[ j o u r n a l ]
The following online journal entries are from September 1999.
They are taken from older version of my website and emails I sent to friends.
[ 0 9 . 2 8 . 9 9 ]
Thursday. 1:17 PM.
As you may have noticed, there are no entries for
August. I guess I just hit a really low period. And I have been pretty
isolated (mostly by choice, somewhat by circumstance). I haven't been
very vocal, verbal, or expressive. So, August flew by without much attention
to my webpage.
Furthermore, I'm thinking about creating another website. So, I haven't
been adding much to this space ... though I think I will be running both
The best way for me to catch up is simply to include another letter I
sent to my friends and family. My "update" e-mails have been an outlet
for me to express what's been going on not only in my life, materially
and physically, but in my emotional and psychic life. The "update" for
September is as follows:
Friends, East-Coasters, and Loved Ones--
It's September and due for another crazily long email from me. I
haven't had much energy nor enthusiasm for writing an update. But,
today, I'm determined to get one done and to let everyone know
what has been going on with me these past few months. It has been
an rollercoaster ride -- and we know how amusement rides have been
doing these days -- two incidents here at Great America (our version
of Kings Dominion). Well, the metaphor applies to my life as well.
Up and down. Sometimes stuck. Luckily, in my case, no one has gotten
I guess I need to answer the basic question: "What's been going on?"
First and foremost, I quit my job at the Academy of Art College. And
I would heartily recommend to everyone to give business to some other
institution. After five weeks of drooling, mindless pseudo-telemarketing,
I needed to get out. If I had stayed, I probably would've had a
nervous breakdown and set fire to the building. I just had too many
personal, ideological, and ethical problems with the Academy. I suppose
a little summary is in order.
To begin, when I interviewed for my job as "Admissions Assistant"
(who's job description in the ad did not match the reality of the
work), I was well-groomed with pink hair. Basically, I wanted them
to hire me because of me and not because of my appearance or whatever
pre-concieved notions they had about people who looked like me. I even
brought up in both my first and second interview the subject of my
"alternative" hair and was assured that it would not be a problem.
In fact, they told me in not so many words that if I wanted to be
promoted out of the assistant position, I would have to be more
"professional" and play the part. But, for now, it was not going to
be a problem. Well, a week later, it turned into a problem. I was
called up to the Human Resource Director's office for a "talk."
Basically, some of the "higher ups" had seen me and expressed their
concerns about the "image" of the school and that my presence was
not professionally on par. The HR woman said they could not make me
change my hair nor could they "let me go" because of it. They wanted
to ask me as a "favor" if I would restore it back to an acceptable
color. I expressed that I did not like being placed in a double bind.
And I felt that the situation was harrassing and a breach of trust
on their part. And I refused to change my hair. That was the first
of the cheesiness that the school demonstrated to me.
On another occasion, one of the Admissions Advisors who worked with
our office was planning to leave the school. He gave a month's
notice wanting to make sure his prospective students started the
new year smoothly before he left. But, before the semester started,
long before he was to leave, the school simply let him go. A lot of
the "team" morale was hurt by this maneuver. And it was another
cheesy move on the part of the Academy.
Third, before I decided to leave, the school was about to enter
its "crunch time." Three weeks before the start of the Fall
semester. This, it seemed, was the most appropriate time to rally
the management to pull in the last batch of prospective students.
We were asked to work extra hours (with overtime pay of course).
We were going to call people till 8 PM at night. We were going to
call everyone we had a phone number for seven days a week. And
invite them to tour the facilities and consider going to school at
the Academy starting September 7, 1999. Who in their right minds
would choose to just go to a school three weeks prior to the start
of classes? Basically, the president of the school and the
"consultants" began to push, bully, bitch, royally f*ck everyone
over. If the office wasn't already stressed enough, it was time
to turn it into a sweatshop.
Basically, too much of the school's "management" is based on
frantic problem solving, personal politics, and monetary gain.
