Posted by: Admin | March 6, 2010

Are You Linked In?

So I went from having endless free time where I could put my feet up and blog each day, to working non stop.   I went from not having a job to trying to balance a full time job along with developing my new real estate career.  What this basically means is that I now work 7 days a week.

It’s been a challenging transition and I have to be honest, it’s really putting a wrench in my blogging time.  I certainly haven’t run out of things to say, but I have run out of free time to say it!

Anywho….  One thing that I’ve noticed lately, is that there seems to be a bit more momentum in the job market. I don’t know if I’m the only one who’s seeing this.  If you’re still job hunting you may be thinking… “What, is she crazy?? I’m still unemployed and my phone still isn’t ringing”.   I have no idea if this is industry specific or if, as the old saying goes, it’s easier to get a job when you have a job.  I’m certainly not in the market for another job BUT, in the past month or so, I’ve been contacted by quite a few people about jobs in my area.

Many of these the contacts were made through Linked In.

If you are not familiar with Linked In, and you work in any sort of professional environment, I would highly suggest you familiarize yourself.

Here’s a basic overview:  http://linkedin.com 

Linked In is a social media website that offers networking opportunities for business professionals.

I have found this website to be a fantastic tool.  You can set up your profile to be an online resume.  You can highlight your skill set and network with previous coworkers & customers.  You can receive and provide recommendations for/from other colleagues.  And, you can network with many other professionals in your chosen industry.  There are also many groups set up, that are specific to certain categories of business, and these groups provide many updates of job openings and news.  And, one additional resource that has provided me with the most success, is networking with a variety of headhunters/recruiters who are specific to my industry.

It allows me to keep in contact with many people who hear about jobs in my line of work.  And, I have received many emails from HR professionals, directly through Linked In, who are looking to fill roles in my area.  I’m certainly not saying that this is a surefire way to get a new job… but, if you’re not using it as part of your arsenal to find new employment, you are missing a key component.

NETWORKING – NETWORKING – NETWORKING

Do not underestimate the power of networking to find yourself a new job.  Without networking I would probably still be sitting in my PJs, on my couch, eating bon bons every day.

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Posted by: Admin | February 26, 2010

The Great Debate

With all this snow we’ve been getting, I’ve had some time to ponder some important things.

Things like:

  • How important is it to shower on a snow day (I slipped quite easily back into my pajamattire!)
  • Do you shovel the snow numerous times during the day or do you wait for the storm to end and shovel it all at once?
  • How many loads of laundry should you attempt to do while you’re lying around watching the snow fall (I actually need clean clothes now that I’m working….)
  • Why does everyone scramble to buy milk, bread & eggs… does everyone make French Toast when it snows??

But perhaps the most important topic that has entered my mind…(courtesy of a new Cottonelle commercial) is:

Under or Over?

Yes, the age old TP debate.

In my house, sometime it’s a win to just simply have a replacement role of TP regardless of how it rolls.  But, given that everyone seems to have an opinion, I figured I’d toss it out there to all of you.

I’m in a very defined camp on this one.  Quite simply put.. it should ALWAYS be over.  Case closed, no need for any debate.  I’m so certain that it should be over that I have a severe internal struggle if I ever go to someone else’s house who is living in the “under” camp.  I want, so desperately, to remove their roll of toilet paper and flip it over so it’s correct. I’ve also been known to have this compulsive issue in public places as well.

I’m sure (or at least hopeful) that I’m not the only one who feels this strongly.  So, please take the quick survey below and please feel free to share your thoughts about your preferred TP placement and, if you happen to be one of those nutty folks who like to have it roll under please, oh please, explain to me why?

Posted by: Admin | February 24, 2010

My (hopefully) Last Call To Unemployment

It’s good to be busy and working again but heck, I went from sitting around with my thumb up my butt and playing around on the internet to working 2 jobs and 7 days a week!

I’m obviously working my new role M-F but since I’d still like to get my real estate career off the ground I’m still doing this on the weekends.  And, I can tell you with certainty I’m exhausted.  I came home one day last week and told my hubby that I was ready for bed and it was only 7:30 at night!

I still also haven’t put my unemployment 100% behind me.  Today, I had some nice reminders of how crappy and how frustrating it was. 

