First Friday Giveaway! Win a Canvas Print from Easy Canvas Prints

Not too many months ago, my office was my home, and my absolute favorite thing to do all day was to stare out the window at the rooftops. Not particularly good for productivity. It was such a relief to move out and into our office space (part one, two), but I was sure going to miss those rooftops.

To commemorate that view, I ordered a canvas print of a photograph from Easy Canvas Prints.

I have to say it’s awesome. Super easy to order, and the color is vibrant. I chose to have the photo stretched on the sides of the canvas and it looks great.

Did we mention that Father's Day is coming up? It would be a great gift for a dad with a sentimental nature. One time I gave my dad some magnets of some photos that I had taken over the years that I thought he'd like. He gave them back a few years later.

Easy Canvas Prints is so awesome, they offered to let me give away a free 8×10″ print!

Enter Now with blog code: JENNIFER2012.  Please note that you need to live in the US, and they don’t ship free prints to Hawaii or Alaska so if you live there you’re out of luck. Poop.

We’ll accept entries until 5pm next Friday, June 6th.  I get to pick the winner!  I’m going to draw a name out of a hat!  I might even put a rabbit in there too mix things up. Continue Reading

Life Lesson: Artichokes are not the best take-your-lunch-to-work food

They make your fingers all sticky and they’re really hard to eat at your desk when you’re busy working your way through your lunch break.*

Also, if you’re going to cut them in half before cooking, clear out all those little hairs. Otherwise they get all over all the leaves and in your mouth and it’s a lot like licking a cat.**

Lastly, I’ve had artichokes with melted butter, I’ve had them with mayo. But my favorite dipping sauce remains mayo mixed with a bit of curry. What’s yours? Continue Reading

I love

I have been on a hunt for a cute tape dispenser for quite some time now.

I’ve had the same tape dispenser for quite some time. I decorated it back in 1992 or something when I first got it with gold metallic ink and green permanent pens. It was kinda cute.

Since then I’ve lost the thing that actually holds the roll of tape and  it’s lost all of its original splendor.  For the past couple years I have been on a hunt for either the missing piece (so that it might serve to be a tape dispenser again and I could redecorate it) or an adorable new tape dispenser to brighten my work life.

My sad, old, unusable decrepit tape dispenser.

In my search I found tape dispensers that look like shoes (tacky), clear acrylic tape dispensers (imagine how visible the dust would be!), silly ones that resemble animals or some such and the run-of-the-mill plain ones. I wasn’t satisfied. Continue Reading

to do to do to do to do

I’ve just arrived in Berlin on my first vacation in three years.  Now don’t get me wrong; I’ve taken a few long weekends to camp or visit family, and I long ago instituted a rule where I  don’t work on Sundays.  But other than that, running Artsy Geek pretty much rules my  life.

When Will and I made plans for this European vacation at the beginning o fthe year, I had an anxious feeling in my stomach.  It’s not that I didn’t want to go; I wanted to go more than anything.  But I was terrified about how I would afford it and whether I would find myself working frantically on the train as the vistas passed me by unappreciated. Continue Reading

How to Survive Boring Meetings

Once upon a time I had a job where I spent a lot of time in meetings. I endured them all with the help of doodles, and, I hate to admit, my smart phone.

Fast forward a few years and I still attend a few meetings as a member of the Board of Directors for the BSC Alumni Association. Last night found me at one, and it was the doodling of the chicken to the left and the hilarity of my fellow board members that got me through it.

On the way there I ran into my friend Sonja who let me in on a few secrets to surviving long and/or boring meetings. Continue Reading

Duffel Bags of Cash

I have a life coach and she’s wonderful. Lots of people ask me what life coaching is and that’s probably a question best left to her. I would describe it as “therapy with action items” except that therapy is a lot more touchy feely, and this is waaay more action oriented. I leave our sessions armed with confidence and direction–whereas I enter them most of the time feeling pulled in infinite directions and listless.

Today we had a harder session. As my life coach, she is privy to all my current plans and happenings. She knows the extent of my desires to be an internet celebrity and a talk show host, and she has watched me falter time and time again over the past 18 months as I have been slowly building a foundation for success. When I’m in my more darker moments I can be very hard on myself for how long the process has taken, but ultimately, that’s where I am. I could beat myself up forever, but that is a debilitating mindset and one I try to escape whenever possible. Continue Reading

Filing Day

Yesterday was filing day and if you are anything like me, filing day is more like a week of procrastinating the filing before finally putting on Project Runway and digging in.

I finally dug in last night, and I was pleasantly surprised at how fun it was. I know…what??? Filing and fun in the same sentence? I didn’t think it was possible either.

But it was and for the following three reasons. Continue Reading

Like that Lucky Old Sun

I’ve been sick this week, and whenever I get sick I question my motives for being self-employed.  I remember what it was like to be able to call in sick and not worry about it.  Sure, there were responsibilities, and there were often stresses associated with taking a sick day (especially under deadlines!). Ultimately, though, my paycheck would come and the organization would survive if I didn’t show up for a few days.

