Leap of faith

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Did a wild and crazy thing this week: I put an end to my never-ending contract.

In August 2004, I was brought in to my job on a two month contract. The pay was horrible but I had nothing else going on at the time. Heck, it was just for two months...

Fast-forward to February 2006: the contract just kept on getting renewed. Sure, I've been able to build my portfolio with some cool stuff (all for the same client though), but I've slowly been starting to resent not having a fabulous salary, medical plan or sick days. And don't get me started about the workload.

So I made a choice and told my supervisor and the placement agency that my last day with this current contract will be on March 31, 2006. Yes, without another job to go to. Because if I don't leave soon, I'll turn into a more nasty and frustrated person who'll snarl and spit at any prospective employer who asks:

So, where do you see yourself in five years?
Life is filled with choices. And this one feels like the ideal one for me.

Time left: a month
Prospects: 4
Interviews: 1
Spitting incidents: 0

posted by Bonnie Staring at 11:41 PM 4 comments

How many samples?

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

I consider myself to be a detail-oriented person, or at least I used to. Take last week: I applied for a sweet new copywriting job. They wanted three samples of my writing work, so I attached them and hit the almighty send. Now I've just been gathering up my desk toys, waiting for the phone call.

Today, while clearing out some email, I spot my awesome "I'm totally gonna get this job" one. And notice that I've attached one of my samples twice.

:::sirens wail from the loser police squad car:::

Well, at least it was one of my better samples.

posted by Bonnie Staring at 10:29 PM 0 comments

To thank, or not to thank

Monday, February 20, 2006

They laughed, they cried. At the end of the three-minute PowerPoint presentation, they all broke into applause. The presentation that was doomed from the start had actually worked out. After all that shit from last week.

But wait, it gets better. Once the room grew quiet once again, the big guy said a big thank you to the two people behind this project. Too bad he's half right. And the half he forgot to include was yours truly.

Yes, the one who wrote the damn script. Sourced the music. Guided in the photo selection. Begged for the resources when they fired the only person in the company who could handle all the photo and sound manipulation. The one who got her husband to help with the files at the 11th hour.

And yes, the one on contract who doesn't want to work there anymore.

So why did I do it? Because a man who spends 30 years at a company deserves a lot more than speeches and a cake. Or maybe for this organization that's more than enough. I dunno. Maybe I just wanted to do something fabulous for a man who actually seems happy at his job.

By the way, a belated thank you note to me was sent out from the big man to the entire team. Funny thing is, by that point it didn't matter. I already felt like shit.

Next time just say "I'd like to thank the team who worked on this" and, once you confirm who we are, send money.

posted by Bonnie Staring at 11:29 PM 0 comments

Flying under the radar

Sunday, February 19, 2006

I just can't do it. There's this part of me that always has to go there. Maybe that's why I'm so drawn to being a game show host; I just want to be part of the huge win or that heart-wrenching defeat when contestants are outbid by a dollar.

Brokeback Mountain is all about flying under the radar. And heart-wrenching defeat. Sigh. Have now renamed a main character in my novel to Jake instead of Jacob. All this swooning makes it hard to write though.

I'm meeting with the fabulous team behind Women Can Do Anything this week, which I'm very excited about since a) I'll be treated to dinner and b) I finally get to meet these great women. Perhaps they have a game show they want to launch...I'll keep you posted.

posted by Bonnie Staring at 12:58 AM 0 comments

Dim sum on a dime

Thursday, February 16, 2006

How do you know when to stop the trolleys of food from coming to the table? Even when you say no, there are other servers behind the last, tempting us with pork buns, shrimp dumplings and other stuff that tastes a lot better than it looks.

Four of us absolutely gorged ourselves so much on dim sum that the rest of the afternoon was a complete write-off. Too much moaning and that overwhelming sleepiness setting in, I guess. The nice thing was being able to stuff myself silly for under $20. Sweet.

tomorrow...salad, I swear!

posted by Bonnie Staring at 9:32 PM 0 comments

Inspired by a true story

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

A colleague of mine was "let go" this morning. The fact that he was in the middle of a project for me kinda totally sucked. The fact that he made my days go by faster by creating daily pictograms of movie titles for us to figure out means that his departure is a truly significant loss for yours truly. (The Broken Arrow/Point Break double-whammy was truly inspirational, I must say.)

