16 June 2010

A Long Day's Journey Into This Good Night (Part 1/3)

I wrote this on 30 March 2010 but just haven’t had a chance to post it until now. But then, something happened today (a few conversations with a few different TweePALs) that made my memory job back a few months and remember what I had written, and realize that now would be a great time to finally get this up on my blog:

I had to go into the City today and forgot to bring a book along with me to read on the train ride. While the ride isn’t that long (50-minutes tops, from my sister's home) it’s long enough to get through a few chapters of a good book.

I did, however, have my trusty laptop computer with me so I’ve brought it out as the train is departing and am just going to write down some of my thoughts until a few minutes before my stop, when I’ll have to start the process of hibernating the computer (it takes a few minutes to go into hibernation mode because writing 3,221,225,472 bytes (3GB) of data to a hard disk drive – no matter the speed and/or interface – still takes a few minutes!).

Today was perhaps the busiest day I’ve had in a few years. I made, and kept four different appointments (although technically, I combined two appointments into one by seeing two friends in NYC at the same time, in-between the 1st and 3rd appointments I had, which were more business-related).

First, I met with an individual from Twitter with whom I had become twendly (that’s Twitterspeak for “Twitter-friendly” or “friendly using Twitter”), Linda Rey, whose Twitter username is @ReyInsurance. I had an absolutely, fantastically fabulous time with her, and actually am quite glad that I managed to get up, go out, and do something that’s outside of my routine. 

Linda truly is an awesome, awe-inspiring individual. She’s warm, caring, intelligent, smart, friendly, funny, witty, compassionate, courageous, and a true wonder woman.

We talked shop for a bit and then talked about our lives. I look forward to building a relationship with her (boy, bet you’d never have heard those words coming out of THIS gay boy’s mouth, right? LOL!)—both business and personal—and having it grow as time move forwards. If I were straight, I could very well imagine myself falling in love with Linda—she’s just that sort of person. Linda was able to get me laughing quite often during our wonderful repartee, and actually said something which I thought would make a wonderful twote (that’s when we tweet quotations on Twitter—did I just coin another portmanteau?):

Linda was relaying a story of her dating escapades (or attempts thereof), and as soon as she said the following, I had to stop her and write it down. She asked if I was going to tweet that (GMTA!) and of course I told her that I was, because I thought it was such a fabulous thing that she revealed about her that also speaks volumes of truth about people and relationships in general these days. Thus sprach Linda:
What is it with all of these men putting all sorts of conditions and requirements into a relationship these days?? I’m at a point in my life now where I’m just, add water and I’m ready to go.
With that kind of humorous wit, how could anyone not fall in love with this great lady?

So not only have I made what hopefully will turn out to be a wonderfully productive and profitable business connection via Twitter for my new business venture, but I’ve hopefully made a wonderfully great, caring, and loving new friend as well. Talk about killing two birds with one stone! Linda is perhaps the fifth person I’ve met in-person whom I originally “met” via Twitter. And my meeting with her reinforces what I said in my blog posting around New Years of this year, that there are some absolutely phenomenal people in this world whom I never would have met without the benefit of being on Twitter. That I can turn an on-line relationship into a real-life relationship is an even greater benefit, and I expect that as I encounter more people around the world on Twitter such as Linda, I will find more and more people who possess the same wonderful and great qualities that I believe will make her a wonderful friend.

So after two hours flew by with Linda, she dropped me off at the train station where I caught the train into Grand Central and met up with two of my friends, one whom I haven’t seen in nearly a year and the other of whom I haven’t seen in nearly twice that amount of time. We went to Junior’s Restaurant (yes, of the same fame as Junior’s Most Fabulous Cheesecakes and Desserts from Brooklyn, NY) where I had a pretty decent Tuna Melt (on Rye, of course) served with the traditional, awesome, great-tasting New York Dill pickle. ;-) So we just chatted and caught up a bit and caught up with each other. I had to give one of my friends their tax return (it’s almost as if I were really killing three birds with one stone today, right?) so I was able to do that over lunch/dinner, as well.

One of my friends had to leave, so the other walked with me to my destination a few blocks away, a huge global law firm (somewhere in the neighborhood of 1,500 attorneys) where I might be able to get some work (after being unemployed for nearly three years!). Since I receive SSD income and have gone through my trial work period, I’m allowed to earn a whopping $1,000/month (gross income, pre-tax of course) and keep my benefits. That might not sound like a lot but believe me—it definitely comes in handy and having to live these past three years without that extra income has been an excruciating experience, to say the least!

If I actually could work enough hours to earn that (around 30 hours / month) amount, my net income would be more than double than what I’m receiving now from unemployment [note: my unemployment benefits ran out shortly after I wrote this; I haven’t received any unemployment benefits for nearly three months now!]. Add to that my work-from-home business (Tax Preparation, Business Consulting, IT Consulting, and Computer Repair/Instruction) and I might just start making enough money again to be able to afford a little present for myself every few months, instead of scraping by and worrying about finding something to eat on a daily basis. That would be a really nice—and welcomed—change of pace.

So my fourth and final meeting was actually to be tested at one of these firms (for about the past 8 years or so, the large firms don’t let one work for them, even through a temporary/employment agency that already has conducted its own testing, without first testing one’s skill set for their environment). The test took me a bit longer than I had thought as they tested me on the entire suite of MS-Office applications: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook, as well as their document management system (DMS). In all honesty I haven’t used PowerPoint well over five years and they were using the 2007 version of MS Office, into which were incorporated some very drastic changes to the user interface (but that’s another story, for another time). So instead of finishing ahead of the “average” user who has taken the test, I took almost exactly the amount of time I was told the average user took to complete the test.

The one area where I think I may have not done so well, of course, is PowerPoint. After wasting around 15 minutes trying to modify the built-in templates to produce the document required by the test, I just scrapped everything and used the “screw it, do whatever works” method. I did manage to get the document completed and it looked fairly close to the original; however, it may not have been using the “best methods” or “best practices” that most firms like to see one use these days in MS Office applications. I’ll find out soon, and hopefully I will have scored well enough on the test so that they’ll call me in for work, during third shift (graveyard, a/k/a overnight shift). [UPDATE: I passed the test; the firm I tested at doesn’t score and only uses the pass/fail method, and I’m hoping to be called in for work soon!]

Another area where I actually was surprised was in the MS-Word portion of the test, because they required completion of a Table of Authorities, which is something that, normally, the paralegal or attorney would do. They also asked that citations to be inserted were formatted properly—again, something that usually is under the prevue of an attorney or paralegal. It’s a good thing that I went to law school and have worked as a paralegal, so I knew exactly what to do; I’ve never before seen a test given by one of these gigantic firms where such knowledge was required to successfully complete it.

So now I’m sitting on the Metro North train which is whisking me back toward my sister’s home. Once I get there, I’ll check into Twitter, update my blog with this posting, check into Farmville and see which of my crops had withered (I hadn’t planned to be off the Internet for such an extended period of time today), and just try to unwind. For me, this was a very, very busy day. While I feel drained of energy, at the same time I’m also excited, as I made new contacts, reconnected with old ones, and hopefully might have some work coming in that will replace the end of my unemployment benefits.

Coming soon:

Please read Part 2 of this posting to get an update on my family:

Then, read Part 3 of this blog post to learn why I decided to go back to what I had written a few months ago, dredge it up, and post it to my blog now.