Sunday Smorgasbord

I have been accused of being a slacker–three weeks off between jobs and I haven’t posted anything since October 29th. The trouble is I need to be inspired, annoyed, or bored to really come up with anything interesting to write. I have been really inspired by my new job, but I don’t really feel like waxing rhapsodic about that here. At any rate, to satisfy the appetite of those hungry for more, I will lay a few things out on the table for you all to nibble on.

My New Job
Number Two on my 40 by 40 list. I really love my new job. I know that most new jobs have a honeymoon period where things seem rosy, but I have been down that path before and feel confident that I have found a fabulous fit for my skills and interests. I am working as a leisure travel consultant and I couldn’t be happier. It is a great mix of being social, talking about travel, and organization. It is like the job was created for me. Not only that, but my new bosses actually appreciate my point of view and listen to me. What a weird feeling that is.

My Old Job
Number One on my 40 by 40 list. I am really glad to be done with my government career. With the exception of some great co-workers and friends at the office, my old work life–the one I spent $50,000 training for at Cornell–really sucked. I am still fascinated by urban planning but trying to do that kind of work for the federal government was worse than awful. And with the feds huge presence here in DC, it is impossible not to be impacted by their bad urban planning decisions even if you work at the local level or the private sector.

DC in the Fall
Everything looks better to me in the Fall. Crisp weather makes me remember the things I love about DC. Just walking down the leaf-strewn, old brick sidewalks under a clear blue sky is enough to “give me a groove” as the other Mr. MyPorch might say. Travel + Leisure just noted in their city survey, that DC ranked number 1 in Architecture (must be the old stuff, because the new stuff is as boring and as pedestrian as you can imagine), number 1 in Museums and Galleries (I can’t argue with that, the pickings are wonderful and free), and number 1 in having a “Worldly” population (I guess that is true, there are people from all over the world, but it still seems a little too provincial). During the hot, disgustingly steamy summer, none of these things matters. The only thing that matters is air conditioning. DC is the furthest south I will ever live.

Book Roundup
I have been reading a fair amount lately as you can see from the list at left. Ann Patchett’s new title Run did not disappoint. It might be my favorite of hers. The Ward Just was a little boring to me. I usually really like his stuff but this one I found tedious in places. Although it was written in the early 1980s, its descriptions of Vietnam-era Washington certainly have some resonance today. I’ve just started Emile Zola’s Lourdes which is on my Reading by the Decade challenge list. So far I quite like it. I am struggling to get through Philip Roth’s American Pastoral which is also on that list. The only other Roth I have read is The Plot Against America and I loved it. With AP, I don’t really care about any of the characters. I have a hard time identifying with anyone who, in old age, still idolizes someone from high school. Then again I never idolized anyone from high school.

My Book Roundup
While I was between jobs I did make some decent progress on my own novel. I think it may actually be worth reading at some point.

The Millenial Generation is Scary
Tonight on 60 Minutes they did a piece on the Millenial Generation. I guess it is roughly those kids leaving college today. What a bunch of overly-coddled, entitlement-assuming, wimpy bastards they are. Can you imagine having your parents involved in your job searches and your job performance reviews like they were taking part in middle school parent/teacher conferences? Why aren’t these 20-somethings embarrassed by this? One of these Millenial wimps who is making money describing the shortcomings of his generation said that it was because they watched their families struggle making ends meet, giving their all to their companies, and still getting laid off. Boo f’in Hoo. Like they are the first generation to have to watch their parents struggle to make ends meet. No, the real difference, if there is any, is that they had to watch their parents struggle to pay for a lifestyle that they could not afford. They watched their parent’s struggle to cope with crushing debt caused by their inability to say no to their precious children.

The point of the 60 Minutes piece was that in the future labor market, as Boomers retire, these Millenial adult infants will be all that employers have to choose from. One them even said that if he is doing well at work, he would appreciate a letter to that effect sent to their parents. Can you believe that?! Could the Fortune 500 companies of the world please unite today (like climate change, we don’t have a moment to lose) to not allow that kind of molly-coddling to go any further. You want a six figure salary? Then you better cut the damn cord and stand on your own two feet.

I guess I found something to be outraged about after all. I probably won’t sleep well now…

8 thoughts on “Sunday Smorgasbord

  1. james November 12, 2007 / 12:51 pm

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


  2. james November 12, 2007 / 12:52 pm

    Kudos on your new position. When I’m ready to plan my excursion down the Antartic Peninsula I’ll definitely be in touch. (However I need $6,000 first)Sounds like a fun and rewarding job – james…


  3. Thomas November 12, 2007 / 1:00 pm

    First post removed as a duplicate.


  4. Mr. Anjou November 12, 2007 / 5:05 pm

    I was glad to read that you are loving your new job. You have also inspired me to read Ann Patchett despite a (usually) trusted reviewer who called it “A Hallmark Made-For-TV Movie in Book Form” – ouch.I completely “get” your outrage over the incredible entitlement of the Millennial Generation. The Boomers and their spawn – there’s just no escape for us, is there?


  5. Thomas November 12, 2007 / 11:38 pm

    Well I am not sure I can totally disagree with the Hallmark TV Movie comment about Patchett’s book. But it didn’t stop me from loving it. I think the prose is what saves it.


  6. Thomas November 13, 2007 / 12:01 am

    Mr. Anjou: I note that you like Anita Brookner. It is hard to come by other Brooknerites. Also Claire Messud. I tend to like her stuff, but was disappointed by The Emperor’s Children. thoughts…


  7. Mr. Anjou November 16, 2007 / 2:37 pm

    Hi Thomas. It is hard to find people (especially men) who appreciate Anita Brookner. Unlike Penelope Lively, say, her reputation seems to have suffered a bit since winning the Booker Prize. I’ve read all of her books, and find her voice utterly unique. Plus, what a stylist! I’m not sure if she’s still writing, however. I enjoyed “The Emperor’s Children” but thought the reviews were perhaps too glowing. I appreciated her (almost) Jamesian deconstruction of class and hypocrisy but felt that the ending was heavy-handed. “The Last Life” was a more satisfying read in my mind.


  8. Thomas November 16, 2007 / 10:28 pm

    The first Brookner I ever read was a battered copy I found at pensione in Florence. At first I was horrified at how depressing it was. Then I realized I loved it. I think she came out with something a year or two ago. I still have it un-read in my nightstand. Saving it for some rainy day.


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