Today was the day I was due to submit for my weekly unemployment benefits.  Believe it or not, the explanation of what you need to do when you finally get a job is not 100% clear (why should it be.. nothing else with the unemployment office is very clear??).  So, I figured I’d just report on my normal day and tell them they don’t need to send me a check.  But,  instead of filing online like I normally would, I decided to call them to tell them I am finally gainfully employed so I was sure that it was handled properly.  But if you recall, getting someone on the phone at unemployment is quite a task!

In case you don’t remember any of my other posts about the challenges of trying to call the unemployment office (you can go here to read about when I called them on my Canniversary), or, I’ll just give you a quick reminder of how it played out today – which is eerily similar to that old post.

I dial the phone # and get a recording that tells me their *new* hours of service are  from 7:00am to 6:00pm.

This recording is immediately followed by another recording that says that they “cannot take my call at this time”.

Then I am disconnected.

So, I hang up & call back something like 25 times (literally) until I finally get a different recording that puts me into a queue to speak to an agent.

A new recording comes on to tell me the wait time is 25 minutes.

About 15 minutes LATER there’s another recording telling me the wait time is now 20 minutes (I don’t know about you, but this math doesn’t really make sense to me.. but who am I to judge???).

About 45 minutes after I’m first connected, I get to speak with someone for about 1 minute to tell her I got a job…. HOORAY!

She gives me her version of a government-employee- unethusiastic-congratulations and I hang up.

Cheers to my offical “lay off” from Uncle Sam and fingers crossed that I never have to call them again!

Posted by: Admin | February 19, 2010

What A Load Of…..

I consider myself to be a pretty positive person.  If you’ve been a reader for a while perhaps you don’t believe this, since you’ve seen me at my lowest of lows.  You’ve heard me complain on a regular basis, you’ve heard me rant, you’ve watched me gain weight and overall you probably think that I’m anything but positive.  But, I can assure you, although I may be opinionated and I may be known to pour out my frustrations, I’m generally a happy, positive person.

I believe that your state of mind truly impacts many aspects of your live.  It can affect your health, your weight and even your relationships.  What I don’t believe is that positivity can solve all your problems, or bring you wealth or bestow upon you magical things that otherwise may not be attainable.

So, when I took in the mail today I was saddened by a simple piece of direct mail.

This piece of mail is actually a booklet of adult education classes that are offered not far from where I live (at what I would consider a reputable place).  They have traditional classes like computer skills, dance lessons & photography. And then, they offer more obscure classes like food garnishing, party favors & gemology.  But the class that caught my eye fell under the category of “Personal Growth”. 

This class is called Prosperity Consciousness.. and, I’d like to share with you the course description:

Ever wonder why some people attract money and wealth into their lives while others can’t hold onto a dollar?  It’s no secret why wealth attracts wealth and poverty seems to be an inescapable trap.  Learn to create wealth by changing your relationship with money.  This course helps those seeking wealth in their lives to tap into universal abundance by learning and using simple and practical techniques taught for decades in books such as Napolean Hill’s Think and Grow Rich, and Dr. Wayne Dryer’s Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life.  An interactive course where students engage in exercises that help them and each other break through limiting beliefs that have kept you from the personal wealth you deserve.      

3 Sessions:  $75

 

Ok, I’m not sure where to being here.  I find this course to be somewhat insulting to intelligent people who have the utmost consciousness about them… who are not “attracting prosperity”.  Gee… I was unemployed for 7 months (certainly not attracting money).  Do you suppose that I couldn’t get a job because I wasn’t at a higher level of positive consciousness?  Yes, I’m sure that if I’d been more positive, I would have been able to tap into that universal abundance and find a job and therefore money immediately!!

Look, I know you need to feel good about yourself and be positive to achieve more.. and that achieving more could indeed attract money,  But come on… .$75 to teach me techniques to “grow rich” or to “break through my limiting beliefs”?  All I have to say is….. WTF??

This class is probably the REASON that these people “can’t hold onto a dollar”…It’s because they truly believe that they can spend $75 to be taught how to “tap into universal abundance”.  And throwing away $75 is surely the first step to achieving wealth… DUH!

It reminds me of that book that was all the rage a few years back called “The Secret”.  If you’re a believer I’m truly sorry… .cause the “secret” is that that author made a shitload of money off making people believe that they can wish themselves into riches.