Even though I didn’t feel well, I did whatever I could over the past few days.  Monday I worked, Tuesday I polished a pet portrait, yesterday I cleaned the house.  Then, in a fit of exhaustion sat on the couch for the rest of the day–arguably where I should have been the whole time.

As I sat there watching Arrested Development for probably the fifteenth time, I got to thinking about the ladies and gentlemen of Victorian England, whom I know quite well through Jane Austen’s delightful novels.  Each morning they choose what to do that day–be it wandering through expansive gardens, playing the piano, a bridge game, or taking a few days and traveling to Bath for a holiday.  I thought it was unfair that they should have so few worries, and I said so this morning at breakfast with Will.

Will pointed out that that kind of leisure time has its downsides. Without work to preoccupy this leisure class, they invented problems out of sheer boredom.  I remember well that the problem of when (and who) a lady will marry was quite an ordeal in Jane Austen’s account.

The choice, then, is whether to suffer daily from boredom, or suffer daily from the stresses and challenges associated with a working life.  The choice, that is, in a theoretical sense; as I was not born to wealthy family in the era of Victorian England, I am left to only daydream about how it might feel to be so thoroughly without responsibility.

Preoccupied as I am with my cold and daydreams of Victorian England, I have spent the day humming the song “That Lucky Old Sun”, which wonderfully captures the essence of this envy for leisure. I am hardly the first, and I won’t be the last, to spend an afternoon coveting the lifestyle of those whose days and nights are idle.

The Right Question

I’ve been involved in an unfortunate dispute with a company I work for as a sales representative. As a sales rep, I make only commission on what I sell. I put in tons of time last year researching and contacting leads. It went pretty well, though I bet if I had tracked my hours last year as I do this year, the average hourly wage wouldn’t be very impressive. But it was a gig, and I was glad to have it. I was glad to have it again this year, and I was pleased to receive repeat orders from a few customers. I was excited to continue seeking out orders, if not to the extent I had the year before, but at least a few hours a week.

Last year I was paid pretty regularly. Once in awhile a check would be late, but I’d contact the people over there at this organization I’m not going to name, and they would get back to me right away. A check was mailed pretty much right after that.

I made my first sale this year in the Spring. No check came, so I emailed and called. Ooooh they were working on it. I waited. I was patient at this point. Very patient. I continued being patient as I emailed over forty times, receiving around six total emails in response, and none ever from the accountant who was supposed to be looking into it. I was told at various times that “checks were being processed” and would be mailed the “next week.” At a certain point, I was told that “checks should have already been received.” I emailed back informing them that I had not received my check, and asking them to update me as to why. I received no response.

I grew madder and madder. An okay-paying side job turned into a thorn in my side that I couldn’t ignore. Here I am, working on the promise of commission for the sales I make, and this company doesn’t have the decency to even respond to my emails, let alone pay me! I like everyone there who I have worked with, but as an organization, I grew to hate them. My acupuncturist told me that the best way to deal with difficult people was to send love and light their way. I practiced that daily, as frustrated and insulted as I was. And still no response.

I like to think of myself as a pretty shrewd business person. I predicted soap opera characters having blogs and myspace pages years before it ever happened. I read Inc Magazine from cover to cover. The idea of treating your work force with such complete and utter disregard makes me shudder. I wish I had the contact information for other sales representatives, because I honestly cannot believe that they treat us all like this. How can they expect to survive when the people who should be out there promoting their products aren’t getting paid and their inquiries are ignored? And how could they expect us (me!) to continue promoting their product and seeking out sales when I hadn’t been paid for the sales I’ve made?

Finally I listened to my attorney friends and sent a demand letter. And finally I started getting responses to my emails. I breathed a huge sigh of relief. But I noticed that they were only addressing part of the due commissions, ignoring the other part. I asked about the ignored portion, and once again, did not receive a response. I emailed again to ask for an update. But this time I tacked on, “If you are not the right person to update me, can you please provide someone who can?”

Boom. Twenty minutes later I had an email to someone I had never heard of asking them to update me. I don’t know yet if she’s going to, but I am struck by the absurdity of the situation. Perhaps if I had asked that question back in March this whole situation could have been avoided? Was it really my responsibility to ask the right question?

I definitely don’t think so. They’re in an industry with a few layers of customer service; they have people who buy their product who they should want to be happy. They also have a force of sales reps who are out there selling their products in exchange for their commission. They aren’t what you think of as typical customers, but they are buying money with their time. And they, like the customers who buy the products, are out there in the world sharing their experiences. I can’t tell you how hard it was for me not to buy www.[name of company I work for] Months ago I wanted to start a blog about their disregard for my work and time, but ultimately I knew it wouldn’t help me professionally or personally.

So here I am, as anonymously as possible, sharing my experiences. Hopefully the checks come in and I don’t need that looming court date. When the checks come in I will email them urging them to think of their sales reps more as customers. This time I won’t expect a response.