Fruit Texture-A Tale of Embarrassing & Funny Moments

Image by GraphicMama-team from Pixabay

A few months back, I was having writer’s block. I posted on social media to garner suggestions on topics to write about. One of the recommended topics was fruit texture. How does one tell an interesting story about the guts and skin of fruit? Well, naturally, you compare it to a few funny experiences in life. So come along with me on this fun journey about life and fruit.

My Acting Experience – A Bittersweet Grapefruit

When I was little, I absolutely loved watching music videos and pretending I was in them. I also did the same while watching certain movies, especially Goonies. Man, did I want to play the cheerleader, and love interest, of Josh Brolin’s character in that movie. Andy was this lucky lady’s character name, played by Kerri Green. She got to go on an incredibly cool and scary treasure hunt with a bunch of cute boys.

As you can imagine, after pretending at home for so long, I could not wait to try out for my first play in high school. I decided to sign up for drama club at my new high school my freshman year.

I met a super nice guy in Drama Club shortly after singing up. He had been in many plays over the years. He urged me to audition for the upcoming play, The Crucible. This was it, I told myself. I was finally going to realize my dream of becoming an actress even if only on a high school stage. I rehearsed my lines and the day came for me to try out. Anyone else who auditioned could hang out in the theater afterwards to watch others try out as well.

My palms were slick and my heart was pounding as I crossed the stage and prepared to say my lines. Just a few rows in front of me was the drama club veteran who had now become my friend and had urged me to audition.

I went for it, and thought that in the end, I did a pretty decent job. I left the stage after my audition and found a seat in the audience next to my new friend. He hi-fived me and told me I did a good job. I then watched another girl audition for the same role. With the most mortification you could possibly imagine, I realized something when she finished her try out. I had said one of the lines so incredibly wrong, that a case of nervous and hysterical laughter was bubbling up in my chest and ready to burst forth with even more embarrassing magnitude than that of my line screw up.

One of my lines had been, “Mama, I’ll fly to Mama.” There was just one eensy weensy problem. The words, she cried were listed after the line. I had interpreted them to mean say the words like the character was crying. No, wait, not crying, like actually sobbing while saying those words. What it actually meant is what you are likely thinking. The character was supposed to be crying OUT those words- as in YELLING. I had sobbed those words instead of shouting them. So there I was feeling like a grapefruit. A happy, colorful shell, feeling slightly exposed by showing the new inner skin of her acting skills, with a sweetness at first, followed by an oh-crap-that-was-a – bit- extra sour feeling immediately after the first try. To this day I cannot retell this story without cracking up while simultaneously wanting to dive in a hole of embarrassment, never to come out of that hole again.

A Job Interview- A Banana With A Few Bruises

I had a job interview about 6 or 7 years or so ago at a marketing agency. They gave me an assignment to create a campaign for a new energy drink. Part of the assignment had been to choose an ambassador for the drink who aligned with the brand’s image. The ambassador I picked was Julianne Hough. She had been fairly popular at the time, and was fit and healthy, which went along with the overall theme.

The day came and I presented my campaign ideas to the team of interviewers. It felt good to have completed the project, and I was pretty confident I had done an awesome job. Afterwards, one of the interviewers walked me out to the stairwell to say good-bye and thank me. He reiterated that this job would be a lot of travel and a lot of hours. I thanked him for letting me know and then mentioned I had two little boys at home, but I would do my best to make it work if I got the job. He cocked his head and looked at me quizzically before walking away from the stairwell where I immediately regretted what I had just said. I knew in my gut I had blown it by mentioning my kids (sad fact, I know). However, that is not the worst part of my embarrassment.

Later that week, while watching Dancing with the Stars, I heard them introducing the judge’s names and the announcer pronounced Julianne’s last name VERY differently than I had been saying her name. I had been pronouncing it “How” instead of “Huff”. The color drained from my face as I sat there, in front of my TV, and realized I must have said her name 20 times in that presentation, and every single time I’m sure they were cringing at my mispronunciation. Did they all know who she was? I remember wondering and hoping they didn’t notice. Is it as bad as someone calling Danny DeVito Danny DeVitie? Either way, that was two flubs now. So not only did I say the wrong thing while exiting the interview, but I had said my ambassador’s name wrong the entire time! Suffice it to say, I did not get that job.

This experience I liken to a banana. The peel delicately pulled away, one section at a time carefully to reveal the complete, well grown presentation inside. The first few bites sent positive vibes and tasted good, hey, this was a pretty decent, well-rounded banana! Until, three quarters of the way through, brown, bruised spots showed up and ruined the experience all together, leaving the banana to be tossed out entirely, the good parts dismissed by the imperfections at the end

My Modeling Debut and Finale-A Bumpy, Furry, Raspberry

When I was in sixth grade, one of my friend’s brothers needed a favor. It was a weekend morning, and the adult model for a Spanish car dealership newspaper had called out sick. My friend’s brother was the photographer and was frantically trying to get someone to fill in for the model. My friend called me and asked if I could sub in. Sixth grade me? What do I wear? What do I do? I was totally lost as to what I should be bringing and had no clue what my job would be. Would I pass as latina? What would be involved? He was going to pay me forty dollars, so I was basically about to be rich.

