The Sapient Ape

Life as an employed MBA grad during an economic recovery. DISCLAIMER: Everything written here is fiction.

You live with guuuuurrl?

So — living with a girl — pros and cons.

1…2…3…GO!

Seriously tho I’ve been looking for apts, and I’m just wondering whether I could live with a girl.  Actually I’ve done it twice.  The first time was with Helen (yay Helen!) and that turned out pretty damn well, but she was a pretty chill person, and came with great recommendations.  We hung out a lot, and she took care of me when I first moved there and introduced me to her friends etc., etc.  In fact I became better friends with her friends than SHE was. I stole-ded them. We even shared a bathroom (I tried to keep it clean!), but since our place was pretty old school, it wasn’t the most spit-shined bathroom I’ve ever seen.  Plus we had a maid, which was KEY!

Snausages at my phat-ass crib in B-lona

Snausages at my phat-ass crib in B-lona

The second time was with Mel, and that was also a great experience.  It was three of us in that one place, and we were like fam.  We had sausage fests (with Vienna sausages — the eating kind, you pervs).

So how about with a “stranger” girl?  I am going to look at an apartment on Sunday which is pretty sick… its like a two level condo in Columbia Heights.  However, its with a girl.  I already FB-stalked her (lern2hideprofyle) and she seems pretty chill.  And the place is big enough that we won’t get in the way of each other.  Is it too much to just want to live like a real human being?  Like to live in a nice place?  I’m too old for this shit.  There looks like there’s space for my 50 inch TV which is all that matters, right?

Anyways, I think I could handle it — of course I’d have to stop walking around the house naked like I like to do with my male roommates — no more air-drying myself in the living room.  And I’d probably have to learn to be less flatulent.  Hmm… no more lentils or related legumes.

And of course I feel kind of intimidated ‘coz I’m not as awesome as I once was… no longer MBA student with stars in his eyes and the world in the palm of his hand, ripe for the plucking.  Meet damaged goods, with renewed Oedipal complex and not a lot of money.  I went from “the world is mine” to “the world is mean”.

So lets actually try to list the pros and cons:

Pros:

  1. Hot friends.
  2. Likes to cook/eat.
  3. Is clean/cleans (don’t everyone start yelling at me — its true — girls DO like to clean more).

Cons:

  1. More anal-retentive.
  2. The walking around naked thing.
  3. Can’t have loud sex (this shouldn’t be a problem for me as in order to have loud sex, one must be having sex in the first place).
  4. All my friends will try to hook up with her.

Filed under: Roommates, , , ,

From Social Media Whore to Cyborg

My new Safari 4 Homepage -- too much information?  It saves all my top sites and presents them in this view

My new Safari 4 Homepage -- too much information? It saves all my top sites and presents them in this view

So tonight I was watching the President’s speech to Congress and twittering at the same time, and I was asked if I was interested in a job opportunity based on my political commentary.   I was never much of a twitterer — I only have like 20 people following me, and although I’ve been a member for over a year, I never really used it much until very recently.  I couldn’t figure out what it was for.  How does someone use it?  What does it do?

I’ve been figuring it out slowly.  I’m not going to get too into it, but I think its greatest application is to be able to tell, through keyword searches, what themes and topics humanity (albeit a small percentage of humanity, and perhaps not representative of the whole) is thinking about at that moment (singularity jeebies anyone?).  One of the most twitted words during the President’s speech tonight was “quitter“.

A good secondary application is to stalk celebrities.  I’m now following the real shaq, thanks to someone’s facebook status update.  As of this evening I’m also following (twitterspeak for stalk) Steve Nash and Congressman Steve Israel (D-NY).

The scary thing is that this all really happened in the last few months.  All except for venerable facebook, which is kinda the friendster of modern social networking (that’s why I’m hardly ever on it anymore — check my wall).  First it was google reader.  Then slowly I started with the sharing of the links, the following sites like digg and reddit, then the blog, and now twittering.  Slowly I feel like I’m being inundated with so much information, but so far, my brain hasn’t exploded.  In fact I’m feeling quite intelligent — almost like I took a great leap forward in communication in the past few weeks.  Or in methods of communication.