So I dedicate this blog entry to my comrade-in-arms Scott. Misery loves company, and now I am lonely.

The thing is, I've also been laid off, let go and fired. Sometimes all at once. And it's moments like these when you find out what the company you work for is really like. Big time. So I've had a peek behind the already suspicious curtain...and I have found just what I expected: a ship of fools.

Time for me to set sail in another direction.

posted by Bonnie Staring at 10:09 PM 2 comments

Tragic pizza

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Wouldn't that be an awesome name for a book? Or at least the working title of a dream I had on the weekend...

I knew that I was going on a little girls-only holiday to New York City. Hooray! For some reason, I kept on putting off packing for the trip. My husband would remind me before bed each night and, like any professional writer, I said, "No worries, I'll do it tomorrow."

Next thing I know, Aden is driving me to the Big Apple to meet up with my girlfriends. (In my dream it only takes an hour and a half to drive from Toronto to NYC, sweet.) I have no memory of packing my bag, so I peek inside it. There are 2 of Aden's sweatshirts, work boots and an empty Ziploc bag (all my dreams have product placement, forgive me for not warning you). Hardly the fancy duds I had planned on taking.

Then he has the nerve to ask if I had brought the directions to the hotel. Of course I hadn't. So we pick up a hitch-hiker who looks a lot like Michael from Lost. Only with shoulder-length dreads. For some reason, this dude knows where the hotel is.

We all pull up to the hotel, which just happens to back onto an off-Broadway theatre in the middle of freaking nowhere. No skyscrapers, no big city lights. The hotel and theatre seem to have been plunked down into the parking lot for a large suburban mall.

Before I can even turn around to see if there's a Target, I wake up. Damn!

posted by Bonnie Staring at 11:41 PM 2 comments

Come On Eileen, get out of my head

Monday, February 13, 2006

I was shocked to discover that some of my coworkers feel that Come On Eileen by Dexy's Midnight Runners is an 80's classic worth celebrating.

Come on.

Don't these people remember the video? The unbathed band? The abundance of bandanas? Geesh. Eileen was totally right to walk away from those freaks.

Is there a more annoying 80's song out there? If so, please let me know what it is so I can get this one out of my head. Please do it quickly...

posted by Bonnie Staring at 7:04 PM 1 comments

Sign of the times

Sunday, February 12, 2006

I've always had trouble with motivation; this explains a lot. Once I find something that works for me, it usually stops working. It's that whole self-sabotage-I-need-five-life-coaches thing. So I try new things.

Take this weekend for example. Friday was spent at a Keep Toronto Reading event, where Linwood Barclay, a Toronto Star columnist I truly enjoy, spoke about the curse of being a writer and making a living at it. What followed was a discussion with four Toronto-based writers on their work, their muses and their feelings about the city. All were given the assignment to write a page or two on a story that involves a library. When Warren Dunford read his tale, I knew I had discovered a new favourite author. Delicious details, captivating characters...I felt sorry for the authors who followed him, though all four did a fabulous job.

On Sunday I met up with a girlfriend who's just as wacky as I am and we went to Michelle Rowen's first-ever book signing at the World's Biggest Bookstore. Michelle sat between two accomplished authors (Margaret Moore and Kayla Perrin) and looked right at home. It was a festive event, being right around Valentine's Day and all, with performers on stilts, men handing out pink carnations and cake.

One day, I might get to be the one sitting at the table. No, not the cake table, the book-signing table. Maybe I should go pen shopping, just to be prepared.

posted by Bonnie Staring at 11:50 PM 0 comments

Let me sleep on it

Friday, February 10, 2006

The heinous article was completed in the wee hours last night and, even after a night's sleep, I'm still happy with it. Perhaps I'm superstitious, but I really like having a night to sleep on a story or article before sending it to an editor. No, I don't literally have it under my pillow. Sometimes you need the cold morning light to truly see if your efforts are worthy.

Taking Meatloaf's advice is also a way to prevent me from waiting until the last possible moment to start an article. With this method I need to get it done the day, evening or night before. Paradise by the computer screen light.

