Thursday, May 31, 2007

Random Musings

Thursday, May 31, 2007 4
I’m often appalled at how selfish and disconnected the wealthy are. This exchange between these two inconsiderate, selfish, spoiled, self-serving bitches really pissed me off.

Today’s muse is a conversation I overheard while folding clothes last night at my part-time job. I work at J. Crew, which should give you an indication of the socio-economic situation of the customers with which I interact. I should also mention that I work at the downtown Baltimore location which is directly opposite the global headquarters for T. Rowe Price and Legg Mason, two of the world’s leading finance firms. PwC, Ernst Young, Reznick Group and a bunch of other financial, law and engineering firms are in the immediate area. Throw in its proximity to Johns Hopkins University and Hospital, the University of Maryland Hospital and graduate schools, multi-million dollar waterfront properties and lots and lots of Inner Harbor tourists and, well, you get my point. Two fairly young, but obviously professional women walk in.

Below is a paraphrased version of the conversation that ensued:

Girl #1: OMG, did you hear about what happened to Liza? Her house burned down and she’s staying in a Red Cross shelter.

Girl #2: Yeah, I feel really badly for her. I heard the office was taking a collection for her and her family.

Girl #1: I heard. I decided not to give though. (hold up a $250 cashmere cardigan) I don’t have extra money.

Me: (Looks up at her)

Girl #2: I know what you mean. People get themselves into situations and expect others to bail them out.

Me: (Looks at her)

Girl #2: (to me) It’s the truth.

Me: (Stares silently. Continues folding)

Girl #1: Now I feel bad.

Girl #2: I don’t. Isn’t there a Banana Republic nearby?

The sqeaky wheel gets the oil

So, I'm not sure if I've mentioned this or not in this blog, but I'm one of three black people who work for my company which has over 100 employees. I’m actually real salty about that. This is progress though. There were only two of us for the 18 months that I’ve been here, but we recently hired a black chick from Maryland-Eastern Shore as the accounting something or other. Anyway, this morning a little birdie (read: the other black dude at my company who happens to work in my division) gave me some interesting insider information. In an email he stated that he’s been unhappy for months and that the travel and work load hasn’t been kind to his marriage or relationship with his kids and that he’s accepted another offer with another company and that he’ll be leaving soon. He said that he hadn’t told our director yet and asked me to exercise discretion until he made his formal announcement.

When I read this I was befuddled. I wondered why he gave me a heads up before he telling our boss? We aren’t (or perhaps I should say weren’t) particularly close. We didn’t really work together that often; he’s really barely in the office. Did he have ulterior motives or was he just letting a brother know what was going on? I replied with the obligatory ‘congrats’ and ‘you’re secret is safe with me’. Both statements were sincere. I’m always amazed by what situations God presents me with. I’ve been talking (and blogging) about disliking my current duties, but loving the company and the people with whom I work for weeks now. I felt this was the opportunity to plant a seed. I don’t expect to bear any fruit now, but who knows, my tree may grow later.

Well, I went to my boss after a meeting to discuss how I feel I can play a bigger role in the overall mission of our non profit. I suppose I should explain the nature of our dynamic. I often go to her for advice. Honestly, she’s not the typical manager. I should, however, be clear. She knows what she’s doing. Few people in the world can administer a federal grant the way she can. She’s built a career on her experience as a director of non-profits; she’s more than capable. She’s atypical in that it’s sort of like having your Mom as a boss. Anyway, I explained that I felt all of my talents weren’t being used and that, at times, I lacked things to do during the work day. Basically, I buttered her bread, sweetened her tea, creamed her coffee…whatever you want to call it. I was humble, yet assertive and forward. I came to her for advice, but also had my own secret agenda. I wanted his higher profile, better paying job.

She was impressed. She explained that if there are things that “get me jazzed up”, then I should come to her and let her know I’d like to do them. I’m glad I talked to her. I really do feel like my time and talent is wasted at times. I hate using insider information to my advantage, but hey, the squeaky wheel gets the oil, right?

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Birthday Weekend Wrap Up

Tuesday, May 29, 2007 0
I celebrated another year on God’s green earth this weekend. Usually, I’m not one to fuss over a birthday. Honestly, for me, it’s just a normal day. My friends, however, were determined not to allow this to be another birthday. Here’s the brief, but detailed re-cap:

Thursday: My ex invited me to a club in Baltimore. We chilled, we drank and our night ended unpleasantly in yet another overly dramatic and completely avoidable argument. There really isn’t much more to report about that night.