But when does communication become information inundation?  I feel like I’m going faster and faster… well not that I’m going faster and faster, but that communication is getting quicker and quicker.  Yesterday I was ironing a shirt, and I almost decided to look up the proper way to do it on the internet.  Ten years ago that would have been ridiculous.  Ten years from now, I might be able to do that without dropping the iron.  Ten years after that, I might be able to learn how to do it instantaneously.  Some stranger posted a link on the singularity in my comments and I read it, now I feel like I”m living it.  And embracing it.

I’m a firm believer in the theory that exercising your brain and using for creative problem solving can only improve its elasticity and make it last longer, and at my advanced age thats a big plus.  Turning into a robot… we’ll worry about that later.

Filed under: Networking, Social Media, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I Choo-choo-choose You.

Choices are notoriously difficult for Geminis to deal with, and I’m no exception.

I Choo-Choo-Choose You

I Choo-Choo-Choose You - Let's Bee Friends

We like everything.  Beef and chicken.  Cats and dogs.  Drinking and smoking.  And that’s just when it comes to eating.   This bon-vivant attitude makes it hard for us to make decisions, which is why I rely either on a chance flip of the coin (literally), or on a last-minute whim.

This is not to say I never plan anything, because that would be ridiculous, and I’d never have gotten this far (all the way to unemployed-MBA status).  However, my choices usually consist of two or more equally-desirable outcomes.  Naturally, this sort of decision-making hasn’t exactly made my life proceed according to the straight and narrow path (according to Walt, the road that IS taken), but when I look back on it, and even while I’m experiencing it, I can rarely say I’m not fuckin’ happy as shit.  The past 3 years (maybe excluding the last) especially, have been phenomenal, and even last year, which was shitty economically, and perhaps career-wise, I can say I was part of a life-changing, extremely rewarding experience with my involvement on the Campaign.

So what made these most recent years so great?

  • Traveling to crazy destinations.
  • Meeting new, motivated, open-minded people.
  • Having the freedom to make my own schedule, to a certain extent.
  • Beaches and sun.

I guess those would be my priorities in trying to plan out my future life-path.  However,  at the same time, I can’t help but feel that its time to pay the piper.  One can’t continue to have fun forever, can one?  Someone convince me I can.

Herein lies my current dilemma.  Whether to re-enter the rat-race, as a city mouse, or whether to country mouse it up (sorry — too many animated mouse movies lately).  Should I attempt to re-join society (defined as “Western professional society”), by working for someone else (most likely an increasingly-evilly perceived multinational), padding my resume further, and generally starting to accumulate wealth and pay off debt (at least that’s the plan), or should I follow my natural inclination and take educated risks to further my personal career-goals (such as attempting to start one of the many daydreamed business ideas I’ve come up with).  I am a natural serial entrepreneur.  I just haven’t done it yet, and I feel like I need to start sooner rather than later.  Even failures are a learning experience and I love failing… I mean learning.

So lets put these choices forward more coherently, ‘coz I’ve been thinking about them a lot.

  1. Stay in DC: Try to put together a career in the government, specifically in the State Department, which is really where I belong.  So, the long-term in this plan is traveling and making my own schedule, although the short-term involves staying here.  I like the glamor associated with being a State Department employee, although in real life its probably not very glamorous at all, and involves narrowly escaping life-threatening situations (which actually is pretty glamorous!).
  2. Move back to NYC: New York is really where my heart is.  Every time I street-view the city on Google maps, I get heart pangs.  I feel like all my friends there are leaving me behind.  I miss them (even tho I know most of them are paired up, and things’d never be the same), and the assorted hotties I might meet but not hook up with.  What I would do here is more questionable — temp?  Contract?  The city’s economy isn’t what it once was.  But neither can I allow the city to leave me behind.  I must remain “cool” well into my late-30s and connected to the only place I’ve ever felt at home in.
  3. Set out for Asia: The scariest of the three, but perhaps the most rewarding.  Yesterday on Fareed Zakaria, they were mentioning that Asia’s economy will be the quickest to rebound.  That sounds like a prime opportunity to get in while the getting is not-so-bad.  Besides, as far as entrepreneurship, I’d have the most chance at success leveraging my knowledge of the society there, as well as my connections.  But the downside is that my resume will suffer.  Risk vs. reward.

So here I am, trying to take a significant step that, right now, seems like it will affect my life in a HUGE way FOREVER.

