Mar
22
2008

There Has Been an Accident with Your Food

bya Gabrielle at 11:19 AM

Last night, Phil and I went to a restaurant that one of his co-workers suggested we should try out. It was a Greek/Italian place called Santorini Grill, and since we didn’t have anything else better to do on a Friday night(yeah, we lead boring lives, I know), we decided to go and have a taste.

We had to drive a bit because it was all the way over on Hardscrabble Road. Isn’t that just a weird road name? I didn’t even know it was a real word until just a second ago, but apparently it is. This is what Dictionary.com tells me . . .

hardscrabble \HARD-skrab-uhl\, adjective:
1. Yielding a bare or meager living with great labor or difficulty.
2. Marked by poverty.

You learn something every day, I guess.

Well, completely off topic, sorta, I saw a pretty amusing road name out in Eastover when I was looking for that stupid DSS building that Google maps or any other map couldn’t direct me to. That one was named Chain Gang Road. I had a good laugh at that one. I kept expecting to see a row of inmates picking up trash or something with all of their legs attached by a long rusty chain, but I didn’t. I didn’t see anyone on that road. I was out in the middle of BFE.

Ok, back on topic, sorta.

We found the place without too much trouble, which was surprising because Phil only drew a map of the roads, but not which way to turn or which side of the street the restaurant was on. Men. :) When we walked in I knew immediately that it was a fancier, more expensive restaurant than I would have chosen because I am such a penny pincher. The restaurant had a nice atmosphere. We were seated at once at a big booth and the waitress quickly brought us some Italian bread and ordered our drinks.

Phil ended up getting the special, which was an alfredo pasta with scallops, shrimps and an array of vegetables. I got another alfredo pasta dish with chicken and vegetables. We both ordered the 5 onion soup, which was excellent. I wish I knew how to make it. I could eat that everyday for a year.

After the bread and our soup, I started getting full. I have a very small stomach. I keep saying it is the size of one double cheeseburger from McDonald’s and a small drink. I was hoping that their servings would be small, but then I remembered that we were in America, and that that would not be the case. Sure enough, the waitress plopped down our food, and I knew instantly that I would not be able to eat it all. It tasted good, what I got to eat of it before my stomach exploded. We decided to get the rest to go. The waitress took our food and said that she would put it in a box for us. I thought that was a bit strange because usually we are brought the boxes and we have to transfer the food ourselves. “Maybe this is what they do in fancier restaurants,” I thought to myself.

We sat awhile and chatted and then we sat and chatted some more. About the time I started thinking that it was taking a long ass time to put our food in a box, this man came over and stood at our table. He looked like the manager.

“There has been an accident with your food,” he said.

“What kind of accident?” Phil and I asked at the same time.

“Well, your waitress sat it down for a second, turned her head, and when she turned back, it was gone. A bus boy was trying to help out and threw it away.”

“Threw it away?”

“Yes, and because we are so sorry that it happened, we want to give you a $10 gift card to make up for it.”

That was a nice gesture and all but the bill was $40 something and they threw out 3/4 of our food. I think we lost out somewhere. The waitress come over and apologized, and then quickly disappeared.

I’ve eaten at a lot of restaurants in my life, but I don’t think I have ever had the food I wanted to take home thrown away. Phil and I laughed it off, but it did sorta suck. That could have been our dinner tonight. That is how much was left over. Oh, well, I guess. At least we have enough money on that gift card to get some more of that 5 onion soup.

p.s. Phil wanted me to say that he has awesome internet.

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Jan
28
2008

Job Offers Galore

bya Gabrielle at 2:28 PM

People always say that once you’ve been offered a job, and you’ve accepted it, a half a dozen more will be laid at your feet.  Since being offered the job at USC(University of South Carolina) on Friday, I have been offered two different DSS(Department of Social Services) positions.

One was a Human Services Specialist in the food stamps department and the other was also a Human Services Specialist working in the Adult Protective Services department.  The one in the food stamps department only offered $20,248 a year.  I probably only would have taken that one if there were no other offers at the time.  The one in the ADS department was offering $28,000, a fairly nice sum of cash, but I don’t know how much I would have enjoyed old people with dementia trying to fight me.  I am all about helping people, but I don’t know how long I would have been able to do that.

USC hasn’t gotten my background check back in yet.  That should be coming in in the next fews days.  Once they get it, they will give me a definite start date.  I’ll be curious to hear whether or not I got the Blue Cross Blue Shields job.  I don’t really want it, I just want to find out what the salary is for the position.  They didn’t tell me in the interview and it wasn’t listed on their site either.

Well, I better get back to my cross stitching. I want to have this done before I start working. I’ll try thinking of another interesting China story.

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Jan
23
2008

Update: Unemployment

bya Gabrielle at 12:43 PM

One of these days, this update has to end.