It just makes me sad. (stepping off my soapbox for the day)

Posted by: Admin | February 15, 2010

No More Snow!

I’m done with snow.

That’s my declaration for today.  And, this is in the midst of reports that we should be expecting yet another snowstorm tonight.

 

  • About 2 weeks ago we got about 12 inches of snow.
  • Last week we got another 14 inches of snow.
  • Tonight they are suggesting 4 more inches.

 
 
 

I don’t know about you, but that’s more than enough snow to make me miserable.

Now that I’m working and I need to leave the house, those cosmic forces that find humor in making my life unnecessarily difficult must be chuckling up a storm (literally).

There’s nothing like making my transition back to “normal” life as challenging as possible. 

Here are a couple of things that all this snow has taught me:

  • Gutter guards are fantastic until they create 3 foot long, death spike, icicles that hang off the house
  • My dog seems to think that the smooth surface of our snow covered swimming pool is the perfect place to do her business (she obviously has never heard the saying “don’t pee in my pool”)
  • Not cleaning off the top of your car (when you have over a foot of snow on it) just may be one of the rudest behaviors around
  • Ice is slippery (duh!) and works in direct opposition to dress shoes that must be worn for work

I have also realized that it’s really hard to take a “snow day” when you’ve just started a new job.   What’s acceptable?  How much snow is enough snow to call out of work? What time in the morning can you make this decision?   You walk a fine line between staying safe and looking like a panic stricken chicken, who won’t drive in inclement weather.  I’m still trying to sort it all out.

Anyhow, if you’re in an area where you are expecting more snow… stay safe, stay warm and heed my warning:  don’t wear heels as you walk down your icy stairs and across your walkway to get to your car!

Posted by: Admin | February 10, 2010

My First Week

Well I survived my first 2 days of work… and then BAM… we were hit with a huge snowstorm.  So, my readjustment back to “normal” life has been thwarted by a blizzard.  Why should this surprise me?  If you consider the challenges that have become my “normal” way of living over the last 7 months, it’s not a far jump to expect that my first week of work would have its own twists & turns.

For those you that live in the Tri-State area, hopefully you are somewhere warm & dry today!

So, the commute to my office is pretty far (yesterday it took me almost 1 hour & 45 minutes).  Thankfully, after I’m done training I won’t have to report to this office regularly (I work a field based job).  But, if you’ve been playing along, you know that I don’t really do mornings well.  And that readjusting to a bedtime & wake-up time has been difficult…to say the least.

The last time my alarm went off before 6am was… well… let’s just say… I have no idea when the last time was.  So, getting up and leaving enough time for my commute makes me so incredibly tired when I get home.  Hopefully my body will adjust to this quickly or I’m going to have to start going to bed around 7:30pm.. (which doesn’t really give me much time to blog!)

Anyhow, the company is great.. .all of the people have been fantastic and I realized quickly they didn’t really care which knickers I wore for my first day.  No one kicked sand at me on the playground.  I didn’t have to sit alone in the lunch room and not once did anyone call me a name.  A successful first day if I do say so myself (or first couple of days, since I’m late on writing this post)

I also signed up for a yoga class this week… time to tackle that muffin top (I’ll probably run out of clothes that fit sometime next week… unfortunately probably quicker than it will take me to lose 20 pounds).  But, the good news is that I’m headed on a new path, I’m feeling pretty good and I’m starting to piece my life back together…. .and, dang it… it’s about time!

Posted by: Admin | February 5, 2010

T-Minus One Weekend

I start my new job on Monday.  I never imagined that I’d be so excited, anxious, overwhelmed & stressed all at the same time.  I feel like a young kid about to start my first day of school.

  • Will they like me?
  • What should I wear?
  • Will I remember how to solve math problems?
  • Should I bring lunch money or pack my lunchbox? 

It’s like I’ve been out on an extended summer break. The only difference is that I didn’t spend my time playing with my friends, swimming in the pool and playing catch in the park.  I’ve spent my time stressing about finding a job rather than enjoying the “gift” of time I was given. 

I was recently talking to a friend about the interesting dynamics of unemployment.  As an adult, there is rarely a time where you have an extended period of non-work days.  So when you find yourself unemployed, you are given the odd opportunity to control your schedule, spend time doing things you enjoy and have freedom that isn’t available to you when you are working a full time career.  The problem is of course, that you are so consumed with the realities of unemployment, that you don’t actually take time to enjoy this gift of free time. 