Forever is a scary word for a Gemini — too much committment involved.

Filed under: Strategy & Planning, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I’m not one to promote stupid crap, but…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n5aY0CAtvsk&feature=related

Huh-huh, huh-huh.

I really can’t get the hilarity out of my brain.  I just keep playing it over and over.

Congee again tomorrow… more on that later.

Filed under: Uncategorized

The Unnerving Search for a Roommate

Ahh roommates.

Hmm… ROOMMATES?!?! SHIT!

It’s scary looking for a roommate.  No one wants to be in an uncomfortable living situation for what could turn out to be a 12 month-long torture session.  Back in the days when I was a successful professional in the Big Apple, I used to live alone… and I loved it!  I often swore to myself that I’d never go back to living with people.  Privacy is paramount in a city like NYC, where space is a very, very precious commodity, and one’s living room is usually the neighborhood bar.

Then came grad school… and living with roommates again.  My first year experience was interesting.  Although I like my former roommates  a lot, I must say I won’t be living with them again and vice-versa.  I mean I’m kinda prone to being really loud and obnoxious in the middle of the night when I get wasted and come home.  I would say that’s one of my worst  traits as  a potential roommate.

But on the flip side, I’m very caring, and I can cook real good!  And I love to do it.  I am good to talk to and often give advice which isn’t wanted, and if I do get mad, its never for longer than like 4 hours or something.  However my roommates didn’t really want advice, or any social interaction whatsoever, and most of our time was spent in our rooms — I mean I know I have a high sex drive, but what were THEY doing?!?!

Second year, I found roommates more my speed — one of them slept like a rock, so I could scream as loud as I wanted and he’d be like, “What?  I didn’t hear anything last night.”  And my other roommate heard, but just giggled insanely.  And then woke me up at 2am on other nights to do shots.  Which I did without any complaint.  Living with them only strengthened our relationship, which is the way it should be.

That was a great living experience, and I’ve had some other great roommate living experiences, such as in China with Helen, and back in undergrad with Mike G., Amaury, Gabs, and Felix (although great is a relative term there, as I’m surprised I made it out of my undergrad experience with only a broken nose and bruised brain).  But always I knew the people beforehand, or someone I trusted wholly had spoken for them.

So here I am again, waiting for my next roommate experience.  I don’t think I can afford a place on my own right now, with DC rent being what it is.  Its surprisingly expensive, and unlike NYC, not being downtown really kills your access to the social scene.  I want someone like me — outgoing, social, but with a sense of responsibility and professionalism.  Hahaha.  OK just outgoing and social!

So I’m doing the worst possible thing for roommate searching — muthafuckin Craigslist!!!!  CL can be a scary place to search for living beings in.  Inanimate objects I’m OK with — you can always throw ’em in the trash.  But you’re stuck with a roommate.  No turning back once they show up in your room at 3 in the morn and shove their hairy…

Well you get the picture.

So anyone got any tips for roommates?  Someone should make a website for potential roommates to meet and hang out with each other and stuff.  Now there’s a business idea.  Someone develop a business plan, let’s do this.

So again — tips for finding roomies?  Success stories?

Filed under: Roommates, , , , , , ,

The Unemployed (or Working) Man’s Online Entertainment Site

I might be too busy to write a proper post today, so I’ll leave you with this for now.

http://www.youshouldhaveseenthis.com/

Filed under: Uncategorized

Goin’ to a party, sippin’ on Bacardi…

Wanna meet a hottie, but there’s Alex, Steve and Marty?

OK I am totally obsessed with that song — I have listened to it at least a hundred times since last night.  Its just so catchy!

Originally I was gonna write about business plans or new business ventures, but I’ll table that for now, and instead, talk about “networking”.

Networking is much bigger in DC than I have seen in any other city — cept maybe Shanghai.  OK DC networking is still bigger than Shanghai, but Shanghai comes close — with its expatriate networking events.  But in DC — everything seems to be about being seen by the right people.

I mentioned this in my second post, regarding free stuff, but lets continue it on a different tack.   How does one “mingle” during these types of events, to maximize networking?  Especially if one (like me) doesn’t even have a business card.  I often get business cards from people who probably won’t remember me, or who I really don’t feel that comfortable hitting up later for a job.  Whats the best way to utilize these events, or the best way to reconnect with people you meet at these events who may not know you personally, but perhaps know you through a friend?

