Uptown Rantz

Don't Wanna Be No Uptown Fool

Caroline, Findlaw and Spyhouse Coffee

It’s the first cool evening in awhile as I walk towards Spyhouse on Hennepin because there’s nothing good on TV and I’ve read all my magazines. I walk in and the first person I see is Caroline, who I haven’t seen since she left Thomson Reuters for a lucrative position in government affairs at Target corporate over a year ago. We began as contractors in Westlaw at the same time and bonded because we were both way overdressed on our first day. When I moved to Findlaw our daily lunches were what I looked forward to most.

While working at Thomson, she did a lot of research and reached the conclusion that Thomson stifles ambition and doesn’t reward initiative. From that point on she focused her attention on Target and Best Buy.

I always admired Caroline’s resolve and positive attitude. Other contractors seemingly threw in the towel and took permanent positions at Thomson only to complain later about the money they could be making elsewhere. Caroline got into Target by not taking no for an answer and now she has a great salary complete with stock options. With annual performance raises, she’ll eventually earn six figures plus bonuses. I tell her we still get turkeys at Thanksgiving. And that even further on the upside, the web marketing training has helped make my ebay descriptions jump off the screen and sell faster. She smiles more out of pity, I think, instead of humor.

It takes zero convincing to accept her offer of beers and catching-up at Green Mill. So over pints and a shared plate of nachos we discuss her upwardly-mobile career and my lack of one. She smiles as she excitedly talks about life at Target corporate – even her eyes smile as she details the uber-nice downtown building and upscale professional dress code. She hasn’t seen a pair of crocs since happily leaving the Thomson campus.

She asks me about the various people from Findlaw she remembers seeing during our lunches in C cafeteria…the older lady who sits on the patio outside C cafeteria sunning herself, and who also looks exactly like Ms. Crabapple from The Simpsons and is even orange like a Simpson’s character…the short hipster Asian guy with the white leather messenger bag who walks around with the frumpy sarcastic Jewish guy…hot Elena…the guy who for some reason thought it would be cool to grow his goatee to a grotesquely long length probably to compensate for his pre-mature balding…the group of older writers that sit together in editorial meetings who I fear I may become if I don’t stay focused on my career goals…and the two blonde sisters who don’t look alike but they’re both pretty.

I tell her yep, it’s all the same. Nothing changes around Thomson – not even the pay scale. She says that Target’s regulatory department is rapidly expanding and she’ll personally pass my resume to the right person. It’s the best news I’ve heard since hearing Friday Night Lights is returning for a final season.

I cut myself off after two Stella’s. Besides, I have to rush home and re-do my resume. The next morning I e-mail Caroline my resume. I arrive at work and walk the 44 miles from my car to the building…past the guys at the security desk who are only slightly more pleasant than construction workers and probably less-educated. I sit down in my cube and Caroline has already replied with suggestions for revising my resume…remove the underlining and italics because it makes it difficult for HR to scan into their system.

I rapidly re-send. Caroline replies and says it looks good. Now I’m going to D cafeteria to stare out the window for awhile.

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