Diversions

We Wuz Robbed — Career Advice for Burglars

December 17th, 2009

Written by Pamela Skillings

burglarOn Tuesday evening, I returned from leading a 2-day workshop in DC to discover that my apartment had been visited by burglars who helped themselves to some holiday gifts and rifled through our belongings.

I was shocked and more than a little freaked out. I have always felt 100% safe in my building and my neighborhood. We have not had a break-in in the building for more than 10 years.

We have a doorman and security cameras and a very vigilant live-in super. The burglar struck in the middle of the afternoon when my husband and most of my neighbors were at work. He was wearing a suit and tie, carrying a briefcase, and hit three apartments in one afternoon.

I have lived in New York City for 20 years now and I was robbed once before. That was in the early ’90s in a sketchy building on the Lower East Side (which was still very sketchy back then and had no boutique hotels or non-dive trendy bars). We had a crappy lock on our door and a passing acquaintance with the crackheads and hookers that frequented our block (shout out to Eldridge Street back in the day).

This latest incident was more shocking. It’s not that stuff was stolen. Hopefully, insurance will cover most of it and the mess will be cleaned up (Google search of the month: How to remove fingerprint dust). It’s that our safe little haven was violated.

Our friendly local NYPD officer gave us some tips for increasing security so this never happens again. She mentioned that there have been more burglaries in New York City since the economy tanked, which makes sense. Christmas is a busy season for burglars looking for presents to steal. This particular burglar has hit a few other buildings nearby as well.

Officer C seemed confident that he would be caught eventually, though she was equally confident that he would serve his time, get out, and start burglarizing again. As she put it, “That’s their career. That’s what they know how to do. They might get put away for a while, but when they get out, they go back to their career path.”

So it seems I can find a career lesson even in the aftermath of a burglary. It’s not a very encouraging one, I know. But maybe this particular burglar leafed through one of the 14,000 books on career change in my library (mine and many others by such brilliant people as Barbara Sher and Barbara Winter and Richard Bolles) while he was ransacking my home office. Maybe he found some tips and inspiration to change his career and change his life. Maybe he’ll spend the money he makes pawning our electronics to go back to school and become an x-ray technician.

Ah well, I’m just happy that nobody was hurt and the stolen stuff can be replaced. We’ve upgraded our security to make sure we won’t be receiving any other unwanted holiday visitors. Sorry Santa, but you can’t be too careful these days.

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How to Quit Your Job

November 10th, 2009

Written by Pamela Skillings

This resignation letter is concise, creative and pretty freakin hilarious.

Andrew is a genius. He is setting his bridges on fire and laughing as they burn.

I love the psychotic threats mixed with prim distaste for lack of “foresight” and “acumen.”

Dream Jobs and Job Nightmares — Work-Related Dream Analysis

October 30th, 2009

Written by Pamela Skillings

During this week leading up to Halloween, a holiday designed to let you live out your secret fantasy or nightmare for the evening, I have been plagued by weird dreams about work. I decided to do some research and  it turns out that bizarre work-related dreams are very common. But what do they mean?

According to self-proclaimed dream analysis experts, if you are dreaming regularly about your job, it’s a good sign that your subconscious is trying to tell you that you’re overworked or feeling overwhelmed by career issues. This is why I have now scheduled an overdue vacation so I can start dreaming about Caribbean beaches instead of gray conference rooms.

Have you ever awakened from a twisted office nightmare that makes you fear for your sanity? After researching dream interpretations, I discovered that there are several very common work dreams. I bet you’ve had at least one of them. Read on for interpretations of what these job-related dreams may be telling you about your waking life.

5 Most Common Work-Related Dreams Explained


desk-sex-boss1) The Dream: Sex with Your Boss

I might as well cover the most exciting (or potentially horrifying) dream first, right? If you’ve been living in shame and confusion about sexy-time dreams involving your vile boss, you’ll be relieved to know that you’re not alone. Many people dream about sex with a boss or authority figure at the office.

The Dream Interpretation

Maybe your boss just happens to be hot. Maybe you have a suppressed fetish for pinstripes and comb-overs.

On the other hand, sex in dreams can also be a metaphor. You may dream of sex with someone that you feel a strong chemistry with — even if the chemistry is strictly professional. Or your boss may represent something — authority, success, control. Your dream of hooking up with the boss may indicate that you want to connect with the part of you that he/she represents.