I ended up agreeing to help his brother out, because what 12 year old says no to $40 to smile for the camera? I put on one of my mom’s white halter tops with black polka dots on it and a pair of black shorts and pulled half of my hair up. I wasn’t really allowed to wear make-up yet, so I tried my best to figure it out.

I was lucky enough to get my unibrow waxed on days when I went into the salon where my mom worked. It had been quite awhile since the ol’ brows had been waxed so I hoped the camera didn’t close in on those furry friends of mine. I also tried to tell myself Brooke Shields had made thick brows cool.

Puberty was also in my favor. I had some serious brail going on underneath my thin bangs and along my temples.

We got to the dealership and my friend’s brother picked the fanciest car in the lot- a white convertible camero with red seats. I looked at him clueless and said what do I do? He pointed to the hood of the car and said just lean on the car and look over your shoulder at the camera. Seemed easy enough. So I did just that and in less than a couple of minutes we wrapped up this very glamorous modeling shoot. He paid me the forty bucks and we called it a day.

I got a copy of the Auto-trader type newspaper magazine a few weeks later and realized this would be a story for years to come. Not only was my photo on the cover, but I am hilariously referred to as “Miss Automundo”. My family howls at this ridiculous story and every now and then we dig out the old Miss Automundo magazine to take a walk down memory lane and acknowledge my brief modeling career for a Spanish Auto-trader magazine at the age of 12.

This adventure was like a raspberry. There is some furriness going on, including a bumpy brail-like exterior. It’s a tiny fruit with a sugary tartness. It’s got a whole lot of texture going on for such a little fruit!

Always an Applicant, Never A New Hire

Always a bridesmaid, never a bride. That’s how I feel in this cyberspace job applicant jungle. If I told you that I have been applying to jobs for the last six years, yes, SIX years, would you believe me? I mean, I’d like to think I’m all that and a bag of chips when it comes to the being the right person for the role, but it doesn’t matter if I am or not, because the bottom line is it’s incredibly rare that the companies ever meet me in person. Half the time they don’t get to see me face to face, feel my positive vibe, and let me speak about how I’d be a solid asset to their team. I used to get incredibly down on myself as to why I was never selected, even in instances when I made it to the final round. I had to figure out the why. It drove me crazy.

Meanwhile, I started talking openly about it with friends, their families, old colleagues, acquaintances, strangers I met at events with my kids, and even co-workers. I was awed over how many of them were in this hunt alongside me. And they were also stumped in their time sapping job searches; time traveling to the future of nowhere.

Prior to the economic crisis in 2008, the process in which one was hired followed a seemingly typical path. You apply to a few jobs of interest, and out of those jobs, you hear back from one or two of the handful you’ve applied to. You pass that initial screen, you are invited to an in-person interview and maybe there is a second and final in person interview that seals the deal.

This is no longer the case. If you are currently a job seeker, take inventory right now in this moment at how much time you have spent applying, having phone interviews, the assignments you’ve been asked to do, and the number of in-person interviews you have been asked to make yourself available for. Is your mind blown yet? It’s probably a scary number of hours, days, weeks, maybe even years.

It is this time spent applying to countless jobs that I will never get back. Evenings that I could have been having connection with my husband, or taking a dance or exercise class, or just plain recuperating and decompressing from the current work day. Instead I was always pushing to get a new gig, thinking that if I wasn’t persistently trying to change my current situation, then I’d be miserable and stuck forever. I don’t like to complain about a situation without trying to fix it.

Aside from trying to fix the problem for 6 years, I often angsted over it taking over my thoughts. My youngest son is four and a half and it’s crazy to think that I have been so focused on this one thing for his entire existence. I have been searching for a new job since before he was conceived, paused the search during my pregnancy, and resumed it right after maternity leave. This was often consuming my thoughts as I was desperate to get out.I know I was not mentally present sometimes during his and his brother’s precious bedtimes; which is the time of day working parents treasure with their children. It was so obvious during that time that I actually wrote about it in Focused on Distraction.

I wanted to be the best version of myself for my boys, but often during these times of job hunting I’m sure they saw and felt my sadness. Always torn between trying to paint on a smile for them, but knowing I wasn’t really feeling it. Kids are like sponges- they soak it all in.

I would like to take this moment to pay homage to all of the single people out there who have been hustling, trying everything they can to meet their mate. It’s comparable to those of us on the never-ending, fruitless job search.  I know how you feel now. We cringe inside every time someone asks how the search is going, just as a single person does when someone asks why haven’t you met anyone yet. You start to feel like something is wrong with you, as though you’re the King or Queen of rejection. You can’t help but feel that people are judging you, and it fuels all of your insecurities related to that one thing that just isn’t panning out.

