Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Good day? Great day!

The morning started with a phone call. I was informed that my name was selected in a televised draw. The prize? A trip for 4 for 25 days across seven countries. It starts in Hong Kong and ends in Argentina.

"Get outta here!" I said. "Is this free?"

I suspected some sort of scam.

A couple of weeks ago I completed a telephone survey. The lady on the other line was Taiwanese and was really persistent. I told her I had 5-minutes before I had to head out. I remember something about a prize draw being held at Yonge-Dundas Square, but I didn't think much of it since I'd never attend some Asian community organization activity anyway.

Needless to say, I thought it was too good to be true so I told her to contact my mom to clarify the details. My mom's definitely weary of things like this, but she told me they didn't ask for any credit card details or personal information.

"It doesn't appear to be a scam, but why aren't you going?" she asked me.

"Because," I nearly squealed, "I got a call a few minutes ago saying they want me at the animation studio! I start next Monday!"

A week and a half ago, I received an email from the studio's HR head, asking me if I'm available for a recent opening. I find out later the producer I'd met in August had regret not hiring me and recommended me to be this executive producer's assistant.

"Lily ****! You gotta get her on board. She was fantastic!" she later told me.

We met on a Tuesday, the position sounded fantastic, and a week later, I got the job. This is completely different from my last gig as an EA because my relationship with my boss will include total transparency rather than secrecy. I'd be her right-hand woman, so to speak. She'd expect me to attend meetings with/for her, read all incoming scripts, travel with her, etc. And this woman, she is a hell of a firecracker! Originally from California, she worked in New York before being headhunted for this job in Toronto. She told me she loves this city, loves Canada, loves her job. That's someone I see myself wanting to work for, that joie de vivre. It's contagious. No doubt, the traveling perks are pretty good for me, too.

Friday, November 04, 2011

Critical parents

I got off the phone with my parents a few hours ago and their attempt at emotional blackmail is still resonating in painful waves.

My mom offered to unburden me by making my mortgage payments ... if I went to law school. I've told her for years I wasn't interested in studying law, but she's stubborn and relentless. Somehow, she can find the money to "help" me if I do what she wants, but I can continue being a "welfare queen" if I don't. (I'm on EI, I paid into the system!) Just thinking about this conversation makes me angry.

I tried to tell them that a law degree doesn't guarantee stability; there are loads of new grads waiting tables and paying off their debts in unrelated fields. But they refuse to believe me and don't have any evidence to support their stance either. They somehow think an MBA, med school, computer sciences, etc. will get me out of this rut. As if people who go to school for these programs are completely protected from the realities of the economy.

My mom wants me to be certified in something, anything. (Well, anything that will make me miserable and hate my life.) As much as everyone tells me she just doesn't want to see me suffer, I feel like she makes suggestions that have nothing to do with my personality and more to do with bragging rights. "I have a lawyer for a daughter" sounds so much better than "she's in-between jobs ... again." In fact, my parents are so embarrassed for me that my extended family don't even know I'm out of work. They like to compare me to my cousin, who "already bought a house for her family!" My dad says I'm a "zero" because I have a useless liberal arts degree, whereas my cousin studied accounting and has a cushy job in an office. OOOH! A fucking office! Let's hold a press conference!

"Your dad and I came to Canada with nothing and we didn't speak English and we still found jobs!" she told me today. I asked her if she's been completely oblivious to the news because all those riots happening around the world aren't a coincidence! "They all had their roots in youth unemployment and stagnate economies!" I yell back.

I mean, I get jealous of Chinese families who only occasionally nag. And frankly, I'd prefer passive-aggression to the near-daily onslaught of parental criticism. My other cousin says it's worse for me because I'm the first to graduate university, so my every move is subject to scrutiny. My dad's side of the family is really cool and open-minded, but they're all in Beijing. It's my Cantonese relatives, the ones who live nearby, who act like they need to compensate for being denied an education (blame the Cultural Revolution). They are complete bores and enjoy seeing me down and out.

Clearly there is only one way out: stop picking up the phone. It's reached the point where seeing my parents' names light up on my Blackberry screen gives me anxiety attacks. Every time I hear their voice, I know it's going to be another lecture and "helpful" suggestion that has the effect of making me want to slit my wrists and perform seppuku.