Friday: After work, my Dad and I met at a bar in Adam’s Morgan for a few drinks. I’ve never experienced drinking with either of my parents. Although it was more fun than I thought, I doubt I’d do it again. He got drunk, became oddly fascinated with the keyless start button and center console display in my car, invited me to what he referred to as a ‘titty bar’ in downtown Baltimore and offered me a threesome with his ex-girlfriend and him. I respectfully declined the latter two and drove him home. My take away from that experience was to never drink with your Dad who is only 17 years your senior.

Saturday: Steve (who went to Maryland with me), Brandon (Steve’s buddy who went to Carolina), Naite (Brandon’s buddy that neither I nor Steve had met before who also went to UNC) went to the 9:30 Club in DC. I don’t remember much about this night after taking my birthday shots. I was fairly wasted.

Sunday (my actual birthday): Chilled with my current bun. We just watched movies and stuff.

Monday: To make a short story even shorter, this was the prototypical day with my ex. We had dinner and went to the movies. It was a novel idea that ended in a yet another Academy Award worthy argument. It wasn’t my fault.

All in all…good times. Now, I'm relaxing. My short work week begins tomorrow.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Why do I continue to punish myself?

Friday, May 25, 2007 3
I do I still accept my ex's invitations to events? Why do I put myself through the heartache again and again. It's so frustrating. I'd like to friends. The issue, though, is that neither of us are truly willing to let go, but the best thing for both of us would be to just go our separate ways. We've tried and failed at that more than once before.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007


Wednesday, May 23, 2007 1
Days at the office have become increasingly unpleasant of late. I’m just not happy. This trend isn’t exclusive to me; more than half of the eight other staffers in my department are despondent and disgruntled as well. This situation is quite simple, I’m overworked and underpaid and underappreciated. That combination, in concert with having an ultra-conservative asshole for a boss, doesn’t bode well for my future with this company.

What really sucks about my situation is that at one point, I thought this was the best job in the world. The pay was never great, but wasn’t horrible for someone only one year removed from the baccalaureate. It seemed like the job of my dreams; a business casual office, yuppie co-workers, relaxed rules regarding PTO, no one monitoring when I come in and leave for the day and directors who don’t micromanage. It was the first time in my life that I didn’t mind going to work. Now, I can’t wait to leave.

I have friends that work for brokerage and laws and engineering firms who have a lot more discretionary income and despite having long hours and stressful days, still appear to be happier with their situations than I am with mine. Usually, I’m not one to complain about things in my blog and I normally avoid discussing work at all costs, but I just needed to vent.

In the background: sawing, banging, drilling and jackhammering...our office is being expanded.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

A few questions...

Tuesday, May 22, 2007
Why can't my ex and I let go? Why do we still talk on the telephone multiple times a week? Why do we continue to put up with each other's shit? Why aren't our respective current significant others higher on our 'priority totem poles'? Why do we still say, 'I love you' at least once every other week? Why are we meticulously planning our plans to celebrate my birthday this weekend? Why, after 18 months, are we so into each other? Why did we talk on the phone until 2am tonite? Why are we not together?

Monday, May 21, 2007

Counting down the days until....

Monday, May 21, 2007 0 birthday! I usually don't get excited about birthdays, especially not birthdays between 21 and 25, but I'm feeling like celebrating. My social calendar for memorial day weekend is almost completely booked. The highlights include a trip Pazo, one of my favorite tapas restaurants in Baltimore and, according to its website, the premier Mediterranean dining destinations on the east coast. (I'm sure some place in Florida says...hello!)

Saturday, my actual birthday, includes a trip down I-95 to Washington and the 9:30 Club. Sunday is reserved for family and Monday is apparently reserved for the ex. :-/

I'm excited.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Props to my big sister...

Sunday, May 20, 2007 1
I'm really proud of my older sister. I don't tell her this nearly as much as I should. When I do, she cries. Anyway, she's definitely doing her thing. For the past 5 years, she's held down a full-time career (note the use of the word career and the huge difference it and a job), a relatively fresh marriage and managed to care for two beautiful kids (my bad ass nephew is 12 and my niece almost 2).

For most women, this would be enough, but in the midst of it all, she still managed to return to school, finish her baccalaureate studies and today earned a B.A. in Business and Management from Morgan State University in Baltimore. Of course my family went out to support, but so did her friends, which meant a lot to her.

Here's a pic of me, the recent grad and my nephew. An occasion like this is the only time I would make bad pics of me available to the public.

Much respect and congratulations!

Monday, May 14, 2007

"People can cry much easier than they can change, a rule of psychology people like me picked up as kids on the street." - James Baldwin

Monday, May 14, 2007 0
The following is my response to a message a buddy of mine posted on Facebook regarding his experiences at a cocktail party he attended in Atlanta. The objective of the gathering was to raise awareness about Teach for America, the post-undergraduate teaching fellowship program he's involved with, in an effort to get financial support for our movement to close the achievement gap between the rich and poor (read: black and white).