Contests: 1
Writing: 1

posted by Bonnie Staring at 10:54 PM 0 comments

Bonnie, interrupted

Thursday, February 9, 2006

There's this one project I've been working on for way too long, and I'm starting to panic a bit because it really should be done by now. Yes, it's an article. Yes, it seemed like a great idea when I was first handed the assignment. Then the research killed me. Not because there wasn't much out there, it was just a lot of the same thing. By the time I was ready to write, there were piles of snippets and poorly scribbled notes surrounding me. I was ready to rock the Word doc. Then someone tapped on my cubicle wall.

"This should only take a sec."

So I step away from the past-due project for a moment. When I come back to it, the muse is gone. Didn't even leave a note to indicate any hope of return.

So I stare at the screen until my forehead bursts open. And I catch the wave again. I'm about 200 words into a riveting, I-can't-believe-I'm-writing-this piece of work when--

Tap, tap, tap.

Now I know what people mean when they say "I'm all tapped out."

posted by Bonnie Staring at 9:38 PM 0 comments


Wednesday, February 8, 2006

Okay, I'll admit it: I'm addicted to Starting Over, the reality show that has six screwed-up women living in a house, working with life coaches to change their lives. There's one woman on the show, Lisa, who has been there forever. She doesn't get it. Time to take out the trash and let someone more deserving get on the show.

Hey, I have a list right here of people who need help. Just ignore the "staff directory" note at the top of the page.

Can't wait to see what happens tomorrow. :)

posted by Bonnie Staring at 10:39 PM 0 comments

Walk the fine line

Tuesday, February 7, 2006

To paraphrase Johnny Cash:

"I once shot a man in PR, just to watch him die."

Johnny didn't sing disco, and I don't put periods in Washington, DC...period.

Contests: 1
Writing: 0
Bullets: working on it

posted by Bonnie Staring at 11:09 PM 0 comments

Stuck on the treadmill

Monday, February 6, 2006

When I was a waitress, I used to dream about being stuck on a fast treadmill, arms filled with plates piled high with all-you-can-eat crab legs. Not a pretty sight. And, like the guy on that midway ride that keeps on spinning people around backwards to loud music, all these angry customers would be yelling at me to go faster. Then I'd wake up.

Fast-forward to today and there's not a single crab leg in sight. Only I still have to carry around these proverbial plates. A lot of them. And I'm getting tired of this particular treadmill. Only trouble is I'm terrified to walk away from a "sure thing".

But what's the worst that could happen? I could always go back to...nope. My waitressing days were over a long time ago.

posted by Bonnie Staring at 11:43 PM 4 comments

Catch of the day

Sunday, February 5, 2006

I took in a Toronto Raptors game today, just because someone at the office handed me a pair of tickets worth $400. Once in a while the company seats are up for grabs. So one of my colleagues wins them, and I say to him "Wow, good for you, wish I had won." Which is true. I wish I had won; not because I love basketball, but because I love winning.

I dragged a girlfriend with me, fully expecting to be courtside with these awesome seats. We're close, but not that close. It was fun in an I've-never-really-done-this-before kind of way. And I also got to pick someone else's already published brains about my current project. Her sage advice:

Spend more time writing than you do entering contests.

So what do I do upon my return? Enter my daily contests...and instantly win a football.

Contests: 1
Writing: 0

posted by Bonnie Staring at 6:52 PM 0 comments

Here I am

Saturday, February 4, 2006

Some time ago, in a lifetime far far away, I had planned on having a blog. But there never seemed to be a good time to start one. Stuff to do and all that. Then my good friend Michelle Rowen went ahead and started one while she was writing her book. Then she got a book deal. Coincidence? Perhaps not.

Of course, she had written a book. And another, and another. So she's a few books ahead of me. No big. I have about 10,000 words in the crappiest first draft ever written before, but it's a start. Now if only I didn't need that day job so much, then I'd have a lot more time to work on my masterpiece.

Aden (my husband) is currently watching The Deep. Who needs to watch Oscar-nominated films when we have a classic like that in the cupboard? My life is complete.

posted by Bonnie Staring at 11:09 PM 0 comments