I just witnessed too many "fear" tactics being used to get
things done. I know that it's not much different elsewhere. But,
I just couldn't be in a workplace that had so little soul. I
didn't like the way they treated people in general.
[ 0 9 . 2 8 . 9 9 cont. ]
Luckily, my direct boss was very cool and totally understanding.
She felt that it would be best if I looked elsewhere. It wasn't
the right place for me. And I hated it there. It was the right decision.
Right now, I'm back to searching for work. My concentration is on
new companies (which spring up here in SF like weeds)
and non-profit organizations. Ideally, I hope to get back to teaching.
It's really what I want to do and where my heart is. It was really
hard to leave the thing that I loved to do most (at least
vocationally) and start over. It's like getting your dream job and
then suddenly having to go back to square one.
Unfortunately, from speaking to various people in the university
systems out here, teaching jobs seem hard to get. We have dozens
of schools pumping out qualified people with big pieces of paper
to wave around. Me, without my Master's, will have a tough time
competing with them. I am a damn good teacher. I know that. And I
hope someone recognizes it. I am busy putting together a teaching
porfolio -- something about 8 to 12 pages that contains letters of
recommendation, letters from former students, syllabi, curriculum
vitae, and what not -- hopefully it will get me a job.
Till then, I'm looking for something in a non-profit setting. There
are a lot of organizations out here. I might have to volunteer a
bit to get some connections made. Maybe, then, I'll find a way into
a paying job.
Apartment life has been pretty decent. My apartment is the only
space that I've truly invested in here in SF. And I spend entirely
too much time indoors, I think.
The weather's been mostly cool. A few warm days were thrown in.
But, for most of the year, it's been quite pleasant, not at all
humid, and sunny. By winter, we'll move back into the "rainy"
season. I like the sun but I do miss weather. Last week, SF got
treated with a very rare thunderstorm -- the biggest since the
late 1970s -- small compared to the East Coast storms. But, it was
really nice to have a change of pace and to hear thunder again.
I've been having some rowdy neighbor problems. The group of
alternative folks that live beneath us have been partying a lot.
And their living room is right under my head. And they use the
little rooftop area outside my window as a party space. So, I get
to hear everything that goes on. I finally decided to leave them
a note. They're elusive creatures and I couldn't get one face to
face. After the note, I talked to them in person. They've been very
apologetic and accomodating. So, I'm glad. They're a little noisy
still but not enough for me to lose any sleep.
Then, last week, our neighbor Paul (who lives on the same floor)
had a party. It was 2:30 am on Friday night and music roared from
their apartment, bass shook the walls and floors, and people laughed
and yelled. Sarah and I went and knocked on Paul's door to no avail
at first. They couldn't hear us over the din. Finally, with a break
in the music they heard our knocking. Paul, who is very quiet,
apologized but asked if we would allow them that night of craziness.
His friend Emmett (from Ireland) was leaving and the festivities
were for his going away. They would try to keep the noise down.
After talking a bit, they insisted we joined them. So, Sarah and I,
both of us in our socks, became accidental partygoers. It was fun,
I must admit. Paul and Emmet had about 8 friends over, all
originally from Spain. They were the one of the nicest, accepting,
and goofy people I've met. Suffice it say, we stayed there till 5
AM. Then Paul thanked us for being so cool about it and shut the
party down. Everyone was dead wasted and tired by then.
Other than that, the apartment is great. We have a few improvements
left to do. We need to get little screens for our windows. One
thing SF doesn't have is screened windows. There are very few
bugs here, actually. It's a nice change. But, we get the occasional
fly and mosquitoes if we leave the windows open all the time.
I also rearranged my room. The feng shui was all wrong. I like it
better in the new arrangement. Things seem better placed.
Sarah and I are planning to finally have a "housewarming" party --
even though we've been in the apartment for over six months now.
Our entertaining space is rather small. But, it's time to bring
people into our home.
[ i n d e x E D ]
© 2001 Edmond Y. Chang. All original material. All rights reserved.
Email the webmaster of this site.
These pages are best viewed with
Open your browser to the largest viewable area.