Clarifying My Words

Saturday, I had my parents over for dinner. In an ode to my Hawaiian roots, I cooked up an island-inspired feast of kalua pork and chicken long rice. I even whipped up Mai Tai‘s to wash everything down with, and fired up my “Aloha Mix” on the iPod. I’m nothing if not detail oriented (although, sadly, there were no hula girls to entertain us). The evening was a big hit…but then, my mom asked if she could critique the blog.

“Of course,” I said.

She – and my dad – are worried that I’m not portraying myself in the best possible light, what with the references to wearing pajama pants and drinking at odd hours of the day, not to mention my occasional corporate rant. They are worried that prospective employers may be reading, and that might be hurting my chances at finding a job.

I have, of course, considered this possibility before…and pretty much rejected it. If you Google my name, you’ll find my website/online portfolio, but that is purely professional. You’d have to do a very specific search to find this other stuff, and besides, I try to temper it all with humor, anyway. I think discussing my casual attire and sometimes portraying a slightly negative attitude is perfectly natural for somebody who is unemployed. I am not actually sitting around at 1 PM slurping Singapore Slings in my pajamas, unshowered and unshaven. That’d be a cry for help! I mean, come on…Singapore Slings aren’t very manly. I immediately went on the defensive, and loudly declared, “If anybody is offended by this, they’re not somebody I want to work for!” What can I say? I’m a Taurus, and we’re a stubborn lot.

They also thought I shouldn’t talk about any potential jobs before I receive an offer. The only reason I think this might be a decent idea is because I’d hate to jinx myself. This blog is a reflection of my life, and I want to A) be honest, and B) write about what’s going on so I’ll always remember. Being a writer, I bristle at the very idea of censorship of any sort. So I don’t plan on not writing about these events, but I suppose I could temper my tone slightly. After all, there is a link from my website to the blog, so anybody could potentially follow that. I think I’ll kill the link – I don’t really need it, and that’ll make the blog 98.7652% anonymous.

On the off chance that my folks are onto something…and, I guess in retrospect, they could be…I went back through a bunch of my old posts, and located a few passages that screamed for clarification. Because, ha-ha, turns out my words didn’t always convey my true thoughts. Oops! Sometimes you’ve gotta read between the lines. So, in the event that a would-be employer stumbled upon my blog earlier, I am here to clear the air!

  • What I Said

“I hereby resolve to make a living off my writing in 2011, or die trying (and by that I don’t mean literally, but rather, giving it all I’ve got and if it doesn’t work out succumbing to the steady paycheck of a Corporate America gig, which in many ways is kind of like a slow death anyway).”

  • What I Meant

“I hereby resolve to try to make a living off my writing in 2011, because it’s something I enjoy doing and am pretty good at (but if it doesn’t work out I will consider it an honor to find a corporate job where I would be assured of a steady paycheck and have the opportunity to show off my talents while contributing to the success of the organization before I die).”

  • What I Said

“Not that there’s anything wrong with sweats. They’re perfectly acceptable sitting-around-the-house attire. And in my case, driving-the-kids-to-school-and-back attire. As long as I don’t have to get out of the car, who cares what I’m wearing? Sweats and a t-shirt: the uniform of the unemployed.”

  • What I Meant

“It’s important to dress for success! While my closet is full of neatly ironed dress shirts and perfectly pressed slacks, occasionally in the privacy of my own home I will slip into a pair of sweats so I can feel comfortable, and focus all my attention on finding the perfect job! I especially miss wearing ties. Hopefully in the near future I can make use of my crisply professional wardrobe again.”

  • What I Said

“Working in the same building as my ex-wife is not something I would ever feel comfortable with. I can’t imagine running into her at the water cooler, or sitting across from her in a conference room, or bumping into one another on the way back from the mailroom. I would be on edge every minute of every day, waiting for the inevitable and regularly-occurring crossing of paths. That’s no way to live. Productivity would suffer, not to mention my mental state.”

