Thursday, May 28, 2009

Anti-Social Networking

Apparently to succeed in this world, you have to “network.” While it seems my hope and dream that electronic communication will take over face-to-face awkwardness may one day come true, it’s not happening fast enough – and I suspect I will have given up on this whole “career” thing by the time it does.

I think networking is a talent – you either have it or you don’t – and like other talents such as singing and dancing, it just makes everyone uncomfortable if you attempt it without the required skillset. And while booze does initially help, there’s a fine line between loosening up and embarrassing yourself even more. This is why I avoid networking events. Instead, my preferred type of “professional development” is education-focused. Because I miss school.

So yesterday I attended one of these “educational” events and strategically scheduled my day so as to avoid talking to strangers – arriving late, after coffee (code for sleepy, awkward conversations) and planning to escape before happy hour (see previous paragraph for reminder on why booze plus business cards spell trouble for the socially challenged).

Unfortunately, it didn’t take more than 10 minutes for my plan to begin unraveling. Upon entering the conference room, I was assaulted by a frightening sight: tables. Instead of civilized rows of chairs where people could sit and stare straight ahead, pretending their neighbors didn't exist, chairs formed circles around tables occupied by people chatting with eachother. Luckily my initial panic was alleviated when I spotted a couple rows for overflow loners at the back. But my calm was short-lived; my ears pricked when I heard “get to know eachother” come out of the keynote speaker's mouth. Oh god. The dreaded icebreaker.

Sure enough, at the end of his presentation, the speaker told us to go to a different table and shake a random hand. We were instructed to share our biggest professional challenge and something personal noone knows about us. Ummm - awkward, creepy, no. In an attempt to not look like a total weirdo, I turned to the fellow loner next to me and informed her that I didn't feel like walking over to a table. That's what I said. This is why I try to keep my mouth closed in front of strangers. Then we exchanged names, job titles, possibly swine flu. And then we never spoke to eachother again.

It's when I begin to feel the pseudo-walls of my cubicle closing in on me that I enroll in events like these, thinking I'd like to get out ... but I need to remember that even if it's not the focus, networking sneaks its way into every event. Better to stay at the office, behind a laptop, where I can type my words carefully, instead of standing by powerless as they tumble out of my mouth, snowballing into a giant mound of nonsense I can never take back. Yes, better to stay inside the cube, where it's safe.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

What Would David Do?

My name is Amy, and I’m a WE-Go-Bridal addict. Platinum Weddings, Bridezillas, Rich Bride Poor Bride — and especially My Fair Wedding — elicit that perfect mix of abhorrence and jealousy that every reality TV junky hates to love. And the Sunday afternoon marathons are an open bar of guilty pleasure.

In case you spend your Sundays productively and are unfamiliar with My Fair Wedding, I’ve found and embedded a montage for you to become acquainted:

According to, each episode shows how “David Tutera (celebrity party planner) whisks into wedding chaos three weeks before a bride’s most important day of her life and quickly saves the day as he transforms the fate of the party from less than ordinary to beyond extraordinary.”

It wasn’t until I watched Jennifer’s episode yesterday (featured in the clip) that I realized how disturbing this show is, and perhaps that’s because Tutera himself says at the end that it was the biggest transformation he had ever achieved — not only of Jennifer’s wedding, but of her entire “persona.” While I usually laugh along with Tutera as he pokes fun at the brides’ plans to use balloons or fake flowers (in the way I used to laugh along with my older brother and sister when they made dirty jokes I didn’t understand), Jennifer’s cringe-inducing “etikwette” lesson crossed a line. Apparently in order to perfect the “most important day of her life,” Tutera had to change everything about Jennifer, from her hair and makeup to her smoking habits and table manners.

This kind of “transformation” takes wedding weight loss to a whole new level. I realize it’s become popular for brides to try to slim down, often in unhealthy ways, but as my sister asked the other day, why would you want to not look like yourself on your wedding day? And wouldn’t you just find the photos depressing after you gained the weight back?

And in the case of My Fair Wedding, these brides aren’t really achieving their own vision of perfection — they’re becoming David Tutera’s. Which brings me back to my epiphany: I’ve always been put off by traditional weddings because, even when the bride and groom aren't religious, ceremonies seem more like sermons than celebrations of love and commitment. It’s all about Jesus, not about the couple. But as consumerism gains ground on religion as our collective consciousness (at least on television), we’ve found a new superstar: David Tutera. Your wedding won’t be an affair to remember unless Tutera’s version of your dream is achieved — and charged to someone’s credit card.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Corporate America attempts to tackle swine flu

New how-to sign for us poor cubicle slobs in the office kitchen:

Kind of a key ingredient to the aforementioned process:

Empty since last week...

Blog Widget by LinkWithin