I fully appreciate the frustrations of people who work in non- and non-for-profit industries. His plight hit particularly close to home and evoked the following response:

First, I understand exactly where you’re coming from. The non-profit for which I work has afforded me similar experiences. We often host cultivation events in places like Scottsdale, AZ, Naples, FL, and Malibu, CA at country clubs and extremely well-appointed high-rise waterfront condominiums where we court wealthy families and individual donors and heads of corporations in similar fashion. We spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on wine and champaign and caviar in an effort to raise millions to support our mission of developing character and giving disadvantaged youth (read: poor blacks and latinos) opportunities to succeed. I’ve had the opportunity to talk to some of these people and I’m often disheartened by how disconnected they really are. Like you said, they really are well-intentioned. They honestly think that by writing a check for $10K or buying a table at our annual gala for $50K that they are directly addressing the needs of the disadvantaged. They discuss their heroic deeds with their other rich friends. ‘We really made a difference today!’ they proclaim. They chastise and ridicule others who don’t do the same. ‘Shame on those who don’t do this as well’, they say with a wag their finger. They, in their minds, have done their part.

The true tragedy in this is that these people have absolutely no interest in gaining a true appreciation for the plight and struggles of the kids that their donation may or may not benefit. Not only have they never heard of Bankhead, but they won’t even Google it and they certainly will not actually visit. They have written their checks and have, in their estimation, done their part. For these people, their Buckhead bubble is way too comfortable to leave; ignorance is way too blissful.

I experience the same types of frustrations at my work. Since we’re under new leadership, our focus has shifted from exclusively serving the poor and underserved to scratching the backs of ‘friends’ on the hill in Washington and in various entities of state and local governments across the country. We seemingly have abandoned the poor communities we once served in Compton, Spanish Harlem, East Baltimore, the City of Detroit, South Philadelphia, Camden, Trenton, Jersey City and the like. Now, we support communities in Fredericksburg, VA and Sarasota, FL. That must be where all those displaced families went when high-rise projects were demolished across the country in the late-1990s/early 2000s.

Keep fighting the good fight, brother. Although it may not appear that way all the time, we both actually do good, impactful work.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Will I ever find someone worth building with?

Saturday, May 12, 2007 0
I've pretty much decided that in life and love I refuse to settle. I'm done with dealing with the sub-par just to pass time. Honestly, I'd rather be alone. I really don't set the bar that high. All I ask that you:

1) Have a career (not just a job).

2) Have interests (you must be passionate about something).

3) Be educated (I'm a fairly educated and cultured guy...I expect the same) .

4) Be somewhat athletic (you don't have to be a tri-athlete, but you should be able to and interested in going for a run with me a few times a week).

5) Be fairly attractive (in my 23 years on Earth I've learned that you don't to be an Adonis to be attractive. Personality can go a looong way).

I'm also done with dreaming about the indefectible. I'll recognize it when it comes my way.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

My bad.....

Thursday, May 10, 2007 1
I've really been doing a horrible job keeping up with this blog. For that, I apologize. To be honest, I figured that no one really read my blog, I got one email asking for updates, then I got another, then a friend asked, then someone posted a comment and I smiled because that means people actually read the shit I spew.

I'll try to do better in the future.

During my hiatus - actually, I prefer to refer to it as a sabatical - I began and subsequently decided to terminate a relationship, started a new (part-time) job, took up two new hobbies and had a bunch of fun.

First, the relationship. To make a short story even shorter: we met, I became intrigued by the idea of being in a relationship again, I entertained it for awhile, it became a chore, the slight chemistry we had fizzled and so did my interest. Actually, I'm proud of myself for not continuing to waste my time. No one should ever compromise themselves by lowering their standard.
Besides, the sex was whack.

In an effort to support my new habit, (I'll explain that in a bit) I accepted a part-time job at J. Crew. I figured that a part-time gig would limit my social options. A limited social calendar would afford me the opportunity to build up my cash reserves by not blowing money on superfluous discretionary items like drinks, club covers and meals at resturants. So far, so good.

That brings me to my newest hobby, interest, addiction...whatever you'd like to call it. Two weeks ago, I decided get my finances together. I opened a high yield savings account with HSBC, I began a 401K program with AXA Advisors, and I really stayed actively trading. My co-worker convienced me that with the market at record highs, now is the time to get in. It was time for this brother to get a slice of Wall Street's pie.

I've been doing really well so far. Slow and steady wins the race though.

So all of that, in addition to everything else most 20-somethings do, is why my post game has slipped. I should have more freetime since I got rid of that stagnant ass relationship.

I really will try to do better. I promise.
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