Its funny for me to ask these things, coz I, to all eyes, have exceptional networking skills, but while I’m great at getting drunk with people and having them love me, as far as getting a job goes, my vast network has done shit for me.  So what could I be doing wrong?  Perhaps I should be less jovial, and put on more of a serious face?  Although I think I can come across as impressively professional before drink 5.  But say someone introduces you to someone “important”.  How do you reintroduce yourself without being annoying?  How do you leverage that into more of a lasting relationship?

I’ve got two events coming up this week — actually three.  The CAPAL thing tomorrow, some Asian YP thing in Arlington on Thursday, as well as the Asian/South Asian Bar Association mixer, where I will be the only non-slimeball present (sorry to all the lawyers out there).

So tips?  Recommendations?

Filed under: Networking, , , , , ,

VD, and Settling

Ahh Valentine’s Day.

Good — now that we’ve talked enough about Valentine’s Day, we can move on.

So a friend of mine from the campaign has received a job offer in NYC, and has decided to move back there, even though he’d rather stay here, and rather work somewhere else.  And who can blame him.

I faced a similar decision back in August — whether or not to accept an offer with a J&J subsidiary in Brussels, Belgium, for low pay.  My dilemma was whether to take an offer with a good company, but in a field I didn’t want to work in (pharma/medical devices), for not that much cash, in a location that wasn’t that hot.  And I turned it down.  Were I faced with this same decision today, I would… still not take it.  

In my mind, there are three factors to deciding on any offer — at least for me:

  1. Location – location, location.  I’ve always been a huge proponent of living in the right country/city/neighborhood, and I have to say, I’ve done well until now.  Now I’m scraping the bottom of the barrel in terms of where to live — DC.  OK, maybe I’m exaggerating, but when compared to Barcelona, NYC, and Shanghai, Washington DC ain’t all that.  This is probably the most important decision for me, but can be outweighed by a combination of the other two.
  2. Salary – the almighty dollar — or Euro.  This used to really be my number 2, but I gotta say, with the jobs that I’m looking at these days, this isn’t that important anymore.  Obama changed me — now I rate power and influence almost equally.  Money will come (hopefully).  And besides, I’ve got lots of rich friends to mooch off.
  3. The work — is it something that interests me?  Is it an industry that I see potential in?  How about the position itself — can it take me somewhere?  This to me is becoming more important to me these days.  Especially in DC, influence and power are very important to becoming a success here.  But just as important, I want to enjoy what I do — I want it to involved communicating with people, working on teams, and managing many different projects concurrently.  

So here’s the question — is my friend doing the right thing in this time of economic crisis?   Is it time to “settle”?  Of course, I’m temping right now for peanuts, so I guess I’ve done the same thing.  Still, I can still not commit and quit if I so desire.  

Still got those commitment issues.

Filed under: Strategy & Planning, , , ,

The Gaming Dilemma

To game, or not to game, that is the question.

wow-wrath-of-the-lich-king

Sorry to bastardize Shakespeare, but if he were alive today I’d ask his permission on FB.

WoW

Yesterday, after a 6 month hiatus, I reactivated my WoW account.  WoW = World of Warcraft = biggest online gaming time sink ever invented.  World of Warcraft, to those of you who may not know, is the most popular online (MMORPG) game to date — as of last November, 11.5 million subscribers.

 

“NEEEERRRRRDDDDDSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

Yes, it pretty nerdy, but also surprising popular, with rumors of everyone from Dave Chappelle to Jon Stewart (quite a diverse gamut of Comedy Central celebrities) enjoying the occasional WoW gaming spree.

The Beginning

I first started playing back in 2005, and for a good year, I was pretty addicted.  I used to obsess about it at my dead end job, spending my hours not on the game researching about the game, planning what I was going to do in-game, and dreaming about some day achieving l33t status amongst my gaming peers.  Lame?  Perhaps, but 11.5 million nerds can’t be wrong.

I’m not gonna get into details about the game, but suffice it to say after that year-long period, I cooled down somewhat, until I managed to get Viv addicted to the game as well, at which time the resurgence of my gaming personality ensued, with her following me around healing me as I killed shit.  She got tired of that pretty fast, and went on to start her own character which killed shit, but never got past the low levels.

