Saturday, September 19, 2015

Stereoscopic is the show

Been almost a week now. I can't say that I am any less uncomfortable, but I am focused on getting a job. That seems like step one of regaining some stability in my life. I've been applying to university and government jobs, and I broke down and contacted a recruiter. I've had more negative experiences with finance and accounting recruiters than positive. They always tell you they are working for you, but they are working for the companies. Problem is, if you approach a lot of these companies yourself, they direct you to submit your resume online, and then totally ignore online applications. I also broke down and changed my hair color back to a normal color, and took out one of my lip piercings and put a retainer in my septum (nose). But I left the other two lip piercings in.

I'm in kind of a bind because I like working in accounting and audit, but even in "creative" companies the accounting department tends to be the most conservative. I suspect that a contributing factor is that they teach you in big-four audit firms to overdress as compared to the client, and companies love to hire people with big-four experience who bring that culture with them. Part of it is the intimidation factor- when the auditors in suits come in, people snap to attention. But there is also this odd lust for conformity, and an insistence on something that accountants should really know better about, form over substance. Looking like you know what you are talking about is more important than actually knowing what you are talking about. Conformity is very dangerous too. It's so common in fraud cases for people to overlook the ethics of what they are doing because everyone else is okay with it. People have actually used that as an argument when I've questioned things, i.e. you're the only one who has a problem with this, so it must be a problem with you! In an environment where people are afraid to stand out and disagree, and appearances matter more than reality, the best work is not done. The best people aren't hired and promoted. Mistakes aren't acknowledged and fixed. I find it wildly ironic that audit especially, who's whole reason for existence is to be a voice of dissent, is so constrained by social conformity and not challenging people's assumptions.

Lately, I feel like I made a giant mistake- I thought if I "paid my dues" in accounting that I would get past the having to continuously prove myself and be appreciated for my experience and knowledge. And passion for the work. And ethical standards. After 15 years, I'm not sure that will ever be the case. I'm worried I won't be able to afford to live in Seattle, even for the short term, without the type of job I'm so loathe to return to. I don't know what else to do. I realize that I am engaging in black and white thinking right now though. Getting a job takes time, and I haven't actually been rejected for anything based on my appearance, and maybe I will find a job in my field that will be at a place with a more diverse culture. That is exactly why I'm trying to stay away from the more intensely corporate environments, and why I have a lot of skepticism about the kinds of jobs that recruiters steer me towards. So we'll see. I'm wondering what my plan B should be though.

It feels strange to be driving around Seattle, and it seems like the same place I've lived in for most of my adult life, but then a completely different place at the same time. I don't know how to get around, and where to go, and oh my god the parking. I remember feeling this way when I first moved to Los Angeles. I didn't know the city and it was hard. I have this weird thing about parking. If I don't know where to park I get really anxious, and I don't want to go places where I don't have the parking figured out. That was L.A. when I first moved there, and it's Seattle now. I've been hanging out in coffee shops applying for jobs online, but I'm kind of constrained as to where I feel comfortable going because I panic if there's not parking. I just drive around some of the time, which is not a bad thing necessarily. I'm getting used to the way Seattle looks now. It might be withdrawal from all the L.A. driving. I've also put out feelers for hockey, which would really help me feel better. The women's league here has a evaluation skate this Monday, but in my communication with them they keep emphasizing how there's only four spots left, and if you don't sign up ahead of time there might not be a spot, and the teams fill up, and if there's no spots you can't play. Signing up involves becomes a member ($550 to $625) plus a $75 fee for the evaluation skate. Uh, no. So yeah. Wondering about plan B.

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