As I was talking to this friend we mentioned how different the time would have been if you were afforded the opportunity to know when you’d find work again. Whether you were told you’d be jobless for 6 weeks or for 18 months, I bet if you knew that it was a finite period of time, you could actually find a way to use your time differently.  Yes, you’d still job hunt, network and do all things necessary to find gainful employment.  But hey, let’s be honest you cannot job hunt every minute, of every day, for months on end.  Imagine if you could wash away all the stress that comes from the unknown (which at times is truly all consuming), and learn to find time to do things that you enjoy.. things that bring you happiness rather than anxiety? 

I imagine that I’d have had a vastly different experience over the past 7 months. 

So here I go, diving back into the world of the gainfully employed.  I’m about to give up all this “free time” to get my career back on track.   Having had the experience of unemployment I can definitely say that I’ve also been able to gain a new perspective on being employed.  I’ve had some time to think about what’s important in my life, how much of a role my job should play (remember I was challenged when I first lost my job to convince myself that “I am not my job”) and to find other ways to define myself.  It’s been an incredible journey.  And, I think I’m almost ready to take the next step (and even if I’m not ready… Monday will be here before I know it!)

Posted by: Admin | February 3, 2010

Let Them Eat Cake

I’ve spent some time this week trying to set the stage for getting back to a regular work schedule.  

Take for instance Tuesday night.. when I stayed up until 3:00am watching episodes of The Ultimate Cake Off on TLC.  Yes, I did say THREE-AM!  What the heck is wrong with me??

I have less than a week until I have to start working again and instead of structuring my schedule to ensure that I’m well rested and I’m going to be able to drag my sorry ass out of bed when my alarm goes off Monday morning, I’m staying up late to watch mind-numbing TV.  You may have noticed that I had this exact same problem when I started real estate school.

In general I am not a morning person, and I have a hard time getting going in the morning.  So, when I was gainfully employed I was pretty much in bed and asleep at 11:00 every night.  But now, my lights out time ranges from 12:00-3:00am and my getting up time ranges from 7:30am (on the rarest of occasions) to 10:00am (more likely). 

Happy Birthday Legoland 10th Anniversary Cake

So why, you may ask (and even if you didn’t I’m gonna tell you anyway, cause, well… this is my blog)…am I staying up until 3:00am?  I have to admit it’s because this particular show took me on a little journey through fantasyland.  And, I have to say I was enthralled.  If you haven’t seen this show, it showcases phenomenal cake decorators in a competition to design a custom cake over 5 ft tall, in only 9 hours.  Their artistic vision is just simply amazing.  These master decorators create cakes with such intricate detail and such beauty, that I’m simply awestruck.  I couldn’t conceive of creating a cake in nine months (yes, the time it takes to grow a new born child) much less in 9 hours.

And, on many levels it makes me wish that I had some sort of talent..  Now, don’t get me wrong.. I do have skills and there are many things I’m good at but I don’t feel that I have any true talents.  The people who make these cakes are artists.  They have creative abilities I can only dream of and they have a passion for what they do. It made me wish that there was something I loved to do, that made me feel fulfilled, that was a true talent, that could inspire others.  Because that’s what I felt as I watched the folks make their cakes.. truly inspired and amazed.

 

So needless to say, that’s why I stayed up until 3:00am.. to immerse my self in the beauty of these cakes and to fully appreciate the art & talent that goes into making them.  And to dream a little dream that someday I’ll discover what it is that I love to do that’s more than just a paycheck.

Posted by: Admin | February 1, 2010

Up In The Air

This past weekend I went to see a movie… Up In The Air.

 

  • Sounds like a cute romantic comedy right?
  • Or maybe an animated flick about hot air balloons?
  • Or maybe even an action movie about a hostile airplane hijacking….

 

Or it could quite possibly be, a smack you in the face, harsh dose of unemployment reality, masked as a cute new movie by George Clooney.

This movie should have come with a simple disclaimer before it began showing.  The disclaimer could have said something like this.

WARNING!