Early this morning, I had an interview with another DSS location, this time for the position of an Adult Protection Services worker. The interview went fairly well and the pay isn’t bad. I could definitely live on $28,000 a year. I had to sign yet another SLED background check form. By the time I get a job, SLED is going to know me on a first name basis. They also wanted to get fingerprints, but the woman that does that sort of thing wasn’t there.  I’ll have to go back to have that done.  Before they can even offer me a job, they have to get the results back on the background and my fingerprints.

Well, I guess I passed my writing test because tomorrow, I have an interview with Blue Cross Blue Shields for the position of Instructional Writer I.  I was a little nervous when I got the call because the woman on the phone was a bit hesitant when she began talking to me.  I thought she was trying to figure out the best way to tell me that I failed and that I could retake the test in six months if I wished, but she was only double checking whom I would be interviewing with and where.  At this point, I have no idea what the salary for the position is or when they expect to fill it.  I’m just psyched that I have the opportunity to interview for the position.  I mean, I don’t know many other jobs that I qualify for out there that are directly related to my degree in English.  I just hope they don’t expect me to have a lot of professional writing experience.  I can write all day on just about anything, but my writing has never been my bread and butter.  I guess I’ll find out tomorrow.  I’ll be interested in what they have to say.

Hopefully, I’ll hear from USC this week and the news will be good.  I’ve got every finger, toe, and hair crossed.   If there is a psychic reading this post, can you please leave a comment telling me how all this is going to work out?  Thanks!

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Jan
18
2008

Update: Unemployment

bya Gabrielle at 4:41 PM

As I see it, I am the closest to landing a job since I first started looking in September.  I had my second interview with University of South Carolina today, and I think it went about as well as it could have. It was a rather interesting interview.  I met the woman I had my initial interview with and she drove me to the office where I was to meet the person who would be conducting my second interview.   It was a first for me, having someone drive me to another location.    It wasn’t very far.  We just had to drive a few blocks down the street.  Basically, she wanted this second person to talk to me and the other remaining candidate before she made her final decision.  We talked for about 50 or so minutes about my strengths, weaknesses, why I wanted the job, a little about my past jobs, a little about my China experience and a few other odds and ends.  He had me sign a few documents.  You know, the one that says if you get hired and we find out you lied, we’ll fire you, and we are going to do a background check on you, if you are hiding anything, we’ll found out about it!  Heh, I’ve got nothing to hide. I have a blog for crying out loud.  :)

Yesterday, I went and had my interview at the Agape English Language Institute.  The guy is not even sure whether or not he will need someone, but if he does, he’ll find out in the beginning of March.  It would only be for 21 hours a week and he may be able to pay up to $15 an hour.  If you do the math, that would be $16,380 a year before taxes.  I just don’t know if this option is going to work out or not.  Plus, I don’t think there are any benefits.  If it was a full time position, it would be a completely different story.  Also, he asked me a question that I have never, ever been asked in an interview.  He asked me what my religion was.  I wanted to say, hey, that’s illegal, you can’t ask me that.  I really didn’t care though.  It didn’t offend me or anything.  I just thought it was a very awkward question.   I told him that I was raised Christian, and then he wanted to know what denomination I was.  I said that I was a Baptist and thought his religious questions were over, but no, he wanted to know if I had a church home in the area.  I was like, gees, do you want to know when I was baptized, too?  He was asking all of these questions because he wants all the students to be surrounded by people with good values and morals.  That’s understandable, but that question is still illegal!  Grr.

I haven’t heard back from any of the DSS locations or Blue Cross Blue Shields.  I guess I’ll hear from them one way or another soon.  I feel really good about the USC position though.  I haven’t felt this positive about a job yet, so maybe it’s a sign or something.  I’ll supposedly find out next week who they chose – me or the other girl.  I’m gonna attach my phone to my hip and jump each and every time that it rings.  If I get the job, I’ll start either February 1st or 15th.  Things are looking up, though, I guess.  Now, if only things will fall into place.

Well, sushi is calling, I better get going.  Thank you all for your words of encouragement and good wishes.  I appreciate it.  One of these days I’ll get a job, and I’ll be able to change the title of these posts to Update: Employed.  Heh.  That would be nice.

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Jan
14
2008

Update: Unemployment

bya Gabrielle at 9:10 PM

Ok, lets see. What has happened since my last update?

Well, for one, I got a call from Blue Cross Blue Shields, and they wanted me to come in for a professional writing test. I applied for the position of Instructional Writer I some time ago, and I guess they just wanted to make sure I knew my stuff before they decided to even considered me for the position. Fair enough, I guess. The test wasn’t too bad. I had to write one business letter and a memo in a forty minute time frame. Since I have never really written a business letter or a memo in my entire life, I doubt I got points for structure. In the grammar and spelling department, I probably did pretty well. I may not be a perfect English major, but there are a few things I learned in college that refuse to leave me. If you have anything drilled into your brain for four years, it is hard to forget it.

