "I know, I know, really, it hasn't been that long, considering the economy. I'm not worried yet." But the truth is, I am. I'm worried, I'm depressed, I'm afraid I'm a failure. Why won't anyone hire me?

Well, if we're being completely honest, someone did hire me. Two someones, in fact. The first job offer I received was less than a week after I started looking. It was a nanny position, caring for two young toddlers. I didn't think the interview went very well, and wasn't really feeling a connection, but they offered me the job. And despite my misgivings, I would have taken it, if I could have. But, being unfamiliar with the area, I hadn't realized when I applied just how far from our apartment it was. And with my lack of a car, and the hours they needed, there was just no way it was going to work. So I sent an email with my regrets, and cursed myself for my carlessness.

The second job I was offered was McDonald's. It pains me to even write that. I know, believe me, I know, that there is nothing wrong with working at McDonald's. There are few things more worthy in life than a hard day's work, wherever that work may be. But...I just couldn't. I could go into detail about how I got a bad vibe from the interview, how I really thought there was something off about it, but if I said that was the reason I didn't take the job, I'd be lying. I just couldn't let that be the best that I could do. Husband was all for me taking it "just for a little while" but something told me it wouldn't work out that way. For some crazy, irrational (or maybe not) reason, I felt like if I put on that red visor, I would be stuck there for the rest of my life, and I just couldn't stand that. I (almost) graduated college, I got married, I moved cross country...to work at McDonald's? Two months later and still jobless, I look back and feel guilty for not taking it. But, if they called today...well, I might take it. Husband can't go on pulling all the weight forever. But it would probably be the low point of my life to date.

I think, no, I know, that I'm smart, educated, a hard worker, and could bring a lot to the positions I'm applying for. And yet, despite literally hundreds of applications, I've only gotten a half dozen interviews, and no job. It's frustrating to the point of pulling my hair out. I mean, whatever happened to entry level positions? Jobs where they paid you crap and taught you skills? Last week, I applied for a job in the produce section of a local grocery store. And got rejected before I could even finish the application, because I didn't have six months worth of grocery experience.  HONESTLY?! I buy produce every week. Half the time, I know more about the produce than the person checking me out. (Checkout girl: "Ummm...what's this?" Me, trying to keep my voice as non-judgmental as possible: "That's a cabbage.") I'm a freaking vegetarian. And I have experience in customer service, food service, inventory and stocking. You would think that this is enough to get me a non-skilled, minimum wage job at a grocery store. You would be wrong.

Ugh.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Menu Planning Madness, Part 2

As promised, here is my finished menu for next week. I think it's a good first attempt- hopefully, I'll get better as time goes on. This week, there are only two double duty foods, ie, foods that you make once, use twice- in this case, salad and pinto beans. I'm terrible at finding uses for leftover pinto beans. I always make a pound at a time, and we generally have no problem eating them as-is until they're gone, but I would like to have a few recipes up my sleeve to do something different with them. This week, I'm trying a chili- pretty unimaginative, but at least a little different. And, yes, we eat well. Husband doesn't feel it counts as a meal unless there are three items on the table, and I try to oblige, because, well, I love him, and I love food.

Monday:
Tofu and veggie stew
Balsamic roasted broccoli
Homemade bread

Tuesday:
Lentil loaf
Mashed potatoes
Roasted brussels sprouts

Wednesday:
Falafel
Rice
Tzatziki
Salad

Thursday:
Big Ole Pot 'O Beans
Rice
Cornbread or tortillas

Friday:
<a href=http://vegandad.blogspot.com/2008/06/apple-walnut-sausage-brunch-bundles.html>Apple Walnut Sausage Brunch Bundles </a> from
<ahttp://vegandad.blogspot.com/>Vegan Dad </a>
Cheesy Eggs
Salad

Saturday:
<a href=http://vegandad.blogspot.com/2007/10/cauliflower-in-cashew-sauce.html>Cauliflower in Cashew Sauce </a> also from Vegan Dad
Rice
Lentils

Sunday:
Bean and veggie chili

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Menu Planning Madness, Part 1

I have a half a head of cabbage, a green pepper, a tomato, and two bananas rotting in my fridge right now. I pretty much suck at buying produce- I always get way too much, or nowhere near enough. And while I hate wasting food, I equally hate not being able to make a good dish because I'm missing culinary staples. For now, I'll throw the bananas and tomato in the freezer, to be used in banana bread and veggie broth, respectively, and I'll make coleslaw tonight and hope for the best. But I think the green pepper is a gonner- which is just sad, because, really, I couldn't manage to use a green pepper before it rotted? How sad is that?

On the flip side of the coin, I've been reading a lot of food blogs lately, and am itching to make some really yummy dishes. I've been trying to experiment lately, but the problem is, I never have enough of the ingredients on hand. So I end up subbing excessively, to the point where the final product is good, but culinarily nothing new. I can't win- I buy too much of one thing, not enough of another, and I'm stuck wasting food, spending too much on my grocery bill, and putting the same meals on the table week in and week out.

So I've decided to start menu planning, in an effort to reduce our waste and monetary output. Hopefully, this will also encourage me to put a little more variety on the table, since, if I find an intriguing recipe, I can plan to buy the ingredients and put it on next week's menu. I'm also hoping to become a little more skilled at using leftovers and being more time efficient in the kitchen- say, making double the amount of mashed potatoes one night, and making potato pancakes later in the week. Right now, it's all fine and dandy for me to spend an hour or two on dinner every night, but sooner or later (hopefully sooner!) someone will give me a job, and dinner is going to have to become a much more streamlined affair. I'll post next week's menu as soon as I finish figuring it out.