Misha Gets a Life

After starting business school, due to partying, studying, and other time constraints, as well as the fact that my server was on US time with US people, while I was in the EU, 6 hours behind, my gaming fell off, and I started losing touch with my virtual buddies.

Fast forward to last summer.  Unemployed, friendless, I started playing again.  But not for THAT long, as I managed to engage myself on the Obama campaign.  Besides, somewhere deep inside, I knew it was not healthy to get started on this while still unemployed.  You can really live in this game.  Instances, or dungeons, can be done with anywhere from 5-40 other people, and can take anywhere from 1-5 hours.  When you’re part of a serious guild, you’re expected to committ at least 2-3 nights a week to this, and perhaps more.  You start feeling guilty when you don’t sign into the game, and start wondering what people are thinking about you.   You feel like you’re letting people down, etc., etc.  Its not only like a club, its like a life — a social life, even a professional life.  You have responsibilities.

The Rebirth of Uncool

So a couple of months ago, M, a colleague of mine from ESADE (also currently unemployed), revealed that he had started playing himself.  For a while I held 0ff, but last night, I reactivated my account, and after 4 hours of updates, started playing.  I immediately felt a sense of both boredom and excitement – a familiar (sigh) feeling, as I wasted an hour traveling to find M in a certain zone, found out all my skills were now different, respecced my character, and sold a bunch of shit — total time spent on game: 5 hours; total time online: 1 hour; total time playing: 10 minutes.  Now I remember why I hate this game — still, I’m looking forward to tonight.  And here I am, researching once again how to kill shit in the most awesome way, at my new dead end job.

Xbox?

Funnily enough, I recently invested in an Xbox 360.  I thought this was gonna be my big gaming thing (and it still might be).  But I’ve gotten quickly bored with any of the games I’ve played, and have yet to finish even one.  I’m sure that once I have my own place and can invest in Xbox Live, the 360 will whir noisily once again.

Till that time, its time to tank some instances. 

HEAL ME YOU FOOL!

Thoughts?

Filed under: Entertainment, ,

Interviewing 101 – Part 1?

So today I had another phone interview — probably my 40th since I started this process oh so long ago (what was it — late 2007?).

You learn something new every time (at least that’s the theory, right?).  Today I learned that sometimes interviewers are nervous too.  Maybe they aren’t as comfortable talking for a long time on the phone, or maybe they just aren’t a good speaker.  I mean don’t get me wrong — there were no real fuck-up moments on the other end, but my interviewer’s voice sounded a bit pinched (although maybe it was the pain she felt from being 8 months pregnant).   Knowing that actually helped me relax.  Although, in the end, I did fuck up one of the questions a bit.

But phone interviewing for me is the easiest type of interview I come across.  Which is strange, because I consider myself a face-to-face type of person.  

Phone Etiquette

I guess my phone bullshit mode is easier to fake than my RL bullshit mode.  I just make my voice sing and dance.  Besides, I’ve made about 150 calls already this week at this new temp job (not to mention all the calls I made during the campaign) — I’m getting better and better at it.  Its amazing the little things that can affect people’s moods on the phone — a well-placed polite chuckle here, a “mm-hmm” there — those inane comments that I used to so despise really go a long way towards making people feel like you care. 

The secret when listening to someone else talk is to let them know you’re listening without overbearing on their conversation.   As an aggressive individual, my problem has always been cutting people off, or trying to speak before they are finished.  I seem to be getting better at this, but still struggle with it occassionally.  You come across as overbearing and know-it-all-ish , which in my case, is the truth, but they don’t have to know that until later!  Patience, which is probably one of my weaknesses, is really key.  Even if you want to say something, its best to let the other person go on until they run out of steam.  Then they’ll be ready to listen to your bs for at least 2-3 minutes.

Small Talk

“Ohh you’re pregnant?  So is my sister, bla bla bla!” 

Does that really help?  I think it does to a certain extent — any kind of personalized relationship or rapport you can build with the interviewer is of course going to be a point in your favor, no matter how minor — as long as its not forced.  The thing to remember is that you’re not competing against yourself, but against other candidates.  You have to be more memorable and more impressive than they are. 

In the End

Don’t follow too much of my advice… it hasn’t gotten me a job so far!

Filed under: Interviews, , , ,