Supposedly, I will hear from them in a week or so. That is when they will tell me whether or not I passed, passed with training, or out right failed. If I pass, I guess they’ll ask me in for an interview and then we will go from there. I think it would be funny if I ended up working for the same company as Phil. If they call me up and tell me I failed, I am going to cry myself into an eternal slumber. I mean, if I can’t pass a simple writing test . . . well, I’d rather not go there. Just keep your fingers crossed for me.

The day after my writing test, I had an interview with the Lexington DSS office. This one is much closer than the Eastover office – 28 miles closer – but the salary is much lower – $8,574 lower. I knew that before going, but I figured considering my current position, I should at least go and talk with them in order to keep my options open. It’s an entry level position, so at least there would be a ladder to climb. While I was there, I did take note of the bars at the reception desk and how every single one of the doors in the building were locked. All of the staff members have a key on this pull cord around their neck. One of the women I was sitting beside said, “I think someone went off.” I just nodded my head. Something must have happened. They should make a decision by the end of this week.

Last night, I got an email from a school called Agape English Language Institute. They are located right here in Columbia, and they teach English to foreign nationals. They are a pretty small school, but they finally may need a new teacher beginning in March. It sounds interesting. I’ve yet to actually sit down and talk to the guy who may or may not hire me, but at least now there is a possibility that I could end up teaching English again.

And lastly, I got a call just a few hours ago from the University of South Carolina. The woman wanted to let me know that I was in the top two for the position I had interviewed for before Thanksgiving. This is the Human Resources job if you are trying to keep up. She said she still had to contact my references and that another guy wanted to speak to me before she made her final decision. She said that she hopes to have the position filled by February first. Maybe she will make a decision sooner.

And that is pretty much it for now. All I got to say is that I never want to have to look for a job again. It is one big pain in the ass.

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Jan
07
2008

Update: Unemployment

bya Gabrielle at 4:04 AM

Well, I had my interview.

I’m not sure how I feel about it though. The interview itself went well, but it seemed rushed and unorganized. For instance, the woman I met while waiting in the reception room was supposed to have her interview at 9:00, but she didn’t get seen until about 10:00 or so. My interview was scheduled at 9:30, and I didn’t get called until shortly after she got ushered away. I was confused on why we were getting taken to two different rooms, but I soon figured it out. They were just trying to get the paper work part of the interview out of the way. The woman sat me down, told me to review my application, had me read the job description, and asked if $28,822 was good for me. I thought 28K floated my boat, so, I said, “Sure, 28K sounds delicious.” However, when I got done reading the job description, I asked if I could have a copy because I had never seen it before. It was a lot more detailed than the version I had seen on the State website. She looked at me very nicely and said, “No, we don’t give these out.” That really confused me, but I didn’t protest. She had me sign a few things, and then ushered me back out to the reception room. “We’ll be with you in a minute, Ms. Cook.”

Another applicant had shown up for her interview. I sat beside her and started up a conversation. I had to size up my competition, you know. Heh. She seemed interesting enough, but came off a bit stiff. After a lot of small talk, we concluded that this was a strange interview process. Through the walls we could almost hear the woman who went in before me being read her interview questions. A few questions later, the door opened and the girl left. The woman beside me said rather emphatically, “Are you kidding me? Only 4 questions?” I gave her my “I don’t know” face and shrugged my shoulders.

The woman who had politely refused to give me my job description stepped in the doorway and called my name. I walked in, sat down and we said our “how you dos”. There were two women. One was the reader and the other was the writer. Quite literally, the interview started out like this: “Number one, how do you feel . . .” I answered the question and the writer took note of the important things that I said. When I finished, the reader continued with: “Number two, how do you . . .” And that is how it went on for 17 questions. I was quite sad that they didn’t ask me the “where do you see yourself in five years” question. I like seeing the look on peoples faces when I tell them I see my self herding sheep in Ireland or whichever country I think of at the time.

I asked them a few questions, and then it was time for me to leave. If I get the job, the only bad thing will be the cost of gas to get me to and from work every week. It’s 40 miles away from where I live. That would be 400 miles a week and 20,000 miles a year. Ouch, man. That’s a lot of miles.

I guess the important question is whether or not I will get the job. If the two women that were interviewing me see race, I don’t think that I will. Eastover is predominantly a black community, and from what I saw, their office was, too. The two other applicants that I met were black as well. I mean, if the other 10 or so applicants are more qualified than me, I would want them to get the job before I did, even though I’m about as broke as a robbed bank. I guess we’ll see what happens in 2 to 4 weeks. That’s the time frame that they gave me.

I also gave USC another call. I’m sure that I’m like a gnat that just won’t stop buzzing in their ear, but if it gets me the job, I don’t care. They said that they should make a decision this week. I had my interview with them the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. I would hope they’ve had enough time to figure out who they want for the job. I was thinking though, the other applicants have probably been as unemployed as long as I have. If that is the case, they may have already found jobs and they’ll have to choose me! Hey, I can dream.

Everyone keep their fingers crossed!

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