  • What I Meant

“I am excited to have an opportunity to work for this dynamic company! I am even acquainted with somebody who works there, and it would be nice running into her at the water cooler occasionally. We could put our heads together and draw on our collective pasts and knowledge of one another’s abilities to figure out a way to boost sales for the company. What a great way to live. It would be a boon to productivity, for both of us!”

  • What I Said

“When I was working, on weekday mornings I was up at the crack of dawn. Even on my kid-free weeks, that meant a few minutes after 6:00. Although I’ve only been jobless for seven full days now, already that seems absurdly early to me. I shudder at the mere thought of getting out of bed anytime before 8:00. On the flip side, I’m staying up late – often until midnight now.”

  • What I Meant

“Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise. Those are words to live by! I shudder at the mere thought of getting out of bed anytime after 6:00. On the flip side, I tuck myself in well before midnight.”

  • What I Said

“I used to wait until 5:00 to pour myself a drink. Now, if 4 PM rolls around – or, I daresay, 3:45 – and I want a gin and tonic, then I’m heading straight for the liquor cabinet. And I’m probably wearing pajama pants, too.”

  • What I Meant

“I used to wait until 5:00 to pour myself a glass of water. Now, if 4 PM rolls around – or, I daresay, 3:45 – and I want water, or another beverage that is healthy and chock full of antioxidants, like green tea, then I’m heading straight for the fridge. And I’m probably dressed in my finest clothes, too, because if you want to be successful you must look successful.”

I have one more correction to make. I uploaded this photo when writing about my last interview. Unfortunately, it conveys the entirely wrong idea that I harbor some sort of prejudice against ties. This is not at all the case!

I was still adjusting my tie when the self-timer went off. Oops. Gave the wrong impression, didn't it?

Here’s the picture I meant to include, instead.

Ties are awesome! Thumbs up to ties! I was so excited to be able to wear one again, I couldn't decide which to choose!

Hopefully all grievous misconceptions have now been set straight, and any potential employer will see what an asset I’d be for their company.

Hire away, fellas!


Published by Mark Petruska

I'm a professional writer and editor living my best life in south central Wisconsin.

25 thoughts on “Clarifying My Words

  1. Aren’t parents delicious? Hi Mark’s Mom!!!
    Part of your humor and style is to force the reader to read between the lines. I love that about your style! Never once did I believe that you sat around in your jammies sipping on cocktails…. Although, it seems to work for Hef!


  2. I need to do one of these posts for all the things my two college-age daughters misinterpret that I say. I am always explaining but then again neither of them know that I have a blog. Thanks for the good humor today and always.


  3. It’s funny, because when I first started my blog (4 years ago) I was sooooo hesitant about saying anything about my job/work, or anything that could come back and bite me me in the ass later. However, as time has moved on I’ve talked more and more openly about my job and other things. Not the actual specifics of WHO I work for, WHERE I work, or WHAT exactly I do, but I’ve figured a way of talking about it, without actually talking about it. There are ways around it I discovered.

    Love the tie photos and captions, Mark!


    1. I’m more concerned over information that can be gathered from Facebook, though I feel pretty safe since I made my settings private. Oh well, it’s all part of the game in the 21st century, I guess!


  4. Just so you know, I’m wearing my jammies while writing this. And drinking a Singapore Sling. Which I just spit all over my keyboard while laughing.


  5. Hahaha! Love the tie photos 🙂
    This made me look at some of my past posts to see if I was offensive or giving off the wrong vibe…Yes. Yes I am. Also? Thank God my only job involves diaper changes and wearing PJS well into the afternoon!


  6. funny–I love the pics of the ties.

    and–how fabulous that your parents care enough about you and your future that they’d chime in a little!

    my mom calls me if I don’t post regularly–to make sure everything is ok!



    1. I used to hear that I looked a bit like Jack Tripper, so I’m always appreciative of a Three’s Company reference. And yes…I’m still slightly revolted over the whole liver deal. 😉


  7. After I trained beginning teachers I always told them to have an answer to this question at interview: “Why should I pick you over all the other people in that stack of resumes over there and what do you have to offer that they may not?”


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