Saturday, July 4, 2015

Rejection Proof


Rejection Proof: 100 Days of Rejection, or How to Ask Anything of Anyone at AnytimeRejection Proof: 100 Days of Rejection, or How to Ask Anything of Anyone at Anytime by Jia Jiang
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Sum it up in a sentence (or two): Jia Jiang puts himself on a quest to be rejected 100 times in order to overcome his fear of it and learn how to "ask anything of anyone at anytime." He shares his insights in this informative and entertaining book.

First thoughts: I was so excited to read Rejection Proof, and it didn't disappoint. I wonder if I would have felt the same way if I had read it during my job search, or if reading it then would have kept my spirits up (or just made me even more frustrated), but either way, it was relatable. Jiang's fears of quitting his job and the first big rejection he experiences after what felt like a lifetime of "yes" reminded me of my own struggles with deciding to quit my job and look for something new, only to have to wait nearly a year for that something new to come around.

What is Rejection, Really?: Rejection is personal. Failure, on the other hand, is more objective. Rejection is human (good to remember), rejection is an opinion (and usually says more about the person doing the rejecting), and rejection is numbered (for me, it was about 50).

Favorite quotes:
"The problem with insecurity is that you start feeling like everyone might reject you, even your closest loved ones." -p21

"Our mainstream views on how to handle rejection are breathtakingly simplistic....Don't take it personally! Dust yourself off and move on!" -p 58-59

"In the end, what we really need is not acceptance from others, but acceptance from ourselves. In fact, being comfortable with who we are should be a prerequisite - not the result - of seeking others' approval. We should all have the knowledge that who we are is good enough to get a yes from ourselves." -p198

Things I Would Change: When Jiang uses past tense in his writing...that bummed me out. I really wish an editor would've caught that.

Recommended for: job seekers, artists/writers (who face rejection all the time), recent college grads, self-improvement junkies.

Editor's Note: I received a copy of Rejection Proof from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.


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Friday, July 3, 2015

Friday Night Links 22

It's really happening. I finished #nannylife yesterday, then I start a new adventure (hashtag still in process) in a week. Altogether, it's been almost a year of off-and-on job searching, opportunity seeking, life's path questioning, and realizing no one has anything figured out. I learned a lot about myself, the job market in Chicago, the range of feelings I go through during an interview, rejection, and trusting the process. Mostly I learned through experience, but a few blog posts/videos also helped a lot. And I have to thank (again, always) my parents for being great resources and cheerleaders. Aaaaand if we're being honest, Elizabeth Gilbert deserves credit for all the motivation she's provided (see link 1 & 3, below).

I can't remember where I first found Gilbert's explanation of passion vs curiosity (and I know I've shared it here before), but I've gone back to it several times in the past year, reminding myself that right now, I'm following my curiosity. Someday, I might find my passion (or I might look back after 100 years and retrospectively realize what it was all along), but my gorgeous curiosity is enough for me now, thanks.

Actually, I'm gonna embed the video right here so there's no excuse not to watch (from the beginning until about 1:32):


Another way to frame "following curiosity" is plain old forward motion, which I needed this past year (and will continue to need) to not fall over/get stuck. Also, "Perfect is the enemy of the good." A million times, yes. Was my resume/cover letter ever perfect and "ready" to send out? Probably not. But an unsent resume would've gotten me zero interviews.

"Just Ask" was my mantra this spring, when I realized I couldn't get something I wanted without verbalizing my request. The universe is many things, but a mind-reader isn't one of them.

And finally, when I asked Culture Question #1 during a phone interview, the response I got was "Wow. That's good. I've never heard that one before." Needless to say, that felt cool. (I didn't get that job, but I got a great reference!)

Wherever you are in life (job searching, job loving, stuck in a job, retired) I hope these references resonate. I'll be back next week with a more concrete update on my new adventure, Happy Fourth!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Freedom

I didn't write poems for May or June (in my defense a LOT was going on elsewhere in my life/brain), but I'm back on the wagon for July. Today my poem celebrates and honors the end of a chapter in my life. My 2015 poems so far have all related to my job, so it seems fitting for July's too.

Freedom

It's the little things, like leaving behind a set of keys that was all but attached to you.
Or having the weight of several hundred loads of laundry lifted from your shoulders.
I'm free, you think. Free to enjoy the rain without worrying about someone else's plants,
free to leave town without wondering if you forgot to lock someone else's doors.

For a little while at least, you're untethered. Anything and nothing could happen,
but your response no longer has to be how to solve the problem that really isn't yours.
You can let go of all the trivial information you stored for rainy days and emergencies.
You can coast away on your bike without second guessing your housekeeping skills.


Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Inside Out

The best way to describe Pixar's newest venture, Inside Out, is to picture what would happen if "feelings had feelings." Most of the movie takes place inside the head of 11-year old Riley, an imaginative and overall "happy" girl from Minnesota. Things up in Riley's head get a little wild after her family moves to San Francisco. Joy, the narrator, has her hands full between keeping Fear, Disgust, Anger, and Sadness in line and helping to keep Riley herself in good spirits when nothing seems to be going right. When Sadness takes things (memories) literally into her own hands, Joy goes on a mission to rescue Riley from herself.

