May 24, 2007

Happy Tofu sounds like the name of a Chinese restaurant.

But it's also the official name of what happens when you freeze and thaw your tofu before sticking it in your stir-fry. It becomes delicious. I never imagined.

I've begun subtly influencing my summer roommates. On Tuesday I made a batch of delicious, vanilla-y fragrant chocolate chip cookies and piled them onto a plate in an appealing mountain o' dessert that would make June Cleaver proud. It took all of half an hour for a faint voice from another room to remark, "Those cookies smell delicious." I shared gleefully. Someday soon there will come an opportunity for them to remember that I am vegan, and somewhere in the depths of their brains a butterfly will flap its wings and the thought "I don't want any vegan cookies" will be replaced with "okay, maybe just one more vegan cookie." The Church of the Tasty Food continues to spread its pleasurably tricky gospel.

I have a decision to make in my job search. There are jobs doing enthralling things, but they lack permanence, geographical consistency, and good compensation. Entry-level archaeological fieldwork means getting hired temporarily to excavate as a contract employee with no benefits. Then there are jobs doing unenthralling things in a stable and permanent way for good compensation. My skills can get me a phone-answering gig in any of several offices for a nice wage and decent medical/dental insurance... but I'll be answering phones until kingdom come. The odd opportunity comes along that's somewhere in between, but it's always got a catch. The nice library job is way out in suburbia (I'm applying anyway). The job at NARAL Pro-Choice Oregon, with its unprecedented I Believe In My Employer factor, is stable but doesn't come with benefits. I don't feel the pressing need for retirement funds at this point in my life, but I can't help thinking medical insurance is a good thing to have. So while keeping an eye out for the heavens to part and hand me a steady job drawing bumper stickers for NOW for $13/hour and an insurance & time off package, I more or less have to decide between my own interests and, well, my own interests.

It's a conundrum that will probably be solved for me by the fact that I arrive in town looking for a job several weeks after the last point at which I could usefully be assigned to an excavation. Still, while I wade dutifully through my stack of exciting opportunities in fast-paced growing businesses, I will comfort myself by thinking of that NOW bumper sticker job. Some people dream of luxury cars and six-figure incomes. I dream of a desk full of nice pens, a weekend off to take a train ride somewhere, and the feeling that I'm one of the good guys. It's lucky I never grew up to be a Republican; I'd be terrible at it.

Posted by dianna at May 24, 2007 10:46 PM

Yay, NARAL! What would that job entail, were you to get it and decide to take it?

Also: Huh. How thaw do you get the tofu before stir-frying it?

Posted by: MoltenBoron at May 24, 2007 11:44 PM

advice: take a job you're going to love and not one answering phones. universities offer (relatively) cheap continuing health insurance to recent grads for at least a year. i think at cal it's called cobra. look into it! and don't take a job answering phones!

Posted by: michele at May 25, 2007 10:25 AM

COBRA's not through the school, actually, it's a federal program. But it's nothing resembling cheap -- it's an exciting opportunity to start paying your employer's contribution to your insurance premium yourself. Less than non-group insurance, certainly, but not cheap. And it only continues my current coverage which is decent but gives me absolutely no dental.

What if I want to work in a bakery? And get up at 4 in the morning and make buns until noon? I think baking could be hygge. But I'd probably start wishing I'd taken a normal job instead.

Posted by: Dianna at May 25, 2007 11:28 AM

Also: how thaw? You speaking strangify. I stuck it in the freezer in its little watery package, then left it in a bowl of hot water until it was soft again. I think that answers your question?

I can't take the NARAL job. I want to take the NARAL job. But it's only half-time (and it's answering phones, Michele, so nyah) so at best I'd be working two half-time jobs and have nary a benefit between them. I'm nervous enough about moving spontaneously to a new city with no guarantees of anything; moving spontaneously to a new city with a tenuous job situation gives me the willies.

And if I'm answering phones at NARAL in the morning I can't be making buns.

Posted by: Dianna at May 25, 2007 11:35 AM

ah, whoops, i got cobra when i stopped working at UCB. i got something else when i graduated from UPS. it was way cheaper than pay for yourself insurance though--like $400 a year instead of $100 a month.

Posted by: michele at May 25, 2007 12:34 PM