Years ago, my friend T. was troubled by a dream of very satisfying sex with her then-boss, who was not particularly attractive and about as far from T’s usual type as humanly possible. For weeks, she had trouble looking him in the eye without blushing. Actually, after hearing about the dream, I got a little giggly in his presence myself. We decided that the dream symbolized her eagerness to please her new boss (and to have him please her with a positive performance review).

2) The Dream:  Killing  Your Boss

But what if your dream self is more interested in homicide than hot sex? Have you ever dreamed about harming or killing your boss?

The Dream Interpretation

The straightforward interpretation here is that your dream self is acting on strong feelings of dislike or envy toward the boss in question.

Another interpretation is that your dream murder victim represents a part of you that you resent or hate. Maybe your boss represents a nightmare version of the future you. Then again, it’s possible that you just played a rousing version of Shag, Marry, Kill before bedtime.

naked-with-briefcase3) The Dream: Naked at Work

In this dream, you’re going about your business at the office when you suddenly realize that you’re completely naked. Oops.

The Dream Interpretation

There are a couple of potential reasons for your public dream nudity. The most common interpretation is that your nudity symbolizes feeling caught off guard. Perhaps you are currently overwhelmed with responsibilities or feel unprepared for a particular project or presentation.

If nobody else in your dream seems to notice your pantslessness, your subconscious may be trying to tell you that you are blowing your fears out of proportion and you’re the only one who thinks you’re out of your depth.

Alternatively, if the discovery of your dream nakedness makes you feel ashamed or  horrified, your subconscious may be reflecting feelings of vulnerability or embarrassment surrounding a secret that you’re keeping. read more…

Career Advice from The Rachel Zoe Project

October 13th, 2009

Written by Pamela Skillings

taylorrachelzoeshowOkay, so I have been known to watch The Rachel Zoe Project. Don’t judge me. I can’t really tell you why I find it fascinating as I am pretty much a fashion idiot and most of the “characters” on the show are really annoying.

Maybe it’s because the show has proven to be a fount of fabulous and cutting-edge career advice in action.

For example, let’s look at Taylor’s genius strategy for getting promoted from her role as Rachel’s assistant to become the head of “branding” for Rachel Zoe Inc. (I’m not convinced Taylor knows exactly what branding means, but the girl had a goal and she went for it).

Here’s Tay-Tay’s  step-by-step process that is sure to help you score a promotion too:

1) Get a job working for a boss who has her own reality show.

2) Complain constantly about how hard you’re working and how mistreated you are (you are ABOVE unpacking boxes, damnit).

3) Belittle your boss and her clients (you are ABOVE photo shoots and fashion shows, damnit).

4) When summoned to a company meeting, refuse to remove your sunglasses and smirk and giggle when the new CEO speaks (you are above your boss’ husband and his weird haircut, damnit).

5) Accept promotion!

You see how easy that was? Ba-na-nas.

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Mad Men Casting Call — Vote for Tarek

August 8th, 2009

Written by Pamela Skillings

tarekmadmen

The new season of Mad Men starts on August 16th. If you haven’t yet discovered this addictive show set at a New York ad agency in the early 1960’s, set your TiVo for the new season and I promise that you won’t be sorry. Mad Men has everything — intriguing storylines, fascinating characters, great acting, and incredible 1960’s sets and wardrobe.

My fellow corporate escapees will also enjoy the peek at 1960’s office politics. Although much has changed about corporate life , there’s still plenty to relate to.

Of course, the players are much better looking than your average cubicle mate and their secrets are much juicier. And they all enjoy cocktails and cigarettes with every meeting. I’m sure that made the workday fly by more quickly.

Anyway, to celebrate the new Mad Men season, Banana Republic is sponsoring a pretty cool contest. The grand prize is a walk-on role in an episode of Mad Men. My brother’s pal Tarek posed for the stylish shot above for his entry. If he’s one of the top online vote getters, he may be chosen to enjoy 15 minutes of Mad Men fame.

So go vote for Tarek.  If he wins, he’ll report back with lots of juicy details from the set. I’m putting together a list of questions for Jon Hamm (Don Draper) and John Slattery (silver fox Roger Sterling) in anticipation of Tarek becoming best buds with them (post your questions and I’ll add them to the list). Plus you have to admit that T looks pretty awesome in the photo and would fit right in at Sterling Cooper.

So go on, click over and vote for Tarek to live out his dream of becoming a Mad Man. You can vote once a day through August 11, 2009.

By the way, you can still enter the contest yourself. Just pose for a photo that shows off your “mad” man or woman style and upload it to be judged by the masses. If you enter, post a comment here with a link and your campaign promises and I promise to throw a vote your way.