The way Pixar imagines the inner-workings of our brains is fun and easy to understand without being dumbed-down or childish. I loved the idea of "Personality Islands," "Core Memories," and they way they visualized all the details of memory processing. The scenes in Long Term Memory were a hoot, especially the gum commercial gag and the romp through Imagination Land.

Beyond being great way to think about how we feel, Inside Out is an appeal to the importance of our feelings (having them, expressing them, honoring them). The story, while simple, allows the five Feelings to shine: their purpose, when boiled down, is to keep us alive, and they're great at it. When things get out of balance - say Fear or Anger runs the control board - that's when we run into real world troubles. We hide our problems instead of seeking out ways to solve them, or we explode and push others away. Even when Joy runs the show for too long, things go blah. We need Disgust, to keep us from being poisoned. We need Fear to keep us out of danger. We need Anger to motivate us. We need Joy to lift us up. We need Sadness to grow, to get through changes, and to properly grieve the things we lose (even if those things are intangibles, like a friendship, a hockey team, or a feeling of home). This myriad of emotions makes us human.

At the climax of the film, sniffling noises echoed around the theater where Jesus and I watched. "Like a thousand people are crying," Jesus whispered to me. I picked my head up from his shoulder, where I had leaned over when my own tears started to spill. "Never mind, a thousand and one." If the rest of those theatergoers and I learned anything during those few hours, it's that Sadness demands to be felt, and that's not a bad thing.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Halfway Point

We've somehow made it to the middle of 2015. The year is halfway over, and it's a doozy. In the span of three months, both of my roommates, my boyfriend, and I will have started new jobs. One of my roommates is moving out, someone else is moving in, and then, at the end of July, I'm moving out. It's both scary and exciting - the Naw has been my home longer than any other place, except two of the houses I grew up in. Still, I'm ready to make a new home with my forever roommate. (You know, once I actually find an apartment to move to - more on that later.)

This transitional period has forced me to hurry up and wait, then wait some more. I'm tying up loose ends at Mercy and in my #nannylife, but I can't dive in to the next phase of my life just yet. I purposely gave myself some time to reset and recharge - even though all I want to do is be there, at the next place, wherever that is.

Instead, in honor of tonight's Leap Second, I'm going to stop and be here, now. It's the only place I can be.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Lemon Blueberry Muffins

I'm the designated dessert maker in my apartment, and in Jesus's family. I wouldn't refer to myself as a baker, but I sort of fell into the role. And since I have a sweet tooth, I guess I'm okay with it. For Mother's Day, I made strawberry cupcakes (using blended strawberries in the batter). They were just okay (meaning I will try again). For Father's Day, though, there was no try. Just 100% knocking it out of the park with lemon blueberry muffins.

I adapted/doubled this recipe from Cookie and Kate, who followed this one from Smitten Kitchen, which is itself adapted from Cooks Illustrated...meaning just about everyone on the Internet has made a variation of these. The end product was light and sweet and not too guilt-inducing.

Lemon Blueberry Muffins (additions/substitutions in parenthesis mine)

10 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1 c sugar (I used 1/2 c white sugar and 1/2 c cane sugar)
2 eggs
1 1/2 c plain yogurt (I used coconut yogurt)
1 tsp grated lemon zest
(I also added the juice from one lemon)
3 c flour (I used regular white flour)
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 c blueberries (I used a whole container of fresh blueberries, but frozen would also work)

  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Line a muffin tin with paper liners.
  3. Using an electric mixer, cream butter and sugars.
  4. Add eggs, beating well after each. Add yogurt and zest, beat until smooth.
  5. In a separate bowl, mix dry ingredients.
  6. Add dry ingredients slowly to batter, beat on low speed until mixed.
  7. Fold in blueberries.
  8. Fill muffin liners 2/3 full. Batter should be thick, so you can just use a spoon to scoop and fill.
  9. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until tops are golden.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

The Maze Runner

The Maze Runner (Maze Runner, #1)The Maze Runner by James Dashner
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Sum it up in a sentence (or two): Teenage boys are sent via an elevator thingy to a social experiment compound, once a month, until Thomas shows up as the last boy. Now the group has to figure out where they came from - and why they were sent to the Glade to begin with.

First thoughts: Nothing really happens until about 100 pages in to The Maze Runner, except a lot of confusion and questions. After that, things speed up a little - our hero gets in and out of trouble and the story moves forward.

A strange concept: Like the characters, I was never quite sure why someone would send a bunch of teenage boys to a remote location. The end of the book begins to explain what's going on, but it's clear that Dashner wants us to keep reading to find out the real story. I can't honestly say I'm chomping at the bit to find out.

Why not? : I think my indifference in starting the second book in the series is due to my indifference towards basically all of the characters. I thought Thomas was super annoying, and only cared about Minho and maybe Frypan.

But still: I'm interested in seeing the movie to help visualize the Maze/Glade.


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