This is not to say that no one actually gets job offers these days. I have known a handful of people in the last six years that have landed new jobs very quickly. This is incredibly fortunate because this just seems so rare nowadays. I tell these people they have no idea how lucky they are, and they either have Einstein’s genes or should go buy a lottery ticket right now.

I would ask myself, “Is it my resume? Was my spiel about what I’ve been recently doing not short and sweet enough? Was my salary not in the right range? Was it because they figured out I’m a parent and may have to leave right at 5?” The analyzing is endless. I actually really started to doubt my worth in the one area I had always felt strong in. Interviews in the past did not feel like the post 2008 era. Prior to 2008 getting a job felt really easy.

I’m mad at myself now for feeling that way, because my worth is not defined by whether or not a company wants to hire me. If nothing else, please take that away from this article. Your worth is not defined by whether or not a company wants to hire you.

It’s good to be open to advice, there is always the chance you are making mistakes along the way and could use some help. I reached out to my support system and their suggestions were added to my to-do list:  have several variations of my resume, set up a profile on all the job search engines I can find, call recruiters, after applying to a position be sure to connect with colleagues on LinkedIn that are affiliated with contacts within the company that I am seeking employment with,  have at least 2 to 3 references on LinkedIn, create a portfolio of your work and share it, send emails to close friends, acquaintances, and old colleagues to see if they know of any openings, etc. One key thing I learned at the tail end of the six year journey of becoming a professional interviewer was that my salary was above my title. So often when they would ask me what I was currently making, they would quickly get off the phone and say I was too senior. I would say, I don’t think so, I read the job description, and they would say they just didn’t have it in the budget. If I told them I would take the lower salary (which in some instances I did) they never went for it. If only they knew what a great employee I would be. I just wanted to be free from where I was-even if it meant a pay cut.

If you’re reading this and you’re still wondering just how many jobs I applied to, let me break it down. I realize this opens me up for much judgement and perhaps trash talk, but without vulnerability who are we as people?

On average, I would apply to roughly 1 to 3 jobs a night, about 3 days a week, over the course of six years with a break while I was pregnant. Between 2011 and 2017 I applied to roughly 260-780 jobs. Out of those jobs, I received phone interviews for roughly 1 out of every 15 jobs.  Out of those phone screens, I made it to the next round 50% of the time. I made it to the second round 25% of the time.  Following that, I made it to the final round 6 times and received actual job offers twice. Let me repeat that- out of 260-780 jobs that I applied to, I received 2.5 job offers. I say 2.5 because one was in the works and I shut it down because it didn’t feel right. Out of those other two offers, one rescinded their offer after deciding to split the salary and give it to two college grads.  I turned down the other one due to the amount of travel and the coinciding of another opportunity that presented itself in late 2016 at the current company I was with.  I stayed the course, happy in my new role for a bit until some unexpected internal changes took place, then I was back to work as a late night job seeker.

This never ending cycle of rejection got me thinking perhaps I’m just not cut out for the post 2008 corporate recruiting process? How many more years could this go on? How much longer will I knowingly be unhappy in my professional life while doing everything in my power to try to change it?  Maybe this is the universe’s way of telling me to walk away and do something else as a means to contribute to society and provide for my family?

And then rock bottom came. Things at my current job got to a point where I could not balance my personal life and my work life any longer.  It was all-consuming for many different reasons and it was time to do something. In order to keep my sanity, I turned in my resignation. I had been trying to leave for so long and without luck, I had given the new position my all, but could no longer go forward. The mere idea of logging back on to those job search sites made me want to hitch a ride with Thelma and Louise.

Overshadowing my new found freedom was the reality that I’d once again have to boot up and start applying. There is a strong feeling that my courtship with the corporate world is over unless a progressive, family friendly company comes a knockin’.

If you are in this same situation and you are reading this nodding your head and day dreaming of quitting in the same fashion, I can tell you how it turned out. I can tell you what I’ve come to learn from all of this rejection. 1.) Something else will crop up 2.) You, yourself define your worth;not a job, a company, or a person, 3.) if you try like hell to change something and the door of change just won’t open… try a window or another way out- no matter how much the fear paralyzes you. 4.) You will most likely have to make some financial sacrifices. This will not outweigh getting your sense of self back, but you will have to be OK with not living the life you once did for a bit.

Trust me on this. I have no regrets on making this decision.

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Where am I now? Did I win the lottery and go to live on an island or start my own company and become a millionaire – well yes- I did. Just kidding, no I didn’t. However, one month and one week after I quit my job I had a job offer that manifested in an unreal way. I still cannot believe how things unfolded. Life is truly unpredictable.