If you are unemployed or were recently laid off, downsized or outsourced and you are struggling with the lack of compassion in corporate America this is NOT the movie for you.  The $10+ you just spent on this movie will be refunded if you promptly exit the theater.  And, your already fragile mental state will remain intact just as it is.. 

If you chose to stay, this movie may send you spiraling into a deeper misery.

But alas, there was no disclaimer.  So I sat down with my tub of popcorn and got ready to take in the cute smile and sexiness of Mr. Clooney.   And oh boy, I was quick to realize that this film was much more than a cutsie, lighthearted, romantic glimpse into the life of a frequent traveler.  Or, as the trailer promised:

Ryan Bingham, a corporate hatchet man who loves his life on the road, is forced to fight for his job when his company downsizes its travel budget. He is required to spend more time at home just as he is on the cusp of a goal he’s worked toward for years: reaching five million frequent flyer miles and just after he’s met the frequent-traveler woman of his dreams. 

Now, I do realize that the sentence above contains the words, “hatchet man”, “fight for his job” and “downsizing”.  So, I should have been somewhat prepared for it to have moments of seriousness or for it to show dear sexy George, struggling with some employment challenges.  But I have to be honest and say that I got way more than I expected when it came to all too realistic depictions of heartless lay offs.  And, all too realistic reactions from employees who were on the receiving end of these messages.  I guess maybe, it just all hit too close to home for me.

I won’t go on record saying it was a bad movie and I don’t want to share any spoilers in case you do plan on seeing it.  The acting was well done, and the story had a twinge of realism that made me uncomfortable.  And, I suppose those are two goals of any movie.  But for me, I felt unprepared for the realism and I found myself saying a couple of times that it’s a really good thing that I didn’t see this movie months ago when I was having one of my down swing days during my unemployment.  I’m really happy that I waited until I had a new job to see this film.

So, take it from me…. If you are planning on seeing this movie and you have indeed found yourself in that horribly uncomfortable chair hearing that horrible message that “your job is no longer available”, please be prepared for a number of uncomfortable moments in the theater.  And also be prepared to be impacted in very personal way by many of the scenes in this movie.

Posted by: Admin | January 29, 2010

Gearing Up For Work

Now that I know I’m about to begin a new job there are a variety of things that I’ve had to contend with.

1)      Fast forwarding those projects that I’ve been ignoring.   As you know, I’ve mentioned that I’m a fantastic procrastinator in my personal life.  As an unemployed person it was always possible to “put something off until tomorrow”.  So, there are actually things around the house that have remained undone for months and months and now I’m like… “oh, crap I need to get that done immediately before I start working and the project sits there forever”.

2)      Reorganize my commitment schedule.   This is an interesting one… I actually made the mistake of continuing to live my life while I was unemployed (this is actually a contrast to 2009 where I mostly sat around in my PJs).  I made it a point in 2010 to make plans, put things on my calendar and so on. There mere fact that I made plans & commitments for my future has put me in a unique position because many of the things I’ve committed to doing now conflict with my new job (obviously I’m not available on a Tuesday in Feb anymore!).  Guess I’ll be canceling a lot of things!

3)      Managing my anxiety.  For months I’ve wanted nothing but a job and I’ve had to deal with heavy duty job searching stress & anxiety.  And, now what do you think I have??  Heavy duty new job stress & anxiety.  I feel like I’m simply out of practice.  I need to readjust my sleep schedule, I need to re-engage my brain, I need to set an alarm, get up and shower every day.  These seem like simple things but they are actually quite overwhelming given that I haven’t had to live like this for 7 months!

4)      A wardrobe overhaul.  We all know that I’ve been cultivating a nice unemployed muffin-top.  This lovely addition to my mid-section is working in direct conflict with my pre-unemployment business attire.  So, I now need to separate all my suits & work clothes into pre-unemployment & post unemployment fits.  And, I’m finding that there are far too many items in the pre-unemployment sizes.. I really need to get a jump start on the muffin-top reduction simply so I have some actual clothes to put on each day!

 

I’m sure there are more things that I have to take care of with the week I have left before I begin working again. Hopefully I can get everything done and start this new job fully prepared (both personally & professionally)!  It’s a big undertaking and it’s definitely causing me stress but it needed to happen and I’m glad I’m finally on this new path.  A path that’s actually headed towards something versus a path that’s weaving around aimlessly!

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